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. 


Lonerider Celebrates Ten-Year Anniversary

Raleigh brewery Lonerider Brewing Company is celebrating its ten-year anniversary. Since it opened its doors on January 23, 2009, it’s ramped up its production to more than twenty thousand barrels annually and racked up fifty-seven awards along the way, including medals from the Great American Beer Festival and The World Beer Cup. The brewery will celebrate the anniversary with new styles and limited releases as well as a series of events beginning March 14. For more details on the anniversary festivities, click here.

Hummingbird Rolls Out Brunch

Raleigh cafe-cocktail bar Hummingbird announced a new weekend brunch menu, bowing this weekend. New menu items include a burger with bacon aioli, shakshuka (a saucy baked eggs dish with feta), and a po’boy with cornmeal-crusted shrimp and oysters. Perennial daytime favorites such as the can’t-miss butterscotch sticky buns and ricotta fritters with seasonal jam will also have a place on the brunch menu. Brunch will be served on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.


Sample Good Food Award Winning Bites at Fullsteam Brewery

On Saturday, January 26 Fullsteam Brewery will host a pop-up market showcasing N.C.-based Good Food Award winners and finalists, from 2:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. Sip a beer—Fullsteam Brewery’s Southern Basil was a winner this year—and sample and shop products from local vendors such as Videri Chocolate Factory, Escazu Artisan Chocolates, Boxcarr Handmade Cheese, Chapel Hill Creamery, Crude Bitters & Sodas, and Big Spoon Roasters. For more information, click here.

Slurp Chicken Soup for the Soul

This Sunday, January 27, is the annual Triangle Chicken Soup Cookoff, where more than a dozen home cooks will share their family recipes and bowls of soup—think Southern-style, Yemeni-spiced, or chicken noodle—to raise money for the Raleigh-Cary Jewish Family Services Food Pantry. The event will take place at Temple Beth Or in Raleigh from 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 and include samples of all soups plus one vote for the People’s Choice Award. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance online. All proceeds will benefit the JFS Food Pantry, which provides assistance to those facing food insecurity and offers nonperishable kosher and non-kosher items.

Toast to Bacchus at NCMA

On Saturday, January 26, the North Carolina Museum of Art will host a Toast to Bacchus wine tasting and lecture beginning at 3:00 p.m. After the wine tasting, Caroline Rocheleau, curator of ancient art, will discuss the god and the marble statue in the NCMA collection and how the museum’s Bacchus Conservation Project plans to restore the sculpture.


Do you ever feel like sometimes your experience of a restaurant wasn’t what you thought it would be, maybe because you ordered wrong? It can happen with any kind of cuisine, but especially with ones with which I’m less familiar. I had heard rumblings about a hidden gem called Nice Bowls Asian Cuisine, a restaurant that specializes in Szechuan and Hunanese dishes, and while I was excited to explore the menu, I also felt trepidation over how to navigate it. Luckily, my lunch companion was armed with intel on what we should order.

“My friend has been here before and she said to get the boiled fish…” my friend started to explain, looking down at her phone, before the server interjected to ask if she had a photo.

Indeed, she did, and our server graciously pointed us to the fish filets in hot chili oil (at least that’s how it was itemized on our receipt). A large bowl arrived on the table, where tender pieces of boiled fish bobbed in a brick-red broth that hinted at a heady dose of spice to come. I can handle the heat, and this was definitely spicy, but what made the broth so flavorful was the addition of Szechuan peppercorns, which lend a fragrant, almost citrusy-floral note along with a pleasant tingling sensation on your lips and tongue. It also gives the dish an oddly addictive quality, so that you almost don’t notice that your tongue has gone a bit numb until you try to take a sip of water—a very odd sensation, but one you quickly forget with the next slurp and bite.