Kindred – Kickstarter Campaign

My wife, the inimitable Michelle Smith, is helping establish Kindred, a boutique and retail incubator in downtown Raleigh that will feature the work of emerging North Carolina designers.  It’s going to be awesome, and Michelle has been working super hard at it, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.  Michelle has a vision for a beautiful store, and, to achieve that, Kindred is raising money through a new Kickstarter campaign for the upfit of the space.  With your help, the space will feature really cool modular shelving, nice lighting (to replace the low-hanging fluorescents), and lovely signage.  So check out the link to the campaign at the right and help bring something really cool to the Triangle. The goal is to be able to open the store by the end of October.

As this is a food blog, note that one of the rewards for your donation of a certain amount is a sampler pack of 3 nut butters from Big Spoon Roasters.  Let me tell you, their stuff is delicious!

AND, on another food related note, on Friday October 5th, from 6pm-9pm, there will be a cool event at Kindred featuring some local products for sale, including Sweet Water Ice, Slingshot Coffee, and, last but not least, 100 free donuts from Rise Biscuits & Donuts!!

The Cookery – Front Room Grand Opening

On September 15th, from 12pm – 3pm, The Cookery will be celebrating the grand opening of it’s new event space called The Front Room.  Having had a chance to check out the building – which is directly attached to the Cookery’s kitchen – a couple of months ago (while under construction), I”m sure it’s going to be a lovely space and an awesome addition to the Triangle food scene.

The idea of the Front Room is to host pop-up restaurants, specialty food events, culinary workshops, and private parties, among other things.  It can accommodate up to 200 people, and includes a mezzanine and outdoor patio, as well as a full bar, audio/visual equipment, and, of course, access to the kitchen facility.  This will allows chefs, caterers, and others to create all manner of fantastic food events.

Members of the Cookery who will be at the opening serving up food will include Chirba Chirba, Monuts Donuts, Pie Pushers, Sympathy for the Deli, Triangle Raw Foods, and The Parlour.  There will also be wine and beer tastings, live music, and more.

Best of all, the grand opening is also serving as a fundraiser for the Durham Crisis Response Center’s Emergency Shelter.  Proceeds from food sales at the event will go towards remodeling the shelter’s kitchen.

I hope to see you there!

Reliable Cheese Class: Cheese 101

I love eating cheese, but I consume it mostly in ignorance; I hardly know anything about it.  As with wine, coffee, or chocolate, jumping in to the world of cheese can be intimidating – there are just so many different kinds.  How does one know what’s good?  Where does one even begin?  A great starting place would be at Reliable Cheese Co., a small cheese shop in downtown Durham.  The area’s only European-style cheese counter, this place features a great selection of products, an uber-knowledgeable and friendly cheesemonger (Patrick Coleff), and, for the novice or the aficionado, cheese classes.  

These are not cheese-making classes, which might entail hours of just standing around waiting, but cheese enjoyment classes, where you can learn about the basics, or about cheeses from certain countries, or about pairing cheese with other ingredients.  You get a healthy dose of in-depth knowledge of the products and yeah, you get to eat a bunch of cheese.   Sounds like a fun time to me!

As neophytes, we recently attended Reliable’s most popular class, Cheese 101.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was great.  There was a group of about a dozen of us, seated around some wooden tables at the back of the shop.  The tables were set simply with carafes of water, baskets of sliced fresh crusty bread, and, for each person, a small plate of 6 different cheeses, artfully arranged.  Patrick lectured professorially for a while about the process of cheese-making, including a good deal of scientific detail, and then, as the tasting began, we discussed the various types of cheeses and their qualities.  We tried:

  • Fresh chevre (Vermont) – soft, pillowy, and buttery
  • Crottin (North Carolina) – lighty aged goat cheese with a bit more punch
  • Grayson (Virginia) – a “smelly” soft cheese similar to Taleggio
  • Roncal (Spain) – kind of like manchego or pecorino romano
  • VintageVan Gogh (Wisconsin) – an aged gouda
  • Valdeon (Spain) – delicate, complex blue cheese

I really tried to pace myself with the bread and cheese (as we were planning on going to eat afterwards), and felt a little bad for not finishing all of it, but, if I had gone for it all, it would have almost been enough for a light supper.  

