TerraVita Sixth Annual Food & Drink Festival: Tickets on Sale Now

Posted by on Jul 23, 2015 in Drink, Eat | 0 comments

TerraVita Sixth Annual Food & Drink Festival: Tickets on Sale Now

TerraVita Sixth Annual Food & Drink Festival is committed to spreading the gospel of sustainable food and drink. The festival includes working with award-winning chefs, authors, producers and farmers. Tickets are now on sale for all festival events, October 8-10, 2015.    This year, TerraVita expands upon its signature education series – the Sustainable Classroom – by kicking off the festival weekend with a featured discussion honoring those who use their culinary influence and capital to do good in our community. Industry luminaries, from across the region will connect us with their stories and causes, first independently, then together on a panel. Half of the proceeds from this event will be divided among the charities and causes highlighted by the speakers. “TerraVita is about sharing this passion for sustainable food and drink, but it’s also about developing and supporting community. This event offers the perfect opportunity to connect with each of our speakers in a very personal way and highlight the causes that are near and dear to each of them,” explained founder Colleen Minton. The event will kick off the festival weekend on Thursday at 3 pm with cocktails and light snacks. Tickets are $45. Following this premier panel, TerraVita celebrates North Carolina’s rich culinary scene with a family-style dinner, THE CAROLINA TABLE: East Meets West. Chef Steven Greene of Herons in The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, NC, Chef Sean Fowler of Mandolin in Raleigh, NC, Chef Jim Noble of Noble’s Restaurant in Charlotte, and Pastry Chefs Krystle Swenson of Standard Foods and Andrew Ullom of AC Restaurants – both in Raleigh – are just a few of the chefs who will collaborate, shining a light on artisanal producers throughout the state. Local food artisans whose cheeses, meats, artisan breads, brews and spirits are highlighted in each dish will dine among guests. The dinner will be held at Top of the Hill’s Great Room, and the cost per ticket is $100.  Following dinner, revelers will join Border Springs’ Craig Rogers for his wildly popular “LAMBS & CLAMS” event. Rappahannock Oysters, alongside celebrated chefs, brewers and spirit producers, will join Rogers and his cowboy cauldron for light, lamb-centric fare featuring his pastured Virginia lamb and Rappahannock’s shellfish. “Lambs & Clams” will be held at Southern Season’s courtyard at The Weathervane. Tickets are $55 per person. On Friday morning, THE SUSTAINABLE CLASSROOM – a hallmark of TerraVita – introduces visionary producers, chefs, journalists and cookbook authors for culinary workshops, food and beverage tastings, demonstrations and panel discussions which range in topic, but share a focus on sustainability. Participants may choose to attend up to five 1-hour and 15 minute classes, which take place Friday, October 9, from 9:30 am until 2:30 pm; and Saturday, October 10, from 9:30 am until 12:45 pm. Classes will take place in two locations – at Southern Season’s Cooking School and at Top of the Hill’s Great Room. Passes can be purchased for Friday or Saturday separately, for $65 and $55 respectively. The Friday pass includes three classes and the Saturday pass includes two classes. There is also a two-day class pass that offers the maximum number of classes (five total) for $110.  This year, TerraVita celebrates sustainability with a new dinner to rival all others – HILL FIRE: Pits, Spits & Grills....

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Smorgasburg Debuts in Queens this Saturday

