Amuse Bouché

by Brian Clarey

Some day I would like to go on a magical eating tour of Japan, ingesting only the weirdest stuff they offer: pickled grasshoppers, bee larvae, kangaroo and horse sushi, beer and chocolate flavored with wasabi, coffee-flavored chewing gum, strawberry-flavored Cheetos, cucumber-flavored Pepsi and “bilk,” which is a combination of beer and milk.

But for now I, and the rest of us, must make do with the Triad’s culinary offerings, which are a bit more… ordinary.

Two chocolate festivals go down this weekend. Earth Fare’s Wine and Chocolate Festival runs Friday through Sunday in their Greensboro location. Highlights include samples, chair massages and a Friday night “date night” instructing couples on the proper pairing of cocoa and grape. And the Burlington Arts Council holds its annual Death by Chocolate celebration Friday through Sunday across the Alamance line in the Burlington Square Mall. There will be vendors along Chocolate Avenue selling wares and offering samples, and Friday night there will be a chocolate buffet.

Earth Fare will also have a lesson in caramelized bananas with chocolate discs on Wednesday at noon and a raw food potluck dinner on Sunday at 5 p.m.

Over in High Point, a new meal preparation kitchen has opened. Entrée Vous has opened at the Palladium, where customers can come in and assemble freezer-friendly meals for their families. I hear the owners are from New Orleans, so I will likely be stopping by soon, if only to get a decent plate of BBQ shrimps.

In other news, Nancy Helen Dentler of Greensboro is a finalist in the French’s mustard “Food Loves French’s Love Story” contest. Her 200-word story, “Wild in the Aisle,” is about a food fight between actual items of food, each vying for… wait for it… more French’s mustard. And it wraps with what can only be called a mustard money shot. For her story, which is available online at, she won a $500 gift check.

Last week in this space I issued a call for restaurants to send me their Valentine’s Day menus and specials, and as a result I received exactly zero press releases from Triad restaurants describing their dinner plans for the most romantic, and possibly one of the most lucrative, nights of the year.

Meh. I’m not an angry, vindictive man. Actually, I am. But I still love all my friends and colleagues in the restaurant business, partly because you never know when you may have to go back to tending bar.

At any rate, I will still get a plug in for all the Triad restaurants: If you plan on going out to dinner on V-Day and you haven’t made reservations, get on the horn quick.

And I’ll give special play to the one place that tipped me off to their V-Day special: The Grove Winery, which will hold their Valentine’s wine dinner on Friday, the day after the holiday. It will entail six courses, all paired with wine from the vineyard. Fore more info go to

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