I get jealous of the West Coast, not going to lie. I see friends posting pictures of their latest raw meal at Gratitude Café, drinking kombucha on draft, happily picking cherries next to Alice Waters and I pine for something similar here.
Well, thanks to Townes Mozer, owner and brewer of Lenny Boy Kombucha, Charlotte just got a little west coast sentiment on tap. I found Lenny Boy while wandering about my local Healthy Home Market. If you were there that day, I was the girl slurping a cup of kombucha with a huge grin on my face hoping everyone would notice.
Charlotte! We've got kombucha on tap!
This was cause for celebration or, at least, further investigation. With a name like Lenny Boy, I half expected to find some mountain man dressed like a Hatfield or McCoy, chewing on tobacco while brewing his latest batch of fermented tea.
What I found was 25-year-old Townes Mozer, Charlotte native and impressive kombucha connoisseur. On the phone, Mozer sounds like he could be brewing hallucinogenic tea with a hippie-like drawl and stoner lexicon. In person, though, he is the quintessential boy next door with tousled brown hair, signature Chacos and a hankering to brew.
It's definitely corn season.
I had 12 (yes, 12!!!) ears of corn in my CSA share this week from Cold Water Creek Farm. It's a good thing I split my share with a friend, but that still leaves me with six ears.
You can do some pretty magical things with corn. It's a wonderful way to add a bit of sweetness to all kinds of dishes, and it's even tastier this time of year when it's fresh-picked from the farm.
I love corn in salads, salsa, fritters, grilled, roasted, as a taco or quesadilla topping. The possibilities are endless. But first, let's start with something super simple. Those are the best kind of recipes, you know.
Last October, Bernardin's Restaurant opened in the historic location of what once was the Ratcliffe Florist at 425 S. Tryon St. Since 1992, owner and executive chef Freddy Lee had wanted to relocate from New York and open a restaurant in Charlotte. When the location he wanted to purchase did not work out, he landed in Winston Salem instead. Twenty years later, after much success with Bernardin's Restaurant in Winston Salem and two additional restaurants, he finally embarked on his newest restaurant venture in downtown Charlotte.
On Friday, June 22, Bernardin's Restaurant celebrated its half-year anniversary and invited some special friends to be a part of the celebration by dining at a chef's table.
One of my favorite things about the warmer weather is the beginning of my CSA share, which usually starts in mid-May. For those of you who don't know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.
Basically, you give a farmer some money up front (or make a deposit) and each week for typically 12-15 weeks, depending on the farm, you receive fresh, local, and seasonal produce. Some of the things that I receive each week are very foreign to me. My CSA share has challenged me to be very creative in my recipes and resourceful in the amount of vegetables I attempt to utilize in one meal.
My CSA is starting to cure their sweet potatoes (dry them so they last longer before baking), so the sweet potato I used in the meal pictured above was from the grocery store. However, it was a local N.C. sweet potato. Did you know they are available year-round? The tuna was also from said grocery store.
But the Nappa Cabbage in my slaw - that was most definitely a contribution from my CSA share.
The simplest thing you can do with any kind of cabbage is make slaw, but I wanted to add a little pizzazz to my meal by giving it an Asian Twist.
So I sesame-d my tuna and my cabbage, and the result was an incredibly tasty meal with an Asian flair.
Bet you didn't know you can use sesame as a verb, did ya.
This past weekend marked another year of the Taste of Charlotte Festival. I can imagine few things better than more than three city blocks lined with food. It's a slightly classier, more literal version of the Hunger Games, Charlotte style. Notice I said "slightly."
I am ashamed to admit this was my first time attending this event. My fellow city dwellers have been on to something for the past 13 years, as they push, shove, and, oh yes, eat their way down this Yellow Brick Road of cuisine and free samples. It's baffling why anyone with my stomach capacity and appreciation for hunger-induced violence would let something like this slip by, so I made up for lost time. [Insert hashtag #fatgirlproblems here.]
NoDa may be the city's designated arts district, but revelers of a late-night variety know it better as Charlotte's arguably most bar hop-able neighborhood. The area's bevy of bars and the craft breweries that have made it their home make it an idyllic scene for the alcoholically inclined (no judgement, for I live among you.)
This Saturday's shindig seems specially designed for bar crawlers with a brew-head bent. The NoDa craft beer bar crawl will feature specialty beers from NoDa and Birdsong Brewing Companies as well as live music, cornhole and food trucks on site. Specials will be available on all North Carolina craft beers, with Birdsong pouring their Dixie Porter and NoDa Brewing offering up their Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie Porter.
The tentative schedule looks like this:
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM: NoDa Brewing Company
8:00 PM - 9:00 PM: Birdsong Brewing Company
9:00 PM leave for Salud Beer Shop
9:30 - 10:30: Salud Beer Shop
10:30 - 11:30: Revolution Pizza & Ale House
11:30 - 12:30: Growlers Pourhouse
12:30 - 1:30: Jack Beagles
Go on and imbibe. The occasion calls for it.
Oh the joys of a piece of chocolate ... so delicious, so simple, yet so complicated.
Milk, dark, white, bittersweet, semisweet, 50%, 60%, 87% cacao, or raw? What do you choose?
Let me help make the decision easy for you. After all, your choice has a profound impact on your health, the environment and social economics. Look for "Organic" and "Fair Trade" the next time that chocolate craving hits and here's why:
* Chocolate usually contains dairy, which means that unless it's organic chocolate, you are likely consuming milk from cows that have been conventionally raised with antibiotics and growth hormones.
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