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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

World Beer Festival Tickets Available July 17

Posted by on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Tickets available to the general public for the annual World Beer Festival this October in Durham go on sale at noon on Thursday, July 17.
The event is always popular, so popular in fact that organizers this year have reduced the number of tickets available by 35 percent in an attempt to ease crowd congestion. That means you should get your tickets sooner rather than later if you hope to go.
General admission tickets are $55 and include a tasting glass and unlimited 2 ounce tastings from more than 200 craft beers. The tickets also grant access to the "Art of Beer Experience" with its ingredient samplings, seminars, pairings and more,
VIP admission is $70 and includes an air-conditioned hospitality area, a commemorative gift and a three-issue subscription to All About Beer magazine. Their release also touts that the hospitality area will have "real bathrooms." We shudder to think about what that means for those who don't go the VIP route. 
The event, held Oct. 11 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, will be held in two sessions. The first is noon to 4 p.m. while the evening session runs from 6 to 10. You must purchase a ticket for each session if attending both.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Whiskey in downtown Durham is closing Aug. 2

Posted by on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Apparently, even Durhamites can drink only so much.

First, the Republic, a bar in downtown Durham bit the dust. Now Whiskey, which opened nearly five years ago, just a few doors down, is kaput, effective Saturday, Aug. 2.

The bar at 347 W. Main St. made the announcement about an hour ago on its Facebook page.

It had an upstairs area for smokers—and catered in particular to those who loved a good cigar—which is closing immediately. The downstairs will allow smoking through the closing date.

While downtown is largely thriving, there are pockets that have failed. Vacancies include the TeerMark Building, which adjoins the future 21C Museum Hotel in the 200 block of West Main and the old Ringside bar at 308 W. Main. The stretch of East Parrish Street that is/was home to several storefront churches has also suffered because of a fire on the third floor of the building that housed 118 Got Soul.

However, if you have a few dollars (or in some cases, many dollars), you won't go hungry or thirsty downtown:  Dame's Chicken & Waffles, Bull McCabes and Toast (the latter two serve alcohol) all on West Main Street, and Mateo Bar de Tapas (famous for its liquor selection) on West Chapel Hill Street, are always packed cheek-to-jowl.

Pizzeria Toro, closed for more than a year due to a fire, is due to reopen this month on West Chapel Hill Street, joining two busy spots, Ninth Street Bakery  and The Cupcake Bar.

The area near Mangum and Parrish streets, home to Loaf and Monuts Donuts—as well as four more places to get a drink—Intrepid Coffee, Dos Perros, Pompieri Pizza and Bull City Burger and Brewery, also is busy. 
 Dashi, a Japanese ramen noodle shop and bar, is slated to open on East Chapel Hill Street, near the ever-popular Rue ClerScratch bakery and Alley Twenty Six.


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    Upstairs smoking area shuttered immediately; new hours announced

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Brewmasters makes "Best Beer Bar" list

Posted by on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 4:19 PM

The good folks at Thrillist made a list this week, as they often do, and showed a Raleigh bar some love. The "Digital lifestyle for men" site names "The 33 Best Beer Bars in the U.S." and included Brewmasters on that honor roll. They excluded breweries and focused on bars with a wide variety of offerings, although a quality menu trumped more extensive collections of lesser beers in their decision-making.

Thrillist gave Brewmaster credit for a bar stocked with dozens of craft beers in cans along with 60-plus taps "with special attention paid to NC brewers like Big Boss, Deep River and Duck-Rabbit." Thrillist also mentioned the pint of candied bacon that can be found on the appetizer menu. Recently on tap at Brewmasters there were such brews as Crank Arm Unicycle Mosaic, Foothills Hoppy Medium, Fullsteam Southern Lager, Lonerider Peacemaker, Red Oak Amber Lager and White Street Scottish Ale. There were, of course, a few dozen other options as well.

Other places on the list include The Avenue Pub in New Orleans, Blind Tiger in New York, Churchkey in Washington D.C., Craft Pride in Austin, the J. Clyde in Birmingham, Ala., and Riverside Market and Cafe in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 
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    Thrillist includes Raleigh bar on its list of best bars in the U.S.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Japanese pub/ ramen shop Dashi will open on East Chapel Hill Street in Durham

Posted by on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Call off your office pools, finally, we know: The owners of Dashi, the Japanese ramen shop and pub, has announced it will open at 415 E. Chapel Hill St., in Durham, near the corner of Mangum Street and near Alley Twenty SixRue Cler, Merge Records, tech company Two Toasters and Rock, Paper, Scissors salon and gallery.

