Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Best dishes?

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Our State magazine run a contest each year for "the best dish in North Carolina," focusing on area ingredients used with "ingenuity." In the west (where we are), finalists include Gallery, Mimosa Grill, Savannah Red and Zebra in Charlotte (all in the fine dining category).
Gallery will offer its three-course menu with ingredients from 12 area farms July 10-Aug. 13, for $45 plus tax and tip. You can also order a la carte. Among its dishes: Chapel Hill Creamery Thunder Mountain Swiss cheese with shaved Johnston County ham; black walnut smoked heritage pork marinated in Junior Johnson cherry moonshine; Baucom's Best short rib with local blueberry and peach barbecue sauce; and more. 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway; 704-248-4100.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Passport to Selwyn

"Passport to Selwyn" is the name of a Yelp promo event July 10-17: RSVP to the July 9 kickoff event (which benefits Carolina P.A.W.S., as in "pet adoption welfare society") at here and you get discounts, such as 20 percent off at Mellow Mushroom (excluding alcohol), and buy-one-get-one-free at Yoforia (retail discounts are more in the 10 percent off range).

Rooster's en route

The second Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen is on the horizon, with construction slated to begin this summer at 1 Bank of America Center’s Urban Garden at 5th and College streets uptown. “We want a second location in Charlotte before we take the Rooster’s concept to other cities in the Southeast,” said Jim Noble, owner and chef, in a press release. “We think the Urban Garden is one of the best locations in Center City and ... we feel very confident as an alternative to higher-priced restaurants in the downtown area." Hendrick Construction will be doing the 5,000-square-foot place, designed by The Johnson Studio of Atlanta, with two levels (access from College Street on the first floor and from the Urban Garden on the second), antique reclaimed barn wood, hand-forged iron and built-in wooden wine racks.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bits and cheeses

Upstream's new Bar Bites menu includes (for $6 each): tempura-fried green beans, sweet and sour crispy shrimp, smoked belly tostado and more. The restaurant also has a new craft beer lineup, including several N.C. microbrews, and continues to offer half-price sushi at the bar 4-7 and 9-10 p.m. daily. 6902 Phillips Place Court; 704-556-7730.

TCBY has a new product: chilled, fresh yogurt (not frozen) called Yovana. A handful of stores will offer it before the national rollout, and one is the Wesley Chapel store at 6312 Weddington-Monroe Road, 8:30-10:30 a.m. June 23. Customers can get free samples then (while it lasts) of the probiotic-rich yogurt, which is 98 percent fat-free and prepared daily.

You can enter or just watch a mac-and-cheese-eating competition (and maybe win prizes, even as a spectator) July 11 at Whiskey Warehouse, aimed at raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. You must register in advance to compete (and put up a $20 fee); email to The restaurant will be part of the CF Brewer's Ball charity event Sept. 17 at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery as well. 1221 The Plaza; 704-334-7005.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Soul Food Festival

July 2 at Rural Hill in Huntersville, look for the Soul Food Festival, an outdoor music and food event put on in a dozen venues around the country. Here, food from La'Wan's, Sadie's, Nana's, Bite Your Tongue, Bodricks and caterers Dave & Fran will be offered, along with old-school R&B music by Cameo, After Seven, Confunkshun and more. Organizers say the 2010 events helped provide four college scholarships and helped 22 youth get GEDs. Admission is $22 and up; details at or 888-695-0888.

One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Dinner....

Halcyon plans a "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" dinner June 30 -- yes, that's the George Thorogood song from '77, although it actually was a big hit in '53, too. Chef Marc Jacksina and guest chef Blake Hartwick (now at sibling Something Classic), and Halcyon mixologist Maggie Peirce are concocting the evening, which will work like this:

Each spirit will be served first neat, then in an "exotic" mixed drink, and a small plate by the chefs will accompany each. The entree will come with Allagash Black, a microbrew flavored with bourbon via barrel fermentation.

The bourbon is Knob Creek Single Barrel. Neat, it'll come with foie gras with roasted local sweet corn, peach butter and salted pecan brittle. Mixed, it will be in a yuzu whiskey sour, and served with grouper confit, grits and charred corn salsa. The Scotch: Laphraoig Quarter Cask, with braised pork dumpling and red eye gravy; and in a "Smokey Martini," served with duck and blueberry tapioca risotto. The entree is beef short ribs with cocoa gnocchi.

