Hillsborough Hog Day, a fundraiser for the Hillsborough/ Orange County Chamber of Commerce, will ring in its 30th anniversary this weekend (hillsboroughchamber.com/hog-day). There won’t be jewelry to celebrate what’s traditionally known as the pearl anniversary, but the chamber’s executive director, Margaret Wood Cannell, promises a stock of plush pigs named Pearl and a pearl-white commemorative mug. More important, more than 3,000 pounds of chopped barbecue will also be for sale.
The festival kicks off Friday evening at Hillsborough’s River Park at 6, when 30 teams from across the state will start smoking ham and pork shoulders to be judged the following morning. The festival reopens at 9 a.m. Saturday, when the judges will announce the top five barbecues. Meat from the remaining 25 teams will be chopped, combined and dressed with a sauce by last year’s cook-off winners, Mark and Amanda Johnson of Hog Heaven Bar-B-Q in Durham. Sandwiches will be available for $4. Barbecue from the top five winners can also be sampled for $1 each.
Beyond pork, Hillsborough Hog Day also boasts games for children, pony rides, an antique car show and food vendors. As Cannell puts it, “We have stuff even for people who for whatever reason don’t like barbecue.” Admission is free.
Pittsboro will soon have a new restaurant. On May 21, Brendan Cox is slated to open Oakleaf (www.facebook.com/Oakleafrestaurant), which he calls “progressive American” with “immediate cuisine.” Cox spent the last year at Peak City Grill in Apex.
Cox plans to source 80 to 85 percent of his food from around the Triangle. “For me, it’s a chef thing. The closer to harvest time I can get it, the better.”
Cox will occasionally feature nonlocal items, specifically seafood from the Chesapeake Bay. “That’s my thing. That’s what I love to cook,” he says. Cox did his undergraduate work at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he developed a fondness for the area’s traditional foodways. He also plans to use seafood from the Carolina coast.
Expect dishes including North Carolina wreckfish and potatoes dressed with bacon, spring onions and rosemary brown butter ($21.50), cavatelli pasta with grass-fed lamb ragu ($11) and braised pork with arugula, pickled red onion and buttered potatoes ($20.50).
Oakleaf will serve lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and dinner Monday through Thursday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, dinner will be extended until 10 p.m. Oakleaf will be closed on Sundays. For an up-to-date menu, visit Oakleaf online.
Another Broken Egg, a Louisiana-based chain, has opened a location in Durham at 2608 Erwin Road. The restaurant specializes in upscale breakfast, brunch and lunch items, including a smoked salmon omelette, huevos rancheros and several vegetarian options. Emily Wallace
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