FOOD WE LOVE TO EAT Allow our food porn to make you salivate!
JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 1
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Eat & drink across southeastern NC
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
EDITOR Shea Carver
ASSISTANT EDITOR Bethany Turner
ART DIRECTOR Sue Cothran
he first edition of Devour was well-received by our Wilmington audience! We could not be more thrilled and thank our readers for the boost of support! Within the first few weeks of being on Facebook, we culled over 400 likes. Within the first month of publishing our inaugural edition, we were refilling distribution points like mad. While this is officially edition numero dos, it is only an online version. Why? Well, it’s quite costly printing 30,000 copies of a glossy first-year mag. However, in 2014, we hope to change our print schedule to a quarterly. Right now, you can expect to see the next physical copy on stands in January (and if you have suggestions, then go ahead and send ‘em in to email@example.com). Also, be on the lookout through our Facebook and website (devourilm.com) for the launch of an upcoming Kickstarter campaign, which we hope to get going within the next month. This will help us fulfill the quarterly print of Devour in 2014, along with the help of our wonderful, trusty advertisers. Lots of fun prizes and gifts are in the works for those who wish to help us out (mmm, maybe even a dinner for six cooked at your home by a local chef). As we launch edition two, you’ll be able to read all the content you wrote to us about loving. We have our chef and restaurateur profiles, featuring downtown, Wrightsville Beach and midtown businesses and people (pages 6-12). We have a profile of Down East Connect, which works with local farmers to bring a more comprehensive local shopping experience to the masses (p. 14-16). In our “Eat” section, prepare to salivate. Rosa Bianca (restaurant reviewer from our parent magazine, encore), is on the hunt for some of the best seafood in town; find out where she indulges (pages 18-19). We received so many emails from people who loved our “food porn” section of the mag, “What We Love to Eat!” Why wouldn’t you? It’s chock full of ideas to answer that ever-bothersome questions: “What do you want to for breakfast/lunch/dinner?” (pages 21-23). And don’t forget to check out Judy Royal’s interview with Carolina Beach entrepreneurs, the Sussmans, who run The Veggie Wagon and are expanding their brand into Whole Foods (p. 25-26). Per the folks who look forward to our “Imbibe” features, you won’t be disappointed. Joel Finsel returns with more nonfiction in “Cocktails and Conversations” (pages 28-29). Bethany Turner dishes on some of fall’s most delicious brews (pages 32-33) and festivals (30-31), while John Burke gets uncorked with vino rambles (34-35). Features abound, too, this quarter. Evan Folds discusses the importance of food in our diets to keep us healthy (pages 40-41), while Fiona O’Sullivan takes a look at the numerous foodie celebrations taking place through November (pages 36-38). Of course, what would Devour be without a few foodie reads; let Gwenyfar Rohler seduce you with her page-turner suggestions (pages 42-43), all of which are part of Devour’s klin n Fran e B — Foodie Book Club, which takes place the last Tuesday of the month at Old Books on Front Street. It’s all to be divulged. It’s all to be devoured. Feel free to come back for seconds ... and thirds ...
e Bewar by b the ho ats. that e
ADVERTISING John Hitt, Shea Carver, Bethany Turner, Kris Beasley CONTRIBUTORS Rosa Bianca, Evan Folds, Judy Royal, Amanda Greene, Joel Finsel, John Wolfe, Brian Victor, Gwenyfar Rohler, PHOTOGRAPHY Trent Williams, Charles Cothran, Shea Carver, Bethany Turner DEVOUR is published by HP Media every six months and covers the greater southeastern NC region. To subscribe to the print publication, the cost is $15 a year. Folks can sign up to subscribe in print or monthly via e-mail updates at www.devourILM.com. The website is updated each month for new, local culinary news, reviews, events and happenings. ADVERTISING To find out how your restaurant or business can be included in Devour, go online to www.devourILM.com to download a media kit. Feel free to call HP Media at 910-791-0688 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. HP Media also offers advertising packages for Devour and its other publications, encore, Southport Magazine and AdPak. JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 3
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INDUSTRY 10-12 |Meet ILM restaurateurs from Blue Surf Cafe, as well as Jessica and Lin Zhao (above) of Blue Asia.
INDUSTRY 6-8 Inside the Kitchen Get a close-up look at two chefs and their mission to keep Wilmington tasty.
Joel Finsel writes another nonfiction piece, observing customers from behind the bar, and offers a few delicious recipes, too.
30-31 Fall Tastedown
14-16 Till the Land
Beer lovers delight in festivals for brew!
Learn more about Down East Connect and what they’re doing to connect consumers to farmers.
32-33 Tap the Keg!
18-19 Seafood Satisfaction
Exploring the pumpkin-y, nutty and smoky flavors of beer this fall. A few sips to consider for the cool season.
ON THE COVER
Rosa dishes on some of Wilmington’s most delicious meals from the sea.
21-23 What we love to eat!
21-23 What We Love to Eat
36-38 Food Coma 2013
Who doesn’t love to be titillated by the thrill of a sweet and savory bite? Or the pop of something special, which oozes umami? Allow us to share with you some of our favorite eats across Wilmington, including fare from a classic Wilmington staple, Jerry’s Fine Dining and Spirits. On the cover is their succulent grilled grouper with honey-lemon aioli. Above is their appetizer specialty: beef carpaccio, thinly sliced and served with a sweet and spicy slaw. Jerry’s is located at 7220 Wrightsville Avenue.
Check out the cover story on tasty delights across southeastern NC.
A look at some tasty events happening for fall!
25-26 Taste Buds
40-41 Food as Medicine
Cover/contents photos: Bethany Turner
Find out what local market The Veggie Wagon is producing in their kitchen and for their latest partnership with Whole Foods. Then check out a few recipes from The Veggie Wagon.
Evan Folds dishes about eating wholesome and reaping its benefits.
44-47 Select Indulgences
28-29 Cocktails and
42-43 To Read Gwenyfar Rohler reviews a few books we just can’t stop reading A calendar of events to help you mark off some of the most delicious days these fall! JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 5
Inside the Kitchen A look at a chef’s inspiration, business sense and background BY Shannon Gentry ● Devour contributor and freelance writer
s I clumsily navigate my way around the tight, tiny maze of the kitchen at South Beach Grill, executive chef James Rivenbark Jr.— much quicker and more agile than I—easily glides through the hustle of the evening’s dinner prep. Rounding out another summer at the Wrightsville Beach establishment, Rivenbark’s mark in the kitchen has been left all over Wilmington, from downtown’s Ruth Chris Steak House to YoSake. However, before finding his home at South Beach, he spent six months as an armed security guard at a military base. Still, cooking never remained far from his mind. “If I wasn’t doing 18-wheeler searches, I’d be reading Anthony Bourdain books and coming up with recipes, just waiting to get back to a kitchen,” he tells. Rivenbark stepped back into the throes six years ago at South Beach. He keeps the restaurant a hotspot by maintaining open and honest communication between staff and owners. “When it comes to financial stuff about the restaurant, a lot of places I’ve worked in kept that a secret and made it really hard to do my job, because a lot of my job is food cost and understanding the numbers,” Rivenbark explains. It also keeps the chef on his toes about finding the best prices. For South Beach, that especially means seafood purveyors, as all oceanside staples can be found on tables here: flounder, mahi mahi and salmon among them. Rivebark uses Greenville Loop Seafood and Mott’s Channel, and usually after ordering, the fish is gone with-
● Mary Long, owner of The Basics, downtown Wilmington, in The Cotton Exchange. Photos by Shannon Gentry 6 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
INDUSTRY different with a home-cooked in the day. Based on what Rivenclassic: meatloaf. He stuffed it bark can get, he has to develop with cheddar and bacon, popular South Beach’s menu that not South Beach items. Yet, his first only fits the tastes of customers time out didn’t go over so well. but doesn’t empty their wallets. “The cheese was too greasy, It all adds up to return visits. and it just kind of made it ex“A lot of the financial stuff, plode,” he explains with a chuckwhen it comes to labor and food le. “But I figured out how to do costs, helps keep the lights on it; now, our meatloaf has that and the doors open,” he states. cheddar and bacon swirl in the Unforeseen or even unimagimiddle of it.” nable circumstances can affect Topped with A1 BBQ sauce, what he serves for dinner. “TalkRivenbark says it’s his own way of ing to my food purveyor is like making “mom’s meatloaf” into a talking about end-of-times, RevSouth Beach signature. In fact, a elations stuff,” he laughs off, lot of South Beach’s items come referring to how a tsunami on with familiar and comforting flathe other side of the world can vor, all of which remain just difimpact gas prices of delivery ferent enough to intrigue: crab trucks, in turn raising the prices nachos, Creole mussels and of of the products going to restaucourse a Southern staple, shrimp rants. Such was the case for the and grits. once popular filet mignon. “Everywhere I go out to eat I “We had filet on the menu gain a little inspiration,” Rivenfor a very long time,” Rivenbark “Any time I think I’ve invented bark divulges. “Anything you see notes, “and just over the past can turn into an idea. Taking one two years, we’ve had to take something new with food, I will person’s idea is copying; taking it off because it got extremely three or four ideas and making it expensive. When I would bring Google-search it and find it’s been into your own is genius.” one in, it would just be a solo While seafood has been a filet, and people weren’t undermade for years.” part of Rivenbark’s growth since standing the $35 price tag for —James Rivenbark, South Beach Grill childhood, the sweet potatoeight ounces. It cost us just over encrusted flounder remains his $18 to get only the meat in the favorite addition to the South Beach menu. He says it is too early building … If it goes bad, I’m eating that cost.” Usually, in the busy summer months, it’s hard to talk to Riven- in his career to settle into one style or theme of cooking. “I’m too young to stick to one type of cuisine,” he explains. bark, unless it’s a rainy beach day. South Beach, located on the heartbeat of the island at 100 S. Lumina Avenue, packs in crowds, “I have to be able to adapt to a job, so if I go to restaurant with whether for lunch off the beach or an early dinner on their breezy a more Asian theme, I have to be able to work with that; it’s all outdoor patio. Even friends don’t get to see the chef often unless about the experience, and I’m too young to label myself.” it’s the off-season. “A day off in the summer time is not necessarily a day off,” Rivenbark explains. “I have 80-something hours in a week, so-and- * * * * so calls out and it’s my day off tomorrow—and it’s gone,” he says. Mary Long started working in the restaurant business at Spring “Or it’s an anniversary, which happens to be the same week as Garden Bar and Grill near Chapel Hill, as a 17-year-old earning her Encore Restaurant Week.” degree in English. “Most people in the food service industry have Rivenbark met his fiancée at Johnson and Wales University, the an English degree,” Long quips. culinary school in Charlotte. Their varying backgrounds and tastes Long opened The Basics in 2007 in downtown Wilmington dursometimes led to new adventures in the kitchen, with her talents ing what she admits was probably the worst time in a high traffic in Italian cuisine and his French influence. However, Rivenbark tourist area: winter. Though its location in The Cotton Exchange is admits it’s not all culinary magic at home—something outsiders not necessarily off the beaten path, it is at the end of Front Street, might presume. “Unfortunately, it’s the exact opposite,” he says. where a string of businesses end and open into Cape Fear Com“Any chef will tell you that he is more likely to eat Ramen noodles munity College (CFCC). or pizza when he goes home.” “The first year I was really nervous about [the location],” Long Even on a day off, dining out can be a challenge. Making com- admits. “But the thing that swayed me was that all of the developparisons to food and service that he knows so well, and keeping ment in downtown Wilmington was going to have to happen at an eye out for new ideas, simply keeps him “working.” this end of town.” “But any time I think I’ve invented something knew with food, I And her logic proved to be spot-on. will Google-search it and find it’s been made for years,” he jokes. Soon to open will be a new hotel off Grace Street, located one After catching a glimpse of a recipe from an old family book block over from The Basics, and the massive expansion of CFCC’s of his fiancée’s, Rivenbark expressed interest in doing something grounds, bringing more administrative and student population for JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 7
INDUSTRY lunch. Plus, the Wilmington Convention Center erected in 2011, only a stone’s throw away. “It was very nerve-racking to see if it was really going to happen,” Long notes, “and getting people down to this part of town was complicated. I think, finally, people realized there’s more parking here, and you don’t have to make your way through crowds of drunk people throwing up on your shoes [laughs].” The Basics, where biscuits come as garnish at brunch and threecourse dinners for two come with a bottle of wine, is well-known for high quality at very competitive prices. Diners have asked Long why she doesn’t charge more. “I price it where I’m comfortable,” she says. “And part of the strategy, too, is that I don’t want people to feel intimidated. I don’t want anybody to feel like they can’t eat dinner here because it’ll break their wallet.” Long has combined cloth dinner napkins and shiny wooden tables with old concert posters lining the walls from various shows she’s attended—also serving as a nod to her time in Athens, Georgia, the music capital of the state. Long honed her business sense from owning a couple of restaurants during her 16-year residency in Athens. The Basics is an amalgamation of influences from her other eateries, as well as her time at The Last Resort Grill. “It was very Southern in its menu and presentation, but they mixed it up, and that was one of my major influences when I was coming up in the restaurant industry,” she says. There’s certainly no pressure for customers to come to The Basics dressed up or down but just as they are. Long, one of the few female chefs in town, wants her eatery to have appeal across all demographics and ages.
“I want families to be able to come and get their mac ‘n’ cheese with their meatloaf, and I want people who are on a fancy date to come get their wine and three-course dinner,” she says. “We’re just going to do the basics, and we’re going to keep it at a price that makes sense and that will taste good.” Long spent her formative years in Pilot Mountain, N.C., where two grandmothers passed on different tastes of Southern cooking. She says regardless of which grandmother she visited, love always came from the kitchen. “I had one grandmother who had the matching deviled-egg tray, and she had a formal table, with silverware and linen, and just really immaculate taste,” Long describes. “Every time we ate at her house, it was like a Southern Living spread. “ Her other grandmother kept it simple: fried chicken, rice and gravy, green beans cooked in bacon fat, and a bottle of Coke. “And that’s how you ate at her house,” she says. “Both of those things were really delicious to me and are part of The Basics’ influences.” While fulfilling expectations in taste and quality, Long has tried to keep up with and honor the idea of using fresh, local ingredients on her menu. But she doesn’t sacrifice these items if they aren’t picked in season on the dot. “Collard greens aren’t in season all year,” Long says, noting one of The Basics’ staples. “There’s no reason to take it off the menu just because it’s not coming out of the ground locally. We have hothouse farmers who are working in this region and yearround. They’re small farmers, too; it’s not coming naturally in season, but as long as they’re not producing it with biochemicals or any kind of weird genetics, and it grows it naturally and honestly, we still use it.”
