November 30, 2015

Big Oak Drive In & BBQ

by Deborah Miller A long weekend on Emerald Isle was in the works and as visions of sun, sand, and seafood swam in my imagination, a light bulb moment pushed through the haze of vacation anticipation. NC Food was about to publish a guest post by John E. Batchelor, author of Chefs of the Coast: Restaurants & Recipes from the North Carolina Coast.  Could we coordinate a dual post of one of the restaurants in … [Read more...]

La Cacerola Home Style Honduran

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...]

North Carolina’s Official State Symbols That Taste Good, Part 2

by Deborah Miller These are the things that keep me up at night. I'm an unashamed "wonderer."  My friends all laugh at me when I'd ask "those" questions.  You know, "why are some raindrops big and some little?" and "who ever figured out how to eat an artichoke in the first place?"  Yes, they'd even air quote me when they saw one coming. I'm content to stay curious, now and forever more. Somebody warn me if I ever … [Read more...]

North Carolina’s Official State Symbols That Taste Good, Part 1

by Deborah Miller Every state has its official list of chosen symbols. We all know, or should know, that our State Bird is the Cardinal and State Tree is the Dogwood. But why, and how, do such random things like dog, reptile, and even dance become official? In case you just moved to the Tar Heel state or have lived here your whole life but need a scorecard for all we hold near and dear, check out this very … [Read more...]

Happy Thanksgiving!

by Deborah Miller The holidays seem to turn the nostalgia dial up to eleven for many of us, especially when it comes to food.  We find comfort in the familiarity of the menu and we want them prepared the exact same way we had them at our table.  I certainly wouldn't put my mother's green bean casserole up against anyone else's because it was just green beans, cream of mushroom soup topped with fried onions, but it … [Read more...]


by Deborah Miller (with tasty comments from Joy Salyers) Joy surely wasn't looking for a European Deli and Grocery while Googling (it's a word now, right?) for something else.  It was one of those happy accidents. From the corner came "Deborah!  We've got to go here!" and I knew there was another adventure in our future.  One day last week, after several projects and deadlines had been put to bed, we set out to … [Read more...]

THE Perfect Plate of Barbecue

by Elijah Gaddis Somewhere high on my list of favorite conversations is the one about a favorite plate of barbecue. It’s kind of like picking a fantasy team, I imagine. You dream up some alternative world where somehow your favorite meat, fried corn product, slaw, and those all too rare sides could somehow coexist on a single plate. I guess that’d be heaven for the person whose altar is a barbecue pit.  And on … [Read more...]

A Taste of Home, One Memory at a Time

by Deborah Miller Mother’s Day is bittersweet. For all intents and purposes, I’ve already lost my Mom. She is 5 years into dementia and no longer remembers who I am. She imagines she loves me. She even says so sometimes, just like she tells everyone she encounters from staff to stranger.  She used to hug me back. Now she stands limply in front of me with her arms dangling by her side, this passive yielding … [Read more...]

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

by Deborah Miller Daddy was a traveling salesman. As regional sales director for Blue Cross/Blue Shield in the late 50’s/early ‘60’s, he drove all over North Carolina trying to sign up companies for a new plan called “group insurance.” He was gone a lot, and often late for dinner, but he was still the guy who came home every so often with a trunk full of Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies, and SnoBalls compliments of a … [Read more...]

North Carolina Blueberries

by Deborah Miller I didn't actually GO blueberry picking with Joy Salyers and Elijah Gaddis, but I heard all about it and got to enjoy the bounty.  Heck, I don't even know where they went. But that Monday, I came into work to find a large container on my desk filled almost to overflowing. So I had them by the handful.  At first. Then I slowed down to popping them one by one just barely biting into them so I … [Read more...]