$75; 704-910-0865; 500 S. Tryon St.

Charlotte Restaurant Week kicks off

The latest Charlotte Restaurant Week runs July 15-24, and its website goes live June 24, listing menus and reservation info. (Note: The website is there now, but info is for the January dates. Wait til Friday to get the new stuff.) This go-round, 92 restaurants will participate (see below), both in Charlotte and surrounding areas, including Matthews, Lake Norman, Concord, Belmont and Fort Mill.

The skinny: Restaurants offer a fixed-price meal of three or more courses during the CRW for $30, not including tax and tips.

What's new: A virtual food drive to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, conducted through the website. Using Second Harvest’s new GiveABit system, donors can place their choice of food items or cash in an online shopping cart, to end up on the food bank’s shelves during the usually difficult summer months. Second Harvest's goal is to eliminate hunger through education, advocacy, and partnerships.

"We felt it would be an easy way for folks to help fight hunger while they're making their dining plans," Bruce Hensley, whose PR firm owns and runs CRW, said in an email. This way, restaurants don't need to have collection barrels (which Second Harvest has to deliver and pick up), and diners don't need to remember to bring donations to dinner.

Among newcomer restaurants: Table 274, Epic Chophouse, Room 112, FireWater, 15 North Roadside Kitchen, Savannah Red, Pisces and Fran's Filling Station.

Participating places, by geographical area, are:

Cotswold: Table 274

Dilworth: 131 Main; 300 East; Bonterra; Cantina 1511; Copper; Dolce; Fiamma; Fran’s Filling Station; Zen Fusion

Eastover: Deejai; Primo Tuscan Grille; Providence Cafe

Elizabeth: Cajun Queen; Carpe Diem

Lake Norman / North Mecklenburg / Iredell County: 131 Main; Alton's Kitchen & Cocktails; Choplin's; Dressler's; Epic Chophouse; Firebirds; Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse; Kabuto; Mickey & Mooch; The Prickly Pear; Red Rocks Cafe

Matthews: Santé

Midtown: Dressler's; Maharani; Mama Ricotta's; Melting Pot; Pisces; Vivace

Plaza Midwood: Bistro La Bon; Lulu

South Charlotte (Ballantyne / Arboretum / Pineville / Fort Mill): 131 Main; Cantina 1511; Firebirds; Gallery; Global; Maestro's; Mickey & Mooch; New South Kitchen & Bar; Passion8 Bistro; Rudy's; Tria Terra; Trio

South End: The Liberty; Nikko; Pewter Rose; Sullivan's Steakhouse

SouthPark / Park Road / Foxcroft: 15 North Roadside Kitchen; BrickTop's; Cafe Monte; Del Frisco's; Firebirds; Georges Brasserie; McCormick & Schmick's; Paco's Tacos & Tequila; The Palm; Red Rocks Cafe; Ruth's Chris; Terrace Cafe; Toscana; Upstream; Village Tavern; Zink

Southwest Charlotte / Yorkmont: Omaha Steakhouse

University / Concord: FireWater; Melting Pot; Rocky River Grille; The Speedway Club

Uptown: Aquavina; Aria; BLT Steak; Blue; Caffe Siena; Capital Grille; Chima; Enso; Fleming's; LaVecchia's; Luce; McCormick & Schmick's; Mez; Mimosa Grill; Morton's; Room 112; Ruth's Chris; Savannah Red

West Mecklenburg / Gaston County: Nick’s Steak and Taphouse; Old Stone Steakhouse

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chef Tim Groody returns

Chef Tim Groody returns to Charlotte: He's now corporate chef for longtime Charlotte restaurateur Frank Scibelli. Groody left Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse in Davidson about six months ago. Now he will oversee all Scibelli's kitchens, which include Cantina 1511 (two locations), Mama Ricotta's, Big Daddy's Burger Bar (two locations), Paco's Tacos & Tequila and the relatively new Midwood Smokehouse.

"He's a great fit for us," said Scibelli. "The more we talked, the more I found we really see eye to eye.... We're very fortunate to continue to grow. He'll be solely focused on giving TLC to the food."