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Into the minds behind ILM’s eateries BY Maddie Deming ● Devour contributor
Blue Surf Café off Racine Drive may sound vaguely familiar to locals. What once was “Surfhouse”—a second location from its Carolina Beach upstart—the restaurant opened for only a year-and-a-half before its partners bought out a majority shareholder. During the transition, customers seemed confused only because the menu stayed the same. ● Above: Jessica and Lee Zaho, owners of Blue Asia. Photo by Trent Williams 10 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
INDUSTRY “We’re always conscious to keep our customer’s favorites, but we’re always looking for new ideas to add in. Every time we do a menu change, I look at it seasonally.” —Jon Webb, chef, Blue Surf Café
“The reason for the name change came from the majority shareholder,” Jeremy Lozito, general manager of Blue Surf Café, says. “Surhouse was his concept; everything was all his, so he kept the name. We do share menu items in common, which is a little unusual for two separate restaurants, but we ended the partnership on great terms. Now, we’re Blue Surf Café.” Originally owned by Brad Jones and Craig Love, Jones sold his share of the Racine location to Colleen Kochanek (a lawyer from Raleigh), Stephanie Norris (a civil engineer) and Kelly Burton (a culinary educator). Love took over the Carolina Beach location, a surf shop and restaurant all in one. Raleigh natives Kochanek and Norris commute to Wilmington on weekends to step in and be active with Blue Surf. Otherwise, they depend on Lozito and their chef, Jon Webb, to keep it operating. “I really love the restaurant,” Kochanek says. “It has healthy and great food, with a great atmosphere; it would break my heart to see it close. Most of my motivation was to keep it open.” Because she had never been in the restaurant business before, Kochanek and company rely on their team for success. Kochanek envisions a full-time move to the Wrightsville or Carolina beach eventually, as to take care of the restaurant long-term and in a closer location. Her general manager, Lozito, entered the restaurant business at age 16, and worked his way through practically every position in the industry. Chef Webb, a Wilmingtonian, began working at 15. Because of their love for surfing, they took to the original Surfhouse’s laid-back, easy-going vibe and the “surfer” schedule, which includes opening up early in the mornings to provide breakfast before catching some waves. Friends with its original owners, Lovitz and Webb adored the quality of food, too. They wanted to keep the same flavor in a more casual and less-serious atmosphere than that of the previous fine-dining establishments in which they worked. “I like food that is creative, interesting and different,” Webb says, “and Blue Surf has it all. I worked at many local restaurants, from mom-and-pops, to corporate, and now this concept. The surf theme is a very big part of my life . . . I just wanted to be a part of the family. I love it.” Today, the Blue Surf staff works hard but knows how to have a good time and personalize their service. Oftentimes, they joke with customers in hopes of making them regulars. In fact, Webb and Loritz focus a lot on their regulars; they consider them in every decision made for the café. And a lot of changes have been made from its Surfhouse days. They took out the clothing brands as seen
in the Carolina Beach shop, with the exception of their own private label for T-shirts and hats. They added table space, and continued maximizing their strong breakfast and lunch customer base. They also brought in a formal wait service and added dinner with more entrées. However, they did not do away with popular items such as the braised beef brisket with chimichurri, roasted potatoes, and asparagus, or the mahi with grit cake, bacon, tomato marmalade, and sautéed spinach. Webb says, “We’re always conscious to keep our customer’s favorites, but we’re always looking for new ideas to add in. Every time we do a menu change, I look at it seasonally.” Spring and summer dictates lighter foods, with a lot more citrus, acids, fresh vegetables and greens, such as the “Summer Noodle,” served with hot black-bean succotash, smoky roasted potatoes and avocado aioli. Fall will focus on soups and comfort foods. “The fall menu, which I’m writing right now, will probably be a lot more local, southern comfort food compared to our spring menu, which is more California cuisine driven,” Webb says. The partners learned that trying to run Surfhouse away from its original location in Carolina Beach meant subjecting a one-time popular formula on a different demographic—which doesn’t always work. Adapting the concept to thrive has been of utmost importance to the team. “I think most restaurants are in constant evolution to some extent,” Webb says. “Any good restaurant is changing because everything around them is changing, and it kind of has to be that way because if you do the same thing for too long, it gets stale. Even your regulars eventually want something new and different, so you kind of have to change and continue to push forward. That’s the fun part and the most challenging part of it. Every couple months, we will just sit down and say, ‘Where are we now? Where do we need to be, say, three or six months down the road?’” The restaurant reaches out into the public, too, featuring monthly art shows. Artists can drop in to inquire on how to have their work considered.
Jessica and Lin Zhao Blue Asia
Jessica Zhao, owner and operator of the newest Asian-fusion eatery, Blue Asia, has been in the restaurant business with her husband, Lin, the head chef, for about 13 years. The Zhaos began their love affair with the restaurant industry back in New York City, New York. They met through their families who immigrated from Fuzhou, China, in the late ‘80s and had been in the restaurant business for 20 years. Together Lin and Jessica have run 10 different eateries in various locations. Jessica is a businesswoman at heart, with a love of interacting with people, while her husband’s passion is focused on creating great food. From Fairview, NC, to locations in South Carolina and Mississippi, the Zhaos mostly have concentrated on Chinese and Hibachi-style cuisines. After doing a brief travel search for restaurant locations across North Carolina, Jessica fell in love with Wilmington’s close proximity to the beach. She decided to move from Rock Hill, S.C., JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 11
INDUSTRY and close her Hibachi restaurant, and in March of 2012 she and her husband opened Blue Asia. This go round, she wanted to do things differently. Quality food and service, along with hard work and dedication, still remained important, but she wanted to run an upscale dine-in eatery. Before her career focused on Hibachi carryout, and she had never approached her the concept of Asian fusion. With a vast culinary experience under their wings, Jessica and Lin wanted to offer flavors from various regions in Asia in one setting. “Nowadays there’s so many different restaurants and so [many different foods] to choose from,” she says. “You don’t have to go to different restaurants for Chinese, Hibachi, high-quality sushi, Vietnamese, and a little bit of Thai. I wanted that to be Blue Asia. So when you’re going out with friends there’s [plenty] to enjoy.” Jessica focused on adding a full bar, so social hour could be enjoyed with wine and sake, and specialty cocktails, like Blue Asia’s signature “After Dark.” Grand marnier, cream de cacao, midori, pineapple and cranberry juices, with a splash of grenadine, will sate adventurous palates. Transforming the space off College Road from its olden days of Chinese buffets and take-out establishments, Blue Asia offers a contemporary and upscale experience, with low lighting, bamboo and a lot of worn-in textures, including a rugged fabric wall with Chinese scribed across, and leather tiles in the bathrooms. Booths align the walls and are partitioned for extra privacy. The seating in the middle of the restaurant opens up for customers to watch the sushi chefs roll meticulous items, like the Infinity Roll (shrimp tempura, avocado, cream cheese and spicy crab). Sushi has been the top talk of Blue Asia since its opening, mainly because Jessica and Lin have updated the all-you-can-eat affair. “It is made-to-order,” Jessica iterates, “not premade or served on a buffet. As soon as you place the order, it’s rolled by hand. And you can keep ordering.” Sushi items run the gamut, from simple tuna rolls to cream cheese-and-salmon rolls. The all-you-can-eat sushi price at lunch remains reasonable, too, at $11.95, and includes a variety of appetizers, soups, salads, tempuras and over 35 rolls. Dinner checks in at $20.95 and includes everything at lunch, in addition to 15 nigiris and 14 specialty rolls. Yet, the restaurant boasts a full Chinese menu, including Chen du Duck, which is Wok-seared with mixed vegetables and garlic-soy sauce. They serve noodles, such as Pad Thai and mein fun, as well as offer vegetarian courses and bento boxes. Along with variety, Jessica holds high regard to customer service. It’s all about quality and consistency: Providing the same on all fronts over again is what she strives to do.
for a really low price. That’s what the customers come back for.” In the beginning, Blue Asia’s business didn’t suddenly boom. “It was very slow,” Jessica admits. Though she did some minor advertising, her main focus was on aligning the proper elements to build and sustain success: management, food and service. She and Lin took time with their business model, working seven days a week and overseeing its day-to-day activities. Getting to know the customers and properly training staff ensured Blue Asia remains a strong contender as one of midtown’s best restaurants. “As restaurateurs, we don’t want to just focus on profit,” Jessica says. “We want to focus on bringing customers back. So it’s a time commitment. When we first opened, we were here everyday for almost eight months.” Because of their dedication, the Zhaos report their business has tripled in size. Though they see no further changes in the near future, they will stay abreast as far as competitors go. Jessica doesn’t view other eateries of her ilk as a threat; rather, she tries to focus on what her own customers like. “When it comes to competition, you just have to be consistent with your own food, service and décor,” she notes. “You will have your own clientele, and [other restaurants] will have their own as well. Not 100 percent of people in the area will necessarily like you, but that’s OK. As long as you find that 80-90 percent, you’re good to go. Word of mouth is the best advertisement.”
“When it comes to competition, you just have to be consistent, with your own food, service and décor. . . . Word of mouth is the best advertisement.” —Jessica Zaho, Blue Asia
“Customers love the all-you-can-eat items,” Jessica says. “They get high-quality, made-to-order sushi, as well as other selections
● Above: Customers Friday Art Nights at Blue Surf Café, featuring new artwork and artists. Courtesy photo. 12 12DEVOUR DEVOUR||JUNE JUNE--DECEMBER, DECEMBER,2013 2013
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THE LAND! Farms, farmers and advocates for a sustainable future!
Connecting with farmers: Local CSA reaches $100,000 in sales, gives $80,000 to farmers BY Chelsea Blahut ● Devour contributor The project started two-and-a-half years ago, when Joshua Heinberg, founder of Down East Connect (DEC), met Timothy Will of Farmer’s Fresh Market in Rutherfordton, NC, and Jock Brandis of The Full Belly Project. Inspired by agriculture that makes farming an economically viable career path for future generations, Heinberg created a not-for-profit online farmers’ market to help people access locally grown goods year-round, without having to wait for the once-a-week local markets. From there, Heinberg found solace in the Colmbus County Cooperative Extension, specifically one of its agents, Howard Wallace. He partnered with Down East Connect and graciously donated space in the extension offices to serve as a distribution center in Whiteville. With an established partnership, Heinberg and Wallace fulfilled the mission of providing an online marke place for small-scale farmers in economically distressed counties, by working with the Economic Development Commission of Columbus County and seeking funding from the Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation, Golden L.E.A.F. Foundation and RAFI-USA (Rural Advancement Foundation International). Down East Connect now aims to reboost local agriculture and make farming an economically viable career path for future generations.
According to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the average age of a farmer in this area ranges from 55 to 60 years, usually falling on the older side of the spectrum. Additionally, their children increasingly stray from continuing the family’s farm to pursue other careers. In effect, “DEC
is more than just an online market,” Martha Campagna, project manager of Down East Connect, says. “It’s an investment in our community.” Campagna, an infectious force of motivation for DEC, is an Antioch University New England alum with an M.S. in environmental education. Joining Down East Connect in March 2011, her job description ranges from “organizing and executing deliveries, to dealing with website maintenance and customer service, to community-event planning and coordinating, to facilitating for farmer meetings, support, recruitment, [and] doing grant research and writing.” Every Tuesday and Thursday, on delivery day, Campagna drives in a van—purchased two years ago with funding awarded by the Town of Tabor City—from Wilmington to the Cooperative Extension in Whiteville. There, she collects the farmers’ online orders, as they check in, then sorts and packs up each individual order for delivery. Then, she drives back to Wilmington and delivers to several different locations around town. On Tuesday, stops get made at Porter’s Neck Yoga and Spa, Cameron Art Museum, and Wilmington Family YMCA. On Thursday, she delivers to Bill Heinsburg Insurance, Progressive Gardens, YWCA Lower Cape Fear, and Carolina Place at Uprising. It works like this: Orders get placed online by 12 p.m. on either Monday or Wednesday nights, depending on the buying-club’s
● Photos: (above) Folks learn about Down East Connect at an outdoor market; (right) radishes picked fresh from the earth and delivered in a CSA. Courtesy photos, Down East Connect. 14 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
INDUSTRY delivery days. The farmers imme“If you’re really intent on order“When you get your order on Tuesday diately get notified of every order ing from these farmers throughout via e-mail and usually wait until the year, you’ll have to get used to afternoon, those vegetables have only the morning of delivery to harvest eating kale, collards and turnips all been out of the ground a few hours. and package the food. Essentialwinter long,” she says, “It’s about ly, consumers receive the freshest learning to eat seasonally by what Compare that to a grocery story!” product. grows here, and rolling with the —Martha Campagna, project manager, DEC “This means, when you get your punches. Our farmers are trying order on a Tuesday afternoon, hard to experiment with seasonal those vegetables have been out extension techniques so they can of the ground only a few hours.,” grow more of a variety annually.” Campagna explains. “Compare that to a grocery store!” By honing the art of seasonal extension, and growing a crop By buying local, Down East Connect reaffirms that a purchase beyond its normal growing period, farmers and DEC keep highhelps farmers continue to do what they love. It also ensures a yielding crops consistent through the harsh conditions during the more healthful community, as consumers are saying “no” to rip- summer and winter months. Because we live in a milder, coastal ened food, which often travels by way of California in trucks, cov- climate, we also have the advantage of carrying crops over into ered in wax to feign freshness. All of this cycles back into DEC’s other seasons not normally available in say the western part of axioms, which breathes sustainable life into a local economy and the state. its people. They believe every order bought is a direct investment Still, in comparison to areas like Asheville or the Triangle, Wilminto Wilmington and its surrounding areas. ington is behind in terms of supporting the local food economy. According to Campagna, DEC remains most proud of its 80/20 The piedmont and western regions’ restaurants showcase local split between farmer and organization—meaning for every dol- farms throughout their menu items freqeuntly and have been dolar sold, farmers get 80 cents back. While this split covers only ing so for years now. “Farmers are like celebrities [in those rethe bare minimum of operational costs, it also allows the farmers gions],” Campagna says. “The farmers’ markets are huge and vito make the greatest amount of profit from their sales. Typically, brant and celebrated.” money usually goes out of economically distressed agricultural arDown East Connect works toward reaching that level of supeas into more metropolitan areas. This system is switching those port and popularity for our coastal region’s farmers. DEC supports roles, in that the same money comes from more comfortable, met- almost 100 farmers, but on average 15 to 20 sell at a time. For ropolitan areas and back into the counties that need it. It’s been Campagna, having previously lived in Asheville, she took the posia learning experience for all parties involved—farmers, customers tion with DEC because the opportunity as project manager means and Down East Connect personnel alike. cultivating the same type of agricultural sensation in Wilmington. Green to the nonprofit world in providing such a specific kind Although she admits it’s peppered with highs and lows, the reof service, DEC’s biggest obstacle has been adapting to the sea- wards and experience far outweigh it—from customers eagerly sonal growing patterns in the area and learning how it affects expressing how much they appreciate having a connection to losales. For example, when the late summer heat gets to farmers cal food, to supporting the locavore movement. and crops, there is usually a drop in the variety and quantity of items available. When variety on the website drops, orders follow suit, creating a struggle to reel in customers. As a remedy Campagna utilizes this downtime to plan events, find funding and work with farmers. For the customer, instinctively going to the grocery store when he or she needs something presents a difficult habit to break—especially in contrast to ordering food online and picking it up around town. Consequently, this alternative requires flexibility. “Sometimes you’ll order a pound of tomatoes, but because it rained too much that week, you’ll get a refund instead,” Campagna says. While the most popular product among customers are eggs, local farmers offer kale, greens, spinach, peppers, lettuce mixes, tomatoes, squash, fruits and cucumbers. Some of the most beloved are the specialty items, like a rare variety of eggplant or Asian greens. JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 15
Open to public We BUY and SELL
NEW & USED
INDUSTRY For farmers who are sometimes so far out of Wilmington that the travel expenses would negate any kind of profit, DEC offers a way to circumvent it. “We just reached $100,000 in sales,” Campagna notes. “That means $80,000 has gone back into the hands of the farmers growing this food. Isn’t that amazing?” This fall residents can expect some exciting happenings in October and November, such as a partnered recipe contest with Tidal Creek Co-Op. Folks can find out more information on Facebook; stay tuned for updates. To support Down East Connect and the local food economy, go to www.farmersfreshmarket.org/downeast to register. It’s free, and there are no commitments, but every order counts.
