Tag Archive for durham

Food Writing Bragging: New Post at WRAL

If you were on vacation last week, you may have missed my newest post at WRAL’s Out and About blog. I was, and I almost missed it myself! This one is on all the amazing foodstuffs you can find within a block of what I call Durham’s Bermuda Triangle for foodies, also known as the intersection of Mangum and Parrish streets.

Pain aux pistaches at Loaf.

Take a food tour through the South’s Tastiest Town

By Rebecca Gomez Farrell

Posted: May 27
Updated: May 29

Durham, N.C. — For foodies, the intersection of Magnum and Parrish streets in downtown Durham is a Bermuda Triangle they may never want to escape. Within one block of it, in any direction, is a plethora of eateries, bakeries, and bars that prize local ingredients, quality products, and creativity. Consider this your guide to a perfect food lover’s day in Durham without doing more than crossing the street.

Stop 1: Breakfast at Monuts Donuts (110 East Parrish St.). This donut and bagel shop used to operate out of a tricycle. Cake and yeast donuts come in flavors like chocolate chai and the delicious maple bacon bourbon I sampled. Bagels are also a hot commodity and can be topped with eggs, cheese, and … maple sriracha? Counter Culture iced coffee should help with that morning headache….

Read on for all the stops on my foodie tour…and to see just how many times I can manage to misspell Mangum in one article. Find the rest of it here, along with a pretty awesome slide show of the tour, if I do say so myself.


Review Bragging – New WRAL Post

I’m a little (a lot) behind on the times in that I’m just now posting this teaser here, and it was published about a month ago at WRAL‘s Out and About blog. Oops! My time from reviewing a spot/drink to posting about it is on a month lag right now, so that’s par for the course! Oh well. Someday, I’ll get back to more of a 1–2 week lag.

But enough of my behind-the-scenes issues. Here’s a teaser of my review of Sarah’s Empanadas:

Durham, N.C. — Sarah’s Empanadas is one of those lunch locations the RTP crowd keeps close to their vests. I’ve spied it many times when heading to dinner at Papa Mojo’s or Thai Lanna, but it’s only open at midday, so getting there during operating hours was a challenge—a challenge now conquered!

The Company: A pair of women whom I meet up with every month to try a new-to-us lunch location, which was quite convenient for this purpose.

The Location: A nondescript strip mall exterior hides a cozy restaurant. Inside, Sarah’s Empanadas is adorned with tropical bird decorations, creamy mint walls, and a giant, colorful mural. It’s also likely to be packed with diners and a long line of patrons paying at the register. Never fear, the cashier is speedy and has amazing credit-card-sliding reflexes….

Want to know more about the Bolivian empanada wonderland? Read on here or head to Carpe Durham for a slightly different version.  And I wouldn’t leave you without some food porn. Here’s the chicken and cheese empanada.

Sarahs Empanadas 06

Nonfiction Bragging: My Winning Cocktail, the Frosty’s Chocolate Orange Martini at the Washington Duke Inn

Frosty’s Chocolate Orange Martini at the Washington Duke Inn

For the month of December, you can order a cocktail of my very own creation at the Washington Duke Inn’s Fairview Dining Room and Bull Durham Bar. I won first place in their Blog Nog cocktail competition for my riff on a Terry’s chocolate orange. It’s that magical stocking stuffer we’ve all had on many Christmas mornings. Give it a whack, and the ball breaks into a million perfect slices of orange-flavored chocolate. My trivia team, Wrong Answers are Sexy, gets the credit for coming up with the theme of chocolate orange, and Tara Skelly in particular gets honors for being my taster.

The night of the winner unveiling, Durham Magazine posted a brief piece on my victory, from which I’m stealing this picture.

Me and my Frosty.

You can also watch the following video of bar manager Chris Thomas mixing up the concoction.

But if that’s too much work for you, then here’s my recipe with the tweaks the bartending team came up with to make it better—mainly, they perfected the rimming steps. The drink naming was a team effort led by Don Ball, the director of food and beverage at Washington Duke Inn, from among the fellow competitors and food bloggers who came by for the unveiling.

Frosty’s Chocolate Orange Martini

2 shots orange juice
1 shot Stoli Vanil
2/3 shot white crème de cacao
1/3 shot Grand Marnier
1 shot cardamom-infused simple syrup
Finely grated Terry’s White Chocolate Orange
Granulated sugar
Slices of Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange

Chill a martini glass. Rim the glass with extra cardamom syrup, then duck it in a mixture of the ground chocolate orange and sugar. Shake up the first 5 ingredients. Pour into the martini glass. Garnish with a slice of chocolate orange on the side.

Better yet, give the drink a try straight from the expert hands of Washington Duke’s bartenders! It’s $10, and you’ll find these cute little table toppers there.

