by Dianna Dames
Walking into The Peppered Cupcake, I anticipated the sweet buttery smell of baking cupcakes would meet me first but was completely surprised and charmed by the quaint decor of the shop.
Tomato growing in the south can be a tricky task for gardeners, but we get it done. Several varieties of hybrid and heirloom tomatoes manage to thrive in our heat and humidity, and we certainly make the most of every crop.
By Julia Jordan | Julia’s Simply Southern
Spring is a beautiful season in the south. There are countless trees and shrubs blooming and the growing season has begun. One of the first locally grown fruits to show up at farmer’s stands and grocery stores is strawberries. I’ve heard many farmers and chefs alike say that the mid to later season strawberries are sweetest.
The smell of butter and sugar was in the air as I pulled into a small parking lot off of Lead Mill Road in Raleigh. So much so that even though I didn’t see the sign for Southern Sugar Bakery right away, I already knew I was in the right place. I followed my nose to the entrance hidden behind a chiropractor’s office and walked into a waiting area that is probably the best smelling place I have ever encountered in my life.
In southern kitchens, nothing is more iconic than the cast iron skillet. In fact, no other culinary artifact from the 20th century has enjoyed the same longevity, or popularity, as cast iron cookware. Unlike most treasured family heirlooms, the cast iron skillet never collects dust, instead, it serves as a working piece of history that connects southern cooks with their past. My grandmother collected cast iron pans for the sole purpose of passing down to her grandchildren—and she meant for them to be used.
Southern bread is an experience… the smell, the texture and the weight. In the south, the making of bread is a family affair, and most of us have fond memories of rolling out dough with our mothers and grandmothers. I used an amber floral drinking glass, 70’s style, to cut out rounds in the biscuit dough with my grandmother in her kitchen. Our biscuits were never pretty, but that was never the intention, our only concern was to make them delicious.
Going to a pick-your-own farm is a good time if you go alone, make it a family outing or a destination for your date. You’re outside getting some fresh air and sun, you’re becoming one with nature, getting back to simpler times… and coming home with a bucket of dessert.
When flowers begin to blossom and the temperatures rise, we know strawberry season is not far behind. There are so many delicious ways to eat strawberries, and one of my family’s favorites is paired with cake and topped with whipped cream.
If you are a fan of beer, or just a fan of having a good time, you will definitely be a fan of at least one of Trophy Brewing’s three locations. For your food truck days with friends, pizza nights with the family, or dinner dates downtown, Trophy has a location to suit your needs. For this sunny Saturday afternoon, in particular, I decided to check out Trophy Brewery and Taproom.
The Southern side dish is an important part of our culture. Often, our seasons are marked by the sides we choose to serve, for instance, you know it’s summer when potato salad takes the place of mashed potatoes, and it’s definitely fall when the corn pudding makes an appearance on your plate.
What would the South be without its traditional dishes? Typically, full of warmth and comfort, for those who are trying to make healthier eating choices the Southern favorites seem to be out of the question. But, with a few changes, you can make Southern food healthy. And we know healthy means different things to different people. But whether you’re trying to cut sugar, salt, carbs or fat, there are easy ways to enjoy your southern favorites.
The search for donuts often leads to well-known national chains, some of which have kiosks even in the local gas stations. However, one Durham donut shop can be found not in, but next to a corner gas station, and the owners and bakers are often right inside rather than at corporate headquarters. That shop is Baker’s Dozen, one of a family-owned chain of three shops in the Triangle that are offering some friendly yet serious competition to the national chains.
by Nikki Terpilowski
Visit one of our favorite bakeries in Fuquay-Varina in the early morning hours, and you’ll be greeted by the smells of butter, cinnamon and the tantalizing scent of rising bread. You’ll hear the sounds of the staff calling out to each other, the dull thump of hands pounding dough and the low chatter of the customers.
Helado. The Spanish word for ice cream slides over the tongue as easily as ice cream itself. At Pincho Loco, the ice cream and dessert shop tucked between Broad and Ninth streets in Durham, this creamy delight takes on many forms.
