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beyond the sea

Chefs talk fresh pasta and prime-cut meats in this month’s profiles

Hospitality Management



18-23 | Eating on the southeastern coast

doesn’t get better than with fresh seafood. Fanny Slater takes us into the kitchens of local chefs, who share their secrets and recipes for producing some of her favorite, local seafood dishes. Featured: Shuckin’ Shack’s lobster roll.

EDITOR Shea Carver



ADVERTISING Shea Carver, Tiffany Wagner, John Hitt

CONTRIBUTORS Gwenyfar Rohler, Joel Finsel, John Burke, Allison Ballard, Fanny Slater, Emily Caulfield, Bethany Turner, Evan Folds, Linda Grattafiori

PHOTOGRAPHY Lindsey A. Miller Photograph, Tom Dorgan

Lindsey A. Miller Photography


We interview local chefs who are turning out delicious food every quarter in Devour. Our spring edition is no different, as we feature two new additions to downtown Wilmington’s food scene: Chef Zack Comis from Tarantelli’s Ristorante Italiano on 2nd Street, whose food is featured on the cover, and Chef Josh Seward, who has helped transform the fine-dining establishment of Aubriana’s into a steakhouse. Read all about their journeys in the first pages of Devour.

10-12 RESTAURATEURS Ray Worrell and Rob Cooley Allison Ballard talks to local restaurateurs Ray Worrell and Rob Cooley, both of whom are churning out pies in the Port City—only in different flavors and styles.

14-17 FARMING The Lowdown on Changin’ Ways Shannon Rae Gentry goes to the mud with David Borkowski, who talks about his farm, Changin’ Ways, and the pigs he raises on it.

DEVOUR is published by HP Media seasonally and covers southeastern NC. 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 ADVERTISING in Devour is easy! Feel free to call HP Media at 910-791-0688 or email for a media kit. HP Media also offers advertising packages for Devour and its other publications, encore and AdPak.

24-25 RECIPES Roquefort crisps and ice cream! Blogger Emily Caulfield takes us on a food journey across the world, from the Middle East to France to America. Try out her latest recipes.

28-30 BREWS Waterman’s Brewing Takes on WB Bethany Turner heads to the old Fibber McGee’s on Pavilion Place to find out what’s shaping up in the form of Wrightsville Beach’s new brewery, Waterman’s Brewing, set to open shop by summer’s end.


Cocktails and Conversations, pgs. 26-27 • Summer wines, pg. 32 Book reviews, pgs. 34-35 • Culinary Calendar, pgs. 36-39 SPRING 2017 | DEVOUR 3

Beyond the Sea Local chefs Zackery Comis and Josh Seward talk fresh pasta and prime-cut meats BY Linda Grattafiori and Shea Carver ● Devour contributor and editor


itchen life is not easy. In fact, it can be downright grueling. Chefs arrive early to order food, plan menus, then prep the food, and have late hours to finish dinner service and clean a professional kitchen—only to get up the next morning and do it all over again. They’re on their feet during entire shifts, so physical stamina is a must in the industry. Each month we choose to talk to many professionals behind our favorite Wilmington eateries, to hear a little about their stories, and find out how they arrived at their current stoves. This month we feature two downtown chefs, within a stone’s throw of each other: Zackery Comis of 2nd Street’s new Italian restaurant, Tarantelli’s, and Josh Seward of Wilmington staple, Aubriana’s, which has just transitioned into a fine-dining steakhouse.

Zackery Comis

Chef at Tarantelli’s Ristorante Italiano 102 S. 2nd St. • (910) 763-3806 Comis in Italian means “prep cook.” Yet, it’s not the role Zackery Comis plays at Tarantelli’s Ristorante Italiano, the new Italian restaurant gourmands are raving about in downtown Wilmington. In fact, this Comis is the executive chef who oversees five other cooks. “I thank God every day Zack is our executive chef,” owner Ryan Morabito says.

• Right: Chef Zack Comis makes fresh pasta and decadent Italian cuisine at downtown’s newest eatery, Tarantelli’s. Photo by Lindsey A. Miller Photography


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INDUSTRY “He has a passion for the culinary arts and an innate ability to teach and mentor others who aspire to grow in their profession. His command of the kitchen is impressive, and he’s extremely well-respected and admired by his colleagues.” Morabito recalls a day when one customer was brought to tears after ordering the Sicilian Braciole. “He commented he hadn’t tasted sauce like that since his mom passed away,” Morabito tells. Four times a year, Tarantelli’s does a wine-tasting dinner which highlights different regions of Italy. The last soiree focused on Tuscany, and Comis made an appetizer of wild boar and porcini-mushroom Ravi with Asiago and ricotta tortellinis. “One couple who had just toured Tuscany kept raving about how the tortellini was truly authentic,” Comis tells, “and better than what they tasted in Italy.” Hailing from Pikes Peak Culinary Academy in Colorado Springs, Comis worked in a couple of scratch kitchens before landing the position of chef de tournant at the Broadmoor Resort’s Penrose Room in Colorado Springs. This five-star, five-diamond restaurant specialized in French cuisine and taught him everything about fine dining. While there, Comis served a host of VIPs, including Presidents George Bush, Sr., George W. Bush and Barack Obama, all who shook his hand. “At the Penrose, I learned that center-of-the-plate presentations, garnishes, sauces, and other components are critical in making food appealing to the eye,” Comis notes. But he also knew he was heading east. His wife Leigh was expecting their first child and had family in North Carolina. Comis felt right at home when he sat down with Tarantelli’s owners Ryan and Kim Morabito and Erika (Ryan’s sister) and Jason Henderson. He heard their family story of preserving and enhancing fine Italian cooking. “Erika is a real foodie and a big help in organizing old family recipes and menus,” Comis notes. “I took those menus and made them work. There is creative freedom and mutual respect between the owners and me.” Except for the signature Tarantelli’s meatball recipe (using wholestewed pork loin), and the sacrosanct Tarantelli’s spaghetti sauce (using sweet and hot sausages), the owners welcome Comis’ innovative ideas. Jon Hagglund, Tarantelli’s sous chef, previously worked at The Bazaar by José Andrés Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California. He appreciates Comis’ extreme innovation in the kitchen and calls him a fabulous mentor in Italian cooking. The whole crew is one of the most motivated groups he’s known. For 29-year-old Comis, it all started in his grandmother’s kitchen. Sandra Comis taught her grandson to play with dough. “She had greenhouses and was a real believer in the concept of farm-to-table cooking,” Comis explains. “Consequently, I use as much local produce and seafood as possible and try to support local businesses.” The chef rotates both daily and seasonal specials, always with a fresh, local catch of the day. For spring he’s added to the antipasti menu a grilled Chianti chicken with Asiago arancini (risotto balls, packed with garlic, onion, breadcrumbs and flavorful cheeses). Paired with Comis’ favorite bruschetta (Tuscan bread topped with mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, and sea salt), sautéed mussels, and pizza dough knots baked in an authentic Italian stone oven, and the stage is set for dining decadence. Two soups are offered: pasta e fagioli, Tarantelli’s own cannellini bean and pasta recipe, and Comis’ minestrone del nord, a specially cooked northern-style soup. To the traditional insalata menu, Comis 6 DEVOUR | SPRING 2017

is adding fresh kale, sugar-snap peas, and heirloom grape-tomato salad served over roasted garlic with ricotta. Pasta lovers will delight in nine different choices, including the Tarantelli recipe for pappardelle, and Comis’ favorite, taglietelle, which is thinner than fettuccine. Spaghetti al formaggio Parmigiano is an Italian specialty made with flamed whiskey and melted Parmigiana cheese, served tableside from an authentic Italian cheese wheel. “The difference in our homemade noodles and dehydrated noodles is the superior ability of fresh pasta to absorb the flavors of the sauces,” he said. Comis has developed personal relationships with local seafood store owners, and relies on their good judgement for his catch of the day. Shellfish are served in a variety of ways in wine, marinara and buttery cheese sauces over pasta or risotto. Comis’ new favorite is wild-caught scallops over roasted garlic Parmesan risotto and lemon-grilled asparagus. He’s also partial to the golden tilefish, a white flaky filet that has a mild citrus flavor. And what’s an Italian restaurant without the standard pie. Tarantelli’s serves a traditional assortment of le nostre pizze. Comis spruces up the flavor profiles, as tasted in a citrus-roasted, shaved fennel and sliced prosciutto with Asiago and fontina cheese on a whipped ricotta crust, flavored with roasted garlic oil. The grand finale—or dolce e pasticceria—is in the capable hands of pastry chef Geneva Dalton (Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Arts, Atlanta, GA), who works closely with Comis in the kitchen. There are always new offerings on the dessert menu, like limoncello and raspberry parfait, or the Tarantelli’s own banana and coconut cream pies. Tarantelli’s is open daily from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations can be made in advance. —Linda Grattafiori

Josh Seward

Chef for Aubriana’s Prime Steaks and Seafood 115 S. Front St. • (910) 763-7773 When 9/11 happened, Josh Seward was fresh out of high school and pondering the right path for his future. He couldn’t shake the aftereffect of the attack personally. “I didn’t know what to do, so I joined the Coast Guard,” he recalls. Stationed in Hawaii, luckily, Seward was never called to war. He maintained the position of boatswain’s mate, and helped with maintenance, small operations, navigation, and supervising personnel on the ship’s deck force. “Mainly, we made sure Russian ships weren’t trolling the water,” he says—something eerily needed more today, some 15 years later since Seward’s departure from the military. “I only signed a threeyear contract,” he admits. “I wasn’t interested in a military career as much as the GI Bill.” Upon his honorable discharge, he juggled the decision of where and what to study. He considered being a cop but found something more appealing on the campus of St. Paul Minnesota’s Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. “I hadn’t had too much experience in the restaurant industry beforehand,” he tells. “Aside from working at a pizza place and a Dairy Queen, I cooked powdered mashed potatoes and slop in the military, but that’s about it.” Still, he was good in the kitchen—specifically at grilling. His passion slowly grew with each job as a chef. He began by doing banquets after graduation before moving into the kitchen at the


• Above: Chef Josh Seward moved to Wilmington from Chicago to take on the executive chef position at downtown’s fine-dining eatery, Aubriana’s, which is seeing an overhaul in its approach by offering traditional steakhouse menu and service. Photo by Lindsey A. Miller Photography

fine-dining steakhouse Capital Grille in Indianapolis. “It was a good place to work,” he tells. “They took pride in top-notch ingredients and the finest cuts of meats.” Thus was born the chef Seward would go on to become: someone who appreciates an old-school approach to dining. Seward works in simple, tried-and-true preparation with crème de la crème ingredients, served in filling portions. He isn’t impressed by the trends of modern-day fine dining that deliver smaller serving sizes of food made with modern gastronomical techniques or products that fancify flavors. “We have meat glue and other chemicals in storage that was once used,” he says. “And we may pull it out sometimes, but mostly we rely on the best ingredients to showcase the best cuisine.” For Seward that looks like a bone-in ribeye, grain-fed and aged to near perfection. The way the fat shrinks in the aging process allows for the flavor to intensify throughout the meat. “It’s not like a grocery-store steak,” he tells. “It literally melts in your mouth in every bite. And I only order whole loins when it comes to our butcher’s selection of the week; so everyone who orders it gets a cut from the same animal. Every bite will taste the same among the whole table to create that quintessential steakhouse experience.” The 35-year-old moved from Chicago, where he worked in a finedining Hilton, in October 2016 with his wife and their two sons to

fulfill their dream of living on the coast. They had visited Topsail numerous times during vacations. When the chef position opened at Aubriana’s in downtown Wilmington, owner Carol Roggeman knew Seward would be a good fit. Roggeman already hired a general manager, Nicole Boudrieau, in June 2016, who also had steakhouse experience. Boudrieau was finessing the fine-dining approach with veteran servers, to make sure they were attending to customers’ needs as if they were the most important people in the world. Among such servers is Hank Shull, a lifer in the local fine-dining industry who has worked at Aubriana’s for five years now. “The steakhouse experience starts with front-of-the-house,” Seward praises. “That’s what customers see when they first come in: the servers, the linens, the cleanliness of a restaurant. How the servers give their spiel and how good they are at remembering everything and knowing every detail of the restaurant as a whole. Answering every little question. Hank has been an invaluable voice. He has let us know firsthand customer responses to the switch we made into a steakhouse. They have responded well to larger portion sizes and preparations. We have pulled up our Open Table rating from a 4 to a 4.8.” Seward calls Aubriana’s improvements a team effort. He leads by example, first and foremost, culling knowledge from the 12-week course program on restaurant management at Le Cordon Bleu. But the real learning experiences came from all of his on-the-job training. “Seeing how your chefs treat you and then how you want to treat people, it counts for a lot because why would you want to make the same mistakes as someone who you didn’t like working for?” he asks rhetorically. “Choose how you want to work and the people will come to you—ones you can rely on.” SPRING 2017 | DEVOUR 7

