Friday, November 30, 2012

Nutcracker Tea with N.C. Dance

N.C. Dance Theatre hosts its second annual Nutcracker Tea at the Omni Charlotte uptown Dec. 16: Tea, holiday-cookie-decorating for children, the chance to meet members of the dance company's Nutcracker cast for photos and autographs and a reading of the Nutcracker story by Clara. The menu for kids: turkey and cheese sandwiches, grilled cheese tea sandwiches, fruit kabobs, hot cocoa and more. For adults: cucumber tea sandwiches, Waldorf chicken salad on mini croissants, scones, chocolate-covered strawberries, fruit tartlets, tea and more. 4:30-6 p.m.; $60 for adults, $30 for children; the Omni is at 132 E. Trade St. Buy tickets online at

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Press release of the week

"Hi Helen,
"Ever wonder what a cookie combined with 11 Herbs & Spices might taste like? ..."

Dear (PR person for KFC),

" ... (she didn't hear me) KFC wondered too.
"With the trend of flavor mash ups on the rise -- bacon popcorn, white chocolate mint Pringles — the research & development team at KFC began tinkering with the 11 Herbs and Spices and created A PROTOTYPE for the Original Recipe cookie, which combines the signature blend of the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices with America’s favorite cookie."

That means all the herbs and spices, plus chocolate chips. You can vote online at about "whether the sweet and savory sensation prototype should actually be created in mass and added to menus nationwide!" I'll be voting. Maybe more than once.

New Year's Eve plans begin

Zebra will offer New Year's Eve dinner (with wine deals for the 5-6 p.m. seating only). Among the menu choices: walnut-roasted quail with glazed rutabaga mash; lobster, shrimp and crab cocktail; N.C. trout Francaise; griddled Moulard duck breast; Grand Marnier souffle; warm chocolate cake with caramel ice cream; and lots more. $74; 704-442-9525; 4521 Sharon Road.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sweet Tea's on TV: Impossible?

The Food Network's "Restaurant Impossible" and host/chef Robert Irvine hits Sweet Tea's to film on Dec. 4-5, and the restaurant will have a "grand re-opening" at 7 p.m. Dec. 5. The show's premise: Irvine swoops in for two days with $10K and sees if he can save "desperate restaurants from impending failure." Owners David and Dana Cohen have had Sweet Tea's for three years; for the first 2 1/2, it was located in Landis, just north of Kannapolis. David Cohen said he's contractually obligated to not answer questions until the episode airs, which associate producer Nicholas Smalarz says should be late February/early March. According to Smalarz, "thousands" of restaurants apply for the show's help, it's the network's top-rated show, and of the 63 places they've done since January 2011, he knows of four that have closed permanently. The restaurant is at 9101 Pineville-Matthews Road, and its web menu includes fried green tomatoes with "reduced balsamic glaze and buffalo ranch dipping sauce"; Dave's Famous Potato Puppies; sandwiches such as a honey-wasabi BLT and "inside out burgers"; chicken and waffles; sesame encrusted tilapia, shrimp and grits; and corned beef hash and eggs. 704-855-1803.

Peasant Rhone dinner

The Wine Vault and Pewter Rose offer the third annual Peasant Rhone wine dinner, Dec. 9. Among the courses: shaved asparagus and fennel with fried goat cheese croquettes and L'Oustal Blanc Naick 10 Blanc; housemade duck confit and goat cheese ravioli with 2010 Ferrand Cote Du Rhone Antique Vielles Vignes; braised chuck shoulder over white bean ragout with 2010 J.L. Tribouley "Les Bacs" Vielles Vignes; and more. $60; 704-548-9463; 1820 South Blvd.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Taco Mac beer dinner

Taco Mac at SouthPark hosts a beer dinner Dec. 4 featuring the work of N.C. breweries that got medals at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival. It begins with a reception with four beer stations: Olde Mecklenburg and NoDa from Charlotte, plus Carolina (Chapel Hill/Pittsboro) and Mother Earth (Kinston), serving brews other than the medal-winners, which will be featured during the four-course dinner. Among those: shrimp "biscuits and gravy" with Olde Meck's Mecktoberfest, and Cheerwine mini cake with NoDa's Coco Loco. $45; 4625 Piedmont Row Drive; tickets online here.

