Amuse Bouche«

by Brian Clarey

Let’s talk about the weather for a few moments, shall we? It’s hot. Real hot. And if it’s not then it’s raining. Hard. They call ’em the dog days for a reason, people, and the only way to get through them is to sleep late, go to a lot of movies and start your drinking a bit earlier in the day. Everybody knows it, which is why booze-related food news bubbles to a froth right about now every summer. In The New York Times Dining & Wine section they’re talking about healthy cocktails made with herb- and vitamin-infused liquor, fresh fruit and vegetables and – gasp! – organic ingredients. Because if your drink has antioxidants in it, it doesn’t count as a vice. And the Press Wine Caf, which has recently named Dan Lynch as director of beer operations, is beefing up on their suds, with a treasure trove of beers from around the world, a half-price beer night on Fridays and a Belgian beer tasting on Wednesday featuring seven different brews. And Red Oak, the Greensboro brewery and makers of the fabulous namesake beer – three of which, mind you, will give you a full US recommended daily allowance of the entire Vitamin B complex – continues work on their site outside Burlington, near where interstates 40 and 85 diverge. The new brewpub is scheduled to open later this summer. And Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar is giving away wine… in a manner of speaking. Their Fleming’s 100 Sweepstakes – which awards one customer a 100-bottle wine collection culled from the restaurant’s own award-winning wine list – runs until July 31. Enter online at And Hogan’s Groovy Gourmet has started stocking pre-made, all-natural sandwiches and wraps constructed from healthy and locally produced ingredients in the back cooler at Deep Roots Market. This has nothing to do with liquor… or does it? Hogan’s, which has been a Whiskey District mainstay for years, occupies a special place in the hearts of the drunks at the corner of Walker and Elam. In terms of food-related events this week, Earth Fare will host a Burger for a Buck charity cookout beginning Saturday at 11 a.m. in which $1 burgers, grilled right out there in the parking lot, will benefit the Red Dog Farm animal rescue facility. They will also host two installations of their culinary series: corn and barley salad on Wednesday at noon and a Spanish immersion course in manchego potato fritatta on Friday at 7 p.m. Also on Saturday, the folks from Slow Food Piedmont Triad will be making smoothies at their booth at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market. And that’s all I’ve got for this week. See you at the bar.