• Above: Chef Josh Seward’s filet Oscar, topped with a crabcake and béarnaise sauced, served with asparagus. Photo by Lindsey A. Miller Photography

That’s what happened when his sous chef, Dewayne Hickman, came on board shortly after Seward took the executive chef position. Hickman has experience from DC and makes homemade pasta, apparent in a ravioli dish of diver sea scallops and wild mushrooms. “He will help me devise our new summer menu to debut in June,” Seward explains. While cuts of meat are prime items to focus on, the team has kept fresh seafood on the menu to feed pescetarian palates. Currently, they serve a majority of their seafood from the gulf of Florida; however, with the new season kicking in for local fisherman, Seward will be working with Seaview Crab Company more in coming months. Plus, they’ll be upgrading vegetables from the bounty offered by

local farmers. “On our cheese and charcuterie plates, currently, we have NC soft cheeses,” he says. “But that changes weekly. I’ll mix in hard cheeses from France as well, to go with items like boar sausage or duck pepperoni.” Aubriana’s now serves a coriander-crusted rack of lamb, as well as cedar-plank salmon or roasted mahogany-smoked chicken. There are composite plates, served with sides, but Seward wants to switch to a la carte in the future—in true steakhouse fashion. “There is something primal and delicious about showcasing just a plate of the meat you’ve cooked to perfection,” he says. “I like that dining experience: where the protein comes separate from the sides and you can choose only to eat the meat or share with family and friends.” Seward is also looking forward to preparing the USDA Prime Midwest grain-fed beef, aged at least 21 days, in a broiler. The restaurant will be upgrading equipment as to give the option of having the meat grilled or broiled. “When aged steaks like this are broiled, the heat comes from the top rather than the flame searing from the bottom,” he explains. “Therefore, the flavor is still preserved in the meat, rather than dripping to the bottom of a grill.” Steaks can be prepared one of many ways. While traditional butter and salt and pepper will fill the palate for old-school preferences, Seward is partial to the porcini rub. Customers can also choose a Kona rub and shallot butter or, in pure decadence, add foie gras. The upgrades and changes to Aubriana’s haven’t come at the price of loyal favorites, however. Customers can still find their famed lamb lollipops, mussels and peanut-butter pie. But they’ll also get a bite of newer soup ju jours, daily sliders (which can be anything from fried catfish to pulled pork to tenderloin), cheese and charcuterie, and desserts. Aubriana’s is open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner only, beginning at 5 p.m. Reservations are accepted. —Shea Carver

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From Pie to Pie: Local restaurateurs talk pizza and sweets BY Allison Ballard ● Devour contributor, freelance writer

What does it take to make a success in the Wilmington’s food and beverage business? Culinary skill, business expertise, an appreciation for customer service? Sure, they are undoubtedly a part of the recipe. But there’s something else successful entrepreneur/restaurateurs have: vision. Maybe that’s why local eaters will be seeing more of them, if Slice of Life owner Ray Worrell and Apple Annie’s Bakeshop and The Wine Sampler owner Rob Cooley have anything to say about it. ● Apple Annie’s Bake Shop and The Wine Sampler have merged to create 80 Barnwell in a Leland, where they sell wine and sweets and other bite-sized eats. Above, from left to right, are owners Jamie Mingia and Rob Cooley. Photo by Lindsey A. Miller Photography


INDUSTRY Ray Worrell

Slice of Life 1437 Military Cutoff Rd.• (910) 256-2229 125 Market St. • (910) 251-9444 3715 Patriot Way #101 • (910) 799-1399

Ray Worrell aspired to open a pizza place in downtown Wilmington for years when he was still slinging drinks and managing bars. He even had the name picked out, and was a little jealous of Ian Moseley when he opened Slice of Life Pizzeria and Pub in 1999. Eventually, though, Worrell’s bartending skills brought him to Slice, a late-night establishment. It put Worrell’s plans in motion: extend the reach of Slice of Life throughout the area. Worrell came to Wilmington, by way of New Jersey, to attend the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He had worked a few kitchen jobs, as a dishwasher and prep cook, in his teenage years. Once here, he moved to shucking oysters and bartending at Hieronymus. Over the years, and after graduating, he worked at a few other Wilmington institutions: Elijah’s, Reel Cafe and Caprice Bistro. Worrell still looks back fondly on his time behind the bar. “That time and work really molded me into being a better restaurateur,” he said. “I have no regrets.” Especially when he thinks about the work that it took to get him where he is today—as the owner of three Slice locations, with a project underway to build a new one (along with a new development) in Porters Neck. He was bartending weekends at Slice of Life and working other nights at Caprice Bistro. “I’d heard Ian might be thinking about selling,” he remembers. As it turned out, Moseley wasn’t yet ready for that step— but he was ready to start another business with Worrell: Port City Amusements. They leased pool tables and video games to local bars. Eventually, though, fate had its way and Worrell bought Slice. For a few months, he tried to keep it all going, and he was especially interested in maintaining a ground-level connection to the restaurant he now owned, so he kept bartending. But responsibilities and time became too great, so Worrell sold Port City Amusements and decided to concentrate solely on being a restaurateur. He has an early Slice menu in his office/man cave above the downtown location. Located at the corner of Market and 2nd streets—across from where the original location once stood at Fork n Cork (122 Market St.)—it’s basically an entertainment center, with jukebox, conference table and memorabilia from the pizzeria. The offerings at his restaurant have remained much the same, though Worrell has refined them. One of his first tasks was perfecting and standardizing his dough recipe, down to measuring quantities for water and ice—an important step when considering the output Slice does. On a busy day the staff might make 400 pounds or so of it. Over the years, he’s taken steps to offer the best quality ingredients. He sampled and tasted multiple gluten-free crusts and vegan cheeses, for example, for his customers with food allergies and sensitivities. “I want to have products I’m proud to serve,” he tells. In the decade-plus of owning the restaurant, the expansion has followed a predictable schedule, he said. It was after about three years when Worrell opened a location on Military Cut-

off. After another few, it was the Fulton Station site in Pine Valley. Now the time has come again. The Porters Neck expansion came because Worrell couldn’t find the space he wanted—which led to plans for a multi-unit space on Porters Neck Road, with a large stand-alone building for the new Slice of Life. Two-to-four other businesses will surround him. Worrell’s plans include indoor seating for the restaurant and a covered outdoor area, as well as garage doors that can open on warm, sunny days. Between the buildings, he’s planned a space for tables, fire pits and communal seating to grab a self-service bite. Construction could begin as early as August, with an opening date planned for next year. In addition to his current plans, Worrell is using his success to give back to the community. He’s helped a number of nonprofits over the years and is now playing an important role in Nourish NC, which provides healthy food (via boxes or backpacks) to hungry children. They now feed more than 700 kids each week. “This is a program that is dear to my heart,” he explains. “Feeding children right here in our community.” He’s also thinking ahead toward the next project, for when the Porters Neck location is established. He can easily envision it from his office at 125 Market Street: to extend to the lot next door, with an outdoor seating area for Slice on the first floor and more offices and living spaces above.

● Slice of Life owner Ray Worrell at his downtown location on Second and Market streets. Photo by Lindsey A. Miller



INDUSTRY Right now, though, he’s taking it one step at a time.

Rob Cooley

Apple Annie’s Bakeshop 837 S. Kerr Ave. • (910) 799-9023 1121 Military Cutoff Rd. • (910) 265-6585 The Wine Sampler 4107 Oleander Dr., Suite C • (910) 796-9463

According to Rob Cooley, he had one major skill necessary to run the well-known local bakery Apple Annie’s Bake Shop. “I’m an eater,” Cooley notes. In addition, he understood management and attained organizational skills during his time in the U.S. Army and as a colonel in the National Guard. And he’s been a fan of Apple Annie’s baked goods for a long time—even longer than the shop’s 32-year history in Wilmington. He and his family knew the Longordo family from their previous bakery in Chester, New Jersey. “They baked my going-away cake for West Point in ’85, and I think closed not long after,” he recalls. When the Cooleys moved to southeastern NC in 1996, they quickly became loyal customers of Apple Annie’s. Cooley actually was in talks with the Longordos about buying the bakery when owner and patriarch Frank Longordo passed away. Cooley took over the business in 2013, and since he’s maintained the bakery’s traditions—and 50-yearold recipes—while still navigating Apple Annie’s into the future. There were two locations when he bought the business, and there still are, although he moved the second to The Forum shopping center on Military Cutoff Road. In the meantime, he’s also been learning even loyal customers don’t always know all the items the bakery has to offer. “You know, we have people come in and they go right to their favorites,” he remarks. “I would say our breads, all the breads we have, are a little under the radar.” And they are always keeping up with new products and new trends. Favorites, like cannolis and eclairs, now come in miniature sizes. They offer custom cakes and “smash” cakes specially designed for little hands to demolish. “There’s a lot we can do.” That might be especially true with his new idea, and the partnership he has with his family in The Wine Sampler on Oleander Drive. “My father had been pouring wine there and having a great time,” he tells. It wasn’t long before he and his father, Bob, talked sister and brother-


● Above: Pizza from Slice comes in all flavors and sizes. Below: Sweets abound at Apple Annie’s and their sister store in Leland, 80 Barnwell. Photo by Lindsey A. Miller Photography

in-law (Krissy and Jamie Mingia) into moving here from Winston-Salem and owning the wine shop together. “They know so much about wine,” Cooley notes. “Jamie and my dad are definitely the wine experts.” Already the family has benefited from the partnership by pairing pastries and breads with beer and wine for a variety of events. The group is now bringing a combined bakery and wine shop idea to Leland. “We’re calling it 80 Barnwell,” he said. It refers to the place where he first learned to appreciate food, where he learned to become an “eater”: his grandparents’ address in White Plains, New York. The family is planning 80 Barnwell as a sort of a choose-your-own adventure eatery. Customers can get a coffee and a croissant in the morning. They might be able to grab provisions, via quality meats, cheeses and breads on the go. They can order from what Cooley is envisioning as a simple menu—soups in bread bowls and paninis—with a beer for lunch. Or those who need a pick-me-up before the end of the day can come in for a slice of chocolate cake and a glass of red wine. The proposal includes lots of display cases for the baked goods, specialty foods, wine and beer. There will be a consultation desk where the staff can help people design cakes and desserts for special occasions. Customers can have a seat at the tasting bar inside or enjoy the open-air area in nice weather. “There’s a lot going into the plan, including a larger production area,” Cooley says. “We’re spending a lot of time on this and really looking at ease of design. We want to make sure we do this right.” Once he and his family are happy with the concept and have settled on a location in Leland, which could open later this year, they’ll try to expand 80 Barnwell. Perhaps first in Porters Neck—and maybe in the same development with Slice of Life. “It’s definitely something we’re thinking about,” he said. After that, who knows, perhaps Raleigh or Charlotte. “We’d like to go west on 40 and south on 95,” he explains. At the same time, he wants to focus on what he calls the business’ four core principals. One is community. “I believe in supporting local businesses,” he says. “And community extends to local police, firefighters and veterans. On 9/11, we give thank-you baskets to first responders.” The other core pillars are customer satisfaction, quality products and treating their employees well. Cooley sees these businesses as a longterm investment in his community and his family. “In my family, we’re already starting with the next generation,” he notes. “We’re all good eaters.”

