by Brian Clarey

Happy New Year to all out there in foodie land, and a sincere wish that everyone has a fine 2010. Don’t forget to soak the blackeyed peas overnight for your New Year’s Day hoppin’ John. And please remember that virtually all of North Carolina’s bars and restaurants go smoke free on Saturday.

The news starts off with a fond farewell to Peter Hamilton, the man largely credited with introducing modern fusion cuisine to the Piedmont Triad at Southern Lights in Greensboro, who succumbed to liver cancer last week. While Southern Lights may be gone, its influence can still be felt in the city.

The Madison Park Café, my favorite homeless restaurant in the Triad, is seeking investors before moving into its yet-to-berevealed new location. If you’ve got a loose 10 Gs, do us all a favor and call Paul and Joan Shepherd at 336.378.9837 for the sake of the pÃ¥té alone.

DQ’s Blizzard of the Month, by the way, is turtle — we assume they mean the caramel, peanut and chocolate thing and not, you know, actual turtle.

On Wednesday, Green Drinks Winston- Salem holds its final 2009 meet-up at Krankie’s Coffee at 5:30 p.m.

Saturday sees a wine tasting at Total Wine & More’s Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem locations between noon and 6 p.m. In the offing are four South American wines: Anakena Pinot Noir Single Vineyard, Cruz Alta Chardonnay Reserve, Flichman Cabernet Misterio & Mendoza Station Torrontes.

On Tuesday, Whole Foods Market in Winston-Salem launches its iWonder educational series of in-store classes, which will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays and promise to be just 15 minutes long. The first class, which begins at 10 a.m., focuses on vegetarian food with Brandon from the Prepared Foods Department. All classes are free and open to the public and require just a check-in a few minutes before class is scheduled to begin.

Finally, next week on Wednesday, Jan. 6, the Greensboro Parks & Recreation Commission holds an open meeting at the Guilford County Cooperative Extension, Service Barn Kitchen meeting room at 3309 Burlington Road seeking input from vendors and consumers regarding the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market on Yanceyville Street. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m.