Thursday, September 27, 2012

'Eden Eats' in Charlotte Sept. 28

The Cooking Channel's "Eden Eats" puts host Eden Grinshpan in a different city each week, with 24 hours to pack in ethnic eating experiences. The Sept. 28 show has her in Charlotte, learning to make Taiwanese pickle sandwiches and bubble tea at Grand Asia Market; a mackerel dish at Caribbean Hut, the Serbian bread samoon at Nova's, Venezuelan arepas at the Antojitos mi Colombia bakery, Korean rice cakes at PePeRo and chaat (including dabeli) at Bollywood Bites.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Feast at Historic Rosedale

"The Feast of the Hunter’s Moon Antebellum Dinner" is the poetic name for an interesting dinner: Historic Rosedale aims to evoke the 19th century on Oct. 22 with a five-course dinner from area chefs, coordinated by chef Geoffrey Blount. First, you'll have wine and canapés served on the lawn, by the 200-year-old boxwood; then you'll repair to the house, built in 1815, for a candlelit, china-and-crystal-decked supper with wine pairings. (And yes, I'm told, there will be some donning of period costumes, but not by everyone, so don't let that stop you...)

$150; 3427 N. Tryon St.; 704-335-0325;

Green Flash en route

San Diego's Green Flash Brewing has its first N.C. beer dinner Sept. 28, at The Liberty, four courses and five beers. Among the lineup: roasted wild striped bass with Rayon Vert; and smoked and roasted Sonoma Valley duck breast with vanilla-roasted butternut squash with Tripel Ale. $45; 1812 South Blvd.; 704-332-8830.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top Chef, the restaurant?

Top Chef Kitchen opens Oct. 16 and serves dinner through Nov. 18 in New York's Tribeca, Bravo announced today.
According to a marketing VP, this gives "our highly passionate fans" a chance to meet "a range of our talented chef'testants." (Yes, that is apparently spelled with an apostrophe.) Look for chef'testants Richard Blais, Jennifer Carroll, Tiffany Derry, Tiffani Faison, Mike Isabella, Edward Lee, Antonia Lofaso, Paul Qui, Grayson Schmitz and Fabio Viviani to rotate as executive chefs.
Here's how it works: Two chefs' menus are offered simultaneously in Tuesday-Sunday timeframes, and you can mix and match or go with just one's lineup. The four-course dinner goes for $95 ($125 with wine pairings), or you can order an eight-course tasting menu with wines. Oct. 16-21, it's Mike Isabella (above) and Edward Lee (below), with dishes such as butternut squash gnocchi with pork belly; olive-oil-poached smoked lamb saddle with sunchoke and preserved lemon; seafood sausage and brown butter oysters with pearl barley; and tamarind pork breast with collards and kimchi. (Extra points if you can guess which dish goes with which guy. Without looking.)
211 W. Broadway; Reservations:

Herons in Cary hosts Fête du Bordeaux dinner

Herons, the restaurant at Cary's Umstead Hotel and Spa, is one of 10 destinations chosen for the 2012 Fête du Bordeaux, which will give diners a preview of the 2010 vintage -- and it appears to be a good one. It's the first time a restaurant in North Carolina has been included. (Other destinations this year include Spago in Los Angeles, the Four Seasons (NYC) and One Market in San Francisco.) Representatives from three top Médoc chậteaux will be on hand for the Oct. 25 dinner to guide the previews, and will present other wines as well, including the 2011 Blanc de Lynch Bages.

Among the courses: guinea hen with foie gras pudding and pine barley risotto; venison loin with quinoa and smoked dates; and apple tart tatin.

$185; 919-447-4000; 100 Woodland Pond Drive in Cary.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Here's my number. Call me, maybe...

... on the radio this Wednesday morning (Sept. 26), that is: WFAE's "Charlotte Talks" and Mike Collins will be discussing the Charlotte restaurant scene and you're invited to call in (or email, or tweet or Facebook message). We start at 9. Here are the contacts:

Join the live broadcast by calling 704-926-9323 or 800-603-9323.




Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wine dinners: Frank and Barolo vs. Brunello

D'Vine Wine Cafe does a Frank Family wine dinner Sept. 27, with Danny Sanford of Fine Wine Trading as guest. Courses include seared quail with creamy polenta and peach-jalapeno jam, wtih 2010 Napa Chardonnay; and buffalo meatloaf with seared sweetbreads and side-by-side Cabernets: 2010 Napa and 2008 Rutherford Reserve.
$79.99; 14815 John J. Delaney Drive; 704-369-5050.

