I’ve just returned from almost a week in beautiful North Carolina, where spring is out in full force.
The main reason for my visit was work, but it was also a convenient trip home to see family and friends in Durham, where I grew up. The tide has been turning for a good long while now, but it’s official: Durham is cool. I’ve remarked on this to other people (both native North Carolinians and non), and noticed more so than ever this trip, that I’m so pleased at how good, clean food and food entrepreneurship are such drivers in Durham’s revitalization.
This was evident at the bustling farmers market on Saturday morning, and down the street at the grand opening of the shiny new Durham food co-op. It was on display at the Triangle Brewing Company brewery tour (I don’t really want to give away this frugal secret, but psst: $3 gets you a tour of the TBC facility and generous pours of anything you want to sample — I may or may not have felt just a tad wobbly on my bike as we pedaled away afterwards), and at the nearby Bull City Ciderworks, which I visited not once but twice this week.
I got to host a few meetings for work, with food included, and loved picking out the menu for lunch meetings from both Parker & Otis and 9th Street Bakery. My biggest coup was when I inadvertently popped into Daisy Cakes (new bakery downtown) right before closing time to pick up a few cookies. The friendly retail person followed my gaze to the other delicacies in their bakery case and suddenly said, “You know what — you should be the last person to come in here since we’re closing in about two minutes. Let me pack up some of this for you, since we’ll just throw it away. Besides, the people are your meeting probably need a sugar rush.” I left with my cookies AND nearly a dozen complimentary cupcakes. PSA: Go to Daisy Cakes next time you’re in Durham!
I also got to do some cooking of my own, in my parents’ kitchen, aka a place with practically acres of counter space compared to mine. Since I’ve been doing this side gig at the cooking school for a few months now, my parents took advantage (I mean… politely asked!) and had a few family friends over for dinner on both Friday and Saturday night. I made salmon one night and fish tacos the next, but I was happiest with how Friday’s dessert — a yogurt/olive oil cake topped with powdered sugar and citrus — turned out.
I need to cook for friends and family more often. And monks. Though that will involve gold shapes and touching some hot hooves… (Read this hysterical piece to get in on the joke.)