Hazelnut, pralines and peach brandy, oh my!
The Ballantyne Resort's new Epicurean Ice Cream Socials are a far cry from a drippy cone of soft-serve. Gallery Restaurant Executive Chef Kirk Gilbert has created an upscale menu with taste profiles that zing.
Flavors include a kid-friendly bowl of natural vanilla ice cream drizzled with warm fudge, cherries and whipped cream; chocolate- and Grand Marnier-flavored ice cream with marinated strawberries in an orange rosemary reduction; hazelnut Frangelico with warm ganduja ancho chili chocolate sauce; brandy peach with spiced pecans and a praline caramel sauce; green tea with ginger, mango and guava syrup; and Calvados with Granny Smith apple and thyme compote. Each dish is $6.50.
Karen Martin of the Bissell Cos. and Ray Eschert, founder of the Ballantyne Breakfast Club, met me there and we caught up on area news over big dishes of ice cream. My favorite was the Frangelico.
The socials are in the main lobby Tuesdays through Saturdays in July and August, 3-5 p.m.
Also, the resort's Gallery Restaurant's Cooking School has rescheduled the “Exploration of Eastern Cuisine” class to Saturday.
The Ballantyne Resort is at 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway. Details, or to register for the class, which costs $65: 704-248-4000.
Eat for the horses
On Monday, 25 percent of dinner proceeds at Township Grill will go to a horse rescue group called USERL.
It's part of the restaurant's weekly fundraisers for community service groups.
The Monday night event will also feature a raffle for two passes to the new Hard Rock amusement park in Myrtle Beach.
Township Grill is at 10400 E. Independence Blvd.
Tomato Tasting Day
Saturday is Tomato Tasting Day at the Matthews Community Farmers' Market.
Customers can nibble tomatoes with names including Jaune Flamme, Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Mecklenburg, Celebrity, Goliath, Gold Nugget, Sungold, Carbon, Thessaloniki and Green Zebra. There also will be traditional varieties including Better Boy and Beefsteak.
A cooking demonstration will be presented by Adam Reed, chef-owner, Sante restaurant, Matthews. Music will be provided by classical guitarist Luis Rowe of Matthews.
Bluegrass musicians Trent and Dwight Moody of Briarhoppers fame will perform. And the craft demonstration will be rug-hooking by Donna Matera.
The market is downtown on North Trade Street. It opens at 7:15 a.m. Details: matthewsfarmersmarket.com.
Gift's worth unsettled
Reader Cindy Ozark called to ask whether her gift certificate to Under the Grape became worthless after the wine shop at Ballantyne Village closed suddenly.
Owners Barb and Henry Tyree have not returned calls for comment. But they sent an e-mail to customers that said they plan to relocate in the Ballantyne area and would announce details soon.
The Village management office is trying to help me get an answer for Ozark and other readers who might be in the same situation. Stay tuned.
Boardwalk Billy's party
Boardwalk Billy's is gearing up for its 8th anniversary party Aug. 23.
The restaurant recently hired artist Ryan Singleton to create new murals in the bar area to prepare for the event. Stay tuned for details.
Billy's is on Sardis Road North.