Groody has been cooking and observing at Midwood, and will rotate through all the concepts, working on recipes, execution, ingredients and menu development. Scibelli says he's always seeking new dishes (a traditional Groody strength); "nothing would make me happier than a better dish than penne a la vodka," he said with a laugh. (That's the quintessential huge seller at Mama Ricotta's.) "If you're really going to bear (that kind of) fruit with your cooks, you've got to put the time in. He's going to."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More for Dad's day (June 19!)

Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse plans a significant special for Father's Day: an American Kobe beef bone-in strip loin, with wedge salad with Berkshire bacon and a side of roasted spring vegetables, for $29.95 June 17-19. 215 S. Main St., Davidson; 704-237-3246.

Table 274 plans live music (acoustic, jazz, folk) and an outdoor family cookout: burgers, chicken, bratwurst, ribs, pulled BBQ, potato salad, cucumber salad, green salad, grilled local summer veggies, hush puppies, fries, slaw, cornbread and desserts for $15 per adult, $6 for children, all you care to eat. Fifteen percent of proceeds for the day will benefit the Charlotte Symphony's Symphony in the Park series. 274 S. Sharon Amity Road; 704-817-9721.

The Liberty will do a three-course brunch Sunday for $18.95, with choices that include Maine lobster with crème fraiche; duck confit with toasted pecan waffles; horseradish-crusted wild salmon; N.Y. strip; local blackberry cobbler and more. Children's brunch (10 and younger)is $5.95. 1812 South Blvd.; 704-332-8830.

Both Harper's -- at Carolina Place and 6518 Fairview Road -- offer dads a meal for $15 that includes choice of salad, entree of roasted prime rib or blackened mahi mahi and sides, plus select drafts for $2.50 all day, along with a $10 dining voucher to use on a future visit to the restaurant.

Kabuto Lake Norman will be open 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m for Father's Day, with a special of hibachi chicken, shrimp and steak, plus a slice of cheesecake, for $59.95 per couple, $29.99 per person. (The special will be offered June 17-19; the regular dinner menu will also be available. Reservations required: 704-655-0077; 16516 Northcross Drive, Huntersville.

Cajun Queen offers brunch 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and its regular menu 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 1800 E. 7th St.; 704-377-9017.

Del Frisco's will be open for brunch 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. with a three-course menu for $35 (kids $12) and for dinner 4:30-9 p.m. with a $30 three-course menu. The full dinner menu will be offered throughout the day. Reservations: 704-552-5502; 4725 Piedmont Row Drive.

Through Father's Day, diners at McCormick & Schmick’s can enter to win "the Golf Experience of a Lifetime": a three-day trip for two to their choice of four courses among GOLF magazine’s Top 100: Pebble Beach (Calif.), Whistling Straits (Wisc.), Bandon Dunes (Ore.) or Pinehurst. Also offered June 17-19 for dad: a chef's mixed grill including filet, salmon, crab cake and crème brulee for $29.95. Uptown (200 S. Tryon St., 704-377-0201) and SouthPark (4335 Barclay Downs Drive, 704-442-5522). ‎

Dads eat for half-price (half off an entree with the purchase of another at full price) June 19-21 at P.J. O’Reilly’s. Corner of Ardrey Kell and Johnston roads (16640 Hawfield Way Drive); 704-341-2247.

All five self-serve Charlotte locations of TCBY will give dads a free cup of frozen yogurt on Father's Day.

Morton's special menu will be served 5-10 p.m., cost $69, and include choice of baked five-onion soup or salad; entree of filet, N.Y. strip, Cajun ribeye, salmon or chicken; and carrot cake or hot chocolate cake. 227 W. Trade St.; 704-333-2602.

The Palm offers its full regular menu plus a special: 14-ounce bone-in filet for $20.11. 6705-B Phillips Place Court; 704-552-7256.

BRIO will open early (at 10 a.m.) for Father's Day brunch, with dishes ranging from $9.95-$17.95, plus the full dinner menu. 4720 Piedmont Row Drive; 704-571-4214.

Fran's Filling Station will have ribs at dinner June 17 and 18; Friday's will be ancho-chile-crusted and Saturday's will be done with a balsamic barbecue sauce. Sunday will bring brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for $12.95. Reservations: 704-372-2009; 2410 Park Road.

