Wine Cellarage and GE Monogram provide palate-pleasing events, instructing on crafting the perfect menu and wine list for a bevy of themed parties. Led by GE executive chef Tageré Southwell, each of the evenings involves the preparation of a complete five-course menu of seasonal appetizers and wine pairings. Attendees for each event will walk away with a bevy of booty, including a booklet containing recipes for Chef Tageré's courses cooked at the event, tasting notes on the featured wines, gift certificates and discounts from Wine Cellarage, and more. Visual learners’ eyes will drool over a video of the meal preparations and access to a webinar and webchat with Chef Tageré and a Wine Cellarage sommelier.
Taste Carolina Wine Festival's ninth annual installment fills swirling goblets with varietal wines and ears with the dulcet tones of talented musicians. Aged grape spirits hail from wineries such as Native Vines and Cellar 4201, filling complimentary commemorative stemware and the cupped hands of feral connoisseurs with samples of their signature blends. As evening descends, musical headliners The Grey Street Band jam and wail through popular Dave Matthews Band covers such as "#41, " and "Warehouse." Bottled wines are also available for purchase, and a pick-up area prevents customers from having to tote their selections around and provides bottles with one last chance to fraternize with their friends.
At an hour when many bars and restaurants are busy closing up shop, Dream Nightclub lights up as a beacon to nocturnal wanderers from across the city. Custom-designed graffiti murals, pulsing LED lights, and energetic dance beats greet patrons as soon as they enter the after-dark dancehall and performance venue. The 5,000-square-foot club features ample lounge seating for bottle service or dramatically lit staring contests, as well as two bars and a full-service kitchen that churns out plates laden with chicken wings and french fries as late as 2:30 a.m. on most nights. A QSC sound system floods the dance floor with Latin, techno, or hip-hop tunes depending on the day, although the club also hosts occasional DJ sets and regular jazz-band performances.
Talented local artists teach students of all levels to let right brains roam free across canvases as they complete the painting lesson's work of art. During two-hour lessons, guests sip home-brought wine, soda, or bathtub lemonade while tracing shapes onto canvases with paintbrushes that drip with brightly colored acrylics. Friendships erupt like Mount Vesuvius filled with rainbows as aspiring artists work toward the completion of still-life compositions, landscapes, or portraits. All supplies are included, and at the lesson's end, painting protégés will have a completed masterpiece to take home. Wine and Design suggests wearing comfortable clothing that guests will not mind getting paint on, such as an old T-shirt or a wedding dress designed by Jackson Pollock.
Spread across Lu Mil Vineyard's 58 acres are an antique museum, a handful of cabins for overnight stays, a tasting room, and of course grapevines. Rows upon rows of sweet muscadine grapes are cultivated at the farm, named for its late owners, Lucille and Miller Taylor. In addition to producing a suite of wines, Lu Mil sells a selection of house-made jellies, jams, and NASA-engineered spittoons.
Ethiopian main courses divide into two parts: injera, a thin flatbread, and wot, a stew comprising mostly meat or various beans. Ashee Ethiopian Cuisine adheres to tradition, serving stews of chicken, beef, or curried lamb and goat atop spongy slices of injera. Beyond its carnivorous dishes, Ashee caters to vegetarians with heaps of lentils cooked in berbere sauce and split peas cooked with mild green peppers. Feasts are served atop a mesob, a round table designed to encourage sharing among diners. Beers and Coke products can complement meals, though for a more authentic experience Ashee recommends ordering coffee, which is served during a traditional ethiopian ceremony.
Guests who pull up to the Summer Picnic Concert Series might find themselves torn between lounging and dancing. On the one hand, there's the lush, picnic-ready lawn of Cypress Bend Vineyards' pastoral grounds; on the other, there are the shuffling native sounds of Carolina beach music boogying from the stage. The three-piece team of Joyner, Young & Marie seamlessly shifts gears from power ballads such as "Frozen in Time" to twangy, up-tempo numbers such as "Live the Blues." The Sand Band plays up their dance, blues, and classic-rock influences, combining soulful melodies with eminently danceable beats.
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