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Changin Ways: David Borkowski talks pig farming BY Shannon Rae Gentry ● Devour assistant editor

When David Borkowski first started Changin’ Ways LLC and his pig farm back in September 2016, he had no idea the property would be under 5 feet of water a month later. “It was all water as far as you could see,” he says of Hurricane Matthew’s damage last October. Borkowski showed me an aerial shot of the property submerged in water. It easily could have been a photo of a lake. ● Above: Pigs abound at Changin’ Ways farm, snorting and rooting around happily in the mud. Photo by Tom Dorgan


INDUSTRY Borkowski started off with about 40 hogs to house on O’Brien’s property, where they both share responsibilities and acreage— now home to hogs, chickens and bees. It’s an interesting dynamic that works, even though Borkowski has a bigger picture and business plan in mind. He named his business “Changin’ Ways” because he was changing his career, but he wants to change how people think about food and from where it comes. “I actually wanted to connect people from the food source to the table,” he tells. “I saw an opportunity with the hogs to get my foot in the door, and I knew I could make them profitable—at least enough to get me up and going with a customer base. . . . Along that same vein I’ve always been interested in getting more back to how nature functions and operates in regards to food. I love to hunt. I love to fish. I love to figure out how to provide.” Borkowski always has been a foodie of sorts. In fact, once he completed his 23-year service with the Marine Corps, his family and friends thought he’d go to culinary school. After decades of missing wedding anniversaries, fishing trips with his dad, and family reunions, he decided not to jump into a demanding role as chef. Instead, he took six months to catch up on life. For growth’s sake, Borkowski has purchased more pigs to help “clean up the bloodline” and make the switch completely to Berkshire. Separated by a low-level wire fence, in age groups and shaded by trees, pigs rooted around in the mud. They took a moment to snort acknowledgement of our presence. Borkowski pointed out a couple of red piglets with dark spots who were all farrowed at Changin’ Ways. They’re a mix of Duroc, Large Black photo by Lindsey Miller Photography

At the time, Borkowski was able to keep 13 of his piglets at a friend’s farm in Scotts Hill. He took a handful of others elsewhere, while about six hogs were stranded on high ground of the mostly submerged property. They were safe, but he and his friend, Bill O’Brien, had to venture out with kayaks full of food daily for about two weeks. “Welcome to being responsible for pigs,” Borkowski says with a laugh. Almost six months later, he and I stood on the same property— soggy from a recent rain but dry enough. Borkowski reminded me we’re not standing on his land; though, he promises he’s not squatting. “Sometimes I might be accused of that,” he quips. “The property you actually see here is Bill O’Brien’s, who also runs Veteran Owned Veteran Grown. His organization extends to veterans to help with PTSD, mental [and physical] health issues, and get them out on the farm to help them cope and deal.” Just two years ago, Borkowski was an active-duty Marine who had no knowledge of farming at all. (Aside from the occasional tomato plant that would inevitably fall to a hungry rabbit or bugs.) Other than having dogs and fish as pets, Borkowski had never dealt with livestock in his life. This all changed when he retired and met Kyle Stenersen of Humble Roots Farm near Poplar Grove. “He needed help processing chickens,” Borkowski recalls. “I started volunteering every couple weeks, and it turned into kind of an internship and . . . one thing snowballed into the next, and Changin’ Ways was born.”


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“Home of the Legend”

5046 New Centre Dr. (910) 859-7374 Full menu until 2 a.m., 7 days a week SPRING 2017 | DEVOUR 15

INDUSTRY and (maybe) Landrace. “This is just an amalgamation of stuff,” Borkowski adds and gestures to the young pigs. “When you talk about [working with] restaurants and get[ting] them interested, I can’t say I’ve got a bunch of random pigs.” Only three hog residents have names: Bill the boar, a Berkshire sow, Stacy, and Borkowski’s beloved 700-pound sow, Cinnamon. Stacy’s due to have her first litter in June and the aforementioned “muts,” so to speak, are the last drift from Cinnamon. Aside from being a wonderful mother—a necessary trait to remain on a farm as a farrowing pig—Cinnamon is towering. Her coarse hair is caked in dried mud, and dust plumes from her body as Borkowski pats her back. “Cinnamon is the sweetest thing in the world,” he says. “We can’t get rid of her and we’d all probably cry for a week if we did.” Borkowski can process about two or three pigs at a time, and he sells out within three weeks. He’d like to get up to six hogs a month. Right now he has about 50 pigs and needs to get to 80 once he finishes clearing trees and brush for paddock expansion. “It should be about 60 or 70 percent bigger,” he estimates. As the pigs grow and age, they’re moved from paddock to paddock in order to give the soil a chance to recover. Keeping their process as natural and healthy as possible, they never use hormones or antibiotics. Changin’ Ways pigs are fed with a combination of spent grain from Waterline Brewing and unusable produce and scraps from a local grocery store. Borkowski bases his farming philosophies on Joel Salatin, who


● Above: Changin’ Ways founder David Borkowski tours his pig farm with Devour.Photo by Tom Dorgan

● Right: Chickens graze across the fields. Photo by Tom Dorgan

operates Polyface Farms in Virginia and has written books like “Folks, This Ain’t Normal,” “You Can Farm” and “Salad Bar Beef.” “His big thing is enrich the soil, enrich the land, enrich the livestock, and bring a symbiotic relationship to everything it is you have going on with your farm,” Borkowski tells, “like monocropping or what we’re doing with the [mobile] chickens.” Borkowski’s “egg mobile” sat several yards away from the pigs on an open-field plot. It’s where they started plowing the land for crops. We walked across the layers of wet and clay-like muds. He lowered the portable pen’s net fence for me to walk over, and about 160 fowl slowly set in and surrounded us. Their collective broody growl was almost deafening—even unnerving. “These birds, last week, were over here,” he points off to the right side of field. “Then we moved them where we are here, and we’ll put them over there next.” He pointed ahead of us. The fowl simply do what chickens do: scratch and peck for bugs. Borkowski leaves them to their work for about week or more, so their manure helps fertilize the soil. Once they’re ready to be moved again, Borkowski and company will till the soil and plant produce. “Are those the ‘attack geese’?” I pointed to the meandering duo circling the perimeter, reminded of the warning sign posted on the front gate. Borkowski laughed. “Believe it or not . . . they will actually keep the aerial predators at bay,” he explains. There are typically two things to worry about with chickens: ground predators (possums, raccoons, foxes, coyotes) and aerial predators (hawks and such). Borkowski’s chickens have triple protection (outer property fence, mobile netting and closed trailer at night) from the ground threats. That’s where the geese come in. “If something comes down here, [the geese] just wah-wah-wahwah,” Borkowski mimics. Borkowski wanted a variety of chicken breeds for different colors of eggs to offer small teaching lessons at farmers’ markets. Ameraucanas produce green eggs, while Andalusians’ are white, and his red cornish crosses have brown. “Some stories you hear from people who think all organic eggs are brown,” he says. “So it’s part of the whole education process.” He sells eggs alongside a spread of his pork cuts and sausages at Port City Farmers Market each Tuesday evening at Waterline (4 p.m. - 9 p.m.), and he’ll join Poplar Grove’s Farmers Market

INDUSTRY this year on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. His goal is to soon start pastor-raising chickens for meat, then hire employees to help keep up with growth—as other farmers markets, such as Surf City and Carolina Beach, have begun knocking at his door. “Once I get someone else out here, there will be more flexibility and time to expand a bit more in the markets and reach out to greater distances,” he tells. “Also, Dean [Neff] at PinPoint is impressed with the pork. I will start doing some initial deliveries . . . I will not be his only pork provider but hope to have enough pigs in the future that I can supply most, if not all, of his future pork needs.” Borkowski envisions a lot for Changin’ Ways’ three-to-five-year plan, including a small-scale sustainable farm that has both meat

and vegetable products. “I don’t want to totally divest from what’s going on here,” he clarifies. “[But] I’ve actually be I’ve got my eye on a property in Hampstead with an empty vacant lot for a small storefront.” Changin’ Ways Farm is located at 7356 East Hwy 53; 703-9676535;

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Old River bene fits community , offers healthy harvest


Seafaring Succulence Wilmington seafood servants share their secrets By Fanny Slater ● Devour contributor


hile we all adore fluffy boots and spicy pots of spiked apple cider, I think it’s safe to say warm weather is Wilmington’s first love. Our city’s vibe screams sunshine, shade and seafood, as we celebrate some of the freshest catch around and extraordinary chefs who transform this ocean fare into pure genius on a plate. I picked three of my favorite seafood dishes and nudged their creators for a peek into their shopping baskets and recipe lists. The best part: Each chef gave me insight on how to achieve something similar in my very own kitchen.

PinPoint Chef Dean Neff’s fried catfish

Although he just arrived on Wilmington’s restaurant scene two years ago, no one would disagree PinPoint’s Dean Neff is a maestro when it comes to harmonizing an idyllic melody of flavors. By sourcing a combination of his low-country roots and edible childhood memories, customers can taste the passion in every bite of his sensational food. A particular standout on his New American roster is the fish and grits (a seemingly simple dish when considering what fried fish typically entails). A closer look into the components, however, will show Neff nails the technique of making humble ingredients refined. Catfish haters, beware... Devour (D): We all know fish and grits is a classic Southern combination. Why did you choose catfish? Dean Neff (DN): Catfish as an ingredient has in fact come a long way in the past 10 years. Farming practices have become cleaner and have in turn yielded a cleaner taste. At PinPoint we brine the catfish for two

• Right: PinPoint’s catfish and grits takes fresh decadence to new levels. Photo by Lindsey Miller Photography


INDUSTRY hours in a bath with lots of lemon and fresh herbs. We then pat the fish dry and cold smoke it with a blend of apple and pecan wood. Finally, we roll it into great cornmeal, and pan-fry it in a cast-iron skillet. We serve it over Anson Mills white antebellum grits, with seared okra and shaved green tomato slaw. The result is a comfort food that has balance and reminds me of camping in the summertime in Georgia. It has made believers out of the most skeptical catfish haters. D: When you’re frying fish, is cornmeal-crusted the only way to go? DN: We use lots of different flours, with lots of different recipes when frying fish. Wondra flour, all-purpose, panko breadcrumbs, tempura. All are great and would be tasty, but I love the contrasting corn textures and flavors when using cornmeal. It’s also so easy! D: What makes the leek and corn-creamed grits such a perfect sidecar for the fried fish? DN: It layers varying degrees of roasted corn with creamy contrasts and the crunchy texture of the pan-fried catfish. The leeks and cream in the grits add a backdrop of comforting and expansive allium flavor to these antebellum grits, which are rustic and sweet. D: If someone couldn’t find leeks, what’s the next best member of the onion family that would achieve a similar flavor? DN: Using the lighter part of green onions would be a great substitute for leeks in a pinch. I also love using celery root in the same way. D: What would you swap in for the green tomato slaw to get that acidic crunch, if someone couldn’t find green tomatoes? DN: You can use any tender, in-season veggies, shaved thinly and tossed with a simple lemon vinaigrette. Think hakurei turnips, fennel, baby carrots, sugar snaps, celery, radish, or any other tenderenough-to-eat-raw veggie. D: The lemon brown butter brings a whole other level of nutty flavor. Would any other citrus butters work well here? Any other sauce suggestions for folks at home who want to change it? DN: I would recommend a vinaigrette-type sauce here to add lots of brightness to the rich and creamy theme of the grits. Even a large lemon squeeze would do the trick. The idea of the lemon brown butter is to balance the butter with the lemon juice (acid). Think vinaigrette: one-part acid (lemon juice) to three-parts oil (butter). The brown butter requires stirring before using to distribute the lemon juice throughout the butter. D: Where does the fish you use in the restaurant come from, and why did you choose to source it from the particular farm and/ or fisherman? DN: We source our catfish from Carolina Classic Catfish, which is a North Carolina-based catfish farm that has created a better way of farming catfish. CCCF brings restaurants the most consistent and cleanest tasting catfish I have ever eaten. They do not use pesticides or antibiotics, and take a lot of care in their practices. D: If a home cook wanted to prepare something similar to this dish in their kitchen, what advice would you give them for making something comparative but not too complex? DN: The recipe is so simple, it can be made by cooks at any level. You can always leave off the brining and smoking part of the fish preparation. You could also just make the grits without the leek aspect and finish with a little butter and cream. It’s basically just making grits, and pan-frying catfish with some sliced green tomatoes and a squeeze of lemon. D: What’s another good sub-in for catfish that fries up nicely? DN: Flounder, whiting, rainbow trout, spot-tailed trout, redfish, or even bluefish would all be acceptable substitutes. Just make sure

and find super fresh fish! FRIED CATFISH Basic brine: 1 ½ gallons water 1 c sugar 2 c kosher salt Large handful of fresh thyme, bruised with the back of a knife 10 sprigs of fresh dill 3 sprigs fresh oregano 4 cloves of garlic 8 bay leaves 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns ½ tbsp juniper 2 gallons of ice 2 lemons, sliced Bring the water, sugar, salt, thyme, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and juniper mixture to a boil in a large stock pot. Stir well to make sure the salt and sugar are dissolved completely. Remove from the heat, and add the ice, lemon, oregano, and dill. Chill to 38°F or lower before using.

