Welcome to Friday Night Bites, your weekly roundup of local food and drink news and events. Have a tip for us? Email food@indyweek.com.


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year…Not to Cook

On the heels of the success of her Thanksgiving pick-up menu, chef Ashley Christensen and the AC Restaurants crew are offering a Christmas menu that includes breakfast (think, Beasley’s biscuits and homemade cinnamon rolls), sides such as macaroni and cheese custard and creamy spinach casserole, and dessert, including a luscious Videri chocolate ganache tart. View the full menu here or email xmas@ac-restaurants.com for more information (orders must be placed by December 19).

Living Kitchen Bakes Vegan Holiday Pies To-Go

Plant-based restaurant Living Kitchen is getting in on the holiday pie to-go game, offering whole pies ofr pre-order and pick-up. The 100 percent raw, vegan, gluten-free pies are available in flavors such as Lemon Berry Cheesecake in a pecan crust and Turtle Cake in a chocolate pecan crust. Whole pies are $55 each and are best pre-ordered on their website.


The Glass Jug Toasts James Creek Cider House with Cider and Donut Pairings

On Saturday, December 15 Durham’s The Glass Jug Beer Lab will host N.C. cidery James Creek Cider House, which will offer a free tasting of three bottled ciders—Solar Flare, a bourbon-barrel-aged cider with peach; Big Dipper, a lightly sweet cider; and Winter Solstice, an apple-raisin wine aged in rum barrels—paired with cider donuts. The Glass Jug will also tap two kegs, including Might Hunter, a dry-hopped cider, and Crossbow, a cider made with muscadine grapes. For more information, visit the Facebook event page here.

Local Somms School Us on How to Pour Champagne

Learn to drink and pour Champagne like a pro at downtown Raleigh cocktail bar Bittersweet, which will host Champagne 101 on December 16 at 5:45 p.m. Tickets are $45 and include tastings of seven different kinds of bubbly (with the option to buy discounted bottles) plus light bites, and Bittersweet’s sommelier will be on hand to answer all your Champagne-related questions. Call 919-977-3829 to purchase tickets.

The Umstead Hotel and Spa will host Uncorked Wine Tasting: Bubbles on December 19 at 6:00 p.m. in the Fireplace Lounge. Tickets are $95 and include a guided tasting of bubbles from Champagne to sparkling rosé with the hotel’s sommelier. Call 919-447-4050 to purchase tickets.

Cocoa Cinnamon Hosts “Women’s Empowerment & Sustainability in Coffeelands” Panel and Cupping

Cocoa Cinnamon co-owner and roaster Areli Barrera de Grodski will host a panel entitled “Women’s Empowerment & Sustainability in Coffeelands” as part of the launch of a Café Femenino-branded coffee; over fifteen years, Café Femenino has provided grants to women-run coffee co-ops all over the world. The panel will also discuss the importance of women at every point of coffee production; panelists include Triangle-based coffee professionals Kellem Emanuele, president of International Women’s Coffee Alliance’s global board of directors, Kim Elena Ionescu, chief sustainability officer of the Specialty Coffee Association, and Lane Mitchell, Café Femenino Coffee volunteer and Joe Van Gogh’s marketing director. The panel and cupping will take place on Tuesday, December 18 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Cocoa Cinnamon’s 2013 Chapel Hill Road, Durham location.

Kingfisher Pops Up at The Durham

Craft cocktail bar Kingfisher, which will open next-door to The Durham early 2019, will host a special holiday cocktail pop-up bar at The Roof at The Durham on Wednesday, December 19 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Co-owner and bartender Sean Umstead will shake and stir a variety of his garden-to-glass cocktails as well as the holiday-ready Run, Run As Fast As You Can!, a gingerbread man-inspired spiced-rum-and-ginger tipple.


When I tell people that I’m a food editor and writer, most assume that I go out to eat all the time. I don’t get out nearly as often as I’d like, because contrary to popular belief, I’m paid to write (and edit), not to eat. This means I spend a lot more time sitting at my laptop than at restaurant tables (though I’m not denying that the job does come with a side of delicious research).

This was a week where I felt like I was on perpetual deadline (aren’t we always?) and besides leaving my desk for a quick visit to Sultan’s Deli for a kofta sandwich and fries, the week was filled with sad desk lunches and uninspired leftovers. I think I (and all of us, really) have earned a drink—this Pear Mule from Il Palio’s new roster of holiday cocktails (pictured above) fits the bill nicely (omit the vodka for a refreshing mocktail). Cheers!

Pear Mule

Recipe courtesy of Il Palio at The Siena Hotel

Serves 1

1.5 oz Grey Goose La Poire

.75 oz rosemary simple syrup

.5 oz fresh lime juice

Ginger beer, to finish

Rosemary sprig, for garnish

Add all ingredients except ginger beer into a mixing glass with ice and shake. Strain the cocktail into a copper mule mug filled with fresh ice. Top off with ginger beer and garnish with rosemary sprig.