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Musical Corks In 2002, Jon Smith opened the wine shop Cork & Bottle (3700 Orleans Ave., 483-6314; in the American Can building near Bayou St. John. Last year, he sold it to Todd Manno and left New Orleans to pursue a career as national sales manager for the Oriel wine label. But nine months later, Smith moved back to town and decided he had to get his old shop back. In addition to buying back Cork & Bottle from Manno, he is now working with local catering chef Kristen Essig ( on a program of food and wine events and prepared food options to serve from Cork & Bottle. He is also reviving plans to open a wine bar next to the shop by the end of summer. Growing and Eating Local This Saturday, March 29, the local food advocacy group New Orleans Food & Farm Network ( will host a community brunch using mostly ingredients grown within an 8-mile radius of the city. The event will be held at Grace Episcopal Church (3700 Canal St.) in Mid-City and is intended to highlight both the new wave of urban farmers now cultivating crops in the area and the role sustainable local produce plays in the city's fabled food culture. There will be two seatings for the brunch, at 11 a.m. and noon, and the suggested donation is from $5 to $20 per person. For reservations, call 864-2009 or email Napkins and Pages Even if your highest literary pursuit entails reading restaurant menus, the 22nd annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival has some events that might be up your alley. On Friday, March 28, beginning at 5:30 p.m., Esquire magazine food writer John Mariani will give a "fireside chat" at the Windsor Court Hotel on the finer points of selecting wine. At 1 p.m. Saturday, March 29, local chef and restaurateur John Besh will join Mariani to discuss organic food and sustainable agriculture trends at Besh Steakhouse. At 1 p.m. Sunday, March 30, local cookbook author Kit Wohl will host a discussion on New Orleans seafood dishes with area chefs at the Ritz-Carlton hotel. Also at 1 p.m. Sunday, panelists Julia Reed , Scott Gold and Robert St. John will talk about food as a lens for exploring human nature at Muriel's Jackson Square Restaurant. For details, go to — McNulty

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