Amuse Bouche

by Brian Clarey

So far this summer we have endured much as a public body – rising gas prices, the specter of tainted food from China, a faraway war that has riven our country into sparring factions, sinkholes in our streets. Okay, one sinkhole, but hell… I drive that stretch of Wendover every day. But there is one affront, one outrage that I predict the American people will not stand for. Its affrontery will simply not be tolerated. You know what I’m talking about people: Starbucks has raised their prices. Not that any of us go there – we all try to support our local, independent coffee joints, of course – but somebody is buying those macchiatos and Paul McCartney CDs and indulging in the occasional chocolate cream cheese thingamajig. They’re blaming the raise in prices (about 9 cents for coffee drinks) on the “soaring cost of milk,” but you and I know the truth: It’s China’s fault. But China had nothing to do with the canned food recall concerning potted meat from a Castleberry, Ga. plant and a nasty strain of botulism. That was all us. And if you’ve got any Lowe’s or Food Lion brand canned beef products, why don’t you go ahead and throw them in the trash. Last week was also one in which the McDonald’s Corp. stock took a quarterly loss, its second worst ever. In retaliation, they intend to introduce a new 1/3-pound burger made from Angus beef which, presumably, will be slathered in an inappropriate amount of mayonnaise and should go great with its new “Hugo”-sized drink. Available only in some markets, the Hugo is a 42-ounce soft drink served in a cup the size of a drive-through bank window shuttle and has 410 calories when filled with regular soda and a reasonable amount of ice. No reason to mess with diet soda. A study was released last week claiming that diet soft drink consumers are actually less healthy than their full-on Mountain Dew counterparts. So when you go to Filet of Soul’s new location near the corner of Yanceyville Street and Cone Boulevard, feel free to order the sweet tea. How’s that for a segue! Moving on…. On Tuesday the Downtown Winston-Salem Farmers Market will hold its fifth annual Tomato Salsa Contest beginning at 11:30 a.m. It will be too late to enter by the time this issue hits the streets, but if you like salsa there’s bound to be plenty of the stuff flying around. And the Grove Winery, which has been carefully forging its way into the world of serious craft wine, gives in to its Southern-ness by bottling a new batch of its strawberry wine available for purchase at the winery. And anyone interested in working at the new Proximity Hotel and Printworks Bistro should attend the job fair on Monday, where applicants for the 250 or so open positions will be considered. Go to for more details.