Green Eats Blog started in 2008 as an outlet for me to share my burgeoning interest in the local food movement, responsible eating, and sustainable agriculture. Over the years it has grown to include recipes, events, and more. I have had some great adventures along the way and met some incredible people who have become close friends, all thanks to the power of the internet and to this blog. If I were given the chance I wouldn’t change a thing!
The time has come for me to put Green Eats Blog to rest. The format is no longer what I need it to be; I am not a recipe blogger, and when it comes to sustainable agriculture policy there are writers out there who can cover the topic with far more authority and authenticity than I can muster. What I can do, however, is continue to be a cheerleader for local food and for the farmers, chefs, and everyday folks who champion its consumption. To do that I need to start fresh.
Over the next few weeks I will begin to reveal various aspects of my new endeavor – Eat, Write, Go. EWG will focus on culinary travel, events, and stories from across North Carolina and the greater South. I will reprise some favorites (like my many visits to Asheville or my fantastic weekend in Tarboro) and am so excited to share new discoveries with you. You can expect a continually-updated calendar of great food events across the Triangle, regular features on fabulous weekend getaways (food focused, of course), and more.
Green Eats Blog will remain right where it is for the time being. Eat, Write, Go will start fresh with brand-new content and design. I am shooting for an end-of-October launch, but as these things go that date is flexible.
In the meantime keep an eye out for smaller transitions (think Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you think you have a great idea or event you’d like to see covered on Eat, Write, Go.
Thank you so much for your continued support and readership, and I look forward to our next adventure together.
It’s shaping up to be a DELICIOUS September chock full of fun food events across the Triangle. My only regret is that I won’t be able to make all of them, but you can bet that I’ll be at a few. If I’ve missed any events you think I should know about shoot me an e-mail, email@example.com.
Sunday, September 1 – The month starts off with a bang as Durham Central Park hosts their annual Labor Day Weekend Extravaganza featuring a food truck rodeo with over 60 different trucks! All your favorites will be there, including Parle-Vous Crepe, Triangle Raw Foods, Greek Gussys, ChirbaChirba, Only Burger, and lots, lots more. You can also expect music, craft vendors, and brews from Fullsteam and Triangle Brewing. 12:30-4:30pm at Durham Central Park. More info - http://durhamcentralpark.org/events/food-truck-rodeo-info/
Monday, September 9 – Strange Seafood Dinner. Walking Fish Cooperative teams up with Watts Grocery for an unforgettable evening with Chef Amy Tornquist on September 9th, 2013. This 5-course gourmet dinner will showcase an array of sustainably harvested strange seafood from North Carolina. Proceeds from the event will benefit Saltwater Connections, a project of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center on Harkers Island. Tickets are $70 for the meal, $100 with wine pairings. More information - http://walking-fish.org/events.php or 919-416-5040 for reservations.
Wednesday, September 18 – The first CHOP NC meeting of the year features Sandra Gutierrez talking about her new cookbook, Latin American Street Food. You don’t want to miss any CHOP meetings, but this one promises to be extra tasty! Snacks provided. 7pm at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill. More information - http://www.chopnc.com/
September 21-22 – 8th Annual Eastern Triangle Farm Tour. 27 North Carolina farms will be open for visitors this weekend in what is becoming one of the most fun events in North Carolina. Organized by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, the farm tours are an excellent way to see where your food comes from and meet the farmer who grow it. I cannot recommend this event enough. More information - http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/etft/
Like Congress, I will be taking an August recess this year. Unlike Congress, I will actually get stuff done.
In addition to starting a new job and putting together a cookbook proposal, I will be headed up to New England for almost two weeks of fun and relaxation. As I spend the month focused on projects both profitable and pleasurable I am going to take a short break from blogging. I shall return in early September with lots of fun photos from my travels, new recipes, and an exciting announcement about the future of Green Eats Blog.
In the meantime you can keep up with me on Twitter and Instagram for daily updates.
If you haven’t already figured it out, I love On The Square. The Tarboro restaurant, owned by Inez and Stephen Ribustello, is easily one of the best dining experiences to be had in North Carolina. Imagine how I excited I was when I found out that Inez and Stephen were planning to open a brewery right up the road from their restaurant in downtown Tarboro! Great food, and just down the block, great beer! What could be better?
The Ribustellos have launched an Indiegogo campaign to help get their brewery going, and I would encourage anyone and everyone to donate what they can. With Mother Earth and Duck Rabbit nearby, Tarboro Brewing Company is poised to help Eastern North Carolina become a great beer destination. I for one will be chipping in, and I invite everyone to come join me at Tarboro Brewing Company for a pint when they open!
