Amuse Bouche

by Brian Clarey

“It’s late September and I really should be back in school,” crooned raspy-throated singer and unlikely heartthrob Rod Stewart.

But I’m thinking, It’s late September and I really should be done cutting my lawn for the season. Fortunately — or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it — sunny skies and copious rains have nourished the local flora like a second spring.

That’s good news for Matt Russ, owner of Tate Street Coffee and burgeoning grower of organic Carolina hops at his Misty Mountain farm. The hops are one of the main ingredients in Natty Greene’s newest beer, Piedmont Organic Ale. Supplies are limited, so get your hands on one soon before it’s all gone. The rains have also aided in this year’s apple crop, which will be celebrated Saturday at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market on Apple Day, which has been moved forward from Sept. 27 to accommodate all the ripe, red fruit.

Try several varieties begniing at 11 a.m. and then go home and bake a pie, willya? Also on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m., Earth Fare in Greensboro holds an Autism Awareness Day, with samples of gluten free foods throughout the store and a 1 p.m. lecture about autism and nutrition. Five percent of the day’s sales will go to the Autism Society of North Carolina.

But the big-ticket event for Saturday is the March of Dimes 26th Annual North Carolina Chili Championship & Rubber Duck Regatta held at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons. The event attracts more than 100 chili chefs, each bringing her own brand of fire, and there is a cake-baking contest so you can finish with a little taste of something sweet. The day will also see a virtual rubber duck race and a performance by Billy Currington, who is some kind of big deal in Nashville.

There’s more: Lucky 32 and Table 16 restaurants, both in Greensboro, unveil new fall menus that celebrate the wonders of autumn harvest. Table 16 centers on seafood — the highlight appears to be the maple syrup barbecue shrimp appetizer. The pick of the litter at Lucky 32 looks, to me, to be the duck and brie bread with crimini mushrooms.

Yowza. Domino’s Pizza has teamed with High Point University to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina.

Fifty-two area Domino’s joints will hold food drives before Sept. 30 wherein a can of food is good for an order of breadsticks or two liters of soda. I know what you’re thinking: There are 52 Domino’s in the Greensboro area? And watch out for pet foods made by Mars Petcare US between February and July 2008 — brands which include Pedigree, Special Kitty, Pet Pride and Ol’ Roy. Apparently they’re bristling with salmonella, as per a product recall initiated by the company.