Ever heard of a little singing contest on television called American Idol? Well, it turns out that the producers of this modest hit, Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick, also produce wines from their own vineyard, Villa San-Juliette. The Weathervane restaurant at A Southern Season (201 S. Estes Drive, Chapel Hill, 929-9466, www.southernseason.com/cafe.asp) is hosting a wine dinner featuring five wines from Villa San-Juliette.
Adam LaZarre, who co-owns Villa San-Juliette and serves as winemaker, will be in attendance to talk about his wines when Weathervane Executive Chef Patrick Cowden prepares five courses at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, starting with pan-seared grouper in mango lemongrass broth and ending with an Elodie Farms goat cheesecake served with black walnut pesto and mulled plum sauce. Cost is $60 per person, plus tax and gratuity, and reservations are required.
The Sopranos may have left HBO a few years ago, but Blu Seafood and Bar (2002 Hillsborough Road, Durham, 286-9777, www.bluseafoodandbar.com) resurrects the mobsters this month by hosting a wine dinner devoted to them. Blu manager Eryk Pruitt writes: "Our monthly wine dinner is going to be a hit. Literally." Blu hosts the Tony Soprano Wine Dinner at 7 p.m. on Nov. 18 and serves up four courses of Italian-American food and wine for $45. Wines will be paired by "goodfellas" Drew Lazarus and Thomas Thorne, owners of Hope Valley Bottle Shop (www.hvbottleshop.com). Reservations are required, and Pruitt encourages guests to dress like Tony and Carmela. No cement shoes, though.
Walter Royal, executive chef at the Angus Barn (www.angusbarn.com), has agreed to appear alongside Food Network silly man Guy Fieri (www.guyfieri.com) during a stopover of The Guy Fieri Roadshow, on Nov. 21 at Memorial Auditorium at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts (www.progressenergycenter.com) in downtown Raleigh.
Royal, who once beat Iron Chef Cat Cora on the Food Network show Iron Chef America, will do a cooking demonstration to open the 8 p.m. show. Fieri's press folks say that he "modeled this two-hour food-a-palooza after a high-energy rock concert, including traveling from city to city on two tour buses with his 'kulinary krew.'" After Royal's demo, Fieri—who stars in three Food Network shows—"will take center stage with an unscripted and wildly entertaining performance, complete with interactive cooking stations, demos, behind-the-scenes stories from the road and more." Tickets start at $25 and are available from Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com/venue/115203).
Of course, around here, we have our own celebrities. We even have a Celebrity Dairy (2106 Mt. Vernon-Hickory Mountain Road, Siler City, 742-5176, www.celebritydairy.com), which hosts a gourmet dinner at 1:30 p.m. on the third Sunday of each month. (This month, that's Nov. 15, and next month, it's Dec. 20.) These events start with a goat cheese sampler and end with an after-dinner, before-dessert barn tour. Some months feature guest chefs; Chip Smith and Tina Vaughn will prepare December's dinner. Cost is $50 per person, tax and gratuity included. Advance payment confirms your reservation.
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