Pesto & Asiago Tortellini Parla Pasta Recipe

Posted by on Sep 15, 2016 in Eat | 0 comments

Pesto & Asiago Tortellini Parla Pasta Recipe

Always running around on weeknights? Parla Pasta is my new solution to a fast, delicious meal.  Parla Pasta is made in High Point, North Carolina by Rick and Simone Drake. The Drake family has been crafting small-batch pasta since 1985 for restaurants and specialty stores that stake their reputation on quality Italian food. The pasta is made with all-natural ingredients and Parla Pasta guarantees there are no artificial preservatives.  Parla Pasta is available at your local Harris Teeter, Publix, Lowes Foods and Fresh Market. Make sure to check the freezer section for a variety of options like Cheese Ravioli, Chicken and Spinach Florentine Ravioli, Four Cheese Manicotti and more. I decided on the Asiago Tortellini so I could make a delicious pesto sauce to accompany the pasta. Below is my quick and easy go-to pesto recipe adapted from the Food Network Kitchen. Basil Pesto Recipe Ingredients 2 cups packed basil leaves 2 cloves garlic 1/4 cup pine nuts 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided Pink Himalayan sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste 1/2 cup freshly greated Peccorino cheese Directions  Combine basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsley chopped. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer pesto to a large mixing bowl and mix with the cheese. Simply boil the Asiago Tortellini Parla Pasta for about 7 minutes and top with the freshly made pesto. How easy was...

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An Evening for Italy: Dine at Il Palio to Raise Support for Earthquake Victims

Posted by on Aug 26, 2016 in Eat | 0 comments

Il Palio and Chef Teddy Diggs invite you for evening of dining to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake that recently shook central Italy. On Thursday, September 1, all profits from the bar and dining room will be donated to the Italian Red Cross to support the relief efforts. The evening’s menu will feature an array of special dishes hailing from the regions in Italy affected by the earthquake, like the classic pasta Amatriciana from Matrice. Guests will be able to enjoy Il Palio’s regional Italian favorites along with wine pairings that were selected for the occasion. Bacco Selections will also offer wine tastings, and 100 percent of Bacco Selections wine sales will support the Italian Red Cross. Come for dinner in the restaurant or drop by for drinks and appetizers at the bar from 5:30-9pm. Reservations are available at ilpalio.com or by calling 919-918-2545. Il Palio is located at 1505 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill,...

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3 Daughters Brewing: Making Waves in the Florida Craft Beer Community

Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in Drink, Travel | 0 comments

3 Daughters Brewing: Making Waves in the Florida Craft Beer Community

Giant Jenga pieces crash to the floor and patrons sip on craft beers ranging from the St. Pete Blonde Ale to the Stern Line Stout. Not only is 3 Daughters Brewing an adult playground filled with life-sized versions of your favorite childhood games, but the brewery serves as owners Mike and Leigh Harting’s playful outlet to dream up exciting new craft beers with head brewer Ty Weaver. With 14 beers on tap, there’s truly a craft beer style for every palate, as well as plenty of games, live entertainment, food trucks and more to entice even the non-drinkers and children to join in on the fun at 3 Daughters Brewing. 3 Daughters Brewing all started with Mike Harting’s wish to create a special beer-battered fish recipe for his former St. Pete Italian restaurant, Bella Brava. Soon, Mike was offering his chef’s homebrew beer on tap as the perfect pairing. Chef Ty Weaver’s small homebrew operation escalated to brewing upwards of three times a week for Bella Brava, and this beer quickly became the number one beer on tap at the restaurant. Discovering their passion for creating innovative craft beer, Ty and Mike decided to take things to the next level and thus, 3 Daughters Brewing was born. Mike and Leigh are passionate about family; they often joked as the brewery was being built, “how many beers do we have to sell to put 3 Daughters through college?” (Hence the name!) When Swig visited 3 Daughters Brewing, Leigh stressed the importance of her family as well as the greater Florida community. 3 Daughters Brewing is a leader in the Florida craft beer scene and serves as a sponsor for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg College of Arts and Sciences’ Brewing Arts Program. This program provides students with the foundational knowledge and training for a successful career in the fast growing industry of craft brewing. 3 Daughters Brewing has a laboratory at the brewery that runs tests on craft beer and gives interns with the Brewing Arts Program hands-on experience. The St. Petersburg, Florida craft beer scene is booming and 3 Daughters Brewing supports their neighboring breweries and businesses.3 Daughters Brewing recently expanded their operation to include new a new 10,000 square foot facility. This additional warehouse is located on the same property as the original brewery and positions 3 Daughters Brewing as one of the largest breweries in the state. The brewery also utilized a St. Petersburg manufacturer, BrewFab, to build six new 150 BBL fermenters and two 300 BBL brite tanks for the expansion, further stressing the importance of keeping money flowing through the local economy. Blog originally appear on...