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16 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
$80,000 has been generated back into the southeastern NC farming community thanks to the community supported agriculture program, Down East Connect.
Oysters, Shrimp, Clams, Mussels, Crab Legs, Wings, Fish ‘n’ Chips Named one of the Best Seafood Dives in America by Coastal Living Magazine
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OPEN DAILY DO W NTO W N W ILMINGTO N 109 Market St. • 910-833-8622 CARO LINA BE ACH 6 N. Lake Park Blvd. • 910-458-7380
Cafe • Catering • Prepared Foods Meats • Wine • Gourmet Store 3520 S. College Road Phone: (910) 350-3663 • Fax: (910) 350-3691
www.pinevalleymarket.com JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 17
Finding the best crab and shrimp dishes in ILM
BY Rosa Bianca ● Devour contributor and encore magazine restaurant critic
hile there are a host of delicious options in the Cape Fear region’s dining scene, we all know the real shining ingredient comes from our seafood. Living this close to the ocean gives us a bounty from the sea, so we owe it to ourselves and the local dining scene to indulge in the best the ocean has to offer. Those who dedicate themselves to my restaurant reviews in Devour’s parent publication, encore, certainly know about my love for tuna and salmon. For now, though, I’m going to invest a little time into my true love of the seafood menu: shellfish. I don’t have enough column inches to do justice to such a broad topic, so I’ll be condensing a bit. I won’t be covering anything steamed or raw. Anyone can eat stuff as it comes; boiling water is only slightly more difficult. I didn’t have room for everything, so I had to limit myself: oysters, mussels, and scallops were the first to go. Lobster hung around for a while, but in the end the choices were clear. Crab and shrimp, the king and queen of shellfish menus everywhere, are too prevalent to ignore. When I took on the shellfish project, I agonized over what to write about. I settled on comparing a couple of my favorite dishes in direct competition and re-evaluated some beloved dishes. I picked two restaurants each for shrimp and crab entrées. In each case, I tried them both on the same day, within an hour of one another. The order of attendance came by a coin toss. I welcome readers to remind me of some of their favorites that may get the short shrift.
“Keep shrimp shells stored in a plastic bag in the freezer. When you have almost a gallon-bag full, you can make a stock in 30 minutes that you can use in soups and sauces. You can then freeze the stock in ice-cube trays.”—Emeril Lagasse
● Above: Crabcakes from Catch come overstuffed with lump crab meat. Photos by Trent Williams 18 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
EAT What’s the Internet for if not voicing your complaints about writers?
Aubriana’s hung around for a long time, and solely received elimination on the grounds that they serve a crab and lobster cake. I eventually conceded that Shrimp lobster was an unfair advantage While a host of fine restaurants in this competition. But I do offer a number of great shrimp dishlove Aubirana’s crab and lobster es, I eventually decided to compare cake... two favorites with a little something This one proved to be a lot of in common: I pitted YoSake’s “Firefun, as I pitted the old Wilmingcracker Shrimp” against Tamashii’s ton staple Hieronymous against “Volcano Shrimp.” Each consist of the modern upstart, Catch. The spicy fried shrimp dishes I adore; I juxtaposition isn’t a figment of tried them back to back with a critimy imagination. Just stepping cal eye to flavor profile. into each restaurant told a differTamashii, known for Chef Mark’s ent story. Hieronymous evoked ambitious use of spicy foods (includcharm, in that it looks like it hasn’t ing a wasabi maple ice cream on his changed since its inception in the dessert menu), seemed like a good ‘70s. Glass tabletops contain place to seek out spicy shrimp. And sand and shells, with dark wood it was. The basil chipolte sauce covered the mild tiger shrimp and gave and netting peppering the space. “In the end, the Firecracker Shrimp just a hint of bite not overpowering In contrast, Catch’s decors looked only balanced by sweetness. The spartan and modern, making use from YoSake had one significant sauce tended to moisten the fried of cool blues which inadvertently shrimp, mitigating its crunchiness, but say “beachy.” It’s a dining experidifference: There’s a much stronger the briny flavor of the shellfish mixed ence from two different worlds, taste of vinegar in the sauce, a with the chipolte peppers for a warm each satisfying in their own ways. and pleasant blend. Hieronymous started with a bit bitterness that counterbalances the I’ve long adored YoSake’s Firecrackof an advantage. They offer three er Shrimp, too, and, until I tried it in the sweetness of the shrimp.” types of crabcakes: grilled, fried same hour, I never realized how similar and blackened. I thought it only it was to the Volcano Shrimp. Each suffair to try each one of them. (I fered the same flaw: The sauce weakened the crunch of the bread- swear this is no way a reflection of my greed.) Each of the crabcakes ing on the fried shrimp. The frying oils, which infused additional fatty came in the traditional disc shape—a shape I find comforting and flavor into the much loved crustacean, also degraded the muscle, expected—and flattened on both sides. The grilled version tasted denying crunch yet again. a bit lackluster. The oily fried version proved more robust, with the Basically, I’m taking too long to say that both dishes were a little additional fat accenting the stringy crab nicely. But the best of them mushy. While texturally they had some issues, I still love them. by far came blackened, with a light Cajun seasoning bringing just a In the end, the Firecracker Shrimp, from the downtown staple Yobit of spice to the sweet meat, in a pleasant harmony of flavors. Sake, had one significant difference: a stronger taste of vinegar in Catch, on the other hand, was not traditional. The crabcake dethe sauce offered bitterness that counterbalanced the sweetness of livered was an imperfect shape because chunks of crab meat won’t the shrimp. By the slimmest of margins, I’m naming the Firecracker conform neat and nicely. I swear Chef Keith Rhodes held it together Shrimp the king of the Wilmington shrimp dishes. with magic, because his breading was scarce. The salty sweet crab (I apologize to those who don’t care for spicy foods. I’ll try to work meat shone at the center of the dish. in shrimp and grits next time.) That’s where Catch won me over. A few bready bites at Hieronymous dropped them below the Catch version. I’ll likely never know Rhodes’ secret, but whatever it is will keep Crab I love any number of crab entrées in town. When it came to evalu- him at the top of the heap for a long time to come. when it comes ating a couple side by side, one choice stood out: crab cakes. The to crabcakes. That said, don’t miss the blackened crabcake at Hieronymous. I classic take on crab meat is a telltale sign of a good restaurant. No quality eatery makes a lousy crab cake. OK, that’s an exaggeration, love modern takes on old favorites, but there’s room in the world for the classics, too. but you know what I mean. I had a little trouble whittling this one down to my two favorites.
JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 19
SAVE THE 3rd ANNUAL CARE PROJECT GALA, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2013 @ THE TERRACES ON SIR TYLER DATE:
The CARE Project gives thanks to the kindness and generosity from Wilmington restaurants and the surrounding communities in Southeastern North Carolina! Johnnie Sexton, Executive Director â€˘ Xris Kessler, Media Director 20 20DEVOUR DEVOUR || JUNE JUNE -- DECEMBER, DECEMBER, 2013 2013
CUPCAKES GALORE! SPAGHETTI AND RED CLAMS
Elizabeth’s Pizza 4304 Market Street • (910) 251-1005
One of Wilmington’s oldest restaurants, Elizabeth’s Pizza, is a staple when it comes to some of the best pizza and fulfilling, large entrées of pasta. Their spaghetti with red clam sauce isn’t only acidically succulent, but packed with garlic and deliciousness in every bite! Leftovers last at least three meals for only $9.95!
SOFT SHELL CRAB SALAD
YoSake 33 S Front Street • (910) 763-3172
Light yet also pungent with sweet, soft shell crab, YoSake takes salads to a whole new level. Don’t miss the the crab and cucumber, mango and spicy mayo concoction, topped with roe just for pop and more of a bite; $14.
Coastal Cupcakes 129 Pricess St. • (910) 251-8844 7210 Wrightsville Ave. • (910) 256-1122 Wilmington’s premier cupcakery will have all palates covered in traditional classics like chocolate-on-chocolate or red velvet, but where they soar is the specialty flavors, like ‘nana pudding and pistachio ... or Key lime ... or pina colada ... or orange creamsicle. Prices range from a few bucks for one or $14 for half a dozen.
BACON WAFFLES Blue Surf Café 250 Racine Drive • (910) 523-5362 This pile of goodness will make any morning or afternoon brunch a huge stomach-pleasing experience. Stacked Belgian waffles get topped with copious amounts of bacon and doused with a heaping of maple syrup. Try it for a mere $7. JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 21
Photos by Trent Williams
what we LOVE
Photos by Trent Williams
what we LOVE TO EAT
CHILE RELLENOS FLATBREAD
Paddy’s Hollow 10 Walnut Street • (910) 762-4354
Paddy’s Hollow, located in the Cotton Exchange, downtown, has been a Wilmington institution for over two decades. Known for satisfying pub grub, and a great turkey burger, we always reach for one of their tasty flatbreads for lunch or dinner. At around $8, dish on the grilled chicken, oven-roasted tomatoes and scallions, with mozzarella and pesto.
HOT TAMALE SANDWICH
Sweet and Savory 1611 Pavillion Pl. • (910) 256-0115
Putting a bite into our lunch is Sweet and Savory, located right before the bridge at Wrightsville Beach. The bright spot makes all breads homemade, as well as sweets, soups and potato chips. We go for their Hot Tamale, featuring turkey, pico de gallo, and jalapeñoson toasted multi-grain bread for only $7. 22 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
San Juan Cafe 3314 Wrightsville Ave. • (910) 790-8661 San Juan Cafe remains the only Puerto Rican restaurant in Wilmington, and while their mofongo, a traditional Puerto Rican dish, is divine, we can’t pass up their decadent chile rellenos ... ever. Fried to crisp perfection and stuffed with queso fresco, over rice and beans, with sour cream, pico and avocado, it satisfies every time.
FRESH BAKED SWEETS 9 Bakery and Lounge 9 S. Front Street • (910) 523-5913 One of downtown Wilmington’s newest spots, 9 Bakery and Lounge, does quite a lot well, including brunch, lunch and dinner. We can’t seem to get enough of their homemade sweets, including a bazilion delicious doughnuts, like maple and bacon-glazed or chocolate and nuts. Box of nine, $7; a dozen, $9.
HONEY CHICKEN Kyoto Asian Grille 4102 Market Street • (910) 332-3302 Kyoto Asian Grille on Market Street just opened a few short months ago, but they’re already making news with quality Asian fare at really inexpensive prices. While they offer Thai, Japanese, Chinese and hibachi, their honey chicken over white rice is crisp, and chicken, with peppers and onions, for only $7.95 at lunch.
CHICKEN VERDE ENCHILADAS La Guera 6620-F Gordon Rd. • (910) 392-6692 One of the most authentic Mexican eateries in town is tucked away in an unassuming shopping plaza off Gordon Road. Don’t blink or miss the chance to indulge on the best chicken verde enchiladas in town, homemade beans and rice, and Mexican bottled Coke, made with real cane sugar! Price won’t break the bank either, $9.
Deck House Casual Dining 205 Charlotte Ave, CB • (910) 458-1026
Jerry’s Fine Dining and Spirits 7220 Wrightsville Ave. • (910) 256-8847
We love seafood on our coast! We really love mussels, which come doused in Sherry wine and garlic, with lots of herbs and lemon. Add to it bread for sopping, and a foodie coma becomes us! The Deck House’s mussels in Carolina Beach run around $9 as an appetizer.
