Saturday, January 31, 2015

'Three free bagels' at Bruegger's

Feb. 5 is the annual giveaway from Bruegger's Bagels, celebrating its birthday (it's 32). You need a coupon to get three free ones and you need to get there before 11 a.m. Go to its Facebook page, or go to the website to get one (its eClub members automatically get one via email).

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;

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.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bits and crumbs

Mooyah Burgers Fries & Shakes is slated to open at Sycamore Commons in Matthews in early February; plans call for 20 or more Mooyahs -- a Texas-based fast-casual burger chain -- across North Carolina.

New dishes at D'Vine Wine Cafe: hot caramelized onion, beer and cheddar dip; chicken sofrito with farro; duck confit with sweet potato risotto. 14815 John J. Delaney Drive; 704-369-5050.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dine out, do good: Soup on Sunday coming up

This year's Soup on Sunday benefit on Jan. 25 will be the 15th for Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region. Hosted 11 a.m.-2 p.m. by CPCC, at the culinary arts center at 425 N. Kings Drive, it will include soups from area restaurants, the chance to buy pottery from local potters, and add-ons, such as chocolates, from culinary students from CPCC, Johnson & Wales and the Art Institute.

For $40, you get a handmade potter bowl, plus food and beverages; for $30, you get just the food and drinks, and kids 7-12 eat for $10 (younger is free).

Participants and their planned soups include:

300 East: butternut squash with Gorgonzola; Artisan (at The Art Institute of Charlotte): venison chili and apple cheddar soup; Barrington's/Good Food on Montford: potato-leek; Brixx: chipotle chicken chowder; Chuy's: chicken tortilla; Community Culinary School of Charlotte: carrot ginger; e2 Emeril's Eatery: chicken and andouille sausage gumbo; Fenwick's: tomato bisque; Flavors Café: green chile stew; Global: smoked cauliflower; Johnson & Wales: shrimp bisque (and chocolates -- not in the soup!); Local Loaf: Southwestern chicken corn chowder; Mama Ricotta's: pork minestrone with pasta; Newk's Eatery: white bean and kale, and lobster bisque; Sante': roasted butternut squash; The Liberty: butternut squash bisque; Trio: mulligatawny; Village Tavern: potato-leek; and Vivace: winter vegetable minestrone with cici beans and rapini pesto.

Info:; you can get tickets there or by phone (704-335-4312) or at the door.

Charlotte Chipotles out of pork

The Observer's Andrew Dunn reports Charlotte Chipotles are out of pork, part of what's at a third of national problem. The reason, according to the Associated Press, is that a supplier violated Chipotle standards on raising pigs, particularly on their housing; the chain requires certain humane standards for animals it uses, though it has said it has trouble getting beef that's raised to those standards.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dine out, do good

Fox & Hound at Northlake hosts an event to benefit Steve's Coats for Kids and Crisis Assistance Ministry on Jan. 21: It begins at 6 p.m., and for a $10 admission, you get to sample a buffet of new and signature menu items (such as hummus, chicken tenders, Black Forest sliders and more) and two drinks (ranging from margaritas to wine and beer).

Coats can be donated until the event date at the restaurant, and you can buy tickets to the event at the door. "For the 11th year, Steve’s Coats for Kids is trying to get new and gently used coats into the arms of kids who don’t have a coat during this cold winter season,” said Steve Udelson, who is WSOC TV Channel 9's chief meteorologist. All ticket proceeds will go to Crisis Assistance Ministry, which distributes the coats. 704-509-2853; 9325 Center Lake Drive; For info on donating coats: and

Monday, January 12, 2015

Harvest Moon wine dinner

Jones von Drehle of the Yadkin Valley is the winery featured at the Harvest Moon Grille's next wine dinner, Jan. 21. There'll be four courses, and the winery owner will be on hand to talk about the place. $55; 704-735-4199;

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Midwood Smokehouse adds 2nd, plus another Bad Daddy's

Look for the second Midwood Smokehouse to open in late March in Ballantyne, says Frank Scibelli, with a menu identical to the Plaza Midwood original. It will go into the former Sticky Fingers location, at 12410 Johnston Road. Barbecue in place of a barbecue place that didn't make it? No, says Scibelli: He went to the original Sticky Fingers and "that concept in no way resembles what that concept was.
"I love that location; it's a great location." Pitmaster Matt Barry will be in charge, and a patio will be added as well. It's a little bigger than the original, and will probably take on much of the concept's catering work. "We'll continue to work on the menu, evolve the menu -- but we don't want to get too funky," Scibelli says.

