The second annual Downtown Wine-Down in Durham offers a chance to consider that what's under your fridge is just as important as what's inside. Sweeping the dust bunnies off your kitchen floor can save a buck or two on the power bill, which means savings for the planet, too. It's just one of many simple steps for a do-it-yourself, energy-efficient home, explains Marya McNeish, development and operations director for Clean Energy Durham. For the past three years, the organization has worked in 30 Durham neighborhoods to help people reduce their carbon footprint, save money and better know the folks next door. To learn more about Clean Energy Durham and support its efforts, grab a drink between 5 and 8 p.m. on Aug. 5 at Alivia's Durham Bistro (900 W. Main St., Durham, www.aliviasdurhambistro.com).
Tickets to the event, which are $20 in advance, include appetizers by Alivia's, music from Misti Mayhem and, as you may have guessed, wine. At the silent auction you can bid on gift certificates to local restaurants and gift baskets by Burt's Bees. To purchase tickets, visit Clean Energy's website at www.cleanenergydurham.org.
A different kind of efficiency happens on July 31 during Raleigh Wide Open (www.raleighconvention.com/rwo5), an event that boasts food, fireworks and music from 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. at Moore Square. In the Krispy Kreme eating contest, which starts at 3 p.m., winners from local Krispy Kreme contests compete to see who can eat a dozen doughnuts the fastest. The most efficient eater will win a doughnut a day for a year, plus claim to the title of the Triangle's fastest doughnut downer. A second eating contest, this one involving a pint of Lumpy's ice cream, will take place at 5 p.m. To participate, visit the event's main stage on the day of the festival.
If competitive eating's not your thing, Raleigh Wide Open will offer plenty of dining and drinking at a more leisurely pace. Fayetteville Street restaurants—The Mint, The Oxford and The Big Easy among them—will offer food from their sidewalks cafés. Vendors will be on hand with trucks and tents to sell fair favorites like fried Snickers (and some healthy stuff, too). And a beer and wine tent will bring the booze. For $10, sample 3-ounce pours of eight beers, choosing from more than 100. Or try eight 1.5-ounce glasses of wine from a list of 25.
For more drinks downtown, head underground to Neptune's Parlour (14 W. Martin St., Raleigh). The new bar, which opened earlier this month, is the first in a building that will house two other venues. Among them will be Kings Barcade, a beloved spot for music in the Triangle that closed in 2007 and plans to reopen later this summer. Meanwhile, Neptune's offers six beers on tap, plus a great selection of specialty drinks including a seasonal basil gin rickey. Read about the drink at the Indy's Big Bite food blog. Check out Neptune's Parlour on its Facebook page.
Know about a fun food happening in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at firstname.lastname@example.org.