Amuse Bouche

by Brian Clarey

Here in the North Carolina Triad — where there are thousands of regional dishes, most of them barbecue — the “not-from-around- heres” like mealways appreciate when tastes from our native soil make it to town. So I was pretty psyched to see that Dunkin’ Donuts has opened a franchise right near my Greensboro neighborhood. For the uninitiated, Dunkin’ Donuts began in New England around 1950 and quickly spread its brand of sugar-glazed goodness throughout the Northeast. When I was a kid in the 1970s and ’80s, mothers would bring boxes of Dunkin’ Donuts to school for their kids’ birthdays, and anytime you went to a sleepover there was an unspoken understanding that there would be a dozen of them in a colorful box in the kitchen table when we woke up. My father still buys them by the box and keeps the leftovers in the freezer. They also have great coffee. Stop by the newest location on Wendover Avenue in Greensboro to see for yourself. In other chain-restaurant news, Bonefish Grill took home a Platinum Award in the seafood category after a Restaurants & Institutions survey. The Consumers’ Choice in Chains Awards surveys more than 3,100 customers on 120 different restaurants. Speaking of restaurant awards, Wine Spectator magazine recently awarded its “coveted” Award of Excellence to Osteria L’intrepido in Milan, Italy based on examination of the restaurants menu, wine list and website and its $250 “entry fee.” The problem is that the restaurant doesn’t exist — it was a figment of wine critic Robin Goldstein’s imagination, proving what many restaurant insiders already know: The Wine Spectator Award of Excellence is a bunch of crap. This year, according to the Chicago Tribune, almost 4,500 restaurants paid the application fee and all but 319 won the award. Said Tom Pirko, an ebverage industry consultant: “This gets down to what the Wine Spectator is all about. It’s not exactly Wine for Dummies; it’s more Wine for the Gullible.” Locally, though, things are on the level. On Wednesday, the Press Wine Café holds a Rogue beer dinner starting at 7 p.m. Visit for more details. Also on Wednesday at Earth Fare in Greensboro is a lesson in vegan cooking. Beginning at 6:30 p.m.; chef Kevin Taylor will pontificate in the vegan lifestyle while cooking up some dishes. The event is free and open to the public. Then on Friday, Earth Fare hosts a Mommy & Me Ice Cream Social at 1 p.m. in conjunction with Triad Mommies. There will be a toppings bare. I repeat: There will be a toppings bar. The on Monday, which this week is Labor Day, the Grove Winery hosts Swirlfest. There is little description on the website,, but it’s safe to say there will be wine. And swirling.