A Café Makeover 

Café de France, inside Palladio Antiques & Art, closed in June. In its place is Café Palladio, which opened in early September. And while the address is the same, the café itself has gotten a facelift.

"We raised the floor so that all tables are on the same level, and we updated the furniture," says Rebekah Vaughn, the café's manager. "We're using white tablecloths for a brighter, more contemporary look."

Former Café de France regulars won't be disappointed. Even though most baked goods aren't made in-house anymore, the menu still offers great lunch fare. Sandwiches such as "Chunkie-Chicken Salad," "Southern Fried Green Tomato," and "Dixie Delight" (a vegetarian option) come with a choice of potato, fruit, pasta, or side salad. Large salads include grilled chicken Caesar, Greek chicken salad, and pear and walnut salad, among others. Desserts are plentiful too: Homemade brownies, coconut cake, and layer cake (caramel, red velvet, strawberry, chocolate) come from Sugaree's Bakery in New Albany, Mississippi, and there are locally made sweets, such as Ms. Katz Cobblers, based on availability.

Café Palladio is open for lunch Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Café Palladio, 2169 Central (278-0129)

This year's Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, was another record year for the world-famous event. From September 22nd to October 7th, visitors drank 6.7 million mass, the standard one-quart beer served from tap in humongous steins. The Wiesn, the locals' name for the fest, drew 6.2 million visitors. On one Saturday, thirsty guests were turned away from the beer tents just a few minutes after opening at 9 a.m. because they were already at maximum capacity.

If you didn't make it to Munich this year, try local brew pubs and restaurants for a little Oktoberfest spirit.

The Flying Saucer (130 Peabody Place, 523-7468) offers Spaten Oktober, Paulaner Oktober, Sam Adams October, and Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ale on tap. Buffalo Bill's Wild Pumpkin and Schlafly Pumpkin beer in bottles should arrive any day now. In honor of Oktoberfest, the pub holds a monk's blessing of the kegs every Friday at 5 p.m. during October.

At Boscos Squared (2120 Madison, 432-2222), you can enjoy Boscos Oktoberfest on tap for a limited time. It's Boscos' version of the full-flavored, full-bodied, golden German beer.

Tuesday on the Terrace at the Memphis Botanic Garden (750 Cherry, 576-4131) on October 30th is also Oktoberfest-themed. Instead of beer, guests can enjoy German and Alsatian wines and German food. The event is from 6 to 8 p.m. Reservations are suggested. Cost for the event is $25 per person.

The coming weeks offer plenty of opportunities for those who want to eat good and do good too. October 23rd is the date for the Great Chefs Tasting, the annual tasting and silent auction benefiting United Cerebral Palsy. Participating restaurants include Grill 83, Memphis Pizza Café, Circa, Folks Folly, Café 61, Central BBQ, Soul Fish, Celtic Crossing, and many others. Tickets for the event, which is being held at the Pink Palace Museum, are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. For tickets, call 320-6362.

On November 2nd, you can raise your wine glass to support the National Kidney Foundation of West Tennessee during this year's Sip Around the World. The event at the Memphis Botanic Garden offers fine wines, hors d'oeuvres, and live and silent auctions. Tickets are $65 in advance and $75 at the door. The event starts at 7 p.m. For tickets, call 683-6185 or visit www.nkfwtn.org.

From November 5th through 12th, you can help "Feed the Need" by adding a donation to the Memphis Food Bank to your restaurant bill. The Food Bank serves more than 300 agencies in the Mid-South and helps prevent hunger by delivering food to the needy and through services such as the Kids Café and the Food for Kids BackPack and the Prepared and Perishable Meals Recovery programs.

For more information and a list of participating restaurants, call 527-0841 or visit www.memphisfoodbank.org.

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