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Cackalacky Introduces Beer-B-QT Seasoned Snack Peanuts

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in Eat | 1 comment

Cackalacky Introduces Beer-B-QT Seasoned Snack Peanuts

My friends over at Cackalacky, Inc. recently added Beer-B-Q™ Seasoned Snack Peanuts to its lineup of Southern lifestyle product offerings. Cackalacky® Beer-B-Q™ Seasoned Snack Peanuts are super extra-large kiln-roasted NC-grown peanuts that are flavored with dried beer and Cackalacky’s secret blend of Famously Original™ barbecue spices. Beer-B-Q’s slightly sweet, lightly hoppy, and tangy barbecue seasoning flavor profile paired with roasted peanuts is a delightful celebration of “all things Cackalacky” as well as a savory contrast to the brand’s much more fiery Cackalacky® Spiced Snack Peanuts. Originally launched as a grill seasoning and barbecue rub in 2004, the company first debuted its BEER-B-Q™ flavor on the national stage in 2005 on Food Network’s “BBQ with Bobby Flay.” Headquartered in Siler City, North Carolina and now celebrating its fifteenth year in business, Cackalacky, Inc. is a Southern lifestyle brand specializing in Cackalacky® branded and licensed sauces, flavored snacks, and craft beer as well as Cackalacky® brand apparel and outdoor sporting wares. Cackalacky products are available in grocery stores and specialty shops throughout the U.S. as well as via the company’s website at...

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Honeysuckle Cocktails

Posted by on Jul 5, 2016 in Drink | 0 comments

Honeysuckle Cocktails

Perhaps my favorite part of a warm summer day is walking down the street when the wind carries a sweet smell directly towards you, engaging all of your senses. Ah, honeysuckles! These beautiful vines attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and bloom heavily in the spring and throughout the summer. Savor these warm days by making a honeysuckle simple syrup at home to use in cocktail recipes (adapted from www.bellalimento.com). Honeysuckle Simple Syrup Ingredients 1 cup granulated sugar 2 cups water 1 cup honeysuckle flowers Directions Bring sugar and water to boil in a small saucepan, whisk to combine. Remove from heat and add honeysuckle flowers. Test mixture to ensure it is at room temperature. Transfer to a glass mason jar or container with air-tight lid. Seal and refrigerate. Strain honeysuckle flowers before using. Once you have created your honeysuckle simple syrup, the rest is easy! Adapted from a Garden & Gun cocktail, I bring you the Sparkling Summer Cup recipe. Simply keep some chilled champagne on hand and you can enjoy these wonderful flavors well into those hot summer days. Sparkling Summer Cup Ingredients 1 tablespoon Honeysuckle Simple Syrup (recipe above) 4.5 ounces chilled champagne 1 fresh honeysuckle flower (for garnish) Directions Place honeysuckle simple syrup into the bottom of a champagne glass. Top with chilled champagne and garnish with flower. Another refreshing cocktail is a spin on the Bee’s Knees. Bee’s Knees Ingredients 2 ounces gin 3/4 ounce honeysuckle simple syrup 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice 1 fresh honeysuckle flower (for garnish) Directions Shake in a cocktail shaker full of ice and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with honeysuckle...

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Grilled Paleo Pizza Recipe

Posted by on Jun 14, 2016 in Eat | 3 comments

Grilled Paleo Pizza Recipe

My boyfriend Zayne and I have been paleo for one month. Ask us both what we miss the most and we’ll tell you, “pizza!” We live in New York City where pizza is available around every street corner and those $1 slices are just so easy to grab for a quick meal. Let’s just say, it’s been quite tempting. Last night, I decided to rid these pizza cravings once and for all. Thanks to the fine folks over at Wicked Spatula, I was able to create the most delicious grilled paleo pizza. You may be wondering why pizza is off limits to those practicing paleo. Well, dairy, flour and oil are off limits. Luckily, eggs, seeds and nuts are a paleo person’s best group of friends. As an alternative to your traditional pizza crust made with flour, this recipe calls for coconut and tapioca flour. Don’t worry, I had never used either of these flours before either. I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into but I gave it a shot and it turned out awesome! Paleo Pizza Crust Ingredients 1 cup tapioca starch 1/4 cup coconut flour 2 eggs 1 cup water Pinch of salt Toppings Your favorite pizza sauce (make sure it’s all natural and no sugar added!) Prosciutto (it’s just pork and salt – two essentials to life) Heirloom tomatoes Spinach Onion Green bell pepper Fresh Basil Instructions Preheat your grill to high before you begin making the pizza crust. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the ingredients together for the crust until smooth (hint: the coconut flour likes to clump, make sure it’s completely smooth for best results!) Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat on your stove top (make sure it’s VERY hot!). Pour in just a tiny bit (seriously though, a TINY bit) of olive oil to grease the skillet. Pour in half the crust mixture and allow to cook until the top begins to set and bubble (this was the coolest part – the flours take no time at all to cook). Flip and allow to cook until the crust begins to crisp up. It should be golden brown and crisp on the outside. Transfer to a plate and top with desired toppings. Repeat with remaining batter. Carefully transfer pizzas to the grill (the crusts are probably still a little pliable) and allow to cook about 6-7 minutes or until the crust is firm but not...