Enjoy! And tell me what you think.

Nonfiction Bragging – WRAL Review of Munchez (Durham) *CLOSED*

It’s been a while since I posted a bragging entry–I still have much to share! I haven’t even gotten to my Bull Spec story, Bother. But life gets busy, and when it does, the bragging falls off my list of to-dos. Today, though, I have a new WRAL review to share with you! Published on Monday, here is my take on the newest food incarnation in that catchy little orange building by the 147 and Fayetteville overpass. Here’s your teaser:

Munchëz is located in a little stand that switches owners and cuisines faster than new signs can be produced. I’m still in mourning for the charbroiled chicken tacos from its last incarnation called Pollos La Carbonera. But now, it has been reborn as a sandwich, burger, salad, wings and hot dog joint. Thus, a new visit was in order.

The Location: Munchëz is in an orange and yellow hut that looms up right before the I-147 on-ramp driving up Fayetteville Road into downtown Durham. You can walk up and order at the front window or drive through, but it does take longer than fast food. My meal took about 15 minutes, which they apologized for as lengthy.

And you can read the rest at WRAL Out and About here. Want a photo to further entice you to click their way? Sure thing.


Interview Bragging – Durham Magazine

After spending a month in Maya’s Vacation promotions, I’m switching gears to highlight some of my mentions and interviews for this very blog, the Gourmez, and the connections I’ve made with the wealth of amazing people in our food and drink industry in the Triangle. Today’s brag comes by way of my Carpe Durham connection, which is a food blog that has twice been a finalist for Independent Weekly‘s annual Best Blog award. In addition to my posts here, I also cross-post to Carpe Durham any Durham reviews that haven’t already been posted by one of the other fabulous CD bloggers.

Back in 2010, Matt Dees, the hardworking and food-appreciating editor of Durham Magazine, contacted me and the other Carpe Durham bloggers about doing a piece in their first annual Foodie issue. Of course I said yes, and along with Carpe Durham‘s amazing primary blogger, DID, we did a little photoshoot for the piece. We were interviewed, too, and the piece primarily discusses the origins of the website with its creators, RPP and YAR.

I'm on the right!


Now, it’s been two years since the articles, so I think I can post the scans without fear of dipping into Durham Magazine’s profits for the issue (What can I say? I support writers getting income for their work!). Matt, you let me know if you want it removed, mmkay? Here is the PDF of the article.

Download here.

I hope you enjoy learning about the history of Carpe Durham!

Nonfiction Bragging – Front Porch at the Independent Weekly

Would you like to know how good of a year 2012 has been so far? This is the second time I’ve had to replace one of my planned bragging posts with a just published one instead!  Let’s hope this is a trend that continues.

This week, I’m directing you to an essay I wrote for our local independent newspaper, sensibly named the Independent Weekly, or the Indy if you’re a local. The Front Porch column is open to readers to send in 500-word essays on any topic, and it’s often a great place to get a sense of what others in the community are thinking about or just taste a little slice of someone’s life. This week, it’s my life you can dig into, or at least my opinions on the running craze and the constant fundraisers around us. Here is your teaser:

On Facebook, I complete the circle of life every day by reading the status updates of friends and acquaintances. Births, weddings, deaths, more births: They’re all there on display. Lately, it seems, there’s a new element of living that I’d previously neglected. I’m talking about races, the running kind—anything that ends in “-athlon,” “-K” or red-faced racers clutching their stomachs as they breathlessly pass a finish line.

Ostensibly, it’s both the method of choice to raise money for every known charity and the trendiest way to announce a transition from out-of-shape blob to exercise hound. Watching from the sidelines, it’s a little bewildering . . .

For the rest of the Front Porch, either pick up a free copy of the Indy at pretty much any coffee shop and many local businesses or head over to the web version. Thanks for reading!

Nonfiction Bragging: 604 West Morgan Review for WRAL Out and About

Last Thursday, my first post for WRAL’s Out and About–their blog on the Triangle’s entertainment, food, and nightlife–went live, and I didn’t even realize it! If I had, you can bet I’d have let you all know about it then. I’ll be contributing a couple more pieces for WRAL during the course of the year, and I look forward to it! This first one is on 604 West Morgan, a fancy and delicious Italian restaurant hidden in downtown Durham’s warehouse district. Here is your teaser:

I have a compulsion when dining out in the Triangle – I must try a new place every time! We are spoiled with amazing options, and I’m lucky enough to have friends just as excited to try them all as I am.

My dining companions on this particular evening all work in the American Tobacco District in downtown Durham, so we wanted somewhere nearby. The usual suspects like Revolution, Rue Cler and Dos Perros were quickly eliminated – we’d all been to them before!