Note: Different meats take different amounts of time for the brine to take effect. A large chicken breast needs a full 24 hours, whereas the catfish fillets only require two hours of brine time. Optional: Cold smoke with apple-wood for 3 to 5 minutes. LEEK GRITS ½ c coarse white grits 1 ½ c water ½ c whole milk ¼ c heavy cream ½ c minced lighter leek section Salt and pepper In a small and nonreactive (non-aluminum) sauce pot, add the water and grits. Over low heat, bring to a gentle simmer, and cook slowly without boiling. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to prevent scorching. Cook the grits to the variety’s determined time, and finish with salt and pepper. In a small and nonreactive sauce pot, add milk, heavy cream, and minced leek. Season this mixture with salt. Simmer over low heat until the celery root is tender. Carefully, puree in a blender until smooth (with a heavy towel over the top to prevent a dangerous and hot explosion). Marry the grits and the leek puree to fortify the grits. Be careful to not dilute the consistency too much. If too much puree is added, put it back on the heat to gently reduce. Taste for seasoning, reserve and hold warm. GREEN TOMATO SLAW 2 large green tomatoes, cleaned and finely shaved, with a mandolin slicer, or use a sharp knife to fine julienne and omit the core, which you can save for soups or stocks ½ medium red onion, finely sliced 1 tbsp minced dill or fennel fronds 2 tsp lemon juice 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil ½ tsp kosher salt SPRING 2017 | DEVOUR 19

INDUSTRY ¼ tsp lemon zest Mix together all ingredients and keep for up to 5 to 7 days chilled in the fridge. LEMON BROWN BUTTER ¼ pound whole butter, lightly softened 2 tbsp lemon juice (or Meyer lemon juice) Salt In a nonreactive pot (that holds 10 times more volume than the butter), gently heat the whole butter. As the butter cooks, brown milk solids will form on the bottom of the pot. With a spoon or whisk, continuously scrape the bottom of the pot while the butter cooks. Keep the heat low and watch the butter turn into a golden brown. Note: This next step requires some care. Realize that as you add the lemon juice, the butter will bubble. You can reduce it from bubbling over by letting the butter cool for 30 to 60 seconds, and by whisking as you slowly add the lemon juice. Remove the pot from heat and carefully whisk in lemon juice. Season lightly with salt and remember to stir well before using. CATFISH 4 brined catfish fillets 2 c cornmeal, seasoned lightly with kosher salt and pepper ¼ c corn or peanut oil


• Cape Fear Seafood Company’s fresh catch saltimbocca puts grouper at the forefront, though any flaky whitefish will do. Photo by Lindsey Miller Photography

Preheat oven to 400°F. Pat the catfish fillets dry with a clean towel and press firmly into the seasoned cornmeal. Heat the cast-iron skillet over medium flame and add the corn or peanut oil. The oil should shimmer when it’s ready for the fillets. Carefully add the catfish fillets one at a time. Gently brown on the first side and flip. Pour off excess oil out of the skillet and place in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve the catfish immediately out of the oven, making sure you have a dry towel as the handle will be hot!)


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2 Ann St. Wilmington, NC • 910-343-1448

INDUSTRY Serve on top of the celery grits, top with the green tomato slaw, and drizzle the lemon brown butter over top.

Cape Fear Seafood Company Owner Evans Trawick’s fresh catch saltimbocca

There’s a reason Cape Fear Seafood Company consistently crowns locals’ lists for having some of the most sublimely prepared cuisine in the area. Chef and owner Evans Trawick’s modern take on the land-and-sea grill elevated the Port City’s culinary culture when it hit shore in 2008 in Monkey Junction. Since, they’ve expanded to Porters Neck and have a Leland eatery coming soon. CFSC’s broad, approachable selection covers everything from beer-battered fish-and-chips, to crab-covered crispy risotto cakes, to a hand-cut grilled ribeye. Of course, the notorious showstopper is the highly renowned, rich-as-can-be shrimp and grits, enriched with smoky Applewood bacon, mushrooms, and low-country cream sauce. For me, though, it’s the fresh catch saltimbocca that makes this eatery a frontrunner in the regional seafood game. Devour (D): Most folks I’ve spoken with say they’ve had the fresh catch saltimbocca prepared with grouper, and it’s the best they’ve ever had. Is grouper your favorite fresh catch for this dish? Evans Trawick (ET): It’s one of my favorites, along with striped bass and trigger fish. D: What would you recommend if grouper is out of season and someone wanted to make it at home with fresh, locally caught fish? ET: If grouper can’t be found, and it is getting more difficult to source it for a reasonable price, I think striped bass or tilefish makes an excellent substitute. Almost any white, flaky fish will do, but these are some that we think work well. D: What’s the purpose of the goat cheese addition to this dish? Is it for the tangy flavor of the cheese, the creaminess? ET: It adds another dimension to the dish—more depth. By adding the cheese, you get a tangy contrast to an otherwise savory dish. D: If a home cook wanted to prepare something similar to this in their kitchen, what advice would you give them? ET: Other than the sauces, this is a very basic dish. Don’t shy away from this or any seafood. Our number one rule is to not overcook it or over complicate it. The saltimbocca is one of the more complex dishes on our menu, as far as its flavor profile goes, but that shouldn’t deter the home cook from experimenting with seafood. D: How is the fish prepared for this dish? ET: The fish itself is baked, and the bed of spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms is lightly sautéed. D: Obviously, you can tell by sight when the prosciutto is crisp, but how can you tell that the fish is perfectly cooked? ET: If you’re cooking this at home, the easiest way may be to use a probe thermometer and make sure the internal temperature reaches 145°F. D: Why prosciutto instead of bacon or pancetta as the salty pork component here? ET: The prosciutto adds an earthy almost floral taste to the dish, where both bacon and pancetta have a little too much fat—and bacon is too smoky. D: What other fishes would pair well with crispy pork flavor? ET: Pork really goes with anything, right? Scallops obviously go well with pork (think bacon-wrapped), but we use pork in several of our signature dishes. Applewood-smoked bacon in our Cape Fear shrimp and grits, prosciutto in the saltimbocca, and Andouille sau-

sage in our shrimp and scallop jambalaya. D: The demi-glace on the plate is such a beautiful contrast of colors. What’s an easy swap-in for the home cook if they didn’t know how to prepare this sauce? ET: You can take beef broth and reduce it by half. Use a cornstarch slurry to thicken it just a bit and swirl in a few cubes of butter to get the same effect as demi-glace. D: The lemon beurre blanc brings the whole dish together. Why did you choose that instead of another classic French sauce? ET: I think beurre blanc is the best sauce for almost any seafood option. Its simple, velvety texture and richness (along with the slight tartness from the lemon and wine) really bring out the best in seafood. D: Where do you source the fish for your restaurant, and why did you choose it from said farm or fisherman? ET: The majority of our local fish comes from Steve Strouse of Steve’s Seafood in Brunswick County. I have known Steve for several years and really enjoy working with him to source our fin fish. We have worked with, and continue to work with, multiple suppliers, but he understands we are looking for quality, freshness and anything unique to serve in the restaurants. LEMON BEURRE BLANC ½ clove chopped garlic ½ minced shallot Juice of a lemon Pinch of red pepper flakes Sprig of fresh thyme Pinch of salt 1 ½ c white wine 3/4 c heavy cream ½ stick butter, cubed Add all ingredients to a heavy sauce pan and reduce the wine by half. Add heavy cream and reduce by half again over medium heat. Once the sauce has reduced, remove it from the heat and immediately add butter. Whisk it in until the sauce has come together. Note: Use a chinois to pour the sauce into another container—removing the added ingredients, which you can drape over your dish or just drink. Either way, it will really make your day.

Shuckin’ Shack Co-owner Matt Piccinin’s lobster roll

Blend together two-parts surf’s up vibe, one-part seafood steam pot, and a Bloody bivalve shot, and the recipe for Shuckin’ Shack’s success is apparent. It’s a vacationer’s dream come true—even for natives. Just because we live at the beach doesn’t mean we take fried shrimp baskets and fruity cocktails for granted. The beauty of the islandy joint (located downtown, in Carolina Beach and at Topsail) is Shuckin’ Shack’s ability to keep customers swinging through their screen door no matter the weather. Shuckin’ Shack is scented with Old Bay, serves up seafood buckets for days, and faithfully offers specials on items like fresh, buttery clams and frosty pints. Regulars, however, don’t even bother with a menu. It’s lobster roll or bust. I sat down with co-founder Matt Piccinin to get the scoop on what makes Shuckin’ Shack’s spin on the New England classic a top-selling item. D: The dish obviously has a New England influence with a NC twist. What gives it the NC flair? SPRING 2017 | DEVOUR 21

• On a roll at Shuckin’ Shack is the northeast staple of a lobster roll, with shellfish that comes straight from northeastern US or Canada, and even Southernized in the sauce with a touch of mustard. Photo by Lindsey Miller Photography

Matt Piccinin (MP): We were thinking about Carolina mustard, like a good old Carolina BBQ. D: I gotta ask: Why the mustard sauce? MP: Some lobster-roll recipes call for mustard in the lobster salad.

We felt like adding it on the top gives the dish a more casual feel—like eating a hot dog at a baseball game! D: Are most people turned off or intrigued by the addition of the mustard? MP: We get mixed responses. It is definitely a conversation starter. We also offer it on the side if mustard sauce is not your thing! D: The mustard sauce is a “spicy mustard remoulade,” really. Is it essentially spicy mustard and mayo? What makes it a remoulade? MP: It’s basically the simplest remoulade you can make. Obviously, mayo based with spicy mustard and spices. We wanted to add the remoulade without overpowering the dish. Our theme is keep it simple! D: Some lobster salads are made with too much mayo. Shuckin’s seems to have the perfect amount of creaminess, but with the lobster being showcased front and center. What’s the secret? Is there any mayo? MP: There is a small amount of mayo. The secret is to let the lobster do the talking. The sauce complements the lobster not the other way around. D: Where does the lobster come from that you use in your restaurants, and why did you choose to source it from there? MP: We always source our seafood from reputable vendors and

photo by: Lindsey A. Miller Photography

photo by: Melissa Clupper

photo by: Lindsey A. Miller Photography

Reservations needed Friday & Saturday nights (reservations only held for 15 minutes)

(910) 796-8687 4724 New Centre Dr #5 Wilmington, NC 28405 Closed Mon. • Tues.-Fri. 11:30am-2:00pm, 5:00pm-9:30pm Sat. 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:00pm-9:30pm • Sun. 5:00pm-9:00pm


fisheries that practice sustainable fishing. The lobster at the Shack is usually from Canada or Northeast US. D: Would this be an easy dish for a novice to tackle? MP: This dish is simple and uses very few ingredients. A little mayo, a little butter and a few spices! D: How is the lobster meat prepared before it becomes “lobster salad”? Steamed? MP: The lobster is steamed, cooled and drained of excess water. D: Any other topping suggestions for folks making this at home? MP: Some remoulade recipes call for pickle or relish. I think it would be a fun addition to the dish. D: The roll is perfectly buttered and toasted. Any other suggestions for a lobster roll vehicle if someone couldn’t find those nice big split buns? MP: We offer a lettuce wrap in our restaurants to customers who prefer not to eat bread. The crunchy lettuce is a good complement to the salad. D: Shuckin’ is known for oysters and fried seafood. Why the lobster roll instead of just fried shrimp baskets and fish tacos? Does the chef and owner have New England roots? MP: The lobster roll was a suggestion from a group of Red Socks fans that would come in and watch the games. They were all New England natives, and we felt we had to create a dish just for them. Little did we know at the time it would become our bestselling sandwich. D: Can you give me either a recipe for a component of this dish or a recipe idea for how someone could tweak this in their own kitchen (like a simplified spicy remoulade sauce)? MP: We keep our recipes a secret, but the key to any great seafood dish is to serve high-quality seafood and don’t dress it up too much.

