The emails piled up in my inbox while I was away last week, so it is time to clear them out and share all of the interesting food-related tidbits. This list of news ranges from a new apple you’ll soon find in grocery stores to upcoming cooking classes at The River and Rail in South Roanoke.
Read on, and then I hope you’ll go on to have a wonderful weekend!
* Kroger is going to spotlight Sunkist Cara Cara oranges with a special lunch at the Bonsack store on Saturday. The lunch will be prepared by Kroger Chef Tanner LaPrade.
LaPrade said these oranges are not new, but they have become very popular of late. He described them as a very sweet orange with a lot of flavor.
LaPrade will make Cara Cara cabbage salad with skewered shrimp or salmon and Cara Cara salsa. There will be free samples of the food in the deli/produce area of the store, and the dishes will be available for sale on the bistro bar from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The oranges will be on sale in the produce department for $3.99/3 lbs. Salmon and shrimp will also be on sale at $4.99/lb. and $5.99/lb., respectively.
* Also in produce news, it seems a new apple will soon emerge in grocery stores across the country courtesy of the Rainier Fruit Company in Washington. The apple is called the Lady Alice, and a press release describes it as “an heirloom-like fruit that is similar to a fine wine – flavorful and complex, and one that gets better several months after it is picked when the flavor reaches its peak.”
This part is also interesting: “The rarity of a chance seedling creating an apple that is quickly becoming a national favorite is a story in itself. It was discovered quite by chance on a farm near Gleed, Washington in 1978 when a grower accidentally cut an apple tree with his farm equipment. A chance seedling grew from the base and over the next 25 years, steps were taken to preserve and propagate the distinctive characteristics of the Lady Alice. The Lady Alice brand apple is named after Alice Zirkle, the co-founder of Rainier Fruit Company in honor of her memory.”
Lady Alice apples are reportedly good for cooking and eating out-of-hand, with flesh that is slow to brown when cut and retains a firm shape when cooked.
* Save the date for the Blacksburg Cork & Fork Festival at the First and Main Shopping District in Blacksburg. It will happen this year on Saturday, April 27 from noon to 6 p.m. This will be the fifth year for the popular festival. Find more info here.
* Foodservice research groups say beverage-only restaurant visits are making up a larger percentage of overall restaurant visits, and Burger King seems to be trying to take advantage of that. They’re introducing 10 new beverages, including a 100 percent Latin American Arabica bean custom blend. They’ll also offer iced coffee in four flavors (regular, vanilla, mocha and caramel, average price $1.50) and lattes (same flavors, as well as nonfat varieties of those flavors, average price $2.30).
* Nutrition expert Jane Esselstyn will give a talk about disease prevention through nutrition at the Appalachian School of Law on Feb. 28. The presentation, called “Chronic Western Disease Explained,” will be about a plant-based approach to preventing and reversing disease.
I know Grundy is a bit out on the fringes of our coverage area, but wanted to share this in case any readers out that way would be interested in attending. The talk is free and will be held at 6 p.m. in the Lion’s Lounge of the Appalachian School of Law, 1169 Edgewater Drive, Grundy. For more information, call 276-244-1231.
* The Bank Food and Drink in Pearisburg won more awards than any other team at the 8th Annual Cast Iron Cook-Off at the Greenbrier Resort. The restaurant took home four awards at the Feb. 2 competition: The People’s Choice Award, a tie for Best Use of Cast Iron, a tie for Table Presentation, and Honorable Mention for Best use of Protein.
* Gunther’s Gourmet Groceries, a food company started by Roanoke natives and brothers Michael and Nick Lampros, continues to bring home awards in competitions, mostly for its salsa. In late 2012, they won 13 national tasting awards at a competition in New York. On Jan. 25, the Richmond-based company won another 13 national awards at the 2013 Zest Fest held in Irving, Dallas County, Texas.
Nick still lives in Roanoke while Michael lives in Richmond. Michael and I joked over email that 13 must be their lucky number.
* If you love cooking and are a fan of The River and Rail restaurant in South Roanoke, consider taking some cooking classes with Chef Aaron Deal.
These classes will be held on March 24, April 7 and April 14. The classes will include food and wine, and they say you will “leave well-fed with a recipe book in hand and a bottle of the evening’s featured wine.” The cost is $60. Reserve now by calling 400-6830 and asking for Devon.
* Veranda Bistro at 8201 Williamson Road is now open for Sunday brunch. Never heard of this restaurant? Well, it has been open for almost 10 years! It offers both Greek and Italian food. To see the menus and read more about this restaurant, go to its website here.
The Sunday brunches will be from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will include such items as eggs Benedict and mimosas.