Monday, January 21, 2013

World's Toughest Rodeo gallops into Raleigh

It doesn't look close, but this bull is headed right towards me.


By Dathan Kazsuk | Jan 21, 2013
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

I’ve coined 2013 as the year of trying new things. New restaurants. New hobbies. New friends. So why not add going to the rodeo as one of the things I’ve never done in my lifetime.

Sure, I’ve been to the circus. I’ve seen the Harlem Globetrotters perform (back when they had George “Meadowlark” Lemon and Freddie “Curly” Neal). I’ve even been to a couple fundraiser basketball games where the Merced and Atwater fire and police departments went head-to-head against members of the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers. It was the 4th string scrubs that you never heard of before, but nonetheless, as a kid, it was exciting.

Right after I take this photo, the horse veers to the
left and crashes the gate right in front of me.
I’ve never been to a rodeo – until the other night, – when I was at PNC Arena for the World’s Toughest Rodeo competition. I didn’t know what to expect. Sure, I was thinking thousands of cowboys and cowgirls – and that’s exactly what I got. But I also saw a lot of average families taking their children out for a fun night, and a melting pot of mixed ethnicity.

Cowboys help kids rope their very own tiny
bull prior to the show.
Before the show got underway, a handful of families were able to go out on the dirt to get autographs from some of the participating cowboys, while children were able to get their picture taken on a fake bull or hopping inside a clown barrel. There were even a couple cowboys teaching the young ones how to lasso their own miniature bull.

The crowd was excited when the first event sent cowboys out on top of bucking bronco to try and stay on longer than 8 seconds. Some did a good job at lasting the full 8 seconds, while others … well, if you blinked you missed them fall on their behinds as soon as the gate opened. 

I was snapping away, taking my share of photos by the far end of the surrounding gate thinking to myself, “I’m safe here.” Not long after that, the gate opens and out comes another horse and cowboy. OK, they’re coming right at me. Still not moving in another direction! Horse, move away! Shoot, time to step back. As soon as I do the horse and cowboy plow into the gate and the cowboy falls off the horse, pretty much right at my feet. No photo is worth getting trampled by a horse, I say.

Between breaks, members of the rodeo kept the crowd entertained with funny banter and jokes, a Chris Farley-esque impersonator was trying to capture a gorilla in the middle of the dirt arena, and kids signed a waiver to ride on adult sheep in what they called “Mutton Busting.”

I didn’t stay for the entire event, but being close to the action made the rodeo a pretty fun event. Hell, it’s not every night that you can say you were mere feet away from both a horse and bull a metal fence away from making you as flat as a pancake.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Big Boss Brewery delivers The Countess to The Architect

Jon and Aaron Seelbinder.

By Dathan Kazsuk | Jan 13, 2013
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

It was a painfully long and dull Friday at work, and I was counting down the hours until I got in my car and headed downtown to The Architect Bar & Social House on Hargett St. in Raleigh.

It just so happened to be the Big Boss Brewing release of their latest creation, The Countess. Ordering up a pint, this ale had subtle hints of raspberries, which left a nice crisp finish on my palate. 

The Architect also had two cocktails crafted up for the night using The Countess. My wife ordered the Apple Pie, which I didn’t pay attention to what was in the drink, but knew it had some hints of the beer, and a prevalent apple taste. She really enjoyed that drink. I, on the other hand, ordered the Blackberry Whiskey Sour with a splash of The Countess. Two thumbs up.

During the evening, music was provided by soul/rock singer, Jason Adamo. He and his band did some great acoustic renditions of some classic songs by The Rolling Stones, Van Halen and Leonard Cohen.

The people arriving up the stairwell ordered their Countess beers, and sat at tables helping themselves to several build-it-yourself s’mores kits. This was a courteous offering by Architect owner Jon Seelbinder, and his brother, Aaron. I said I was going to be good and not have one, but I couldn’t resist.

Several employees of Big Boss Brewing were also on hand, passing out stickers and bottle-opener key chains. And behind the bar, the bartenders were handing out Big Boss pint glasses to people. It was a good night for me – coming home with 3 stickers, 2 pint glasses and a couple key chains.

This was my first time to the bar, and with the friendly customer service behind the bar, the atmosphere, and hopefully a chance to see the hidden “Speakeasy” … I will be back again.

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Hurricanes release schedule - add perks to lure fans back

Every fan in attendance during the Hurricanes home opener, will receive this wall flag. c/o Carolina Hurricanes


By Dathan Kazsuk | Jan 13, 2013
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

The NHL season will start on Jan. 19, with a brief 48-game season.