Jerry’s has been around Wilmington for years now, as one of the first spots for exquisite fine dining. Though they don’t reinvent the wheel, their classic preparation, i.e. bacon and scallops, wins every time. This particular item is on their specials board; market price. JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 23
Photos by Trent Williams
what we LOVE
24 24DEVOUR DEVOUR||JUNE JUNE--DECEMBER, DECEMBER,2013 2013
BUDS! Local eats to love
Pickling with flair! Carolina Beach specialty shop signs with Whole Foods, makes new flavor of pickles BY Judy Royal ● Devour freelance writer and Fire on the Dock social media manager It’s been a busy summer for Max and April Sussman, owners of The Veggie Wagon specialty market in Carolina Beach. Not only did they begin selling several of their products at Whole Foods Market, but they’ve been hard at work in their commercial kitchen. They’re perfecting the formula for something they think is pretty sweet: a new line of cucumber pickles to join their spicy Jamaican jerk variety, which they’ve been making since last fall. “We found that at a lot of farmers’ markets people were looking for sweet pickles,” Max says. “We started looking at it, and I was like, ‘Alright, I’ll make a sweet pickle.’ And that’s what he did. He added a cup of sugar per pint to balance the vinegar and provide that flavor so many Southerners like. “It takes an obscene amount of sugar,” he quips. Max and April began scouring the shelves, studying breadand-butter pickles from everywhere. They found most varieties, even some small-batches, rely on high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener. “We refuse to use it,” Max admits. “That’s not something that’s ever going to set foot in our store. We started with switching white refined sugar to sugar in the raw, but it’s still sugar.” Along the way, he also pondered his mother’s health. Though she struggled with diabetes, exercise and weight-loss cured her out of it. “She eats honey as her sweetener,” he explains. “And I was like, ‘Man, would that be a cool deal if we could use local honey instead of sugar.’ Bam, there came the idea! And we started playing with it.” The Veggie Wagon’s bread-and-butter pickles, like their Jamaican counterparts, come in regular and spicy flavors. Ringing up at $6.95 for a pint, they hit the shelves at the end of August after a couple months of testing and tweaking the recipe. The pickles sell at their 608 S. Lake Park Boulevard storefront. “It’s a unique taste,” Max informs. “You get the sweetness but they’re really high vinegar, so it’s a pretty cool combo—not overpoweringly sweet. That’s our big thing: Let’s taste the cucumber, taste the honey, taste the vinegar. I think these are very well layered. It’s kind of like a discovery, which is really cool.” The Veggie Wagon works all-local as much as possible. The honey, used in its raw state, comes from Silver Spoon Apiaries in Wilmington. The cucumbers are from Burgaw. Even the heat in the spicy variety comes from locally grown cayenne peppers. “Now that we’re using local sweeteners, it really takes every-
thing that we’ve done, and just brings another product that’s as local as you can get, except for the spices and the vinegar,” Max states. “It supports so many levels of farmers.” Even though the Sussmans don’t plan to sell the honey pickle products at Whole Foods, Max says the decision to stay away from high-fructose corn syrup is part of a philosophy solidified by working with the chain. “To be involved in production and work with them, we took their list of banned ingredients they don’t allow in their products and adapted,” he says. Since July, the Wilmington Whole Foods Market, located at 3804 Oleander Drive, has been selling The Veggie Wagon’s pickled okra and zucchini, in both regular and spicy varieties, as well as their Jamaican jerk pickles and honey-habanero hot sauce. While the Sussmans stock their products at various small shops and farmers’ markets—and have been for years—Whole Foods will give them added exposure of a nationally recognized name. “We’ve been looking to grow into a larger market so our products are more accessible,” April says. “We’ve been searching for a national partner that has a proven retail and distribution model, and Whole Foods really fits that bill,” Max adds. “It’s really cool to be working with such a large company that has a small-company mentality. Their policies and the way they run their store make it very easy for small producers to work with them.” Additional expansion in the near future is likely as Whole Foods has approved The Veggie Wagon’s products for sale in its southern region: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. “We have a strong commitment to partnering with local businesses since it helps our community stay connected to the seasons, regional varieties and the people who grow our food all while bolstering our local economy,” Sean Walsh, associate storeteam leader at the local Whole Foods, says. “We seek out smallbatch culinary treasures from small, dedicated food artisans and are excited to offer The Veggie Wagon’s pickled products and hot sauces to our customers.” JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 25
EAT Veggie Wagon Pickle Rolls Courtesy of Max and April Sussman, The Veggie Wagon
Rolls made with homemade honey bread ‘n’ butter pickles from The Veggie Wagon make for great hors d’ouevres, a snack or even lunch. Ingredients: 1 pack of flour tortillas 2-3 red bell peppers, roasted (can use 1 jar) 1 bunch scallions, with root ends trimmed off ½ lb of thinly sliced salami 1 bag of baby spinach 8oz plain cream cheese, softened to room temp 1 jar of Veggie Wagon Honey Bread & Butter Pickles, halved (spicy or regular) Directions: To make your cream cheese mixture, mix 1 tablespoon of pickle juice into the cream cheese, using a fork.
Sweet-n-Spicy Quick Relish Courtesy of Max and April Sussman, The Veggie Wagon
Homemade bread ‘n’ butter pickle relish, made from Carolina Beach’s The Veggie Wagon with their latest sweet pickles. Ingredients: 1 jar of Veggie Wagon Bread & Butter Pickles (spicy or regular) ¼ cup white onion ½ red bell pepper ½ jar of pickles, drained Directions: Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until chunky consistency. Make sure you do not puree them too much. This quick relish is a great addition to your egg salad, tuna salads, deviled eggs, hotdogs, hamburgers and lots more!
For each tortilla, smear cream cheese on the bottom corner. A silicon spatula works best for this. In the middle of each tortilla, place 1 long scallion, 1 thin strip of red bell pepper, a bit of baby spinach, 1-2 pieces of salami. Tightly roll the tortilla starting from the end without cream cheese to the end with cream cheese.
I like cheese and pickle. Nice cheese and pickle on a real oldfashioned bread. Ploughman’s lunch. —Gary Oldman
26 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
Fusion Sushi Comes Alive
Sunny Maki Combo Specials 3 Sushi Rolls for $10.95 before 7 p.m. every day
48 decadent options including Shrimp Tempura, California, Spicy Mango, Baked Blue Crab Roll
LUNCH: Mon-Fri: 11am to 2:30pm Sat-Sun: 11:30am to 2:30pm DINNER: Mon-Thurs: 5pm-10pm Fri-Sat: 5pm-11pm Sun: 5pm-9pm
141 N. Front St. • Downtown Wilmington • (910) 833-7272 SunnySushiAndLounge.com
DEVOUR Devour BOOK Book CLUB Club
Meets Meets the the last last Tuesday Tuesday of of the the month month at 6:30 PM at Old Books on at 6:30 PM at Old Books on Front Front St. St. 249 North Front Street 249 North Front Street Downtown Downtown Wilmington Wilmington
July - The Cassoulet Saved our Marriage - Caroline Grant & Lisa Harper - The Last Days of Haute Cuisine - Patric Kuh- Joel Finsel September -August Cocktails and Conversations form the Astral Plane SeptemberOctober - Cocktails and Conversations the Rome Astral -Plane - Joel Finsel -Cookery and Dining in form Imperial Apicius October -Cookery and Dining RomeFisher by Apicius November - How to CookinaImperial Wolf - M.F.K. November HowFavorite to CookChildren’s a Wolf M.F.K. December - Holiday Party -with FoodFisher Literature Passages December - Holiday Party- An withEverlasting Favorite Children’s FoodAdler Literature Passages January Meal - Tamar January Everlasting Meal- Tamar Adler February- An - My Life in France Julia Childs - MyBlue Life Eyed in France Julia Childs March -February Stalking the Scallop - Euell Gibbons March Stalking the Blue Eyed ScallopMott Eulell Gibbons April -- Catering to Nobody - Dianna Davidson April- The - Catering toCookie NobodyChronicles - Dianna Mott Davidson May Fortune - Jennifer 8 Lee May - The June Fortune Cookie- Chronicles Jennifer 8 Lee - Cooked Michael Pollan June - Cooked Michael Pollan 28 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 27
Binary stars BY Joel Finsel ● Devour contributor, mixologist and author of ‘Cocktails and Conversations from the Astral Plane’
enry and Roxanne fell in love the way galaxies form: Combine nitrogen, helium and a few dashes of lithium over ice ... and shake the hell out of it! Only when the mixing glass freezes to your hand, and the icy meteors have pulverized each other to slush, strain the contents into a martini glass, and watch as the icy shards form moons and planets around the rim. Then again, Roxanne preferred her most recent cocktail of the moment, Manhattans, stirred with a long slender spoon, the difference, she insisted, like sipping from a cool brook rather than a glacial torrent best left for tasteless ‘tinis, like vodka. Most times, too, she’d forego the cherry unless perched at a place like ours, where we took our garnishes seriously enough never to serve the red #5 formaldehyde Franken-kirsches that have come to dominate most mise-en-places. Our cherries, more of the preserves/brandy-soaked variety, she adored. It’s probably a reason why she kept coming back at first—that is before meeting Henry, of course. “Why doesn’t he...?” Roxanne asked, exasperated. “Why doesn’t he show anything?” I propped my foot on the beer-box and leaned back, creasing my eyes. “He’s had a rough time,” I said. “At one point he was living in his car, just so he could be near his son. Maybe he’s got a lot of scar tissue.”
“We were not a hugging people. In terms of emotional comfort, it was our belief that no amount of physical contact could match the healing powers of a wellmade cocktail.” —David Sedaris, “Naked”
● Mixologist and wordsmith Joel Finsel whips up a few cocktails for patrons at Manna, where he heads the bar; (right) a Manhattan. Photo by Trent Williams 28 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
IMBIBE “Scar tissue? Ha. I’ll show him scar tissue. We’ve all got scar tissue!” “I know, I know,” I said. “Ready for another?” “Plffff! Sure,” she said, palms turned upward as she let out a long exhale. Ready to pour the rye whiskey for her second Manhattan, I asked. “This one perfect, like the last? I know sometimes it goes dry with a twist...” “All I want is to know what he thinks about me,” she said. “Make this one a Rob Roy.” “I think you are about to get your chance.” I motioned with my head toward the window. Henry was chaining his bike to a metal rail. Her face beamed as he made his way in. “Nigel,” he said, his pet name for me. He gave a curt nod and exaggerated smile before sinking back into his usual granite visage. “A beer would be swell.” Turning to her, he nodded again: “Roxanne.” His face remained a marble pillar. Exchanging looks, Roxanne and I burst into laughter. Uncapping a pale ale, I slid the bottle a few feet toward him before disappearing into the back for more Scotch. Roxanne and Henry continued to collide over the next few months, each time shattering a bit more of the icy casements around their hearts, both middle-aged and alone, sharing laughs. I was lucky to watch the pieces shatter on the floor. Then, out of nowhere, they got married, and I was on the other side of the bar at their wedding while a three-piece ensemble played jazz in the corner of a grand old room. Henry and Roxanne were beautifully at ease. We ate raw oysters arranged on large blocks of ice, danced and drank champagne, smiled and laughed. We watched very proper folks shed pretenses, as they danced and smiled and rebooted friendships and forgave longstanding transgressions as they celebrated. Hours later, before getting back into the cab, I hugged them goodbye. For a moment I felt more than just their bartender. I wondered if, now that they had each other—planets cooling into a steady orbit—whether or not they would need me anymore. Sure there were always looming meteors, asteroids, and entropic black holes waiting to destroy or suck the life of whatever came their way. But they had each other now, dual suns, binary stars hovering fierce and close. I, their foil, was no longer needed. I hugged them both under the streetlights, knowing I’d probably never see them again.
Variations on the Manhattan
It’s difficult to talk about a Manhattan without a few words first about whiskey. Generally, one’s options range from bourbon, rye, sour mash, Tennessee, Irish, Scotch, Canadian, Japanese, single malts, blends and on and on. It allows for many possibilities within the Manhattan cocktail genre. In most cases, when someone orders one, they should expect either a blend, like Crown Royal, or a bourbon, like Knob Creek or Makers Mark, unless otherwise specified. If you want the original served in the old Manhattan Club in 1874, you’ll most likely need to say, “Make mine with rye.” There’s also a lot of variation among the second ingredient: Italian sweet vermouth. Carpano Antica may be the best, but I would take each variety as an excuse to experiment at home. Explore the many varieties of vermouth and whiskey until you find the best combination for you.
Keeping that in mind, to make a classic Manhattan, stir over ice for 30 seconds: 2 oz. rye whiskey 1 oz. sweet vermouth 2 dashes of Angostura bitters Strain into a pre-chilled glass and garnish with a cherry. I would suggest Luxardo brand. To make “perfect” use equal parts sweet and dry vermouth. In this case, most expect a lemon twist garnish, but I find it’s always best to ask. For a Rob Roy simply substitute Scotch whiskey for rye.
“It’s difficult to talk about a Manhattan without a few words first about whiksey. Generally, Manhattans can be made with bourbon, rye, sour mash, Tennessee, Irish, Scotch, Canadian, Japanese, single malts, blends and on and on. It allows for many possibilities within the Manhattan cocktail genre. In most cases, when someone orders one, they should expect either a blend, like Crown Royal, or a bourbon, like Knob Creek or Makers Mark, unless otherwise specified.” —Joel Finsel JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 29
Fall Tastedown: Oktoberfest and beer and wine festival approaches BY Bethany Turner ● Devour assistant editor The original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, treks on as the country’s central celebration of beer since the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810. For the past 63 years, the 16-day festival kicks off with a 12-gun salute and the tapping of the first keg by the mayor of Munich. This year’s festival will take place from September 21st through October 6th, and while many Wilmingtonians won’t be able to make the German affair, they can still celebrate from home at Front Street Brewery (FSB). FSB will have their fifth annual Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday, September 28th. Brewmaster Kevin Kozak will tap the keg of Oktoberfest lager at 11 a.m., drink from “Das Boot,” and declare the official start of the autumn party. ● (l. to r.) Dan Radley, Christopher McGarvey and Dan’s wife celebrate Oktoberfest at FSB. Courtesy photo 30 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
“For a quart of ale is a meal for a king.” —William Shakespeare Ellie Craig, marketing manager of the downtown brewpub, says Oktoberfest is the fastest-selling beer made at Front Street Brewery. It taps out at 5.4 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), and was created by Kozak about six years ago. “Our version of an Oktoberfest tends to stick to tradition,” she describes. “A good German Oktoberfest is delicious, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” According to Craig, the beer balances hops and malt, by using a German Pilsen and Munich malts. It illuminates in bright copper and amber. “The hops used are German hops of the Perle and Hallertau variety,” Craig informs. “We use just enough to help balance out the malt sweetness, but not enough to give this beer any prominent upfront bitterness. The German Lager yeast we employ comes from the Andechs region of Germany. Weeks of very cold conditioning help with the stunning smoothness of our Oktoberfest. Each batch of beer we make equals around 310 gallons of beer, and we will have absolutely no problem emptying the Oktoberfest tank in under 10 days!” Throughout the celebratory weekend, limited-edition half-liter mugs commemorating Front Street Brewery’s Oktoberfest will be available for sale. They will feature the official logo of the local event. “The .5L Isar Stein is the same dimpled-style stein found at Oktoberfest in Munich, just .5L instead of a full liter,” Craig explains. Authentic German cuisine, such as bratwurst and sauerkraut, will headline the menu. In fact, a “pretzel and pint” special will run for $5, offering a jumbo pretzel and any beer 7.2 percent ABV and below, excluding the Oak Aged Series. Polka music will fill the restaurant, too, and free brewery tours will be offered from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. all weekend long. To get the most from Front Street Brewery’s Oktoberfest party, folks should join the unofficial Chive meet-up at 7 p.m. in the Beam Room. A website (TheCHIVE.com) culling a slew of humorous photos and videos in one place, it’s an extension of Chive Charities, an organization which utilizes its huge online community to support various causes in need of awareness and funds. “We wanted to host a Chive meet-up because we agree with their mindset: Pay it forward, give back to the community, keep calm and Chive on,” Craig details. “Because we are affiliating ourselves with The Chive for this event, all net proceeds will go to Chive Charities, a small initiativs that produces big results for the people that they benefit. Chivers and Chivettes from the ILM area are welcome to attend
the event and are encouraged to wear their Chive gear and Oktoberfest costumes.” A costume contest will be held in both female and male divisions. All six winners will get a 64-ounce jug of Oktoberfest lager, while both first-place winners will receive $100 cash and swag from The Chive. Second-placers will get a $25 gift certificate to Front Street Brewery. Other Oktoberfest games include a big pretzel toss, a stein-hoisting competition, and a safe-slam drinking competition. “‘Safe Slam’ is a beer-drinking competition with a twist; the beer is non-alcoholic,” Craig assures. “Contestants must be 21 years old to participate, and the first person to finish one pitcher of beer wins a half-gallon, hand-crafted German Growler filled with Oktoberfest. Although we love to drink beer here at FSB, we promote the moderate and responsible consumption of alcohol for recreational purposes..” Each contest will have a $5 entry fee, with proceeds benefiting Chive Charities. “Here in the United States, I think Oktoberfest celebrations accomplish a few different things,” Craig ponders. “It is a celebration of all-things fall: harvest, abundance, and blessings, so it creates a positive social engagement. I also think it gets people excited about all the seasonal selections that craft breweries produce this time of year. Other craft breweries experiment with ingredients like allspice, coriander, and pumpkin in their fall selections. All in all, I think Oktoberfest has helped open the door for beer drinkers to try new things through this social celebration.” For more information on the September 28th event, visit www.frontstreetbrewery.com or call (910) 251-1935.