Finally, Patrick talked about storing and serving cheese before concluding and offering us 10% off of anything in the store.  I spotted some good-looking buffalo mozzarella and some gourmet meats that I hope to come back for.  And I’ll have to return, because, after learning a bit about cheese, and trying some of the good stuff, I think I’m ready for Cheese 201!

SEEDS Pie Social

This Sunday from 1pm – 5pm is the 4th annual SEEDS pie social.  This is a great event to benefit the Durham-based urban gardening organization.  For $10 you get four slices of pie from some of the best restaurants in the area.  There are about 30 of them participating this year, including Acme, Guglhupf, and Foster’s Market.  There will be sweet ones, of course, but also pizza pies, and you’ll be able to vote for your favorite slice.  Also part of the event is a skill share auction, where you can bid on learning unique skills from community members.

It’s rain or shine, and you’re encouraged to bring your own plate and fork.  I missed the event last year, but I’m hoping to be able to make it on Sunday, because, really, who doesn’t love eating for a good cause?

Rock & Shop Market (+ Food Trucks!) – Dec. 17

Coming up on Saturday December 17th is the Rock & Shop Market, an awesome event that will feature about 100 designers selling handmade goods, a bevy of food trucks, a fashion show, and two bands!  The festivities will occur at three adjacent venues in Durham: Motorco Music Hall, FullSteam Brewery, and the Trotter Building.  Admission to the shopping and music experience is $5.  There’s no admission fee for access to the food trucks, and the following trucks are tentatively slated to appear to feed the masses:

The event goes from 12 noon – 6 pm. For more information, please visit http://www.rockandshopmarket.com

I look forward to seeing you there!

 

Food Truck Rodeo (Durham, NC)

There will be a giant food truck rodeo in Durham’s Central Park this Sunday (Oct. 30) from 4-8 pm.  27 food trucks plan to be there, including:

bikeCOFFEE, Blue Ribbon Delights, Blue Sky Dining, Bulkogi Korean BBQ, Cafe Prost, Chick-N-Que, ChirbaChirba Dumpling, Crossroads Kettle Corn, Daisy Cakes, Deez Hot Diggety Dogs, Dons Classic Ices, Farmhand Foods, Honey of a “Handcake,” Joe’s Diner, Klausie’s Pizza, Kona Chameleon, Kone Ice, Lo Yo On The Go, Loco Pops, Only Burger, Parlez Vous Crepe, Pie Pushers, Sweet N Savory, the Parlour, Triangle Raw Foodists, Valentino, Will and Pops. 

Click here for more information.

For my complete list of Triangle area food trucks, click here.

Eastern Triangle Farm Tour

Coming up this September 17-18 is the 6th annual Eastern Triangle farm tour.  This year’s tour promises to be bigger and better than ever, featuring 25 sustainable farms in Durham, Wake, Chatham, Franklin, Granville and Person
counties.

The event is co-sponsored by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Whole Foods Market.  Advance tickets are $25 per carload or cycle group. Tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday from 1-5pm and can be used to visit all of the farms on the tour. Day-of tickets are $30 or $10 per farm.

Highlights of this year’s tour include:

  • The terraced fields of the small family farm of Wild Scallions have mixed production of heirloom fruits, vegetables and herbs, as well as pasture-raised chickens and goats.  Also, see their native bees and worm castings operation.  Contact: Matt & Renee Clayton, 336-364-4169. (North Durham)
  • The beautiful rolling hills of Hundred Acre Wood showcase a solar home, sawmill and restored log barn with a variety of small-scale livestock and market garden. Contact: Jim & Cathy Dykes, 336-364-2972. (North Durham)
  • Free-range chickens, heritage turkeys, organic produce and flower operation at Meadowbright Farm. Contact: Sheryl & Ed Munt, 919-559-8924. (Franklin County)
  • Grass-fed cattle and pastured poultry at Lucky 3 Farm are used by local specialty butchers to produce delicious meats.  Contact: Traci & Calvin Nachtrab, 919-853-6304. (Franklin County)
  • Local expert Bob Davis will be available in Durham and Raleigh to field questions about caring for chickens in the city.  His workshops will be at the Interfaith Food Shuttle Farm on Saturday and the SEEDS Garden on Sunday.