Posted by on Jul 9, 2015 in Eat | 0 comments

Smorgasburg Debuts in Queens this Saturday

Have you tried the famous Ramen Burger or enjoyed a Mighty Quinn’s BBQ sandwich? If not, you need to head to Smorgasburg, a Brooklyn food market showcasing 100+ local and regional food vendors. What attracts so many people to Smorgasburg is the wide variety of food vendors. I can start with lumpia for an appetizer and end with a handcrafted ice cream sandwich for dessert. The possibilities are endless! Good news for those of you who love food and visiting Smorgasburg — this popular food market is expanding to Queens starting this Saturday. Smorgasburg crisscrossed the borough searching for as many exotic, ethnic and exciting vendors to represent Queens. My friend Joe DiStefano helped to organize the vendors and I must say, he’s done an excellent job. Joe is pictured below enjoying Papa’s Kitchen’s balut, which is a six-day-old fertilized duck egg. This Filipino vendor will also be offering a stingray sandwich at Smorgasburg. Joe definitely has quite the line up of vendors prepared for the first Smorgasburg in Queens. Lucky for me, I had the opportunity to attend a press event yesterday evening to sample a few of the vendors’ Smorgasburg offerings. Of course, I started the evening off with a Smorgasbeer, created by KelSo Beer Co. in Brooklyn. As the summer begins to get hotter, my cravings for lobster rolls get stronger. I tasted the lobster roll from Brine by Danny Brown, which is topped with tarragon-green-goddess dressing and duck confit. I’m sure this sandwich will be quite the hit at Smorgasburg in Queens. After my recent trip to Thailand, I’ve been craving traditional papaya salad. This is a common street food sold by many vendors throughout the country. QI, a popular Thai restaurant in Queens, satisfied my craving. Their papaya salad was handcrafted right in front of me and the chef even put in two peppers for some extra heat! Absolutely amazing. They will be serving Thai papaya salad, grilled chicken and sticky rice at Smorgasburg in Queens. I think it’s safe to say that the average person attending Smorgasburg probably hasn’t tried Georgian food. Marani Georgian Restaurant will be serving up a variety of favorites from Georgia like traditional meat dumplings, bean stew with pickled veggies, kebabs and humus. The great part about Smorgasburg is that you can try cuisines from around the world in one place. Roosevelt Ave Fare is sure to be a hit amongst the crowd at Smorgasburg. Their Korean fried chicken wings and roti tacos are exactly what I’d have a hankering for on a Saturday afternoon. The wings are crunchy and have an excellent amount of spice. If you’re a fan of tamales, don’t miss Son’s Ecuadorian hallacas. They are similar to tamales but made with raisins, capers and olives, then wrapped in cornmeal dough. If you’re feeling adventurous, try Son’s beef tongue tacos. I’m sure the lines will be steady for Wooly’s Taiwanese shaved snow. This dessert reminded me of my childhood. “Party Rocks” is Wooly’s signature creation for Smorgasburg, which includes leche shaved snow with Pop Rocks, Fruity Pebbles and mochi for toppings. Smorgasburg is stretching out into Queens with the Grand Opening this Saturday, July 11 from 11am-6pm in a combination outdoor lot and indoor building at 43-29 Crescent Street, Long Island City. I hope you’ll visit and try something...

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Maple Leaf Farms at the Fancy Food Show

Posted by on Jun 29, 2015 in Eat | 0 comments

Maple Leaf Farms at the Fancy Food Show

The Fancy Food Show is North America’s Largest Specialty Food and Beverage Event held annually in New York City. I had the pleasure of attending the show, which features 180,000 products including confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, ethnic, natural, organic and more. There are 2,400 exhibitors from 50 countries and regions. Maple Leaf Farms is a family-owned company that has been creating duck products since 1958. Big thanks to Maple Leaf Farms for allowing me to attend the Fancy Food Show and #DiscoverDuck! I learned that Maple Leaf Farms raises White Pekin duck, which has a delicious, red meat flavor. Duck is also healthy because it is leaner and has less saturated fats than other meats. One of Maple Leaf Farms’ duck products that captures the attention of many people at the Fancy Food Show is their duck bacon. Yes, you heard that correctly! The duck bacon is applewood smoked and made exclusively with boneless duck breast meat. This thick cut bacon takes just a few minutes to crisp in a skillet or convection oven. Plus, duck bacon has 57% less fat and 26% less sodium than traditional pork bacon. Along with the duck bacon, Maple Leaf Farms is also sampling duck leg confit and duck quesadillas. All of their duck products are so delicious! If you’re in New York City and planning to attend the Fancy Food Show, make sure to swing by the Maple Leaf Farms booth. They are currently hosting a #DuckTat contest, which I happily participated in today. Maple Leaf Farms’ graphic designer created multiple temporary tattoos for attendees to wear. Of course, I picked the goofy duck wearing sunglasses! To participate in the contest, attendees pick up one of Maple Leaf Farms’ duck tattoos at the booth, apply it, then take a photo and upload it to social media through July 3rd. Attendees will have a chance to win a $100, $50 or $25 gift card. Check out my buddy Joe from Chopsticks and Marrow reppin’ his new #DuckTat at the Fancy Food Show! Although I’m absolutely stuffed from eating my weight in cheese, chocolate chip cookies, duck bacon and BBQ sauce, I’m happy I had the chance to experience New York City’s Fancy Food Show. I’ll definitely be back for a future...

