Tag Archives: not just icing

Beericana at Holly Springs – 2014

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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!


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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.

Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo – 2nd Edition

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The Southern Belle

The Three Friends were ready for second 2014 Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo. We had each made our picks off the Highlights Menu and I had organized our selections according to the Rodeo map and made assignments for each of us. Then early this morning The Traveler let us know about car troubles and that she wouldn’t be able to join us. So the Bad Boy and I made a few adjustments and headed for the rodeo with our Early Bird bands in place.

Once again the weather was perfect for the rodeo. When we arrived we took a few minutes to take in the wonderful aromas that greeted us and sights on the street. We could see the food trucks getting ready for early birds 12:30 start, visiting with each other or talking with people on the street.   After a few minutes of soaking up the spirit of the food truck rodeo, it was time for the Bad Boy and I to put our plan into action. Our revised plan was for each of us to start at opposite ends of Fayetteville Street and meet in the middle with our food truck delights.

Lesson learned from the first rodeo was that the line at Chirba Chirba gets very long very fast, so I made Chirba Chirba my first stop and then began my trek towards the center. When Bad Boy and I met up around Martin Street, we had quite a spread of tasty selections: Chirba Chirba – Juicy Buns and Ginger Chicken Bun; King Creole– Blackened Pork Chop; Stoke and Smoke– “Burnt Ends” Brisket platter, and Chai’s Global Street Food– Korean Cheese Steak. I was not disappointed by any; however my favorites were the Burnt Ends Brisket and Blackened Pork Chop. The “Burnt Ends” brisket was nice and juicy with a sauce that was the perfect blend of Down East and Western NC barbeque sauces. Another added touch to the platter was real butter for the roll.   The presentation of the Blackened Pork Chop was outstanding with the pork chop atop a bed of dirty rice and some greens on the side. The pork chop had just the right amount of heat and sweet and the dirty rice was just right.

Besides enjoying the food today, I also enjoyed talking with others partaking in the rodeo. At Chirba Chirba I met another early birder with an insulated bag and plastic containers who said it’s so much good food at the rodeo she liked to take some home to have later in the week. Further down the street I ran into some tablemates from the stuff your face dinner and we took a few minutes to compare notes. After finishing our smorgasbord lunch, we were taking a few minutes to sit back and people watch when a first time “rodeoer” couple from Fayetteville asked us for recommendations. We shared the highlight menu with them and they shared they had tried a very good pulled pork sandwich from Red Hot and Blue. Then there were the two brothers who were enjoying treats from Belgium Waffology Truck. The brothers highly recommended Waffology.

We missed you Traveler.

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The Bad Boy

Unlike the earlier Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo, held back on May 4th, Team Triangle Street Eats had decided that we would attend this one with more zeal. We had devised a plan of attack, and had spent time reviewing the map, as well as the menu to determine whom we would visit, and who would be responsible for collecting which items. Early this morning, the Southern Belle and myself learned that we had to modify this plan, because the Traveler had car trouble, and she would not be accompanying us.

We quickly condensed our menu, and were ready to attend shortly before 11am with a new plan. Using a divide-and-conquer approach to collecting our samples, we were seated and ready to dissect and devour our selection before 1 pm.

The selection, as mentioned in the Belle’s posting above, was designed to cover an array of foods and a spectrum of flavorings. If I had to say, I would admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the blackened pork chop. I mean, I am one of those people that think that everything is better blackened! The dumplings from Chirba Chirba were spectacular, and lived up to their billing. I look forward to giving all of the food trucks we visited today a proper review. I hope that they look forward to serving us as well.

I couldn’t help but procure a 4-pak of Not Just Icing’s cupcakes before we left, you know – for later in the week. If there was a fifth food group, it’d have to be cupcakes…right? If you have never attended one of these events, you will have an opportunity on August 10 from 4-9 pm. Go to http://www.downtownraleighfoodtruckrodeo.com to learn more. Until next time, Stay hungry my friends…Badboy.

