At noon on the first Sunday of every month, you'll find a line outside The Pinhook (117 W. Main St., 667-1100, www.thepinhook.com), one of Durham's better-known bar and music venues. It isn't the booze or the tunes that have folks lining up midday but a brunch of vegan options. Eleni Vlachos, a local documentarian, says it's "incredible to see the demand" for vegan food that The Pinhook's event reveals. That demand goes unmet in Durham at most other times, though—an issue that Vlachos and Shirlé Hale-Koslowski, former chef at The Pinhook's vegan brunch and current chef/ owner of Four Corners Cuisine, hope to resolve with the monthlong Bull City Vegan Challenge (www.facebook.com/bullcityveganchallenge).
The Vegan Challenge kicks off on Oct. 3. The brunch will begin at noon at The Pinhook and last until the food runs out. Though the final menu hasn't been set, expect to glimpse some of the chefs whose restaurants are participating in the challenge, including Alivia's, Beyu Caffe, Dos Perros, The Federal, Nosh, Parker & Otis, Piedmont, Rue Cler, Toast and Vin Rouge. Throughout October, each restaurant will feature a vegan option on its menu. The winner of the best vegan dish will be announced in November.
Bide your time with a few wine-sipping events before October's vegan rush begins. From 4 until 7 p.m. Thursday, find a spot in the parking lot at 3 Cups (227 S. Elliott Road, Chapel Hill, 968-8993, www.3cups.net) for its Food Truck Parking Lot Party with Real French Winemakers. The party will feature eight wines distributed by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, and winemakers will be onsite to offer information about their pours. In addition, find fresh local food cooked truck-side by Boxcarr Farms of Cedar Grove. Tickets, which can be purchased at the event, are $30.
Beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday, drink for a good cause at the fifth annual Corks for Kids (www.corksforkidsnc.com), at the Friday Center at UNC (100 Friday Center Drive, Chapel Hill). Organized by Todd Wielar of the Chapel Hill Wine Company (2809 Homestead Road, 968-1884, www.chapelhillwinecompany.com), Corks for Kids raises money to support the North Carolina Children's Hospital, which helped save Wielar's wife and daughter years earlier. Expect 60 wines from around the world and many winemakers on hand to answer questions. Tickets are $65 per person. Wielar says of the evening, "People can support the cause just by drinking and buying wine. Life should be so easy."
Another wine tasting, Triangle Uncorked, will take place between 2 and 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Koka Booth Ampitheatre at Regency Park (8003 Regency Parkway, Cary). Expect hundreds of pours from around the world, as well as music from The Will McBride Group. For information, visit www.triangleuncorked.com or call 845-8880.
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