Small Bites

Got the post-holiday blues? Then Happy New Year! That’s right, it’s time to celebrate the Chinese new year (2008, by the way, is Year of the Rat). On Wed., Feb. 6, Asheville’s China Palace will celebrate with a special buffet and a celebration including a traditional Lion Dance. Cost is $12.95 per person; dinner will be served from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the restaurant, which is located at 4 South Tunnel Road. Call 298-7098 for details.

The aftermath of Valentine’s Day usually plays out at jewelry counters and wine shops, where newly betrothed couples stock up on celebratory bottles of bubbly. The Weinhaus, at 86 Patton Ave. in Asheville, is marking the sparkling season with a free sparkling-wine tasting on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, call 254-6453.

IHOPs nationwide are serving up flapjacks for charity this month, with a Tuesday, Feb. 12, fundraiser benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network. From 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., customers can claim a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes in exchange for a donation. Both the Tunnel Road and Airport Road locations are participating in the event.

Viewers of WLOS have lately been treated to food news considerably nastier than what’s covered by the station’s popular “Carolina Cooking” segment, which recently featured Asheville City Council member Carl Mumpower preparing pork-barrel fritters. Late last year, News-13’s Frank Fraboni introduced the “Restaurant Report Card,” an aggressive investigative series in which he and a camera crew ambush owners of eateries with health-code violations. “I wonder what you can tell me about these roaches in the oven,” Fraboni said in a confrontation with a worker at a Chinese restaurant that earned an “A” grade. Fraboni has reportedly earned new fans with his animated descriptions of drainage, hot water temperatures and shelving strategies.


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