2 locations to serve you 7220 Wrightsville Avenue 5906 Oleander Drive 910-256-1222 910-769-4232 Serving Breakfast and Lunch 6:30 AM to 2:00 PM every day.

$3, $4, $5 HAPPY HOUR MENU Thursday - Sunday 5-7pm

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EAT! Recipes to try at home

Food Your Feelings: Local blogger shares latest round of recipes from her kitchen BY Emily Caulfield ● Devour contributor, Food Your Feelings blogger,

A mad scientist’s power comes from making something wonderful and brand new—like a singular dish that was just a grocery list of disparate ingredients, moments or hours before. The golden, shimmering alchemy of cooking is one of the ways I fill my life with warmth and light. I cook home food; no molecular gastronomics, no loopy swirls on the plate. It is a remarkable thing to be confident in providing for yourself—not just surviving, but creating, often out of very little, a feast, nourishing and magnificent in its rustic simplicity. SAVORY ROQUEFORT CRISPS I’ve searched high and low and in all kinds of cookbooks and cupboards for the best savory cookie on the planet. Now, since I’ve found it, there’s no way to keep it to myself. Bon Appetit’s Carla Lalli Music’s grandmother’s Roquefort crisps recipe is their family tradition. But it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve hijacked deeply personal heirloom recipes—and it won’t be the last. It just has to be shared. You’ll believe when you try these buttery little biscuits from heaven, rich and smooth with the perfect, biting tang of blue cheese and little kick of cayenne.

INGREDIENTS 1/4 lb room-temp butter 1/2 lb Roquefort, Gorgonzola, or your favorite bleu cheese 1 c AP flour 1/4 tsp cayenne (or more or less depending on your taste) 2 tbsp poppy seeds 24 DEVOUR | SPRING 2017

METHOD Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and cheese for about a minute, then add the flour bit by bit until it’s all incorporated into the dough. Add the cayenne and beat the dough until it’s smooth. Divide the dough into two pieces and form into a log, about 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic and let them chill in the fridge for about 12 hours. When it’s cracker cookie time, preheat the oven to 400°F. Use the sharpest knife to slice off ¼-inch thick rounds from the chilled logs. Place the cookies on a nonstick baking sheet, sprinkle them liberally with poppy seeds, and bake for 8 minutes, but keep a close eye. Cool completely before eating! If there are any left (there won’t be), they will stay lovely and crisp for about a week, when stored in an airtight container. SHAKSHUKA As far as we can tell, the Middle Eastern/North African geniuses who thought up shakshuka are the beginning and end of all things eggy. Theoretically, and at its most basic, this skillet dish is eggs cooked in tomato sauce, but in real life it’s something more: a perfect cure all, a zingy way to start or end the day, and the tastiest thing that used to be on two legs.

INGREDIENTS Eggs (one or two for each person) 1 red bell pepper, diced 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, smashed 1 tbsp tomato paste 2 jalapeños, diced 1 small yellow onion, diced Garlic, diced—as much as you want Cumin Cayenne Big ol’ bunch parsley, mint and/or cilantro, chopped roughly Spanish paprika Pinch sugar Salt and pepper to taste 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

EAT METHOD Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the onions, garlic and some salt, and cook for a few minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the bell pepper, and the jalapeños, cumin, paprika, and cayenne. Cayenne gets spicy quick, so proceed with caution. But this is a taste thing, so have at it, really. It’s your fancy tomato egg skillet. Next goes in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for 5 to 8 more minutes until the mixture begins to reduce and thicken. Crack the eggs over the mixture, evenly spacing them from each other. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs. We like them sunny. Garnish with that parsley (and if you want a little cheese, some feta is awesome here). Eat it all up. We love you, and these eggs, and hope you love each other, too. CHERRY CLAFOUTIS The sour squeak and ripe fresh burst of a cherry really is the biggest, baddest, best way to blow your own mind, and this Julia Child (along with Bertholle and Beck) recipe for Cherry Clafoutis from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” is my favorite. Clafoutis is a traditional peasant dessert from the Limousin region of France, and is basically a big fat sweetand-tart-cake pancake. It requires the least amount of effort possible, and the lovely payoff far surpasses any effort extended.

INGREDIENTS 1 ¼ c milk 1/3 c granulated sugar 3 eggs 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract Fat pinch kosher salt 2/3 c sifted all-purpose flour 3 c fat, juicy, fresh cherries, pitted, some whole, some roughly chopped Butter for the baking dish or pie plate (it’s also pretty in a cast iron pan) METHOD Basically preheat the oven to 350°F, butter the dish, and put all ingredients into a blender. Pulse on high for a minute, till it’s all frothy and blended. Pour some batter into the dish, about a quarter- to a third-inch layer. Place in the oven for about 5 to 8 minutes, until it sets. Meanwhile, pit and chop some cherries. When the bottom layer

is set, tumble in the fresh cherries and pour the rest of the batter over. Give the dish a shake to even everything out. Pop it back in the oven; bake for 45 minutes to an hour. The Clafoutis is done when it’s puffed and golden like some sort of crown, studded with cherry jewels. Serve it with powdered sugar and maybe coffee or booze, depending on whether it’s breakfast or dessert. Wear a hat or a helmet, so your brains don’t escape your head when your mind is blown. Enjoy! HOMEMADE NO CHURN PEACH ICE CREAM If you can remember two simple ingredients, you can master the easiest basic ice-cream recipe on the planet, and then just add peaches. Avid readers of this column (hi, Mom!) may recall in November of 2014 we made pink peppermint ice cream with the same method. But now, all spring and summer like, I want something a bit fruitier. It’s getting hotter by the day. I can’t be fussing around with eggs and sugars and boiling hot ice-cream bases. So! Back to the ol’ easy way out.

INGREDIENTS 1 can chilled evaporated milk 1 c confectioner’s sugar 2 medium peaches, sliced, juiced and pulped (press every bit of flesh you can into a wire-mesh strainer; throw away the stone and skins) METHOD Add milk to a thin aluminum bowl (or some other vessel that chills quickly), and whip with a hand-mixer for a minute until it’s all frothy. Add the sugar little by little while mixing, until it’s all mixed uniformly, and it’s bubbled and frothed. Then pop it in the freezer for an hour. Halve your peaches and work them through your strainer to get as much peach juice and pulp as possible, and set them in the fridge to chill. After an hour, take out milk and sugar bowl, buzz it with the hand-mixer to break through the hard foam that’s formed, and add peach sauce. Blend well for a minute to combine, and put the mixture back in the fridge. Repeat this process 4 or 5 more times, then pour the peachy fluff into a tupperware container and let it freeze overnight. The fruit has water in it, so crystals might form and you may have to remix it with the hand-mixer before serving, but the taste and texture are amazing, and this is all so simple, and so, so satisfying. A peachy perfect day in one cold and deeply delicious dish. Go you! SPRING 2017 | DEVOUR 25

Cocktails and Conversations Musings of George Orwell, the dishwasher BY Joel Finsel ● Devour contributor, mixologist and author of ‘Cocktails and Conversations from the Astral Plane’


f customers feel like they’ve eaten spectacularly, every now and then, they will leave a tip for the chef. For most cooks who I have worked with over the years, slaving away somewhere in the back in cramped spaces, without windows and plenty of hot surfaces on which to burn fingers and forearms, this generosity is well-deserved. I say “slaving away” because many receive a paid salary and, therefore, aren’t eligible for overtime on the 10 or 20 hours over 40 they put in each week. So there is more of a sense of bondage when compared to someone like a dishwasher, who is paid by the hour. On the other hand, I have never had a customer tip dishwashers, even though they are often some of the most interesting people of all. One of my favorite dishwashers of all time was George Orwell. Decades before he published “Animal Farm” or “1984,” the writer spent the late 1920s as a vagabond—“Down and Out in Paris and London,” as he later titled his memoir. In the first part, he described living in near-destitution in Paris. Here’s his description of his first day on the job: “The Hotel X was a vast, grandiose place with a classical facade, and at one side a little, dark doorway like a rat-hole, which was the service entrance. I arrived at quarter to seven in the morning . . . a sort of assistant manager arrived and began to question me . . . he asked whether I was an experienced dishwasher, and I said I was; he glanced at my hands and saw that I was lying, but on hearing that I was an Englishman he changed his tone . . . ‘We have been looking for someone to practise our English on,’ he said . . . “He led me down a winding staircase into

• Right: Joel Finsel Courtesy photo


IMBIBE a narrow passage, deep underground, and so low that I had to stoop . . . it was stifling hot and very dark . . . there seemed to be miles of dark labyrinthine passages . . . we passed doorways which let out sometimes a shouting of oaths, sometimes the red glare of fire, once a shuddering draught from an ice chamber. As we went along, something struck me violently in the back. It was a hundred-pound block of ice, carried by a blue-aproned porter. After him came a boy with a great slab of veal on his shoulder, his cheek pressed into the damp, spongy flesh. They shoved me aside . . . on the wall, under one of the lights, someone had written in a very neat hand: ‘Sooner will you find a cloudless sky in winter, than a woman at the Hotel X who has her maidenhead.’ It seemed a queer sort of place . . . I worked until quarter past nine, when the waiter put his head into the doorway and told me to leave the rest of the crockery. To my astonishment, after calling me pig, mackerel, etc., all day, he suddenly grew quite friendly. I realized the curses I had met with were only a kind of probation. ‘That’ll do . . . ,’ he said. ‘Come up and have your dinner. The hotel allows us two liters of wine each, and I’ve stolen another bottle. We’ll have a fine booze.’” Orwell shared an excellent dinner that evening while the waiter told him stories about his love affairs, and about the two men he had stabbed in Italy, and about how he dodged US military service. Drenched in sweat, Orwell listened. He was later paid 25 francs, but before he could leave, the manager patted down his coat to check for stolen food. By the time Orwell left Paris for London, he seemed to have given up on earning a living. His tone shifts from describing his surroundings and encounters with others to a sort of field manual on how to survive homelessness on the street. Yet, unlike Paris, a person was not allowed to sleep outside in London. It was against a law meant to protect people from dying of “exposure.” But Orwell called it “a piece of willful offensiveness.” If a homeless person couldn’t lie down in an alley or on a park bench without the police prodding him away, they were left with either being shuffled along until morning or paying for one of a few fairly strange secondary options. For fourpence a night, a person could sleep in “the coffin,” which was basically a wooden box covered with a tarpaulin. It’s often cold, depending on the weather, but the worse part were the bugs. “Being enclosed in a box,” he wrote, “you can’t escape.” For those too broke to afford a coffin, there was an even cheaper choice: the Twopenny Hangover. Imagine a room in which “lodgers sit in a row on a bench; there is a rope in front of them, and they lean on this as though leaning over a fence. A man, humorously called the valet, cuts the rope at five in the morning.” There were similar places in Paris that were even cheaper, according to Orwell. Could this down-and-out, last resort of lodging be the source of the expression “hangover” as we know it today—meaning the unpleasant effects of consuming alcohol? Orwell doesn’t say. Veteran bartender Joel Finsel is the author of “Cocktails and Conversations from the Astral Plane.” Feel free to send questions or comments to

now at the Felix... • Breakfasts on weekends • Peanuts on every table • Live music listed on FB/website • Menus changing continuously • Two wine tastings a month

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910-399-1213 • SPRING 2017 | DEVOUR 27


THE KEG! Reviews and rambles on brew

Swimming in Suds: A local institution will soon breathe new life as Waterman’s Brewing Company BY Bethany Turner ● Devour contributor For the Wilmington drinking scene, Fibber’s Public House was an institution. On Friday nights, the Irish pub/karaoke bar/ dance club was a pre-game stop along the way to the beach bars of Lumina Avenue—or an absolute destination on Sundays. For many years, Fibber’s served plenty of pints of Guinness, bottles of Bud Light, and too many shots to count. Many UNCW alumni remember it fondly (or at least vaguely). In the North Carolina craft beer industry, Bob High is as much of a legend. He’s a current partner in Raleigh’s Crank Arm Brewing and wore many hats as a longtime sales rep for Greensboro’s Natty Greene’s Brewing Co. He traversed North Carolina by bicycle or by pickup truck, to share pirate lore, jam out to local musicians, and always make new friends over a pint of craft beer. Those who have met Bob High don’t soon forget him. So, when Fibber’s came on the real-estate market, High and a few friends had an idea: Bring the same never-quit lifestyle to a new endeavor, Waterman’s Brewing Company. The team—which includes High’s partners Craig Gee and Don Weber, as well as brewer Zac Brown—completely overhauled the old building to give it a second life. Set to open this summer, the brewery hopes to become a haven for the waterlogged. “Crank Arm is the cycling brewery,” High explains. “This is the watersports brewery. We want to be here and focus our direction toward the beach with charities and community. We really want to be the beach brewery and get involved with every scene, from spearfishing and surfing, to kiteboarding and stand-up paddleboarding. We’ll be sponsoring the outrigger canoe club from Wrightsville Beach SUP, so they’ll be hosting their socials here. Ryan McGinnis, who does Wrightsville Beach Spearfishing, is intricately involved in this brand and he’s really the waterman. I didn’t want to do anything here that wasn’t going to fit in my wheelhouse, as far as activity, because it’s all got to be fun.”