True to a Latin American sense of style, the little shop announces its presence at 1918 Perry Street with a profusion of colorful signs, the biggest ones offering their menu choices in both English and Spanish.
cby Taylor Brooks
As if you needed another reason to venture into downtown Raleigh, I’m about to give you one more. Ashley Christensen is an award-winning chef, located in Raleigh and she owns five restaurants and bars scattered around downtown. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to visit one of her restaurants, Chuck’s Burgers.
Pancakes are the ultimate in comfort food. Wonderful at breakfast paired with whipped cream and fresh fruit, as a side to scrambled eggs and sausage or bacon but perfectly delicious alone with butter and Maple syrup.
Every good Southern cook knows the basics of meal planning: meat, bread, and a side (or two or three). There are certain mainstays in the pantheon of Southern dishes—if you’re cooking Southern, you should know these. Dressed up, or scaled down, these Southern mains are down-home, traditional, and always satisfying.
Who doesn’t like fluffy buttery sweet pancakes for breakfast? Or lunch? Or dinner? It’s one of those meals that can appease the finickiest of eaters, both child, and adult. We know it’s pretty hard to mess up pancakes and they’re actually really good, whether you get them at a drive-thru window at a fast-food restaurant, sit down for a quick bite at a country diner or hobnob it at a fine dining establishment serving mimosas with your pancakes at brunch. But we still wanted to figure out some of the best places in North Carolina to get a really tasty plate of pancakes, and that is what we did.
Early afternoon on a Saturday, a woman stands in front of the counter at Halgo speaking Polish, ordering kielbasa and other meats. A couple proudly tells Ziggy Gorzkowski, the proprietor, that their families are from Poland and they are transplants from Michigan in search of good Polish food. But customers don’t need an accent or family history in order to enjoy Halgo, the European deli across Alston Avenue from the South Regional Library in Durham.
Southern food is a living record of the people, places, and cultures that have contributed to the evolving landscape of our unique little corner of the world. Too complex and varied to ever achieve a conclusive origin story, the history of Southern food is best examined by considering its major influences—the integration of cultures, natural bounty, and love for the community.
Growing up in the south, that is the southern region of the United States, the humble biscuit is beloved like a member of the family, recalled as fondly as a favored pet and evokes nostalgic feelings of comfort, happiness and warmth. If you’re from the south and you move away, a really good biscuit can become a yearning.
There’s nothing we love more than a soft, flaky buttery biscuit. Whether you’re making a sandwich of it with fried chicken, slather it with butter and molasses or use it as a side to a traditional southern entree, there’s nothing quite like it. And we absolutely had to compile a list of the best biscuits in North Carolina.
Isn’t it annoying when you’re mad for some good Polish food, you do an internet search and find a bunch of German or vaguely European restaurants? Hello, they’re not the same. Don’t worry, we’ve done the search for you – hey, we know how hard it is to find a good Polish place to eat in the south. It’s near darn impossible, not like up north, where you can’t throw a stone for hitting a Polish deli.
Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, good fried chicken is subjective. If you were born in New Jersey, your idea of fried chicken will not be the same, as say, someone who grew up in South Carolina.
It’s not difficult to make a good burger and every restaurant and diner seems to have one, and yet some burgers are just better than others. We’ve done our research, cross-referenced the results and finished off with the ultimate in taste tastes.
I remember discovering craft beer. And then I realized I was a porter and stouts kind of gal. The darker and the thicker the brew, the better. And almost immediately after that, I recall thinking that the stout beer I was drinking would probably taste awesome in a cup of vanilla ice cream. I immediately did an internet search for is ice cream and beer a thing? Of course, as the internet will remind you, there is nothing new under the sun. And every idea has already been thought of… at least twice. Of course craft beer + ice cream or spirits + ice cream is a thing. Of course it is.
We are always down to celebrate the awesomeness of fried chicken. And what better way to enjoy some good eatin’ and travel the south, than to plan your travel around three of our favorite fried chicken festivals. If you live in Louisianna, North or South Carolina, Tennessee or Georgia, these events might not be new to you, but we bet plenty of our readers want the details!