Friday, May 30, 2014

Photos: Luna's Living Kitchen's new space

Posted By on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Just over a month ago, Luna's Living Kitchen moved into a new and improved space in South End, directly across the street from its old location. Isn't it pretty? I was fortunate enough to be the first person to walk through the doors on opening day and am nearly (but not quite) ashamed to say that I have taken a second residence inside the new space. There are worse addictions in the world.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

It's time to try garlic scapes

Posted By on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Last weekend I was surprised to see a new favorite at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market - green coiled stems with a small yellowish bump toward the narrow end. As an enthusiastic garlic grower myself, I recognized garlic scapes immediately and knew it was time to start thinking strategically.

Around here, garlic is planted in early fall, to winter over and be harvested in June or July. About a month before harvest, the plant's flat narrow leaves are suddenly joined by stiff round spikes more reminiscent of garlic's cousin the onion. These are scapes, the flower-bearing stems that, if left, will burst into a stinky bloom of clustered mini bulbs. However, farmers generally snip them off to ensure the main garlic bulb under the soil continues to develop.

It wasn't until recently that I did a little research and realized that the garlic scapes I'd been trimming off my own plants and discarding are actually a delicious, adaptable ingredient in early summer dishes. They can be treated like chives or scallions, and play well with butter, hummus and salad dressings. Or they can be eaten on their own, sautéed lightly or even grilled and served as a side dish. So when they showed up at the market, I knew it was time to keep an eye on my own garden and do some menu planning.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Upcoming: Southeast Asian Street Food Festival

Posted By on Tue, May 27, 2014 at 9:45 AM

The Southeast Asian Coalition hosts its first fundraiser to benefit its youth program, and organizers are aiming for our bellies. The Southeast Asian Street Food Festival will offer plenty of tasty home-cooked dishes - literally, as food will be provided by families involved in the organization. Available dishes include Hmong braised pork over rice; purple sticky rice with pork sausage; Bunong Thai eggplant soup; papaya salad and more.

If you fancy yourself a pho-natic, partake in the pho-eating contest courtesy of Pho Daravan Restaurant. Wash all that down with some Vietnamese coffee or Thai iced tea.

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While there's no cost to attend the festival, attendees will need to purchase food tickets, ranging from $3 to $5. Free admission. May 31, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Midwood International & Cultural Center, 1817 Central Ave. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/SoutheastAsianCoalition.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

#hashtaghungry: Vin Master's monthly food truck wine dinner, e2's last crawfish boil

Posted By on Mon, May 26, 2014 at 9:02 AM

Each week, The Social Eater picks a handful of filter-friendly, tweetable, social media-shareable foodie events in and around the city. No #struggleplates allowed.

* Papi Queso brings street food indoors at Vin Master on Monday for the wine shop's monthly Food Truck Wine Dinner. Pairings from Piccini Winery accent the meal and all four courses, including dessert, involve a fancy cheese you've probably never heard of. Insert a dancing Steve Urkel gif in your mind. If the last grilled cheese you had involved a Kraft single and an ironing board, take advantage of this upgrade. #betterthancheddar
$40
May 27, 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
Vin Master, 2000 South Blvd., Suite 610
Advance purchase required: www.thevinmaster.com or 704-996-7471.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Recipe: Quick Mac & Cheese

Posted By on Fri, May 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM

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The moment always comes right after.

It sounded good at the time, right? You just needed a quick fix, and work's been absolutely insane this week, and really just this one time, it'll be fine, nobody has to know. I don't need it, I just can't continue without it.

I get it.

But with that "it" comes the second "it," the "oh god what have I done" it, the moment where you find yourself looking down at one of those magazines full of adult people wearing not-adult diapers or a recently heated and completely voided heroin spoon. In this case, the spoon was full of something far, far more sinister.

It was full of American cheese. Pre-sliced, individually wrapped, American cheese.

Yes, I needed the sweet, melty fix that is mac & cheese, and I needed it at a moment's notice. In a way it was worse than any of those other vices, because nobody's going to tell me mac & cheese is wrong. Nobody's going to bash down my door in the middle of the night or set up an intervention where I walk in a room to a pile of boxes of uncooked pasta and a couch full of disappointed faces. It's just me. Me and the cheese.

