What we're eating: Everything at JuJu, the Asian tapas bar on Ninth Street in Durham. Grilled Alaskan King Salmon, grilled shrimp, Brussels sprouts, wild mushroom wontons, salad rolls and grilled corn with Korean chili flakes and miso butter. And Manhattans. Love those Manhattans.
Speaking of Manhattans, not only does GARLAND in downtown Raleigh have a killer variation called the "SHIFT DRINK" (Bulleit rye, Cardamaro and orange peel), but it also serves a fabulous dinner entrée, CAULIFLOWER 65. It's prepared with turmeric-yogurt sauce, curry leaves, fresh chiles, lime, cilantro and house-pickled chiles. (Meateaters can order it with chicken.) And to think as kids we ruined cauliflower with melted Velveeta.
Not to ruin kale for anyone, but Mother Jones reported last week that IT IS POSSIBLE TO EAT TOO MUCH of the trendy green. KALE, SPINACH and other cruciferousveggies—which we repeat, like beer, are good for you in moderation— absorb the heavy metal thallium from the soil. THALLIUM OVERLOAD can cause fatigue, foggy thinking, even skin, hair and digestive issues. And here we were blaming those symptoms on overwork.
The takeaway: If you're going to drink a kale smoothie, say from HAPPY + HALE—as we reported on the INDY's food blog, it's expanding from Raleigh to Durham's Ninth Street District—maybe skip the sautéed kale for lunch, the kale chips for a snack and the kale salad for dinner.
This week's Chow is brought to you by the letter K—KEFIR, KOMBUCHA, KIMCHI—and all things fermented. At the MUSEUM OF LIFE AND SCIENCE in Durham, the SCIENCE OF SOUR will teach you how these friendly foods help your gut's microbiome. It's like a tiny town full of tiny people in your intestines, and you need to keep them happy. This is a 21+ adults-only event, so leave your kids at home with the babysitter, who will keep them happy with a delicious meal of cauliflower and Velveeta. The event is Thursday, July 23, 6:30–9:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for members, $25 for non-members, and includes tastings.
Guess what else is fermented? Beer. Niall Hanley of Hibernian Pub fame opened the RALEIGH BEER GARDEN in Glenwood South on Monday. It has 366 beers on tap—2016 is a leap year, so you could drink a beer a day and get through all of them—plus what appear, in photos anyway, to be delicious pizzas: summer squash and roasted tomato, slow-roasted pulled pork with sweet corn and spicy sausage and peppers. And no kale!?
Here's your Dinner Mixtape: Sauté a batch of shiitakes in olive oil while listening to THE MAGIC MUSHROOMS' garage-psych hit "It's-A-Happening," which peaked at No. 93 in 1966. As you steam your spinach, sing along to the ULTIMATE SPINACH'S "Ego Trip." Because it's fun to chant "Mindless cretins groped through idiosyncrasy fields" under the influence of thallium.
Sip a Manhattan while listening to one of our favorite love songs "You Said Something" by PJ HARVEY: "watching the lights flash in Manhattan, I see the five bridges, the Empire State Building, and you said something that I've never forgotten ..."
The cool thing is, she never tells us what that is.
Chow is a weekly column covering food news, politics, events and general culinary weirdness.
This article appeared in print with the headline "Kale, Kefir, kimchi, kombucha"