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Photograph by Amber Turpin
Big Bavarian Love: The accordion player is just one of the Tyrolean Inn's many charms.


Eating all you can at Ben Lomond's Tyrolean Inn.

By Amber Turpin

Sweet Motherhood
If you're in town with Mom this year for Mother's Day, skip the overpriced brunch and take advantage of a much more interesting and interactive event. Twelve artists around Live Oak and Pleasure Point are opening their studios to the public on Saturday and Sunday, May 10-11, from 11am to 5pm, and each will feature a different kind of chocolate for visitors to enjoy while viewing (and perhaps purchasing) the fruits of their creative labors. A diverse array of sculpture, oil painting, landscapes, watercolor and abstract mixed media will surely offer something for everyone on this self-guided tour--and, of course, the chocolate angle doesn't hurt. I know my mom would be teary-eyed if I surprised her with this one, seeing as how it combines two of her favorite things. Be on the lookout for posters about the Art & Chocolate Weekend; each has a free map on the back. The studios are within a one-mile radius, another advantage if Mom isn't too keen on shlepping around town for hours.

Ein, Zwei, Eaten!
On the first Thursday of every month, the Tyrolean Inn in Ben Lomond offers its Bavarian Buffet. First of all, if you've never paid a visit to this wonderland in the redwoods, you should, especially now with warmer weather making for perfect afternoons in the beer garden, which features seven interesting brews on tap that you won't find anywhere else in town. However, the Thursday all-you-can-eat buffet for $19.95 is an experience to be enjoyed at least once. Be sure to make reservations, as this night finds the typically sparse parking lot full to the brim. Revelers will enjoy massive quantities of various hard-to-pronounce meat-centric specialties, homemade spatzle, goulash, dumplings, sauerkraut, several desserts and live, loud accordion music. The Tyrolean Inn always has events planned throughout the year as well; so if you miss the buffet, consider Maifest on May 17 with a live band, more food, and reason to raise your beer steins yet again. (831.336.5188)

Souper Duper
The ninth annual Soupline Supper, a popular fundraiser put on by the Homeless Services Center, is coming up on Thursday, May 8. Over the years, proceeds from this event have gone to improve and expand the center; its success is evident in the relatively new family shelter on Coral Street and a soon-to-be-added single adult shelter. The good cause brings together our whole community, mirrored in the diverse lineup of contributing restaurants, including but not limited to: Al Dente, Bittersweet Bistro, The Bagelry, Beckmann's, Black China Bakery, the Buttery, Café Cruz, Café Rio, Café Sparrow, the Crow's Nest, Center Street Grill, the Crepe Place, El Palomar, Eric's Deli, Fresh Prep Kitchen, Gabriella's, Gayle's, Kelly's, Linda's Seabreeze Cafe, Manuel's, Ristorante Avanti, Saturn Café, The Shadowbrook and Walnut Avenue Cafe. Each restaurant creates a huge pot of its favorite soup, lined up on long tables and ladled out by local notables: Mayor Ryan Coonerty, Assemblyman John Laird, City Council members and judges, all serving the public, quite literally, in the form of ladling up hot soup. Fresh bread and dessert donated by our local bakeries make this evening's meal one of complete nourishment for all. Tickets are $20/person and $40/family; 831.458.6020, ext. 2123 to reserve.

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