• Above: Owner Bob High and brewer Zac Brown in Waterman’s. • Next page: The Pavilion Place, home of the old Fibber McGee’s, will see new life when Waterman’s Brewing Company is complete. Photos by Lindsey Miller Photography


For the team the brewery is more than just a spot to imbibe. High envisions the space as a “surf lodge,” a place for beachgoers to unwind after a long day. “‘Waterman’ is the term for people who not only live but recreate and work in and around the water,” High describes. “That’s the oyster guys, clammers, fishermen, as well as duck hunters, surfers, kiteboarders, scuba divers, sailors. I want it to be more of a community feel here.” When guests walk in the doors of Waterman’s, the first thing they’ll see is the brewhouse. A garage door will roll up and give a full view of Zac’s workspace. To the left will be the bar and lounge, designed with a rustic, industrial feel and capped off with a woodburning fireplace. Butcher block tables will surround the fireplace. “The bar itself will kind of be an extension of the brewery,” High explains, noting brushed stainless accents that will appear nowhere else in the space. Patrons sitting at the bar will face the brewhouse, where windows will give a peek into the action. “We have big-picture windows with lights flushing down on Zac’s tanks so you can kind of see what’s going on in the brewery, but you kind of can’t. We want it to be inviting, but we always want him to have his own space.” Zac’s path to brewing—and a background in music—led him across the country. The partners of Waterman’s found him at Magnolia Brewing Company in San Francisco, but his journey began much earlier. Originally from right outside New York City, Brown studied mu-

IMBIBE sic entrepreneurship and trumpet of brews filled with variety. “The waves go west to east in the beer performance in New Orleans. He “I definitely brew on the picked up homebrewing as a hobtraditional side of things, industry. Not that nothing starts here, by in college. but the creative license “I’m a geek so I started bugis why I’m in the game,” but that’s how it usually goes. In North ging the crap out of a local brewBrown shares. “I’m a big fan Carolina, it’s always been cool because er,” he tells. “I chose to do one of of continually writing recimy capstone projects on making pes, tweaking them, and beers of different styles sell well a promotional documentary for you’ve got to have a couple him so I could spend more time in reliable mainstays—not exyear-round.” the brewery. Then I went back to act recipes but styles. I’ve New York City after college and brewed everything from —Zac Brown, Waterman’s brewmaster volunteered at a brewery while I foreign to domestic.” was looking for a gig.” Brown’s background has Eventually Brown landed the dia heavy focus in malts and rector of ticketing position at the World Music Institute. “And then sessionable ales because Magnolia mostly was an English-style the grant that funded my salary didn’t get renewed—it wasn’t ex- brewery. “I don’t think sophistication and approachability are muactly the best time, economically speaking, for the nonprofit arts tually exclusive,” he counters. Though he traveled through North industries,” he explains. “My job got discontinued, and it wasn’t Carolina many times and is familiar with its regional beer scene, really a résumé, but I had enough volunteer work to have context Brown is new as a resident in Wilmington. and reference for brewing.” “Zac is a rockstar who has been swinging his hammer here A friend connected Brown with a brewer of Long Trail Brewing with us, but the good thing is he got to spend some time around Co. in Vermont. Brown asked a lot of questions to get an under- town,” High says. “He knows everybody’s lineup, taking notes, standing of the job. talking and studying—that’s just his nature. It’s fun to get his take “I got an entry-level-shift brewing job on a 60-barrel manual on what’s happening in the market.” direct-fire system in the mountains of Vermont,” he says. “So I Already a member of the Cape Fear Craft Beer Alliance, Brown started brewing professionally at 23, and then went from there to calls the NC beer scene interesting and diverse. Yet, he traveled California and started all over again.” from California, where the scene already exploded. He volunteered his way into Magnolia Brewing Co., which “I’d like to bring some stuff with me from there, as well as ended up being lucrative, as he moved up from volunteer to the Vermont days, to be the unique brand,” he says. “I think it lead brewer. fits well with the beach culture and the kind of demographic we “We had a head brewer above me, and I ran the pub operations have locally. . . . The waves go west to east in the beer industry. and built the distribution network,” Brown explains. “I brewed, Not that nothing starts here, but that’s how it usually goes. In packaged and delivered all my own beer; I was there while they North Carolina, it’s always been cool because beers of different added a 30-barrel facility.” styles sell well year-round; a porter and a Scottish ale are popular Afterward, Brown went to Cellarmarker Brewing Co. and han- beers. But in San Francisco a popular beer is Brett saison and dled logistics, as well as managed and consulted for the company. His music even took him to Brazil, and brewing afforded him a stint with BrewDog in Scotland. He has been in practically every facet of the business, from retail to production. “I’ve not grown barley or malted it, but that’s about it,” he clarifies. “I wanted the brewer here to be a bigger part of this team and this operation,” High asserts. “Rather than just hiring a head brewer, I wanted someone who was going to affect the whole business.” A certified cicerone with experience running seminars and festivals, Brown as well was looking for a brewery where he could work in more diversified roles. Upon his job at Waterman’s, he’s planning to create a lineup

IMBIBE hoppy-as-shit IPA, which is cool. Cellarmaker did pretty much those two things and was awesome at it. But I also worked at the opposite, Magnolia, which was kind of against the grain. It was a very interesting dichotomy to have that versus the West Coast hoppy and dank.” Guests can expect lighter styles like grissette and saison—refreshing, dry Belgian ales with expressive yeast characteristics in a saison and a more clean flavor in the grissette. In Brown’s opinion, the most difficult beers can be the most nuanced styles. He also will produce more malt-forward, dry, English styles, like an ESB (extra special bitter), mild and dark mild. Naturally, the lineup will regularly include spins on the American wheat and a handful of hoppy beers. The first 28 recipes have been selected and are in the naming process, while High and Brown are working together to finalize the opening-day lineup. “We’re definitely going to have at least six of our beers before we open,” High ensures. “We’re not a production brewery; we’re not really interested in selling a bunch of beer out in the market. For that reason, we don’t have to repeat anything. I’d like to see 60 beers in here this year.” Brown built the glycol system himself, as well as handinspected all of the equipment for even the slightest scratch. “We are preparing for expansion and our next row of tanks,” he says, as he notes the space to tap into the system when the next tanks arrive. A bit oversized, they installed a 15-barrel proper, which can handle up to 20 barrels, actually, and that’s with loss included. “We have three 20-barrel and two 15-barrel fermenters, so we’ll try to max those out as much as possible with the lower gravity beers,” he continues. “We have an oversized glycol system and boiler so, even when we max out the tanks, we’ll be oversized on our capacity to heat and cool.” On the reverse side of the brewery, in the hallway across from the bathrooms, a mural artist will paint a view that gives a peek inside the brewhouse. Visitors will see both the cold side and hot side. “Then we’ll incorporate the pipes on the outside of the wall, so we’ll make it kind of look like a sketch of what is going on in the brewery through the walls,” High details. A private event space will eventually become Brown’s barrel room for sours and other barrel-aged beers. Regular brews will be on the long-draw system to the 24 taps, while a separate keg box will host sours, ciders from other companies, and even houseblend nitro cold-brew coffee to serve high-end drinks. “I just met with my buddy who’s going to be starting his own coffee-roasting business,” High tells. “We sat down for hours, tasting coffees from all over the world. We isolated what we liked and then, like recipes for brewing, we started building our own proprietary recipe—60 percent this, 40 percent that. We’ll sell the beans, but we’ll have the coffee available here. I’m as passionate about the coffee as I am about anything; I want to do it right. I want people to get out of the water in the winter and come here, and sit by this fireplace that kicks 90,000 BT’s and have coffee or beer.” In the kitchen, Chef Mel Melton is at the helm with kitchen manager Andrew Stanley. The menu will change on a regular basis but Waterman’s does not intend to reinvent the wheel. Items will be affordable, unique pub fare, with the occasional feature of fresh North Carolina seafood. Stanley will be coming from Brasserie du Soleil, and also worked at Sweet n Savory and tuned up the kitchen at King Neptune’s. “Our head chef Mel Melton is from Durham but originally Lafayette, Louisiana,” High says. Melton most recently was the head 30 DEVOUR | SPRING 2017

• From left to right: The brew crew of Waterman’s includes Don Weber, Bob High, Zac Brown, and Craig Gee. Photo by Lindsey Miller Photography

chef and partner at Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse in Durham, which garnered Best Cajun Restaurant in the Triangle from Indy Week magazine for five straight years. He is also lead musician in the band Mel Melton and the Wicked Mojos. “He’s kind of a Zydeco, Cajun, blues-musician chef,” High states. “He used to cook gumbo onstage while he played. He has been around the horn; he’s friends with Jimi Hendrix’s wife. The stuff that Mel has done just blows my mind.” Amongst a reinvention of what the 1610 Pavilion Place building once held, the partners of Waterman’s have completely overhauled the building itself. From all new electrical to new flooring and roof, High notes that at one time during renovation, “There was nothing but the studs and nails holding the place up.” Though the structure was in bad shape and the future is an entirely new endeavor, the staff will pay homage to its history by hanging the old Celtic Fibber’s sign on the wall. “I’m not a local, I’m new down here,” Brown states. “But with the reputation of Fibber’s, you’ve got to kind of pay respect to that institution. You can’t disrespect this property because it’s a real deal, local Wilmington property. And we’re something different, but we’re trying to be real deal, local Wilmington business.”

