November offers full menu of culinary events

Hungry for something to do in November? The penultimate month of the year dishes up a heaping helping of food- and drink-related events all around the Valley. Here are 10 that you might want to mark on your calendar:

Joe's Farm GrillFree Cheeseburger Day: Joe’s Farm Grill celebrates its anniversary every year by handing out free meals — a one-third-pound cheeseburger, fries and beverage — for lunch and dinner. Last year (pictured at left), 3,100 people showed up to take advantage of the Gilbert restaurant’s offer. Nov. 4 at Joe’s Farm Grill in Gilbert. Free.

James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour: Celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Phoenician executive chef Paul Carter will prepare a multi-course meal with wine pairings from master sommelier Greg Tresner to benefit the non-profit Beard Foundation, which promotes the culinary arts. Nov. 5 at J&G Steakhouse. $150 per person.

Scottsdale Festival of Greece: Gyros, mousaka, souvlaki, spanakopita and baklava are just a few of the Greek food items that will be served up during this annual three-day fest, which also will include a cooking class, films, live music, dancing and children’s activites. Nov. 6-8 at Scottsdale Civic Center. Free admission.

SanTan Apple Fest: This annual fest organized by the Apple Dumpling Café features all things apple — from an apple flapjack breakfast to an apple baking contest to an apple-peeling contest. The day’s numerous activities also will include shopping, art and classic cars. Nov. 7 at Higley High School. Free.

Big PourSerbFest: Plenty of authentic Serbian cuisine — including ala carte meals, pastries, imported groceries and Serbian beer and liquor — will be available at this annual two-day celebration. Other highlights will be folk music and dancing, a shopping bazaar and children’s activities. Nov. 7-8 at St. Sava Church in Phoenix. $2.

The Big Pour: This beer-tasting festival sponsored by Draft magazine debuted last November at Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium (pictured at right), but will move to Old Town Scottsdale’s SouthBridge and expand from one day to three. Everclear will head the musical lineup and perform the final night. Nov. 12-14 at Scottsdale’s SouthBridge. $10-$75.

Corks & Cactus: This annual 21-and-over event will allow people to sample more than 80 boutique wines from around the world along with hors d’oeuvres and desserts. There also will be live music and talks by winery reps. Reservations are required. Nov. 13 at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. $80 per person.

Chiles & Chocolate Festival: Vendors will be handing out free samples of spicy salsas and gourmet chocolates, which will be available for purchase. Cooking demonstrations and Spanish flamenco dancing lessons also will take place. Nov. 14-15 at Desert Botanical Garden. Free with garden admission.

Holiday Enchantment: This annual black-tie-optional event features a “Taste of Chandler,” which will include Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Firebirds Rocky Mountain Grill, Grimadli’s Pizza and Kokopelli Winery & Bistro, among others. Nov. 20 at Crowne Plaza San Marcos Resort in Chandler. $45. (480) 963-4571.

Arizona Wine Growers Festival at the Farm: Most of the state’s top wine growers will come together for this inaugural event, which will feature wine tastings, interactive exhibits, seminars and live music. Awards will be presented at a $125-per-person dinner that evening at Quiessence. Nov. 22 at the Farm at South Mountain in Phoenix. $50 per person.

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