5Church starts Saturday brunch

Dec. 1, 5Church launches its Saturday brunch, offered 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (meaning they'll do last seating at 4), with live jazz. Among the menu options: sunny-side egg pizza (with prosciutto and truffle oil); Belgian waffles with berries; shrimp and Anson Mills polenta; lowfat vanilla yogurt with granola and minted berries; bistro steak and eggs; and more, with items running about $6-$15. Yes, cocktails and sparklers are also available. 704-919-1322; restaurant entrance is at the corner of 5th and Church streets.

Look for El Camino

The Henson family (Angry Ale's, Andrew Blair's) is planning a new Montford Drive venture named El Camino. Says Barbara Henson: "Our goal is to provide unique (to Charlotte, at least) Mexican and Tex Mex-inspired food ... (in) a fun, eclectic and energetic atmosphere, with a definite family-friendly environment." Chef Todd Townsend, longtime Charlotte fixture, helped develop recipes, she says, and family and friends influenced choices, as did the family's research and travels in Texas.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Napa on Providence opening at former Providence Cafe

Napa on Providence will open to the public Nov. 27, with a menu that includes grilled swordfish with pasta faglioli sauce; bucatini with pomodoro sauce; poulet rouge (half a roasted heritage breed chicken) with root vegetables and horseradish pan gravy; grilled hanger steak; dry-rubbed trio of Berkshire pork; and more. Entrees run about $17-$24 (and there's a burger for $9), and first plates at dinner range from pizzas and grilled or raw shellfish to mozzarella-stuffed meatballs and miso-glazed pork belly. The wine list highlights northern California, including 20 by the glass. Designer Mimi Sabates did the interior, which includes booths with granite tabletops, Carolina hemlock tables and a bar, community tables and host stand built by NoDa's Zac Sessions, according to co-owner Jeffrey Conway. Look for lunch beginning Dec. 3, and brunch starting mid-December. Chef James Cannon worked on developing the menu, and will continue; Robert Fox and Eric Litaker are sous chefs. 110 Perrin Place; 704-900-8535;

Interesting idea in Greenville

Roost, which owners call a "soil to city" restaurant, is scheduled to open in January in Greenville, S.C. The idea, from JHM Hotels, is to put together a menu based on local, organic, seasonal goods, but also to offer more idiosyncratic features, such as a ban on high fructose corn sweeteners and a Harvest Table, at which diners choose ingredients for lunch from among greens, composed salads, meats, soups and artisan breads. Outdoor seating in NOMA Square, an open kitchen rimmed with seating and an open-air bar area are other aspects of the place, whose exec chef is Trevor Higgins (with experience at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island and the Charleston Marriott). Sample dishes: “fresh” bacon with corn puree and sweet tea jus; wild striped bass with rock shrimp chowder and smoked garlic aoli; Sunday brunch of chicken fried steak with sawmill gravy or brioche French toast with salted banana caramel. 220 N. Main St. in Greenville; 864-248-1565.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Coming up

AZN at Piedmont Town Center will offer a Toys for Tots special menu 7:30-9:30 p.m. Dec. 4, available when you bring one new, unwrapped toy: It's a three-for-$30 menu with choices including spicy calamari, Hawaiian ahi poke, caramelized salmon, walnut shrimp, and more. 980-819-9189. Also coming up at AZN: Christmas Eve dinner, with both its regular menu (3-9 p.m.) and a course menu with choices of starter, entree and dessert for $40-$60, depending on entree choice. Options include Cantonese roasted duck, sushi platter, Chilean sea bass and more. And for New Year's Eve, an a la carte menu will be offered (including starters, entrees, sushi rolls and sashimi and nigiri sushi), plus a three-course menu for $45-$70. The Pizza Peel hosts a New Belgium beer dinner Dec. 6 for $35. Among the courses: roasted butternut and Biere De Garde soup (with Biere De Garde) and oven-roasted game hen with Fat Tire. Interested in just the beer? You can pay $15 for a tasting ticket. 4422 Colwick Road; 704-714-8808.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Glogg and meatballs at IKEA!