Cyros Sushi closed

Cyros Sushi in the SouthPark area has closed after troubles in the partnership between Cy Santos and Ro Lawsin could not be worked out, said Lawsin. He says he and chef Nobu plan to team up "to try to come back; we're not sure what yet."

This makes the third of six restaurants I named among last year's best to either close or go through the departure of a name chef; Bryan Emperor left Kalu, and Tim Groody left Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse. Hmmm...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Updated: Chef departs Kalu

Bryan Emperor, whose concept and execution of an array of Asian foods led to Kalu in uptown Charlotte winning many favorable reviews -- including placement among Esquire magazine's Top 20 new restaurants of the year -- has left the restaurant, he confirmed Monday.

Emperor, a former banker who pursued culinary training in Japan as well as the Culinary Institute of America, had most recently been in the national news for winning the Southeast region title in Food & Wine magazine's "The People's Best New Chef" online-voting competition. He makes much of using imported ingredients, such as Mongolian mountain salt, and charcoal from Kyoto.

He has been chef at restaurants in New York, Virginia and Portland, with stints varying significantly in length.

"I am considering a number of other options" in the Charlotte area, Emperor said.

Kalu owner Jason Vicks said he is changing the menu significantly to add diversity, "more familiarity" -- the number of sushi rolls, for example, went from 5 to nearly 20 -- and a children's menu. "We'll definitely make it more accessible.

"We're looking to create a restaurant atmosphere that's conducive to the whole family," said Vicks, as well as an atmosphere that will encourage people to stay there after dining, rather than going to a lounge or club. Much of the menu has already changed, and by month's end, diners can expect to see a menu that's 60-70 percent different from Emperor's lineup, with lowered prices. Vicks said he kept much of the kitchen staff, and feels they have maintained the quality.

Vicks also is moving some things around in the interior, adding more small tables in the dining room and bar.

TCBY comes to Mooresville

Mooresville's Field of Greens owner Ross Shattuck plans to open a location of national yogurt chain TCBY by mid-summer, by expanding his location on the front row of The Shops at Mooresville Plantation. Field of Greens specializes in made-to-order salads, specialty wraps, panini and housemade soups.

Dine out, do good

Dine Out For Kids is Tuesday, June 21: It's the 12th annual event, raising money for Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, which works to keep kids in school through a variety of support. Participating restaurants donate a portion of the day’s gross sales for that day to Communities In Schools; last year, 97 percent of the students enrolled in CIS stayed in school.

Here are the restaurants involved (you can also find this at

Alexander Michael’s; Applebee’s at Carolina Place, East Independence Blvd., Piper Station, UNCC and Whitehall; Arthur’s at Belk at SouthPark and uptown; Big Daddy’s Burger Bar at Dilworth and Ballantyne; Bonterra; BRAVO! Cucina Italiana; Brio Tuscan Grille; Brixx at Birkdale, Blakeney, Dilworth, Foxcroft and uptown; Cantina 1511 at Dilworth and Stonecrest; Dilworth Neighborhood Grille; Don Pedro at South Tryon; Eddie’s Place; Harper’s at SouthPark; HMSHost places at Charlotte Douglas International Airport; Johnny Burrito; Mama Ricotta’s; McAlister’s Deli at Arboretum, Ballantyne, Blakeney, Carolina Place, Lake Norman, Matthews, Olde Towne Village and University; Melting Pot at Midtown and University; Mert’s Heart and Soul; Midwood Smokehouse; Mimosa Grill; Nothing but Noodles at Midtown and StoneCrest; Paco’s Tacos & Tequila; Pewter Rose; Providence Café; Showmars at East Blvd., Emerywood Road, Providence Commons and Windsor Square; Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q at Arboretum and Tyvola Road; Topz Healthier Burger Grill; Upstream; Village Tavern; and Zink.

Coming up

Smashburger, a Denver-based chain specializing in Certified Angus Beef burgers, plans to open June 20 at StoneCrest, and plans four more Charlotte-area locations, all with "Carolina-specific" menu items, from a Carolina burger (with barbecue slaw and pimento cheese) to Brunswick fries (topped with stew, cheddar and barbecue sauce). The name comes from the place's cooking method: burgers of 1/3 or 1/2 pound are "smashed on a flat grill to sear in the juicy flavor." 7804 Rea Road;

Café 157 hosts a four-course Mercer Estates wine dinner June 22, with a menu that includes grilled jumbo shrimp, pan-seared Chilean sea bass and roasted beef tenderloin medallions. $49; 704-844-8686; 157 N. Trade St., Matthews.

