Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our country's 233rd birthday and ... tomato season.
Yes, July 1 marks the start of tomato harvests all over our lovely Piedmont. Acme (110 E. Main St., Carrboro, 929-2263, www.acmecarrboro.com) gets the party started July 9 with its Tomato Festival Wine Dinner. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., Acme hosts winemaker Franco Massolino to showcase wines from the Italian Piedmont, paired with five courses of tomato-based goodness. For example: pan-seared gnocchi with overnight-roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes, country ham, grilled sweet onions, butter beans and pecorino romano, paired with Massolino Dolcetto 2007. Cost is $65 per person, and reservations are required.
In Durham, just in time for Independence Day, we have an additional (peaceful) revolution to celebrate. Cuban Revolution has taken over the former Symposium Cafe spot at the American Tobacco Campus, and is set to open for lunch and dinner July 1.
Describing itself as serving "Cuban-fusion" cuisine, Cuban Revolution (www.thecubanrevolution.com) comes south from Providence, R.I., where it has two locations. Its mission is to "offer great food, decor, inspired artwork and music... specifically chosen to set the stage for a return to an era when challenging the norm was the norm." Its menu features Cuban sandwiches ("The Fidel"), steak sandwiches served with beans and rice ("The JFK"), empanadas (including "The Bay of Pigs"), ropa vieja ("the traditional national dish of Cuba") and several vegetarian options. Hours for the Durham location are 11 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Friday and Saturday.
American Tobacco is also hosting lunch on Thursdays, called Carts in the Park at Diamond View Park (adjacent to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Blackwell Street), featuring local food vendors such as Only Burger and LocoPops, a mini farmers market and ... baseball. "Eat-seekers will not only get fine food, but access to complimentary footballs, wiffle balls and bats, kickballs and other items designed to aid decompression and a good, active lunch hour," according to a press release. For more information, visit www.americantobaccocampus.com.
In Chapel Hill, the South Estes Farmers' Market (www.southestesfarmersmarket.com) is open Tuesdays from 4 to 7 p.m., in addition to its Saturday hours. The Tuesday market is at the same location, outside A Southern Season at University Mall (201 S. Estes Drive).
That market, as well as the Carrboro Farmers' Market (www.carrborofarmersmarket.com) and the Durham Farmers' Market (www.durhamfarmersmarket.com), are in the running for the nation's favorite farmers market, as tallied by Localharvest.org, a Web site devoted to organic and local food. Localharvest.org is hosting a contest, Love Your Farmers' Market, through Sept. 17. The market with the most votes wins a $5,000. As of this writing, the Carrboro and Durham markets were running neck and neck for the favorite market in the country. Visit www.care2.com/farmersmarket to see the rankings or to cast your vote.