Amuse Bouché

by Brian Clarey

I get a pretty big charge out of deflating the oh-so witty and urbane folks who put out The New York Times’ Dining & Wine section because, I mean, really.

But every now and again they’ll spot a trend that excites me. And last week, in a feature titled “Eat 300 and Say “Spherification,'” they spotlight a new process for consuming alcohol. Spherification uses “a magnetic agitator, magnet extractor, syringes and a stash of powdered chemicals” to make “tiny, edible balls” of booze, which the distributors are likening to caviar and suggesting bartenders spoon into neat cocktails and champagne.

Last week Remy Cointreau distributed kits to make the booze balls to about 20 New York City bartenders. Look for it in the Triad… perhaps never, because you know how weird North Carolina is about its liquor laws.

Wine, however, is still perfectly legal as long as you don’t make a huge amount of it in your garage. The Grove Winery, with all necessary licensure and permits, last week introduced its General Nathanael Greene Merlot commemorative wine in honor of Greensboro’s 200th birthday, available only at the winery and Wine Warehouse in Greensboro. Only 1,808 bottles were produced (because Greensboro was founded in 1808, duh) and the first was presented to Mayor Yvonne Johnson. It should be noted, as well, that my friend Pam Lynch created the label, which should surely rocket her to graphic-design stardom.

Over in Stokesdale, Stonefield Cellars Winery will have a wine release party on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. featuring Sangiovese and Riesling selections.

Undercurrent Restaurant in Greensboro has seen traction with its tasting and pairing menus. Next week’s selections include thyme-marinated shiitake caps, pan-seared duck breast, grilled beef tenderloin and a potato onion tart on the Monday-Tuesday tasting menu. Highlights from the Wednesday-Thursday pairing menu include a potato-look mascarpone tower with a 2005 Höpler Pinot Blanc and smoked country paté with a 2004 Cotes du Rhone.

On the opposite side of the culinary spectrum, Jimmy John’s has opened for business in downtown Greensboro. Try the Italian Night Club with hot pickled peppers.

Greensboro’s Earth Fare features two events on Wednesday: lemony lentil and spinach stew at noon, and instruction in vegan cooking by guest speaker Kevin Taylor at 6:30 p.m.

Got room for one more: On Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Davie County Public Library in Mocksville, master beekeeper Gregory Fariss teaches a short, five-week course in introductory beekeeping. Qualified graduates will take the NC Certified Beekeeper exam, and two students will be(e) awarded a free starter hive. Call 336.998.2975 for more details.