The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill has begun a new season of its popular end-of-the-workweek celebration called Fridays on the Front Porch, featuring some of North Carolina's best bluegrass bands. There's no cover charge, and the Inn offers its Tiny Vittles menu with full bar service during the show. This year, in the same time 5-7 p.m slot, the Inn is hosting a wine tasting with light hors d'oeuvres called Vines & Vittles on the outdoor patio in the Rose Courtyard; the cost is $15 per person.
Beginning Thursday, May 4, chefs from the five AAA Four Diamond award-winning restaurants in the Triangle will host the second annual AAA Four Diamond Dinner Series, a series of five Thursday dinners, one at each award-winning restaurant. The dinners will include five courses plus hors d'oeuvres, with each chef preparing a different dish and all courses matched with wine. The dinners will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the price is $95 per person. Call the individual restaurant to make reservations. The schedule is: May 4, Fairview Restaurant at Washington Duke Inn in Durham (493-6699); June 1, Four Square Restaurant in Durham (401-9877); Sept. 21, Il Palio Ristorante at the Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill (918-2545); Oct. 5, Carolina CrossRoads Restaurant at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill (918-2777); Nov. 2, Second Empire Restaurant in Raleigh (829-3663).
On Saturday, May 6, join Lantern Restaurant chefs Andrea Reusing, Brendan Reusing and April McGreger for a Carolina Farm Stewardship Association benefit dinner at Harland's Creek Farm in Pittsboro. Enjoy a five-course dinner in which nearly every ingredient will be prepared using fresh locally raised and grown food, while surrounded by the scenery of a fully operational, certified organic farm. Come early for a farmer-guided champagne tour of the 19th-century plantation. Reservations for the dinner at 7 p.m. are $125; reservations for the dinner and the champagne tour at 5:30 p.m. are $250. Reservations must be made in advance, by phone at 542-2402 or online at www.carolinafarmstewaXds.org/calendar/HarlandsCreekDinner.html. Vegetarian meals are available upon request.
The Triangle Lebanese Association (www.tlanc.org) will host its Eighth Annual Lebanese Festival on Saturday, May 6 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Kerr Scott Building at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Lebanese food will be served all day and will include traditional dishes such as tabouleh, hummus, chicken and beef shawarma, falafel and sweets. The daylong event will also feature a center stage with music and dance performances, including Dabke, the traditional Lebanese ensemble dance, and belly dancing. Local vendors will staff booths offering services and selling Middle Eastern goods. Admission is $2 at the door. Call 677-9197 or 380-1054 for more info.
On Tuesday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m., Four Square Restaurant in Durham is hosting a five-course Drouhin wine dinner with Laurent Drouhin, U.S. Sales Manager for Maison Drouhin, one of the largest Burgundy houses. To tantalize your taste buds, the third course is coq au vin of quail on a ragout of wild mushrooms, pearl onions and English peas paired with Côte de Beaune 2002 or Beaune-Grèves ler Cru 2004. The dinner is $125 per person plus tax and gratuity. For reservations, call 401-9877.
Bin 54 in Chapel Hill says stellar steaks aren't just for dads. Mom would enjoy their wood-fired steaks and delectable fish, plus updated sides, decadent blood orange souffle and molten chocolate cake. Indoor and patio seating; opens at 5 p.m. For reservations, call 969-1155.
If mom is hip to Asian food, take her to Jujube in Chapel Hill for their one-of-a-kind dim sum brunch, plus chef Charlie Deal's creative list of Asian Bloody Marys. Indoor and patio seating; open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Call 960-0555 for reservations.
Art-loving moms will enjoy a day at the Nasher Museum in Durham, starting with a delicious brunch in the Nasher Museum Cafe. The all-local menu features biscuits and gravy and homemade French toast. Patio tables overlook the sculpture garden, so mom can even enjoy the art while she dines. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For reservations, call 684-6032.
The just-opened NELSONS in Raleigh's Cameron Village is offering a champagne brunch (served every Sunday) from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Fresh chilled seafood offerings, a roast-beef carving station and a Viennese dessert table with a selection of house-baked European pastries are served in the dining loggia. For reservations, call 832-9815.
Porter's City Tavern in Raleigh is known for their delicious brunch menu and festive outdoor patio. Porter's will take reservations for any size party and will be open for brunch from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5-9 p.m. Call 821-2133.
Restaurant Starlu in Durham is offering a special Mother's Day and graduation weekend menu. Entrée options include Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Fruits de Mer, N.C. Day Boat Flounder, Roasted Bell and Evans Chicken Breast, and Black Bean Tostada. The full menu is on their Web site at www.starlu.com; call 489-1500 for reservations.
Mom will experience joie de vivre at Vin Rouge in Durham with chef Matt Kelly's tried and true menu of classic French favorites like crepes de jour, eggs Florentine and moules frites. Open 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Call 416-0466 for reservations.
At Vivace in Raleigh's North Hills, enjoy a Bellini, the classic Italian champagne cocktail, before indulging in an Italian-style brunch. Open from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. for brunch, until 5 serving their "Intermezzo" menu, and for dinner until 10 p.m. For reservations, call 787-7747.