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Top 4 Strangest Foods Eaten in the Philippines

Posted by on Jun 17, 2015 in Eat, Travel | 1 comment

Top 4 Strangest Foods Eaten in the Philippines

Growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina didn’t exactly expose me to adventurous food. It wasn’t until my 20’s that I was given the opportunity to try pig anus and cod sperm sack. Seriously, I’m not lying — just attend a Blind Pig offal dinner and you’ll see. Although I’ve tried some obscure foods, eating through the Philippines is in a league of its own when it comes to “strange” foods. To my surprise, most were actually delicious! Please allow me to introduce you to the top four strangest foods I ate during my adventures in Cebu. Chicken Intestine Larsian sa Fuente is one of Cebu City’s most famous barbecue spots. Imagine 10 or more street food vendors set up around the perimeter of a paved lot with carts full of skewered raw meat and seafood. The massive grill sits in the middle of the food carts while Filipinos and tourists alike crowd around at tables, all using plastic gloves to eat barbecued meats with steamed rice. Eating at Larsian sa Fuente is an experience I’ll always remember because this was the first time I ever tried chicken intestine. I imagined intestine to be quite chewy but it wasn’t at all. The grill charred the ends of the intestine, which added a crisp texture as well as a delicious, smoky flavor. Plus, the ketchup based barbecue sauce was a nice addition. I’d definitely eat chicken intestine again. Balut For those of you who aren’t familiar with balut, it is a developing duck embryo (fertilized duck egg) that is boiled and eaten in the shell. Balut is commonly sold as street food in the Philippines and often served later in the evening. Although I was slightly terrified, I knew I had to try balut during my trip to Cebu. It was only appropriate for me to visit the street corner vendor who was selling balut out of his styrofoam cooler. After ordering the balut, we sat on the street and cracked open the top part of the egg. We poured a little vinegar inside the egg and began sucking out all of the juices, which was quite delicious. Once I started peeling back the egg shell, my stomach turned. Hidden inside the shell was a baby duck — black feathers and all! There was absolutely no way I could eat the duck. However, I did try the remainder of the balut, which tasted similar to a chicken egg’s yolk after it has been boiled. Would I do it again? Sure. Maybe next time I’ll have the guts to actually eat the baby duck! Dugo While traveling in the Philippines, I discovered that Filipinos do not let any part of an animal go to waste. Next to the house I was living in for the week I visited Cebu, a family raised chickens and sold dugo each evening to the locals as a quick dinner or snack. Dugo is essentially barbecued chicken blood and is often served with steamed rice. The rice is packaged in coconut leaves making it easy to eat and without having to wash your hands. I think I would have liked the dugo more if I didn’t know it was chicken blood. Something about eating congealed chicken blood just wasn’t settling to my stomach, which is surprising considering I love blood sausages and stews made with pork blood. Chicken Feet At...

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Happiness Found in Lime Juice and Elephant Rides

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Travel | 3 comments

Happiness Found in Lime Juice and Elephant Rides

I’d like to write my story, but I wouldn’t know where to start. I like telling other people’s stories — where they’re from, what makes them unique, and ultimately, what brings them true happiness. During my travels in Thailand, I realized there’s much more to life than money. Many Thai people seem to have simple jobs; most work in places ranging from food stalls to small marketplaces. They always have a smile gleaming on their faces even while working under that hard, hot sun.  On a street corner in Bangkok stood a skinny Thai man with skin browned from the sun and wearing a Tiger Beer tank top. He had a simple job; squeezing limes and selling their juice to tourists and locals walking down the street. What I vividly remember about him is that he couldn’t stop smiling even though beads of sweat were rolling down his face. Why was he so happy? I inferred that a simple job allows you to provide for your basic survival needs — food on the table and a place to live. Perhaps he doesn’t have many belongings but he’s free and happy. He spends time working a simple job knowing that he will be able to provide for his friends and family. Since his basic needs are covered, nothing ties him down and he chooses to enjoy life —he’s alive. I’ll never forget his contagious smile, which wrinkled up his entire face. When I’m not exploring the world, I often feel like I’m just going through the motions. I felt pure happiness in Thailand, once in Bangkok and a second time in Chiang Mai. Too many times during the day I start pondering, “What’s next for my life?” In Bangkok I made the conscious decision not to worry too much about the future and just roll with the punches. I was on my way to explore Chatuchak Weekend Market and hopped on the back of a motorbike taxi. I threw my head back, held on to the back of the bike (for dear life) and felt the wind dancing through my hair. As we zipped through the backstreets of Bangkok, I caught a glimpse of my face in the motorbike mirror — I had the same smile gleaming on my face as the skinny Thai man squeezing limes. Truly enjoying and living in the moment is pure bliss.  The second time I felt alive and happy was after spending a day caring for and riding elephants in Chiang Mai. It’s important not to take life so seriously, which is the lesson my 7 year old elephant companion taught me. After our one-hour walk through the mountains of Baanchang Elephant Park, I was standing in a pond of mirky water bathing my elephant. The moment I realized elephant dung was floating throughout the pond, my elephant caught me completely off guard and sprayed me with a trunk full of water. I couldn’t stop laughing and felt pure joy. Life has a funny way of teaching you to not take things so seriously when you’re working through your “shit” — literally! Do you feel alive and truly happy or are you just going through the motions? I hope you experience pure happiness, whether it’s through squeezing limes or wading through elephant...

