amuse bouche

by Brian Clarey

It seems that Starbucks is succumbing to the gastronomic juggernaut that is McDonald’s. In the spring, Ray Kroc’s Folly took aim at the Buck’s latte–sipping clientele by turning every McDonald’s into a McCafé offering a cheaper — and, incidentally, grossly inferior — product. Naturally, the McDonald’s line of coffee drinks put a serious dent in Starbucks’ efforts to overtake the globe, because most in this crowd care a lot more about the milk and sugar — and caramel and cinnamon sprinkles and whipped cream and whatever other nonsense people pile onto their coffees — than the coffee itself. If they did, they wouldn’t have been drinking Starbucks in the first place. Anyhoo, Starbucks has responded by lowering the price points on regular coffees and lattes, but raising them on fancy-pants brews like the Frappuccino, which, c’mon, is really a milkshake. In other industry news, people who are tired of waiting for a table at PF Chang’s can rejoice because the restaurant has announced plans for a frozen-food line that will debut in grocery stores next year. Other than that, it’s kind of a slow week in foodieland. Wednesday sees an installment of EarthFare’s vegetarian cooking class with Meggan Reagan and Mackenzie Logan. Call 336.369.0190 for more details and to reserve a spot. Green Drinks Winston-Salem meets, as always, on the last Wednesday of the month at Krankie’s Coffee at 5:30 p.m. And for Wednesday’s Dinner and a Movie promotion at 6th & Vine, look forward to some major Clooney for O Brother, Where Art Thou, a Coen brothers rework of Homer’s Odyssey. With bluegrass! On Thursday, BestHealth in the Hanes Mall holds a class called Backto-School Breakfast at 6 p.m. in which Chef Barry Moody shows some simple, cheap and healthful ideas for the morning meal that won’t make your kids miss the bus. On Friday the Grove Winery celebrates the release of its tempranillo wine with a tapas dinner. The Grove’s 2008 tempranillo should be a worthy follow-up to its gold-medal 2007 vintage. Find out more at the website, And on Saturday, Whole Foods Market tries to defray the conversation away from its CEO by holding its annual Gluten-Free Fair. The event, which runs from 1 p.m. until 4 and is free and open to the public, taps Lee Tobin from the Whole Foods Market Gluten Free Bakehouse. Let’s see McDonald’s try to get a piece of the gluten-free movement.