My Day-Trip to Raleigh’s State Farmers Market

This was originally posted on my new adventure-based website, Sprangled! Check it out for fun times and inspiration, and submit your own experiences, advice, and reviews. We all share this world together!

Appropriately located on Agriculture Street in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Raleigh State Farmers Market stretches across a 30,000 square-foot building and is open year-round. There’s also a strip of market shops filled with homemade treats and crafts. There’s much to explore, but what if all of that food makes you hungry? No worries — there are three restaurants that dish out meals made of locally raised meats and fresh produce right on the market grounds.

NC_State_Farmers_Market

The main farmers market building is packed with locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Perfect for a day-trip that will please just about anyone, this North Carolina farmers market is in a category of its own. With an abundance of fresh crops, locally raised meats, wines, cheeses, jellies, jams, and household decor, it’s pretty much an ongoing miniature fair. And the best part is, by purchasing basically anything at all, you’re supporting local business. Read More

A Bite Out of Life: Tobacco Road Sports Cafe

First of all: five stars all the way.

When you think “sports cafe” what comes to mind is likely mediocre food, sticky floors, and men with oily fingers and wing sauce in their beards shouting obnoxiously with beer-coated breath at the huge flat screens above their heads. Tobacco Road Cafe in Durham, North Carolina, was packed with Duke University fans vocally expressing their excitement for the football game, as they should (because what would the athletes do without them?!) and it made for an animated atmosphere. The food here was knocked out of the park, the floors were spotless, and we scored great service.

Tobacco_Road_Durham

What reeled us in was the inviting location. Tobacco Road is located across the street from the American Tobacco campus, which is a beautiful collection of restaurants, businesses, and artwork. We toured the campus while keeping an eye out for what would soon be lunch, and since Tobacco Road Sports Cafe has a backyard view of Durham Bulls Athletic Park and fairly-priced eats, in the doors we walked. Read More

The Most Delicious Rodeo Ever: Downtown Raleigh’s Food Truck Rodeo

From tacos to Philly cheesesteaks to lobster tails and mini doughnuts, Raleigh’s food truck rodeo had every kind of food you could imagine, all in one place. With 58 food trucks and eight food carts lined up along Fayetteville Street, the food party spread out over 11 city blocks.

On Saturday, August 9th, 58 food trucks covered 11 city streets.

No matter if you were craving Italian, Chinese, bacon, cupcakes, or are a vegetarian, you were guaranteed to be satisfied. Vendors showing off their delicious skills included Soomsoom Pita Pockets, Gnam Gnam Gelato, D’ Burritos, Master Bacon, Thai Box Zing, CockADoodleMoo, Baguettaboutit, OMG Chicken, Gussy’s Greek, Valentino’s Food Truck, Pie Pushers, and Barone Meatball (that was a mouthful). From 4-9 p.m. these trucks and others were constantly cookin’ up the goods, as the lines at many of the stations were continuous.

Taco Grande

I had to stop at Taco Grande for a chicken taco!

Because my boyfriend, friends, and I wanted to taste a couple of different foods, we didn’t fill up at one place. In total, we stopped at about eight places to eat and drink, which included chicken and beef tacos, burgers, lobster tail, beer and cider, wine, a Philly cheesesteak, a spicy chicken rice bowl, ice cream, and doughnuts. We would have continued, but there’s only so much one person can eat, unfortunately. Read More

NYC Eats: Sugar Factory American Brasserie

This past weekend two friends and I decided to hit up the Big Apple to check out the Sugar Factory American Brasserie on Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District.

Sugar_Factory_NYC

It doesn’t look like much, huh? A hole in the wall, maybe. But you know what they say, and you’ve heard it a thousand times, and I sincerely mean it this time. Don’t judge a book by its cover. The expression certainly applies here.

It was a rainy day when we visited, and we had to wait outside. In fact, the place is small (3,000 square feet to be exact) and was so packed that we couldn’t even get inside at first. But we were set on trying this place, mainly due to word-of-mouth from some trustworthy friends. Once we squeezed inside and made our way up to the hostess stand, we found out the wait for three would be two hours, so we put one of our names down on the waiting list and, since we had time to kill, found plenty to explore in NYC.

Sugar_Factory_Candy

If you’re sweet tooth is acting up while waiting at the Sugar Factory, there is plenty of candy to munch on.

Upon returning to the Sugar Factory, we still had to wait an additional half hour, and were just about to leave (since there are plenty of other delicious restaurants in the area) when the hostess let us know that a table was ready. We followed a waiter past the crowded bar, which was lit up with colorful, sweet creations of liquidy goodness, and over to a small table in the corner. Read More

NYC Eats: Brendan’s Bar & Grill

It was the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day and the manfriend and I were hanging out in the Big Apple for the day. We had some time to kill before our final destination to see a rock show in Brooklyn, so we decided to scope out a spot for appetizers and drinks, preferably near the R train, so we stuck nearby the Herald Square area. From way out in the foggy, rainy distance we saw a giant shamrock and yellow vertical letters that spelled out “Brendan’s.” It sounded Irish enough, so away we went, Brendan’s-bound.

Brendan's

We were expecting the typical Irish pub: dimly lit, small and cozy, bottles of alcohol lined up behind a bar that took up pretty much the entire place. But Brendan’s was a place of its own. Let’s step inside and you’ll see what I mean.

Enter Brendan's

Brendan’s was bright and spacious, and a friendly hostess dressed in black came to us immediately. As she led us down the large hall, we entered an open room of tables. The windows were decorated in stained glass, and it gave the place an old-fashioned church-like vibe. Read More

Healthy, Crunchy Kale Chips

Kale Chips Ingredients

Tasty, crispy kale chips are quick and easy to make. If you’re craving a snack, forget that bag of flavored potato chips that’s been sitting on the grocery store shelf for weeks, and go to your local market and pick yourself some kale. Packed with nutrition, one cup of this leafy green includes loads of vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and even some protein.

Kale Rib

To get started, gather a little bit of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and, of course, some fresh, washed kale. Once dry, peel pieces of the kale from the rib of the plant and spread them out in a cooking tray or cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

Kale Chips in Tray

Next, drizzle on two teaspoons of olive oil (make sure the majority of the oil doesn’t go to some chips and not others, as too much oil can make them soggy) and sprinkle with salt. Read More

Rustic Potatoes au Gratin

Rustic Potatoes au Gratin

Potatoes in your face! It’s about to be a party in your mouth!

Late yesterday morning I was hungry and was in the mood for something tasty and different, something that I could cook. I received a Crock-Pot slow cooker recipe book not long ago, and decided it was time to crack it open. I gave my Crock-Pot a cleaning and flipped through the recipes, only to stop in awe at the picture of the Rustic Potatoes au Gratin in the side dishes section. I’m a sucker for anything potato, and since I had planned on making steak for dinner, I figured the potatoes would pair with it perfectly. It was a chilly, snowy day out, and this dish seemed warm, flavorful, and comforting.

Rustic Potatoes au Gratin Recipe

As you can see in the ingredients list above, I needed 1/2 cup of milk, one can of cheddar cheese soup (10 3/4 ounces), one package (eight ounces) of cream cheese, one clove of garlic, minced, 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, 1/ teaspoon black pepper, two pounds of baking potatoes cut into 1/4-inch slices (the recipe book shows three, I went with four, which worked out fine), one small onion, thinly sliced, and paprika, which is optional. Read More