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A passionate place to mingle

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There are a lot of adjectives you can use to describe food -- delicious, appetizing, bland, spicy ... passionate?

Every time I go down Tryon and pass Harry & Jean's Passionate American Food, I can't help but think, "What the hell?" and wonder if their food is zealous, loving and obsessive -- they're synonymous with passionate.

I'm thinking hamburgers, corndogs, fries and apple pie. Apparently, "passionate American food" is a gourmet menu of steaks and seafood as I learned upon my first visit last week. I didn't go for the passionate food -- I went for a passionate party, the Mingleberry.com launch party.

My curiosity led me to ask the owner what makes their food so passionate. The intended message is that passion is an ingredient for which the food is prepared with. I am going to have to get back to you about how passion tastes, but I can tell you that Harry & Jean's is a good place to party.

It had the ambiance of a magic castle -- at least the Magic Castle restaurant in Los Angeles with its round booths, Gone with the Wind style curtains and old-school, slightly-spooky portraits. It was spacious and luxurious, and they had a DJ and dance floor for the occasion. Now if only people did a little less mingling and a lot more dancing.

Mingleberry.com also had a makeshift photo shoot set up where people could pretend they're at a red carpet event ...

And it was about as red carpet as Charlotte gets. The crowd consisted of Checkmates, Brotha Fred, Kelli Bartik from FOX Sports, and Ifé Moore. A rep from Busch was like the beer fairy -- as soon as you walk through the door, she hands you a Bud Light.

And speaking of local celebrities ...

As in the cream of the crop of the local and live music scene, last Monday they were at The Evening Muse for the record release party for Creative Loafing Presents Jeff Hahne's Homebrew; Winter Harvest 2008; a seasonal sampler of the Q.C.'s homebrewed music from the best independent local artists. And with seven of the twelve local artists from the compilation album performing, it was obviously a good show. A showcase of raw talent like that garners a bigger venue like Amos', because there were so many people crowded into the little muse I thought it was Saturday; there were even dogs there.

And starting the first Monday in April The Evening Muse will be the site for the Crown Town Showdown. Stay tuned on that one ...

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