Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Chef Jon Fortes makes a move

Jon Fortes, recent repeat winner of the Fire in the City competition dining event for the Charlotte area, says he's left the Harper's Restaurant Group (he'd most recently been executive chef at Mimosa Grill) and is joining his wife, Amy Fortes, at The Flipside Cafe in Fort Mill. Fortes says they plan to begin offering cooking classes, wine dinners and "a lot of catering," and that the couple is also "in the process of designing another location" in Fort Mill, a different concept that they aim to open in summer 2015.

The Flipside offers a comfort-food-driven lineup that emphasizes locally produced foods, at 3150 Highway 21 North; 803-802-1711.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Chef Coleman's a little bit everywhere

Chris Coleman, chef at The Asbury, is bouncing around the area at light speed these days (and has a new menu slated to be out next week at the uptown restaurant, at the Dunhill hotel):

Saturday (Oct. 11), he'll be in Chapel Hill, serving at the Grand Tasting in the TerraVita Food & Wine Event, a festival that began in 2010, aimed at showcasing "excellence and sustainability in the South," from wines and local craft brews to edibles.

Oct. 19, he'll be at the Piedmont Culinary Guild's "Carved" event, with chefs competing with their pumpkin-carving skills at Atherton Market.

Oct. 27, Coleman will join others in the Angus Barn of Raleigh's fundraiser for the National Restaurant Assocation and the N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association.

Oct. 29, he and Laetitia Vineyards and Nadia Wines owner Nadia Zilkha host a wine dinner featuring the California wines. $85.

Nov. 11 brings an Artist's Dinner; the restaurant hangs art curated by the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, and Charlottean Ben Premeaux's photography is up now. Some proceeds will benefit the McColl Center. Details at

And Nov. 17, Coleman will be in "Sliced" at Whole Foods in SouthPark, taking on Passion8 chef/owner Luca Annunziata in another competition.

The Asbury: 235 N. Tryon St.; 704-332-4141.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Coming up: tastings and dinners

Zebra offers a South African wine dinner Oct. 14: four courses and wines for $75. 4521 Sharon Road; 704-442-9525.
Also coming up: The new autumn dinner menu begins Oct. 16.

Blue does a "Taste of the Northwest" with wines and food pairings Oct. 24, with a dozen wines offered in a tasting, then a five-course paired dinner. Among the menu items: peekytoe crab salad with Asian pear slaw and 2013 Boedecker Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Gris; and N.C. heritage pork in a Pinot-braised shank with crisp pomegranate-glazed belly, and roasted tenderloin with a sweet potato and bacon puree, with 2012 Ken Wright Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. $75; Hearst Tower at College and 5th streets; 704-927-2583.

Also Oct. 24: A Woodford Reserve dinner in the Carolina Room at Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge. The dinner will officially unveil The Ballantyne Bourbon, the place's "personal selection bourbon" from Woodford Reserve, and there'll be a pairing menu with specialty cocktails and other Woodford Reserve selections. $150; 704-248-4100; 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bits and crumbs: wine at Palm, tofu at Chipotle

Chipotle adds the new vegan Sofritas to North and South Carolina stores starting Oct. 13: the dish uses organic shredded tofu braised with chipotle chiles, roasted poblano peppers, tomatoes and spices. Price is $6.50 -- same as chicken, which will doubtless irritate some vegetarians.

The Palm hosts a Ceretto Italian wine dinner called "Barolo, Truffles & Best of The Alps" on Oct. 24, with four courses and pairings for $175. Among the lineup: choice of espresso-rubbed carpaccio of beef tenderloin or Tuscan kale Caesar salad with 2013 Ceretto Arneis Blange; Nova Scotia lobster pasta with 2011 Ceretto Barbaresco; choice of black-pepper-crusted Prime New York strip or seared jumbo sea scallops with 2008 Ceretto Barolo Brunate; and chocolate nut torta with 2013 Ceretto Moscato d'Asti. 6705-B Phillips Place Court; RSVP to Leigh Whicker at 704-552-7450 or

Friday, October 3, 2014

New at Bonterra

Bonterra has a new menu, from new chef Blake Hartwick (above), who's especially excited about oysters (below; wood-grilled Rappahannocks from Virginia with candied orange mignonette and bacon foam), and plans to change the menu weekly. Look for fare like the fried green tomato BLT with pimento cheese coulis, pickled onion and bacon jam, and the N.C. monkfish osso buco with saffron risotto. 1829 Cleveland Ave.; 704-333-9463.

New at D'Vine

The new fall menu at D'Vine Wine Cafe is out. Among the goods: kale and quinoa salad with goat cheese; shrimp fra diavolo pasta (with veal sausage and a not-too-spicy tomato sauce over fusilli) and a return of a past signature dish: Rack of boar with sweet potato puree, roasted Brussels sprouts and mushrooms.

Coming up: a wine dinner with Ramey Wine Cellars on Oct. 22.

Also new: valet parking (in front of Rush espresso), with a $5 voucher from the complex owners, matched by a $5-off coupon from D'Vine.

14815 John J. Delaney Drive; reservations: 704-369-5050.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fire in the City wraps; Fortes gets 2nd win

Mimosa Grill chef Jon Fortes repeated last year's victory in the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series regional final in Charlotte, dubbed Fire in the City, on Sept. 29, defeating Mama Ricotta's Tom Dyrness. The competition began with 16 chefs in head-to-head matchups that involved the last-minute announcement of ingredients they had to use in preparing three courses. Their dishes were then judged by both food professionals and diners who paid to attend.

The last dinner's surprise ingredients were sweet potatoes from Scott Farms, and Pepsi. Fortes and his team won, and also had the night's highest-scoring course, with a Pepsi-braised pork belly, sweet potato bread pie, Brussels chips and bacon and Pepsi-pomegranate glaze. Fortes got a $2,000 cash prize and handmade chef's knife from Ironman Forge, and advances to what's called the Final Fire in November, pitting winners from the Wilmington, Asheville, Greensboro and Raleigh areas.

That series begins Nov. 19; details are at