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New Restaurants and Happenings 

Every Saturday this summer from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., The Lotus Leaf Cafe in Cary is serving a Saigon Street Menu. Inspired by the food in Vietnam's sidewalk cafes, these delicate dishes called "Diem Tam" will be created by Lotus Leaf's new sous chef from Saigon, Duc Dang, and include rice steam rolls, crispy shrimp cake, thick noodle soup, spicy Hue style beef noodle and seafood hot pot. Call 465-0750 for more info.

On Thursday, June 22, The Angus Barn in Raleigh is hosting a winemaker's dinner featuring Scott Peterson of S.P. Drummer and Joseph Family Vineyards. The cost is $150 per person; call 781-2444 for reservations.

Friday through Sunday, June 23, 24 and 25, the Eastgate Shopping Center Earth Fare in Chapel Hill is hosting a Berry Festival, with tastings and samplings of berries as well as demos of ways to use berries in summertime dishes. The full calendar of the weekend's events is available at the store or at www.earthfare.com. Call 442-1223
for info.

click to enlarge Artisan Cupcake
  • Artisan Cupcake

On Saturday, June 24 from 10 a.m.-noon, Jessica Gross, owner and baker for Artisan Cupcake (www.artisancupcake.com), is kicking off the Durham Farmers' Market's Chef Series. Jessica will provide samples of lemon rosemary cupcakes, demonstrate how to make a fresh goat cheese cheesecake cupcake, and show how to serve a unique strawberry shortcake cupcake.

On Monday, June 26, Nana's Chophouse in Raleigh is hosting a wine dinner featuring wine from the Spanish importation house Jorge Ordonez paired with four courses by Chef Konrad Catalos. The reception starts at 6:30 p.m., and dinner follows at 7. The cost is $75 per person. Call 829-1212 for reservations.

On Tuesday, June 27 at 7 p.m., Jujube in Chapel Hill is going in a different direction with their special dinners by featuring a range of beverages in one meal: wine, sake, ale and chilled, basil-infused rum. Dinner ingredients include Chesapeake Bay "stingray" oysters, stuffed squash blossoms and (hopefully) black trumpet mushrooms. The cost is $50 per person. Call 960-0555 for reservations.

Spice Street in Chapel Hill has three cures for summer doldrums: a new chef, a new Mediterranean menu and a new monthly wine tasting series. The first wine tasting takes place Tuesday, June 27 from 5:30-7 p.m. and features sauvignon blanc wines with hors d'oeuvres and thrills from the grill. The tasting series will continue on the last Tuesday of every month. The cost is $15 per person. For reservations, call 928-8200.

On Wednesday, June 28 at 7 p.m., The Melting Pot in Raleigh is hosting a four-course Chandon wine dinner. To whet your appetite, the entrée course is teriyaki sirloin, salmon, peppercorn marinated duck, ahí tuna, smoked chicken sausage and asparagus paired with Domaine Chandon Pinot Noir. The cost is $50 per person (plus tax and gratuity). Reservations are required; call 878-0477.

On Thursday, June 29 from 5:30-9 p.m., Panzanella in Carrboro hosts the first of its 2006 Farm Dinners series. In addition to the regular dinner menu, dishes created with ingredients from Perry-Winkle Farm will be served. Cathy Jones and Mike Perry have been farming Perry-Winkle Farm for about 20 years and are leaders in the local agricultural community. For reservations, call 929-6626.

On Thursday, June 29 at 6:30 p.m., The Fearrington House Restaurant in Pittsboro is hosting an organic wine and local produce dinner. Sommelier Stacey Sondek will discuss the organic wine movement and how the featured wines from Michel Chapoutier (Rhône Valley) and Sokol Blosser (Oregon) enhance the flavors of the locally grown produce on Chef Fox's menu. The dinner is $155 per person. Call 919-542-2121 for reservations.

On Thursday, June 29 at 7 p.m., april&george in Raleigh is hosting a "Myths and Misfits" wine and cheese pairing. If you think that Chablis comes in a jug, that box wines are lousy, and that screwcaps signify low quality, think again! Tickets are $25; advance reservations are recommended. For more information or to sign up, call 828-9082.

Ba-Da Wings, which specializes in wings and also serves burgers, salads, wraps and rice bowls, has opened a second location in the Mission Valley Shopping Center in Raleigh. The new location is open daily from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Call 832-3902, or visit both locations at www.badawings.com.

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