Saturday, March 17, 2018

Durham's first food truck rodeo venue on the horizon

Saturday, March 17, 2018

If you have driven by the Lakewood area in Durham anytime in the last several months, you probably noticed a distinctive red barn being constructed along Chapel Hill Rd. This is the home of the soon-to-be open County Fare. 

Owners Gil Scharf, Steve Frasher, Peter Savarino and Richard Savarino hope their unique concept perfectly blends all that is the Durham food and drink scene.

County Fare will have anywhere from 3 to 5 food trucks onsite that will rotate daily. “The idea is to not only let customers eat from some of the best food trucks you will find anywhere, but to also allow new experiences every time you come,” says Peter Savarino. “You could come on a Tuesday for a work dinner and bring your family back on a Friday and have totally different trucks and different food options.”

County Fare will open in April and will serve as a permanent venue where people can eat from the wide variety of quality food trucks that are based out of both Durham and Raleigh. The project consists of a large barn that will house a bar, offering 30 different beers, ciders, and wines as well as plenty of seating. Additionally, there are 2 large covered patios and a big outdoor area for seating and games. 

The unique property even features old oak trees that the owners say provide great shade in the summer. Along with the trucks and bar, County Fare will have a small kitchen of their own. “We want to offer a super-casual and easy experience for our customers. At County Fare we are offering the Food Truck Rodeo experience that everyone loves, but making it even better by offering tons of seating, drinks, and other amenities that rodeos often can’t provide,” added Richard Savarino.

“We hope that the Triangle starts to think of us as a hub where you can go to experience the area’s acclaimed food truck scene whenever you want," Steve Frasher added. “Our focus is on great food and an amazing atmosphere you can’t get anywhere else.”

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Beer Dinner Review: Oak & Dagger Public House

By Jennifer Primrose | March 15, 2018
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town
Instagram: trianglearoundtown | Pinterest: TriangleAT 

On Thursday, March 8, Taylor's Wine Shop and Oak & Dagger Public House teamed up for a beer and food pairing dinner. This 5-course meal was set to showcase the food offered by Oak & Dagger as well as the craft beer made by head brewer Pete McCabe. The simple, yet powerful, German-style beers created by McCabe really paired well. And it all started with something as small and traditional as beer and pretzels.

Course 1
Course 1: Bavarian Pretzels and House-Made Beer Cheese paired with Mil's Pils Traditional Czech Pilsner. The brightness of the Pilsner cut with Saaz hops, with that nice herbal and spice notes paired well with the fattiness of the cheese and saltiness of the fresh baked pretzel. When referring to Bavaria, head brewer McCabe said it best, "That area of the world got it right when they made this combo."

Course 2: Spätzle and vegetables with bratwurst meatballs paired with A Little Bit of Everything Dunkelweizen. "We call it A Little Bit of Everything because we threw in a little bit of everything," says McCabe. "We threw in a little bit of rye, a little bit of wheat, a little bit of unmalted wheat, biscuit malt, victory malt. That's what we call playing around with the depth of character."

Course 3: Brat Bomber Slider with braised cabbage, whole grain mustard and beer cheese paired with Lator Hator Doppelbock. The dark malts and toffee flavor of this beer paired well with the bratwurst and mustard. Probably the best pairing of the evening.

Course 4: Shrimp & Grits paired with So Many Hoptions (Summer) IPA. The fruitiness of the IPA paired nicely with the shrimp. "Summer has a lot of nice, fruity notes that aren't necessarily citrus," says McCabe. "Summer has a little more melon and apricot in it ... and it works."

Course 5: Bread pudding with Cooler Beans (Imperial Coole Beans). The bread pudding paired well with this brown ale that gave off strong aromas of coffee. Perfect for the coffee drinker, it is reminiscent of pure cold press coffee. Great combination to end the evening.

This night couldn't have happened without the help of these two ... Ben Cash of Taylor's Wine Shop, who teamed up with Pete McCabe and his staff at Oak & Dagger Public House.

For more events hosted by Taylor's Wine Shop, visit the web page here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

In The Kitchen: Tradition prevails for St. Patrick's Day with Corned Beef and Cabbage

It's been a tradition in our house for years – corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day. So for this edition of In the Kitchen, we decided we weren't going to stray away from that tradition. It's such a simple dish to prepare, but we decided to do something a little different. 

