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A toast to Tony 'n' Tina

The producers of Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding, the hilariously tacky audience-participation play now running at the Hanna, overlooked no detail in matching the wedding-reception victuals to the play's overall tasteless spirit. From the moment the staffers at fictional Vinnie Black's Bologna Palace instruct guests, via bullhorn, to grab their pink plastic plates, form two lines, and charge the tiny Buffet of Love, to the point where Vinnie chants to lingerers, "Now, go home!" this may be one of the most slyly funny meals in town. Dinner, such as it is, includes a spoonful of overcooked penne pasta in bland marinara, along with a couple of bouncy meatballs, plopped on the plate by stern servers with a level of decorum befitting chow time at boot camp. Another staffer, in tux and latex gloves, shoves his arm into the salad bowl to grab a handful of limp Caesar Salad, which he flings atop the pasta, before herding guests in the direction of a bucket of dry Italian bread. As Vinnie et al. will remind you, no expense has been spared: Each table gets its very own bottle of lukewarm J. Roget Spumante (retail: $4.99 on the bottom shelf of your local Giant Eagle), along with plastic salt and pepper shakers, and a cardboard box of generic grated cheese. What makes the spoof so funny, of course, is its wickedly deadly aim: There isn't one of us who has been spared at least a brief visit to this particular corner of culinary hell. At least this time, you can laugh out loud!

Awaiting Lure with baited breath . . . From the department of "Everything Always Takes Longer Than You'd Think" comes the news that Lure Bistro (38040 Third Street, 440-941-TUNA), Nick and Giovanna Kustala's très hip hangout in Willoughby, will be up and running any day now. While the couple originally had hoped to have this extension of their fine Bratenahl restaurant Lure open in time to capitalize on the warm weather, nothing ever goes as planned, does it? In any case, the bistro's mouthwatering menu of sushi, seafood, pasta -- and of course, Kustala's signature dish of Potato-Crusted Alaskan Halibut, here served with vegetable fritters, fried spinach, caviar, and chive crème frâiche ($20) -- should have hungry diners beating a path to the door, no matter when it's finally installed . . . Speaking of construction delays, chef Donna Chriszt reports she is up to her elbows in demolition debris and lovin' it. Although she initially thought she could whip things into shape at the former Miracles by the end of August, Chriszt now hopes to open her new Tremont hotspot, OZ Bar and Bistro (2391 West 11th Street), around the end of September.

Wine time . . . Wine-and-food events -- extravaganzas wherein fine foods are paired with top-notch wines -- used to be something of an oddity hereabouts. But now, you can't pop the cork on a bottle of Lambrusco without splashing grape juice on a new one. This week's crop includes a tasty-sounding alfresco feast at the Flying Fig (2523 Market Street, 216-241-4243), scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday, September 17. The $65 event will feature limited production "vanguard" wines from around the world, matched with dishes from chef-owner Karen Small's creative kitchen. In case of rain, all the action moves inside.

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More by Elaine T. Cicora

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