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Chez Panisse Continues Its 40th Anniversary Celebrations, Here's How To Make the Most of It

Always polarizing, a fig on a plate. Alice Waters would approve. [Photo: Flickr/Wendy Hern]

Even if you haven't yet ridden the Alice Waters/Chez Panisse media waves that have taken the world wide web by storm over the past month, you've probably heard that it's Chez Panisse's 40th birthday this year—next Sunday, August 29th, to be precise. This coming Wednesday—in an effort that's bound to draw crowds rivaling those at this weekend's SF Street Food Festival—Chez Panisse will continue its celebrations by serving lunch in Union Square. Obviously, it's not just any lunch. Click through to learn more about what's in store for the remainder of the most organic, locally-sourced birthday bash imaginable.

1) Levi's School Lunch:  Levi's is throwing said party for Alice on August 24th in Union Square from 12:30 to 2 p.m. For a suggested donation of $5, you'll gain admittance to the block of Maiden Lane between Grant and Stockton. There'll be an installation detailing Alice's good work  with the Edible Schoolyard, and the much-anticipated Levi's-Edible Schoolyard collaboration t-shirts will be released for sale. Alice tapped some of her buddies, who happen to be David Byrne, Sofia Coppola, Dave Eggers and Maira Kalman, to help her come up with the designs.  Buy them on the Lane or at one of Levi's seven nation-wide flagships. If you get there on the early side you may even get to grab one of 500 free box lunches. Modeled after the ideal healthy midday school meal, each one includes a pulled Soul Food Farms chicken sandwich and—you guessed it—figs.  

2) Tribute Dinners: Next week marks the last week of Alice's 40th Anniversary tribute dinners at the Chez Panisse Cafe. For the past 40 weeks, the Cafe has payed tribute to a different Alice inspiration each week: from the Troisgros brothers to Julia Child to Elizabeth David. Next week's last hurrah includes menu items inspired by the great Lulu Peyraud. We're told reservation still remain, and you can always try your luck in the unreserved section of the restaurant. 

3) Portrait Party: On the 26th, the National Portrait Gallery Smithsonian subdivision will unveil a new Alice Waters portrait with much fanfare at the Berkeley Art Museum (BAM). Alice and the esteemed Paula LeDuc are on food: "a taste of summer"  and mulberry cocktails.  Find tickets and bit more info here. [*$45 reduced price tickets available for students and educators.*]

4) The creative minds at Chez Panisse-affilliate OPENrestaurant are in the process of  transforming the spaces outside the BAM into an edible celebration of produce. The museum will provide the backdrop for a day-long outdoor affair, complete with interactive cooking installations, inspired art, and demonstrations illustrating the future of sustainable consumption. The event filled up quickly, but they just released 500 more tickets. It's free; you need only reserve your space here