Tag Archives: Chapel Hill Triangle Street Eats

Toast & T.MAC at Waverly Place


This past week, the doors opened to two new restaurants at Waverly Place in Cary. Both Toast Café and T.Mac are up-and-coming regional chains opening their first location in the Triangle. Charlotte-based Toast Café serves breakfast, brunch and lunch with a menu which focuses on organic foods. T. Mac out of Atlanta, a sports pub features wings and craft beers.

Toast Café

toast logoDean and Beth Kessler, long-time patrons of Toast Café in the Charlotte area, approached Brian Burchill about expanding Toast to the Triangle area.   Dean and Beth have now opened Toast’s newest location in Cary. Toast Café, with its gourmet better-breakfast concept believes in delivering great food with a home style atmosphere IMG_0653and great service. At Toast “every server is your server” and this assures every diner has a great experience.

The Friends met at Toast for breakfast/brunch this past week-end and it was a great experience. We had the opportunity to meet Dean, Beth and Brian who made us feel right at home as soon as photowe stepped in the door.   It only took a few minutes of conversation with them to see their passion for bringing great food to Cary.

After checking out the menu, The Friends made their choices. The Traveler selected the lobster roll from the daily specials, Bell decided on the strawberry and cream cheese stuffed French toast from “the griddle” and Bad Boy took advantage of the side selections and built his own breakfast of a pancake, eggs and sausage. The Friends were very pleased with their selections from the presentation to the IMG_0788freshness and taste of each selection. Tyler, our server, had told us the lobster was flown in fresh from Maine and The Traveler said it was evident the lobster was fresh when she took the first bite. We all decided we would be returning to Toast Café in the future.


tmaxLast Sunday was the grand opening for T.Mac (Taco Mac Sports Grill). Although wings are their specialty, the menu has a wide variety of selections including, burgers, chicken tenders, flat breads and other pub nibbles to name a few. Then there’s also over a 100 beers to choose from. As the sign over the door says “Genuine Food and Craft Beer”

Since The Traveler had decided to attend the Pepper Festival in Abundance, NC, Belle and IMG_1206Bad Boy chose to try opening day at T.Mac along with a large crowd of sports fans. This made for a lively atmosphere. Luckily we were able to join our friends Paul and Suzanne at their table or we might have had quite a wait. Bad Boy ordered their signature Original wings and a Lone Rider Brewery – Sweet Josie beer. Belle opted for the newly added Mushroom Steak Burger. All of us at the table agreed the wings lived up to their billing. Both Paul and Bad Boy IMG_1208enjoyed the beers from the myriad of craft beer selections. We also tried a very good caramel apple cake before leaving.

T.Mac has a plethora of flat screen TVs. So no matter who your favorite team is you will find them playing on at least one of the TVs. This along with the food and wall of taps to choose from IMG_1210makes T.Mac a great sport-watching environment. We plan to return to watch a little ACC action and maybe a little Pirate Nation football.









Pepper Festival in Pittsboro, NC


mary_smI was very excited when I found the advertisements for the Pepper Festival and the Abundance Foundation. I was expecting the similar type of food that I had when I attended a pepper event in Texas. I arrived at the festival at 2:30 so I could speak with vendors and take pictures, since it was scheduled to start at 3pm. Unfortunately, no one was set up by 3pm, let alone by 2:30. It was a Sunday, so I suppose everyone was running behind. I tried not to let it bother me, since the day was sunny and bright, there was plenty of good food and drink and music playing. What more could anyone ask for?

The food prepared by the chefs was being judged. I am not sure what directions had been given, but most chef’s prepared similar items, either polenta or cornbread topped with meat and hot sauce, relish or pepper jelly. I had expected to have more variety.   There was one booth that had jalapeño hot chocolate, but when I arrived at nearly 3:30 to the booth, I was told it would be another 20 minutes before it was ready.