LIGHTHOUSE BEER AND WINE FESTIVAL Saturday, October 19th, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 3400 Randall Parkway
Voracious Craft Beer Tasting Friday, October 18th, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Shell Island Resort, 2700 N. Lumina Ave. The Lighthouse Beer and Wine Festival is going on year 12 in 2013 with 100 craft breweries and, new this year, wineries. Admission includes entrance to the festival grounds, and a glass to sample all beer or wine. A free shuttle service to the greater Wilmington area will be available after the festival, too. Food vendors will be on site to help soak up the world of hops, grape and grain sure to be ingested. A portion of the festival proceeds will benefit The Carousel Center, a non-profit organization committed to assisting victims of child abuse, providing critical care services to children from 15 counties throughout southeastern North Carolina. Tickets are $35, general admission, with a limited number of VIP tickets, which allows early entrance at 12 p.m. ($45). Designated driver tickets are only $13. All attendees must be 21 or older. As part of Wilmington Beer Week, sponsored by Lighthouse Beer and Wine—the details of which are still being finalized—foodies and beer snobs alike can gather for the Voracious Craft Beer Tasting the night before the annual beer and wine festival. Lighthouse invited 20 of its favorite breweries to pour their limited-release beers as guests dine on hors d’ouevres. In a more personal setting than the larger festival, the tasting will allow guests to discuss brews with the beer makers individually. Tickets are extremely limited; $75 includes beer, food and entertainment. All attendees must be 21 or older. JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 31
THE KEG! Reviews and rambles on brew
Fall flavors on the shelves! Exploring pumpkin-y, nutty and smoky tastes BY Bethany Turner ● Devour assistant editor Each August, the unveiling of many fall-flavored brews perennially surprises consumers—especially in our nook of America, where warm days often extend past the autumnal equinox. Once the shell-shock of allspice and cinnamon wears off, the excitement for soon-to-be pumpkin-everything rules. As September sweeps in, breweries unload even more seasonals. Annual traditions are already on grocery-store shelves, such as Samuel Adams’ Octoberfest and Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Pumking. By October folks can expect to encounter one-time-only releases, like last year’s Danktoberfest from SweetWater’s Dank Tank series. As the leaves start to fall, the forward-thinking beer industry implements nutty tones and warmer flavors. I’ve selected a few of the latest offerings, as well as some timeless crafts, which will work well with the oncoming cooler weather. PUMPKIN Pumpkinfest, Terrapin Beer Company Athens, Georgia ABV: 6.1% • IBU: 23 To me, Pumpkinfest is the “frat house” fall beer—the drinkability (or chug-ability, if you will) of this flavored brew is high. Thus, it’s a great introduction for Miller Lite drinkers looking to ease into seasonals or craft beer in general. Poured in a pint glass, the amber color is capped by a perfect, two-finger, beige head. The aroma yields slight pumpkin notes—but there’s barely any detectable flavor of the deep orange fruit while drinking, despite the fact that Terrapin uses real pumpkin in the brewing process. Instead, the beer tastes more spice-heavy—cinnamon, ginger, allspice and clove. It finishes with a definite malty aftertaste. Perhaps an unexpected peculiarity, including the thin mouthfeel, can be attributed to the unique brewing process. Pumpkinfest is not just a pumpkin seasonal, which are usually sweeter and heavier than this, but a hybrid between malty Oktoberfest beers. Utilizing five malts (Munich, Vienna, Munich II, Caramunich II, Melanoidin), Terrapin captures the essence of German Oktoberfests while amping up the rich flavor. Keeping the bitterness low, the Vanguard 32 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
and Hallertau Hersbrucker hops dish out a mild and pleasant aroma. Pumpkinfest will pair well with bold cheeses, such as aged cheddar, and hearty beef stews. For a twist on dessert, add a shot of vanilla vodka to the brew. It should blend nicely with the subdued flavors to create a pumpkin-pie appeal. Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Weyerbacher Brewing Company Easton, Pennsylvania ABV: 8% • IBU: 21 Keeping with the pumpkin trend, Weyerbacher’s offering is one of the best autumn beers available. Pouring a deep, hazy copper, the scent of pumpkin and cinnamon is immediately recognizable. The brew also features nutmeg, cardamom and cloves. A medium, velvety mouthfeel is perfect for chilly evenings, while the blend of spices remains top-notch. Not overpowering on the traditional gourd flavor, the brew delivers a rich, earthy taste profil. Those with a palate for craft beer, or even those who prefer hoppier styles, can relish in this seasonal. The superiority of the Imperial Pumpkin Ale makes sense. In the 1800s, imperial beers were brewed in England and shipped to the Imperial Russian Court; hence the name. Today, brewers use the term to signify their first-class luxury beers. Bonus: They often yield a higher ABV. This Weyerbacher brew is available through November and will go perfect with Thanksgiving pumpkin pies. Ace Pumpkin Cider, The California Cider Company Sebastopol, California ABV: 5% • IBU: unknown The California Cider Company has been crafting Ace Hard Ciders for 15 years, though the pumpkin variety was only birthed in 2010. According to the company, it’s the first pumpkin cider to be made in the West. The pumpkin-pie aroma punches from the start. Naturally—as it’s made with fermented apple juice—the cider appears a fair golden color. The carbonated drink pours as bubbly as champagne and gives off a delightful, tingly mouthfeel. The fruit, allspice, cinnamon, and clove offer all the warmth and flavor that one would look for in a mug of hot apple cider. However, this beverage (which is cold-filtered four times before kegging and bottling) will work much better on warmer days of early autumn. Try it with sweet, Kansas City-style barbecue chicken or pork.
IMBIBE gion of England. The result is rich, nutty flavor in a light-bodied, dry beer. This dark brown (but not opaque) beverage reveals a tan head with intricate lacing, and a fresh, earthy aroma. Bristlecone serves up a bit of malty warmth but the focus is on the nutty tone. It will pair well with duck and roast pork, as well as smoked salmon or sausages. Diners can really rev up the flavor by pairing this drink with any dish using Thai peanut sauce.
Punk’n Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Uinta Brewing Company Salt Lake City, Utah ABV: 4% • IBU: 10 For beer drinkers who really want a lot of pumpkin flavor, this Uinta offering is a lovely option. The aroma of fresh-baked bread comes unexpected, but foreshadows the slow arrival of the strong pumpkin flavor. Punk’n Harvest pours a dark caramel color and is quite hazy. An initial zing of carbonation yields to the taste of fall spices, such as nutmeg and cinnamon, melding with sweet vanilla. The warm pumpkin finish crawls onto the taste buds, lingering with purpose. Like Southern Tier’s Pumking, this is another good choice for pumpkin lovers, pairing well with roasted turkey and squash, or New York cheesecake. NUTTY FLAVORS Bristlecone Brown Ale, Uinta Brewing Company Salt Lake City, Utah ABV: 4% • IBU: 25 Though pumpkin-style beers, coffees, desserts and more are super popular this time of year, not everyone is a fan of the fruit. Luckily, many breweries serve season-conscious beers without the overworked flavor. Even though Uinta is one to produce a pumpkin ale, they also cater to folks with a palate for something heartier. Part of the company’s classic line, Bristlecone Brown Ale is available year-round but is a great option for fall. The brewers put an American touch on the traditional brown ale hailing from the northeastern re-
! s l a de Brought to you by:
Pecan Harvest, Abita Brewing Company Abita Springs, Louisiana ABV: 5.1% • IBU: 20 Abita Brewing Company prides itself on its near-to-New Orleans roots. The Pecan Harvest is no exception, as the brewery utilizes real Louisiana roasted pecans along with Pale, Munich, Biscuit and Caramel malts. As can be guessed, the scent of toasted malts and a copper color is the first impression Pecan Harvest offers. A sip unveils a light, somewhat textured mouthfeel against the savory taste of pecans and brown sugar. Abita captures the flavor of this specific nut well. Willamette hops serve up a modest floral aftertaste, but pecan is the boldest tone one will find. It’s certainly nuttier than Bristlecone Brown Ale, so only those with a love for pecan pie should go after this Abita brew. Pair it with grilled red meat on any mild autumn evening. SMOKY FLAVOR Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen, Schlenkerla/Brauerei Heller-Trum Bamberg, Germany ABV: 5.1% • IBU: 32 Rauchbier is German for “smokebeer”—and that’s certainly what drinkers will get here. Bamberg is the home for smokebeer, and Schlenkerla has been producing the beverage since 1405. The Märzen is another year-round offering. In its established tradition, Schlenkerla exposes all of its barley malts to the smoke of beech-wood logs. The beer is then brewed in 700-year-old copper vessels and matured for months. Dark brown with high clarity and a nice, off-white head, immediately upon popping the cap, the scent of smoke strongly intoxicates the senses. It’s a delicious aroma, like a campfire. Smokebeer is malty and easy-drinking on the front end. As the flavor envelops, a smile will follow. It has a satisfying saltiness to it, like bacon, as the smoky impression finishes on the tongue. Newbies beware: Smokebeer is not for the faint of heart, but it is a classic Bamberg delicacy to be honored.
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CORKED! Reviews and rambles on vino
For the love of pinot: Finding a new glass to obsess over BY John Burke ● Devour contributor I was all ready to write a review of one of my favorite comforting reds: Seaglass Pinot Noir. I adore it. When I walk into Fortunate Glass, they often have it waiting for me. Prepared to write a wonderful piece about the joys of finding something I like and sticking with it, I just knew this column would be a wine review about how great it feels to have a favorite glass at a favorite watering hole. I’ve always been a lover of pinot noir, even before it was trendy. Back in the late 1990s, when cabs and merlots alternated at the top of everyone’s must-try lists, I was sticking by my beloved Saintsbury Pinot Noir. I cursed my luck in 2004 when Paul Giamatti in “Sideways” announced he “wasn’t drinking any fucking merlot.” That movie introduced a run on pinot noir that inflated prices and put a lot of garbage on the market. The wine-making industry is just now recovering from it. Pinot noir is subtle. It’s elegant. It’s the red wine with range enough for red and white meats, if you know how to pair it properly. Seaglass isn’t the best pinot on the market, but I always find it comforting, much like that one sweater no one else likes— or the torn pair of jeans that just can’t be thrown away because they’re broken in perfectly. It’s classic pinot: Cherry and strawberry flavors mix with a mild earthiness to provide a comforting (and inexpensive) flavor. I love its sharp fruit and mild tannins. Seaglass Pinot Noir is lovely with gamier red meats or mushrooms. It was the first drink of many an evening, and I thought it would last forever. And then Fortunate Glass played a mean trick on me: Celeste Barnes, proprietress, had to go and behave like a responsible business woman and change her wine list. She kept up with industry trends and made a wise decision for her company. But she did it while I was up against a deadline, so I still 34 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
think it was a rotten thing to do. And so it left me in search of something else. Never to let me down, Celest suggested Lyric Pinot Noir. From Etude, it is one hell of a consolation prize! Hailing from Santa Barbara on the Pacific Coast, Lyric comes in a purple hue that almost hints at blue. More elegant than most pinots (Seaglass naturally included), Lyric has the kind of soft-spoken elegance that pinot demands. The classic cherry flavor still exists, but it gets accented with raspberry and cranberry. The additional tartness gives character and depth. It is a beautiful glass of red wine; I think it can be appreciated by a wide variety of oenophiles, from the advanced to the novice. Etude makes some fantastic wines. Their rosé is among the best. Not surprisingly, their newest pinot noir is a winner, too. By the way, just because Seaglass Pinot Noir disappeared from the Fortunate Glass doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. It’s just not in the spot I like to look for it. It isn’t dead to me or anything. So I’ve lost the familiarity of the same beloved glass, waiting for me at my favorite wine bar. But change is good—in this case, very good. Quite frankly, this change is amongst the best. PURCHASE POINTS: Seaglass Pinot Noir— Wilmington Wine, 605 Castle Street; $11.99 Red Bank Wine, 1001 International Drive; $10.99 Etude’s Lyric Pinot Noir Red Bank Wine, 1001 International Drive; $17-18 The Wine Sampler, 4107 Oleander Drive; $17.99
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Food Coma 2013
Culinary events to savor throughout the rest of the year
BY Fiona O’Sullivan ● Devour and encore intern
s fall is now upon us and temperatures are starting to cool, there is still plenty to look forward to even if the summer season has drawn to a close. While barbequing and outdoor picnics start to fade on the horizon, food-filled events will keep us nontheless happily sated this autumn. On September 28th, the NC Spot Festival celebrates its 50th year in Hampstead, praising the spot fish, well-known along the Atlantic Coast. Taste of Wrightsville Beach returns for its second year on October 12th to celebrate the island’s culinary staples, while Encore Restaurant Week returns October 23rd through the 30th to shine a light on all of Wilmington and surrounding area’s delicious eateries. Add to it the 16th annual Polish Festival on November 2nd, and, well, there is quite a lot to dish about.
Taste of Wrightsville Beach
The Taste of Wrightsville Beach returns for its second annual event on October 12th at the MarineMax Boat showroom. Developed by Wrightsville Beach and Recreation Foundation President Lisa Weeks and South Beach Grill owner John Andrews, the fund-raiser benefits the Wrightsville Beach Beautification Project and New Hanover County’s weekend Meals on Wheels program. “We hope to raise over $15,000 in 2013,” Weeks informs. “The Meals on Wheels program depends solely on volunteers and donations, so we’re glad to help.” Weeks says they’ll donate $1,000 to Meals on Wheels, as well as all proceeds from the
“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.” —Ernest Hemingway, “A Moveable Feast”
● Above: Taste of Wrightsville Beach’s oyster roast and low-country boil will not return for 2013. Courtesy of Lisa Weeks 36 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
FEATURE get them for $45 any time. Tickets will be mailed out, and guests names will be on a list at check-in.
