Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Valentine's begins

Passion8 offers three Valentine variations: A 5 p.m. seating with three courses for $45, a 7 p.m. seating with four courses for $65, and a 9:30 p.m. seating with five courses for $85. A photographer and props provider will be at the restaurant, to arrange and record the evening; images are free for customers. Actually, there are four variations, if you count the next day’s Sunday brunch: live music and the Bloody Mary bar. 704-910-3161; 1523 Elizabeth Ave.;

Del Frisco's will offer an 8-ounce filet and 8-ounce lobster tail for $79 Feb. 13-15. There'll also be a full menu on Feb. 13, a limited one on Feb. 14, and on Feb. 15, the Prime Pair menu will be added to the lineup, as usual on Sunday nights: choice of salad, filet paired with crab cake or barbecue spiced shrimp or lemon garlic scallops, plus a side. (That's $55.) 4725 Piedmont Row Drive; 704-552-5502.

The Ballantyne hosts "a magical Princess Tea" 1-5 p.m. Feb. 11-14: It's a family-style Valentines event, and kids are encouraged to dress up in princess gowns, jewelry and tiaras (wear 'em if you got 'em): $36 for adults, $18 for kids, plus tax and tip. Reservations required: 704-248-4100.

Feb. 13-15, the hotel's Gallery restaurant offers a three-course fixed-price dinner with choice of root vegetable soup or sea scallop as appetizer; beef tenderloin or shellfish ravioli as entree, and a chocolate petits fours platter, chocolate strawberry terrine or sorbet for dessert; a Champagne toast is included. Cost: $65 per person; reservations at or 704-248-4100. 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Zoës Kitchen in Charlotte is 137th!

Zoës Kitchen plans to open its newest location -- the 137th in the country -- Jan. 29 at 1823 East Arbors Drive. The chain features Mediterranean-inspired food in a fast-casual setup, with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes offered. To celebrate the opening, the restaurant will give away 500 meals at the new location, and you might win free food for a year from the place by entering a contest at its Facebook page by Jan. 29. There's also an app: the Zoës "L.I.F.E.," which offers free tidbits, lets you order online, "set fun life goals and receive daily inspiration."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Three courses for $20?

Through Jan. 25, Harper's at Carolina Place (and that location only) answers Restaurant Week with "WinterFest," a three-course meal for $20: soup of the day or a house, Caesar or Cobb salad; entree choice of sirloin with vegetables, salmon with grilled asparagus or half a roasted chicken with braised cabbage; and a mini apple pie or mini brownie sundae. Also offered: If you eat twice or more at any Harper's Group location -- Upstream, Mimosa Grill (both of which are in the three-for-$30 Restaurant Week promotion), or at either Harper's -- you get a $20 gift certificate; go four or more times and you get a $50 one. 11059 Carolina Place Parkway; 704-541-5255.

Mimosa and Barnett and wine; Flying Saucer and Founders

Mimosa Grill hosts its seventh annual Barnett Winery dinner Jan. 20, with winemaker David Tate hosting. Tastings will include 2013 Sangiacomo Chardonnay, 2013 Savoy Pinot Noir, 2012 Merlot, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2012 Cabernet Rattlesnake Vineyard, and the dinner will center on a whole roasted suckling pig. $85; 704-548-9463 (the Wine Vault); the restaurant is at 327 S. Tryon St.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium will do a Founders Tap Takeover Jan. 24, tapping 10 Founders brews and bringing in the newly released Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout. Tickets: 704-717-8179.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bits and crumbs

Mooyah Burgers Fries & Shakes is slated to open at Sycamore Commons in Matthews in early February; plans call for 20 or more Mooyahs -- a Texas-based fast-casual burger chain -- across North Carolina.

New dishes at D'Vine Wine Cafe: hot caramelized onion, beer and cheddar dip; chicken sofrito with farro; duck confit with sweet potato risotto. 14815 John J. Delaney Drive; 704-369-5050.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dine out, do good: Soup on Sunday coming up

This year's Soup on Sunday benefit on Jan. 25 will be the 15th for Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region. Hosted 11 a.m.-2 p.m. by CPCC, at the culinary arts center at 425 N. Kings Drive, it will include soups from area restaurants, the chance to buy pottery from local potters, and add-ons, such as chocolates, from culinary students from CPCC, Johnson & Wales and the Art Institute.

For $40, you get a handmade potter bowl, plus food and beverages; for $30, you get just the food and drinks, and kids 7-12 eat for $10 (younger is free).

Participants and their planned soups include:

300 East: butternut squash with Gorgonzola; Artisan (at The Art Institute of Charlotte): venison chili and apple cheddar soup; Barrington's/Good Food on Montford: potato-leek; Brixx: chipotle chicken chowder; Chuy's: chicken tortilla; Community Culinary School of Charlotte: carrot ginger; e2 Emeril's Eatery: chicken and andouille sausage gumbo; Fenwick's: tomato bisque; Flavors Café: green chile stew; Global: smoked cauliflower; Johnson & Wales: shrimp bisque (and chocolates -- not in the soup!); Local Loaf: Southwestern chicken corn chowder; Mama Ricotta's: pork minestrone with pasta; Newk's Eatery: white bean and kale, and lobster bisque; Sante': roasted butternut squash; The Liberty: butternut squash bisque; Trio: mulligatawny; Village Tavern: potato-leek; and Vivace: winter vegetable minestrone with cici beans and rapini pesto.

Info:; you can get tickets there or by phone (704-335-4312) or at the door.

Charlotte Chipotles out of pork

The Observer's Andrew Dunn reports Charlotte Chipotles are out of pork, part of what's at a third of national problem. The reason, according to the Associated Press, is that a supplier violated Chipotle standards on raising pigs, particularly on their housing; the chain requires certain humane standards for animals it uses, though it has said it has trouble getting beef that's raised to those standards.