amuse bouche

by Brian Clarey

One of the ironies of working in the restaurant biz is that while you spend the evening serving NY strip steaks or foie gras, after your shift you generally make a run for the border at Taco Bell’s late-night drive-thru window, Esquire magazine acknowledges this with a list of top fast-food restaurants as composed by some of the nations best chefs. The hands-down winner was In-n-Out Burger, which we just don’t have here in the enlightened south. But also on the list was Chipotle, which we do have here in the Triad. If you like your latin cuisine homegrown, check out Rana Loca, a new eatery that opened on downtown Winston-salem’s 4th and spruce streets, open for lunch and dinner with a happening patio. Also in Forsyth County, the Habitat for Humanity is accepting donations for its food bank — which is running dry — at the Habitat Restore, 341 Witt st. in Winston-salem, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on saturdays. Undercurrent debuts a new August tasting menu featuring gazpacho, wild salmon fritters, coffee-marinated pork tenderloin and (alliteration alert!) sesame sea scallops with a side of soba noodles. Also: They’re getting a Mellow Mushroom in Burlington! On Wednesday, BestHealth at the Hanes Mall holds a Food Face Off trivia challenge for kids 11- 12 at 11 a.m.. Thursday is Miracle Treat Day at participating Dairy Queens. A dollar from each Blizzard ordered goes to the Children’s Miracle Network. EarthFare holds an installment of its Kids in the Kitchen series focusing on healthy lunchbox items. samples and demos begin at 4:30 p.m.; to register call 336.369.0190. Also on Thursday, Bib’s Downtown in Winstonsalem holds a tasting and pairing of wines from Skull Camp Wines out of Dobson at 7 p.m. Make a reservation at 336.399.1169 and be sure to try the pre-release of skull Camp’s Infatuation and Confusion labels. Saturday is huge. The Greensboro Farmers Curb Market holds Watermelon Day beginning at 6 a.m. At noon the Green Valley Grill holds a combination cooking class and luncheon prepared by Chef Leigh Hesling and paired with wines by Julia Schiavone on the pavilion at the O Henry Hotel. For reservations call 336.854.2015. The Meridian Seafood Festival takes place at Winston-salem’s Meridian Restaurant. Beginning at noon, the block will be filled with food, music, beer and good ti But you’ll find me at the Summertime Brews Fest, at the Greensboro Coliseum’s special events Center beginning at 4 p.m. There will be dozens of local and imported beers, and a special appearance by YES! Weekly’s Beer snob columnist, Jeff Gredlein. Tickets are moving fast, so get them soon. And don’t drop your glass, because you only get one. Cheers!