Eat My Charlotte | Creative Loafing Charlotte

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Know Your Farms' fall tour offers a peek behind the market booth

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Every article I've read on farmers market shopping stresses the importance of talking to the farmer behind the food. It's a great idea, but a little hard to put into practice when you're juggling money, potatoes and a tote bag, while the next customer looms over your shoulder to see if you snagged the last dozen eggs.

This weekend brings an opportunity to step away from the market table and get some real face time with farmers. For the seventh time, Know Your Farms runs its two-day tour, offering access to 13 nearby farm sites. For $25 a carload (advance price), visitors can see where and how growers raise everything from alpacas to zucchini.

This volunteer-run group has organized Charlotte-area farm tours since 2008, paralleling the efforts of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association in the eastern part of the state, and the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project to the west. For the first time this year, Know Your Farms has split its tour into two, offering a spring version in May and this month's fall edition. "Last year, we got a lot of people saying they didn't have time to talk to the farmers," says tour coordinator Wesley Shi. "That's why we shrank the tour."

  • E Belk Photography

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#hashtaghungry: SABOR Latino, 4th annual University Taste, more

Posted By on Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 2:08 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.

• Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! On Thursday, the Latin American Women's Association hosts SABOR Latino, where chef Julian Grajales will create authentic Colombian, Mexican and Peruvian dishes for your sampling. To purchase tickets, call 704-552-1003 with your credit card information.
$25-$30. Sept. 25, 6:30-9 p.m.
Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Local markets stay hot even when the temperatures drop

Posted By on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Sometimes it's hard to predict what you'll find at the farmers market on any given day. This time of year you'd expect tomatoes, okra, squash and maybe corn. But someone in a white jacket sautéing grouper? Hmm, that might be worth setting down the tote bag to stick around for awhile.

Adam Reed of Santé and his then-sous-chef Terra Ciotta host a cooking demonstration.
  • 2012 File Photo/Alison Leininger
  • Adam Reed of Santé and his then-sous-chef Terra Ciotta host a cooking demonstration.

If you think shopping at Charlotte's grower-only farmers markets just means looking over pretty piles of produce, think again. As community hubs, these foodie magnets have become vibrant sources of learning and entertainment.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Get your fill of tequila at new Mexi-Cali restaurant Bakersfield

Posted By on Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM

With the recent departure of Cantina 1511 from its old post, there’s a new Mexi-Cali restaurant that seems to be taking over East Boulevard. Bakersfield is an odd mix of Johnny Cash, margaritas and Alamo-era western movies. All that’s missing are sombreros and an upstairs brothel.

Perhaps Friday night was the wrong time to try to find a seat at the bar, but once finally positioned, it’s best to know whether you would like to start the night with a single margarita or the whole pitcher (hey, I’m not here to judge). What seems to set these libations apart from the rest is their use of real lime juice and agave, instead of sour mix and sugar. Even I, who swears against anything tequila, enjoyed the sweet and salty elixir.

Bakersfield margarita

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#hashtaghungry: Festival food for the win

Posted By on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 11:56 AM

It's the weekend of festivals. Here's your weekly list of filter-friendly, tweetable, social media-shareable foodie events in and around the city. Ultra sad face that I picked THIS weekend to go out of town. Eat up for me, folks.

• Head out to Queen City Barbecue & Music Festival this weekend to be accosted with the tangy scent of smoky, savory meat lingering in the air. There's no such thing as too many barbecue fests in North Carolina, amirite? While pork will be a'plenty — because how could a BBQ in this lovely state not be overflowing in swine — beef brisket, beef ribs and chicken are also on the menu. Entertainment includes music from John D. Holman, Amigo, Marvelous Funkshun, Jason Lee McKinney Band and others; Lucha Libre wrestling; a sideshow; more. #divineswine
$1-$5. Sept. 18-20, 11 a.m-11 p.m.; Sept. 21, Noon-6 p.m.
Route 29 Pavilion
Ver- El Mobile Village
5650 Sandusky Blvd. Concord, NC

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Eat This: Camarofongo at Nano’s Dominican Food

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM

When I first heard the word mofongo, it conjured up memories of my childhood, when my Italian-by-way-of-Long Island mother would hurtle Italian-ish swear words at me in times of toddler distress. One of them sounded an awful lot like mofongo. Couple that with an offensive hand-to-chin gesture and, well, you get my drift. But, I digress.

Mofongo is a traditional Dominican dish, also found in Puerto Rican cuisine, made of fried green plantains mashed with garlic, mixed with crispy bits of pork skin, called chicharrones, and usually served with a simple tomato sauce. In Charlotte, you can get your mofongo fix at Nano’s, the well-loved Dominican restaurant at 3428 N. Tryon St. Nano’s was first opened in 2007 by Julio “Nano” Victoria Sr. and then recently purchased by Dalton and Miriam Espaillat, the husband-and-wife team who also own Three Amigos (Dalton is the Dominican amigo) and Sabor Latin Street Grill.

Nano’s serves a plethora of mofongo options, including a version with the option of shrimp, marinated steak, fried chicken or crispy pork.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

#hashtaghungry: Rewrapped watch party, Sip & Stroll, more

Posted By on Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 2:37 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.

Cupcrazed Cakery's Heather McDonnell will compete on tonight's season premiere of the Food Network's Rewrapped, hosted by NSync's Joey Fatone. While Fatone probably won't be busting any boy-band moves, we will see McDonnell participating in a "Hostess Ho Ho Hoedown." (Their words, not mine.) Fingers are crossed she brings home another win, as last year, she won an episode of Cupcake Wars. Check out the viewing party tonight at Queen City Q. Because who doesn't love watching food competitions? #allsfairinloveanddesserts
Sept. 8, 7 p.m. Queen City Q, 225 E. 6th St.

• If you've never been to the EpiCentre during the daytime (yes, I know some of you haven't), check out the 5th annual Sip & Stroll. My own wine glass collection has grown considerably from events like these that offer souvenir glasses and samplings of a variety of wines. There'll also be food samplings, art and entertainment. #daydrinkingrules
$25-$40. Sept. 12, 7 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sept. 13, 2 p.m.-8 p.m. EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St.
Purchase tickets here.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

The farmers of today meet the chefs of tomorrow

Posted By on Fri, Sep 5, 2014 at 9:56 AM

The refrigerator life of squash blossoms. Chef Dan Barber's book The Third Plate. Fresh ingredients in school lunches. Pasture-raised chickens.

These topics of conversation all came up recently in a modest dining room tucked into a business park in southwest Charlotte. Chef Terra Ciotta, instructor at the Art Institute of Charlotte, had invited several local growers to share lunch with the students who cook and serve their products.

Students Jasmine Scott and Wayne McDoward; Carl Wagner from Carlea Farms; chef José Espinosa of Chef Charles Catering
  • Alison Leininger
  • Students Jasmine Scott, Wayne McDoward; Carl Wagner from Carlea Farms; chef José Espinosa of Chef Charles Catering

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