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Dinner Date on 8-8-08

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On Friday, Aug. 8, Pond Restaurant and Bistro Cassis will offer a complimentary three-course menu to everyone whose August birth year ends with an eight (1958, 1978 … you get the picture—and don’t forget to bring yours; freebie guests must provide a valid driver’s license.) In addition, the eighth person in a dinner party eats on the house. Here’s what’s cookin’:

• Tuna Tartar with avocado mousse and lemon caper dressing
• Sautéed Norwegian salmon with pipérade and chervil sauce
• Assorted sorbet with raspberry coulis

And a caveat: The meal does not include alcohol.

175 King of Prussia Road, Radnor; (610) 293-9411, pondrestaurant.com

This Week: A visit to Distrito, Jose Garces’ newest and apparently swingin’est downtown restaurant (located at 40th and Chestnut streets). Expect some sort of recap next week.

Throwing in the Towel: Francis Trzeciak’s short reign over The Inn at Saint Peter’s Village has come to an end, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit. It’s a great destination for those who love a scenic country drive, and now, on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the dining room has gone BYO (with no corkage fees). Plus, the Inn is offering $50 off bed-and-breakfast rates Sunday through Thursday. Sunday brunch is another great excuse to wander west, especially if you’ve got the time to spend the night. Check it all out at villageatsaintpeters.com. For reservations, call (610) 469-2600.

Whisper Down the Vine: Just in from Luxe Vintages: a list of new wines for sale at Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits Premium Collection stores and online at pawineandspirits.com. I haven’t had a chance to sample any of these, but figured it was my duty to pass along the scoop:

• Harrington’s Wild Horse Pinot Noir (PLCB Code No. 13035) retails for $37.99.
• Harrington’s Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir (PLCB Code No. 13046) retails for $42.99.
• Harrington’s Brosseau Pinot Noir (PLCB Code No. 13060) retails for $46.99.
• Lost Canyon’s Saralee’s (PLCB Code No. 13385) retails for $37.49.
• Lost Canyon’s Morelli Lane (PLCB Code No. 13355) retails for $37.49.
• Lost Canyon’s Las Brisas (PLCB Code No. 13353) retails for $37.49.
• Brutocao’s Pinot Noir (PLCB Code No. 13381) retails for $17.99.
• Brutocao’s Zinfandel (PLCB Code No. 13764) retails for $17.99.

Vintner facts:

Luxe Vintages is a wine importer/wine broker located in Boca Raton, Fla. The company’s aim is to market the finest “world class” wines from the U.S. and around the world. Its portfolio focuses on the very best wines of outstanding quality: unique wines from small artisanal producers who are passionate about their wines and have received many awards and recognition from experts in the wine industry.
 
• All Harrington Wines are produced in the artisanal manner with the highest quality standards. Production is extremely limited for this extraordinary collection of Pinot Noir wines from California’s top AVAs.
 
Lost Canyon Winery focuses on producing small lots of vineyard-designated Pinot Noir and Syrah from some of the finest vineyards in the Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Los Carneros appellations. Lost Canyon has nurtured a passion for crafting the finest quality wine since 1978.
 
Brutocao Vineyards and Cellars’ wines are estate-bottled in Mendocino, Calif., where winemaking traditions go back two generations to Venice, Italy. When the Brutocao family came to California and married into the Bliss family of farmers, winemaking became the family passion. And the family still blends its Italian heritage with an agricultural lifestyle to make some of California’s finest wines.

Web Link of the Week: “Food Industry Roundup: The Cookbook Chronicles” taken from nytimes.com Aug. 1. It’s a great synopsis of must-own cookbooks, at least, according to the pros. I only own five on the list, so clearly I’m very un-pro. However, I own a very stained copy of The Commissary Cookbook, one of the city’s classics.

If you’d like to share your favorite cookbooks, feel free to e-mail me at dwarden@mainlinetoday.com or leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you on this or any food/drink-related topic.