Amuse Bouche

by Brian Clarey

So it’s springtimein Greensboro and the water tastes like your socks have been soaking init. That’s the word from Donnell LaVell, water education programcoordinator for the city’s department of water resources. Not to worry- it’s just a bit of sediment stirred up by recent rains, according tothe 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’sPrime Steakhouse & Wine Bar holds the High-Low Wine Dinner onFriday night: five courses, each with two wines. Diners will have totry to guess which wine cost half the price of the other. The menulooks crazy-good. Chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates wrapped in bacon wasabicrab fritters. What? Lamb carpaccio? Lemon gingersnap pie? If you’redrooling, call 336.294.7790 for more info. Another seriouslytasty chain restaurant, Bonefish Grill, introduces a slate of healthfulMediterranean dishes this month with ingredients like olives, fetacheese and artichokes, and also a summery cocktail of strawberry-basillemonade made with orange-infused vodka. Call the restaurant at336.851.8900 for a reservation. EarthFare leans on theMediterranean theme with an installment of its culinary series onWednesday at noon: a chicken stew with healthy ingredients. The weekrounds out over on Battleground Avenue with a Green Spring art show andwine tasting on Friday at 8 p.m. There will be wine. There will be hotappetizers. And the winners of the Green Spring art contest will beannounced. Also, Friday at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market isGreenhouse Vegetable Day. If you’ve never had a greenhouse tomato, wellthen, my friend, you’ve never tasted the sweet, sweet fruits ofmanipulative agriculture – unless, of course, you eat the tortillasfrom Taco Bell, which for a time were made from bioengineered cornconsidered unfit for human consumption. Anyway… greenhouse tomatoesare the purest expression of a tomato you can get, unfettered byvariants like weather and soil. Try one sliced on a sandwich Friday atthe farmers market – they’re free – and see if you agree. Overin Winston-Salem, where the people swear the water tastes like wine,the culinary scene is quiet – either that, or I’ve been blacklistedfrom the press-release mailing lists of every restaurant in town, whichis not entirely out of the realm of possibility. One more:What’s up with the cardamom? The Indian spice, a symbol of hospitalityand prestige, is the hot new ingredient, popping up in fusion dishesand chic eateries in big-food cities all over the globe. I even saw arecipe online for warm cardamom doughnuts. But a quick Google searchshows that the cardamom trade is big business. It’s the second-mostexpensive spice in the world (after saffron) and has been tradedcommercially since the 1500s, and it’s history is rife with intrigueand betrayal. Recently the Spices Board of India – yes, there is such athing – switched cardamom to an e-auction system, which is good news ifyou want to try one of those doughnuts.