Amuse Bouche’

by Brian Clarey

Good god.

I’ve got this entire space to fill, and as far as I can tell there is pretty much nothing going on in the Triad culinary scene this week – at least, nothing anybody has seen fit to send me an e-mail about. Get with it, people! If you send me an e-mail about your upcoming food-related event, I will run it in this space.


What I usually do in times like this is cruise over to the News & Record website and pinch a few food items from my colleague Carl Wilson’s Short Orders column, but he’s pretty much crapped out this week, too.

But the show, as they say, must go on.

So, since I’m still on Christmas break and also because I’m not sure anybody actually reads this column, I’ve decided to fill the space with food-related miscellany that I’ll just keep piling on, like the many layers of a finely crafted sandwich, until I reach that magical 450-word count.

We’re drinking more Champagne. Or, at least, we’re buying more Champagne… whether we’re pouring it down our gullets or spraying it, rapper-style, on scantily clad women in “da club” is something that has yet to be systematically investigated. But, according to USA Today and the good old New York Times Dining & Wine section, we’re facing a shortage up in here like it’s 1999, when millennial celebrations soaked up nearly every drop on the planet. In France, the only place where true Champagne is made, the government is considering expanding the areas where Champagne grapes can be grown. And stateside, Korbel has seen a nearly 10 percent increase in business.

Speaking of the Grey Lady, its list of the 10 best new restaurants in New York came out last week, with Momofuku Ssam Bar taking top honors. And no, that’s not a typo – ssam is a word used to describe any food that is wrapped in edible leaves or wet seaweed. And no, there will not be a Momofuku Ssam Bar opening in North Carolina anytime soon.

Another thing that hasn’t quite caught on yet in North Carolina: elaborate and/or artsy check presentations. Here they usually bring your bill on one of those plastic trays with a credit card logo on it that the waiters are always stealing for cleaning the seeds out of their weed. But at Sea Salt, on 2nd Avenue in Manhattan, they bring the check wedged into an empy sardine can. And at Kobe House, over on West 58th Street, the check comes on a block of wood with a knife plunged through it. Cool, huh?

One more thing you can’t do in North Carolina: Buy raw milk for human consumption. You can in California, but you might want to think twice about it – according to Barfblog, the blog of the food safety network, before widespread pasteurization about 25 percent of all foodborne and waterborne disease outbreaks were associated with milk.

And look at that… I went a bit long this week.