TOPO distillery had some interesting drinks. I had to limit them to a sip, since I was driving. TOPO is quite popular in the triangle region. I had the opportunity to speak with the employees at the pepper festival and they were all very charming and accommodating. Jordan, allowed me to step behind the table so I could get better pictures of their fabulous salsas and dips.

I also tasted the Pittsboro Pepper Ale by Regulator, who won first place. It started off mild with and ended with a spicy kick, with subtle flavoring of hops and honey. It would be great with a spicy bloody Mary mix. They were still working on their Kick Starter and I saw that they reached their goal last night. They were very excited about their pepper beer and it was popular since there was a line waiting to sample it. Congratulations Regulator!

Fearrington Granary, TOPO, Top of the Hill, Tribeca Tavern, Lilly Den Farm, Crude Bitters and Sodas, Angelina’s Kitchen, Cottage Lane Kitchen, Larry’s Veggie Bus, La Residence, and Central Carolina Community College Hospitality and Culinary Arts were all sampled. My favorite was the Chili Nacho by Angelina’s kitchen who won first prize. There was a sole food truck called Small Potatoes Mobile Kitchen, but I was too full to sample their food. Maybe next time, but one person can eat only so much.

I had the opportunity to meet the WRAL DJ’s and played a game of PLINKO. I love reading their site for things that are available to do in the Triangle area. Keep up the great work.

I also spoke with Laura who was representing the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. She is involved with utilization of local farm’s food. Having grown up on a farm, I too want to use locally grown products to show our support for the hardworking farmers who supplies our nation’s food. The organization is hosting a Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Greenville, South Carolina on November 10-12. She wanted me to ask people to join her in Greenville for the Farm and Food Event of the Year. You may contact her for further information at: LauraS@carolinafarmstewards.org

I was also told about a farmers market, that all produce is locally produced, called the Western Wake Farmer’s Market. I was told that I had to go see what they had to offer.

I plan on going back next year for the Pepper Festival, because I think it will get better and more organized. And hope that someone will make an awesome hot dish.                              The Traveler.


All Aboard! – Brew-n-Choo in New Hope Valley


bruce_smIn New Hope Valley, North Carolina, there are a group of dedicated volunteers whose passion is to share their love of trains with our community. How fortunate for us who live in the Triangle Area to be able to share in their zeal. Triangle Street Eats recently attended their first fundraiser, Brew-n-choo.

It would make perfect sense that a dedicated group of people, sharing their love of trains, would exist in the Triangle Area. Anyone who is curious about early forms of transportation/commerce, as well as inquisitive about early engineering accomplishments would appreciate the contribution that railroad systems has made in our nation’s history. It is difficult to put a dollar value on how much rail commerce contributes to our GNP, or how many miles there are of track, but I assure you, it is significant. By this same logic, people sharing a passion for full-scale trains as a way of educating and enlightening others about the contribution trains have had on our nation, would be so dedicated.

New Hope Valley’s train club, The Triangle’s Train, held this fundraiser this past Saturday, to help offset operation costs, as well as help restoration of ‘Old # 10’, their most ambitious project to date. It is interesting to note that this was their first such event ever. The Belle and I purchased tickets to ride on their train car on-line. We chose to ride with Locomotive 110, an oil-fired steam locomotive.

We arrived about 5:30 pm, even though our departure time wasn’t until 7:30. I was surprised to see how picturesque the location was, as well as how well attended the event was. Beer, wine and food venders were available to visitors from; Fortnight Brewing Company, Chatham Hill Winery, Manna Concessions and LadyBug’s Treats. India Cain and Keith Allen also provided Blue Grass music. The atmosphere was family friendly with lots of curious children playing and enthusiastically engaged in the history of trains.

Our train departed after dark, and took us along a wooded path that was illuminated only by the light of a waxing moon. The sound of the train’s steam whistle, slicing through the cool Autumn night, add a haunting element to the hour-long ride.