Zebra creates the Barolo vs. Brunello challenge Oct. 18 with a five-wine, five-course dinner for $85. Among the selections: plank-roasted salmon with 2007 Giacomo Grimaldi Barolo "Le Coste," and venison loin with mustard and preserved figs with 2006 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino "Prime Donna." 4521 Sharon Road; 704-442-9525.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A taste of FreeMore (think neighborhood food)

The first “Taste of FreeMore” - which FreeMoreWest Partners (a nonprofit promoting Charlotte's west side) hopes to make an annual event - will be Oct. 6, benefiting itself and Classroom Central. Area restaurants Savor Cafe, Pinky's Westside Grill, The Burger Company, Open Kitchen, Dairy Queen and Picante will bring food, selling for $1-$5, and Four Friends and Birdsong breweries will sell beer. The event - 4-8 p.m. in The Burger Company's parking lot at Morehead Street and Freedom Drive - will include live music from The Blue Dogs, a large art tent with area artists painting and showcasing work, and face-painting and balloon animals for kids. Folks attending are also encouraged to bring pencils to donate to Classroom Central, or clothes and computer supplies to go to Goodwill. Admission is free; purchases are cash only.

“We wanted to create a signature event that brought people from all over the city to see how great FreeMoreWest is,” Chris Wannamaker, chairman of FreeMoreWest Partners, said in a press release. Info:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dine out for kids

Through Sept. 22, eat at participating restaurants and you're supporting No Kid Hungry, the effort of national hunger-relief agency Share Our Strength. You can find restaurants closest to you here.

But I'll give you a few names: Karma Kafe, Salsarita's, Bruegger's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Which Wich, Pizza Fusion, Arby's, Nothing but Noodles, Fuddrucker's, Papa John's, Mellow Mushroom, Palm, O'Charley's, Romano's Macaroni Grill and Genghis Grill, for a start (check the website for specific locations' participation).

Interested in this effort? You can follow @nokidhungry on Twitter (Sept. 17, you can be part of its twEATOut using the hashtag #nokidhungry), or check out the Facebook page at

Friday, September 14, 2012

Food truck news

Look for the official launch party for Papi Queso, a food truck specializing in grilled cheese sandwiches, Sept. 16 with a party at bricks-and-mortar Bistro La Bon. Samples will be free, and there'll be DJ'd music and outdoor seating on the restaurant's patio. Details here.

And tonight (Sept. 14) is Food Truck Friday in South End, from 5-9 p.m. at the corner of Camden and Park Avenue.

e2 gets LEED-certified

e2 emeril’s eatery has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) CI Retail Certification. LEED certification, developed (and awarded) by the U.S. Green Building Council, is meant to show a place "was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality," according to the USGBC.

“Earning LEED certification shows we’re serious about being a sustainable, environmentally focused and local farmer-friendly restaurant,” the press release quotes chef/owner Emeril Lagasse as saying.

Partners in the process, according to e2, were Wells Fargo, Philadelphia architecture firm Floss Barber and LEED certification expert tvsdesign, and local firms Balfour Beatty, Barrett Woodyard & Associates, Tobin Starr + Partners and Childress Klein.

The restaurant is at 135 Levine Avenue of the Arts; 704-414-4797.

New at Rock Bottom

Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery begins its fall seasonal menu and seasonal beer (Rocktoberfest, naturally) Sept. 18 with a tapping party, at which you can taste both. Among the list: chicken spinach sliders, sausage mac 'n cheese, beer-glazed pork chop, German sausage platter (that's it, above) and more. 401 N. Tryon St.; 704-334-2739.

Peel party, etc.

The Pizza Peel has a lively late September on tap: Look for its Oktoberfest part 1-6 p.m. Sept. 22, with live music and the chance to win free pizza for a year. Then, Sept. 27, dress up as Sam Adams (or the lovely Ms. Adams) for a costume contest commemmorating Sam Adams' birthday; there'll also be a stein hoisting contest, and Sam Adams trivia competition. 4422 Colwick Road; 704-714-8808.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Palm burgers

The Palm offers $8.37 burgers Sept. 17-21 (because Sept. 18 is National Cheeseburger Day and because the original Palm was at 837 2nd Ave. in NYC), plus $1 burger sliders at the bar 5-7 p.m. and 9 p.m.-closing. The regular burgers are 12 ounces, come with fries and can be had in five versions, including one with Gouda and barbecue sauce, with prosciutto and pesto, and with Danish bleu and bacon. Phillips Place; 704-552-7256.

Dine out, do good

If you go to a Five Guys between Sept. 17 and Oct.1 and check in on Facebook or Foursquare, Kraft Foods will donate one meal to Feeding America, a national hunger relief group. The effort is tied to National Cheeseburger Day (which, as we all know, is Sept. 18, and BTW, Five Guys uses Kraft American cheese); September is Feeding America's "Hunger Action Month."

