Hey, baseball fans, there's a lot more than just peanuts and Cracker Jacks at our area ballparks. Five County Stadium (1501 N.C. Hwy. 39, Zebulon, 269-2287), home of the Double-A Carolina Mudcats (www.gomudcats.com), even has a white tablecloth restaurant on the upper level, overlooking its first base line. Cattails Restaurant (861-7501, www.cattailsrestaurant.com) is open Tuesday through Saturday, whether the 'Cats are playing or not, serving up diver scallops, New York strip steaks and stuffed duck breast. On game nights, Cattails serves a buffet.
Down below, in the concession area, Five County serves many game day goodies: all-beef hot dogs, all-beef burgers, fries, barbecue sandwiches, nachos and more. The most popular item is the catfish sandwich, but the Mudcats' Web site assures that no mascots are harmed in making them.
The Triple-A Durham Bulls (956-BULL, www.durhambulls.com) also have a cool food scene going on at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Blackwell Street. So cool, in fact, that last year, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals named the DBAP its numero uno vegetarian-friendly minor league ballpark for its veggie hot dogs, burgers and burritos. Check it out at www.goveg.com/f-top10ballparks_minor.asp.
"In every stand, I try to offer a healthy item," said Bulls General Manager Jamie Jenkins. This year, he's worked in some new offerings, which include a Portobello mushroom sandwich, new rolls for the burgers, rice bowls, a chicken pastor burrito and a low-fat turkey sandwich.
Also this year, the Bulls have introduced all-you-can-eat seats for certain games. "The following offer is not for the faint of stomach," they warn. For $25, you receive a Diamond View reserved seat, Bulls cap and a two-hour buffet that includes burgers, fried chicken, hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, mac 'n' cheese and Pepsi products. The next game on the pig-out schedule is May 10.
Back indoors, The Franklin Hotel (311 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, 442-9000, www.franklinhotelnc.com) hosts a four-course wine dinner on the second Thursday of every month. For May (6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 8), Chef Michael Opdyke will prepare a Latin American-themed menu, including early summer ceviche paired with Champagne, and poblano chiles stuffed with lobster and goat cheese paired with sauvignon blanc. Cost is $60 per person plus tax and gratuity, and reservations are required.
Wine Authorities (2501 University Drive, Durham, 489-2884, www.wineauthorities.com) hosts a seafood cooking demonstration and wine tasting at 3:03 p.m. Sunday, May 18. William D'Auvray, chef and co-owner at Fins (110 E. Davie St., Raleigh, 834-6963, www.myspace.com/finsrestaurant) will cook, and the WA guys, Grand Poobah (Craig Heffley) and Salamanzar (Seth Gross), will serve wine samples paired with the fish. Cost is $49.94 per person, and reservations are required.
Finally, see "Jambalaya, crawfish pie and file gumbo" for info on the Regulator Bookshop's Cornbread Nation 4: The Best of Southern Food Writing event on May 12.
Know about a fun food happening in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at firstname.lastname@example.org.