May 3, 2015

Official NC Food Festivals in May 2015

strawberries

by Deborah Miller It’s not like we don’t have anything good to eat around here. We arise food. We talk about food. We read about food. We drive miles out of the way for a “food” experience. What choice did North Carolina have but to honor and designate some long-existing events as“Official State Food Festivals?” April was mighty busy with festivals honoring food and wine in North Carolina. Just consider the NC … [Read more...]

Pruning Peach Orchards: A Lifetime Skill and Dedication

Twigs of blossoms just pruned from peach trees make a perfect spring centerpiece.

by Ray Linville Nothing says spring like the arrival of flower blossoms, particularly in the Sandhills and eastern North Carolina with blooms on acres and acres of peach trees. Many in North Carolina believe that our state’s peaches are the best (they’re right) and that peaches are native to the South (they’re wrong). Cultivated in China for more than 3,000 years, peaches arrived in the Americas in 1571 … [Read more...]

“Chowder Taster”—Touring a Clam Chowder Cook-Off at the Ocracoke Community Center

Trophies for the non-traditional chowder (left) and traditional Ocracoke chowder (right) were commissioned from village-based writer and visual artist Susan Dodd, who created mixed media and found-object sculptures dubbed the “Clammy.” Photo: Leanne E. Smith.

by Leanne E. Smith “The rainy weather cooperated with us,” Karen Lovejoy joked the Saturday before Easter 2015 during the First Annual Clam Chowder Cook-off on Ocracoke Island that showcased four entries in the Ocracoke-traditional category and seven for non-traditional. The mid-day event was a fundraiser for the Ocracoke Childcare Center, also known as the “Little School,” for which Lovejoy is a board member and … [Read more...]

Making Mac and Cheese Better with N.C. Mountain Cheese

Excellent mac and cheese depends on cheese from Ashe County as shown by this dish prepared in a restaurant of Chef Ashley Christensen in Raleigh.

by Ray Linville What’s the most important ingredient in macaroni and cheese? Except for the love that the preparer personally adds, is one item more important than anything else? The questions may seem frivolous because today the recipe at home can be quite simple – unless you’re Thomas Jefferson, who was so consumed with serving the perfect macaroni that he bought a pasta-making machine in Europe. For his … [Read more...]

La Cacerola Home Style Honduran

Yuca con Chicharron: Fried or steamed yuca served with chicharrones, cabbage salad, tomato sauce, chismol and pickled vegetables.

by Deborah Miller If you weren’t paying attention, you’d almost miss La Cacerola Café and Restaurant, tucked as it is between the Latino Super Market and Guess Road Mini Mart. The three of us were celebrating a special date, and no ordinary lunch would do for this occasion. Though rescheduled from the actual anniversary date, the sentiment was still strong.  You see, it was 3 years since Frances O'Roark Dowell, a … [Read more...]

Pepper’s Pizza

Pepper's Pizza 2

by Evan Hatch I always wanted to be a part of Pepper’s Pizza in Chapel Hill. Pepper’s hid in plain sight on Franklin Street, two doors down from the Varsity Theater, a narrow squeeze of a restaurant with checkerboard floors, whacked art hanging and a cast of incredible characters working the kitchen. It was Chapel Hill’s coolest anti fraternity.  The kitchen was an open space (the first one I’d ever seen) blaring … [Read more...]

Enjoying Barbecue Prepared Like When You Were a Kid

A high billboard helps new customers know which exit to take to find Hill’s.

By Ray Linville Have you ever passed a restaurant, wondered how good its food is, but didn’t stop because you were saving money by not eating out? That’s my story about North Carolina barbecue when I was growing up. I grew up in the Piedmont in a stable but modest neighborhood of Winston-Salem. In the heart of “Lexington-style” barbecue, the closest restaurant was less than a mile from my house. Although it … [Read more...]

Old Havana Sandwich Shop

The "Not-So-Cuban" Sandwich is made with turkey and avocado.

by Evan Hatch The Old Havana Sandwich Shop faces Main Street in downtown  Durham, North Carolina. Business and life partners Elizabeth Turnbull and Roberto Copa Matos surely pinched themselves when they first saw the limestone edifice that became their restaurant.  Arched porticoes, vaulted windows and polished wood floors lend this space a warm and historic feel, redolent of Cuba. The Old Havana Sandwich Shop is … [Read more...]

A Food Sisterhood Flourishes in North Carolina, and then some

eliza

Just in case you weren't paying attention, North Carolina got some seriously good props this week from the New York Times. The North Carolina Food Sisterhood, to be exact, and it's a nice change from all the athletic and political press we've grown used to. We've always been an agricultural state and women have long worked the gardens and the fields. Now they are running them! Award-winning author and Atlanta … [Read more...]

Neuse River Fish Stew – a guest post by NC barbecue expert Bob Garner

Fish stew contains rounded, perfectly-poached eggs

by Bob Garner [Editor's note: We were so excited to receive an email from Winston-Salem's John F. Blair Publishing asking if we'd be interested in having Bob Garner write a guest post for NCFood. Bob Garner? THE North Carolina barbecue expert? You bet your prized hog, we were interested! Especially since his new book Foods That Make You Say MMM-MMM just came out. Bob is a television personality, restaurant … [Read more...]