Also new from Scibelli's restaurant group: A Bad Daddy's in Mooresville opened last week, at 279 Williamson Road;

Charlotte Ritz-Carlton plans The Punch Room (goodbye Urban Sip)

Feb, 14 is the target date for the Ritz-Carlton's new -- well, let's let the release describe it: "The Punch Room will evoke the legendary, sometimes notorious beverage dens of yesteryear. Dark and glamorous, its moody setting will reflect steel, metallic, gold and black design accents ... include stylish chandeliers and plush sofas ... (and have) a curated music vibe of blues, soul and doo wop." Perched on the 15th floor, it will offer beverages (and make use of "an on-site cocktail carbonator"), wines and spirits, a punch bar, and a few light dishes.

Hours will be 5-11 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday. No reservations will be taken, but you can wait to get in on Fridays and Saturdays (the Room holds about 40, and some spaces will be held for hotel guests) in the lobby lounge.

201 E. Trade St., at Trade and College;

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tupelo Honey changing it up

Big changes headed for the eight-restaurant Tupelo Honey chain (which also plans to open two new locations in Virginia and another in Myrtle Beach this year):

The new menu, which will begin in the Raleigh site Jan. 14 and roll out in Charlotte next, Jan. 28, will keep "long-standing tried-and-true Southern favorites" but add many sharing plates, such as country ham and cream cheese wontons with shaved honeyed Brussels sprouts salad; baked three-cheese macaroni with Cajun blackened shrimp; and house-cured Atlantic salmon with crispy potato pancake and tomato jam. It's adding entrees as well: roasted duck breast with cherry port wine sauce; grilled lamb chops with blackeyed pea and French green bean salad and mint chimichurri; and pan-seared sea scallops with spring pea risotto.

Drinks get new emphasis, with Tyler Alford (formerly with Commander's Palace in New Orleans) taking on the bar program. The interiors change too, with new paint colors, and the signature yellow plates are out; off-white ones are in.

Also new: Throw It Back Thursdays, a '90s retro night when there'll be a '90s movie on bar TVs, build-your-own old fashioneds and a free bar snack with purchase.

A news release quotes the company's executive chef Brian Sonoskus: “Southern tastes are changing as a new generation of diners is influencing the way in which we eat. They want to share their food as a table, they want bold global flavors, and they want to be able to customize their meal." Reacting to that, Tupelo will offer chicken choices, for example, of Southern buttermilk fried, Cajun blackened or curried fried thigh with fresh apple salsa.

Also quoted is CEO Steve Frabitore: “After looking at our research, we want the Tupelo Honey experience to remain
creative, fun and relevant. We’re still focused on Southern food – both traditional as well as the Southern food that’s being influenced by different cultures, ethnicities and traditions now thriving in our region.” Tupelo Honey began in 2000 in Asheville; it now has locations (on addition to Charlotte) in Knoxville, Johnson City and Chattanooga, Tenn.; Greenville, S.C.; and Raleigh. Info:


Friday, January 2, 2015

Stagioni turns 1 Jan. 6

Stagioni, the third restaurant for the Moffett Restaurant Group (following chef Bruce Moffett's Barrington's, then Good Food on Montford), celebrates a year in business on Jan. 6, and diners will be offered a complimentary glass of Prosecco, which the restaurant keeps on tap. Chef Ashley Quick plans in the new year a monthly online column called "Honest Cooking," focusing on seasonal and local foodstuffs. He'll also be offering cooking classes on traditional Italian fare at the restaurant.

715 Providence Road; 704)372-8110;