Amuse Bouche’

by Brian Clarey

It’s full-on crazy around these parts, and not just because, with the passing of All Hallow’s Eve last week the 10-week eating binge is on (like a pot of neckbones, as it were), but because there’s food-related news both national and local that looks to me like pure lunacy.

On Halloween night, for instance, a couple guys in Halloween masks robbed the McDonald’s on Trademart Boulevard in Winston-Salem – no word, though as to who these guys were dressed up as. My vote goes to the Magical Burger King. And over in Greensboro, the Battleground Avenue Waffle House was robbed by two armed men, one who went the traditional route with a handgun and another who chose as his weapon a samurai sword.

Points for style!

Know what else is crazy? Shoney’s is selling gift cards for the holiday season. And they smell like strawberry pie! Hoo-ha!

Another bit of madness: The Center For Science in the Public Interest has launched a viral YouTube video concerning the caloric value of “Italian” meals from the Olive Garden and the Macaroni Grill. The tale of the tape reveals that Olive Garden’s spaghetti and meatballs contains about 1,100 calories. Gross, right? But the same dish at Macaroni Grill weighs in at more than 2,400 calories and 57 grams of saturated fat! That’s roughly the equivalent of six McDonald’s Quarter Pounders. Abbondanza!

More lunacy: Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar is planning a wine dinner on Tuesday night featuring – get this – all red wines. It’s true: The $95, five-course dinner will feature reds from the restaurants select list of by-the-glass wines.

Somewhat more rational are the other offerings this week in the Triad culinary scene.

Simple Kneads Bakery in Greensboro will have an open house on Thursday night in their cozy little Elm Street alley with free wine, free food and live music by… wait for it… the Alley Rabbits.

Greensboro’s Earth Fare is ratcheting up anticipation for that most gluttonous of holidays with Taste of Thanksgiving on Friday at 11 a.m. Billed as a “tasting and sampling festival,” you can be sure to find all you need for an organic turkey day.

Also, if you’re crazy enough to drive out to Highlands, just a few clicks southwest of Asheville, there is a major culinary event and celebration of all things edible. The inaugural Highlands Culinary Weekend takes place Thursday through Sunday at the Inn at Half-Mile Farm, and will encompass all manner of fine food and drink. The press release reads: “A vast array of culinary event choices will span the entire weekend as Highlands’ area restaurants, accommodations and merchants fill the days with events and activities. Evenings will be reserved for specialty dinners, featuring classic and inspired menus, wine pairings and guest chef dinners.” See for more information.