Hurricane Katrina blew chef Brian Battistella north to Clayton, where he has recently opened Louise's Restaurant & Catering at 10368 Highway 70 and Main Street. Louise's serves authentic Louisiana food and traditional Creole dishes such as crawfish etouffee, gumbo, PoBoys, jambalaya, red beans and rice pudding. Take-out and outdoor seating are available, as is a "regular" menu. Call 1-919-550-5788.
On Thursday, Aug. 3 at 7 p.m., the Carolina Brewery in Chapel Hill hosts an All N.C. Food & Beer dinner. The four-course dinner will be prepared by Carolina Brewery chef and CIA graduate Andrew Forester. Beer pairings will feature handcrafted beers from Carolina Brewery of Chapel Hill, Highland Brewing Company of Asheville and Duck Rabbit Brewery of Farmville. Brewmasters from all three breweries will be in attendance. The cost is $30 per person including tax and tip. Seating is open, but parties of eight or more can request to be together. Vegetarian options available; inform at time of reservation. Info and reservations: 942-1800, firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Thursday, Aug. 3, Zely & Ritz in Raleigh hosts their inaugural Feast of Tomatoes dinner featuring heirloom tomato expert Craig LeHoullier (www.nctomatoman.topcities.com), who provides all of the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants that Zely grows at their Coon Rock Farm. Current plans call for a third course of whole roasted tomatoes stuffed with heritage grass-fed chicken on a bed of creamy sweet corn and tomato risotto with matbucha sauce. The cost is $39 per person plus beverages, tax and gratuities. Call 828-0018 for reservations.
Tickets are available through Friday, Aug. 4 for a Stags' Leap Winery dinner at Bistro 64 in Cary on Monday, Aug. 7. Passed hors d' oeuvres accompanied by a French sparkling wine begin at 6:30 p.m. The 7 p.m. dinner will include a four-course menu prepared by Executive Chef Randy Wilder paired with Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Syrah from Stags' Leap Winery. The cost is $75 per person plus tax and gratuity. Call 380-1322 or e-mail Emily@Bistro64.com for reservations.
On Monday, Aug. 7 from 7-9:30 p.m., Panzanella in Carrboro hosts a North Carolina Microbrew Dinner. Representatives from Asheville's Highland Brewing Company, Farmville's Duck-Rabbit Brewery and Chapel Hill's Carolina Brewery will present their beers and share their brewing philosophies. The cost is $40 per person. Please pay in advance and pick up tickets for this tasting at either Panzanella or the customer service desk at Weaver Street Market in Carrboro. Info, reservations accepted for parties of six or more: 929-6626, www.panzanella.com.
On the first Monday of every month at 8 p.m., The Borough in Raleigh hosts an eating contest with prizes awarded to the winner(s). July's contest was pickles, and August's contest is--get ready, sugar freaks--Krispy Kreme doughnuts. There's a limit of 15 contestants, and the $5 entry fee goes to The Humane Society. Registration is first come first served, so arrive early. Call 832-8433 for info.
On Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m., Farmville's Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery celebrates its second anniversary and unveils its Duck-Rabbit Baltic Porter, the third in a series of limited-release seasonal specialty beers, at the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium (821-7468) in Raleigh. Info: www.duckrabbitbrewery.com.
In the month of August, Weaver Street Market presents a celebration of local producers with Local Food Tastings. The free tastings take place on Fridays from 5-8 p.m. at Weaver Street Market's Southern Village location in Chapel Hill (929-2009), and on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at their location in Carrboro (929-0010).
Royal India Express at 6260 Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh has recently expanded. Director Rupel Shah says their new look is very warm and casual. Best known for their curries, they also serve fresh, handmade, clay-oven baked breads; rice dishes and appetizers; and Indian beverages, beer and wine. They're open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, and lunch combo specials are available for dine-in and carry-out. Call 787-7722.
After eight years in downtown Raleigh, the Southend Brewery closed in mid-July. Last weekend, a sign for Prime Only Steak & Seafood was spotted on the building.