Faced with 20 varieties of pepper, you might have trouble pinpointing your favorite at first bite. But that's what Doug Jones of Piedmont Biofarm hopes you'll do at the Third Annual Amazing Pittsboro Pepper Festival. The festival runs Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. at The Plant in Pittsboro (220 Lorax Lane, www.theabundancefoundation.org/pepper-festival).
Jones, who has won the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's farmer of the year award, has conducted pepper research for years to identify varieties that will thrive in North Carolina's climate. At the festival he will display more than 40 of the 100 varieties of peppers, primarily sweet, that he's developed.
In addition to Jones' pepper trial and tasting, local restaurants, including Angelina's Kitchen of Pittsboro, 18 Seaboard of Raleigh, Mez of RTP and Lucky 32 of Cary, will serve their versions of peppery dishes, which you can wash down with a jalapeño beer from Triangle Brewing Company for a mere $3.
Admission to the festival, which allows access to the tasting trial and food, plus tunes by Holy Ghost Tent Revival, is $15 if you buy tickets in advance at the Abundance Foundation's website. After Oct. 1, pay $25 online or at the gates. Proceeds will support the work of Piedmont Biofarm Breeding and Research Program and the Abundance Foundation.
For more spice, check out the do-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar at Top of the Hill's (100 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, www.topofthehillrestaurant.com, 929-8676) brunch buffet, which began earlier this month. The Great Brunch, as it's called, is held from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Top of the Hill's new great room. Price is $14.99 and includes an omelet bar, a meat carving station, fresh fruit and sides like grits and hush puppies. For those intimidated by the restaurant's range of Bloody Mary offerings, owner Scott Maitland says that various recipes are available for inspiration. And, of course, Top of the Hill's bar will mix other cocktails and pour its award-winning beers.
This month, Chapel Hill finds a new place for drinks—157 East Bar—at 157 E. Rosemary St. Beneath Bub O'Malley's, the 3,200-square-foot space provides ample room for the local acts owner Peter Charland hopes to book. "I'd like to have a different band perform every week," he says, adding that he plans to wait to book groups until he knows the type of music the bar's crowd prefers. Charland hopes to eventually remodel the space's kitchen and serve food. Meanwhile, catch a game on one of the bar's seven big-screen TVs.
If you haven't done so, secure a ticket for the World Beer Festival on Oct. 9 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (409 Blackwell St., Durham). Spots are filling up for the afternoon session—12 to 4 p.m.—as well as the evening session—6 p.m. until 10 p.m. For more information, visit www.allaboutbeer.com.
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