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Amuse Bouché

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So it’s springtime in Greensboro and the water tastes like your socks have been soaking in it. That’s the word from Donnell LaVell, water education program coordinator for the city’s department of water resources. Not to worry – it’s just a bit of sediment stirred up by recent rains, according to the city’s press release, and is a temporary condition.

Also, it’s chock-full of vitamins. Okay, I’m making that part up.

Despite the funk, culinary activities abound in the Gate City.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar holds the High-Low Wine Dinner on Friday night: five courses, each with two wines. Diners will have to try to guess which wine cost half the price of the other. The menu looks crazy-good. Chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates wrapped in bacon wasabi crab fritters. What? Lamb carpaccio? Lemon gingersnap pie? If you’re drooling, call 336.294.7790 for more info.

Another seriously tasty chain restaurant, Bonefish Grill, introduces a slate of healthful Mediterranean dishes this month with ingredients like olives, feta cheese and artichokes, and also a summery cocktail of strawberry-basil lemonade made with orange-infused vodka. Call the restaurant at 336.851.8900 for a reservation.

EarthFare leans on the Mediterranean theme with an installment of its culinary series on Wednesday at noon: a chicken stew with healthy ingredients. The week rounds out over on Battleground Avenue with a Green Spring art show and wine tasting on Friday at 8 p.m. There will be wine. There will be hot appetizers. And the winners of the Green Spring art contest will be announced.

Also, Friday at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market is Greenhouse Vegetable Day. If you’ve never had a greenhouse tomato, well then, my friend, you’ve never tasted the sweet, sweet fruits of manipulative agriculture – unless, of course, you eat the tortillas from Taco Bell, which for a time were made from bioengineered corn considered unfit for human consumption. Anyway… greenhouse tomatoes are the purest expression of a tomato you can get, unfettered by variants like weather and soil. Try one sliced on a sandwich Friday at the farmers market – they’re free – and see if you agree.

Over in Winston-Salem, where the people swear the water tastes like wine, the culinary scene is quiet – either that, or I’ve been blacklisted from the press-release mailing lists of every restaurant in town, which is not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

One more: What’s up with the cardamom? The Indian spice, a symbol of hospitality and prestige, is the hot new ingredient, popping up in fusion dishes and chic eateries in big-food cities all over the globe. I even saw a recipe online for warm cardamom doughnuts. But a quick Google search shows that the cardamom trade is big business. It’s the second-most expensive spice in the world (after saffron) and has been traded commercially since the 1500s, and it’s history is rife with intrigue and betrayal. Recently the Spices Board of India – yes, there is such a thing – switched cardamom to an e-auction system, which is good news if you want to try one of those doughnuts.

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