Yes, I know, that bowl of leftover Halloween candy is still sitting on your counter (or desk or table), and we're barely into November, but trust me, it is not too early to start making your Thanksgiving reservations. Is there a restaurant you want to go to? A bakery that makes great pies or rolls? A barbecue place that smokes great turkeys? Call them soon.
Case in point: the Triangle Vegetarian Society's annual Thanksgiving meal at Parizade restaurant in Durham. The organization's Web site (www.trianglevegsociety.org/thanksgiving07) received 92 reservations within 24 hours of going live on Oct. 29. It's no wonder, because the all-vegan menu includes great stuff: lime-marinated seared seitan with peppercorns and fig glaze; roasted garlic olive oil mashed potatoes with chives and mushroom gravy; and shepherd's pie with wheat gluten, roasted root vegetables, mushrooms and a potato crust. And those are just a few; this is a true feast. Currently there are two seatings (12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.), and if those fill up, society president Dilip Barman said there might be an evening seating. Costs are $22-$26 for adults and $7 for children ages 5 to 10. All the information (alcohol, payment, directions) is on the society's Web site.
Tuesday, Nov. 13, is RSVVP Day, when hundreds of restaurants across the Triangle donate 10 percent of their proceeds to programs that feed local residents. For details and a list of participating restaurants, see www.rsvvp.org.
The great thing about blogs is that one blog will often link to another. By reading my favorite Durham food blog (see www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A158249), I stumbled upon Varmint Bites (varmintbites.com), based in Raleigh. Varmint describes himself as "a father of four children who eats too much, cooks for his wife just about every day and has an opinion on most anything."
Through Varmint, I learned that Raleigh will soon have another barbecue restaurant. Nana's Chophouse will close Nov. 16, and The Pit is scheduled to take its place at 328 W. Davie St. in Raleigh on Nov. 26. The Pit will feature the barbecue of Wilson pitmaster (and national treasure) Ed Mitchell. The goal of Mitchell and his partners at Empire Properties (the people who run the Raleigh Times Bar and the Duck & Dumpling, among others) is to serve authentic barbecue (made with free-range, hormone-free, locally raised) pigs in ... well, an "upper-scale" environment. "Not upscale," said Craig Spitzer, hospitality director for Empire. No white tablecloths. The menu will be seasonal and local and will feature all the traditional barbecue sides and possibly more—even wine and beer pairings for barbecue. "We want to expand the horizons of what can go with traditional barbecue," Spitzer said. The Pit's phone and Web site are not operational as of press time, but they will be soon: 890-4500 and www.thepit-raleigh.com.
Know about a special food happening in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at firstname.lastname@example.org.