Dashi is brought you by the folks behind Toast and the Cookery—Billy and Kelli Cotter and Nick and Rochelle Johnson. The two-story eatery is scheduled to open this winter.

DAshi.jpg


There had been a lot of speculation about which storefront Dashi would be in. At the INDY, we guessed the old Organic Transit building (wrong), north of the Cupcake Shoppe (wrong again) and next to Mateo Bar de Tapas (three strikes, we're out).

The building used to house Edward Jones investments and a printing company, according to Open Durham. The entire block has an interesting history, and included Addison's Playworld, a cool toy store, and Brass Rail Billiards.
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    From the folks who brought you Toast and the Cookery, the eatery is scheduled to open this winter

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Raleigh City Council to vote within next month on historic designation for Mecca Restaurant

Posted by on Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Raleigh City Council will vote within the next month on whether The Mecca Restaurant and St. Matthews School should receive historic landmark status.

At last night's meeting Coucil referred both sites back to the Raleigh Historic Development Commission for further review. No one from the public spoke for or against the proposal.

The City Council’s referral is standard practice, according to Martha Lauer, executive director of the Raleigh Historic Development Commission. Lauer also said the hearing’s attendance was “pretty typical.”

“If you’re in favor of something, what’s to comment?” Lauer said.

The Mecca Restaurant, 13 E. Martin St., in Raleigh opened in 1935. The building was built in the late 1800s.

St. Matthews School was built in 1922 and is one of the five Rosenwald Schools left in Wake County. 
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    The restaurant has operated downtown for 79 years

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Los Comales closes both locations for tax problems

Posted by on Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Both locations of Los Comales, a popular Durham taqueria, are now closed after the business failed to pay more than $180,000 in taxes, penalties and interest.

Los Comales, in better times - JUSTIN COOK
  • Justin Cook
  • Los Comales, in better times
Los Comales De Durham LLC has five liens against it, the oldest of which dates back to 2008. Three of the liens were issued by the North Carolina Department of Revenue and total $180,183.05. The other two liens come from the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina and total $2,042.35.

The revenue department closed the restaurants at 2103 Roxboro St. and 3511 Witherspoon Blvd. on May 28. Over the next week, state officials will finish taking inventory of the business’ assets in preparation for auction, according to Trevor Johnson, public information officer for the Department of Revenue.

The auction date will likely be set in the next week or two. Los Comales has until the auction to settle its liens before the NCDOR sells all of its assets.

Los Comales opened its Witherspoon Boulevard location last fall.

Los Comales Owner Braulio Angel Rubio did not return phone messages by press time. 
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    Popular Durham taqueria owes more than $180,000 in back taxes

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Chef Scott Crawford to leave Herons and open two Raleigh restaurants

Posted by on Mon, May 19, 2014 at 8:32 PM

Last fall, Chef Hugh Acheson, who is from Atlanta, was in the Triangle to help culinary historian Michael Twitty cook a fundraising meal at Historic Stagville. Acheson and his young daughter stayed overnight at The Umstead Hotel & Spa so they could visit and dine with his good friend, Herons Executive Chef Scott Crawford.

Acheson commented at Stagville that Crawford, whose elegantly creativity helped Herons earn a national reputation for exceptional fine dining, would be better known if he plied his craft at a space other than a hotel.
Herons Executive Chef Scott Crawford: “I’m really proud of the work I’ve done, but I have wanted to break away from hotel operations." - COURTESY SCOTT CRAWFORD
  • Courtesy Scott Crawford
  • Herons Executive Chef Scott Crawford: “I’m really proud of the work I’ve done, but I have wanted to break away from hotel operations."

“I’m really proud of the work I’ve done, but I have wanted to break away from hotel operations,” says Crawford, who earned three James Beard Foundation nominations for Best Chef Southeast during his five-year tenure at Herons. “Every chef wants to do their own thing and really have it be their vision from the ground up. Working in hotels has brought me to where I am, but I’m ready for something different.”

