Amuse Bouché

by Brian Clarey

Among the trendy drinking class, the pisco sour is the cocktail of the moment – at least, according to the Nation’s Restaurant News e-mail I get every month or so. The drink’s main ingredient, pisco brandy, hints at its South American origins; both Peru and Chile lay claim to it. It is essentially a brandy sour, though a mixture of egg whites, simple syrup and lemon juice would work better than standard bar sour mix, and it is blessed with a few kisses of bitters dropped in the froth after a rigorous shaking and straining.

Look for it in the Triad by Summer 2009.

Hey! I’m kidding! Seriously, though, there are plenty of things happening in the Triad right now.

Surely you’ve made your Valentine’s Day reservations by now. If not, consider attending the Sierra Club Foothills’ You Are Where You Eat presentation on Thursday night at Winston-Salem’s Parkway United Church of Christ, beginning with a meet-and-greet at 7:30 p.m. Afterwards, Cindy Conti from Sanders Ridge Farm and Shore Family Vineyard will talk about the benefits of local, sustainable and organic food. Visit the club’s website for more info:

If Valentine’s Day leaves you as sour and bitter as… well, as a pisco sour, hit the bar at Muse restaurant in Greensboro the day after for Cupid’s Revenge Day, a night of drink and food specials. Bring a picture of your ex, burn it and then exchange the ashes for a dessert. Seriously!

Earth Fare in Greensboro has got a couple of cooking lessons happening this week: forbidden rice pudding on Wednesday at noon and whole wheat fettucine with wild mushrooms on Friday at 7 p.m.

A food writer at The Winston-Salem Journal heretofore known only as the “Dinner Belle” has come out publicly as metro reporter Laura Giovanelli. Go girl! Be out and be fabulous!

Also from the Camel City comes news of Jonathan Gavin, a trainer and server at the Winston-Salem Olive Garden, who was chosen to attend that restaurant chain’s Culinary Institute in Tuscany, Italy. One of 25 participants chosen from restaurants nationwide, Gavin will tour local wineries, eat in Tuscan restaurants and generally take in the scene. I sometimes make fun of the Olive Garden in this space, but this is a pretty great program.

One more: Rocco Scarfone, he of the N Club and Much, plans to open a new sushi, Sushi Rox restaurant at 119 S. Elm St. which he says will be “a mix between sushi bars in South Beach and New York.” He is pretty tight-lipped about it, other than to say it will open in the spring and the menu will feature sushi and hibachi-style entrees.

My personal hope is that the presentation will include the onion/volcano thing. Never try that one at home, kids.