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Kaldi: A Taste of Craft Beer in Iceland

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in Drink, Travel | 0 comments

Kaldi: A Taste of Craft Beer in Iceland

If you ever get the chance to visit the magical country of Iceland in winter, do it. Frozen waterfalls, mountains covered in snow and the Northern Lights; does it get much better? Well, add a little craft beer into the mix and you’ve got yourself an excellent vacation. Many tourists often drive the “Ring Road” in Iceland, which is a highway that forms a rough circle around the country. Although my boyfriend and I only had a Ford Fiesta with studded tires, we somehow made it through wintry weather without getting stuck. The microbrewery Bruggsmiðjan is located in the small town of Árskógssandur, which is just off the Ring Road. The brewery offers guided tours and a chance to sample Kaldi, the craft beer that is brewed here. We turned off the Ring Road and down a small road surrounded by towering mountains. Bruggsmiðjan wasn’t too hard to find since the brewery is clearly labeled with Kaldi bottles. We didn’t have a reservation, so on a whim we parked the car and knocked on the door. We were greeted by Agnes Anna, one of the brewery owners who invited us inside the facility. Bruggsmiðjan was established in December 2005, and the idea for starting a craft brewery came from two people in Árskogssandur, the couple Agnes Anna and Olafur Trostur. Agnes saw a small news report on Icelandic television about the growing popularity of small breweries in Denmark, and a week later she convinced her husband to head to Denmark to pay a visit to these breweries. Early in 2006, the couple found investors and today there are 15 individuals who share 44% of the company, and Agnes and Olafur own 56%. Agnes and Olafur wanted to give Icelandic people a new brand of beer, something high quality and rich in taste. The couple chose to use traditional Czech brewing because beers from the Czech Republic are known for their good quality. They hired a brewmaster named David Masa from the Czech Republic, who has studied brewing for 9 years, to craft recipes for their new brewery. Agnes and Olafur’s son and head brewer Sigurdur Bragi (“Siggi” for short) took us around the brewery to explain the brewing and bottling processes. We even had the opportunity to see fresh Kaldi being bottled and packaged. Siggi explained that the brewery gets all of their materials from the Czech Republic except the Icelandic fresh water. If you peek around the fermentation tanks, you can see Solarfjall, the mountain in Arskogssandur where the brewery gets its water. The outcome of combining all of these quality ingredients is Kaldi. The beer has no added sugar or any preservatives, and Kaldi is not pasteurized. In the beginning, Kaldi was producing 170,000 liters per year, however, due to the demand they have added fermentation tanks and increased production in 700,000 liters per year. Today, Bruggsmiðjan produces Kaldi, Kaldi Dark, Kaldi Lite, Gullfoss and a variety of seasonal brews like the red lager and chocolate porter for Christmas. When we visited the brewery, we had the opportunity to taste a new IPA brewed with Citra, Mosaic and Galaxy hops. Hoppy beers aren’t huge yet in Iceland and I expect Kaldi to be quite the trendsetter, especially after sampling their new IPA. If you find yourself driving the Ring Road, plan a visit to Bruggsmiðjan. The brewery offers guided...

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Top Four Must-Try Dishes in Hoi An, Vietnam

