Take Small Bites; Chew Thoroughly

Tastes of Tilles and Central West End

Neighborhood "tastes" -- wherein some part of town rounds up its restaurateurs to show off their culinary wizardry by way of sample-size morsels -- are starting up again for summer. The Taste of the Central West End takes place 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, June 7 (with entertainment till 11 p.m.), and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, June 8, on Euclid Avenue from Lindell Boulevard to McPherson Avenue. The CWE affair boasts twenty participating eateries, including Culpeppers, Racanelli's Pizza and Llywelyn's Pub (plus, according to press materials, the Frontenac Apartments -- the people who live there must really know how to cook).

In addition to the food ($1 a taste and up, www.thecwe.com), there's a juried art show and music by local bands, including Ralph Butler and the Road Apples.

Food alone is the focus of the Taste of Tilles Festival, taking place in St. Louis' Tilles Park (Hampton and Fyler avenues) 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, June 7. Italian favorites from the Hill will be on hand, including samples from Johnny Gitto's, Bartolino's and Trattoria Marcella. All tastes here run two bucks and must be purchased with tickets, which can be bought at the event or by calling 314-752-3188. -- Rose Martelli

We Are the World
Festival of Nations diversifies

When area nonprofit the International Institute isn't busy assisting immigrants to St. Louis in establishing their new lives, the group is planning its annual party, the Festival of Nations.

This weekend, the Institute sponsors the ever-popular celebration at Tower Grove Park (Grand Boulevard at Arsenal Street). This pan-ethnic event nurtures cross-cultural awareness and friendship with sales of food and folk art, a tremendously diverse bazaar and kids' activities. No fewer than 125 local groups collaborate on the fair, representing more than 50 nations. Two stages showcase music and dance from around the globe, with hardly a break during the two-day fest. This colorful gathering is expected to draw more than 25,000 people over the weekend.

Admission to all events is free. The festival runs 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, June 7, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, June 8. Cultural assimilation begins on Saturday with the Parade of Nations, which will travel along South Grand Boulevard beginning at 11 a.m. For more info, visit www.intlinst.org or call 314-773-9090. -- Rob Levy

I Often Dream on Trains
Escape on the MetroLink

Hey, you. With the hustle and bustle of modern life, it's hard to make time for yourself. But you should. One of the best ways to enjoy a little you-time is to buy a one-way ticket on the MetroLink and do a lap around the city. Take along your favorite album or mix tape (Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures and the Scorpions' Tokyo Tapes are excellent train music, by the way), grab a window seat and watch the majesty and mundanity of St. Louis slide by. Sometimes it takes a second circuit to really shake off the cobwebs, but tickets are good for four hours, so why not slide over to a backward-facing seat and see it all again in reverse? -- Paul Friswold

White Tiger

WED 6/4

Maybe you know that Dick Dale, "King of the Wild Surf Guitar," got his start in the '50s, playing wicked runs down his Stratocaster to express the adrenaline highs of surfing. Maybe you know that he plays left-handed, with an upside-down guitar. But did you know that Dale was once asked to help open Disneyland's Tomorrowland by standing atop Space Mountain and playing his classic "Miserlou"? Bitchin'. The ageless musician comes down to Mississippi Nights at 8 p.m. (914 North First Street, $18, 314-534-1111). -- Byron Kerman

 
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