Tour-goers can use the maps available through our website or in the tour booklet to determine which farms to visit and find their way. Tour goers are encouraged to bring a cooler. There will be lots of fresh vegetables, eggs, cheese, meat, and other products for sale at the farms.

For more information and tickets, go to www.carolinafarmstewards.org.

Farm to Fork 2011

After a couple years of missing out, I was lucky enough to finally attend this year’s Farm to Fork Festival this past Sunday.  Featuring virtually all of the areas top restaurants, chefs, and farmers, it was an incredible event for food lovers.  This being my first time in attendance, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I came prepared (read: hungry) and left completely stuffed after having tried samples from maybe 20 out of the 30 or so tents.  Most, if not all, of the offerings showcased the region’s freshest produce at its peak: tomatoes, squash, eggplant, blueberries, and so on.  These were augmented by the best of the best in local meats and cheeses in the preparation of some amazing and creative concoctions.  While not everything was a smash hit, here are a few of the highlights:

1)      Arancini from Toast: eggplant, Carolina gold rice, and smoked mozzeralla, fried to a delicious crisp huge ball and served with a bit of tomato passata sauce

2)      Orecchiette pasta from Il Palio: almost gnocchi-like noodles with pesto, sage, peppers, zucchini, pesto, asiago, and plenty of olive oil.  So, so good.

3)      Quark panna cotta with blackberry and cornmeal shortbread from Magnolia Grill: decadent cool custard with ripe fruit and a cookie – executed perfectly

4)      Tomato summer “pudding” from Magnolia Grill: this was like a hybrid bread pudding/sandwich with mozzarella, tomato and basil.  Simple and elegant.

5)      Herbed squash fritter with tomato chutney from Market Restaurant: a little mushy but it had great flavor

6)      Tomato popsicle from Watts Grocery: they were out of the other flavors by the time I made it over there, but this was good and my daughter loved it

7)      Sausages from Farmhand Foods: they had three different kinds (the names of which I can’t recall), but the spicy one was fatty and succulent

8)      Bread samples from Chicken Bridge Bakery: plain with fresh butter, duck egg-cornmeal with blueberry compote topping, and potato-garlic-rosemary

9)      Blue and black berry buckle from Scratch: a pretty standard coffee cake like thing, done well

10)   Chicken strudel from Saxapahaw General store: a rich and wintery pot-pie kind of affair, but delicious nonetheless

11)   Curried chicken and potato with pickled red onions from Panzanella

12)   Thin crust pizza slices from Stone’s Throw Pizza

And there were many others, and some that I didn’t even get around to trying.  Already looking forward to next year!

Triangle Blogger Bake Sale

On May 14 2011 from 10am-12pm, Johanna Kramer of Durhamfoodie Blog and Matt Lardie of Green Eats Blog will host the Triangle’s first ever food blogger bake sale to benefit Share our Strength. As part of the Great American Bake Sale, the Food Blogger Bake Sale will support Share our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger in America.

The Food Blogger Bake Sale will unite 20 of the Triangle’s food bloggers. Each participant will bake a savory or sweet dish that will be for sale to the public from 10am-12pm on May 14, 2011. Community members can purchase tickets and then exchange those tickets for baked goods. One ticket is $3 or four tickets for $10, with each ticket good for one baked item.

The event will be held at The Art Market at Vega Metals, adjacent to the Durham Farmer’s Market.  I’m excited to be participating.  Right now I’m planning to make a raspberry buttermilk cake and some brown-butter toffee blondies.

For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page here.  I Hope to see you there!