Where we hadn’t been is an Italian restaurant just half a mile away in the redeveloped West Village warehouses. Unless you happened to glance into the courtyard between the Flowers Warehouse and Cooper Shop buildings as you walked down Fernway or Morgan streets, you wouldn’t know 604 West Morgan was tucked away inside.

For the rest of the review, and pictures, head to the post!

Bull Spec #5 Launch and NC Speculative Fiction Night

My short story, Bother, is now available online! Bull Spec’s PDF version is up, a couple of days before the official publication of issue #5 on Friday, 4/15. You can find the full contents list and order a print or PDF version here. I may be biased, but I think you’ll want the print version because of this gorgeous cover.

The artwork is by Richard Case, a Hillsborough resident and comic book artist who’s done a lot of work for the DC label. He picked Bother to illustrate for the cover, and I love how it came out! I think it captures the feel of it quite well, and—it must be said—there be dragons! Okay, just one dragon, but it’s a beauty!

If you can’t wait to get a copy in your hands to read any of the fabulous fiction within its pages (including Absinthe Fish by M. David Blake, which just received a Recommended from Lois Tilton, the Locus Magazine short fiction reviewer!) then join us at Quail Ridge Books , 3522 Wade Avenue, Raleigh, on Friday night (4/15)! At 7:30, a bunch of North Carolinian speculative fiction authors and industry folks, including me, will be convening for readings, probable panel discussions, and more. Bull Spec #5 will be hot off the presses and available for purchase then. They will likely be an after party at Crowley’s also. . .

Let me know if you’re planning to go so I can say hello!

And Bull Spec’s publisher just referred me to his list of where you can find the magazine locally, and in a few other states, too, though they likely won’t be on the shelves until sometime next week.

The Regulator Bookshop (Durham, 9th Street)

Sci-Fi Genre Comics & Games (Durham, 3215 Old Chapel Hill Rd between University Dr and MLK Blvd)

Quail Ridge Books & Music (Raleigh, 3522 Wade Ave at Ridge Rd)

Internationalist Books & Community Center (Chapel Hill, 405 W Franklin St)

Chapel Hill Comics (Chapel Hill, 316 W Franklin St)

Foundation’s Edge (Raleigh, 2526 Hillsborough St)

Storyteller’s Books (Wake Forest, 100 E. Roosevelt Ave)

Capitol Comics (Raleigh, 3027 Hillsborough St)

Flyleaf Books (Chapel Hill, 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd)

All Fun & Games (Apex, 958 US Highway 64)

Ultimate Comics (Durham: 9th St; Chapel Hill: Farrington Rd)

Barnes & Noble of Cary (760 SE Maynard, Cary Commons)

Barnes & Noble of Durham – The Streets at Southpoint (8030 Renaissance Parkway)

Barnes & Noble of Durham – New Hope Commons (5400 New Hope Commons)

All Booked Up (Apex, 104-B North Salem St)

Northgate Books (Durham: Northgate Mall)

North Carolina:

Barnes & Noble of Greenville, NC (3040 Evans Street)

New York:

Forbidden Planet NYC (NYC, NY)


Golden Eagle Comics (Reading, PA)

Book Launch Party 3/29! City Beverage, 6:30-8:30

It’s only 7 days until the launch of my first book, Maya’s Vacation, and I’m getting quite excited!

As many of you have asked, yes, I am holding a book launch party to celebrate! This is not an organized shindig so much as it is an excuse to have drinks with friends. The wonderful Johanna, the Durham Foodie, arranged for me to stake out a spot at City Beverage in Durham from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm on 3/29, the date the book launches. If you are a blog reader, friend, whomever, you are more than welcome to come. My plan is simply to chill in the Lava Lounge (the purple room) the whole time. I will be armed with bookmarks for Maya’s Vacation, and I’ll be giving away a few free downloads of it. I’ll also have some flyers printed promoting my short story and reading  with Bull Spec on 4/15. Swing on by anytime between 6:30 and 8:30 and say hello! Please let me know if you can come!

I’ll also be doing book readings on this blog that Tuesday, probably two recorded readings from the book to whet your appetites for the $2.99 download. It will be available in all e-book formats at Astraea Press on 3/29–buy one, buy two, buy five and send them around to anyone you know who doesn’t mind a little romance mixed in with food and wine descriptions sure to make you hungry. It’s a book about reigniting passions, whether they be joy in cooking, creating, or accepting what Fate throws your way.

Spring in Cross Timbers—Photo Blog

Just a quick blog with photos of the flowers up and blooming, and of Loki taking his proper place as lord of the manor. His throne, of course, is the top of the car.

Mazu, of the pretty, pretty coat.

Verdandi, checking out the mulch I put beneath the Bradford Pear.

The flower garden waiting on the tulips to come play.



And that pear tree:

Hope those tulips come soon!