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Market Report

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The River Inn of Harbor Town is the new kid on the block in the downtown hotel market. The 32,000-square-foot luxury boutique hotel is located at the corner of Harbor Town Square and Harbor Town Circle and offers 28 rooms and suites. The hotel also adds two new restaurants to Memphis' dining scene.

Currents, River Inn's fine-dining restaurant, opened the week of October 22nd, and Tug's, the inn's more casual alternative, is scheduled to open on November 7th. In charge of both restaurants is executive chef Brian Flanders.

Currents' menu reads like fine dining at its best. Appetizers include foie gras torchon with muscat gelée, sour cherries, and salted pistachios and a black peppercorn-port wine syrup; duck confit risotto with butternut squash sage and roasted pumpkin-seed vinaigrette; and a frisée and watercress salad with honey-lavender vinaigrette, Berkshire blue cheese, spiced walnuts, and poached pears.

Entrées include Kurabuto pork trio; pan-roasted loup de mer with English pea-morel ragout, sunchoke mousseline, and truffle beurre blanc; and a grill section for steak lovers, offering beef tenderloin, New York strip loin, and Porterhouse steaks with à la carte side items.

Tug's offers an array of salads, including roasted chicken, Caesar, and Nicoise. Among the sandwiches are a classic Reuben, a lobster BLT, the River Inn sirloin burger, and a grilled chicken wrap. For entrées, there's jumbo lump crab cake, pan-seared salmon, pan-roasted Mississippi pond catfish, and meatloaf.

Currents (260-3300) is open daily for breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. and dinner from 5 to 11 p.m. Tug's (260-3344) opens daily at 11 a.m. and is open for breakfast at 7 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The River Inn of Harbor Town, 50 Harbor Town Square (260-3333)

Looks like the Memphis Botanic Garden's farmers market, which ended its first season last week, will be returning.

"We had been thinking about offering a market out here for a while," says Jana Gilbertson of the Botanic Garden. "Things started falling into place this summer when Melissa and Kjeld Petersen from Edible Memphis and Slow Food Memphis made us realize that there is a need for a market in the middle of the week." The Botanic Garden is planning to bring back the market for the May-through-October season.

The downtown Memphis Farmers Market, which also has concluded its season, will mark its successful second year with Harvest Celebration, the market's annual fund-raiser, on Sunday, November 4th.

This year, the market had more than 80 vendors (twice as many as last year) and expanded beyond the Central Station pavilion. Between May and October, more than 40,000 people shopped at the market, which added a wider range of certified organic products this season.

"The money we raise with this event, which is our only fund-raiser, goes toward our operating budget and to pay for such things as a part-time market manager, insurance, security, and advertising," says Ellen Dolich, the market's vendor committee chair. "We also need funds for future expansions. A lot of people don't understand why we need donations. All of our board members are volunteers, most with full-time jobs. If it weren't for them, there wouldn't be a market. At one point, we would like to hire an executive director and full-time market manager, but that takes money."

The event will feature food from local restaurants and live and silent auctions with more than 100 items, including a weekend getaway for two at the Alluvian Hotel in Greenwood, Mississippi, complete with a cooking class and tour of the Viking headquarters; a Thanksgiving dinner for eight prepared by Felicia Willett of Felicia Suzanne's; and a cooking class and crash course in Japanese vegetables and ingredients with Umai chef/owner Ken Lumpkin.

Tickets for the event are $40. Tickets are available at the door or can be ordered by calling 575-0580.

Memphis Farmers Market Harvest Celebration, November 4th, 4 to 7 p.m., Central Station's Hudson Hall, 545 S. Main

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