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Amuse Bouche’

by Brian Clarey

When I was a kid, my mother used to buy really crappy Halloween candy – Sweetarts, Pixie Sticks and the like – because if she got Snickers bars, Milky Ways, Reese’s or any other A-list candy, we’d eat it all before the big day came.

I’m going to go with the marquee candies this year, though, I think, because, let’s face it, those little two-packs of Sweetarts are not what a kid wants to see dropping into his candy bag. A short sleeve of Smarties, however, is a different story.

And don’t get me started on candied apples.

But if your tastes tend more towards the savory, Chipotle Mexican Grill will give a free burrito on Oct. 31 to any customer who comes in dressed as… a burrito. Go ahead and check your roll of foil. I’ll wait.

But Halloween is likely old news by the time you read this, and from All Saints Day until the ball drops on Times Square is officially the holiday season (though if you buy a Christmas tree today it will probably be dead before Dec. 25). To mark the shift in seasons, many area restaurants are tweaking or outright revamping their menus to highlight late autumn’s bounty.

The holiday menu at Restaurant Muse in Greensboro, available through Dec. 24, includes a whole roasted duck, slow-cooked turkey and a whole roasted goose, with sides like black mission figs with gorgonzola, sweet potato meringue mousse and three kinds of stuffing.

The Press Wine Café in downtown Greensboro, which has just cleared its first year in business, makes some changes to their fare with the inclusion of, among other things, a sweet potato bisque, a forest mushroom and gruyere tart and beef and duxelle en croute.

Highlights of the Greensboro Lucky 32’s fall menu include butternut squash, Brunswick stew and a slow-cooked duck leg.

Lucky 32’s owners have also opened the doors of Print Works Bistro, in their much-anticipated Proximity Hotel, for dinner seven nights a week.

Also: My friends Ronnie and Noel Stevens have transformed their High Point culinary gem Pomodoro under a new concept. Called Crush 1345, the Main Street eatery will follow a wine-and-tapas theme, with innovations like a rewards card system and monthly customers’ recipe contests. I congratulate them on their venture and hope to try their food soon.

Got room for one more? Police in California’s Central Valley have begun cracking down on a societal menace I had heretofore known nothing about: illegal bathtub cheese. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Seems they caught a couple guys trying to sell 375 pounds of the stuff at an open-air market. Something else I did not know: Illegal cheese-making is a felony in California.

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