It's almost time for Savannah's "Gastrogeek Week." That's what I like to call it, anyway.

The 2016 Savannah Food & Wine Festival will be upon us almost by the time you finish reading this column. We've been talking about it for months, but the time has come. There will be a whole lot of eating and liking going on next week across the city. Big-ticket dinners and lower-end-ticket dinners. Every year, no matter how often I beat the drum, I inevitably get two or three phone calls from people asking me what event they should attend.

This time, I thought I'd write up some of my personal hot picks for the week. Great food and a great value. Plus you can use our promo code for a nice discount. We'll get to that in a bit.


Taste of Savannah

Georgia State Railroad Museum, 655 Louisville Road

I decided to start at the end of the week and work my way backward. If you attended Taste of Savannah last year, then you know it was an absolute home run. The weather was custom-fit by Joe Marinelli and his staff at Visit Savannah. Seriously, it could not have been a better day. There was a great, friendly crowd, fantastic food from some of our city's best spots and enough beer and spirit samples to keep a smile on anyone's face. I've said it before in this space and I will say it again just in case you were out of the room: 2015 Taste of Savannah was the best food-related event this city has ever seen. Why wouldn't you want to be a part of its follow-up performance? Tickets are a very reasonable $59.


Q-Masters, Chefs + Vets

Service Brewing Co., 574 Indian St.

This is a new event, so it isn't getting the buzz that, frankly, it should be getting. On Nov. 11 (Veterans Day evening) barbecue masters from across the South will be part of a street takeover out in front of Service Brewing Co. in downtown Savannah. The names are significant. Southern Soul BBQ from St. Simons Island, Bryan Furman from B's Cracklin' BBQ, Savannah's Michael and Laurence Gottlieb, Kevin and Kent Rathbun from Atlanta and many, many more. I don't know if he is going to serve them, but Kevin Rathbun's Coca-Cola ribs are some of the finest you will ever put in your mouth. It's going to be a Friday night party out in front of Service Brewing. All-you-can-eat barbecue and Service beers for $59? Great barbecue isn't inexpensive. This is a great deal.


Secret Savannah Speakeasy

Georgia State Railroad Museum, 655 Louisville Road

It would be easy to say I am biased about this event because Eat It and Like It is one of the sponsors, but the truth is, it was great in year one last year and promises to be better in year two. It was everything we had hoped for last year. A great party tucked back into a corner of the museum. At night. The scene was great. The music was equally so. Flapper dresses and other period attire certainly make it a little more fun. Though it isn't required, we had a lot of people dress the part last year. The food by local favorites Circa 1875, The Florence and the new Kitchen 320 (which is wonderful) are part of the lineup this year. There will be beer and spirits tastings all night long as well. This will be the best nighttime "party" of the week. That's a fact. $85 and worth every penny.


Celebrity Chef Dinner

Cohen's Retreat, 5715 Skidaway Road

I make a big deal out of this event every single year for a very good reason. It is one of the best dinners of the week. It was last year, at any rate. The James Beard Foundation is behind this event, so the talent is fantastic. In the past we've had Southern culinary icons Hugh Acheson, Kevin Gillespie and many more. This year we have a couple of chefs from New Orleans, another from Memphis and some local talent as well, including local favorite Lauren Teague, formerly of 22 Square and about to launch a new venture with Atlantic on Victory and Drayton in Savannah.

Obviously there are many more events to enjoy. Chef Hugh is heading up an event at The Florence on Monday night to raise money for a children's cause he is passionate about, and there are several wine tastings and classes throughout the week. There is plenty of everything for everyone. Just remember to enjoy responsibly. Get those tickets here.

Now, about that promo code. For any of the tickets we've talked about, you can save 15 percent by using our promo code EatIt15. That includes the very popular combo tickets as well. Most of those are sold out already, but that is really the best way to save money on all the events. Take a $99 ticket to two events and save 15 bucks. Now you have two for $85, which in some cases is the price of just one.

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