Durham Restaurants and Bars Toast Durham’s One Hundred Fiftieth Birthday with Specialty Cocktails

ICYMI, Durham turns one hundred fifty this year, and there is a slew of special events on tap. Local restaurants and bars are toasting the Bull City with signature cocktails, and many are crafting libations with Durham Distillery’s Conniption American Dry and Conniption Navy Strength gins. Look for them at places such as Alley Twenty Six, Arcana Bar & Lounge, Mothers & Sons Trattoria, Counting House, COPA, Motorco Music Hall, Littler, Jack Tar & The Colonel’s Daughter, and others. Unscripted Hotel is also offering a specialty cocktail called “We Are Durham” for $9.19, a nod to Durham’s area code. The drink is made with local ingredients, including Bedlam Vodka, Ponysaurus Brewing Biere de Garde, and Crude Sycophant Bitters, all mixed with fresh-squeezed lemonade.

Transfer Co. Food Hall News: Burial Beer Co. Plans Expansion and Locals Oyster Bar Opens for Lunch

Raleigh’s Transfer Co. Food Hall‘s operation continues to grow. Asheville’s Burial Beer Co. announced on Instagram earlier this week that it will expand its space by taking over the adjacent fourteen-hundred-square-foot area, bringing its footprint to two thousand square feet, as reported by The News & Observer. Locals Oyster Bar also announced on Instagram that it will start opening for lunch at noon Wednesdays through Sundays. Locals Seafood’s fish market is also now open in the food hall, with a variety of seasonal, fresh North Carolina seafood on offer. (PSA: it’s nearly the end of wild oyster season.)

Chefs from buku Take Home Cooking for a Classic Win

At the annual Cooking for a Classic event, a multi-evening chef competition and fundraiser that benefits the Lucy Daniels Center’s mental-health programs and services for children in the Triangle, chef Andrew Smith of bu•ku and his team beat out chef Teddy Diggs of Coronato in the final showdown on Monday. Ticket sales, raffle ticket sales, and live and silent auction proceeds raised $160,000 for the Lucy Daniels Center.


Happy Hour with Chef Andrea Reusing at Vert & Vogue

Downtown Durham boutique Vert & Vogue’s latest happy hour event (drinks on the house!) takes place Friday, March 15 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Special guests include Andrea Reusing, executive chef of the Durham Hotel and chef-owner of Lantern in Chapel Hill, and Marcie Ferris, author of Edible South. Hear more from Ferris and Reusing as they continue their conversation about local food, community activism, and the farm-to-table movement. For more information, visit Vert & Vogue.

Ring in St. Patty’s Day with a Seafood Pop-Up from Mel’s Luncheonette & Catering

Ditch the green beer for a sneak peek at forthcoming Carrboro restaurant 401 Main, which will soon take over the former Cafe Carrboro space. Mel’s Luncheonette & Catering in downtown Carrboro will host 401 Main for a Saint Patrick’s Day pop-up on Sunday, March 17 from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. The seafood-themed menu will feature sandwiches ($12)—grouper, oyster, seafood, or veggie—sides of crab grits and dirty slaw ($3), and Mel’s cobbler ($3). No reservations required.

Pick the People’s Choice at Fox Liquor Bar and Sample Nosh from (ish) Delicatessen

The People’s Cocktail, a competitive cocktail fundraising event, returns to Fox Liquor Bar on Monday, March 18 at 5:00 p.m. As with previous iterations, bartenders will craft signature drinks, and every order earns them a vote for their favorite charity. At the end of the night, proceeds will be donated to the charity represented by the most popular cocktail. Guest chef and AC Restaurants alum Matt Fern from (ish) Delicatessen, a forthcoming restaurant located in the new Longleaf Hotel, will serve nosh such as smoked fish dip, smoked pastrami Reuben sandwiches, and potato-and-cheese knishes. For more information or to RSVP, visit the Facebook event page.

Sip Rare N.C. Brews at Hi-Wire’s “Asheville Comes East” Festival at the Golden Belt Taproom

Hi-Wire Brewing will host its first beer festival, “Asheville Comes East,” on Saturday, March 23 from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. at its Golden Belt Taproom. Look for more than twenty Western North Carolina breweries pouring rare and limited-edition craft beers. Tickets are $10 and include two beer tokens and a commemorative tasting glass. Extra tokens can be purchased the day of the event for $3 each. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Save the Date for “Dudes for Dames” Fundraising Dinner

The N.C. chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a philanthropic society of professional women leaders in the food, beverage, and hospitality industry, will host its annual fundraiser on Sunday, April 7 at Lavender Oaks Farm in Chapel Hill. Proceeds from the event will benefit the N.C. K-12 Culinary Institute’s Junior Chef Competition as well as No Kid Hungry, in honor of award-winning pastry chef Karen Barker. This year’s event, “Dudes for Dames,” will feature dishes from chefs such as Bill Smith and Justin Burdett from Crook’s Corner, Phil Bey from Saint James Seafood, Josh DeCarolis from Mothers & Sons, Sean Fowler from Mandolin, Sam McGann from The Blue Point, Gray Brooks from Pizzeria Toro, and breads from Lionel Vatinet’s La Farm Bakery. Tickets are $95 and include food and two drink tickets for wine, beer, cider, or craft cocktails, including libations from Kingfisher’s Sean Umstead made with Durham Distillery’s Conniption gin. There is also a $100 ticket which includes one raffle ticket. To purchase tickets, click here, or to support the fundraiser by purchasing raffle tickets, click here.

Funk Down on the Farm with Botanist & Barrel Cidery

Botanist & Barrel, a Hillsborough-based cider, sour, and dry-fruit wine company, will host its first ever Funk Down on the Farm festival on April 13 at its home on Cedar Grove Blueberry Farm. The festival will highlight natural, wild, and spontaneous beverages in a variety of styles, including cider, beer, wine, spirits, kombucha, and soda from forty craft-beverage producers. Natural, wild, and fermented foods will also have a presence, including bites from N.C. oyster farmers Mera Brothers, Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe, Michaels English Muffins, and The Wooden Nickel. Author, farmer, and ethical butcher Meredith Leigh will also teach a class about wild fermented charcuterie. General admission tickets are $40, though there are $15 designated driver tickets and $55 VIP tickets, too. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.


If you move around a lot, as I have—I lived in six different countries before the age of fifteen, and I’m getting ready to move again for the third time in four years—you know all too well how easy it is to take for granted the places in your own backyard. My husband loves Indian food, and, being English, has very specific opinions about curries, particularly chicken tikka masala. So of course we only recently discovered Cilantro Indian Cafe, a Cary eatery in the soon-to-be-revamped MacGregor Village.

We’ve wasted no time getting acquainted with their curries, and I can happily report that Cilantro’s tikka masala strikes the right balance of creamy and spicy, curry and tomato. But the dish I love best is the tandoori chicken wings, which are baked in a tandoor oven until the spices—cumin, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, maybe ginger—seep through the bright-red, clay-oven baked skin and permeate the meat until they’re just the right level of nose-running-spicy. You can order them as a starter, but opt for the entrée, where the wings and drumsticks are served on a bed of rice that absorbs the fiery drippings.

People always ask me where to eat, but often, as with life, the answer is in front of you all along.