Summer for me is usually a stale, stagnant affair. It is my least favorite season, its stifling heat sandwiched between the jubilation of spring and the comforting chill of autumn. In my world summer is something to get through, not anticipate.
This summer has more insufferable than usual. Our housing situation has been less than desirable as we battle with a landlord who turned on us. My job has not been turning out to be what I had hoped it would. North Carolina has seen record rainfall, dashing my hopes for a garden and causing a flash flood that totaled my car.
Bye bye Subaru.
Needless to say, June was not pleasant. July hasn’t been much better. But the universe operates in a karmic fashion, and lately things have been on the upswing.
I got offered a fantastic new job as Operations Manager for Sage & Swift Catering here in Durham, which will start at the beginning of August. More money, closer to home, and more of what I want to do. I am thrilled for this opportunity and so excited to start.
The hubby and I have decided that its time to stop renting and start owning. We are in the process of applying for home loans and will hopefully be purchasing a home by the end of the year (although knowing how home searches go that might be wishful thinking).
Finally, I am pushing ahead with a book proposal. Part cookbook, part anthropological essay, I am particularly excited about this project. I’ve been writing and cooking, cooking and writing, and hope to have the proposal finished by September. It may mean less writing here on the blog, but hopefully it will lead to something bigger and better!
Through all of the stress and the changes I’ve been able to lean on my husband and our friends. We’ve recently started a Sunday Supper tradition with two other couples, and it has been a great relief for me to know that no matter how shiteous of a week I’ve had, come Sunday evening I will sit down to good food and good drink with great friends, and somehow it will all be ok.
Thank you for reading and for following me. I hope that in your times of stress and change that you can fall back on the support of friends and family, and I encourage you to gather around a good meal and just enjoy the company of others.
Sunday Supper. Pasta Carbonara and a Dale’s Pale Ale.
This isn’t a recipe post, or an essay on the fleeting nature of summer peaches, or even a post of any substance really. This is simply to tell you that I made this peach tart, and it was fantastic. Fantastically easy, fantastically tasty, and just plain damn fantastic.
Marty Hanks, owner and self-proclaimed “head bee nerd” of Just Bee Apiary in Chapel Hill, has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for his Hometown Honey Taste Off, a project which will see him creating five unique hyper-local honeys that aim to capture the taste and essence of five distinct towns.
A notification came across my Facebook feed the other day that literally had me say out loud, “Oh hell yes!”
Delectably Yours Cookbooks, a new online shop specializing in hard to find, out of print, and antique cookbooks, invited me to “like” their page. Oh boy did I like it.
My cookbook obsession knows no bounds (this past Friday I picked up four new cookbooks after only 15 minutes in a local thrift store), so I am bound to get excited about a new shop that sells only cookbooks, especially one connected to my friend and food hero Chad McIntyre of Raleigh’s Market Restaurant (Delectably Yours is run by his sister).
I’m sure I will become one of their best customers, but in the meantime I invite you to check out their website and Facebook page as they get set up. If you buy some books you’ll save my bank account some grief.
[This post originally appeared on the NC Folklife Institute's NCFood blog, and is excerpted below. Click the link at the bottom of the post to read the full article at NCFood.]
This past January I shot up to Asheville to be a guest judge for the first round of the 2013 North Carolina Competition Dining Series, and while I was there I was lucky enough to get a personal tour of the new French Broad Chocolate Factory. Jael Rattigan and her husband Dan are the force behind the insanely delicious and hugely popular French Broad Chocolate Lounge in downtown Asheville, and this past summer they decided to go “bean-to-bar”, opening the French Broad Chocolate Factory where they are able to create their own chocolates from scratch. The Chocolate Lounge uses over 20,000 pounds of chocolate a year, and the hope is that by making the chocolate themselves they can over time become less dependent on purchasing chocolate from third parties. The wheel of sustainability keeps spinning! I met up with Jael at the factory and was immediately struck by the scent. You would expect a chocolate factory to smell like chocolate, but this was a different kind of scent. It wasn’t overwhelming or cloying, but it was ever-present, intoxicating, and, well, delicious. The factory itself is open and airy so visitors can get a peek at the entire process of making chocolate; nothing is hidden here. Jael referred to their operations as “open-source”; they have no trade secrets and are willing to share their knowledge with anyone.
My husband recently turned 29, and in celebration we packed up the car and headed to Eastern North Carolina for an overnight birthday getaway. Tarboro, to be precise, with a pit stop in Scotland Neck. We went not really knowing what to expect, and what we discovered was that within a short drive of the Triangle one can find amazing sights, great food, and genuine Southern hospitality.
The Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park in Scotland Neck was our first destination when we got on the road Friday morning. You may not have known, because I sure didn’t, but Sylvan Heights is home to the world’s largest collection of waterfowl, and is one of the premiere captive-breeding organizations for many critically endangered waterfowl species. I cannot say enough good things about Sylvan Heights – it is a fantastic experience in which the whole family can partake. I’ll let some of my photos do the talking (and check out the YouTube video at the end of the post).
I’m Tippi Hedren!
The endangered Hawaiian Nene Goose
Me attempting to kiss a flamingo
I named this crazy guy Paco – he followed us for quite a while.
Leaving Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park and Scotland Neck, we made the 25 minute journey south to our destination for the night, Tarboro, and the Main Street Inn. Tarboro is a quintessential Southern town – large homes with expansive porches cluster around the historic Town Commons. Tarboro’s Commons is one of only two remaining originally-chartered town commons in the United States, the other being the Boston Commons. If you are a fan of traditional Southern architecture and gardening, take a stroll through some of the neighborhoods surrounding the commons to check out the houses; virtually every single one of them is a registered historic home.
Photo courtesy The Main Street Inn
We arrived a bit early and headed out to lunch at Abrams Bar-B-Q, a short jaunt off the Town Commons. Our waitress asked if we wanted the lunch buffet, we said yes, and we never looked back. When it comes to buffets, my skills are what some would politely call “lacking”. I tend to hit the fried foods first, and hit them hard, leaving very little room in my stomach for anything else. This day I somehow mustered my self-control and managed to try a little bit of everything. After my fourth trip to the buffet line I was appropriately sated, and I even had room for an extra piece of fried chicken! Besides the chicken, the barbecue itself was delicious, as were the lima beans and hush puppies. Abrams was buzzing with families of all shapes and sizes; it seemed to be the social equivalent of the diners of my New England youth. Everyone knew someone, and everyone was there to eat.
Plate 1 of 4 at Abrams Bar-B-Q
Our accommodations for the night had been recommended to me by Inez Ribustello, one half of the husband and wife team behind On The Square (our destination for dinner later that evening). I cannot thank Inez enough for steering us to Denise and her gorgeous bed & breakfast. She was full of energy and incredibly welcoming, even though I had messed up my timetable and showed up an hour before check in! Our room on the top floor of the historic home was light and airy, with a gorgeous claw-footed soaking tub and multiple window benches drenched in sunlight. After a short nap (and a trip to the grocery store for wine and champagne), we dressed and made the short jaunt to On The Square for our dinner.
And the dinner! Oh, the dinner! From the candles to the wine to the intimate feel of the restaurant, everything was amazing. I have been wanting to visit On The Square ever since I met Inez and her husband Stephen at an event almost three years ago. Stephen’s food wowed me then, Inez was a gem, and I vowed to make it out to Tarboro to their restaurant. Cut to me sitting in a booth, sipping a glass of wine and perusing the menu as I made good that on vow. I ordered the Fried Chicken Livers to start and ended up getting the NC Softshell Crab for dinner. Leland ordered the lamb, as he is wont to do, and we both ended up sharing the carrot cake for dessert. All of it was fabulous, and as a softshell crab virgin I was so pleased that I not only enjoyed my dish but devoured every last delectable scrap of the creature! [Apologies for the graininess of the photos. I refuse to use flash in a restaurant out of respect for the establishment and the other diners.]
Fried chicken livers
Fried NC Softshell Crab
The next morning we enjoyed coffee on the porch of the Inn before sitting down to the delicious breakfast Denise had prepared for us – steak quesadillas, scrambled eggs, and the biggest piece of Key Lime Pie I had ever seen! Denise told us that her daddy always had dessert with his breakfast, a tradition she has implemented at The Main Street Inn and of which I heartily approve.
Coffee + Rocking Chair + Sunny Porch = Happy Matthew
One of the best B&B breakfasts I’ve ever had!
As we said our goodbyes and turned the car towards Durham and home, I was struck that all of this fun was only a short drive from the Triangle, and yet I rarely hear people talk about Tarboro or Eastern North Carolina as a viable dining and entertainment destination. Perhaps we get so blinded by the amazing offerings we have here at home that we are unable to see what lies just beyond the horizon. Whatever the case, I say bust out your suitcase, hop in the car, and head east! You’ll find fun, food, and plenty of Southern Hospitality to keep you occupied, I can promise you that.
Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park, Scotland Neck. www.shwpark.com for hours and tickets.
I'm Matt. I love food. I love to grow it, cook it, eat it, learn about it, write about it, and talk about it. I believe that there are few things more important in life than what we put into our bodies. I believe food should be healthy for body, mind, and planet.
Once, while I was living in Ecuador, I ate some roast guinea pig from a street vendor. It was one of the best experiences and worst stomach aches of my life.