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New restaurants and happenings

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Raleigh favorite Zely & Ritz Tapas Restaurant and Wine Bar will host the second in a series of beer dinners Tuesday, Oct. 24 featuring North Carolina-based Duck Rabbit Brewery. Artesenal brews will be matched with the rich flavors of fall harvests. Visit www.zelyandritz.com for the full menu.

Downtown Carrboro's Jubilee Bakery is now open for catering. Their old-fashioned specialties include Red Velvet and Hummingbird cakes and all kinds of cupcakes and muffins including this month's feature: Little Monsters. Orders can picked up or delivered. Contact: 259-0369, www.jubileebakery.com.

Congrats to Carolina Brewery in Chapel Hill, which recently won a gold medal for their flagship India Pale Ale (IPA) at the Great American Beer Festival—the Emmy/Grammy Award of the industry. Seats are going fast for their Harvest Celebration Beer Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 21, featuring four courses (including a vegetarian option) all paired with specially selected beers. Tickets for the 8 p.m. seating sold out quickly, but a 5:30 p.m. seating has been added. The cost is $40. RSVP: info@carolinabrewery.com, 942-1800.

In honor of the Monet in Normandy exhibit at the N.C. Museum of Art, The Grape at Cameron Village in Raleigh is offering French culinary specialties paired with flights of white and red French cuvees on most Tuesdays now through Jan. 9. The cost is $50 for two. Info and reservations (required for parties of six or more): 833-2669. Also at The Grape: Jazz-and-Wine Sunday afternoons beginning Oct. 15, with live music from 3-6 p.m.

Now open in Chapel Hill at 161 1/2 E. Franklin St., Joe's Joint promises to take away the munchies with late breakfast food and blue plate specials featuring Mexican and American cuisine standards such as chili-cheese burgers, fajitas, burritos and tortas. Open from 11 a.m. Call 942-6060.

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Local passion for all things Italian can be celebrated Oct. 16-30 at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, with daily tastings and demonstrations. Check out www.southernseason.com for details and RSVPs. And, as a fundraiser for the local not-for-profit Volunteers for Youth, A Southern Season will team up on Oct. 28 with Immaculate Baking Company to create a 10-foot-wide, 500-pound monster pumpkin cookie that will be unveiled around 3:30 p.m. following its four-hour baking time. Pieces of the cookie will be broken off and sold; all proceeds will be given to Volunteers for Youth.

North Carolina Children's Hospital will benefit from The Chapel Hill Wine Company's Third Annual Kid's Day, Saturday, Oct. 28 from 1-5 p.m. In addition to the free wine tastings, costume-judging and ghoulish fun, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory will have free samples of their goodies and gourmet apples. For more info, call 968-1884.

Earthy-flavored and velvety-smooth porcini mushrooms will be Il Palio Ristorante's feature ingredient in appetizers and entrées throughout the month of October.

Underground in Raleigh now has a couples package: dinner for two and a bottle of wine that includes one starter and one side, two entrées and two desserts. Contact: 664-8704, www.comeunderground.com.

Every Wednesday in October, The Melting Pot in Raleigh offers a "Wine Down Wednesday" special—$70 per couple brings a cheese course, salad, entrée, chocolate dessert and bottle of wine to your table. Call 878-0477 for reservations.

Aladdin's Cafe in Chapel Hill is hosting a wine tasting featuring live music every Friday in October at 6 p.m. Call 491-6915.

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