Loosen your belt for the ‘Queen's Feast 2008'

Q. When can I see specifics for that Charlotte Restaurant Week?

Nicknamed “ Queen's Feast 2008,” it runs July 12-18, and the Web site CharlotteRestaurant Week.com just went live.

There you can see menus from the more than 40 area restaurants that have agreed to offer a three-course meal for $30 (plus tax and tip). You can also get reservations links.

Lots of cities, from New York to San Diego, do similar promotions. It's a way for restaurants to use typically slow times to drum up a little business, and for diners to get some deals at restaurants they already like or to venture into ones they haven't yet tried.

Restaurants slated to take part are: Arooji's at SouthPark, ARPA, Blue, Cafe Monte, Cajun Queen, Carpe Diem, Copper, Customshop, Del Frisco's, Dilworth Neighborhood Grille, Dressler's, Fiamma, Frankie's Italian Grille, Gallery at Ballantyne Resort, GW Fins, Harper's at Carolina Place and at SouthPark, Hotel Charlotte, Lava Bistro, M5, Melting Pot at Dilworth and University, Mickey & Mooch...The Other Joint (Arboretum), Mimosa Grill, Noble's, Nolen Kitchen, Oceanaire, The Palm, Pewter Rose, Providence Cafe, Ratcliffe on the Green, Restaurant i, Ri Ra, Rooster's, Ruth's Chris at SouthPark and Uptown, Sir Edmond Halley's, Sugar Magnolia, Sullivan's Steakhouse, Upstream, Zebra and Zen.

Q. Is there any food you just don't like and won't eat? Do you like to cook?

I haven't run across much I don't like, though I'm not a big fan of tendon (found in Chinese cooking). Everything else is fair game.

(If you're seeking monkey-brain kinds of stuff, try “ The Man Who Ate Everything” by Jeffrey Steingarten. He set out to cure his phobias about eating insects and things like raw sea urchin – which I love – and Korean kimchi – ditto.)

I do like to cook, but have always been the sort who tackles a new dish every time, rather than working to improve a few standards. That's the direction I need to go next.