Foodies, rejoice: It's time to indulge, stretching your waistband but not your wallet. May 11 marks the second annual Triangle Restaurant Week (trirestaurantweek.com), when local restaurants offer fixed dinner menus for just $25 and lunch menus at $15 through May 17. Noteworthy newbies on the 50-restaurant list include The Mint (Raleigh; contemporary fine Southern dining), Coquette (Raleigh; French), Sitti (Raleigh; Lebanese), and veteran favorites Weathervane (Chapel Hill; new American), An (Cary; Asian fusion), Piedmont (Durham; local) and Il Palio (Chapel Hill; Italian).
Organizers Damon Butler and John Mason brought the concept to North Carolina last year after witnessing successful restaurant weeks in other cities like New York, San Francisco and D.C. and the way they promoted culinary tourism while whetting locals' palates with new cuisine. "We want to connect folks in the Triangle through these amazing restaurants that we have to offer, getting them to sample some that they traditionally wouldn't go to," he says. Tickets are not required, but reservations are recommended. Check out the Web site for more information, including locally produced videos for an inside peek at your favorite foodie spots.
For a more gritty, local, down-home festivity this weekend, head to Pittsboro. The Feed the Farm Festival (220 Lorax Lane) this Saturday gives the community a chance to meet North Carolina farmers, vendors and artisans. Held at "the Plant" from 2 to 8 p.m., the festival includes six local bands, local food and beer, kids' activities and tours of the biodiesel plant. Tickets are $10 in advance (available Trianglewide at Whole Foods) and $12 day of the event. Kids 12 and under are free. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the Feed the Farm page on Facebook.
Also on Saturday, Chocolate: The Exhibition opens at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh (11 W. Jones St., 733-7450, naturalsciences.org). Visitors can explore the history of chocolate through origin, science and its immersion into popular culture. The exhibit runs through Sept. 7. Free for museum members and children 4 and under, tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, military and students and $4 for children 5 to 11.
And once again, another local restaurant has received national merits. A new addition to Franklin Street, Cypress on the Hill (308 W. Franklin St., 537-8817, cypressonthehill.com) was noted in last week's Restaurants Now feature at gourmet.com, the online edition of Gourmet magazine. The writer praised the credentials of chef Alex Gallis (formerly of Durham's Magnolia Grill) and said Cypress "showed promise, as in: North Carolina tilefish, with macque choux grits, in a country ham beurre blanc. And grilled quail with creamed corn and arugula. And a lovely crab cake, made with North Carolina-harvested lump meat, puddled in a hash of homemade chorizo and grainy mustard."
Know about a fun food happening in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at email@example.com.