Independence day gorging this week in food

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A mountain of wiens
Celebrate your good old fashioned American freedom by checking out one of these great gorging opportunities this week in food. It's your American duty, folks.

7/4
If watching endless Youtube clips of Takeru Kobayashi taking down zillions of hot dogs at one crack makes you want to see a hot dog eating contest live, well, today is your day. Six guys and six gals will compete at the Depot Tavern for the chance to win a stack of tickets to First Ave, all based on how many hot dogs they can shove in their faces. See it live at 2 p.m.!

7/5
Interested in 86ing dairy from your diet? The Wedge offers Dairy Free Cooking with Jeff Woodward tonight, where students will learn to make creamy soups, sauces, main dishes and some desserts with the best dairy substitute for your favorite recipes. You'll get the chance to sample a grilled cheese sandwich, chicken in mushroom white sauce and a custard, all made dairy-free. Class runs from 7-9 p.m. and costs $49 for members, $59 for nonmembers. Sign up by calling the Wedge at 612-871-3993

7/7
Barbette welcomes wine maker Arthur Silvente to host the four-course Duval-Leroy Champagne Dinner in which his own featured wines will be paired with food prepared by chef Kevin Kathman. The pairings include NV Brut, NV Brut Rosé, '98 Blanc de Chardonnay and NV Brut "Design Paris." The dinner runs from 5:30-9 p.m. and costs $75 per person. To reserve your spot call 612-827-5710.

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Drink Finnegans, win U2 tickets, feel good about yourself

7/8
Fans of the do-good Minneapolis beer company Finnegans are invited to attend happy hours that will offer a chance to win one of four pairs of tickets to see U2 on July 23. Your first chance to win comes today at O'Donovan's Irish Pub, where from 5-7 p.m. you can drink beer and enter to be the one lucky winner.

7/9
Gastro Non Grata is back and hosting the Raconteur Rendezvous II at First Avenue tonight. This GNG will be an orgy of music and food, with music from Zebulon Pike, Stunning, Nightosaur and the Duff Goldman-laden Sand Ox sharing the main room with Haute dish, Modern Cafe and Grand Cafe. Doors open at 5:30, but if you want the VIP treatment go early for Sausagefest, where Mike Phillips of Green Ox Meats will be serving up "meatsicles" for die-hard food fans. GNG spills over into the Entry for the intriguingly titled Bloody Gastro Aftershow, which involves ingesting the leftovers from the main room. Tickets are $15 in advance (which nets you three food tickets) or $15 at the door (no food tickets). VIP tickets are $40, and aftershow tickets are $5.


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