Short Order 

A personal holiday at the Italian Film and Food Festival, Valentine specials and more. by Deveron Timberlake

click to enlarge food04_mama_zu_200.jpg

Man of la Mangia

Maybe we've given enough good press to Ed Vasaio in these pages. His Italian food wins hearts from here to Brooklyn and his earnest philosophical bent is a secret bonus. But a certain Style editor insists that the end of January is better than Christmas, and he's talking about the Italian Film and Food Festival. It's an all-day event that the Richmond Moving Image Co-op rolls out with significant inspiration from Vasaio's three restaurants — Mamma ‘Zu, 8A«, and Edo’s Squid (and please stop calling it Eee-dohs, because it's pronounced like Ed's name. Got it?).

Anyway, the festival enters its sixth year of gut-busting, eyeball-burning perfection on Saturday, Jan. 31, at Plant Zero Art Center, 0 E. Fourth St. An all-day pass for $45 gets you screenings of four films, a vast spread of Italian perfection on a plate before each show, and an up-close encounter with a director — Vinnie Angel, who will take your questions after the 8 p.m. screening of “The Orange Thief.” Other films include the 1913 version of “Antony and Cleopatra” accompanied by live piano; a restored version of the 1943 trendsetter “Ossessione,” and for comic relief after all that garlic, “The Icicle Thief,” which organizers remind us is a hilarious tribute to neo-realism, fantasy and slapstick. Is there a better way to digest? Advance tickets are available at the Video Fan, 403 Strawberry St. Some single-film tickets for $15 might be available the day of the event, but don't count on it. www.rmicweb.org.

Valentine Victuals

Capital Ale House:  Catch the Recliners at the downtown Music Hall with dinner specials for Valentine's Day; at the Midlothian and Innsbrook locations, consider a beer and chocolate tasting with samples of Belgian brews and de Rochonnet truffles, $10 per person. Dinner specials make it an evening. 780-ALES or www.capitalalehouse.com.

Manakin Grill:  Always ready for a party, this Goochland landmark offers a three-course, prix-fixe menu for $42 per person, or an early bird special at a discount. See the menu at www.manakingrill.com.

Chocoholic:  Sample chocolates, cheeses, wines and other delicacies at this annual benefit event, Feb. 5, 6-9 p.m. at the Virginia Holocaust Museum, 2000 E. Cary St. Proceeds support the home-visiting services of Children's Health Involving Parents, and tickets are $35; VIP tickets are $50 and include a special tasting session with Can Can Brasserie's wine director Bob Talcott and master chocolatier Jeanne Louise Womble o


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