January is prime time for bargain hunters lucky enough to have a little spending money left after the holidays. Lots of stores—for our purposes, think wine and specialty food stores—that load up on inventory for the holidays now need to unload it and offer generous discounts. And because it's a traditionally slow time, restaurants tend to prime the pump with special offers. Here are a few to consider.
The swankety-swank Fearrington House Restaurant (2000 Fearrington Village Center, Pittsboro, 542-2121, www.fearrington.com/house/restaurant.asp) is offering a three-course, prix fixe meal this winter for $45 per person. Courses include smoked pork shank with cauliflower beignet truffle, beluga lentils, cinnamon and cider; and vanilla butter-poached lobster and herb tortellini with black barley, fennel, Yukon potato and apple jam. Normally, Fearrington House serves prix fixe meals of three courses for $69 per person, or four courses for $79 per person. They're calling this deal a winter interlude, and you should too, when you call to make reservations. The deal is not offered on Saturdays or Valentine's Day weekend. The offer ends March 21.
In Raleigh, eating a little early will get you a deal at Margaux's (8111 Creedmoor Road, 846-9846, www.margauxsrestaurant.com). Tuesdays through Fridays, the restaurant is serving a three-course prix fixe menu (normally priced at $27.95 per person) for only $19.95. So you could enjoy, say, beef kabobs with bacon horseradish cream, and then grilled salmon with lemon beurre blanc, followed by banana pound cake, all for less than 20 bucks. But keep an eye on the clock. You must order by 6:30 p.m. to get the deal.
For the rest of this month, kids get a deal at Carolina Brewery (www.carolinabrewery.com), which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. The brewery is offering monthly specials at its locations in Chapel Hill (460 W. Franklin St., 942-1800) and Pittsboro (120 Lowe's Drive, 545-2330). Kids 12 and younger eat free on weeknights in January. Here are the rules: Kids must order from the kids menu, and they must be joined by a paying adult.
Hillsborough Wine Co. (118 S. Churton St., 732-4343, www.chapelhillwinecompany.com) is ready for Valentine's Day already. The shop will host a free chocolate, massage and wine-tasting event from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 30. Matthew Shepard, owner of Matthew's Chocolates (107 N. Churton St., Hillsborough, 732-0900) will offer free samples, while Julia Corley of Elsewhere Center for Wellness (147 W. King St., Hillsborough, 636-2091) will offer free 10-minute chair massages.
And for cutting-edge foodies, Lantern (423 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, 969-8846, www.lanternrestaurant.com) has a big event next month. Celebrated chef David Chang, of New York's Momofuku Noodle Bar fame, will discuss his new cookbook, Momofuku, at the restaurant on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Lantern Chef Andrea Reusing and crew will turn out a nine-course dinner in Chang's honor. Cocktails and snacks begin at 6:30 p.m., with dinner following at 7. Cost is $150 per person, including wine pairings but not tax and gratuity. Reservations required.