Our Carolina Hurricanes will start the season in Florida, going head-to-head against the Panthers on that day, and will have their home opener at PNC Arena on Jan. 22 when they go up against Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

If you are looking to buy a ticket, single-game tickets go on sale on Jan. 16.

Opening night will have a lot for the fans who missed hockey, and aren’t boycotting a handful of games to show the NHL’s players and owners that what they did to the fans was wrong.

  • Hurricane alumni Aaron Ward and Cory Stillman will be signing autographs on the north end of the main concourse from 6:00-6:45pm.
  • All ‘Canes fans will receive a Hurricanes wall flag, courtesy of PNC.
  • There will be “Top Shelf Gifts” at every whistle stop, as more the $50,000 in premium tickets, merchandise and fan experiences will be given away.
  • There will be $1 hot dogs, popcorn and sodas at the team’s first two home games. Now, you would have sold $1 beer, I would be out there!!!
  • And all merchandise at The Eye will be discounted 50 percent from Jan. 13-24. (Can you say, time to go get your official Ward jersey now).

During this short season, the Hurricanes will face nine sets of back-to-back games. They will also play six consecutive games away from PNC arena from Feb. 2-12. And for the people who find it difficult to get to a game on Mondays-Wednesdays … 16 of the 24 home games will fall on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

For the complete 48-game schedule, click here.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Zinda Celebrity Bartenders Raise Money for Haiti

Former Carolina Hurricane Bates Battaglia working behind the bar.

By Dathan Kazsuk | Jan 12, 2013
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

I’ve been to Zinda once before with some good friends a couple months back, and really enjoyed the food – this time I was going back to enjoy the drink.

For 2013, Zinda has launched the “Celebrity Bartender Event Series” to raise money for local charities. The events will take place on the second Wednesday of each month, with 10 percent of bar proceeds going to a nonprofit organization.

On Jan. 9, the two celebs behind the bar pouring drinks were former linebacker with the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots, Adalius Thomas, and former Carolina Hurricane’s winger, Bates Battaglia.

Former NFL linebaker, Adalius Thomas.
When we arrived, Thomas was already done with his shift behind the bar, and it was Battaglia’s turn to mix the drinks.

“What can I get for you two,” Bates asks my wife and I. We order two Fat Tires.
“Oh, good, keeping it simple. I can do that,” Bates responds.

After he gives us our drinks he leans over towards a couple women standing beside me. 

“Can I get you ladies another drink?”

“No, can we get the check, please,” says one of the women. 

Bates, the great observer, sees one girl still has a half glass of wine and responds to the other woman, “She still has a half glass to go. You can have like a shot of something.”

The woman says, “Can I get a shot of water?”

Bates, not hearing her replies … “What? A shot of wine?!?”

“No, a shot of water,” she says.

“Man, that’s worse than a shot of wine.”

Eventually he gives the ladies the check and they pay and head out.  But it was funny hearing the conversation.

The two bartenders took shifts making drinks from 6pm to 9pm that night, and 10 percent of the proceeds were going toward Hope for Haiti foundation. The objective of this Naples, FL-based organization is to help improve the quality of life for the Haitian people, particularly the children.

I hope they raised some decent funds for Haiti. The end of the night had me and the group of friends I was with chatting with Bates about his bar, Lucky B’s on Tucker Street on Glenwood South – and about football. Bates, being from Chicago, holds some alliance to the Bears, while my friend is a die-hard Packers fan, so it was pretty funny watching her get in Bates face telling him that the Bears and Jay Cutler stink. 

A perfect way to end the night. Ha.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New local brewery to open Homebrew Supply Store

By Dathan Kazsuk | Jan 7, 2013
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

If you’re one of the many homebrewers that have been sprouting up around the Triangle, there’s a new store that might pique your interest. The Raleigh Brewing Company, which is slated to open in February, will have its grand opening of their homebrew supply store on Sunday, Jan. 13.

The Atlantic Brew Supply, located on 3709 Neil Street (across from Meredith College), will sell a variety of full range ingredients and equipment for the novice to the master brewer. Some interesting features of the store will include grain and malt extract sold by the ounce, bulk discounts for all items and useful pieces of equipment made locally for homebrewers.

Raleigh Brewing Company is currently awaiting their NC ABC license, but until then, you can sample some of their creations on January 10th at Bottle Revolution located at 4025 Lake Boone Trail #105, from 4:30pm to 7pm. 

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Night at Wine 101 in Wake Forest

Jay Murrie pours several Italian wines for
the patrons at Wine 101.

By Dathan Kazsuk | Jan 4, 2013
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown

It's one of my most frequent hang outs.

The owner rocks. The atmosphere is great. The price is right.