Zink hosts a Wild Horse Winery and Vineyards five-course dinner June 24, with a portion of proceeds benefitting the wild horses on the Outer Banks, through the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. The winery says it will also donate a minimum of $10,000 to the fund between June and August, to help preserve the land as a permanent sanctuary for the horses. Among the courses: white corn vichyssoise with Dungeness crab and 2009 Unbridled Chardonnay, and local sourwood honey-glazed Kurobuta pork short ribs with 2008 Unbridled Pinot Noir. $75; 704-909-5500; 4310 Sharon Road.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dad's day

The Melting Pots -- 901 S. Kings Drive and 230 E. W.T. Harris Blvd. -- will open for lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Father's Day. A four-course menu for $32 (plus two menu choices for kids) will be offered, and the regular dinner menu will be served 4-9 p.m. 704-334-4400; 704-548-2432.

At P.J. O’Reilly’s near Ballantyne (the corner of Audrey Kell and Johnston Road), dads eat for half-price (any entree with purchase of a second at full price) June 19-21, and there'll be live music on the patio Friday and Saturday night. 704-341-2247.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Carpe Diem news

If you're a fan of Carpe Diem's buttermilk fried chicken breast, you might want to join the Facebook group "I love the buttermilk chicken at Carpe Diem Restaurant & Caterers." Members get notices when the item goes on special (sometimes it's half price). Those who like the place's regular Facebook page will get news about other specials.

Also new: a $30 three-course dinner each Monday-Thursday that features three area farms. A recent lineup: spring salad with Tega Hills Farm Bibb lettuce, roasted beets and more; Baucom's Best beef and N.C. pork meatballs served over orecchiette with New Town Farms broccoli raab and mozzarella; and crème brulée made with organic Cackleberry Farms eggs.

The latest dinner menu includes savory tomato cobbler, filet of beef with summer ale jus, and seared sea scallops with a succotash of black-eyed peas and house-cured bacon. A new summer beverage lineup includes a Piccadilly Cooler (Hendricks gin with lime juice and cucumbers), South Beach (Thai basil-infused vodka with coconut water and navel orange juice) and more.
1535 Elizabeth Ave.; 704-377-7976.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Avett Brothers' Joe Kwon cooking here

Joe Kwon, foodie/cellist for the Concord band The Avett Brothers, will be in Charlotte June 13 to cook with Harvest Moon Grille's Cassie Parsons, preparing a "local food fusion" menu for a dinner benefitting Farmer Foodshare, a farm sustainability and hunger relief organization.

Kwon (that's his Twitter avatar, there; just one choice of 8 gazillion online) will serve as host, too -- which means he'll greet guests as well as cooking (but he tells me he will not be likely to pull out the cello). The menu will use seasonal food only from farms based within 60 miles of the restaurant, housed at the Dunhill Hotel uptown.

“I’m excited to ‘chef for a cause’ with Cassie, as she is a fantastic chef," said Kwon in a press release. "Farmer Foodshare is an innovative new organization that will have a big impact in Charlotte and we are thrilled to be working with them.”

Said Parsons: “Joe and I share a passion for local foods and the improvisation and creativity required to cook with only what is in season." Expect dishes with both Korean influence (Kwon's heritage) and Polish (Parsons').

237 N. Tryon St.; 704-332-4141. A four-course tasting menu will be $40; diners will be able to order a la carte from that menu, or from the regular one.

Farmer Foodshare, based at Atherton Market in South End, aims to raise money to buy fresh local food for people at risk for hunger. Shoppers at the market can buy food and donate it there, or donate cash. Farmers can also donate excess food. Founded at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market in May 2009, the effort now is in 11 N.C. markets and has raised more than 20 tons of fresh food for nonprofit groups that serve the hungry in five N.C. counties. Info: Market manager Lynn Caldwell at, or Facebook at

Ranch House has closed

The Ranch House, an iconic steakhouse in the roadhouse vein on Wilkinson Boulevard, has closed. General manager Constance Dellinger confirmed the closing.