Usually we boil or slow cook some green cabbage, but this time around we used Savoy cabbage instead. The waffle-knit texture of this cabbage makes your dish look striking. So we picked up some corned beef at our local market and tossed it in the slow cooker along with 1/4 cup coffee, 1/4 cup white wine and rubbed the beef down with some whole-grain mustard. And 8 hours later it is ready.

We boiled whole cabbage leaves and transferred them into iced water and dried them off. Laying the leafs out we put a nice cut of the corned beef on one side along with onions, mustard and a splash of lemon juice and tightly rolled them up. Violá.

The beverage pairings were pretty easy. For the beer, we grabbed a couple North Carolina Kölsch-style beers. The first was a Kreamsicle Kölsch from Rail Walk Brewery and Eatery out of Salisbury. And the second was a traditional-style Kölsch from White Street Brewing Company out of Wake Forest. Both were light, refreshing and crisp and paired well with the fattiness of the corned beef.

For the wine, we selected Jones von Drehle's Viognier. The hints of floral notes and apricot on the nose cut down the salt of the meat and paired better than we originally thought it would. 

For dessert, we decided to stay on the healthier, yet festive side. We made No Bake Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Squares. This dessert is billed as low carb and sugar free. Very easy to make, these cheesecake squares were just sweet enough to end our St Patrick's Day feast. For the recipe, click here.

Related Story: In the Kitchen: Chicken, Cupcakes & NC Wine for Valentine's Day

Monday, March 12, 2018

Kill Two Birds With One Stone: Morgan Ridge Vineyard & Brewery



Morgan Ridge Vineyards & Brewhouse  is located in Gold HIll's Piedmont region. What makes Morgan Ridge stand out is the addition of its brewhouse, similar to the likes of Westbend Winery & Brewery and Round Peak/Skull Camp. What we did not know before we arrived is that they also serve Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. as well as lunch Wednesday through Saturday from 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. 

With friendly hospitality, a pen in hand and a tasting sheet before us, we strategically chose our wines for tasting ensuring between the two of us we could try as many wines as were on the tasting sheet. As we learned about the wines we also learned a lot about Morgan Ridge and like so many other wineries in our state, the stories from farming to growing tobacco and turning that land into a winery holds true here as well.

Amie Baudoin inherited 33-acres of farmland from her father and alongside her husband, Tommy, decided to dive into the winery and vineyard business in 2000. This beautifully landscaped land, with a private pond and open air pavilion overlooks the Uwharrie mountains and makes for a nice Sunday afternoon sipping wine. They began planting grapes on-site in 2004 on seven acres with seven different varietals. Several years in the making, Morgan Ridge wine was officially ready to make its debut.

We decided on two tastings of 5 wines for $5. The current offerings were: Chardonnay,  Syval Blanc, Blush, Merlot, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Syrah, Applelicious (fruit wine), What The Fruit (fruit wine).

We enjoyed all we tried, although with some differing opinions between us. Morgan Ridge produces approximately 1,500 cases per year with all being made and bottled on-site.

Morgan Ridge also has a brewhouse. They saw the need to incorporate craft beer into their business plan to appease both the wine- and beer-drinker alike. 

Following our wine tasting, we split a flight of beer.  

For our flight, we sampled the Caramel Coconut Cream Ale, VaCa IPA, Creek Bottom Brown and the Almond Stout.

Just recently, Morgan Ridge Brewhouse opened another location, the RailWalk Brewery in Salisbury. 

Triangle Around Town's top 🍷 choice: Chambourcin
Triangle Around Town's top 🍺 choice: Hands down the Caramel Coconut Cream Ale with its lightness and coconut flavor we described this beer as a "cruise beer"

Wine tastings are either 5 wines for $5 or 10 wines for $10 with an option for a full tasting of all wines in a Riedel "Ginormous" stemware for $20 

Beer flights are 6 for $8 or 4 for $6

Hours are 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday 

Visit their web page at or Facebook for upcoming events


By Jennifer Primrose & Dathan Kazsuk
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown | Pinterest: TriangleAT | Email:

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

North Carolina's highest-rated stouts according to Untappd

By Dathan Kazsuk
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown

I live by the motto, "Love it or Hate it" when referring to Untappd. I like being able to keep track of my beers in one place so I can look back and see how I rated everything I've sampled. And of course I like collecting the badges.