Encore Restaurant Week
Dating back to 1992, the late restaurateur Joe Baum conjured up the restaurant week idea, which has become a national and international sensation in cities everywhere over the last two decades. Wilmington’s very own version, Encore Restaurant Week, founded in fall 2009, includes over 40 eateries from downtown to Wrightsville Beach to Leland to midtown and even north Wilmington. Plenty of newbies are slated for 2013’s Encore Giving customers the opportunity to dine at some of the best restaurants which offer prix-fixe menus at modest prices, Restaurant Week, held Oct. 23rd through 30th, the idea is threefold: Evolve a restaurant’s customer base, strengthen the local economy, and give diners a chance to including Sunny Sushi Lounge (pictured above), Shell save money while indulging. “We’ve learned people love to eat—and they love it even more when they can get a great deal,” Shea Carver, editor of Island Resort, Dixie Grill, and 9 Bakery and Lounge. both encore and Devour, and founder of Encore Restaurant Week, confirms. “More so, we want to help boost a restauraffle. The remaining balance will go toward making the heart of rant’s sales during potential down time.” Wrightsville Beach beat a little stronger and better. The fall event takes place October 23rd through the 30th; the spring The event celebrates not only the island’s diversity of cuisine but event is slated for March, yet dates have not been confirmed for 2014. the restaurants and hotels on the beach. Over 30 food, wine and encore spends eight weeks before restaurant week heavily advertisbeer vendors will fill the space. Some participating restaurants in- ing. Not only do they promote it in print, on radio and TV in Wilmingclude South Beach Grill, Tower 7 and King Neptune, among others. ton, but they reach out to surrounding NC cities, such as, Greensboro, R.A Jefferies craft beers will be present, as will Carolina Brewery Raleigh, Charlotte and Asehville. “We push it exponentially and that (Chapel Hill), Natty Greene’s Brewing Company (Greensboro) and has paid off in its success,” Carver informs. LoneRider Brewing Company (Raleigh). Wines will be on site, too, There are no “guidelines” per se for restaruants to follow. Carver from Copa Divino, Windham Distributing, Juice Wine Purveyors says, “We make a conscious effort to suggest they be creative with and Duplin Winery. their menus,” but, really, the restaurant has carte blanche to design Celebrity judges will be awarding the winner with “Best in Show,” it as they see fit. Various deals abound during this one week; threeand the “People’s Choice Award” will be selected by participants. Five course meals, including a bottle of wine, for two people have tapped judges will consist of Eric Gephart, lead chef instructor of Chef’s Acad- in for a mere $40. “Blue Asia joins the ranks with that offer for 2013,” emy NC; Jimmy Crippen, founder of Got Be NC Competition Dining Carver points out. Series and former owner of Crippen’s Blowing Rock; Diane Withrow, Other deals include three-course lunches for as little as $10, familyhospitality management of Cape Fear Community College; WB Mayor style dinners and even catering. “As long as restaurants put their best David Cignotti; and Randy Aldridge of WWAY. meal forward and make it approachable, monetarily speaking, they “Judges are looking for presentation, as well as flavor,” Weeks says. will find success,” Carver ensures. “And I hear from diners all the time, “Last year they placed a lot of emphasis on the presentation.” The win- ‘Thank you for doing this! We love going to places we’ve never been.’” ner receives a trophy and more importantly bragging rights. Plenty of newbies are slated for 2013, including Shell Island Resort, Also, performing at this year’s event is local band Blue Tang Ban- Dixie Grill, Sunny Sushi Lounge and 9 Bakery and Lounge. The goal is dits. The three-piece band, featuring Nick Vick, Grant Repik and Henry to ensure these add-ons become permanent participants. Daughtry, have been playing rock, reggae and R&B for over 13 years. “We have seen the positive effects Encore Restaurant Week has had “I heard them at another venue and really liked them,” Weeks recalls. on businesses,” Carver says. “Restaurants such as Caprice Bistro, Hi“But I also want the bands to vary from year to year, therefore offering eronymus Seafood, Basics and Aubriana’s have been involved since its inception and keep returning.” up different music.” The week provides a perfect opportunity to enjoy old standbys withNot returning in 2013 will be the oyster roast and low-country boil. “Last year we served them for an additional price,” Weeks notes. “This out breaking the bank or to try new restaurants. Encore Restaurant year we’re not messing with it, because everyone got so full from all Week has become a highlight of Wilmington’s great culinary evolution. It promotes a stronger economy by giving customers reasons to dine the delicious restaurant tastings.” Tickets can be purchased online at http://wrightsvillebeachfoun- locally. “Money spent here stays here in higher percentages, and that dation.org/taste-of-wrightsville-beach, or folks can mail in or stop by helps us build a greater, sustainable community,” Carver states. Robert’s Grocery. Advanced prices are available until Friday, October 5th at midnight for $50 for general admission (normally $75) and $25 for under 21 (normally $50); Wrightsville Beach Foundation Members The NC Spot Festival returns for its 50th year the weekend of Sep● Above photo courtesy of encore magazine tember 28th and 29th. Spot fish are indigenous to the North Carolina
NC Spot Festival
JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 37
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FEATURE coast and run rampant this time of year. The unique two-day festival plays an important role in the community, bringing everyone together to celebrate not only the spot fish, which is a staple of Hampstead, but also local artists and community. Each year organizers donate festival proceeds to Topsail-area schools and the Hampstead fire department. In fact, local firemen cook up the spot fish and serve guests annually. Though a large variety of food and drink vendors will be set up, spot fish dinners will run $8 (served with two filets, French fries, hushpuppies and coleslaw), available 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. t o 5 p.m. on Sunday. Various local arts and crafts will be for sale, and children can enjoy pony and camel rides, as well as gem-mining. Providing musical entertainment, The Embers will perform their well-known beach music on Saturday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. A fireworks display will be lighting up the sky at 9 p.m. Hitting the stage Sunday will be The Craig Woolard Band, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Two new events will be taking place as part of the festival this year, too: the Spot Fest 5k on September 28th at 8 a.m. and the Spot Fest Pageant held the weekend before the festival on September 14th. The 5k is coordinated by Pender Alliance for Teen Health (more info: www. pathv2.webs.com). The inaugural pageant will be held at Topsail High School auditorium on Saturday, September 14th, with two divisions: Queen Division (ages 17-24) and the Princess Division (ages 8-12). Scholarships of $2,500 and a $500 Savings Bond will be awarded to the winners. Admission to the actual festival is a mere $2, and children 12 and under get in for free (no pets, no coolers allowed). Guests who buy a wristband on Saturday also can get in for free on Sunday upon showing it. Gates open at 9 a.m. both days and close at 10 p.m. on Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday.
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7,800 SQUARE FEET OF FAMILY-FUN!
rdwalk Authentic Bnocae in Experie ington m Downtown Wil
COMYE! PLA Wilmington’s Largest Arcade & Bar
Restaurant • 4 Bars • Arcade • Outdoor Patio
HALF-PRICE APPETIZERS Monday-Friday • 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. 15 S. Front Street, Downtown Wilmington 910-833-8990 www.BoardwalkNC.com www.Facebook.com/BoardwalkNC 38 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 31
Fall often means cravings for heartier fare and ... beer! Wilmington’s annual Polish Festival will sate both at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Castle Hayne, as it opens its 16th year on Saturday, November 2nd. Annually, St. Stanislaus Church organizers plan a celebration of Polish culture through music, dance and food, with all proceeds benefitting the church and its outreach programs. They even pull from talent outside the area to keep folks entertianed. This year they have Children’s Polish Folk Group Karolinka coming from Charlotte to perform, and the Chardon Polka Band will travel from Ohio. Both groups will sing and dance, dressed in authentic Polish attire. As the event attracts thousands of attendees, its main appeal comes from the hard work the church congregation puts into preparing autentic Polish food. Kielbasa, golabki, packi ziemiaczane, pierogis, kruschiki, nut rolls, kolachki, poppyseed rolls and strudel will be served. Both Polish and domestic beer will be available to wash it all down with, too. Guests can also meander through the reception hall to view myriad items up for silent auction; year’s past have seen gift baskets ranging from wine and cheese, to arts and crafts for kids, to car-washing supplies and knick-knacks. They also have a raffle booth, craft sale, children’s games, souvenirs, and apparel for sale and enjoyment. Admission is free, but food is priced per plate and beer is priced accordingly. The festival will take place Saturday only, November 2nd, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free parking is available, on the church grounds and off of Castle Hayne Road. The event takes place rain or shine, with some covered tented areas available for shelter.
Now Serving Dinner! The Dixie is Wilmingtonâ€™s landmark restaurant for breakfast and lunch ...
and now dinner! SERVING DINNER ThursdaySaturday until 10pm www.thedixiegrillwilmington.com 910.762.7280 JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 39
Food as Medicine The importance of knowing what you eat BY Evan Folds ● Devour contributor and owner of Progressive Gardens, www.progressivegardens.com Hippocrates famously stated, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Seems obvious, but we have become so disconnected from what we eat that we can go weeks, even years, without eating food delivered as nature intended. The longer food is stored off of the vine, the less nutritious it becomes. Did you know apples from the grocery store are over a year old in most cases? In the words of the great Rudolf Steiner, food plants no longer contain the forces people need to carry their will into action. And we see this collective lack of will everywhere today in our politics, on the news and under our proverbial skin. Could it be that the lack of nutrient density and life force in our food is what collectively holds us back from realizing the potential we all know is innate in humanity? I have experienced the power of a living food’s ability to change and heal. I know people who have cured life-threatening disease with juicing and wheatgrass. It takes confident commitment, and a thorough understanding of the origins of illness. 40 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
FEATURE Yes, I’m saying that if everyone phasis on empty artificial fertilizin Wilmington adopted a daily “There are now only five companies that ers results in cheaper food. Still, diet of living foods, like sprouts our economic system is driven by control 60 percent of the seed globally, profit, volume and shelf life, not or wheatgrass juice, we would see thousands of people at the by enforcing patents on living organisms. qualitative or nutritional value. rally against Monsanto and Titan It’s a race to the bottom line. When what we eat is owned and conCement instead of hundreds. Of This is exacerbated by illogicourse, I can’t prove this, but I cal government subsidies that trolled by corporations, this takes us fur- encourage farmers to grow food would be willing to bet a million dollars. that sells for less than it costs ther away from our food.” Consider that up until 100 years them to grow it. Add to it the ago all food was alive and intact, subsidies are paid toward the unadulterated by the methods of madness devised by modern least nutritious crops, mostly to corporations, who are not food science. Our ability to engineer food amounts to a selfish even farmers, and it’s a sham for our common good. How many effort of tricking ourselves into believing something is good farmers do you think live in Manhattan? Search online for “farm for us. For instance, high fructose corn syrup is cheap and can subsidy Manhattan” and click on the first link. make almost anything taste good, but it is increasingly linked Plenty of data exists, for instance, the calcium content in to diabetes and heart disease. broccoli has dropped from 12.9 milligrams dry weight in 1950 Follow me: In pre-industrialized times we could trust that to only 4.4 milligrams in 2003 per USDA. Minerals and amino “food” was food. We didn’t have genetically modified organ- acids have declined by more than 30 percent in wheat develisms (GMO), and the properties of taste and texture that we oped over the past 100 years. Not to mention the estimated manufacture in order to manipulate the human palate were 50-percent increase in gluten protein that is creating massive rare and revered. Because food had not been adulterated our intolerances and celiac disease. It’s driven by commercial inbodies did not develop the means to send signals of malnour- terests, not human interests. Cheap fertilizer only makes sense ishment, only that the food is calorically empty. We don’t get until the soil is dead and the toxic rescue chemistry used to dietary deficiancy pangs like hunger pangs. This is why we can try and kill back the problems created doesn’t work anymore. eat crap and feel full. Our body has no reason to suspect we When bread gets baked, the dough rises and stretches, think will lie to it—to ourselves. of gluten like glue. The more glue present, the better it sticks Eating junk food from fast-food “restaurants” is no different together. It results in lighter cupcakes or breads, yet it means than the results of using budget synthetic fertilizers purchased we have radically changed the protein structure of our food at big box stores. They both create obesity, disease and pest and our bodies don’t know what to do about it. infestations. Read the book “Secrets of the Soil,” or watch any And this is where we find ourselves today. of the conscious-food or farming documentaries out there, Complete nutrition is a result of balance, not force. Pests, like “Supersize Me,” “Forks Over Knives,” “Food Inc.” or ‘Fast weeds and disease in our landscapes are manifestations of unFood Nation.” healthy conditions—no different than what happens to people The parallels are life. The sad fact: We don’t know that we if they eat fast food every day. are malnourished until we get sick. Often times that is too late. Again, to draw the easy analogy, the average doctor preIn short, we cannot blindly believe food to be food. scribes a pill, but they don’t ask for a change in diet. In fact, A perfect example of this is “juice.” Real juice cannot sur- most don’t even go to school for nutrition. Preventative agvive the trip from the grower to the supermarket shelf without riculture and medicine prevents return business. Sure, it may spoiling. In order to withstand the logistics of our socio-eco- appear cynical, but it is truth. The soil must be alive in order to nomic arrangement, juice must be irradiated, or pasteurized, produce food plants that support life. Everyone knows that we which happens to defeat much of the purpose of the original are what we eat. So, it’s time we get our hands dirty, use our natural nourishment. buying power and act like it. In fact, the sugar water that results from orange-juice pasBe a farmer, start a garden. Ask questions, be interested in teurization is a tasteless colorless liquid, stored in huge holding your food, and make purchasing decisions based on your comtanks until it is re-engineered to a specific flavor and mouthfeel mon sense, which reinforces your ideal. The rest will take care by the familiar orange-juice corporations. They even hire per- of itself. fume companies to formulate flavor based on market studies, which is why each brand has its distinct taste and feel. Sorry to burst the breakfast bubble, but read “Squeezed” by Alissa Hamilton. The worst part: Our own FDA allows the juice companies to add a manufactured molecule called ascorbic acid. It mimics the chemical structure of Vitamin C into orange juice so they can claim 100 percent of the recommended daily dose. Our approach to how we nourish ourselves is not wholesome. Researchers have known since the 1940s that an emJUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 41
READ! Cookbooks and other reviews
Devouring cookies and scallops: A few reviews on some insatiable reads BY Gwenyfar Rohler ● Devour columnist, freelance writer and business owner of Old Books on Front Street The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food By Jennifer 8. Lee Twelve Books, 2009
In March of 2005, the Powerball Lottery almost toppled by dozens of second-place winners all cashing in on the same night. If they had won first place they would have split the jackpot, but second place was affixed amount. Convincted of fraud or security breech, Powerball launched an investigation, shockingly discovering that over again winners admitted getting their numbers from fortune cookies. Jennifer 8. Lee, a Chinese-American journalist, became intrigued by the findings and set out to visit the restaurants which provided these winning fortune cookies. Along the way she discovered the true link between American and Chinese cuisine, arguing that apple pie may be quintessentially American, but Americans eat more Chinese food on average per week than pie. Along the way, Lee also investigates the link between Jewish people and Chinese food, entitled “Why Chow Mein is the chosen food of the chosen people—or the Great Kosher Duck Scandal of 1989.” American Jewish people’s main holiday tradition is to eat Chinese food (and go to the movies) on Christmas Day. Lee asks what this link really means and how it started. She travels all the way to China to ask that question. Meanwhile, she also unearths the truth about the origin of the fortune cookie, and asks just who was General Tso and how did he get a chicken dish named after him? Though the questions sound funny, the answers lead to some surprising revelations about how we see ourselves as a culture. I love this book. Good food writing should make the reader hungry, and every time I opened “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles” I wound up having dinner at Szechuan 132. The discussion of General Tso seems most surprising—the lengths that Lee went to trying to find someone who could establish the authoritative connection. Her inclusion of the realities of how Chinese restaurant workers get here and move around the country once they are 42 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
stateside is important. It is an entire subculture that people are unaware of, even though we are unwitting participants by virtue of our ongoing financial support of the system. However, the chapter about Chinese-food delivery guys comeds particularly painful to read. It makes her work all the more personal and poignant. Lee’s book succeeds on many levels: She provides a detailed and well r-searched history of Chinese cuisine in America, as well as offers a fascinating sociological study of the interplay between modern Chinese and American cultures. It’s fast-paced and compelling, but even more important she makes the exotic locales she visits in China just as real as her trips to Nebraska. Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop By Euell Gibbons Alan C. Hood and Company, 2005 Euell Gibbons is famous for his books on foraging for wild food
—and deservedly so. More than just field-guides, they are part memoir, part philosophy and part cookbooks. When the first chapter of a book is titled “How to cook a Sea-serpent” one knows she is “not in Kansas anymore.” It’s not just that Gibbons’ advice is solid, based on years of personal foraging and cooking; he has such a strong narrative voice that even if one never ventures into a marsh to gather her own dinner, she will feel like she has. He makes each step and discovery so vivid the audience is completely there. Like hunters who always eat what they kill, Gibbons has spent his lifetime eating what he collected. His recipes make my mouth water. When he describes his “Bouillabaisse by the Rule of 3,” I can almost taste the bread dipped into the stew. But I think the most important part of the book comes in teaching readers how to look at their homes differently. I grew up on the coast and it is a good reminder that the the beaches I think of for pleasure have for centuries been a source of sustenance for people. The recipes are easy to use and come with wonderful descriptions of how he and his friends developed them. This book speaks to the core of what food is about: sustaining ourselves and our relationship with nature, while sharing something priceless with friends.
Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson Bantam Books, 2002 In 1990 Diane Mott Davidson published Catering To Nobody the first culinary mystery. 23 years later the tie-in mystery (knitting, cooking, gardening, rare books, Bed & Breakfast owners, etc.) are everywhere. Back then, she was a pioneer in the genre. Her protagonist is a divorced, single mother who starts a catering business to keep a roof over her head. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong and then she cooks – that’s the basic set up. It’s great! The mysteries are compelling and well thought out and Davidson included well tested recipes throughout the book for the food that Goldy, the catering heroine, serves her clients. Besides having an opportunity to actually make the food that the characters are eating ( a small dream come true for me!) I find the insight into the catering world and how it actually works is fascinating. Goldy struggles just as much with putting together a workable business model as she does with dead bodies. If you have ever been curious about the hows and whys of the catering world this is a fun way to get your questions answered. But even more if you have ever read a character’s description of a meal and wanted to taste the exact same thing – this is your chance. The recipes are easy to follow and the food is delicious – I especially recommended Goldy’s Crumb Cake – but I have a sweet tooth.
Devour Book Club
Meets the last Tuesday of the month at 6:30 PM at Old Books on Front St. 249 North Front Street Downtown Wilmington
September - Cocktails and Conversations form the Astral Plane - Joel Finsel October -Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome - Apicius November - How to Cook a Wolf - M.F.K. Fisher December - Holiday Party with Favorite Children’s Food Literature Passages January - An Everlasting Meal - Tamar Adler February - My Life in France - Julia Childs March - Stalking the Blue Eyed Scallop - Euell Gibbons April - Catering to Nobody - Dianna Mott Davidson May - The Fortune Cookie Chronicles - Jennifer 8 Lee June - Cooked - Michael Pollan
JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 43
Culinary calendar of events • events & happenings • TASTE OF HAMPSTEAD WINE FESTIVAL The Greater Hampstead Chamber of Commerce started this tradition in 2009, and it became an instant favorite for both the community and visitors looking to experience the local fare! Get your palates ready for a terrific sampling of culinary delights provided by our area restaurants and an inspired selection of extraordinary wine and craft beers from our wineries. Add entertainment and this venue is a perfect opportunity to get to know the locals and experience our southern hospitality. Please check our website for location and time. Reservations Recommended. Sat., 9/21, 7-9:30pm. 910-270-9642. www.hampsteadchamber.com
PLEASURE ISLAND SEAFOOD BLUES AND JAZZ FESTIVAL 10/12-13: The Seafood Blues and Jazz Festival will welcome the legendary Buddy Guy to the stage on the 13th of October! Guy has influenced legendary musicians,
3RD CARE PROJECT GALA 3rd Annual CARE Project Gala, hosted by Frances Weller and Johnnie Sexton, 6-11pm, Sat., 9/21. The Terraces on Sir Tyler, 1826 Sir Tyler Dr. Over 20 Wilmington area restaurants donating amazing food, cash bar and beer donated by Good Vibes Brewing with wine donated by Country Vintner. Featured entertainment by Bibis Ellison. Tickets: janpeelle@aol. com or 704-996-8244
DOWNTOWN BEER AND WINE WALK Downtown ILM Wine & Beer Walk, 9/28, 1-6pm. Tickets: $15 or two for $25, on sale at Etix.com or The Fortunate Glass, 29 S.Front St., and Front Street Brewery, 9 N. Front St. (cash only). Walk begins at the Wine Walk Headquarters (TBA) where you present your ticket, or if the event has not sold out, purchase your ticket the day of the show. Must check in no later than 3pm. Receive “official” Wilmington Wine & Beer Walk ID and a map of the participating establishments. Ea. stop gives two samples of a specially selected wine or beer. Be responsible and always remember to tip your servers! Must be 21. www.CoolWilmington.com
NC SPOT FESTIVAL The two day festival celebrates the spot fish, a staple of Hampstead! Feast on spot dinners with all the fixings and other regional food. Enjoy arts and crafts as far as the eye can see, non-stop entertainment, fireworks and more. Sat., 9/28, 9:45am-10:30pm; Sun., 9/29, 9:45am-5pm, Hwy 17 across from Deerfield in Hampstead, NC. 1-888-699-9907. www.ncspotfestival.com
TASTE OF WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH
will celebrate seafood, as vendors of all
Taste Of Wrightsville Beach, Sat., 10/12, and it will be held at MarineMax Boat showroom. A celebration of all the restaurants and hotels on the beach, with 28 food, wine and beer-tasting booths, and celebrity judges to announce Best in Show. People’s Choice award also given. Proceeds benefit WB Beautification project and Stop Hunger Now project. www. wrightsvillebeachfoundation.org/taste-of-wrightsville-beach
varieties set up and sell everything from
SEAFOOD BLUES AND JAZZ FEST
including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Also, Pleausre Island
fried seafood to the island’s best chowder! Ticketsare $40 for a two-day pass ($50 at door). Kids 12 and under are admitted free! www.pleasureislandnc.org 44 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
Five-time Grammy award-winner Buddy Guy will headline the Pleasure Island Seafood Blues and Jazz Festival, 10/12-13, on Pleasure Island. At age 76, Guy’s a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a major influence on rock titans like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, a pioneer of Chicago’s fabled West Side sound, and a living link to that city’s halcyon days of electric blues. Opening: Slide Brothers’ gospel blues. Sunday features Wet Willie’s, with opener Randall Bramblett. Other blues and jazz groups on two stages over the two day festival, with food and beverages
BACK DOOR KITCHEN TOUR Find design ideas perfect for your kitchen remodel at Residents of Old Wilmington’s annual fund-raisers, Back Door Kitchen Tour. The even takes place on October 12th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is a self-guided walking tour (or ride the ILM trolley service) through downtown Wilmington’s historic district. Tickets are $25 for adults or $15 for children 12 and unnder. They’re available through PayPal at www.rowilmington.org or at area Harris Teeeters. for sale and free KidZone, vendors and more. Tickets are just $40 in adv. for a two-day pass or can be purchased at the door for $50 for Saturday (Buddy Guy plays Saturday night) and $15 for Sunday. Kids 12 and under are free. 910-458-8434 or email@example.com.
BACK DOOR KITCHEN TOUR Residents of Old Wilmington (ROW) is pleased to announce the homes on the 8th annual Back Door Kitchen Tour, 10/12, 10am-5pm. Nine kitchens are featured in the homes of Wilmington’s Historic District. A self-guided walking tour allows you to move at your own pace through beautiful downtown ILM. Trolley service will be available between homes on the day of the tour. Tickets:$25 for adults, $15 for children 12 and under, and carried babies are free. Tickets available for purchase through PayPal at www.rowilmington.org and at inkelstein Music (6 S. Front St.), Wilmington Water Tours (212 S. Front St.), Great Harvest Bread Company (5327 Oleander Drive), The Forum – Taste the Olive (1125-D Military Cutoff Road), Southport’s Cat on a Whisk (600-C N. Howe St.) andarea Harris Teeter grocery stores. Tickets may be purchased on the day of the tour at each of the tour homes and at the Bellamy Mansion, 503 Market St. All funds earned by ROW from the tour will be utilized for downtown projects. www.rowilmington.org.
FALL FARM FEST Fall Farm Fest, 668 Midway Rd SE, Bolivia, NC. 910-253-7934. 10/12, 10am-3pm. www.greenlandsfarmstore.info. www.facebook/GreenlandsFarm. Live music, raflles for local causes, Bolivia FD and Sheriff’s Office, antique tractors and state-fair cows, pet adoption, hot-pepper eatng contest, arts and crafts, face-painting, fall games, and pony, llama and hay rides! No GA; pay for activities. $1-$10 (do-it-all fee).
AIRLIE OYSTER ROAST 10/18, 6 -11pm: Tickets are $75 each and include dinner, a peck of oysters and two spirituous beverages. Besides oysters, the menu features appetizers, Carolina BBQ and fish fry. A cash bar also will be available. Heartbeat of Soul will provide live music on the main stage, and Sea Pans will entertain guests during the cocktail hour. Airlie Gardens, 300 Airlie Road. 910-798-7700. http://airliegardens.org
LIGHTHOUSE BEER & WINE FESTIVAL Lighthouse Beer and Wine Festival, 10/19, 1-5pm, with a limited number of VIP tickets. Over 100 craft breweries and, new this year, wineries. Admission includes entrance to the Lighthouse Beer Festival grounds, a glass
to sample all beer and wine. A free shuttle service to the greater Wilmington area will be available after the festival, so go ahead and enjoy yourself. Food vendors will be on site as well, so you can enjoy delicious foods while you explore the world of hops, grape and grain. Portion of the festival proceeds will benefit The Carousel Center, a non-profit organization committed to assisting victims of child abuse, providing critical care services to children from 15 counties throughout southeastern North Carolina.
16TH ANNUAL POLISH FESTIVAL The 16th Annual Polish Festival will be held on Sat., 11/2, 11am-5pm, on the St. Stanislaus Church grounds, 4849 Castle Hayne Road (Hwy 117) Castle Hayne, NC. 910-675-2336. Featuring a new band, The Chardon PolkaBand, from Burton, OH.
FESTIVAL LATINO Sat., 11/9, and Sun., 11/10, 11am-6pm: Festival Latino is a cross-cultural celebration featuring cuisine from all over Latin America, music, dancing, kids fiesta and the great Mexican Hat Race! Mom and pop authentic Latino country cooking from Cuba, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Puerto Rico and five different areas of Mexico! Ogden Park, 11am to 8pm. 615 Odgen Park Dr. firstname.lastname@example.org
COMPETITION DINING SERIES Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series travels statewide, pitting chefs against one another for the coveted red jacket and a $2k cash prize, plus a chance to compete in the Final Fire in Raleigh in November. Schedule: Jan., Fire on the Rock, Asheville; Fire on the Rock, Wilmington, Apr.; Fire in the Triad, Greensboro; July-Aug., Fire in the Triangle in Raleigh; Sept.Oct., Fire in the City in Charlotte; Nov., Final Fire in Raleigh. Tickets: $59 plus tax and gratuity; finals are $69, plus tax and gratuity. www.competitiondining.com
• classes & workshops • CAPE FEAR WINE AND FOOD CLUB Cape Fear Wine and Food Club (memberships $15/year); Seasoned Gourmet, 1930 Eastwood Rd. Upcoming events: Wed., 11/13, 6:30pm:A Class-y Event: A Class-y Thanksgiving ($35). Served family-style with some seasonal music serenading us, we will start with an assortment of cheeses, charcuterie, crackers, and gourmet spreads, then onto the main course! • 11/17, 2pm: Members-Only Holiday Cookie Exchange, free! Bring cookies and a recipe to share. Hot coffee and tea provided; wines by the glass available. If desired, you can email your recipe to email@example.com by Saturday and we will print them for you. Bring 2 dozen of your favorite cookie to share; RSVP. • 11/19, 6:30pm: Members-only Holiday Party, free! Five wines to enjoy, hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, coffee, cookies, and fun are the order of the day at this party that celebrates a great year of classes and events. RSVP; no guests! • Cooking classes galore: www.theseasonedgourmet.com.
HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND ALCOHOL Adult Night Out: History and Science of Alcohol, 9/20 , 7-9pm. $5 for members; $7 for non-members. Did you know NC went “dry” a decade before national prohibition passed? Explore early 20th century prohibition with the Cape Fear Museum Curator and view a still from the museum collection smashed by federal agents. Conduct a fermentation science experiment and talk with the owners of Wilmington Home Brew and Supply. Sample wine and craft beer from Wilmington Wine.
