Small Plates with Ariel Turner

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Tunes, booze, and food at the Zoo

The 12th annual Sippin’ Safari takes place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Sept. 7. The 21-and-over event is put on by the Greenville Zoo Foundation as a fundraiser and is a great excuse to wander around the zoo without chasing your children, beverage of choice in hand, while listening to some great live music, this year provided by Heather Gillis Band. As a veteran of these events, I advise investing in bug spray if you’re prone to mosquito bites. But back to the fun part: The evening will include wine sampling of more than 50 wines and restaurant vendors, including Bacon Bros. Public House, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Commerce Club, The Sweetery, The Melting Pot, Southside Smokehouse & Grille, Couture Cakes of Greenville, Chuy’s, and Chef360 Catering. This year a new VIP area will include exclusive wines and Blockhouse Restaurant and Oyster Bar. All VIP guests are automatically entered into a raffle to win a wheelbarrow of wine! Tickets are $50 for general admission, $75 for VIP, and $20 for designated drivers. Visit greenvillezoofoundation.org to purchase.

More wine

And who’s mad about that? Not me. Soby’s is hosting a wine dinner Sept. 18 with Ramey Wine Cellars out of Healdsburg, California. The menu includes five savory courses paired with a companion Ramey wine and ends with a dessert from Soby’s pastry chef. George Staikos, from Ramey Wine Cellars, will be host for the evening. The dinner is scheduled to take place in the Loft at Soby’s, but may move to the Soby’s Mezzanine if it outgrows the Loft space. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.; the cost is $90 (plus tax and gratuity) per person. Snag tickets at sobys.com.

And even more wine

Foxcroft Wine Co., the wine bar from Charlotte that’s been under construction at 631 S. Main St. in the former Brazwells space for several months, is opening Sept. 21. That happens to be smack in the middle of Euphoria weekend, in case you need a time reference, so if you can’t make the annual food and wine festival events that night, you can try for the Foxcroft opening and give the staff a warm Greenville welcome. Foxcroft serves small plates paired with its wine offerings and also has an extensive retail bottle selection. I’m looking forward to this addition to our growing number of restaurant options farther south on Main Street.

New mystery menu

Executive chef Nick Graves at Restaurant 17 inside Hotel Domestique has been working on a total revamp of both the bar and main dinner menu for weeks. He’s also keeping it under wraps until it’s just right. That should be soon. I’ve seen a version of the bar menu, and it will definitely be worth driving a few miles outside of Greenville. Speaking of which, the most common complaint about Restaurant 17 is the location beyond Travelers Rest proper – Greenville residents like to stay within their specific five- to 10-mile radius. I get that. But, according to Graves and his pastry chef partner Meghan Neal, you all showed up big time for Restaurant Week and proved that you’ll drive for really excellent food. Good on ya. Let’s keep it up and support one of the hidden gems of Greenville’s vibrant food scene.

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