Amuse Bouche

by Brian Clarey

Regular readers ofthis space know that in my mid-life efforts to get my gut under controlI occasionally swear off fast food – McDonald’s in particular – withthe qualifier that hot dogs don’t count. But last week theGolden Arches unveiled a new item, the Southern-style chicken sandwich,and I figured I should shoot over and check it out, because, you know,it’s for work. The sandwich is an absolute rip-off of theChik-fil-A: a simple fried chicken breast on a bun with nothing elsesave for a couple pickle chips. And I think it’s better. The meat is alarge breast of chicken – no shredded and formed parts, nothing likethat stuff they use for the McChicken – with a crispy, homestylebreading. The yeast bun is fluffy and soft, and I am thankful to reportthat there is never even a mention of mayonnaise. McDonald’s neverunderstood mayonnaise; they usually slather on about a quarter-inch onevery sandwich that gets it. Anyway, the Southern-style chicken sandwich is a winner. Also:I got a sample of the house blend from my friends DJ and JenniferMcKie, owners of Kernel Kustard in Winston-Salem. The coffee willprovide the backbone for their newest concept Brew Nerds, locatedadjacent to the custard place on Fox Trot Court. I love the concept:scientifically brewed coffee served by real nerds – pocket protectors,taped glasses, knee socks, you name it – and bonus points for callingthe frozen drinks “Swirlies.” I’ll be by to check it out soon. Overin Greensboro, on Sunday at noon, area restaurateurs are creatingunique soups to dish out at Lunch by the Ladle in the Empire Room. Afundraiser for the Family Life Council, the event includes soupscreated by 1618 West Seafood Grill, 223 South Elm, Bert’s SeafoodGrille, Four Winds Caf’, Giovanni’s, Hogan’s Groovy Gourment, Jason’sDeli, Lucky 32, Marisol Bistro, Natty Greene’s, Pastabilities, Taste ofThai, the Painted Plate, Liberty Oak and Undercurrent Restaurant,according to a press release. Call 336.333.6890 ext. 223 for ticketinfo. EarthFare holds an installment of its culinary series onWednesday at noon, one particularly in tune with the season. Learn whatto do with all the spring asparagus that’s ready to be grilled, saut’edor broiled. I’ve always said that the most amazing thing aboutasparagus is not how bad it makes your pee smell, but how fast it getsto work. Anything that putrid, however, has got to be good for you. Youcan pick some up at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market on Saturdayduring the Triad’s Largest Yard Sale, starting at 6 a.m. and runninguntil the market closes. One more bite? Another list of theworst foods in America came out last month, this time put out in a newbook called Eat This, Eat That by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding.Among the worst: Pepperidge Farm Roasted Chicken Pot Pie (64 grams offat), Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll (813 calories) and Chili’sChocolate Chip Paradise Pie with vanilla ice cream (1,600 calories, therough equivalent of three Big Macs).