Friday, January 30, 2015

Midwood Smokehouse folks do 'barbecue boot camp,' plan 'Crossroads 'Cue Supper'

Midwood Smokehouse's Frank Scibelli is again working on a few things with chef/food writer Robb Walsh, as Midwood gets ready to open its second location in March (in Ballantyne).

"Barbecue boot camp" is what they're calling their trip through Austin and Houston, with Midwood pitmaster Matt Barry (see his on-the-road Tweets, above and below) and Paco's Tacos chef Phil Carter in two. (Paco's is a sibling to Midwood, also highly Texas-influenced.) They hit CorkScrew BBQ, Southside Market and Barbecue and El Real Tex Mex, and plan to import influences (and dishes like Texas barbecue-style beef ribs) to Midwood's menu.

"When you go on a trip like this, you are learning from people who have made barbecue with the same family recipe for 80 years," Scibelli said in a press release. "We want to bring back those experiences ... so that we can create the most authentic Texas barbecue dining experience possible.”

Upshot for diners: A "Crossroads 'Cue Supper" Feb. 25 at Midwood: three courses, served family style, culled from Walsh's 10 cookbooks, plus beer from NoDa Brewing. 1401 Central Ave., 704-295-4227;

Updated: For Valentine's

BLT Steak will be open both on Valentine's Day and from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 15, with a regular menu and a Valentine's one, that's offered both a la carte or as a prix fixe for $60. That includes Maine lobster risotto; peppercorn-crusted New York strip with trumpet mushrooms and foie gras; side of orzo and crab gratin; and dark chocolate bombe with raspberries. 110 N. College St. in the Ritz-Carlton; reservations: 704-972-4380.

D'Vine Wine will offer its full menu plus specials Feb. 12-14, and there'll be special sparkling wines by the glass. Among the specials, all small plates: grilled watermelon with barbecued shrimp and mixed greens; roasted garlic and truffle white bean hummus; turkey burger on honey-pumpkin roll; and seared tuna with soba noodles and edamame. Reservations will be taken by phone only, at 704-369-5050. 14815 John J. Delaney Drive.

Have you been (or are you still, or do you plan to be) procrastinating about Valentine’s Day dining? The Capital Grille anticipates your pain, and is doing a “#ReservationRescue” dinner giveaway on Facebook Feb. 11-12. Enter it and one winning couple will get a 6 p.m. reservation for two on Valentine’s Day, and $150 worth of dinner. You’ll need to go to its Facebook page at between 7 a.m. Feb. 11 and 11:59 p.m. Feb. 12 (both times are Eastern Standard) to enter. The restaurant chain will post on the page to open the contest. You’ll need to “comment with one word to describe their significant other (aka: Valentine)” – suggestion here: Don’t use that one – then “list their local TCG (the city/location).” One winner per location will be chosen at random; they’ll be contacted on Facebook on Feb. 13 and will have four hours to accept, or they forfeit and someone else is chosen. More rules, etc.:

Zebra will offer an $85-per-person menu Feb. 13-15, with choices that range from lobster bisque and Malpeque oysters on the half shell to roasted wild striped bass and tournedos of beef tenderloin Diane. 4521 Sharon Road;; 704-442-9525.

Passion8 offers three Valentine variations: A 5 p.m. seating with three courses for $45, a 7 p.m. seating with four courses for $65, and a 9:30 p.m. seating with five courses for $85. A photographer and props provider will be at the restaurant, to arrange and record the evening; images are free for customers. Actually, there are four variations, if you count the next day’s Sunday brunch: live music and the Bloody Mary bar. 704-910-3161; 1523 Elizabeth Ave.;

Del Frisco's will offer an 8-ounce filet and 8-ounce lobster tail for $79 Feb. 13-15. There'll also be a full menu on Feb. 13, a limited one on Feb. 14, and on Feb. 15, the Prime Pair menu will be added to the lineup, as usual on Sunday nights: choice of salad, filet paired with crab cake or barbecue spiced shrimp or lemon garlic scallops, plus a side. (That's $55.) 4725 Piedmont Row Drive; 704-552-5502.

