When I look at my monthly bank statement and see how many transactions say “Wine Authorities,” well, let’s just say vino is one of my favorite food groups. Now the Durham-based wine store (2501 University Drive) is just weeks away from opening its Raleigh location in the Oakwood/Mordecai neighborhood, 213 Franklin St., near Escazu, Yellow Dog Bread Company, Slingshot Coffee and Piebird. So, pie, coffee, chocolate, pastries and wine—all in the same few blocks? Keep up with what’s happening at www.wineauthorities.com.
Speaking of wine, Rue Cler, one of the original anchors of downtown Durham’s restaurant scene, has been sold to an ownership group led by Wes Rountree, Will Holloway and Nathan Vandergrift—brother of original co-owner John Vandergrift. There will be an increased emphasis on wine, as Rountree and Vandergrift are partners with Noel Sherr of wine store Cave Taureau, 339 W. Main St., in the Five Points neighborhood downtown.
File under: noooo!!! Panzanella in Carrboro is kaput as of the end of the year, as the longtime restaurant is not renewing its lease at Carr Mill Mall as a result of declining sales. If in 2014 you’re craving a slice of Panzanella pizza, INDY food writer David Ross gives you the recipe here, in a story he wrote last July.
If you live north of Interstate 85 in Durham, the county health department wants to hear from you. County officials are conducting a survey to determine how residents of northern Durham access fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. While the majority of Durham farms are in the northern part of the county, there is no farmers market in that area, whereas central and southern Durham do.
As a former chef at the legendary Chez Panisse, David Tanis was an expert at choreographing sumptuous meals that built from course to course. It’s a perspective he used to great effect in his first two books, A Platter of Figs and Other Dishes and Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys, the latter of which was nominated for a James Beard Award.
Since he moved to New York City and began writing the approachable City Kitchen column for The New York Times, Tanis has become less locked into a menu-driven method. He wants more people to join him in the kitchen, even if just for a few minutes, to make meals that are as simple to create as they are rewarding to consume.
“I’m at a point where I want to encourage people to cook at home,” says Tanis, who was prepping on Tuesday for a fundraising dinner event for the Edible Schoolyard Project—the signature charity of Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters. “Although Figs and Artichokes have a lot of followers, some people find books like that intimidating. It’s terrible that people feel like they can’t cook a good, simple meal. There’s got to be a better way to eat than getting a lousy pizza, right?”
His new book, One Good Dish: The Pleasures of a Simple Meal (Artisan Books), is so appealingly accessible that it’s tough to settle on which recipe to make first. My first choice was Griddled Polenta Scrapple, a deeply flavored twist on the Pennsylvania Dutch staple, and a side of Just-Wilted Arugula, the latter of which took about 45 seconds to cook. (See recipes below.)
“One aspect of the book is to make the recipes very simple, very user-friendly and doable,” says Tanis, who will launch a three-week promotional tour on Thursday with a lunch event at The Fearrington Granary. “Good, healthy food does not have to be complicated.”
While Tanis is no fan of the 30-minute-meal concept — a message heavily marketed in food shows and trendy cookbooks that advocates doctoring processed ingredients to create family-friendly dinners — he agrees that it’s not necessary to spend hours at the stove.
“Part of the experience of eating is the process of cooking, but sometimes that can be achieved in minutes,” says Tanis, who makes the act of preparing Real Garlic Toast sound positively rapturous. “There’s something about being alone in the kitchen at the end of the day that’s really nice. People should allow themselves 15 minutes, or 30 minutes, to make something they can linger over and really enjoy eating.”
Tanis also suggests that diners be willing to experiment and view ingredients in a new way. The Just-Wilted Arugula is a perfect example of using a common cold salad component to create a delicious hot side dish.
“Some of the best meals are accidental ones,” he says, describing how peak summer tomatoes inspired many satisfying dinners in recent months. “You can make a meal out of many of these dishes, or have a few together. It’s sort of like modern picnicking.”
Raleigh Chef Chad McIntyre surprised patient fans on Tuesday by announcing that the long-delayed opening of his bigger-and-better The Market Restaurant has been cancelled.
“Ever since I put it on Facebook, I’ve heard from all these people who say they would have given money to make it happen,” McIntrye says with a wry chuckle. “I wish they spoke up nine months ago.”
McIntrye closed the popular 1,600-square-foot neighborhood eatery last March. He originally projected reopening in May as a 5,500-square-foot restaurant-grocery store-catering operation at Person Street Plaza. It would have been the anchor of the revitalized shopping center, which is located on East Franklin Street at the midpoint of the burgeoning Mordecai and Oakwood neighborhoods. The opening date was postponed several times.
McIntyre says that disagreements between investors over the business concept became contentious over the summer. About $200,000 of the estimated $350,000 construction budget was invested into developing the space, which he understands is being shown to other prospective restaurateurs.
Additionally, his attorney advised that the crowd-funding process deployed by Slow Money NC, a respected organization that has helped other local entrepreneurs to raise capital, was not the right fit for this undertaking. A Kickstarter effort to purchase a commercial canning oven, which would have been used to produce house-made goods to stock store shelves, also was not funded.
All of which made a spring donor event at CAM Raleigh, which at the time seemed exuberantly optimistic, rather awkward.
“I still believe we could have raised $400,000 that night, but our hands were tied,” McIntyre says. “We talked ourselves up and expected everyone to get on board. People did get on board, but not at the same time.”
In The Southern Food Truck Cookbook (Nelson Books, 260 pages), Heather Donahoe roams below the Mason-Dixon Line, where she seeks out not haute cuisine for the white tablecloth crowd, but innovative street food for those of us who feel more at home using paper napkins.
While the Triangle boasts dozens of food trucks—and Donahoe, preparing for an influx of angry emails, acknowledges this is a sampling, not a comprehensive list—four make the cut: Triangle Raw Foods, Chirba Chirba, Porchetta and Big Mike’s BBQ.
In addition to brief personal stories about the chefs—many of them, having left unsatisfying jobs, are on their second careers—Donahoe provides recommendations and recipes.
(If you think your kitchen is small, try cooking TRF pad Thai, Chirba Chive dumplings, basil pork sausage and blue cheese cole slaw within the coffin-like confines of a food truck.)
This is a handy tome for a road trip: The Boka Taco truck in Richmond, Va., serves a Asian-Mexican menu. However, having just returned from the culinary-challenged Nova Scotia, I am skeptical of French Indo-Canada, described as poutine meets bahn, in Louisville, Ky. And if you find yourself stranded with a flat tire in Little Rock, Ark., the chipotle-pineapple black bean quesadilla will tide you over until the tow truck arrives.