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by Brian Clarey

Whelp, it’s a whole new year, and with it comes a bit of hindsight on the last one.

It included more emphasis on local sourcing, high-end pizza and “ancient grains” like quinoa, spelt and faro. Also, pickles made a comeback.

The year’s busiest restaurant night was Valentine’s Day, which fell on a Tuesday. This year, a Thursday, should be equally as successful. The slowest restaurant nights were Black Friday and — to the exclusion of sports bars — Superbowl Sunday. And the year’s most successful fast-food commercial was Burger King’s celebrity campaign that included the likes of David Beckham, Steven Tyler, Selma Hayek and Sofia Vergara. I must have missed it.

In other fast-food news, Taco Bell has launched a line of 99-cent grillers in flavors of loaded balked potato, nacho and Buffalo wing.

The big news around here is the Big Eat, Winston-Salem’s amazing downtown restaurant initiative that asks all your favorite restaurants to offer signature dishes every Tuesday night for a couple months. It begins on Tuesday, Jan. 8, though no menu has been posted yet. Check dwsp.org/bigeat.htm on Wednesday fir the initial list.

There’s not much else going on in the Triad this week.

On Saturday, the Grove Winery holds its annual inventory sale from noon-6 p.m., looking to clear our old vintages before the new ones come in. It’s a great time to pick up some bargains.

On Sunday, Greensboro’s Whole Foods Market holds its monthly jazz brunch at 11 a.m. One of these days I am going to go check that out.

Also on Sunday, a food truck rodeo goes down in the Spring Garden Street neighborhood around the parking lot of the Blind Tiger that runs from 1-7 p.m. Participants include 1618 Mobile Kitchen, the Bandito Burrito, Great Escape, a Taste of Creole, Hickory Tree and Big City Sandwiches. The weather won’t be as nice as it was for the first food truck rodeo in the fall, so it’s possible that the lines won’t be as long.

Watch for the Big Eat on Tuesday night, and look for weekly updates in this space.

That should hold you until the hoppin’ John farts quiet down. Happy New Year everybody!

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