Waterman Brewing Company • 1610 Pavilion Place

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CORKED! Reviews and rambles on vino

SUMMER WINES 2017: The Great Oregon Wine Company packs an impressive punch BY John Burke ● Devour columnist

When last I was given the chance to address readers, I wrote of upcoming wine trends. Shortly thereafter, I was lucky enough to be proven right. Just when I began to wonder if canned wines really were the wave of the future a west coast distributor contacted me to sample some new juice headed to Wilmington. I sat down with Ari Walker at downtown’s Bespoke Coffee and Dry Goods (202 Princess St.) recently to discuss his work with The Great Oregon Wine Company. Walker and I met one morning while he was in town on other business. Fun fact: He wasn’t even here to show wines—his reasons were purely financial. The locally owned Live Oak Bank specializes in beverage distributorships. Walker had travelled 3,000 miles almost exclusively to work with them. The conversation itself was eye-opening. The Great Oregon Wine Company, established in 2015, after the purchase of Stone Wolf, is a major innovator in the wine industry. They approach their work differently, always asking, “What problem are we solving?” before undertaking a new venture. For example, let us return to trendy canned wines. Walker is a fan of the Underwood wines mentioned in Devour’s last issue. But Underwood only offers 12-ounce cans, or approximately 2.5 glasses to be opened in containers, which won’t reseal. The Great Oregon Wine Company solved this problem by offering 187 milliliter cans—exactly 1 glass worth or, as the math on the side of the box explains, four cans equals one 750 milliliter bottle. They cut out waste in packaging and in lost product, thus streamlining everything and making the entire process, from canning to consumption, more practical and less costly. Their first wine available in North Carolina is an even more fun story. It


comes from their Replica Wine series. They built an analytical chemistry lab to analyze flavors and found ways to duplicate them more cheaply and efficiently. Thus, they introduced an exact replica of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay named Knockoff. How do you not love that? They made a knockoff and had the guts to call it Knockoff. And it’s available at Fresh Market for anyone who wants to put it to the test. OK, so they’re brilliant and innovative. But the real question: Is the wine any good? I have now dedicated a pretty fair amount of testing to their wines, and I can safely say, they are not only good for the price, but they are quality wines in their respective categories. The 2014 pinot noir is the big winner in the bunch. Though it is just a touch thinner on the tongue than I prefer, it is still classic Willamette Valley pinot. It’s got a mildly earthy flavor with unmistakable dark cherry taste, which marks Oregon pinot noir. The non-vintage version of the pinot noir available in cans is every bit as dry as the 2014 bottle, only with more earth tones and less fruit. I couldn’t help but think the oak was muted in the canned version, but I suspect it was my mind’s bias about the effects of the stainless steel can. The wine itself is definitely barrel-aged. I haven’t yet gotten around to the bottle of rosé Walker was kind enough to send me, but I have sampled the canned version, and it tastes like days spent at the pool in the heat of summer. It is a dry fruit salad, with just a touch of residual sugar to make it one of the best summer wines I’ve tasted this year. I have long been a proponent of quality rosés, particularly in an area with more than its share of 100-degree days. The Great Oregon Wine Company makes a worthy one, and they were kind enough to put it in a metal container so drinkers can safely bring it anywhere, from the pool to the beach to the barbeque. The pinot gris is another winner. Walker texted me hours after our meeting to tell me he was enjoying a dozen oysters at Shuckin’ Shack’s downtown location (read about their lobster roll on pages 18-22). He quite rightly suggested his pinot gris, available in cans or bottles, would wash down the briny shellfish nicely. The bright pear and melon flavors on it make it an excellent aperitif. The Great Oregon Wine Company is very new to Wilmington. I’m hoping by the time readers are engaged in this piece, it will be a staple in some of our finer restaurants and wine shops. If it isn’t, I would suggest asking for it. The quality for the price is difficult to match. I think I’ve found my wines for summer.


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READ! Cookbooks and other reviews

Food Fandom: When fictitious worlds collide with creative appetites BY Gwenyfar Rohler ● Devour columnist, freelance writer and business owner of Old Books on Front Street “Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook” Terry Pratchett and Stephan Briggs Recipes by Tina Hannan and Stephan Briggs Illustrations by Paul Kidby Corgi books, 1999, Pgs. 176

Fan-related art is not a new phenomenon. Though, perhaps the explosion of fan-related food art in the last 30 years is a bit more surprising. From television and movie tie-ins to literary treats, themed cookbooks can be found for just about anything.

I am unabashedly a fan of Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” novels. “Discworld” is in an alternate universe and is a disc, thereby making it both round and flat simultaneously. “Discworld” is situated somewhere in a late-Victorian-meets-still-slightly-medieval-satiric version of our world. For example, though, they have a printing press and a free press. The City Watch still wear armor and carry swords and crossbows—mind you, very advanced crossbows. Also, in the more rural parts of the Disc, witches still play a key role in local health care and social justice. Among the many wellknown and successful witches on the Disc is Nanny Ogg in Lancre (like Scotland of the Disc—where the Scottish Tragedy parody was set; the one with kings, crowns, a determined lady, stabbing, and a very mobile forest). Whereas many fan cookbooks aim at recreating meals from screen or page that readers actually would want to eat—or try to eat—”Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook” offers recipes of different kettle of fish altogether. Nanny Ogg is the matriarch of the Ogg clan and has had many husbands (some of them were even hers). She is known for always finding a drink, a snack and for having had a very adventurous youth that led to a large brood of now-grown Ogg children. She has never met a dirty song she couldn’t sing at top volume with great gusto, and she loves “suggestive food.” Take Strawberry 34 DEVOUR | SPRING 2017

Wobbler, for example. It involves strawberry gelatin cast in champagne flutes. After the gelatin has been removed from the flute, it is placed upright on a plate with scoops of ice cream and a drizzle of whipped cream. And there is “Nanny Ogg’s Maids of Honor—Take Your Eye Off Them and They Turn Into Tarts.” Prior to the recipes, there is a narrative about the process of getting the book published and the impact Nanny Ogg’s previous cookbooks had upon the publisher’s marriage. Actually, the text is far more interesting than most recipes—many of which are edible. I would not recommend trying to eat anything out of the section for Dwarfs. In Discworld, Dwarf Bread is an offensive weapon, as much as it could be considered food. Fans of Discworld books will find recipes and references from all their favorite characters, including Bloody Stupid Johnson and Leonard of Quirm’s recipe for a cheese sandwich: “Decide the shape of a common loaf is not suitable for the purpose.” Also to learn to make “Wow-Wow Sauce” or “Dried Frog Pills” or even “C.M.O.T. Dibbler’s Sausage Inna Bun” (you might be happier not knowing), Nanny has us covered. Even the librarian has contributed a recipe (about bananas, of course). Nanny does not get to be the matriarch of an extended family like the Oggs and a witch without developing a lot of opinions and having great desire to impart accumulated knowledge. The second half of the book is dedicated to etiquette. “Sure enough, once you’ve got enough food, people will invent etiquette.” Thus begins Nanny’s explanation of the finer points of human interaction. She covers life with trolls, dwarfs, and even courtship. But readers don’t have to know Discworld to enjoy it—because what makes Discoworld funny is how well it reflects our own misguided attempts at this ting known as humanity. This is a great read and first introduction to Terry Pratchett’s work; however, for us who know Discworld and Lancre particularly, it deepens the

FEATURE This book has direction and a diagram. It covers everyone of the doctors, and for a show that has been running for 50 years, that’s a lot of material. It is fun and creative. The photography is so good it makes my mouth water just looking through it. I have a working knowledge of “Dr. Who,” though I am not a fan by any means. But I find the cookbook tremendously entertaining, maybe more so than the show. Clearly, the recipes have been refined with very simple, easy-to-follow directions that are carefully labeled. But the stills from the show and the commentary on why each recipe was developed is the most fun. It’s a perfect gift for the “Dr. Who” fan who has everything. The recipes help create memories that will last forever. experience and makes the jokes funnier. “The Jane Austen Cookbook” By Maggie Black and Deirdre Le Faye McClelland and Stewart, 1995, pgs. 128 “The Jane Austen Cookbook” is another cookbook that is more text than recipes—though, the recipes are probably a bit safer and easier to make than Nanny Ogg’s. During her lifetime, one of Jane Austen’s friends, Martha Lloyd, lived with the Austen family and noted down over 100 recipes the Austen family ate. From this and sources of the time to create foods that would have appeared at balls and parties, Maggie Black has modernized recipes for the modern cook. In addition, Deirdre Le Faye has written a lengthy biographical introduction about Jane’s life and times. Actually, parts of it remind me of “What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew”—one of my favorite books about the lost “common knowledge” of the time. Not only are the recipes fascinating and mouth-watering, but the information throughout about daily life for women of all social stations, food preparations, preservation and consumption, and of course etiquette is nothing short of enthralling. But, seriously, how do you not love a cookbook with recipes that begin with, “This simple but dramatic creamy soup is well worth the trouble of using three pans”? “Doctor Who: The Official Cookbook” By Joanna Farrow Harper Collins, 2016, pgs. 153 Joanna Farrow’s “Doctor Who: The Official Cookbook” is probably more what most people think of with fan-inspired cookbooks. The photography is beautiful and full of color, filled with quotes from the show. The recipes tend to be things like making Daleks out of cupcakes. Of course, there are instructions for building and decorating a TARDIS out of cookies. Or how about a sonic screwdriver made out of vegetables? SPRING 2017 | DEVOUR 35

Select Indulgences Culinary calendar of events

~events & happenings~ DINNER THEATRE Through May 27: The Cemetery Club by Ivan Menchell about three Jewish widows who meet once a month for tea before going to visit their husband’s graves. Served with three-course meal. Tickets: $40. Show only: $18-$22. Show begins at 7pm; doors at 6pm. • Other summer shows: June 2-July 22: “Best of Celia Rivenbark”; July 28-Aug. 26, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”; Sept. 1-30, “Two Trains Running.” • Also offering Shakespeare brunch, once a month on Sunday, noon-2pm. $20 for brunch and reading; $8 for reading only. Schedule: May 21, “As You Like It”; June 18, Father’s Day Theme; July 23, “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” TheatreNOW, 19 S. 10th St.

ILM WINE AND FOOD FESTIVAL May 11-14, various venues, various pricing: The annual food and wine festival takes place over four days, featuring special wine dinners, a BBQ and bourbon Derby party, a grand tasting event, and bubbles, brews and street eats. Beers, wines, and bubbles will be sampled, along with decadent food throughout the weekend. Proceeds benefit Domestic Violence Shelter and Services. Tickets and info:

CAROLINA STRAWBERRY FEST May 12-13, Carolina Strawberry Festival takes place in historic downtown Wallace, NC, and features live music, a car show, vendors, games, and carnival rides. Friday, 7-10pm; Saturday: 11am-11pm.

CIGARS & VITTLES IN GARDEN Wed., May 17, 6 p.m.: The Sour Barn (7211 Market St.) will feature their specialty sour brews and have Brookelynn Cigars pair some cigars to the brews. Vittles will be outside serving up fresh and local food. Free! 7211 Market St. 100 NW Railroad St.

RAISE THE BARN Feast Down East hosts the 4th annual Raise the Barn, Wilmington’s premier gourmet farm-to-fork event with food prepared by locallyrenowned chefs. The dinner and benefit supports Feast Down East’s mission to strengthen the local food system in Southeastern North Carolina. The event will take place on Sat., May 20, 6-10pm, at New Hanover County Arboretum. Feature a tapas-style gourmet dinner using locally grown and raised ingredients either sourced through Feast Down East’s food hub or directly from area farms and fisheries, pre36 DEVOUR | SPRING 2017

GREEK FESTIVAL Mar. 19-20: The 25th event at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church (608 South College Rd.) features food, music, dancing, a marketplace, cooking demonstrations, and church tours. Admission fee, $3, is good for entire weekend. Proceeds benefit the church and Good Shepherd Center. Kids under 13 admitted free. Closing times: Friday and Saturday, 10 p.m.; Sunday, 6 p.m. To find out more, call (910) 392-4444. www.stnicholasgreekfest. sented by Wilmington’s top chefs. Desserts, local beer, wine, and a specialty cocktail. Price: $95 - $115. 6206 Oleander Drive

KIDS IN THE KITCHEN The Children’s Museum of Wilmington (116 Orange St.) presents a culinary adventure with their summer camp. Each day kids whip up a new and tasty creation to add to the museum’s recipe book! Ages 4-9. Registration: Camp slots will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. Registration forms are available at the front desk or you can email Camp pricing: $125 - $150. All camps start at 9 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. Early drop off begins at 8:50 a.m. 116 Orange St. June 26-30. Kathleen King at 910-254-3534 ext 102.

ANNUAL LOBSTER FEST June 3: Church of the Servant (4925 Oriole Dr.) in Wilmington, NC, presents the 33rd Annual Lobster Fest, 11am-4pm. Order lobsters and lobster meals

in advance from May 1 to June 1 2017 and pick them up for carryout, or dine in. Starting May 1st order online at, or call the Lobster line at 910-990-3331. Order 10 or more lobsters and get free delivery in New Hanover and nearby Brunswick counties. A block party on Harbor Island begins at 7pm. Pricing: $19-$25.

a local non-profit. Whole Foods at 3804 Oleander Dr.