The Ballantyne hosts "a magical Princess Tea" 1-5 p.m. Feb. 11-14: It's a family-style Valentines event, and kids are encouraged to dress up in princess gowns, jewelry and tiaras (wear 'em if you got 'em): $36 for adults, $18 for kids, plus tax and tip. Reservations required: 704-248-4100.

Feb. 13-15, the hotel's Gallery restaurant offers a three-course fixed-price dinner with choice of root vegetable soup or sea scallop as appetizer; beef tenderloin or shellfish ravioli as entree, and a chocolate petits fours platter, chocolate strawberry terrine or sorbet for dessert; a Champagne toast is included. Cost: $65 per person; reservations at or 704-248-4100. 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lafite Rothschild dinner at the Palm

The Palm hosts a wine dinner highlighting Chateau Lafite Rothschild on March 20, with a Lafite specialist guiding diners through the pairings. Lafite's been around since the 1670s, and has domaines in Chile and Argentina as well as France. This dinner will offer wines from the French and Argentinian estates. Five courses; $155 per person ($140 for the restaurant's 837 Club members), plus tax and tip. On the menu: seared jumbo sea scallops with English pea and truffle puree, with 2013 Lafite Reserve Speciale Blanc; roasted beet and baby arugula, with 2013 Los Vascos Chardonnay; braised beef short rib with parsnip puree, wild cherry drizzle and 2010 Bodegas CARO Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec; ancho chile- and espresso-rubbed lamb rib chops with 2011 Lafite Reserve Speciale Pauillac; and apple strudel with Chateau de Cosse Sauternes. 6705 Phillips Place Court; 704-552-7450.

Zoës Kitchen clarifies its giveaway

Zoës Kitchen's people are clarifying the giveaway at the new location at 1823 East Arbors Drive, which opened today (Jan. 29): You must enter a contest at its Facebook page to be in the running for one of the 500 meals it's giving away. Enter the contest for that, and you might also win free food for a year. The chain offers fast-casual Mediterranean-inspired food.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Zoës Kitchen in Charlotte is 137th!

Zoës Kitchen plans to open its newest location -- the 137th in the country -- Jan. 29 at 1823 East Arbors Drive. The chain features Mediterranean-inspired food in a fast-casual setup, with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes offered. To celebrate the opening, the restaurant will give away 500 meals at the new location, and you might win free food for a year from the place by entering a contest at its Facebook page by Jan. 29. There's also an app: the Zoës "L.I.F.E.," which offers free tidbits, lets you order online, "set fun life goals and receive daily inspiration."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Three courses for $20?

Through Jan. 25, Harper's at Carolina Place (and that location only) answers Restaurant Week with "WinterFest," a three-course meal for $20: soup of the day or a house, Caesar or Cobb salad; entree choice of sirloin with vegetables, salmon with grilled asparagus or half a roasted chicken with braised cabbage; and a mini apple pie or mini brownie sundae. Also offered: If you eat twice or more at any Harper's Group location -- Upstream, Mimosa Grill (both of which are in the three-for-$30 Restaurant Week promotion), or at either Harper's -- you get a $20 gift certificate; go four or more times and you get a $50 one. 11059 Carolina Place Parkway; 704-541-5255.

Mimosa and Barnett and wine; Flying Saucer and Founders

Mimosa Grill hosts its seventh annual Barnett Winery dinner Jan. 20, with winemaker David Tate hosting. Tastings will include 2013 Sangiacomo Chardonnay, 2013 Savoy Pinot Noir, 2012 Merlot, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2012 Cabernet Rattlesnake Vineyard, and the dinner will center on a whole roasted suckling pig. $85; 704-548-9463 (the Wine Vault); the restaurant is at 327 S. Tryon St.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium will do a Founders Tap Takeover Jan. 24, tapping 10 Founders brews and bringing in the newly released Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout. Tickets: 704-717-8179.