by Brian Clarey

Hello… anybody out there? Is this thing even on?

Chances are you’re busy this week with Christmas and all, which is probably good, because there’s pretty much nothing going on in the Triad culinary scene this week, save for a wine tasting at Total Wine & More at their Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point locations.

The subject of these tastings is bubbly — appropriate this time of year as we prepare for a Champagne toast to cheer the end of this trying decade.

Featured bottles include Il Cortigiano Prosecco Spumante, Louis Bouillot Brut, Montaudon Brut and De Margerie Grand Cru Brut, with more selections chosen by store managers. Kickoff is at noon.

Which leaves us a whole bunch of space here with not all that much locally upon which to report.

Fortunately, there’s big news in the fastfood world. And isn’t there always?

McDonald’s will launch its $1 breakfast menu in January. Details as they come out of the microwave.

Domino’s, which celebrates 50 years in business in 2010, is crafting a new anniversary pizza, which has new sauce, new crust and new cheese… which is pretty much everything. Let’s hope it comes with a tube of Tums.

Steak ‘N’ Shake is the fast-food restaurant with the most expensive stock price, according to the website Nations Restaurant News, after last week initiating a 1-for-20 reverse split that left the price of an individual share at $293. That’s not bad — the last time I initiated a reverse split I couldn’t walk for a week.

Finally, the Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey (and no, I didn’t make that up) named fast-food items as five of its Top 10 for 2009. The winners: Taco Bell’s Volcano Nachos came in at No. 8; McDonald’s angus third-pounder burgers at No. 7; Quizno’s Toasty Torpedo at No. 6; McDonald’s McCafe coffee drinks at No. 2; and KFC’s Kentucky Grilled Chicken came in at No. 1, in no small part due to a near riot that went down at one of its Greensboro stores after they ran out of free chicken.

Merry Christmas everybody! See you next week.