by Brian Clarey

The eating season is in full swing these days, with a massive slate of events in the books and lots of new menu items based on all the fresh produce.

First off, Fire in the Triad has booked its bracket for cooking challenge that begins on May 15 — 16 chefs squaring off live to see who’s the best. More on this as the action unfolds, but check out the lineup at competitiondining. com/events/fire-in-the-triad.

Also on the books, Dishcrawl, a food-sampling event that takes place in Greensboro on April 24. Find out more at

In franchise news, Popeyes has brought back its Rip’n Chick’n strips. Chili’s is adding pizza to its menu, while Chipotle makes tofu a year-round choice. Tofurkey — the company that makes the vile, meatless concoction, has begun making “sausage.”

Locally, Foothills Brewing is adding 800 barrel’s worth of fermentation tanks at its new manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem. And remember Saltmarsh Willie’s, the seafood joint last seen on Lawndale Avenue in Greensboro? They’re reopening in downtown Greensboro, giving us all a great excuse to use our pirate voices.

On Thursday, Café Pasta in Greensboro holds a wine tasting at 6:30 p.m.

pitting Italian wines against American vintages. Over in Winston-Salem, Sci- Works hosts a Science of Wine exhibition and tour beginning at 1 p.m., with a field trip to a local vineyard. Find out more at

On Friday, the Fresh Market on Greensboro’s Lawndale Avenue holds a cooking demo at 3 p.m. featuring seared salmon with mango sauce.

Saturday the Burke Street Food Truck Rodeo goes down from 3-7 p.m. You get one guess as to where it is being held.

And at Winston-Salem’s Whole Foods Market, an event called Earthlings Unite, “an out-of-this-world bash,” begins at noon.

Did we mention Saturday is April 20, also known as 4/20? Happy eating, my friends.

Sunday things cool down with the Pottery festival at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market and the Herb Festival at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market. No, it’s not that kind of herb festival.