But not once has the app's rating system caused me to either not want to try a beer because of its low rating, or made me leave the house that very moment to go buy a bottle before it's gone. I just don't buy into that hype.

A couple months ago I decided to find out the highest-rated IPA according to Untappd and its weighted average formula, that rates all beers against each other. Each of its top 50 beers in each category must have 150 ratings or more to qualify.

Related Story: Higest-Rated N.C. IPA's according to Untappd

So where did our NC stouts wind up on the top 50 lists? Let’s find out!

Burial Beer Company
Skillet Donut Stout (ranked 12 out of top 50)
8% ABV  |  17,010 ratings  |  Average rating: 4.18

Wicked Weed
Dark Arts Espresso (ranked 2 out of top 50)
15% ABV  |  594 ratings  |  Average rating: 4.14

Highland Brewing Company
Black Watch (ranked 31 out of top 50)
8% ABV  |  5,876 ratings  |  Average rating: 4.18

Wicked Weed
Barrel Aged Milk & Cookies  (ranked 20 out of top 50)
9.5% ABV  |  3,830 ratings  |  Average rating: 4.21

Wicked Weed
Cuban Coffee Dark Aged Stout  (ranked 28 out of top 50)
12% ABV  |  462 ratings  |  Average rating: 3.96

Southern Pines Brewing
Drunken Vigils (ranked 1 out of top 50)
14% ABV  |  2,073 ratings  |  Average rating: 4.28

Free Range Brewing
Sea of Companions (ranked 8 out of top 50)
8% ABV  |  460 ratings  |  Average rating: 3.78

Untappd lists five other "stout" categories: American Imperial/Double; Imperial Double; Imperial Oatmeal; Irish Dry and Russian Imperial. In those five categories no North Carolina beer wound up on the top 50.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Learn beer from scratch & sniff stickers – a beer lover's companion

By Dathan Kazsuk | March 2, 2018
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town
Instagram: trianglearoundtown | Pinterest: TriangleAT 
It doesn't matter if you are new to the beer world or a veteran, The Scratch & Sniff Guide to Beer is sure to teach you a thing or two about the heavenly suds we all enjoy.

"This book's an easy approach to becoming a well-informed beer drinker," says Master Cicerone Rich Higgins in the forward of this beer lover's companion written by Justin Kennedy.

Starting off with a brief history of beer and how it's brewed to some exciting beer quests around the world, this book has everything you need – from the novice all the way to the professionals.

The Scratch & Sniff Guide to Beer has a series of 10 scratch and sniff stickers scattered throughout the pages. They provide a sensory blast of aromas discussed on the pages within. Hops, Cloves, Pine, Cedar and more.

The author also discusses beer styles, with a little history of each, from original India Pale Ales to traditional porters and stouts. Kennedy helps out by even giving examples of these styles. Want to sample a Saison? Be sure to try Saison Dupont. How about one of the great Trappist Ales out there? Sample a Orval or a Westvleteren 12 (if you can get your hands on one).

You say you like more of the new world beers? Kennedy goes over such favorites as West Coast IPAs, California Commons, American Barleywines and American Sour Ales. 

In one section of the book, he goes into the hops that hail from different countries.
Did you know that two of the biggest hop growing areas of the United Kingdom come from Kent and Herefordshire? That's where you'll find Fuggle and Golding hops. Or in New Zealand they grow a total of sixteen different hop varieties. That is where you'll find the Nelson Sauvin  – a hop that's name is a mash-up of the city of Nelson and the grape, Sauvignon Blanc.

One of the most helpful items in the book turns out to be the Hop Stats. This chart shows a total of 18 popular hops, and tells where they are grown, its alpha and beta acid levels, total oil and its distinct flavors.

The back of this companion features a few pages devoted to cooking with beer. Beer can chicken, beer cheese, beer candied bacon and a flaming Dr. Pepper are some that are shared with the reader. 

The Scratch & Sniff Guide to Beer is 162-pages and published by Harper Design. The book retails for $9.99 through Amazon or Barnes & Noble book stores.