Amuse Bouche

by Brian Clarey

Here’s what’s in season in North Carolina for the month of May: blueberries, cabbage, corn, leafy greens, white potatoes, squash and… almost… watermelon. But for most fresh produce lovers, this time if year belongs to the noble strawberry.

Here’s a few strawberry tidbits courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia: During the French Revolution, Our Lady of Thermidor took strawberry baths to maintain youthful skin. Their name likely comes from the practice of packing the fragile berries in straw. They were considered poisonous in Argentina until the mid-19th century.

And, of course, they’re delicious.

In recognition of that, the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market holds Strawberry Day on Saturday beginning at 6 a.m. featuring Alex Amoroso of Cheesecakes by Alex and his infamous strawberry pancakes.

Or you could pick some up at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market on Saturday at 10 a.m. when the Triad Chili Cookoff begins. Sponsored in part by the state Chili Appreciation Society, Inc., it should be a hot time. Call Pat Gibson at 800.642.0500 for more information.

There’s big news on the wine front as well, with Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar holding a sweepstakes that will bring the winner and a guest on a tour of California wine country with tastings, tours and cuisine. Enter online at

And Winston-Salem sees Salute! The North Carolina Wine Festival this weekend beginning with a wine workshop on Friday night at the Henry F. Shaffner House Bed & Breakfast Inn at 5:30 p.m. and events all weekend long. Hit the website,, for more details on this truly monumental event.

And, of course, it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, and the least you can do is take the woman who gave you life out for a little brunch. Holiday brunch opportunities abound, but I can recommend firsthand the menus of a few area restaurants because they had the foresight to send me their menus.

The aforementioned Fleming’s offers a three-course prix fixe featuring entrees like filet mignon or crabcake Benedict, bone-in ham steak and turkey crepes along with a slew of special drinks.

The Empire Room in downtown Greensboro features a buffet-style brunch prepared by the Painted Plate. Call 336.230.1588 or hit for reservations.

Undercurrent, also in Greensboro, offers an a la carte Mother’s Day menu beginning at 11:30 a.m. with highlights like shrimp and artichoke bisque, lobster-shrimp spring rolls, oyster salad, lamb chops and cornmeal-dusted Carolina rainbow trout. Call 336.370.1266 to reserve a table.

And over in Winston-Salem, Whole Foods Market will hold brunch as they do every Sunday. No specific menu items as of press time, but it’s a safe bet that you can also pick up a quart or two of ripe, red strawberries while you’re there.