June 8, 6 p.m.: Tarantelli’s Ristorante Italiano (102 S. 2nd St.) offers an exclusive dining experience for diners to sample authentic Sicilian cuisine prepared by our executive chef, Zack Comis (read profile on pages 4-8). Courses are paired with a selection of regional wines curated by our wine team. Seating is limited, so purchase your tickets now by calling (910) 763-3806. Tickets for this event are $95 plus tax and gratuity. Price: $95

Instead of trying to find a cooking class to meet your goals and ending up with too many cooks in the kitchen, consider having Culinary Creations design a cooking class for you and your family or friends to be held in the comfort of your own home. We will help you design a menu to focus on the dishes that intrigue you most. Prepare a meal from our menu selections or we can work together to customize a menu for you to learn to prepare and enjoy. And best of all, you and the other ‘students’ get to enjoy the fruits of your labor between each course! 910-538-2433. www.



June 16-17: The North Carolina Blueberry Festival is filled with a great source of local pride, with the entire community involved in promoting Burgaw to the world in its finest shade of blue. The festival takes place in downtown Burgaw and provides an opportunity for people to enjoy a full day of family entertainment while experiencing the Southern hospitality of a small town. More than 100 volunteers are required to stage over 20 events ranging from entertainment to car show, a street fair, recipe contest, barbeque cook-off, a 5K run, special exhibits, and a variety of other events.

Boys and girls, ages 8-10. Does your child love to cook? Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation has stirred up something just for them, a fun hands-on youth cooking class! This program aims to teach kids creative and simple recipes that will encourage healthy living and good nutritional choices. It can help build self-esteem, team building, and even motivate them to cook for you! 1 Bob Sawyer Dr.; 910-256-7925.


SOUTHEAST CRAB FEAST Aug. 27: Nonprofit organization that supports cancer research and treatment organizations, such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, American Cancer Society, and others. Southeast Crab Feast events started in the late summer of 2010 as a gathering of family, friends & associates who reside in the city, but enjoyed the coastal heritage of eating ocean fresh blue crabs, hot fish and chips, heavily seasoned Low Country Boil and seasonal oysters. We currently host “All You Can Eat” Blue Crab Feast events in 15 different cities throughout the southeast. We also support local watermen on the coastline of NC, SC, GA & FL who harvest and deliver fresh blue crabs per day from the Atlantic Ocean. Wilmington Sportsman Club , 1111 Castle St. Tickets: $10-$29, available at

AMERICAN LEGION FISH FRY Post 10 holds a fish fry the first Friday of every month. Featuring fired whiting fish plate with three sides, deviled crab cakes and sides, combination plate and sides, and baked chicken and sides. A selection of seasoning packets (ketchup, tartar sauce, lemon juice, salt, pepper, etc.) are available at the beverages table. 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Delivery available for group orders of 10 or more plates at no additional cost.; (910) 799-3806. $8. 702 Pine Grove Dr.

~classes, tastings & things~ CAPE FEAR WINE & FOOD CLUB The Seasoned Gourmet has been teaching cooking classes for over 15 years. They offer unique events for members and their guests, including cooking classes, wine-pairing classes, premium wine dinners, and free members-only events throughout the year. Members enjoy exclusive discounts from our host, The Seasoned Gourmet. Enjoy a 5 percent daily discount on all merchandise in their store, plus a 10 percent daily discount during classes that you attend. Also a special members-only discount wine during events: 15 percent off six or more bottles and 20 percent off 12 or more bottles. To reserve a seat in class or join, call 910-256-9488 or stop by The Seasoned Gourmet, 5500 Market St. ., #110. 910-256-9488

WINE NOT, IT’S FRIDAY Last Friday of the month, 6-8pm: Wine Not, It’s Friday! Signature wine tasting event and a taste of food and wine pairings. $5 donation benefits

KIDS COOKING CLUB Children Museum of Wilmington presents Kids Cooking Club with Mary Ellen on Tuesdays at 3:30pm. Please pre-register. Explore seasonal recipes and savor the flavor of your hard work. Kids Cooking Club is sponsored by Harris Teeter and held at 116 Orange St.

PALATE Turntable Tues.: Bring your favorite vinyl, enjoy specials • Wed: Free tasting of wine from around the globe, hosted by a winery representative or vendor to teach you about the selections. Tasting wines offered at a discount, as well as an additional 10 percent off six packs and 15 percent off cases. • Sun: $6 mimosas. 1007 N. 4th St.

FERMENTAL Free tasting every Friday, 6pm • Third Wednesday of each month feat. musical and brewing talents alongside an open mic night, as well as the opportunity for homebrewers to share, sample, and trade their creations: an evening of beer and an open stage. PA and equipment provided. All genres. All beer styles 910-821-0362 for details. Fermental, 7250 Market St.

FLYTRAP BREWING Fourth Friday Gallery Night, featuring new artists and exhibition every Fourth Friday of the month through 2016. • Food trucks and live music Thurs. through Sat., weekly. • $5 flight Sundays and $5 flight Tuesdays. 319 Walnut St.

FORTUNATE GLASS Free wine tasting, Tues., 6-8pm • Sparkling wine specials & discounted select bottles, Wed. and Thurs. • Monthly food/wine pairing events. 29 S. Front St.

BREWER'S KETTLE Weekly live music, monthly food and wine and beer pairing events, wine tastings, and showcasing local breweries! 4718 Oleander Dr. 910-5020333.

BOOKS, BEER, JAZZ Enjoy browsing our extensive book catalog and library while listening to live ambient jazz piano. Start out your weekend with a beer or glass of wine, while James Jarvis performs his jazz compositions for your listening pleasure. Live piano from 3pm, Sundays. Old Books on Front Street, 249. N. Front St.


Thurs./Fri., 5pm: Our weekly wine tastings feature six selections for your tasting pleasure. Try before you buy to load up your home cellar, or choose your favorite wine from the lineup and purchase a glass to enjoy at our tasting bar or in our garden seating. Cheers! A Tasting Room, 19 S. 2nd St.

THE WINE SAMPLER Hosting free weekly tasting every Wednesday through Saturday. 1 percent discount on all tasting wines, all week. Wednesday-Friday: 3-7pm; Saturday: noon-7pm. 4107-C Oleander Dr. 910-796-WINE (9463). www.

BURNT MILL CREEK Thursday night is Neighborhood Night at Burnt Mill Creek, with Steviemack’s International Food Company food truck. Bring friends for supper and a drink. Burnt Mill Creek, 2101 Market St.

WATERLINE BREWING Weekly live music, food trucks every Fri. and Sat., and new beer. 721 Surry St., under the Cape Fear Bridge.

SWEET N SAVORY CAFE Every Wednesday from 5-7pm, we break open our wine selection for you to taste— from Napa Valley to French Bordeauxs to great wines from Australia. 1611 Pavillion Place.

WHISKEY HOTDOG MYSTERY Whiskey Hotdog Mystery Music Wednesday at Juggling Gypsy, 1612 Castle St. Amazing hot dog creations from the Gypsy Kitchen, with $1 off all whiskeys every Wednesday.

TAPAS TWOSDAY $10, 5:30-7pm: Every Tues. and Wed.! Half-off craft cocktail list and select wines. Catch, 6623 Market St.

WILMINGTON WINE SHOP 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. We’ve got a fridge full of craft and micro-brews. 605 Castle St. 910-202-4749.

WILMINGTON BREWING CO. Firkin Fridays, 5:30pm • Sat.: Free brewing demos, 1:30pm • Also featuring food trucks and live music weekly. 824 S. Kerr Ave. 910-392-3315

~tours~ FRONT STREET BREWERY Every third Thursday, join us for The Wort Shop Thirsty Third Thursday. Our brewers will tap a new experimental brew that will be available in limited quantities for that day only. • Brewery tours, daily, 3-5 p.m. Free tasting included! 3 p.m., 3:45 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Learn how we brew our beer, about the brewing process and sample a few brews with one of our brewers. Sign up for a tour at the host stand. 9 N. Front St. www.

TASTE CAROLINA FOOD TOURS Sample an eclectic assortment of downtown restaurants, enjoy food and drink, and meet some of the city’s best chefs. Public parking available. Saturday tours include a 2:15pm. Downtown Afternoon Tasting Tour ($55/ person) and a 3:15pm. Downtown Dinner and Drinks Tour ($65/person). 10am. Farmers Market Tour ($75/person). Cooking class available. Private and custom tours are available any day or night of the week for groups of eight or more. Visit

TASTING HISTORY TOURS Tasting History Tours of Pleasure Island; guided walking tours. $35 and 38 DEVOUR | SPRING 2017

up. Afternoon of delicious food and education. 910-622-6046.

PCJ ROASTERY TOUR Join us at Port City Java’s Corporate Headquarters for our monthly public roastery tour, coffee cupping and home brewing class! Learn how coffee is grown, harvested, processed and roasted through a tour of our facilities and see a formal coffee cupping to demonstrate the “taste of place” that makes each coffee so unique. See us demonstrate a few different brewing methods you can use to achieve that perfect PCJ cup at home. Tour groups are limited to six people. Tickets are available for $15/person.

PORT CITY BREW BUS Port City Brew Bus offers public brewery tours that are open to anyone 21 years or older. Eat a hearty breakfast before the tour. We will have pretzels, snacks, and water but there isn’t a stop for lunch. Visit three breweries to experience their facilities, understand the brewing process unique to their beers and enjoy samples of their offerings. $55. www. 910-679-6586

~clubs & organizations~

FEAST DOWN EAST BUYING CLUB Enjoy the quality, value and convenience of the Feast Down East Buying Club. It costs nothing to join, and the benefits are immeasurable. Support your local farm families and community. Choose a pick-up spot, check out at the online cashier, and you are done!

FARMERS’ MARKETS Fruits, vegetables, plants, herbs, flowers, eggs, cheese, meats, seafood, honey and more! Poplar Grove, April-Nov., Wed., 8am-1pm. 910-6869518. • Riverfront Farmers’ Market open on Water St., downtown, every Sat., through Dec., 8am-1pm. • Carolina Beach Farmer’s Market every Sat., May-Sept., 8am-1pm, around the lake in Carolina Beach. Free parking; • Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market, 21 Causeway Dr. Mon., 8am-1pm, first Mon. in MayLabor Day. • Town of Leland Farmers’ Market at Leland Town Hall, alternating Sundays, 11am-3pm, May-Aug. • Oak Island Farmers’ Market, Mon., April-Nov., 7am.-1pm. Middletown Park, Oak Island • Southport Waterfront Market, Wednesdays, May-Sept., 8am-1pm. Garrison Lawn in Southport, NC. • St. James Plantation Farmers Market, Thurs., May-Oct., 4-7pm, park at Woodlands Park Soccer Field. • River’s Bluff, every Sat., 10am-3pm: Farmer Bill is up early most mornings, tending to the crops at The River Bluffs Organic Farm. Situated on 10 acres of land, The Farm utilizes sustainable growing methods so that all yielded produce can be tagged “certified organic.” Located just down the road from the entrance of River Bluffs, The Farm helps to fill the amazing menu at the neighborhood restaurant—Porches Cafe. River Bluffs, 3571 Hansa Dr.

ILM VEGAN CARROT MOB Like a flash mob, the Wilmington Vegan Carrot Mob chooses a restaurant to meet at and dine in for a night of fellowship and vegan meals. A location and time is chosen, and vegan diners show up and shows local restaurateurs support from the vegan community in an effort to expand vegan menus.

ILM VEGAN MENTOR PROGRAM The Wilmington Vegan Mentor Program ensures those who are new to veganism are provided with all the support and guidance they need. Volunteer mentors are paired with those who are making new food choices. They meet to talk and answer questions, go to the grocery store, discuss cookbooks, and explore local resources.

Thank You, Wilmington!

For voting us Best Thai for 17 years, as well as Best Atmosphere, Restaurant Overall and Outdoor Dining! We appreciate your continued patronage.

Love, Niki and staff Lunch: Tues. - Fri., 11am-2pm and Sat. noon-3pm Dinner: Mon.-Sun., 5-10pm 7 Wayne Dr. • (910) 251-9229



photo courtesy of Lindsey A. Miller Photography


WE ALSO DO CATERING! 5559 Oleander drive 910.798.2913


Wednesday-Saturday 11am-9pm Sunday 11am- 8pm Closed - Monday and Tuesday Visit our website -

Devour Spring 2017  

Eat and drink across southeastern NC

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