IKEA hosts a Swedish "Julbord" buffet for $12.99 on Dec. 7 (kids 12 and younger pay $4.99): The all-you-can-eat lineup includes Swedish holiday ham, smoked salmon, Swedish style meatballs with lingonberries, assorted herring and more -- including glögg! ( That's mulled wine.) 8300 Ikea Blvd., 704-549-4532.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bits and crumbs

Blue hosts a Latin jazz night Nov. 23, with a menu including beef short rib, chorizo and queso fresco empanada; pan-seared red snapper escabeche; and apple and walnut empanada. 704-927-2583; 206 N. College St. Among dishes on the new menu at D'Vine Wine Cafe: boneless beef short ribs (with mac & cheese as a small plate, or with mashed potatoes and vegetable as an entree); shrimp & grits; ribs; butternut squash soup with bacon and a St. Andre grilled cheese sandwich and more. 14815 John J. Delaney Drive; 704-369-5050.

Food truck brunch

Food Truck Brunch will happen 8 a.m.- 1 p.m. Nov. 24 at the usual South End location: the corner of Camden Road and Park Avenue, with Herban Legend, the Tin Kitchen, Turkey And ... and Gourmet Goombahs slated to be there.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Got to be champ: Ryan Payne of Chapel Hill's Weathervane

Triangle chef Ryan Payne from Weathervane (of Chapel Hill's Southern Season store) battled through to win the Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series final Nov. 17. That's him in white, at center, above. This was a series of competition dining events, held in Blowing Rock, Wilmington, the Triangle and the Triad, in which two chefs would go head to head, and had to use designated N.C. products in creating their meals. The Got To Be NC goal is to promote N.C. products and chefs; this is the first statewide competition it's done. Next year, plans call for the competition to expand to Charlotte, and to add Asheville to its Western NC series. The Final Four were Michael Foreman of Bistro Roca in Blowing Rock, George Neal of 1618 Seafood Grille in Greensboro, Andy Hopper of Chefs 105 in Morehead City and Payne. He topped Foreman in the finale, in which both had to use pork jowls and Pepsi in three courses for 160 diners in the ballroom of the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel.
At right is Payne's highest scoring dish: Pork fat funnel cake, buttermilk cake, Pepsi-apple ice cream, candied pork jowl and cherry Pepsi syrup. Both photos: Susan Dosier. Foreman earned the highest score of the night with his jowl pancetta risotto with Taos-style braised pork cushion, Dos Equis beer-Pepsi jus and pine nut-cumin pistou. Culinary pro judges were CNN Eatocracy blog managing editor Kit Kinsman; Evan Nash of Johnson & Wales in Charlotte; Scott Craig of Charlotte, one of six Americans to win a gold medal at October's International Culinary Olympics; Dathan Kuzsak, a food blogger and design editor at the Triangle Business Journal; and Daniel Benjamin, pastry chef at Herons in Cary. Their scores were 70 percent of the total, with audience scores 30 percent. Payne won $4,000, Foreman $1,000. More info here.

Tea on the 2nd

High tea and boutique shopping are slated for The Duke Mansion on Dec. 2. Starting at 2 p.m., you'll find goods from shops such as The Buttercup, The Blossom Shop, Jeffre Scott Apothecary, Reid's Fine Foods, Twenty Degrees Chocolates, blis Uptown and more. Tea with sandwiches, canapes and sweets will be served at 3. $35 for adults, $15 for 5-12; reserve by Nov. 28 at 704-714-4445 or email; 400 Hermitage Road.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tavern 24 open

Tavern 24 is open at 421 Cox Road in Gastonia, the second in the chain but the first newly constructed one, and the first in North Carolina: It's described as a place for folks "who'd rather drink in a restaurant than eat in a bar" by its CEO, Jim Balis, and the menu includes stuffed beer burgers (marinated in stout, stuffed with Monterey Jack and topped with caramelized onions), buttermilk-marinated Calabash chicken tenders, pizzas and vegetarian items. 704-864-0688;

Bad Daddy's in S.C.

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar has announced its first franchise: Magnolia Park at 1025 Woodruff Road, Greenville, S.C. There are four Bad Daddy’s Burger Bars in Charlotte, founded by restaurateurs Frank Scibelli and Dennis Thompson -- and two new ones set to open, in Raleigh and Cary, in early 2013. Construction begins this month on the 3,500-square-foot place in Greenville; it's slated to open in summer 2013.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Updated: Thanksgiving news

Thanksgiving plans (the date is Nov. 22):

The Palm will do a three-course meal for $45 ($19 for 12 and younger), 2-7 p.m. 704-552-7256; 6705 Phillips Place Court.

Harvest Moon Grille will do two seatings, at 1 and 3 p.m., for a dinner including local organic turkey, cornbread mushroom dressing and sides, focusing on foodstuffs from within 100 miles of Charlotte. $39 ($12.99 for 9 and younger); reservations: 704-342-1193; 235 N. Tryon St.