Today, after a long week of work, with a holiday tossed in the middle, I decided it was a good night to enjoy a couple beers.

My wife, she enjoyed 5 different Italian wines.

Yes, we made the trip to Wine 101 in Wake Forest, to indulge in the company of owner, Joe O'Keefe, and the amazing people that call Wine 101 their home away from home.

Tonight's wine line up featured a sample of 5 Italian wines (Pietralta Bianco, La Casaccia Chardonnay and Grignolino, Borgo Dolcetto and De Capo Barbera) served by a local wine connoisseur, Jay Murrie. Jay was very adamant with the wines he was pouring tonight, going into vivid detail on the background of each wine and his own personal experiences with each of the wines.

I, on the other hand, enjoyed three beers during my time there.

The first was Moylan's Pomegrante Wheat. This beer, from Novato's Moylan's Brewery, was a very light tasting beer, and low-and-behold ... it was RED! The last time I kicked back a red brew was a Coney Island Freaktoberfest at Yardhouse prior to Halloween. Very light in body and a subtle hint of pomegranate. I would drink this one again.

The second beer was from the local brewer, White Street Brewing Co. Their Scottish Ale is just an amazing beer. Next to their Black IPA, it's right up there with my top beers the brewery crafts.

Finally I ended my night with Foothills Seeing Double IPA. In my opinion, you can never go wrong with a good IPA ... and Foothills Brewing Co. out of Winston-Salem delivers.

Be prepared to see a lot of my blogs hailing from Wine 101 ... it's an incredible store, and the owner goes out of his way to help you find what you're looking for.

If you haven't been to the store ... what are you waiting for? Make the trek to Wine 101 and experience customer service like you've never seen before.

Follow more of my adventures on Twitter here.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Celebrity Bartenders hit up Raleigh's Zinda

By Dathan Kazsuk | Jan 3, 2013
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

If you're looking for something fun to do on the second Wednesday of each month, why not head downtown to Raleigh's Zinda New Asian restaurant to have a drink, meet a celebrity, and help donate money to a good cause (10 percent of bar proceeds).

Zinda will be launching a year-long series of celebs pouring your favorite drinks, with donating funds to a different nonprofit organization each month. It's fun. It's drinks. It's lending a helping hand.

Celebs behind the counter on Wednesday, January 9 will include former Carolina Hurricane fan favorite, Bates Battaglia, and former New England Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas. They will be raising money for the Hope for Haiti Foundation.

Thomas, drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2000, spent 9-years in the NFL, and was on the Ravens' team that won the Super Bowl in 2000 against the New York Giants.

Battaglia played with the Carolina Hurricanes from 1997-98 to the 2002-03 season, and was part of the famous BBC line, which featured Rod Brind'Amour and Erik Cole. Bates was on the Hurricanes when the team went to the Stanley Cup finals in the 2001-02 season when they were beat by the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 in the series.

Fullsteam Brewery Launches new Ginger Pale Ale

Sean Lilly Wilson, founder of Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC and Page Skelton, originator of Cackalacky Sauce based in Chapel Hill, NC are collaborating on a new NC craft beer.
Photo c/o Susan Dosier

By Dathan Kazsuk | Jan 3, 2013
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

When Fullsteam's new Cackalacky Ginger Pale Ale splashes into the NC beer scene later this month, Sean Lilly Wilson and collaborator Page Skelton are determined to pour up some fun.

This January, the Triangle will have the first chance to taste the lively new pale ale, spiked with ginger rather than spice sauce.

“This is a wonderful pale ale,” explains Skelton, the founder of Chapel Hill’s Cackalacky Inc., known for it’s zesty sauce. “It’s nicely hopped—but not too hoppy. The beer has pluck and is incredibly drinkable. Our collaboration is about much more than the name. We brainstormed ideas for almost two years. We can’t wait to launch this great brew at Fullsteam and see where it goes.”

“Many of our beers have embraced our ‘plow to pint’ Southern agricultural mission,” Fullsteam’s Wilson explains. “The Cackalacky Ginger Pale Ale is more light-hearted. We think it’ll bring North Carolinians together no matter where you went to school or which political party you support.”

Fullsteam is currently brewing its first commercial batch of Cacklacky and plans to offer the beer in cans sometime this year. Fullsteam Brewery and Cackalacky invite the public to attend the Cackalacky Ginger Pale Ale Launch Party on Sunday, Jan. 27 from 3 to 5 pm at Fullsteam Brewery. The launch is perfectly timed on National Kazoo Day Eve. Kazoo playing skills are not required for admission but you may be required to play one in order to leave. Fullsteam will donate half of all profits made from Cackalakcy Ginger Pale Ales sold that afternoon to Funds to Farms.