There are several more events scheduled this year. The first will be the Halloween Express, Saturday October 18, from 4:00 – 7:45 pm, then again on Saturday October 25, 4:00 – 7:45 pm.

A Christmas themed event is also available in December, which will include Santa Clause. All tickets are available on-line. Please take time, and your children, to ride the rails of days-gone-by. You won’t regret it. Stay Hungry …for knowledge my friends! Bad Boy.





Beericana at Holly Springs – 2014



Beericana, a craft beer, food and music celebration was held on September 27th on the grounds of Sugg Farm Park in Holly Springs. Belle and I attended to report on the event, which was well organized, and well attended. The weather for the event couldn’t have been better – cool and dry – a perfect autumn day.

We arrived 30 minutes before general admission ticket holders were permitted to enter, but it seemed VIP ticket holders had taken advantage of a good head start. Laid out in a triangular formation with venders towards the edges, attendees had the middle portion to set up lawn chairs and base camps of friends and acquaintances. Surrounded by over 100 beer taps, provided by nearly 50 craft breweries, not to mention a wide assortment of food trucks, a full-on assault for a good time was anticipated. When we entered the gate we received a Beericanna sampling glass, and the cost of admission included unlimited sampling from all the brew venders.

Belle was the designated driver, which left me to set out to sample some of the finely crafted brews exhibited. It was up to me to take-one-for-team-TSE. Something that caught my attention was the fact that several of the exhibitors had crafted a beer bearing the style, Märzen, which is common for Oktoberfest. It is dark, rich and satisfying. Since I am not a fan of the more common IPAs, I found this style more to my liking, and sampled several from, Gordon Biersch Brewing Company and Draft Line Brewing Company. I also sampled an excellent German Pilsner they called ‘Polished Pilsner’ from Bombshell Brewing, who calls Holly Spring’s home.

s_belle_smWhile Bad Boy was graciously “taking one for the team”, I decided to do a little people watching and talking with others. We had set up our chairs near a tumble tower (oversized version of Jenga) and cornhole boards. These games were provided by 13 Degree Games for the attendees to enjoy. I watched several people try their hand at the tumble tower as their friends gave guidance and encouragement. Most ended up restacking the blocks after the tumble! While I was watching the happenings at the tumble tower, a new friend and I got to talk about Nascar, “The Chase”, and our favorite drivers.

One of the interesting things I noticed was many of the participants were wearing pretzel necklaces and I just had to know all about these necklaces. So I asked one of the ladies who had one of the more interesting necklaces. Kori explained the necklaces were worn at beer festivals so you would have a pretzel to eat between tastings to cleanse your palate. I am already looking forward to designing my pretzel necklace for next year’s Beericana (I just know it’s going to become an annual event). There was also a man wearing a very tall bright yellow and green hat that caught my eye. I asked if he would tell me about the hat and he explained he had been wearing it to beer festivals for the last ten year and it had just become a tradition for him. If that hat could talk, can you image the tales it could tell!


After sampling finely crafted beer, Belle and I turned our attention to sampling some food. Of the food trucks attending, the only one we hadn’t sampled previously was Kokyu. Their specialty is sliders, a popular food group among beer drinkers – am I right! I choose two selections; one from their regular menu, Carolina Carnitas Sliders, and another from their event specials, Reuben’s Cuban.

The Carolina Carnitas has a vinegary pork, with avocado, cilantro and sesame. The combined savory/spicy, along with the creamy avocado, created an unexpected, yet delightful flavor. The Ruben’s Cuban had rosemary grilled pork, cheddar, and quick pickles. The thin-sliced pickles provided a taste was as good as the presentation, and a good balance to the beer I had been sampling earlier.

Bluegrass Music was also provided for everyone’s enjoyment. While we were there, the duo of Lynda Dawson & Pattie Hopkins were on stage with their acoustical instruments and haunting ballads about North Carolina.

Belle insisted we need to take “a little something home” to enjoy later. So our last stop before leaving was at the Not Just Icing for a six pack of cupcakes.