Sticky Fingers at 8021 Concord Mills Blvd. will be open noon-7 p.m. with a buffet and the full menu.

New South Kitchen plans a buffet 11 a.m.-5 p.m., with deep-fried turkey, ham, rib roast and more for $32 per person. To-go packages will also be offered: Order deep-fried turkey by Nov. 16, sides, extras (appetizers, rolls) and desserts by Nov. 20. 8140 Providence Road; 704-541-9990;

Mimi’s has four options: It's open on Thanksgiving Day (8 a.m.-8 p.m.) at 10224 Perimeter Parkway, plus offers a "Feast To-Go," plus a brunch to go and sides-only package to go. Menus at; 704-509-5911.

Bistro la Bon will be open beginning at 11:30 a.m., with seatings at that time plus 1, 2:30 and 4 p.m., with a Smorgasbord that will include roasted salmon, turkey and ham. $24 for adults, $12 for children 10 and younger (this information is confirmed with the restaurant; it differs from the comment, FYI); 1322 Central Ave., 704-333-4646.

Lulu will have a three-course meal available 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for $35, in addition to its regular dinner menu. This one will include salad or soup; roasted turkey, spiral-cut ham or vegetarian lasagna, plus sides, and dessert. Reservations: 704-375-2242; 1911 Central Ave.

The Liberty offers three courses for $29.95 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Among first-course choices are roasted butternut squash with caramelized pears; pumpkin gnocchi with braised beef cheeks; and lobster/smoked trout/crab "cake." Entree options range from heritage turkey to salt-crusted prime rib, and the third course is a dessert buffet. Reservations: 704-332-8830; 1812 South Blvd.

Coastal Kitchen & Bar, in the Hilton Charlotte Center City, will offer Thanksgiving brunch and takeout Thanksgiving meals, as well. Brunch will run noon-6 p.m. and includes house-smoked seafood, antipasti, a salad station, eggs and omelets, carving stations for turkey and prime rib, and entrees, and costs $26 ($13 for 12 and younger). Reservations: 704-377-1500; 222 E. Third St.
Order takeout before Nov. 16 (pickup is 9 a.m.-noon Nov. 22) at 704-331-4360 (or email The traditional "feast" package includes a 15- to 20-pound turkey, two sides and a dessert, serving 10, for $100; the Coastal package adds one side and one dessert to that, serves 15-20 and costs $120.

Mimosa Grill plans to serve Thanksgiving buffet 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for $29.95 for adults, $12.95 12 and younger. The menu is here.
Reservations: 704-343-0700.

The restaurant will also offer takeout dinners, available for pickup after 4 p.m. Nov. 21 or 8-11 a.m. Nov. 22. That's a turkey and sides, in heat-and-serve containers with instructions, for $28.95 per person. Menu and details here.

Passion8 will serve dinner 4-8 p.m. on Thanksgiving for $48 per person, with kids 10 and younger eating free. Among choices on the menu: rutabaga soup, pumpkin and goat cheese strudel, New Town Farm turkey with honey Jack Daniels rosemary jus, Hickory Nut Gap bone-in pork chop, chorizo and cornbread stuffing, whipped heirloom pumpkin mousse stuffed eclair and more. 803-802-7455; 3415 Highway 51 N, Fort Mill.

Beer dinner, beer on special

Roosters hosts a Highland Brewing dinner Nov. 17, with courses incluidng Looper Farms pork belly with cuttlefish and fennel brodo, with Kashmir India Pale Ale; wood-grilled antelope with Woodford Reserve barrel-aged IPA; and more. $55; 150 N. College St.; 704-370-7667.

The Pizza Peel offers all pints of beer under 8 percent alcohol by volume for $3 on Nov. 21 -- more than 30 of them. 4422 Colwick Road; 704-714-8808.

Dine out, do good

Buffalo Wild Wings hosts a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Charlotte on Nov. 27: Watch the UNC or N.C. State games and 10 percent of your check will be donated. Info: Janel Hernandez at 704-553-5364.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New lineups and creations

New cocktails at Halcyon include the Carriage Car -- Carriage House apple brandy from Asheville, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, lemon juice, hard cider, egg white and flamed orange peel -- and the Amaro Amore, for which Maggie Ruppert is making her own cranberry sage amaro (that's an herbal liqueur, here mixed with St. Germain elderflower liqueur, blood orange puree and sparkling wine). And yes, there's still moonshine on that menu, among them a mix of pumpkin-infused Troy & Sons, with Blenheim's ginger ale, mulling spices and moonshine-macerated pumpkin cubes. 500 S. Tryon St.; 704-910-0865.

