by Brian Clarey

It’s so cold out there that you need a really good excuse to leave the house. Fortunately, the Downtown Winston- Salem Partnership has just the thing: the second annual Big Eat, wherein several Camel City restaurants offer signature dishes at reduced prices every Tuesday night in February. So far 22 restaurants have signed on. Visit the website at BigEat.htm to learn more.

Also out of Winston-Salem comes news that Foothill’s Brewing is donating 10 percent of all lunch sales to the Red Cross Haitian Disaster Relief Fund for the entire month of February.

Myrtle Beach restaurants are feeling the pinch of a four-month ban on grouper fishing enacted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Grouper, which runs in the Atlantic from the Carolinas to Key West, is a delicious white fish that does really well on the grill and also has a tendency to be overfished.

Smokey Bones restaurants are revamping all of their locations to look more like the Greensboro outpost, with more emphasis on the bar area. Industry publication Nation’s Restaurant News reports that check averages have been higher at the redesigned locations.

And the Humane Society has shifted its tactics in its fight against cruelty to food animals by buying stock in Steak N Shake and Jack in the Box and making their voices heard at shareholder meetings.

Also, Harris Teeter turns 50 years old this month. Congrats, guys..

Wednesday sees a Burgess Wine Dinner at Undercurrent in Greensboro featuring the Library Release 1995 cabernet sauvignon, which is being re-released after storage at the Napa Valley vineyard. Cal 336.370.1266 to make a reservation.

On Saturday, Whole Foods Market in Winston-Salem has rescheduled its Big Game Chili Cookoff from noon to 3 p.m. Attendants get to judge which store department makes the best chili, and it’s absolutely free.

The same day, EarthFare in Greensboro holds a Valentine’s Wine Tasting beginning at 11 a.m.

On Tuesday, Noble’s is holding a Slow Food Dinner, but is being sparse with details. Call the restaurant, why don’t you, at 336.777.8477 and ask them what’s up.