If you want to let someone else do the cooking on Christmas, Il Palio Ristorante at the Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill (1505 E. Franklin St., 918-2545, www.sienahotel.com) is offering an a la carte brunch (11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.) and dinner (5:30-10 p.m.) menu Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, lunch is served 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., with a three- or four-course prix fixe meal running $35 or $45, respectively. Dinner is 4-10 p.m., with prix fixe prices ranging from $45 to $55. Last seating both days is at 7 p.m.
What does it take to climb up the ranks from mere foodie to enlightened guru? Christie Hadden wanted to know. That's why in August she launched MyRestaurantGuru.com as a way to "connect the local foodie community." Through profiles and reviews, the interactive site reveals diner opinions and tastes, and the restaurants can communicate with diners as well. "This is something the foodie community needs. I personally wanted a site where I can follow a particular user whose opinion I trust," Hadden says.
MyRestaurantGuru is running a Karma Kampaign through Dec. 31 at midnight to achieve foodie enlightenment. Users can earn karma, or points, by reviewing restaurants, rating dishes, uploading photos and adding friends to win prizes, including a gift certificate to the restaurant of the winner's choice. Hey, wise winner, be sure to pick a locally owned eatery!
Maybe ringing in the new year with a swanky meal will provide good foodie karma for 2010. A number of Triangle restaurants are serving a New Year's Eve dinner. Jujube in Chapel Hill (1201-L Raleigh Road, 960-0555, www.jujuberestaurant.com) and Revolution in Durham (107 W. Main St., 956-9999, www.revolutionrestaurant.com) are offering two seatings with distinct menus and optional tasting or wine flights.
Also check out Durham favorite Piedmont (401 Foster St., 683-1213, www.piedmontrestaurant.com), where a five-course meal is $50, or Raleigh's Rocky Top restaurants: Twisted Fork at Triangle Town Center (3751 Summer Blvd., 792-2535, www.thetwistedfork.com) is serving four courses for $35, and Michael Dean's (6004 Falls of Neuse Road, 790-9992, www.michaeldeans.com) is offering four courses for $50. Contact each restaurant for reservations.
There has been a lot of national discussion on the healthiness (or lack thereof) of school lunches, so it's apt that a pilot program featuring fresh, local ingredients starts next semester at E.K. Powe Elementary in Durham.
To fund the program, which will provide a monthly "good taste bar," Slow Food Triangle hosts a traditional Southern New Year's Day event, celebrating regional culinary traditions, local farmers and artisan food producers. Indulge in local collards and sweet potato pie Jan. 1, 4-7 p.m., on the second floor of Building 2 at Golden Belt, 807 E. Main St., Durham. Tickets are $15 for Slow Food members and $18 for nonmembers, free for children 10 and younger. Purchase tickets online at www.slowfoodtriangle.org.
And a brief restaurant note: The old Bull City Wings on Fayetteville Street in Durham has been empty for most of 2009. But in 2010, look for a new chicken spot: A sign outside announces it will be the home of Pollo Azado.
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Correction (Dec. 23, 2009): Slow Food Triangle's Web site is www.slowfoodtriangle.org.