The Ranch House, which opened in 1951, was known for decades for steaks, menus that looked as if they had been made with a wood-burning kit and -- perhaps most famously -- the remarkably assertive (read: HOT) cocktail sauce that came with its shrimp cocktail (spelled cocktale, if memory serves, on the menu).

Have a favorite memory? Post...

Uptown's Sonoma restaurant closes

Sonoma, among the city's first restaurants to succeed with upscale, contemporary food and which ran for 18 years in four locations, closed last weekend. Owner Pierre Bader says he is planning a new place.

Bader, who said he's not ready to divulge details, did note that the new place would be in the corner spot, next to his Aria, at Founders Hall, uptown on Tryon Street. He described it as "comfortable," and expects to open in December, or January 2012 at the latest. Aria also has a new chef in charge: Frank Altomare (spelling is CORRECTED), who was "the backbone," has taken over from chef Bill Schutz, who is no longer with the restaurant group (which also runs Press and Frankies 710 Trattoria.

Sonoma had an extraordinary run of chefs that have gone on to success, both in Charlotte and elsewhere, including Gene Briggs, Tim Groody, Philip Hewitt, Blake Hartwick, Christopher Zion and Shayne Lewis.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Half-off June dinner deals

Global celebrates its fifth anniversary with a deal throughout June: Half off a second dinner entree when you dine with a guest. Parties of six or more can use two discounts. To get the deal, e-mail your first and last name, date and time of reservation, phone number and number of guests to, or call 704-248-0866. 3520 Toringdon Way, near Ballantyne.

Terrace Café has a deal through June: 50% off all dinner entrées, 5-7 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays. Print a coupon at its website: 4625 Piedmont Row Drive; 704-554-6177.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wine, beer dinners

Caruso's in Mooresville hosts a four-course, eight-wine dinner June 6, with the wines including Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico and Vernaccia di San Gimignano, with salmon with foie gras, grilled lamb and more. $65; 631 Brawley School Road in Mooresville; 704-658-1000.

Mimosa Grill hosts a Sweetwater Beer dinner June 11. Among the courses: N.C. oysters on the half shell with strawberry confit and Sweetwater 420; a Rock House Farms sausage tasting with IPA; a Prime beef duo of braised short ribs and grilled strip loin with Exodus Porter; and more. $45; 327 S. Tryon St.; 704-343-0700.

Georges Brasserie hosts a four-course Kermit Lynch chef's tasting dinner June 20, with courses that include Beausoleil oysters with St. Martin Sparkling Picpoul Blanc; seared duck breast with 2009 Dupeuble Beaujolais and more. $60; 4620 Piedmont Row Drive; 980-219-7409.

The Wine Vault hosts a five-course Rodney Strong Reserve dinner June 20 at The Palm at Phillips Place. Among the fare: Nova Scotia lobster sliders with Reserve Chardonnay, and New York strip au poivre with Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. $75; 704-548-9463.

El Bulli, The Donald, MyPlate: links aplenty

I wish I could say I were surprised that famous dining mecca El Bulli is going to be in a reality-show-type film. I wish.

An interesting notion: Should cocktails' calorie counts be available? NYU professor Marion Nestle says yes.

Jon Stewart lost it completely -- over pizza! (and stacking, and forks) -- last night on the Daily Show. Well, OK, Trump and Palin were involved, too. Warning: Much bleeping is involved.

Don't blame me when prices at a well-reviewed restaurant go up. No, seriously: Don't.

And finally, why MyPlate has a better chance than the ill-fated MyPyramid when it comes to us all eating better, here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bits and crumbs

Bruegger's now offers "Cafe Salads," five 24-ounce salads with 330 or fewer calories, for $4.99 at most locations. Harvest chicken classic Cobb, sesame chicken, Mandarin medley and chicken Caesar are also available in a larger entree size.

Capital Grille has a new summer "plates" menu, which gives diners soup/salad, a sandwich and a side for $18. Three of each category are offered, for mix and match. Among the choices are roasted corn bisque, annatto-rubbed mahi with corn tortillas, lobster roll, watermelon and tomato with feta and more. 201 N. Tryon St.; 704-348-1400.