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Embarking on a Food Adventure in Thailand and Laos

Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 in Eat, Travel | 2 comments

Embarking on a Food Adventure in Thailand and Laos

I recently attended the Brooklyn Freelancers Summit and sat next to Alex, an inspiring woman who wants to become a full-time freelancer. I immediately told her, “Go for it!” Starting my own business and working for myself has changed my life. I’ve moved to a new city and worked with some of the most amazing clients. Following your passion is key — and mine just so happens to be food and drink. Traveling in Southeast Asia has been on the top of my travel bucket list for quite some time. A few months ago I sent out a tweet asking if anyone had any connections in Thailand or Laos. Patti from Raleigh’s Champa Thai and Sushi immediately responded. Before we knew it, plane tickets were booked and a food-filled adventure was planned in Thailand and Laos for May 2015. Oh, I failed to mention we had never met! Pretty gutsy, huh? Sometimes you just click with people. Patti and I enjoy sharing our love of Southern food with others. Although Patti is living in North Carolina, her roots and most family members are in Thailand. Our upcoming trip sparked the idea to work with North Carolina speciality food companies already being distributed internationally. Our goal would be to stir up the buzz on social media and to increase their awareness across the globe. I’m happy to announce that we will be working with Bone Suckin’ Sauce to develop recipes using their Original and Yaki sauces. Patti and I will be filming street food vendors in Thailand and Laos using Bone Suckin’ Sauce in traditional dishes. The recipes will be available following the trip on Bone Suckin’ Sauce’s website. Follow our adventures during the trip on social media by using #NoPlaceLikeBone. We are also working with Peggy Rose’s to sample their pepper jellies, habanero ketchup and champagne mustard at speciality grocery stores, restaurants and bars in Thailand and Laos. Follow Peggy Rose’s Facebook fan page and #RosesOnTheRoad for updates. As Buddha once said, “An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” I’m a firm believer that an idea is never stupid. Talk about your ideas, no matter how crazy you think they sound. If I never sent that tweet, this food adventure in Thailand and Laos would never be happening. I hope you’ll follow me on social media and look for blog updates during my trip. The plane is taking off in exactly one week! Thank you again to Bone Suckin’ Sauce and Peggy Rose’s for making this trip...

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Once Upon a Cocktail: Rhett Butler Recipe

Posted by on Apr 20, 2015 in Drink | 0 comments

Once Upon a Cocktail: Rhett Butler Recipe

“Once Upon a Cocktail” is a guest blog series by Lindsay Milligan featuring delicious cocktail recipes inspired by favorite literary characters. Enjoy! Since the last two recipes featured heroines, I thought I’d let the guys have the spotlight today. One of my favorite books of all time is Gone With The Wind and everyone knows that Rhett Butler makes the story. Without him, Scarlett would have no one to challenge her and we’d be left to make do with whiny, slow-witted Ashley as our hero (no offence intended to you Ashley fans out there, if there are any…). This drink uses ingredients found right here in the Carolinas and the finished product, spicy, strong, and Southern, will knock you right off your feet and carry you up the stairs!    Rhett Butler: Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell Ingredients1 part bourbon2 parts Blenheim’s Ginger Ale (if you don’t know, Blenheim’s is a soda made in South Carolina and has a very strong spicy ginger flavor with no sweetness to it whatsoever. If you’re feeling extra manly and Rhett-like, you can use Blenheim’s Extra Hot which will light you on fire. Be warned.)Fresh mint DirectionsMuddle the mint in the bottom of a rocks glass. Add ice, bourbon, and Blenheim’s. Stir to...

