Quips & Anecdotes - ASB: Day 2

Luckily for us, the second day of the Alternative Spring Break: "On Being a Locavore" started a bit more relaxed and later in the day. I missed the bus and didn't quite get a breakfast with everyone but did snag a tangerine so hoorah. Anyhow, again with the pictures:

The first thing we did was learn how to can and preserve stuff from one of the coordinators. She did a strawberry sauce thing that seemed quite sugary and delicious. I knew nothing about canning before so this was quite the lesson; I'll definitely have to try it sometime. I'll share what I learn when I do!

We took a trip over to the Bull City Burger and Brewery, which hasn't opened up yet but we were special, hah. The owner spoke to us in his storage space about his vision and mission for the restaurant. Everything is meant to be environmentally friendly and using as much local materials & ingredients as possible. The above picture is of the tables that will be in the restaurant which are made from barns that have been taken down in the area. It was exciting to hear about all the developments he has lined up for this place - I definitely want to visit once it has opened. A fun PR move that he has made for his restaurant was inspired by Willy Wonka and more information can be found on his website about it! To make a long story short, Seth (the owner) hid 5 "golden bulls" around Durham for people to find and left clues online daily. Those who find the bulls get a free weekly meal for a whole year; apparently 4 of 5 have been found. I'll make sure to keep my eyes peeled!

Our next stop was Fullsteam Brewery. I had been there before but was excited to get a tour when we went because I had no background or foreknowledge of anything related to breweries and their operations. The office manager there gave us a run-down of how beer is brewed and the different types that they carried (made from local ingredients). I had tried all of the beers the last time I went except for their "First Frost," which wasn't available when I went before. This time it was so I bought a nice 9 oz. of this persimmon-based drink and had a good time chatting w/some program-mates. The beer was quite rich and dark in taste - not very "beer-like" in the traditional sense that others may be used to. I say that you should give it a try just to see if you like it. If not, the cream ale and Workingman's Lunch there are both pretty neat.

The next stop on our "Restaurant Hop" was Piedmont Restaurant where we paired off with a buddy and chose a starter & entree between the two of us. My buddy and I started off with some crostini to be spread with chicken liver pate, mustard seeds, and/or a creamy, cheesy whitefish. There was also lard and pickled turnips on the plate/board. Our entree was some quail with pork fat, a marmalade, and rapini over a sweet potato waffle. We got to speak with the chef after the delicious meal and guess what? He apparently changes the menu every single day based on the products he gets in. That was insane to hear. I would be quite stressed myself if I had to constantly create new dishes every day. This cooking model was based off of his use of local produce and meats - the creations were based on availability. It made sense and seemed to be something that would keep him and his staff on their toes but my oh my, how crazy. The food was fantastic though so he gets a lot of admiration and praise from me for sure! I think the only complaint I really heard was that the portions were a bit small but I expected it from an upper scale restaurant anyhow.

The last leg of our hop was Watt's Grocery, a well-known establishment in the community and amongst Duke students. It was our second dinner of the night but somehow we all found more room for some more "gourmet" food. The cuisine was Southern in style but with a bit more finesse than a typical Southern diner. We did another pairing off to share entrees but I sat at the smaller table so we split up two starters and a side to begin. The hushpuppies with basil mayo, winter cheese plate, and french fries with balsamic ketchup prepared our stomachs for our entrees thereafter. My dinner buddy and I went with a dish of rabbit with Italian sausage over a bed of Anson Hills polenta, goat cheese, and greens. Then our table decided to spoil ourselves with four desserts which we passed around and tasted twice each - Espresso Pot de Creme, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Peanut Butter Parfait, and Flourless Chocolate Cake. They each had an interesting twist from the chef that made them to-die-for. I believe everyone in the program left feeling ridiculously stuffed but happy. Tomorrow holds some bakery, farming, and more cooking - hoorah!