by Brian Clarey

Iron Hen impresses with creative, quality side dishes

Here’s a lead story that may have some resonance in NC: California’s Santa Clara County has successfully banned the inclusion of toys in restaurant kids’ meals that don’t meet minimum nutritional requirements.

Or maybe you’re more interested in Boston Market’s inclusion of slider-style sandwiches on the menu?

Either way, Jake’s Billiards in Greensboro now offers free pool for patrons who order food. And, for the record, Whole Foods Market in Winston- Salem has named strawberry as its gelato flavor of the month.

Wednesday is Cinco de Mayo. Find yourself a decent taco, and then hit Wine Down Wednesday at Greensboro’s Hilton Garden Inn, featuring free appetizers, live music and half-off all wine beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Thursday sees Barbecue, Brews & Blues in Tanglewood Park from 6 to 8 p.m. featuring… well, take a wild guess. Admission is $8, $5 for Reynolda members.

On Friday, the Eastern Music Festival begins its Jazz & Blues series, which will run the first Friday of each month at Printworks Bistro in the Proximity Hotel. This week’s lineup sees Ray “Sweet Daddy” Burnett and Rob Massengale from 10 p.m. until 12:30 a.m.

All weekend long you can taste Mother’s Day gift wines at all three Triad locations of Total Wine & More. Or you can pair your wine with chocolate at the Grove Winery with sweets from Chef Julie Watson. Tickets are $12.50 at the winery.

On Saturday, the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market holds the Triad Chili Cookoff beginning at 10 a.m. and sponsored by the NC Epilepsy Medication Fund and the state Chili Appreciation Society.

It’s also Strawberry Day at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, featuring strawberry pancakes by Alex Amoroso of Cheesecakes by Alex.

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and while there are many, many dining options in the Triad, only two restaurants bothered to send press releases. The Proximity holds a fabulous Mother’s Day buffet for $38.95 a head. And Noble’s Grill holds a special brunch for moms from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Got room for one more? On Tuesday.

Whole Foods Market holds a 15-minute iWonder lecture on gluten-free beer at 6:30 p.m.