Holy kale! The Veggie Grill, a Southern California chain that has won raves for its take on vegetarian cuisine, has selected San Jose's Santana Row for its first Northern California location. It's an all-plant-based menu, with no dairy, trans-fats or cholesterol, either. When the restaurant opens Thursday, look for the Santa Fe Crispy "Chickin" Sandwich and Buffalo wings (their "chickin" is seasoned, marinated vegetable protein); mac 'n' cheese made with quinoa pasta; sweet-potato fries; a daily soup; and lots of salads and entrees packed with that superstar of the produce aisle, kale. Desserts include ultra-healthy versions of carrot cake and chocolate pudding parfait. Details: Open daily from 11 a.m. at 3055 Olin Ave., San Jose. 408-296-6473; www.veggiegrill.com.
Wine world: There's a new sommelier in town, and he's got quite a pedigree. Larry Stone, who has more than 30 years in the wine industry, has been named dean of wine studies for the International Culinary Center, along with master sommelier Scott Carney. Stone will oversee the wine program at the ICC's Campbell campus. On the Stone résumé: He managed the wine program for Rubicon in San Francisco and, most recently, Charlie Trotter's in Chicago for that legendary restaurant's final days. The next "Intensive Sommelier" course will start Jan. 7. Details: www.internationalculinarycenter.com.
Martha awards: If you're a Martha Stewart devotee, you know about her American Made Awards ceremony, held in New York. Among the Bay Area artisans honored were Lena Kwak, of the Cup4Cup gluten-free flour company in Yountville, and cherry and apricot maven Deborah Olson from Sunnyvale's CJ Olson fruit stand, one of "Martha Stewart Living's Favorites." Olson brought her dried Blenheim apricots for the ceremony at Grand Central Terminal. "It was beautifully decorated in true Martha fashion," Olson says. (We expected no less.) You can get your hands on some apricots of your own at Olson's food and gift fair, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Details: 348 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale; www.cjolsoncherries.com.
Send South Bay and Peninsula dining tips to Linda Zavoral at email@example.com.