In partnership with John Holmes of Hobby Properties, Crawford has created the Nash Square Hospitality Group. Their first venture, Standard Foods, will open this fall at Person Street Plaza in the bustling North Person district, which straddles the Oakwood and Mordecai neighborhoods. It will be followed in 2015 by Nash Tavern, to be located on Nash Square near the warehouse district. It’s one of the few areas of downtown yet to be redeveloped.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time in downtown Raleigh in the last year and a half, trying to decide where I’d want to be,” says Crawford, who has been quietly negotiating with Holmes for about a year. “I love the park setting on Nash Square, and I love what’s happening at North Person. They are perfect for our vision.”

Standard Foods will occupy a restaurant and grocery space originally envisioned for the now-closed Market restaurant; its former site on Blount Street is now occupied by The Stanbury. A small grocery featuring house-made take-out foods and local produce will adjoin Crawford’s 80-seat eatery.

Crawford says he has not determined a price point for meals, but said it will be “fair” and accessible to more diners than an evening at the upscale Herons. He hopes to bring some of his staff with him to the new operation but declined to say who or how many.

Standard Foods derives its name from the movement back to wholesome, natural foods grown by small farms. “There has been a conversation for a long time about how this should be a standard and not a trend,” Crawford says. “What we’re going to do will hopefully be standard for the future.”

Nash Tavern is intended to become Crawford’s flagship restaurant and will contain a private event space. He suggests that other venues will follow, ideally as a family endeavor.

“My 6-year-old son, Jiles, says he wants to cook with me when he’s older,” says Crawford, who set aside chef tasks and interviews this afternoon to treat his son to a squirt gun that shoots water 25 feet. “We’ll see if he still wants to hang with dad when he has a car and more freedom. I hope so.”
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    New restaurants will be at Person Street Plaza and Nash Square

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Shake your tree: It's time to pick mulberries in the city

Posted by on Thu, May 15, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Urban hunter-gatherer alert: The boughs of the mulberry trees are heavy with fruit. And you don't even have to trespass to forage for the delicious berries.

While walking to work this morning, I spotted two trees, one accessible, one less so, that are—cliche alert—ripe for the picking. You could fill many baskets from the tree on Vickers Avenue between Cobb and Proctor streets. Technically, it is on the Camelot Academy property but the tree hangs over the sidewalk. There are other places as well, which I blogged about several years ago.

Bonus: A huge honeysuckle bush is adjacent to the tree. Harvest some honeysuckle and make some sorbet at home, based on this Crook's Corner recipe.

Farther north, you'll need either a ladder to reach the branches, or a long stick to shake them, but the tree on Duke Street between the Durham Freeway exit and Yancey Street is also laden with fruit. That tree appears to be in the public right-of-way, possible N.C. DOT property.

On the Greystone Inn property on Duke Street, the branches hang over the sidewalk. Other trees: the 1200 block of Carroll Street and Chapel Hill Street across from the bus station.

If you don't eat them, the birds will, so grab a sack and start picking.
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    If you don't eat them, the birds will, so grab a sack and start picking.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Good news for the goats and Prodigal Farm

Posted by on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 9:00 AM

A new crop of babies arrived this spring. - LISA SORG
  • Lisa Sorg
  • A new crop of babies arrived this spring.


Prodigal Farm 
in Rougemont is on its way to becoming one of the largest Animal Welfare Approved dairies in the country, thanks to a landowner who saw the INDY story about enterprise, published in March.

In addition, Prodigal is still seeking contributions through its Kickstarter campaign  which ends Sunday, May 18. That same day, Prodigal is inviting the public to see the farm, from 1–5 p.m.

Kat Spann, co-owner of Prodigal Farm, said in an email that the owner of 260 acres of farmland had bought the property to save it from development, and wants to convert the it from a conventional farming operation to a sustainable enterprise.

Prodigal is now renting the land in stages, and renovating the fields into pasture. There are two old farmhouses, one to become a milking parlor for cows—Spann plans to add them to the mix—and the other to be converted into a house for the farm manager.

Prodigal is renowned for its goat cheese, which it makes onsite. The cheeses are available at local farmers’ markets.

A goat relaxes at Prodigal Farm - LISA SORG
  • Lisa Sorg
  • A goat relaxes at Prodigal Farm



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    The public can visit the farm Sunday, May 18, from 1-5 p.m. Kickstarter campaign runs through the weekend.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Learn to cook Turkish dishes, contribute to potluck at the Divan Center

Posted by on Mon, May 12, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Turkish vegetables - JILL WARREN LUCAS
  • Jill Warren Lucas
  • Turkish vegetables

There are plenty of well-known places to take cooking classes in the Triangle. Some are in settings that resemble elite culinary schools or well-appointed sets for TV shows. They routinely attract top-tier chefs and cookbook writers, and charge $40 to well over $100 for registration.

