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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Was it something we said? Bella Mia being sold

Posted by on Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 3:43 PM

We've featured them on the cover of INDY Week. We've lauded them as having some of the best pizza in the Triangle—David Ross called Bella Mia "a tireless exemplar of rigor and integrity"—the Mercedes Benz of pizzas.

And now we regret to inform you that Bella Mia in Cary is being sold.

The News & Observer is reporting that Dec. 22 is the last day the current owners will operate the Cary eatery.

New owners are being trained but it is uncertain when Bella Mia will reopen.

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    Bella Mia in Cary to be sold

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Jonathan Bonchak, Michael Harwood take top barista honors

Posted by on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 9:21 AM

Michael Harwood of Caffe Driade in Chapel Hill and Carrboro Coffee Roasters is one won two awards in the Southeast Regional Barista Championship, held in Atlanta earlier this month.

Jonathan Bonchak of Durham's Counter Culture Coffee, won top honors in the Brewer's Cup.

Harwood, the 2010 champ, finished second in the Brewers Cup Competition and third overall. This is the second consecutive year he has placed in the top three. He advances to the national competition in Boston in April.

The Specialty Coffee Association of America sponsored the contest.

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    Michael Harwood again proves he's won of the nation's top baristas.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

At the vigil for Kabab & Curry owner Mohammed Arfan Sundal

Posted by on Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 11:39 AM

A candlelight vigil was held Thursday, Dec. 13, for Mohammed Arfan Sundal, the owner of Kabab & Curry House at 2016 Guess Road, Durham.

Mr. Sundal was fatally shot in the restaurant's parking lot Dec. 6, leaving behind his wife, two daughters and two sons.

ABC11 reports that Durham police went door-to-door Wednesday seeking clues and witnesses. Anyone with information should call CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200.

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    Photos from the vigil, at which Mr. Sundal's brother and daughter spoke

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The stunner and the sausage biscuit: Temple Grandin at the Carolina Meat Conference

Posted by on Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 11:16 AM

  • Photo by Steve Jurvetson/ courtesy Creative Commons
  • Temple Grandin at TED 2010

Temple Grandin doesn't like the phrase "harvest plant."

It is a livestock-industry euphemism for a slaughter floor, where animals are killed for food.

"I think that's absolute B.S.," said Grandin, who has redesigned livestock handling facilities. "That's the kind of stuff that the P.R. people make up, and I'm just not gonna do that. That's just ridiculous. I'm gonna use the S-word."

The S word is "slaughter"—the topic and process on which Grandin has spent her career—but it could have been "straight talk," because that's what Grandin gave in her keynote speech during a nose-to-tail pork dinner here Monday night. It was the first of her three talks at the Carolina Meat Conference, a gathering of farmers, butchers, chefs, retailers and other meat-industry people sponsored by NC Choices, a project of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems.

Grandin, who has been called the world's most famous autistic person, didn't mention autism during her 30-minute presentation. Nor did she discuss her belief that the condition has enabled her to better understand animals, a claim that has struck some animal rights activists as self-aggrandizing at worst and unsubstantiated at best.

There are also people for whom the phrase "humane slaughter" is an oxymoron, but humane slaughter was very much on the minds of the 380 conference attendees who attended sessions devoted to topics such as animal welfare and sustainability. And for them, Grandin is a reliable source of knowledge, said Barrett Twitty, the owner of Custom Quality Packers in Sims, N.C. His company slaughters an average of 1,000 pigs a week, mostly for the whole-hog barbecue market. At age 30, he estimates that he's the youngest slaughterhouse owner in the state, and admitted he had a lot to learn after buying the business a few years ago. "She is the one and only when it comes to animal welfare and livestock handling," he said. "There really is no one else to turn to."

During her speech, Grandin mentioned the award-winning 2010 HBO movie about her life, mostly to cite Hollywood folks as another of the various groups she talks to during months of travel every year. Calling it "kind of a weird situation," one day she's signing books and the next she's training animal welfare auditors. One day she's bringing McDonald's executives to a farm and slaughterhouse, the next day she's teaching classes at Colorado State University, where she is a professor. Everywhere she goes, she hears both good and bad about our relationship to the meat we eat.

The bad: A 2012 U.K. study, she said, reported that half of its respondents couldn't connect bacon with pigs. Twelve percent thought beef was made from grain. "Not fed grain, made out of grain," she said — and children who think eggs grow in the ground or on trees.

The good: Industry giant Smithfield Foods decided to phase out sow gestation crates in its slaughterhouses.

"For a while," she said, "the big plants were actually better than the small plants. I'm finding some of the problems in the small plants are simply lack of knowledge."

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