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by Brian Clarey

Slow week in foodland, but a god opportunity to get a roundup of the national scene.

On a recent trip to the Outer Banks, my current boss, Publisher Charles Womack discovered that the NC seafood industry is booming, thanks in no small part to the disastrous oil plumage contaminating the Gulf of Mexico. But a call last week to my former boss, Clancy DuBos, publisher of New Orleans’ Gambit Weekly, revealed that the Louisiana seafood biz is not dead yet, and that purveyors are being more careful than ever about possibly contaminated seafood.

“The last thing they need right now is for someone to get sick,” he told me.

And restaurateurs in the state of Arizona are applauding a study by that the Licensed Beverage Association that found implementing video slot machines in bars and restaurants could add $5 billion in revenue for the businesses, this just as our own state moves to outlaw the machines completely.

In fast-food news, Wendy’s has added more salads to its menu. And McDonald’s is pushing a new line of cold drinks including lattes, cappuccinos and frappes.

Locally, Undercurrent Restaurant in Greensboro has retooled its Wagner Room for private dining, with a 60-inch plasma screen, Blu-ray technology and luxurious accomodations. Book it by calling the restaurant at 336.370.1266.

Thursday Winston-Salem’s Whole Foods Market talks organic Haitian mangoes with Luisa at 10 a.m.

EarthFare in Greensboro holds a weekend-long wine tasting beginning on Friday, as well as a sausage and pepper tasting that runs the same days. And Total Wine & More comes in a day late, but not a dollar short, with a World Cup-themed wine tasting Friday through Sunday with selections from South Africa.

On Saturday, Foothills Brewing in Winston-Salem holds its seasonal Beer School at 2:30 p.m. The session, which is mandatory for servers and bartenders, is open to the public for $10. Sign up by e-mailing sarah@foothillsbrewing.com.

Also on Saturday is NC A&T University’s Great Tomato Tasting on the A&T farm, where the heirlooms will fly from 8 a.m. until noon.

And Tuesday is dedicated to cooking with sweet potatoes at Krankie’s Farmers Market.

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