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Once Upon a Cocktail: Lizzie Bennett Recipe

Posted by on Apr 6, 2015 in Drink | 0 comments

Once Upon a Cocktail: Lizzie Bennett Recipe

“Once Upon a Cocktail” is a guest blog series by Lindsay Milligan featuring delicious cocktail recipes inspired by favorite literary characters. Enjoy! It is a truth universally acknowledged that it’s a lovely Easter Sunday here in North Carolina and the flowers are in bloom!  To celebrate, I have a refreshing floral cocktail inspired by one of my favorite literary characters: Miss Elizabeth Bennett.      Lizzie is feminine without being sugary sweet; a proper English lady, but with a touch of bitterness that lends reality to her character.  That blend of sweet and bitter is what makes this cocktail one of my favorites.  The brown color of the tea means this drink may not be handsome enough to tempt you, but if you don’t let prejudice get in your way, you’ll find it as amiable and sophisticated as any flashy, colorful cocktail.   Any good gin will work for this recipe, but I prefer to use Cardinal for its strong floral flavor.  It’s made here in North Carolina by graduates from my alma mater, Appalachian State University (Go Mountaineers!).  I try to use locally grown or produced ingredients whenever I can, so if there’s a distillery near your home, I encourage you to try it out and support a small business in your area! Lizzie Bennett: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Ingredients  1 part gin 2 parts cold Earl Grey tea A dash of lavender simple syrup (it can be easily made by boiling lavender buds with your sugar and water or simply by adding a few drops of lavender oil to the already made plain syrup) Directions  Mix ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lavender sprig....

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Real Caribbean Food in Brooklyn’s Industry City

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in Eat | 0 comments

Real Caribbean Food in Brooklyn’s Industry City

Industry City is an innovation and manufacturing district situated on the waterfront in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The Industry City Food Court has a warehouse feel and boasts murals created by local artists along with exposed pipes and brick. The food court houses multiple vendors including eats from Blue Marble Ice Cream to Colson Patisserie. During my visit to the Industry City Food Court, I met the team who began Real Caribbean Food (ReCaFo). In 2011, David Wisdom emigrated to the United States from Jamaica. Along with his team and knowledge of taste, spices and original Jamaican cooking techniques, ReCaFo’s first location opened in Queens. This location was so successful that ReCaFo expanded operations to include a second location in Industry City. David’s goal is to increase awareness of Jamaican food by bringing ReCaFo locations to New York City that are lacking in ethnic food. ReCaFo is a fast-casual concept serving popular Jamaican dishes like jerk chicken and plantains, to lesser-known dishes like oxtail and curried goat. Jamaican cuisine typically focuses on meat, and ReCaFo also has a variety of chicken, pork, beef, goat and fish dishes, each prepared in a special style or sauce. ReCaFo also appeals to vegetarians by offering Jamaican twists to plant-based dishes like jerk tofu. During my visit to ReCaFo’s Industry City location, the oxtail dish was my favorite with tender meat simmered in a delicious brown stew. This entree was served with a side of plantains as well as coconut rice and peas. Visit ReCaFo in Queens or Industry City, and stay tuned as they plan to open a third location...

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Recipe: Kale and Sweet Potato Black Quinoa

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in Eat | 0 comments

Recipe: Kale and Sweet Potato Black Quinoa

Living in New York City is tough. Let’s face it, my kitchen counter space is limited and barely fits a cutting board. I’ve been developing recipes that don’t require a giant kitchen and are easy to make with ingredients you typically have in your pantry. I hope you enjoy this hearty and delicious Kale and Sweet Potato Black Quinoa recipe. I served this with pork chops for dinner and it was the perfect side dish. It’s also great reheated for a tasty lunch. Enjoy! Kale and Sweet Potato Black Quinoa  4 servings Ingredients 1 cup black quinoa 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces 1 small yellow onion, diced 1 bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves torn into 2-inch pieces 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper Directions Place the quinoa and 2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed. This will take about 12 minutes. While preparing the quinoa, heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the sweet potatoes and onions. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are golden and beginning to soften. This will take about 5 minutes. Add the kale, sea salt and black pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, tossing often, until the vegetables are tender. Combine vegetables with the cooked quinoa and serve immediately. Season with salt and pepper, if...

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