Amuse Bouche

by Brian Clarey

People ask me all the time: “How do you stay current on up-to-the minute food trends in this fairly remote outpost of the global culinary scene?”

Actually, no one asks me that, but I’ll answer the question anyway.

I read the New York Times Dining & Wine section, that’s how.

Last week’s installment featured a fly-over land trifecta: a story in a New York newspaper about a Los Angeles food trend with simple, homespun roots with which even yokels like us can identify.

I’m talking about the grilled cheese sandwich, which at the Foundry on Melrose is made with taleggio cheese, arugula and apricot caper puree on raisin bread, though here in the Triad the preferred method utilizes Velveeta and maybe a slice of bacon.

Still, there’s hope for Triad epicures this week with a slew of events at our organic grocery stores.

You’ll be glad we told you about Greensboro Deep Roots Market and their October promotion: a free cup of coffee every Thursday in October, and it’s not just any coffee – it’s brewed from Larry’s Beans, the Raleigh roaster that uses only fair-trade, shade-grown, organic beans. It is currently my personal favorite brand of coffee, and I can assure you there is a bag of it on my kitchen counter right now.

Also in Greensboro, Earth Fare will hold two installments of its culinary series this week. On Wednesday at noon learn to make quinoa and smoked tofu salad. Quinoa is an ancient grain – it was sacred to the Incas – gluten free and rich in essential amino acids, magnesium and iron. Smoked tofu is what happens to tofu after it has a cigar. Then on Friday at 7 p.m. learn to make vegetable lentil curry. I’d make a joke, but there’s nothing funny about lentils.

Then, over in Winston-Salem, hit up the Whole Foods Market for two very different events. On Thursday at 6 p.m. learn about antioxidants, phytochemicals and immune-boosting foods at a Cancer Project cooking class, which is free and open to the public. Then on Friday at 4 p.m., also free, is a Wake Forest University Tailgating Grillfest and raffle, which will include samples of great grilled foods and the chance to win a mini Weber grill, which should bring you up to speed for football season.

Also, if your devotion to farm-fresh foods is strong enough to override any apprehension about crossing the SC border, check out the Pageland, SC Farm Fest which runs Friday-Sunday just a bit south of Charlotte. The event will feature local arts and crafts, beaucoup food, music and dancing, auctions, rodeo events, a cantaloupe roll, a watermelon-seed spitting contest and the highlight, the Miss Pumpkin USA Pageant. Bring a camera.