Celebrate Valentine's Day a little early on Saturday, Feb. 10, at Chatham Hill Winery (380-7135, www.chathamhillwine.com) in Morrisville with a candlelit buffet by Daniel's Restaurant and Chatham's cabernet sauvignon directly from the oak barrel, plus dancing to live music in the tasting room. $150 per couple (plus tax and gratuity).
Carolina Brewery in Chapel Hill (942-1800, www.carolinabrewery.com) is turning 12! To celebrate, they're tapping an Anniversary Ale, Monday, Feb. 5. On Feb. 9, the night of the UNC-Duke men's match-up, $30 a person gets you appetizers, beer, wine and a seat for viewing the large-screen TV.
It's ciao to Earth Fare in Chapel Hill—they close their doors for good this week. Rumor has it that Trader Joe's will be taking over the space by the end of February, though representatives for the space declined to confirm this.
Fractured Prune? You bet there's a story behind such a name for a specialty doughnut shop. It's named for an elderly female athlete, Prunella, who often fractured a bone or two in her late-life competitions. The first North Carolina location of this Maryland institution opened in North Raleigh's Brier Creek area (7961 Skyland Parkway, 598-7900, www.fracturedprune.com). You watch them fry-to-order scratch-made cake doughnuts and then you choose the glaze flavors. Open 6:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. weekdays, and 7 a.m-1 p.m. weekends.
The N.C. State and Meredith College communities have been closely watching The Gourmet Factory (3933 Western Blvd., in the old Village Inn Pizza Parlor). After six months as a delivery-only eatery, the Italian-American focused menu expanded to a full- fledged restaurant this year. True to their clientele, the kitchen's open 'til 1 a.m. on weeknights and 3 a.m. weekends, and you can order everything from pasta Alfredo to pizza and calzones.
And to recap, here are restaurants holding special Valentine's Day events. See our Dish Dining Guide for addresses, Web sites and phone numbers.
Nana's Chophouse, Frazier's, Vivace, Riviera, Second Empire, Bistro 607, Enoteca Vin, and the brand new South (789-0606, 4351 The Circle at North Hills, formerly Restaurant Savannah) featuring updated, upscale and urbanized Southern cuisine. Also just opened and already filling up for Valentine's Day, Herons in Cary will be serving a prix fixe meal in the dining room ($95 a person plus $55 for wine pairings) and a la carte at the bar.
Nasher Museum Café, Nana's, Rue Cler, Pop's, Another Thyme, Magnolia Grill, Four Square and Vin Rouge. Popular since its opening in the fall, Piedmont will serve up savory oysters, a foie gras terrine, a choice of entrées including lobster and a chocolate finish for $40 per person.
La Residence, Bin 54, Lantern, Bonne Soiree, Il Palio, Trilussa, Provence, Fearrington House (officially in Pittsboro), and the newly opened Dream Catcher Café (933-9410, 1129 Weaver Dairy Road, Timberlyne Shopping Center), whose name may not suggest French country cuisine, but that's what they're already serving up to a full house. Apparently the name comes from a merging of long-deferred desires for a career change!