Forget the diet: Restaurant Week begins Thursday, Jan. 9! This 11-day celebration of South Carolina cuisine begins at hundreds of participating restaurants throughout the state next week. Now is the time to try something new or revisit an old favorite as restaurants create special menu items for this event. For more information or to see the menus or make a reservation at one of the participating restaurants, go to restaurantweeksouthcarolina.com
Swap seeds Saturday at the Marketplace at 701. The 2014 Backyard Farmers of Columbia Seed Swap will begin at 10:30 a.m. It’s free and open to all “backyard farmers,” just bring your packets of labeled seeds and some extra packets to put the swaps in and share the bounty.
The 6th Annual World Beer Festival is Jan. 18 at Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. There will be two sessions (noon-4 p.m. and 6-10 p.m.). Tickets are $40 for general admission (includes tasting glass and unlimited 2 ounce tastings from over 150 craft beers and access to the Art of Beer Experience for food and beer pairings, seminars and more) or $85 for VIP (includes tasting glass and unlimited 2 ounce tastings, a bonus selection of beers, commemorative gift, private hospitality and bathroom area, food buffet and access to the Art of Beer Experience for food and beer pairings, seminars and more). Tickets available online at allaboutbeer.com or at World of Beer, Green’s Beverages and Morganellli’s Party Shop.
Speaking of beer ... Conquest Brewery celebrates its first anniversary Jan. 25. Conquest will be releasing a limited supply of The Finisher, a 17.5% Imperial Stout sold in 22 ounce bottles while supplies last, as well as the small batch of 11.5% Brutus that will be served in the tasting room beginning at 11 a.m. Food trucks, including Pawley’s Front Porch, WurstWagon, NY Hot Dogs, 2Fat2Fly, Bone-In BBQ and the BBQ Bus, will be on site. Conquest Brewery is at 947 S. Stadium Road, Bay 1. (803) 206-4088 conquestbrewing.com
Get fired up in February! Reserve your spot now to learn the proper techniques and the art of preparing Carolina pulled pork, Texas beef brisket, Memphis pork ribs and barbecue sauces and rubs from championship pit masters during the Carolina Outdoor Cooking BBQ Class at the State Farmers Market. This all-day class (8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) on Feb. 15, includes lunch and all day barbecue samplings, $275 per person. Download registration form at CarolinaOutdoorCooking.com or contact Garland Hudgins, (803) 360-4700 or firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Small Plate Crawl in Greenville March 24-26. Sample the best of Greenville’s culinary scene with special small plate menu items ($3-$8 each) from participating restaurants. As a bonus, purchase a small plate at five or more restaurants and enter to win prizes in the Passport contest. Check out GreenvilleSmallPlateCrawl.com for more information, downloadable map and Passport.
You’ve heard of farm shares ... now there’s Seafood Shares from Our Local Catch. While supplies last, purchase full shares (4 people/3 meals per week includes 4 pounds total of triggerfish, rainbow trout, catfish and chorizo, a dozen Dave’s clams and one smoked trout fillet) for $69 or half shares (2 people/3 meals with 2 pounds total triggerfish, rainbow trout, catfish and chorizo plus your choice of either a dozen Dave’s clams or one smoked trout fillet) for $34. Our Local Catch is at Rosewood Market, 2803 Rosewood Drive, 1-7 p.m. Thursdays and at ourlocalcatch.com
Recycle that cooking oil. You have choices: Richland County will take used fat, oil and grease at the Richland County C&D Landfill at 1070 Caughman Road North and at the county’s Lower Richland Dropoff Site at 10531 Garners Ferry Road in Eastover. More information, call (803) 929-6000. Or take used cooking oil to the city of Columbia’s Southern Fried Fuel recycling program, open throughout the year, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays at the Public Works Facility, 2910 Colonial Drive. Cooking oil should be free of water, soap suds and food scraps and should be transported in a clean, nonbreakable, leak-proof container with a tight lid.
Cooking with Chef Marion at Ballentine Park. Learn to make soups, sauces and stocks 10 a.m-2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11. $25 per person, all supplies included, preregister by calling (803) 781-2031. Ballentine Park is at 1009 Bickley Road, Ballentine.
Columbia’s Cooking! 2nd Friday cooking classes for kids age 9+. For upcoming classes and information, see http://cpcp.sph.sc.edu/cooking. Register by calling (803) 576-5636 or email email@example.com. 915 Greene St., Suite 101
Tiny TasteBuds cooking classes for children ages 3-5 years at EdVenture are 11 a.m.-noon the first and third Friday of each month now through May 2014. $10 per person, preregistration required. EdVenture is at 211 Gervais St., (803) 779-3100, edventure.org
Charleston Cooks! at Cross Hill. Wednesday, Jan. 8, fish & shellfish; Thursday and Friday, Jan. 9 and 10, couples Italian; Saturday, Jan. 11, warm and toasty recipes; Jan. 13, stocks/soups/stews; Jan. 14, breakfast for dinner; Jan. 17, French chalet; Jan. 18, pasta workshop. For information or to register, call (803) 509-8111 or www.charlestoncooks.com
Chef Francois Fisera hosts cooking classes at Fleur de Lys Home Culinary Institute. Today through Saturday, Jan. 8, 9, 10 and 11, chicken pot pie; Jan. 14, quick and easy Tuscan penne, shrimp and calamari; Jan. 17 and 21, veal osso bucco; Jan. 24, red and white Burgundy wines with Croque-Monsieur; Jan. 28 and 31, seafood crepes. Fleur de Lys is at 3001 Millwood Ave. (803) 765-9999 or fleurdelyscolumbiasc.com
Let’s Cook Culinary Studio events: Thursday, Jan. 9, Italian; Friday, Jan. 10, tapas; Jan. 15, meatless meals; Jan. 17, couples pasta and pizza; Jan. 18, couples weekend, Lowcountry menu; Jan. 23, cooking with Chef Carlo Zarri (roasted tomato soup, gnocchi and tiramisu); Jan. 24, Truffles and Hazelnut Tour Dinner at the Capital City Club; Jan. 25, couples paella; Jan. 28, Wild Women; Jan. 31, Chinese New Year. Detailed listings at letscookculinary.com. Let’s Cook is at 1305 Assembly St. (803) 348-5874
McCutchen House at USC. Chef d’Jour Classes: Feb. 8, Knife Skills 101; March 8, jams and jellies; March 29, brunch made easy; April 19, pasta and sauces; May 3, cooking with alcohol. Wine classes: Feb. 4, In-Depth Grape Series: Pinot Noir; Feb. 18, 10 for $20; March 4, In-Depth Grape Series: Riesling; April 1, dinner with Conquest Brewery; April 22, In-Depth Grape Series: Pinot Grigio. Details and registration at http://www.hrsm.sc.edu/mccutchen-house or call (803) 777-4450
HOLIDAY SCHEDULE: Rosewood Market Farmers Market, 4-7 p.m. first and third Thursdays, 2803 Rosewood Drive, (803) 256-6410 www.rosewoodmarket .com
Vista Marketplace Online Farmers Market Orders delivered to downtown offices/locations. http://vista.locallygrown .net or email vista firstname.lastname@example.org
Vista Marketplace at Whaley, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. every Saturday at 711 Whaley St. Facebook page: Vista Marketplace at Whaley
Soda City Market, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. every Saturday at the 1500 block of Main Street www.sodacitysc.com