SERV SAFE CERTIFIED Need to get ServSafe Certified?? Contact Ceritified ServSafe Instructor & Proctor, Jaime Chadwick at firstname.lastname@example.org/910-617-4791. Online tests are available. Upcoming dates: 9/22, 10/20 & 11
JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 45
• tastings & things • DUPLIN WINERY 9/14, 8-11am: 14th Fussell Family Breakfast, includes buffet in the bistro with the Fussell Family, as well as a private tour and tasting with the owners. Adults, $15 ; children, $8 (ages 4-12); free for kids 4 and under. • 10/19, 8:30am-3pm: Duplin Winery’s Run for Hope: Cancer Benefit for Women of Hope, cancer walk/5k to be held in vineyards at Duplin Winery to benefit the organization Women of Hope. Women of Hope is a nonprofit organization that focuses their funds on helping women and their families with the financial hardships after diagnosed with cancer. Music by the Jim Quick and Coastline band! $20/person- Mile or $30/person- Run; register at 8:30am. • 10/26, 3:30-9pm: Murder Mystery, piece together the clues of this case in the interactive detective dinner show. Winning team receives a Duplin prize! Theme: Country Fried Caper. $55/person (includes tour and tasting, dinner and show). • 11/14, 5-8pm: Club Member Thanksgiving Dinner, featuring a classic feast with the founders of Duplin Winery. Acoustic music, wine and friends. $35/person. • 11/16,22, 23, 29, 30, 3:30-7:30pm: Down Home Country Christmas, with music and comedy, feat. classic holiday music and contemporary songs; resident jokesters, “Roadkill Rufus” and “Junior Jackson” and those wild and crazy “Dixie Hicks.” $50/person + $2 tour and tasting. • 12/7, 9am-2pm: Ann’s Art, $35/person (include bistro breakfast hors d’oeuvres and class). • 12/14 and 21, 8-10am: Breakfast with Santa. Adults, $15 ; children $8 (ages 4-12); free for kids 4 and under. • 12/6, 7(Club), 13, 14, 20, 3:307:30pm: Down Home Country Christmas, with music and comedy, featuring classic holiday music and contemporary songs; resident jokesters, “Roadkill Rufus” and “Junior Jackson” and those wild and crazy “Dixie Hicks.” $50/person + $2 tour and tasting. Duplin Winery, 505 N. Sycamore St. Rose Hill, NC. 800-774-9634
Thurs., 3-8 pm, Fri., 3-8pm, and Sat., 11am-7pm. Each week we arrange a set of five wines, which we offer a 10% discount as well toward purchase. 4107-C Oleander Dr. (910) 796-WINE (9463). thewinesampler.com
FERMENTAL Every Friday: Free wine/beer tasting, 6pm. • An Evening in Michigan: Midwest Beer Tour 2013, Thurs., 9/19, 7-9pm. Beer tasting, giveaways, meet and greet. All ages, 21 and over for sampling. Free. • 10/13, 6pm: Celebrate one of North Carolina’s most award winning small breweries: Mother Earth Brewing. Meet brewery staff; enjoy live music, free samples, giveaways, an outdoor bar, food trucks and more. Free event. All ages. 21 and over for tasting. Live music on the beer garden stage provided the Dave Tyson Trio, a folk-rock acoustic act, with plenty of power and palate to back up the flavor-filled offering of our libatious neighbors, Mother Earth Brewing. All ages; 21 and over for sampling. Free! Fermental, 7250B Market St. 910-821-0362, www.fermental.net.
NONI BACA WINERY Tasting room open seven days a week, 10am-9pm (Mon-Sat) and 12-5pm (Sun.). Taste a flight of 6 or 9 wines w/complementary souvenir glass; over 70 wines made on premise to sample at any time, nserved by the glass or the bottle. • Tues/Wed Winemaker’s Special: three 3 oz. pours of any wine at a special price. • Thurs.-Sat.: Specials at the bar on glasses and bottles of wine that run all day, but the crowd begins to gather around 7pm. Craft beer selection, too. We also make special label wines for weddings, corporate gifting, birthdays, reunions, or any event. 910-397-7617.
HOMBREW SUPPLY CO. Free craft beer tasting every Friday 4pm-7pm • Free all-grain brewing demonstration Every Saturday starting at 1:30pm at Wilmington Homebrew Supply, 4405-A Wrightsville Ave. wilmingtonhomebrew.com
WILMINGTON WINE SHOP Join us to sample five new delicious wines we’ve brought in just for our customers during Free Friday Wine Tasting, 5-8pm. Have a bottle or glass of your favorite with friends afterwards in our cozy shop or on the back deck. And beer lovers don’t fret, we’ve got a fridge full of craft and microbrews. 605 Castle St. 910-202-4749. www.wilmingtonwine.net.
RED BANK WINE Red Bank’s wine of the week, Sat., 1-4pm. 1001 International Dr. 910-2569480.
FORTUNATE GLASS Free Wine Tasting, Tues. 6-8 p.m. • Sparkling Wine Specials & Discounted Select Bottles, Wed. & Thurs. • Monthly Food & Wine Pairing Events. 29 South Front St.
CAPE FEAR WINE AND BEER Monday Flight Night: $18 for nine 4 oz. samples of local, nationally-renowned & international brews. Also, Massage Monday: $10 for a 10-minute shift with our licensed, registered therapist Josh Lentz. • Tues., DIY Trivia with our host Greg Jaeger. Prizes include beer from us and gift certificates from AzioMedia and Memory Lane Comics. 9 PM. $1 off all glasses of wine, ciders, and mead. • Wed: YouTube Video Competition. Submit the wackiest, funniest, zaniest video & win a bomber of beer & a Chop’s Deli sandwich! Hosted by Captain Video. 9pm; select $10 pitchers. • Thurs: Beer Infusement Thursday. Come see what ingredients Randall the Enamel Animal is enhancing upon delicious beer. 9pm. Also, Thrifty Thursday: select $3 bottles and $1 off select draft. • Fri.: Bartender’s pick. You never know what you’re gonna get! • Sat.: Think local, drink local. $1 off all bottled NC beers. • Sun: Beer Church. Purchase select beer and keep your glass for free. 139 N. Front Street. 910-763-3377.
THE WINE SAMPLER
Every week we have five wines available to taste during sampling hours,
46 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013
• markets & tours • FARMERS’ MARKETS
Fruits, vegetables, plants, herbs, flowers, eggs, cheese, meats, seafood, honey and more! Schedule: Poplar Grove, Wed, 8-1. Also features freshbaked goods, pickled okra, peanuts and handcrafted one-of-a-kind gifts such as jewelry, woodcrafts and pottery. Poplar Grove Plantation, 910686-9518. email@example.com. www.poplargrove.com • Riverfront Farmer’s Market open on Water St., downtown, every Sat., 8am-1pm. Food, arts & craft vendors and live music. www.wilmingtondowntown. com/farmers-market • Carolina Beach Farmer’s Market every Sat., 8am1pm, around the lake in Carolina Beach. Free parking is provided. Vendors align the lake and an nflux of artists and crafters of all types; live music. www.carolinabeachfarmersmarket.com • Southport Waterfront Market, Wednesdays, 8am-1pm, through 9/25. Garrison Lawn in Southport, NC. • St. James Plantation Farmers’ Market, Thurs., through 10/25, 4-7pm, at the Park at Woodlands Park Soccer Field.
CULINARY ADVENTURES TOUR Eat your way through Wilmington’s food history and delights! Culinary Adventures Tour with food writer/chef Liz Biro; under a mile, wear comfortable shoes. Top Chef Farmers Market Tour and Cooking Class, Heart of Downtown, Drinks Downtown, Downtown Brunch Stroll, Foodie Shopping Tour, custom and special group tours and more! $25 and up! www. lizbiro.com. 910-545-8055
TASTING HISTORY TOURS Tasting History Tours of Pleasure Island; guided walking tours. $25, www. tastinghistorytours.com. Afternoon of delicious food and education. 910622-6046.
PORT CITY SWAPPERS Like to bake bread? Enjoy pickling? Have way too many herbs from your summer garden’s bounty? Pack it up and trade it for other eats at the monthly Port City Swappers meeting. The swappers meet the last Sunday of the month to trade and barter for eats of all kinds, whether it’s eggs from the farm, homemade pickles or foraged foods. Sign up for their next event to let people know what you’ll be bringing by going to their Facebook page. Upcoming dates: 9/29, 10/27, 11/24 and 12/29.
FSB BREWERY TOUR Learn how Front Street Brewery brews their beer. Tours given daily, 3-5pm, with brewer Kevin Kozak and assistant brewer Christopher McGarvey; samples provided. Tours take place at 3pm, 3:45pm and 4:30pm. Simply sign up at the host stand; 9 N. Front Street.
HENRIETTA III CRUISES An elegant, 3-tiered boat offering sight-seeing, lunch and dinner cruises, sight seeing tours and a Sunset Dinner Cruise June-Aug. On the riverfront. April-Oct: Narrated sightseeing cruises 2:30pm 1-1/2 hours Tuesday-Sunday, Narrated lunch cruises 12:00 noon 1-1/2 hours Tuesday-Saturday. May-Oct: Murder Mystery Dinner Cruises, Tuesday & Thursday evening 2 hours 6:30 pm; Apr-Dec: Friday evening dinner cruises 2-1/2 hours 7:30 pm, Saturday evening dinner cruises 3 hours 6:30 pm. 343-1611. www. cfrboats.com
PORT CITY SWAPPERS Port City Swappers is a monthly food and beverage swap where members of a community share homemade, homegrown, or foraged foods with each other. Swaps allow direct trades to take place between attendees, e.g., a loaf of bread for a jar of pickles or a half-dozen backyard eggs. No cash is exchanged, and no goods are sold. Diversify your pantry and go home happy and inspired while meeting your neighbors! facebook.com/ PortCitySwappers. 9/29, 10/27, 11/24, 12/29.
FOOD PANTRIES Good Shepherd House Soup Kitchen, 811 Martin St. Pantry Hours: 6am3pm everyday • Mother Hubbard’s Cupboards, 211 N. 2nd St. (910)7622199. MTWFS,1-3pm • Catholic Social Ministries, 4006 Princess Dr. (910) 251-8130. Tues-Fri., 9-11:30am • First Fruit Ministries, 2750 Vance St. (910) 612-9353. Tues/Sat, 11am-1pm; Wed,10am-2pm. • Bethany Presbyterian Church, 2237 Castle Hayne Rd. (910) 762-7824. Wed, 11:30am-2pm. • New Covenant Holiness Church, 1020 Dawson St. (910)762-7376
FOOD BANK OF NC ooks A Million Gives 10% to Food Bank Day, 9/21; 10/11. 10% of all purchases at Books A Million will go to benefit the Food Bank CENC, Wilmington. New Hanover Center, 3737 Oleander Dr., noon-4pm. Volunteers will be there to answer your questions about the Food Bank of CENC programs in your community. Mention the Food Bank as you check out and 10 percent of all purchases benefit the Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC at Wilmington, working to feed 70,000 individuals affected by hunger in the Cape Fear Region. For every $1 donated=5 meals go to neighbors in need. • 11/27, 7am-5pm, Street Turkeys at The Landing, 530 Causeway Dr., Wrightsville Beach—a project designed to re-stock the shelves., and provide food and supplies to nearly 100 area food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, after school programs and senior feeding programs. Come Wednesday before Thanksgiving and drop off food or monetary donations. www.streetturkeyswilmington.org
CELEBRATING HOPE LUNCHEON 2nd annual Celebrating Hope luncheon, Thurs., 9/26, 11:30am, Terraces on Sir Tyler, feat. Mistress of Ceremonies Frances Weller. Testimonies from caner survivors and caregivers given. Luncheon will promote and provide awareness about Women of Hope, which provides financial assistance and support programs. Free but a donation to Women of Hope encouraged. www.womenofhopenc.com.
• clubs & organizations • SOS BREAKFAST Southeastern North Carolina’s World War II Remembered Group will sponsor its annual SOS breakfast on September 25 at the New Hanover County Senior Resource Center, 2222 South College Rd. Breakfast in the ballroom begins at 8:30am. SOS is the polite moniker given by WWII soldiers, sailors, and Marines to a hot breakfast of creamed chip beef on toast. Its unflattering, non-public term is the one veterans still ascribe to it. Be sure to ask one about it. $6/plate. Bacon, grits, coffee, and juice will be served. Music historian and deejay Herman Stancill, a WWII veteran, will entertain with a music biography of the Andrews Sisters. John Nelson at 399-7020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEAST DOWN EAST BUYING CLUB Enjoy the quality, value and convenience of the Feast Down East Buying Club. It costs nothing to join. The benefits are immeasurable. It is a great way to eat healthier, while knowing you support your local farm families and community. Start buying fresh local food, sourced from Southeastern NC farms. Choose a pick-up spot, and check out at the online cashier and you are done! www.FeastDownEast.org.
WARM will host its annual Harvest Luncheon on Thurs., 10/24. The mission of Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry, Inc. (WARM) is to make people safer in their own homes. We do this by raising funds and mobilizing volunteers to complete urgent repairs and accessibility upgrades. WARM serves low-income homeowners in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender Counties, many of whom are elderly and/or disabled. Come be a part of the excitement of WARM and learn how you can serve your neighbors in need! We will also kick-off our monthly giving campaign! First Baptist Church Activity Center (1939 Independence Blvd.) Networking begins at 11:30 AM and the program will begin at noon. Register: luncheon@ warmnc.org or 910-399-7563.
FREE MARKET AND FOOD NOT BOMBS Wilmington’s Free Market welcomes people to donate reusable housewares, music, car items, games, clothing, haircuts, blankets, and anything else of need! No barter or trade; everything is free! Do not leave items and run; take with you what does not get taken. Volunteers always needed to teach a short lesson on urban living, gardening, recycling, holistic remedies, or offer free haircuts, sew clothing—anything educational and or useful/helpful. The Really Really Free Market is held in conjunction with Food Not Bombs to provide free vegan and vegetarian meals to the hungry. Food is a right, not a privilege. All our food is donated, and anyone can donate! Meetups first Sunday each month at Greenfield Lake Park at picnic tables by the water. www.ilmfreemarket.moonfruit.com or FB group, “Wilmington’s Really Really Free Market & Food Not Bombs!”
JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013 | DEVOUR 47
Come home to Casey’s Southern soul food at its finest! Family
owned and o Larry a nd Ge perated by na Cas ey
5559 Oleander Drive • (910)798-2913 Between Dogwood Lane & French Street, across from the batting cages
“Voted BEST BUFFET, and SOUL FOOD by encore magazine readers”
48 DEVOUR | JUNE - DECEMBER, 2013