Rev the Lamborghini

Bonterra hosts a Lamborghini wine dinner Sept. 18 with Patrizia Lamborghini on hand. Among the courses: oven-dried tomato and ricotta tart with 2009 Lamborghini “Trescone” IGT; veal scallopini with fire-roasted mushrooms and 2007 Lamborghini “Torami” IGT; grilled lamb chops with 2006 Lamborghini “Campoleone” IGT, and more. (IGT is a designation of geography but allows foreign grape varieties to be used; Super Tuscans are an example.) $75, with partial proceeds to benefit children's charities of Charlotte Wine & Food Weekend 2014. Reservations required; 704-333-9463; 1829 Cleveland Ave.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bits and crumbs: Hospitality, spirituality, capitalism

Restaurateur Jim Noble of The King's Kitchen and Rooster's will be part of the kickoff of Myers Park United Methodist's autumn series on hospitality: a supper program Sept. 23 that's free with a suggested $5 donation for local missions. Noble will talk, with Rev. James Howell, about "what they've learned about welcoming others, and the spiritual dimensions of reaching out to those who are different." Reservations: 704-376-5520 ext. 5950; the church is at 1501 Queens Road.

Harvey's Bar & Grill has opened a second location in Lake Norman, on Liverpool Parkway in Cornelius. The original is at 13812 Cinnabar Place in Huntersville; both offer an eclectic menu of pizzas, steaks, burgers, sandwiches, wings, ribs and more. Two dozen microbrews on tap and a dozen television screens, plus live music, aim at a neighborhood-hangout feel. Owners Charlie Dyer and Luke Adams, both graduates of Appalachian State University, plan to broadcast games.

If you haven't seen it, area food truck TIN Kitchen has a project on Kickstarter, the website designed to help creative start-up ideas get funding through social media: The goal: "a newer and more reliable TIN Truck." (Here's an example of a Kickstarter food project gone mad: something called the Porthole:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Teleport into Amelie's

Amelie's is part of a live exhibit at the Science Museum in London, but anyone anywhere can bug in and out through Google Chrome. The idea, through something called "Teleporter," is an experimental one from Google. Google installed a camera in the middle of a pastry bench at Amelie's. When someone looks (in London) or clicks (everywhere else), it's as if they're popping their heads into the middle of production, watching chefs prepare goodies. You do need Google Chrome to do it, via

Carrburritos on way

Carrburritos, which originated in Carrboro, is en route to Davidson. The original is a taqueria-style place focusing on burritos, tacos, quesadillas and specialty salsas, along with margaritas and Mexican beers. The second will take up space at 445 S. Main St., within the Wooden Stone Gallery, and will seat about 90. It's expected to open in late November or early December. Doug and Edie Surratt (co-founder of the Davidson Farmer's Market) will be partners with the owners of the original, her sister, Gail Fairbanks, and husband Bill.

New exec chef at Fern

Vegetarian spot Fern , approaching its one-year anniversary, has a new executive chef, with former sous chef Drew Trepanier replacing opening exec Alyssa Gorelick.
Expect a new fall menu in early October from Trepanier; he's testing things as specials now. Spanish and Asian influences will be noticeable, I hear, including vegan stuffed dates, housemade kimchi and vegan paella.
Gorelick says she's sticking around Charlotte and looking at opportunities. If you're trying to find her, try (link wasn't yet operational when I tried).

Monday, September 10, 2012

Vegetarian McDonald's? Yes, but not here...

Two meatless McDonald’s are slated to open in India in 2012, according to Time magazine: the first all-vegetarian sites in McDonald's 57-year lifespan (and about 33,000 restaurants worldwide). One is near Amritsar, a Sikh center of worship, and the other at Vaishno Devi cave shrine, a Hindu attraction. One dish offered: a fried potato patty in the McAloo Tikki burger. Beef and pork aren't big sellers in India, the report said (cows are sacred to Hindus and pigs are considered unclean by Muslims) - but there is a chicken-based "Maharaja Mac."

Free queso Sept. 20

All 13 Charlotte-area Moe's Southwest Grills will offer a free 6-ounce cup of queso 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sept. 20 to every diner. There's also a VIP contest on its Facebook page here (post on it by Sept. 12), for which five posters will win free queso for a month - a free 6-ounce cup every day Sept. 20-Oct. 20.

Luna's to offer dinner

Luna's Living Kitchen is officially open for dinner, with dishes such as Divinity Bowl (cashew and coconut curry over vegetables and cauliflower rice) and Rawco Taco Salad (avocado, pico de gallo, walnut-almond crumbles and cashew sour cream over organic lettuce). Restaurant hours are now 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, with breakfast served until 11 a.m. 2102 South Blvd.; 704-333-0008.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Beer and bacon

Growlers Pourhouse plans to do its regular Beer Education program Tuesday, pairing beers with bacons. Yes, various bacons, from regular to peppered to candied. Among the brews: Rogue's maple bacon one, named Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale. 3120 N. Davidson St.; 704-910-6566.