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New restaurants and happenings

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By the time you read this, most celebration leftovers will have been eaten and what to have on New Year's Eve will be the topic of conversation. A great night to be out on the town, it's still not quite too late to book your special spot.

Restaurants recently announcing to us that they, too, will host a New Year's Eve prix fixe dinner include Piedmont Restaurant in Durham (683-1213), serving a four-course dinner for $40 that includes choices such as oyster mignotte, salads with local arugula and cherve, and a prosecco cocktail. Two seatings, at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m, with after-dinner music by chef/owner Andy Magowan's band Malt Swagger (you can come just for the music for a $5 cover charge). Cary's Bistro 64 (380-1322, www.bistro64.com) will escort in the New Year with music as well as a four-course champagne dinner for $65 per person. Choices among the courses cover a range of flavors such as the classic starter frutti di mare, a Passion Salad, and Moroccan-spiced rack of lamb. The Grape at Cameron Village in Raleigh (833-2669, www.yourgrape.com) is also hosting a wine dinner (five wines, four courses) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., $50 per person, and an after-dinner dance party ($50 per person including gourmet buffet of sweets and savories) to ring in 2007. Reservations are required at all three.

If you're planning to splurge on a night to remember this Dec. 31, join classical music lovers at the Raleigh Sheraton Hotel Downtown for a gala honoring the N.C. Symphony that includes a pre-concert cocktail party and the symphony playing the usual complement of Strauss waltzes and other festive music. Also included are the hotel's four-course dinner, champagne at midnight along with Ellen Ciompi singing "Auld Lang Syne," plus dancing to Leon Jordan and His Continental Big Band. $225 per person gets you into the whole shebang 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets are through N.C. Symphony, 733-2750 or www.ticketmaster.com.

Hudson's Oyster Bar and Grille in Raleigh (formerly Gino Russo's, 420-0340) is gearing up with music and karaoke action for New Year's Eve, promising their new menu's wide range—traditional seafood, Southern cooking and steak-and-lobster combos.

The Durham Farmers' Market (www. durhamfarmersmarket.com) has expanded to offer winter hours at the Central Park School for Children, 724 Foster St., 9 a.m. to noon on the following Saturdays: Jan. 6 and 20, Feb. 3 and 17, March 3 and 17. We can plan ahead to buy locally raised winter produce, meats, homemade breads and pastries, and crafts. Questions? Contact Sarah Howe at sarah@houseofclay.net.

Congrats to Chef Royal of Angus Barn in Raleigh (781-2444, www.angusbarn.com) for winning the Iron Chef America TV competition, which aired on Dec. 10. The winning secret ingredient? Ostrich! The meat and the eggs!

Know about a special restaurant happening? E-mail info to food@indyweek.com.

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