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May 24, 2010 06:48 AM

Farm to Fork Follow-Up

I'm a little surprised no one has commented yet on yesterday's Farm to Fork picnic. We're all still suffering from a bit of a food hangover at our house but I'll start by throwing out a few random thoughts.

We are so incredibly lucky to having such an amazing wealth of culinary talent in our area. I stand in awe of all the chefs and their crews.

I'm impressed by how down to earth and friendly all the chefs were. I was handed food by a James Beard winner, had conversations with nationally recognized chefs and, in general, hung out with a great bunch of people. All the chefs seemed genuinely eager to talk about nearly anything, but especially their food and suppliers. No attitudes here.

Did you notice how many kids were running around and actually eating things other than sweets? Rock on, parents!

Memorable standouts for me:
Shortrib sliders from Saxapahaw General Store
Eastern NC BBQ from Carolina Crossroads
Pork Belly Sliders from Lucky 32
Blackened Shrimp Bruschetta from Battistella's

Things I'm sorry I missed because I OD'ed completely on all the other marvelous offerings:
Lamby Joes from Six Plates
Italian Subs from Neal's Deli
Posole from Lucky 32
all the "zas" (sic) from Fired Flour
the cakes from Weaver Street Market (I heard the Sweet Potato was especially good)
If anyone can report back on those items so I can get a vicarious thrill I'd appreciate it.

So when to tickets go on sale for next year? Give me a few days to recover and I'll be ready to get in line.

Carolina Crossroads
211Pittsboro St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

General Store Cafe
39 West St, Pittsboro, NC 27312

Lucky 32 Restaurant
109 S Stratford Rd, Winston Salem, NC 27104

Weaver Street Market
228 S Churton St, Hillsborough, NC 27278

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    1. re: southernitalian

      The WC Breeze Farm in Hillsborough, NC.

    2. We had a great time and I totally agree with your assessment of the chefs; the chefs and the farmers seemed genuinely pleased to be there and enjoyed interacting with us. I was pleased with how smoothly everything ran and I felt like we got our money's worth. Going into the picnic, I was a little concerned that it would be too crowded with too small portions and we would be disappointed that we had paid $60 per person. That was not the case at all. Portions were generous and plentiful.

      I think that rockycat is thinking of the cakes from Crumb, not Weaver Street Market (tall cakes, chocolate, strawberry and sweet potato). They were delicious!

      We started at the end opposite from the entrance and enjoyed Neal's Deli subs first - the lamb sausage was outstanding! The lamby joes were not as good as they have been when I've eaten them in Six Plates, so don't feel bad about missing out on them - the rolls were harder/drier than usual and the meat was a little less juicy. I enjoyed the "zas".

      I'm sorry to have missed out on the shortrib sliders as well as the strawberry donuts.

      Neal's Deli
      100 E Main St Ste C, Carrboro, NC 27510

      Weaver Street Market
      228 S Churton St, Hillsborough, NC 27278

      7 Replies
      1. re: anne7134

        I'm resurrecting this to add a bit about Crumb since I mentioned them here. Although the cakes were delicious at the Farm to Fork, the business owners seem to lack basic customer service skills.

        1. re: anne7134

          Yeah, I noticed that slogan when I was there. Not only is it not funny but it's derivative-- just like the "our barbeque is so good it'll make you slap you mamma" or some lame version of it.

          As too their cakes at the picnic I thought they we relied on gimmickry. It was like 6 layers tall so it was overloaded with icing, which was too dense with butter. I like light, airy icing that complements a cake, not overwhelms it.

          1. re: anne7134

            Oh, man. There's not much to say, is there? They simply do not deserve to stay in business.

            1. re: rockycat

              As I may have mentioned in one of my posts, I didn't think either of their cakes were that good. They looked good, but they were dry and just didn't taste as good as some of the more simple desserts.

              Given those two articles, I hope they learn some manners if nothing else. Their excuse that it was a rough day is BS. It is the food service industry as best as I can tell when is there not a stressful day. Such a shame.

              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                Honestly, with that kind of attitude, I don't care if they're baking the true food of the gods. I don't need to spend my money with people who don't seem to have any basic decency. But then again, I weigh more than 110 pounds, so my opinion probably doesn't matter.

                1. re: rockycat

                  I concur on the spending money with people who don't have any common decency. I'm in the 110+ pound boat too ;-)

            2. re: anne7134

              Wow...I didn't try the cakes since I was trying to prioritize my way around the place. The friend I was with thought they were good (several varieties of multiple layers?).

              I have worked in kitchens where there were chefs who really were not able to deal with the public, but they were intelligent enough to know their limitations and have a manager to handle the world at large. The way these two responded to a legitimate point of view shows an utter lack of class, empathy and professionalism. Your true colors show best when the chips are down...

              They lost my business. Too many decent people trying to earn a buck to throw cash at folks who disrespect their customers (and people in general). Your dollar is a vote!

          2. Had a great time and the weather was phenominal. The shortrib sliders I knew would be good just based on the larger sandwich of the same type. I enjoyed the lightly fried Black Cod from Walking Fish and the strawberry ice cream sandwich (both fish and sandwich were from Watts), the rice ice cream with rhubarb jelly and the two gazpachos I ttried were good (one beet and one strawberry). The pork belly slider was wonderful and so was the bruschetta. The Za's were fantastic and loads better than the cakes (which were more pleasing to the eye than the palette). I was in love with the fig/blue cheese Za. I enjoyed all of the breads (but thats just me in general). I'll have to look back over the menu to edit this later to see what else I enjoyed, but there wasn't anything that was totally off putting... Actually the thing I disliked the most was served up by Magnolia Grill.

            1. It may be because I'm biased towards seafood but I thought the seafood offerings were the stanouts at the picnic. My blue ribbon prize would go to the blackened shrimp bruschetta from Battistella's. They are a new New Orleans cuisine restaurant in Raleigh and I plan to check them out. The fried grouper nuggets by Walking Fish/Watts Grocery, the shrimp and blue crab cocktail by Southport Seafood (they sell seafood at the farmers market next to Southern Season), and smoked trout with veggies in a lettuce puree by Magnolia Grill were great as well. The non-seafood dishes that stood out for me were the souse, the meatballs by Giorgios (interesting curry flavors), and roasted cauliflower wrapped with fatback. I wasn't crazy about the shortrib sliders; the shortribs were okay but the biscuit was too dry-- but I know Sax Gen Store has game. I didn't care for Carolina Crossroad's BBQ; it was too vinegary-- but the little jalapeno corn muffins were delicious. Pork Belly sliders were tasty but wow was it rich-- too much of a good thing perhaps? I was disappointed by Vimala's offering. With a new restaurant about to open-- across the street from two other established Indian restaurants no less-- I was hoping she was going to bring more game than veg pakoroas.

              Didn't really have room for desserts. Fullsteam's beer are fantastic! can't wait for them to start operations in August.

              Carolina Crossroads
              211Pittsboro St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

              1. anyone have a scan or web location of the menu brochure?

                i loved this event and I'll be back next year. and i'll pace myself better. those little portions add up quickly