Never Have I Had a Better Time

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bruce_smAs mentioned in a previous blog, the Southern Belle and I were contributors for the Kickstarter fund for Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo. These food truck rodeos will be held over the summer. In return, contributors received various awards. One such reward was an event delightfully entitled, “Stuff Your Face Food Truck Dinner“.

The event was May 1st between 6 and 9 PM at the historic City Market/Cobblestone Hall. Just this particular setting alone set the tone for what promised to be an enchanted evening. We had decided since we were going to participate in something that would likely be very trendy, as well as an annual event, we would add one more element of excitement to the evening. We used Uber,a startup transportation service new to Raleigh that offers riders significant discounts. I am certain that this service will catch on. If you have an opportunity, try it out yourself.

Walking into this large historic venue, I noticed the room already swirled with anticipation. Beer on tap, wine, as well as sodas and bottled water were available. Beer had been provided by two local microbreweries, Lone Rider and White Street Brewery. I had decided to sample a Shotgun Betty, while I enjoyed the Mint Julep Jazz Band. This was my first exposure to jazz in the Raleigh area and it proved to be delightful. Perhaps I need to make a point to get out more often.

While we waited for the dinner hour, the Southern Belle and I took the opportunity to walk around and chat with other contributors, as well as do a little networking before going to our previously assigned table. When we arrived at our table we introduced ourselves to our tablemates, who were from Smith Mountain Lake Virginia, and Wake Forest, North Carolina.

Happy and Hale provided a Walters Harvest Salads, with arugula, roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, walnuts, goat cheese and fresh pressed orange honey vinaigrette that was waiting for us on the table.

Shortly after we had finished sampling the fine, fresh, delightful salad, the next course, from Chirba Chirba arrived at our table. It was at this time that I realized how unique it was to be at a sit-down dinner event, and being served what is usually eaten in an outdoor venue. The selection provided included:

  • Juicy Buns: Succulent pork-filled steamed dumplings…yum!
  • Bayside Chive: Pork dumplings with Chinese chives, carrots and cabbage
  • Veggieling: Dumplings filled with three types of mushroom, carrots and scallions

My favorite from this selection was the Juicy Buns. They were sweet and tender.

The next course arrived. It had been prepared by Porchetta. It included Rosemary and Juniper Berry Brined Pork Loin, and a side of fluffy pimento cheese polenta cakes. I had previously sampled their pork a few months before. I found it to be tender, moist and delicious. I knew they wouldn’t disappoint.

It would be some time before the next course, prepared by American Meltdown, would arrive. As you have likely guest, their specialty is grilled cheese. However, their grilled cheese sandwiches are award winning. A Whitman Sampler of the following were provided to each table;

  • Hangover Melt: Their signature sandwich featuring their own recipe pimento cheese, a runny egg and salsa verde with bread baked from Durham’s Guglhupg Bakery
  • Honey Pot: a combination of tucks sheep’s milk ricotta cheese, with toasted pecans and peach balsamic compote, with grilled brioche from La Farm in Cary, NC.
  • Grilled Cheese of Champions: Durham jack cheese from the Cultured Cow, between slices of Havarti bread.

I believe it was the Grilled Cheese of Champions I found to be most to my liking.

Of course, at the end, there were cupcakes! These cupcakes were prepared by Not Just Icing. The cupcakes had been taunting diners since the beginning of the event from the elegant display in the back of the room. Now it was time to bid them ado. From a selection that is too vast to list here, the Southern Belle and I took delight in their mocha love cupcakes.

When there was a delay between courses, we had great “food” conversations with our tablemates or sent out tweets about the food and music we were enjoying. I had noticed that other diners were doing the same and some of us were inadvertently following one another’s tweets and re-tweeting about the event. All seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Bellow you will find our patented rating system for the night’s events. Rest assured that it was one of the most memorable night outs I’ve had in a while. I only hope this becomes an annual fundraising event. Make no mistake; although our meal was prepare by food trucks the quality of the food was right at home for a sit-down banquet

Until Next Time…Stay Hungry My Friends            Badboy

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