Posted by on Apr 10, 2016 in Eat, Travel | 0 comments

Top Four Must-Try Dishes in Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An is one of Vietnam’s most charming, historic towns. Small alleys filled with colorful lanterns and the aroma of flowers lead you to some of the best food stands in town. After spending a few days in Hoi An and tasting some of the town’s most iconic dishes, there were definitely four dishes that still leave me wanting just one more bite. Banh Bao Banh Vac Only one family in Hoi An possesses the recipe for banh bao banh vac or “white rose.” The family supplies all of Hoi An with these dainty dumplings. “White rose” is a type of shrimp dumpling made from translucent white dough bunched up to look like a rose. The dumplings are served topped with crunchy bits of toasted garlic and served with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce. The original location to visit for the “white rose” dish is located at 533 Hai Bà Trang, owner Tran Tuan Ngai is the third generation secret keeper of the traditional recipe. Hoành Thánh Chiên  Hoành Thánh Chiên is quite the local specialty. This fried Hoi An wonton originally comes from China and has been adapted by the Vietnamese to suit the local taste. This particular wonton is made with rice flour and filled with ingredients like shrimp, pork, egg and spices. The Hoi An fried wonton is covered in a topping that reminds me of salsa. The topping includes a mixture of vegetables, pineapple and sweet and sour shrimp. The crunch and tangy, sweet flavors keep you coming back for more. Cao Lau Cao Lau is a dish made with noodles, pork and local greens. It’s only found in Hoi An and its unique taste and texture is achieved by using water from an undisclosed ancient Cham well located outside the town. This dish is different than typical Vietnamese noodle dishes because it has no soup. The locals call Cao Lau a “mixing dish” because it includes vegetables, thinly sliced pork and sauce on top of the noodles. It’s quite fun mixing all of the ingredients together on your own and adding lime juice or chili paste to taste. Com Ga Located down a small alley in the “chicken rice district” (or so I like to call it!) is an unassuming food stand called Com Ga Xi. One of the locals (an employee at a vegetarian restaurant, as a matter of fact) recommended we try out this spot for Com Ga, which is a mixture of chicken and rice. This comfort food is simple and full of flavor. Rice is cooked in chicken stock with a pinch of turmeric for color, then thrown in a wok and served with boiled, shredded chicken along with Vietnamese mint, lime juice, sliced onions and chilis. My favorite spot for this dish is definitely Com Ga Xi, which is located at 47/2 Tran Hung...

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Pasteur Street Brewing Company Brings Craft Beer to Vietnam

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Drink, Travel | 0 comments

Pasteur Street Brewing Company Brings Craft Beer to Vietnam

Located down a small alley, Pasteur Street Brewing Company in Ho Chi Minh City is bringing a taste of American craft beer to Vietnam. Send up a short prayer as you cross the bustling streets filled with motorbikes and then head upstairs to the second floor at 144 Pasteur Street in the heart of Saigon– District 1 to be exact. In December 2014, Alex Violette, former head brewer at Boulder, Colorado’s Upslope Brewing Company opened the taproom of Pasteur Street Brewing Company, the first American craft brewery in Vietnam. The brewery uses local ingredients in their brewing process to craft inventive brews ranging from their Passionfruit Wheat Ale to Saigon Saison. The hops and malt are imported from around the world but their use of local ingredients gives this brewery’s craft beer a Southeast Asian twist. If you find yourself in the Ho Chi Minh City, head to the tasting room at Pasteur Street Brewing Company for a flight and some bar snacks. The flight includes six beer tastings, which pair perfectly with bar food options like the Nashville hot chicken and black eyed pea hummus. The food at Pasteur Street Brewing Company is certainly keeping up with the trends back in the States, which gives expats living in Vietnam a taste of home and locals an opportunity to experience new foods. After working hours the tasting room becomes packed with locals who are craving a taste of craft beer. One of my favorite craft beers at Pasteur Street Brewing Company is the Saigon Saison, a Farmhouse Ale with a spicy aroma and herbal character from locally grown lemongrass. Another easy drinking beer is the Jasmine IPA, which uses a blend of American hops to create a fruity hop profile along with dried jasmine flower added for the nose. If you’re more of a darker beer fan, the Ca Phe Porter is a coffee porter brewed to be sweet and chewy. This beer is smooth drinking, and brewed with locally roasted coffee beans to create a flavor loaded with chocolate, caramel and toffee notes. Overall, the selection at Pasteur Street Brewing Company are representative of American craft beer and is perfect for the beer lover visiting or living in Vietnam. Top image via...

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London-Style Gastro-Pub Coming to Downtown Durham

Posted by on Feb 16, 2016 in Eat | 0 comments

The British are coming! And they’re bringing fine ales and authentic curries to downtown Durham. Six Pence Ventures is bringing a new addition to the Durham food scene: an English gastro-pub featuring British and South Asian cuisine. The owners of Five-Points favorite Bull McCabe’s Irish Pub, Rhys Botica and Malachy Noone, have teamed up with part owner of the Triangle’s Tandurm food truck, BJ Patel, to open an English-style pub at the current location of Beyu Caffe (335 West Main Street). Once Beyu moves to its larger building, old mates Botica, Noone and Patel will move into the space and begin work on the pub and restaurant. They expect the move in to take place in May, with an opening slated for ten weeks after. The London-style public house will offer a wide range of English, European and local craft beers, along with a fine selection of single-malt scotch. When it comes to the food, Patel will bring the South Asian flavors of his popular Indian endeavors, as well as an exploratory approach to British food culture. Expect to see dishes such as Curried Shepherd’s Pie with Patel’s British-Indian-Asian cuisine practically transporting patrons to the streets of London. Chicken Tikka Masala was invented in the U.K., after...

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