by Brian Clarey

served by Brian Clarey

Here in North Carolina, restaurants and bars are now smoke free. Ruby Tuesdays now gives bar customers free Ruby Minis with fries with drink purchases. Taco Bell has rolled out a Drive-Thru Diet. Domino’s has rebooted. And IHOP has reinstated its all-you-can-eat pancake policy.

Locally, Let’s Dish in Greensboro offers its 2010 Healthy Eating Jumpstart Program, with four ready-to-assemble meals with fewer than 380 calories a serving. Options are Thai chicken pizza, french onion pot roast, pork tenderloin with peach chutney and Louisiana style jambalaya.

And Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery in High Point celebrates 10 years in business. My how the time goes by. Happy Anniversary, folks..

In current events, the Greensboro Parks & Recreation Commission holds a meeting on publication day, Wednesday, seeks feedback on the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Guilford County Cooperative Extension.

On Thursday, BestHealth in Winston- Salem’s Hanes Mall holds a Bring Back the Broiler seminar with Chef Barry Moody at 6 p.m. Register by calling 336.713.BEST.

On Saturday, catch a cooking demonstration at the Fresh Market at 1 p.m. to learn Chilean sticky chicken with Chilean tomato salad. No reservations necessary.

Tuesday sees a wine dinner at Greensboro’s Table 16 with wines of Oregon. Make a reservation by calling 336.279.8525.

Next Wednesday, Undercurrent follows suit with Discovering Bordeaux with Julia Schiavone, reservations for which can be had by calling 336.370.1266.

Finally, et’s take a moment on the cusp of this new year and remember fast-food legend Al Bernardin, who died of a stroke this past weekend at the age of 81. Bernardin was the inventor of the McDOnald’s Quarter Pounder.

Bernardin served as dean of the company’s Hamburger University, and helped develop the Filet-O-Fish, the signature fries and the line of pies.

But the Quarter Pounder, which debuted in 1971 at his Fremont, Calif restaurant, was Bernardin’s crowning achievement.

We’ll miss ya, Al.