And yes, just like heroin, this will fill your veins with stuff that makes you feel fantastic while slowly inching you closer to death. I don't recommend actually injecting it, though.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Where to find ramps while they're still available

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 10:15 AM

What the hell are ramps, you ask? Sometimes called wild leeks, ramps are related to the onion and grow along the Appalachians, from South Carolina into Canada. In South Appalachian, ramps festivals may be a tradition you never have heard of, but the garlicky spring greens are growing in popularity all the way up to New York City, where chefs snap them up as soon as they arrive at the markets. If you see ramps on the menu, you should definitely give them a try, because they won't be around long.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

#hashtaghungry: Bistro La Bon's Monday night jazz, Chefs' Collaborative Dinner, more

Posted By on Mon, May 19, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Each week, The Social Eater picks a handful of filter-friendly, tweetable, social media-shareable foodie events in and around the city. No #struggleplates allowed.

* Every Monday night, Bistro La Bon hosts a jazz jam session. Anchored by the Troy Conn Trio, the night is populated with a rotating selection of local musicians and vocalists. Feel free to bring your chops or just sit back and enjoy the ones on offer from both the band and kitchen. The vibe is Blue Note meets Midwood: relaxed with an edge of underground cool. Offering one the best bar bites menus in the city, Bistro has become my favorite way to wind down after a hectic day and turn up for the week at the same time. #JamonOnTheOne
Free
Mondays, 9 p.m.-midnight
Bistro La Bon, 1322 Central Ave.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Upcoming: 'Bring Back Our Girls' Charlotte City Rally

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 3:33 PM

When free food becomes a tool to raise awareness about an international problem, y'all.

Chef Kevin Winston II and nDemand Consulting are sponsoring a "Bring Back Our Girls" rally on Thursday, May 15, to stir up support for the approximately 276 school girls who were kidnapped in Nigeria. The rally takes place in Uptown at Marshall Park, 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m., offering free food, guest speakers and more.

"Our goal in organizing the 'Bring Back Our Girls' Charlotte City Rally is to make more people in Charlotte aware of this tragedy," said Winston in a press release. "The Chibok kidnapping occurred nearly a month ago, and the local government has done very little to facilitate the children's return to their parents. We hope that, by raising our voice, more people will listen and force the Nigerian government into action."

Winston owns Elite Culinary Concepts, which offers personal chef and catering services, cooking classes and more.

If you're planning to attend, make sure you wear red.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Featured Dish: Modern Duck a l'Orange at Lumiere

Posted By on Wed, May 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM

A friend of mine once told me that you eat a dish twice: once with your eyes and again with your mouth. If that's the case, I can tell you that the Modern Duck a l'Orange at Lumiere (1039 Providence Road) proved delicious on both accounts.

Executive chef Tom Condron and his business partner Matthew Pera have revived the spirit of haute cuisine inside this latest concept. Using classical techniques, the restaurant serves emblematically French dishes like escargot en croute and foie gras, but with modern artistry. Case in point: Modern Duck a l'Orange.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Lenny Boy is brewing more than kombucha in South End

Posted By on Mon, May 5, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Lenny Boy is well known in the area for its kombucha, a non-alcoholic fermented tea. Since its opening in 2011, the brand has expanded distribution to five different states and has become the only certified organic kombucha producer in the Southeast. Late last year, the owners took their production a step further by obtaining a microbrewery license, becoming the only certified organic microbrewery in North Carolina.

Now, in order to increase their beer brewing capacity, they are expanding their brewing space (as well as their taproom) and introducing a 3.5-barrel brewing system. Each barrel of beer is roughly 31 gallons, so this will allow them to produce more than a hundred gallons of beer with each brew.

While no official date is available for the completion of the expansion, you can continue to enjoy Lenny Boy's products both in the taproom and at various bars around town. Keep an eye on Lenny Boy's website and Facebook for updates.

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