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a m u s e BOUCHE

by Brian Clarey

With the ascension of this false spring comes excellent restaurant weather, at least for the time being. So I urge you to partake in downtown Winston-Salem’s Big Eat, wherein 15 restaurants (well, 14 plus the Garage) drop 50 percent off the cost of their signature items every Tuesday through the end of March. Check out www. downtownwinston-salem.com for more details — I’ll be taking advantage of it myself as soon as I dash off this column. Also of note: Fat Tire Ales are coming to North Carolina. Developing…. And this Valentine’s Day week seems like something of a coming out for the food folks in the Triad, with a fiar slate of events. On Wednesday, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (yep, still open) serves select wines starting at $5 a glass, with proceeds going to the United Arts Council. Nothing like drinking for a cause! Thursday brings us out to Winston-Salem, where Whole Foods Market holds a Chocolate Fest beginning at 4 p.m. Dig it: “Featuring chocolate from Republic of Tea, Lake Champlain, Vosges, Moon Struck, Nashville Toffee; chocolate stouts from Brooklyn Brewery and Rogue, chocolate soufflés and much more.” And yeah, it’s a freebie. Friday the 13th is positively jamming, starting early with the Twin City Kiwanis Club Pancake Jamboree, which begins at 6:30 a.m. in the Benton Convention Center. Six bucks gets you a bellyful. Then EarthFare in Greensboro holds a wine, beer and chocolate tasting — covering pretty much all the bases there — that starts at 6 p.m. Five bucks gets you a seat at the tasting booths, and proceeds benefit LifeSpan, EarthFare’s charity of the month. But it’s a tough call because the Grove Winery in Gibsonville is also holding a wine and chocolate tasting that begins on Friday, though their runs all weekend long. Here are the numbers: three chocolates paired with three wines for 10 bucks. The Grove’s Valentine’s Day dinner is sold out, by the way. Remember to make your reservations now for your favorite places around the Triad — everybody is booking up, recession or no. Saturday night, Valentine’s Day, is one of the biggest restaurant nights of the year, and I encourage all lovers to dine by candlelight on this night. It’s also appropriate to think about your own heart — not the vessel for love, but that gnarly blue thing that pumps your blood. On Saturday EarthFare will hold a heart-healthy cooking class that begins at 2 p.m. “This will be a vegetarian cooking class featuring an appetizer, entree, and dessert,” the website claims. And it just so happens that the class coincides with a heart-healthy Valentine’s Day sampling of salubrious teas, wines and chocolates. If you’re still raring to go, Sunday night at Much Restaurant in Greensboro sees the first SIN (or service industry night) party, which begins at 8:30 p.m. For people in the service industry, Sunday night is Friday night and they’ve all got pockets full of tips to drop on beer and drink specials. The event is hosted by Velicious Eqenzi Clothing, which is worth a a name-check.

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