Classes taught at the Divan Center in Cary are not so elegant, and they’re not taught by professional cooks. But at $20 a class, including a deliciously authentic meal and lively conversation, it’s a best-kept secret worth spoiling.

The Divan Center serves as a cultural hub for Turkish-Americans and others interested in Turkish life. It is located in a generic brick office building directly across from the grand entrance to SAS. First-timers surprised by the locked main entrance don’t linger long in the parking lot, however, as a welcoming wave directs them to a side door.

Stuffed Turkish vegetables - JILL WARREN LUCAS
  • Jill Warren Lucas
  • Stuffed Turkish vegetables


An enticing aroma wafts through the basic but immaculate kitchen, which features an enameled Turkish double tea kettle resting on the coils of an electric stove. The instructor and volunteers are a housewife, an engineer and an artist who take turns delivering lessons on how to prepare typical Turkish meals.

Half of the 10 participants in a recent class, none of them native Turks, have lived in or travelled to Turkey at least once. Some study the language and all dream of visiting. Until they can, however, they want to learn how to incorporate the Mediterranean country’s foodways into their Southern diet.

Elif Olsun, who confesses nerves at leading her first class, explains the three dishes she will demonstrate: Mercimek Corbasi (red lentil soup), Kuru Dolma (stuffed dried vegetables) and Sutlac (baked rice pudding). Ultimately, each is a success, leading to applause from students and promises to cook them at home.

Olsun involves class members in rinsing the lentils and chopping vegetables, which are simmered raw with the lentils and water. When all ingredients are soft, they are poured into a blender for a creamy finish. The soup is garnished with a swirl of browned butter cooked with paprika and cayenne. Olsun explains that Turkish home cooks are adept at coring small eggplant and stringing the empty pockets to dry in the sun. Here, it is simpler to purchase the dried vegetables in specialty shops, like Harmony Mediterranean Market, near Triangle Town Center in Cary, where several participants cluster after class. You can also order them online. (Most other ingredients can be found in traditional grocery stores.)

After the dried vegetables are rehydrated in hot water, they are lightly stuffed with a mixture of cooked rice, pine nuts, currants and savory spices. The filled shells are stood in a single layer in a casserole, then steamed with water and olive oil until tender.

Proving the importance of rice to the Turkish diet, Olsun shows how to finish the meal with a rich baked rice pudding. The pudding is thickened with a slurry of sweet rice flour (pirinҫ unu) and ladled into glazed clay ramekins that are tucked into a roasting pan filled with a shallow pool of water. When the creamy pudding is set, it is briefly placed under the broiler to slightly scorch and caramelize the surface.

The Divan Center, 1903 N. Harrison Ave., in Cary will celebrate a season of cooking classes with a public potluck Sunday from noon to 2 p.m.  For details, call 919-386-3464.

Mercimek Corbasi (red lentil soup)
Adapted from Elif Olsun, The Divan Center.
Serves 4
1 cup red lentils, washed and drained
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. red pepper-eggplant paste*
1 bay leaf, preferably Turkish
2 whole black peppercorns
3 cups water
½ stick salted butter
1 Tbsp. Spanish-style paprika
1-3 tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste
1 lemon, quartered

Place all ingredients except for butter, paprika and cayenne in a medium stock pot. Simmer on medium-low for about 30 minutes or until lentils and vegetables are very tender. Remove bay leaf.
Carefully transfer mixture to a blender (or use stick-style immersion blender) and mix thoroughly, adding a little water if too thick. Pour creamed soup into bowls.
Melt butter over medium-low heat in a small pan with paprika and cayenne. When butter is lightly browned and the mixture begins to bubble, drizzle equally over soup in bowls. Serve immediately with lemon (squeeze juice into soup) and fresh bread.

* Such as Marco Polo, available from specialty markets or online.
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    Cary's hub for Turkish culture will celebrate a season of cooking classes with a public potluck Sunday

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Sure thing, Lisa. Rhys got stuck with the dirty job of being the LLC's manager:).

by Heather Garrett on What's he building in there? (Food)

Thanks for the clarification, Heather. When we examined the corporation documents at the Secretary of State's office, only Rhys' name …

by Lisa Sorg, INDY Editor on What's he building in there? (Food)

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