Sir Edmond Halley's new winter menu is out. Among the offerings: Guinness Irish stew, shepherd's pie, pan-seared mahi mahi, quinoa lettuce wraps, vegan chili, ginger salmon burger and buffalo sloppy joe. 704-525-7775;

Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse has four new menus: lunch and dinner, plus a vegetarian lineup from chef Anthony Ascanio, and a craft cocktail menu (featuring house-infused spirits) from part-owner Brian Cole. New dishes include spiced tuna steak on salad with honey ginger vinaigrette; chicken salad wrap; chicken and waffles; cast iron duck with cranberry port reduction; and more.

19th annual Beaujolais Festival, plus Newton

Celebrate "les premières vendanges,” the first grape harvests of the year -- aka the 2012 Beaujolais Nouveau festival in Charlotte -- at the Levine Museum of the New South Nov. 16. Beaujolais Nouveau is traditionally (by French law) not released until midnight on the third Thursday of November. Then it can be sold, and can be quite the circus. In Charlotte, which is one of 16 U.S. cities recognized as an official Beaujolais city, the party runs 6-9 p.m. with live jazz, French food and raffles, including one to test drive a (inexplicably Italian) Maserati. $25 for members of the Charlotte International Cabinet & Alliance Francaise, $30 for others.

Blue hosts a Newton Vineyard wine dinner Nov. 16. Among the courses: pan-seared scallops over celery root puree with 2011 Red Label Chardonnay; house-cured pork belly with butternut squash caponata with 2009 Red Label Claret; duo of oven-roasted veal loin and Cabernet-braised veal cheek sugo with 2009 Red Label Cabernet Sauvignon; and more. $75; 704-927-2583; 206 N. College St.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Free coffee

Bruegger’s Free Coffee Day is Nov. 14 (until 2 p.m.), raising money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Get a free cup and donate your extra change, if you want, to the area hospital. Last year, it says, Bruegger's donated $100,000.

Links for a gray day: Hops! Hots!

For the beer fans who've made their numbers known after recent stories about craft beer in Charlotte, here are two ways from Serious Eats to wow friends by learning to identify the specific hops in what you're drinking:

The "Three Cs" are here and Amarillo, Summit, etc., here.

And for the un-beer-inclined: hot alcoholic cocktails Buzzfeed has dubbed "mugtails": here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dine out, do good

Among restaurants doing “Dining Out for Hospice” days in November are Restaurant X,
Bonefish Grill
in Matthews, Trio, Encore Bistro & Bar, both Dressler's, Sports Page Food & Spirits, Mama Ricotta's, Sabi Asian Bistro and Fatz Café. On their days, they donate 10-15 percent of sales to either Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman, Hospice & Palliative Care Lincoln County or Levine & Dickson Hospice House. More may join; check for specific dates and additions.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Think Rebecca Black's 'Friday' but... with turkey

Happy pre-Thanksgiving! This is just going viral, I understand.
Just ... wow. You're welcome.

Updated: Craft beer lovers!

Here's a peek at the craft beer scene as it's developing in the Queen City: Also posted: A few geek-level tidbits of info (share more; I love jargon!) and Charlotte's top spots to get both craft beer and food, revealed: Got more? Let us know... (Photo:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

'Pin Up, Pin Down' at 10 Park Lanes

"A mix of fashion and bowling"? How can you resist this event, Nov. 11, which brings local boutiques' "interpretation of the modern day pin-up girl" to 10 Park Lanes for a fashion show. A portion of proceeds will go to the Levine Cancer Institute’s Carolinas Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, and there'll be a silent auction with donations from Tiffany & Co., The Palm, 10 Park Lanes and more.

General admission tickets are $10; a VIP table (seating four to six) is $200 and includes a bottle of Moët rose, a gift bag and appetizers. After the event, guests get all-you-can-bowl for $14. Tickets at

10 Park Lanes, 1700 Montford Drive.

New at Fran's

Fran's Filling Station kicks off a new menu Nov. 12. Look for a new section, which owner Fran Scibelli has dubbed "When something light will suffice," of dishes such as crabcakes and spinach/ricotta gnocchi, and four kinds of meatballs served in both half and full portions.

