Haiti Relief: Servers at Bouchon recently collected more than $1,000 for the recovery effort in Haiti, dedicating all of their tips on Jan. 28 to the cause. According to restaurant co-owner Vonciel Baudouin, guests were extremely generous, with one table leaving $200 on a $76 tab.
The Bouchon event kicked off a short season of Haiti benefits at area restaurants, with Hector Diaz last Thursday donating 100 percent of sales at his three restaurants. The charitable efforts continue on Thursday, Feb. 11, with more than 20 restaurants committing 10 percent of their sales to the American Red Cross: Artisan Catering and Deli, Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria, Blue Ridge Dining Room, Burgermeister's Kitchen and Tap, Chai Pani, The Corner Kitchen, Doc Chey's Noodle House, Fig, Horizon's, the Lexington Avenue Brewery, Luella's Barbecue, Mamacita's Mexican Grill, Piazza, Rise 'n' Shine Café, Sunny Point Café, Sunset Terrace, Table and Tupelo Honey Café all plan to participate. To learn more, call 258-3888.
Caminos Southwestern Grille: A popular Mexican eatery in Black Mountain has vastly expanded its capacity, adding 60 seats by absorbing an adjacent building that previously housed Powerhouse Perks. With harsh winter weather rendering the café's 50 patio seats unusable, owner Marvin McFadyen predicts the new arrangement will help reduce recent table waits that sometimes approached an hour. "Our former bar and seating areas were just too tight for demand," McFayden explained in a press release.
Camino's, 107 Black Mountain Ave., is open Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. For more information, call 669-1982.
Short Street Cakes: As if Mard Gras wasn't sufficient reason to party, Short Street Cakes is throwing itself a birthday celebration on Sunday, Feb. 14, with a Mardi Gras, Valentine's, and We're One Year Old theme. The popular east West Asheville bakery will mark the all-important day with live music, a cake raffle, beads and the official launch of its 2010 menu. Festivities run from noon to 6 p.m. To learn more, call 505-4822.
Truffle Festival: The National Truffle Festival is returning to Asheville for a second year, and bringing some culinary heavyweights with it. Participants in the chef's gala at the Grand Bohemian Hotel on Saturday, Feb. 27, include Ashley Christensen of Raleigh's much-adored Poole's Downtown Diner, and James Beard award winner John Currence, the man behind Oxford's City Grocery and Big Bad Breakfast. Tickets to the three-day event — which comprises a welcome reception, two dinners and educational seminars — are $500, and can be purchased through www.northamericantrufflefest.com.
Maple Syrup Festival: Maple Creek Farm in Burnsville is reprising its popular syrup open house on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 20-21, proving to disbelievers that great syrup is made in the Southern mountains. The family-friendly tour includes syrup cooking demonstrations, a sugar house tour, hikes through the sugar bush and syrup sampling. The event is scheduled for 11 a.m.-4 p.m. both days; tickets are $5 for adults and children under 12 will be admitted free. To find out more, visit www.maplecreekfarm.net.
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