Monday, September 29, 2014

Passion8 bids farewell to its Fort Mill site

As Passion8's Luca and Jessica Annunziata prepare to open a new restaurant in Elizabeth, they're offering a "Last Hurrah" dinner Oct. 8 at the original, at 3415 Highway 51 N, Fort Mill: An eight-course dinner for $88, featuring what they're citing as their best dishes paired with their best wine and spirits ("we're emptying the cupboards"). Reservations: 803-802-7455. That will be the last dinner served at the venue; the new place is aiming to open mid-October at 1523 Elizabeth Ave.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fire in the City down to 2

And then there were two: chefs, that is, in the Fire in the City competition dining event: In the Sept. 29 final (it's sold out), Tom Dyrness of Mama Ricotta's will face returning champ Jon Fortes of Mimosa Grill.

Details on the semifinals:

Sept. 22:
Matchup: Dyrness and David Feimster of Fahrenheit.
Surprise ingredients: Not Just Coffee's coffee and donuts from Your Mom’s Donuts.
Highest scoring dish of the night: Coffee-crusted elk, sweet corn flan, port-cherry reduction, cast iron corn and chipotle salsa with Goat Lady Dairy and Your Mom’s Donut biscuit (by Chef Dyrness; see below).
Advancing: Dyrness, with a score of 28.08291032 to 26.76362869.

Sept. 23:
Matchup: Brian Williams of Upstream and Fortes.
Surprise ingredients: America’s Best Nut Co. peanuts and Heritage Farms applewood-smoked bacon.
Highest scoring dish of the night: Heritage Farms Cheshire pork bacon taste plate, bacon confit with creamed kale, bacon and cheddar gougeres with crispy America’s Best Nut Co. N.C. peanut slaw, collard-wrapped Romano pork and bacon sausage with sweet potato puree (by Chef Fortes; see below).
Advancing: Fortes, with a score of 28.92828283 to 26.08716049.

Monday, September 22, 2014

BLT Steak turns 5, gets visit from namesake and $5 lineup

Founding celeb chef Laurent Tourondel will pop in to BLT Steak to cook with chef de cuisine Ben Miles, and the place will offer a $5 lineup at dinnertime as well, on Sept. 26 and 27. On that specialty menu, for $5: all dinner appetizers (including shrimp cocktail, crabcake, tuna tartare and oysters from both coasts, by the half-done), all dinner desserts, a cocktail called the Apple Pie Old Fashioned, and select wines by the glass. 110 N. College St. in the Ritz-Carlton; reservations: 704-972-4380.

McAlister's celebrates 15 years in Charlotte with freebies

McAlister’s Deli, a regional chain which opened its first Charlotte location in 1999 and now has 17 stores in the area, is celebrating this week with the following freebies and fundraising at the Arboretum, Olde Towne, Lake Norman, Monroe, Mooresville, Ballantyne, Rea Road, Park Road, UNCC, Concord, Matthews, Whitehall, Carolina Place, Baxter and Rock Hill locations (see the Facebook page for details):

Monday (Sept. 22): A free cookie

Tuesday: 15 percent of all proceeds will go to Autism Speaks, Greater Charlotte Chapter, in honor of National Autism Awareness Month

Wednesday: Kids eat free all day, and there's a VIP Night at the Arboretum location (8046 Providence Road)

Thursday: Free tea

Friday: All Charlotte-area city service employees get $3 off their purchase (you must show ID) on this Service Appreciation Day

Friday, September 19, 2014


Georges Brasserie hosts its third annual "Shucked" on Oct. 2: an all-you-can-eat-and-drink oyster feast for $95 ($75 without drinks). The event offers oysters from both coasts, plus clams on the half shell, oysters Rockefeller, roasted oysters, steamed clams, clam crostini, fried oysters, wine, beer and oyster shooters, and live entertainment, too. 4620 Piedmont Row Drive; 980-219-7409.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Coming Monday: Carolina Apple Days Feast

After a visit last Sunday to Horne Creek Farm to gather apples, Heirloom hosts the product Sept. 22: A special apple-riddled dinner that's also a fundraiser for Slow Food Charlotte, Lomax Incubator Farm and the Piedmont Culinary Guild.

The menu, for $100 (wine pairings for $40 more):

1st: Clark Barlowe of Heirloom
"Crudo & Crudite"
Charlotte Fish Company seasonal crudite with apples in textures

2nd: Majid Amourpoor of Bistro La Bon
Chestnut apple soup

3rd: Ben Philpott of Block & Grinder
Foie gras and truffle stuffed apple, Gorgonzola mousse, Lucky Clay Farm baby greens

4th: Marc Jacksina of Earl's Grocery
Beef heart carpaccio, tart apple, horseradish

5th: Michael Bowling of Hot Box
Crispy rind pork belly, salted smoked apple butter, roasted root vegetables, Bulleit Rye apple chips

6th: Greg Collier of The Yolk
Smoked apple buckwheat poundcake, Apple Pie Moonshine ice cream, white cheddar brown butter crumble, apple cider crème anglaise

Reservations: 704-595-7710. Heirloom: 8470 Bellhaven Blvd.

Fire in the City, Round 2 wrapup

The second round of Charlotte-area chef competition wrapped this week, so the Got To Be N.C.-product-related event is down to four chefs: Brian Williams of Upstream, Jon Fortes of Mimosa Grill, Tom Dyrness of Mama Ricotta's and David Feimster of Fahrenheit.

Sept. 15:
Matchup: Jon Spencer of Epic Chophouse and Williams of Upstream.
Surprise ingredients: N.C. fish and Old Mill of Guilford grits.
Highest scoring dish of the night: Sweet grit and almond cake, vanilla Railhouse Porter marshmallow, buttermilk sherbet, pine nut toffee (by Chef Williams; see below).
Advancing: Williams, with a score of 30.31212914 to 25.69503916.

Sept. 16:
Matchup: Paul Ketterhagen of Carpe Diem and Jon Fortes of Mimosa Grill.
Surprise ingredients: Texas Pete Cha! (it's a sriracha sauce) and Goat Lady Dairy chèvre.
Highest scoring dish of the night: Orange-scented five-hour braised Heritage Farms Cheshire pork belly, almond-crusted Goat Lady Dairy chèvre sweet potato cheesecake, melted squash and Texas Pete Cha! Q (by Chef Fortes; see below).
Advancing: Fortes, with a score of 27.77736220 to 21.70314136.

Williams and Fortes face off Sept. 23, and yes, that is a matchup of chefs who cook at sibling restaurants; both work for Harper's Restaurant Group sites. The other second-round competition yielded a Sept. 22 matchup of Dyrness and Feimster, both of whom cook for high-profile owners: Mama Ricotta's Frank Scibelli has several places around town; Fahrenheit's Rocco Whalen's original is in Cleveland. No one cooking for himself in a one-location-place remains. (And yes, "himself" is right: No women started.)

The final is set for Sept. 29; all competitions are held at Bonterra in Dilworth, and are currently sold out.