The lunch menu has been revamped as well. 2410 Park Road; 704-372-2009.

Also new: Fran's at the 7th Street Public Market is beginning to serve breakfast, and has added panini sandwiches and other dishes. Plans there include a prepared food section and cooking classes later in the month.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cosmos rolls out 15-year anniversary menu

Cosmos Cafe celebrates the 15th-year anniversary of its uptown location with a three-course dinner special Nov. 9-17 for $15 (add $15 for a wine upgrade). The menu will be available at both the uptown one (300 N. College St.; 704-372-3553) and the Ballantyne location (8420 Rea Road; 704-544-5268); see it at New executive chef Robert Warner, who has cooked at the uptown McCormick & Schmick's, is also at work on a new dinner menu.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

D'Vine Wine Cafe does 'Holiday Super Taste'

The D'Vine Holiday "Super Taste" will be 2-5 p.m. Nov. 10, with "food shooters" -- that's small bites of such holiday fare as turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, etc., so that you can sample and choose appropriate wines for your holiday meal. Fine Wine Trading Co., Epiphany Wines, Tryon Distributing and Country Vintner will be set up at four stations in the dining room, so that attendees can travel from station to staion. $25; D'Vine Wine Cafe; 14815 John J. Delaney Drive; 704-369-5050.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dine out, do good

Blue and Presbyterian Cancer Rehabilitation & Wellness offer a wine and cheese event Nov. 14, with a silent auction and live music, benefitting cancer survivor programs. $30; free parking in the Hearst Tower;; 704-384-4048.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Davidson hosts chef

Chef Deborah Madison will be at Davidson College Nov. 8 and 9, and you can meet the founder of San Francisco's Greens (noted for farm-to-table fare and mainstreaming vegetarian food) and two-time winner of the Julia Child Cookbook of the Year award at two events:

Nov. 8, she'll host a squash tasting at 11 a.m. with seven or eight squash dishes to taste and instructions for cooking them. It's free.
Nov. 9, she'll coordinate a meal in the dining hall 11 a.m.-1:45 p.m. with braised chicken with dried fruit and shallots, goat cheese tart, tri-color quinoa and three soups (red lentil, winter squash and tomato). That's $10.25.

Info: Craig Mombert at 704-894-2600.

Bits and crumbs

Bojangles' brings back the Pork Chop Biscuit Nov. 5 through "late December" in company-owned and participating franchises in the Charlotte area (you can check on

If you're willing to sign up for the Sticky Fingers chain's StickEClub (no, really: you do it here), you can get a $2.99 sandwich on Black Friday (Nov. 23) and the day after Christmas this year. You get a choice of pulled pork or pulled chicken, with slaw, with the purchase of a drink, dine-in only. 12410 Johnston Road.

AZN hosts a wine dinner with The Wine Vault Nov. 18, featuring Flora Springs winery. Among the courses: steamed shrimp dumplings with Chardonnay and Cantonese roasted duck with Merlot. $60; 704-548-9463; the restaurant is at 4620 Piedmont Row Drive.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pickles and ... beer!

Growlers Pourhouse’s next Beer Education night is 7-9 p.m. Nov. 6, in collaboration with The Liberty: That restaurant’s Tom Condron has made an assortment of pickles for a beer-pickle pairing. Planned duos include fresh (refrigerator) pickle with Scrimshaw pilsner (keg); pickled tomato with Bell’s Oarsmen (bottles); and spicy-chile-and-hop-infused pickle, paired with Smuttynose IPA. The event is free, with samples handed out. 3120 N. Davidson St.; 704-910-6566.

Mama Ricotta's gets a new look

Mama Ricotta's has reopened after a substantial interior renovation that features larger tables for families and gatherings, exposed brick walls, reclaimed wood, white subway tile around the wood-burning oven, the addition of booths and vintage family photos, and a wood-crate wine wall.

Now open for more than 20 years, the place is keeping dishes such as housemade mozzarella and penne alla vodka but adding new dishes from chef Drew Ward such as beet, avocado and arugula salad, pappardelle Genovese with beef and oxtail ragu, and carrot cake cheesecake.

Owner Frank Scibelli says in a press release that he drew inspiration for the redesign from the Italian restaurants he grew up with in New York and New England. 601 S. Kings Drive; 704-343-0148;

Photo courtesy of Mama Ricotta's.