Event Recap | 10th Annual Chesapeake Crab, Wine & Beer Festival at National Harbor @drinkeatrelax

On Saturday, August 24, 2019, SobeSavvy.com joined over 35,000 people at the 10th Annual Chesapeake Crab, Wine & Beer Festival at National Harbor, MD. featuring live music, food, and “all you can taste” crab, beer and wine. Because I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD., I am a Maryland Blue Crabs lover. I like them hot,fresh,steamed & seasoned and this event by Drink.Eat.Relax serves them up just the way I like it!

If you’ve never been to the Chesapeake Crab,Wine,Beer Festival, here is what you can expect at either of the two ticketed four-hour sessions [ 11am-3pm or 5pm-9pm] :

Summertime fun for everyone!

Over 30 beers and wines and a few spirits.

A souvenir BEER MUG

ALL YOU CARE TO TASTE CRABS. Enjoy all the crabs you can handle during the four hours of the show. Both female/male crabs were served and varied in size from medium to large and will be offered at 6 crabs at a time, per person.

Other GREAT FOOD options as well available for purchase. There are no vegetarian options available.

A LA CARTE CRABS option will be SOLD 6 CRABS (1/2 dozen) AT A TIME PER PERSON FOR TBD (while supplies last)

LIVE MUSIC. Enjoy fun summer sounds from area bands.

THOUSANDS OF TABLES AND CHAIRS AND HUGE TENTS for crackin’ to your heart’s content. They even ordered enough crab paper to stretch all the way across the Harbor and back.

👀WATCH my YOUTUBE video to see more recap highlights from this wonderful event! ⤵️

Follow @drinkeatrelax for future event details and information!

Thank you for reading and I hope you are inspired to go next summer!

Event Recap |9th Annual @ATLFoodandWine Festival #AFWF19 @Old4thWardPark #LoewsAtlanta #KnowTheSouth

Food and Wine, Wine and Food. Has there ever been two things that go together better? If you think the answer is no, than take a look at The Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, now in it’s 9th year, the festival is an ode to southern cooking and libations. It took place this past weekend, May 30-June 2, 2019, at the Loews Atlanta Hotel in Midtown and at the Historic Old 4th Ward Park.

👀 TAKE A LOOK at their preview video⤵️

This festival truly has it all… from special dinner presentations, informative learning seminars and the epic tasting tents where you can indulge in an all you can taste experience! The Midtown community of Atlanta served as the perfect backdrop for the festivities and the mother nature gave us all beautiful weather to enjoy ourselves at the festival! The event was well organized and put together with such detail and care that it really felt like a fun, family affair!

OFFICIAL HOTEL | LOEWS ATLANTA

One of the many unique features of this world class festival is the fact that the vast majority of events take place all under the roof of the gorgeous Loews Atlanta Hotel in Midtown. This was the official host hotel and the festival basically does a weekend takeover. All of the event rooms, spaces and lounges are occupied by various tasty seminars, beverage mixing classes and much more. We made the Loews our base camp for the weekend and it was the best decision ever. *Stay tuned for our review of our stay at the Loews Atlanta Hotel soon!

TASTING TENTS | HISTORIC OLD 4TH WARD PARK

The tents were located at a new location at Historic Old Fourth Ward Park, which is adjacent to the Ponce City Market Food Hall and the Beltline. Crowds arrived early and stayed until closing. They came to eat, drink, explore the south and party! Guests got to enjoy live music, a DJ, fun photo booths, and gift swag. The thoughtfully curated Tasting Tents allowed guests to take a culinary road trip through the South and discover new food/beverages to enjoy.

FOOD | #PNCBestoftheFest

When guests arrived at the Tasting Tents, they received a tasting glass and a chip to vote for their favorite bite (or sip) at the festival. The entire food lineup was impressive, so it was really hard to chose just one! Oysters on the half shell and lobster rolls were my favorite seafood choices. Hot chicken sliders were amazing as were the prime rib tacos. The Visit Mississippi tent had an amazing beef and mushroom burger topped with a fried oyster. It was so good! I also loved the fresh tuna from the Visit Aruba exhibitor. There also were dessert options to satisfy your sweet tooth. With so many delicious choices, both regional and global to try, the festival is designed to take your tastebuds on an epicurean journey.

LIBATIONS | Wine, Spirits, Beer, etc.

Cheers to the Atlanta Food &Wine Festival for having libations of every sensation: Bourbon, Vodka, Gin, Whisky, Tequila, Beer, and Wine for all to enjoy! Guests who have chosen not to consume alcohol could still enjoy creative drinks thanks to The Mocktail Project, which celebrates and allows an inclusive drinking culture. There also was an effort to support sustainability by using AARDVARK paper straws!

Some of my favorite sips were from Bedlam Vodka and Knob Creek, who not only served craft cocktails but both had great vendor setups. Bedlam had a lounge and Knob Creek were actually “smoking” their Old Fashion cocktail. We even got to witness how the smoke was infused with the drink! (I captured a snippet of the process for you and uploaded in my YouTube video below). Every varietal of wine was on hand from whites to reds and of course rosé were available to enjoy each festival day!

LEARNING EXPERIENCES

More than 50 learning experiences, dinners and events were offered by #AFWF19 for guests to get Off the Eaten Path and get to #KnowtheSouth. Dozens of food and drink topics were covered at the Loews Atlanta Hotel, where guests could choose between which hour long seminar to attend throughout the weekend. I attended the Cast Iron Chronicles: Evolution Of Soul Food sponsored by Butter Pat Industries and presented by Tiffanie Barriere[@thedrinkingcoach], Jennifer Hill Booker, and Deborah Vantrece.

These three women not only educated guests on the true history of soul food but also prepared communal dishes for us in the ‘smooth’ cast iron pan from Butter Pat Industries. Did you know that the seed of black eyed peas were smuggled from Africa by slaves who then grew them here and from that a dish called “Hopping John” was born?! We got to try an updated and elevation version of that dish. The Chefs reminded us that soul food is more than grease and gravy and should be celebrated! We also were served two cocktails ( one was rum based, the other is named Cab Calloway made with sherry) and as a bonus, we got to try some of the best peach cobbler I ever had!

I also enjoyed The Other Cuts sponsored by Big Green Egg, which was held on the beautiful outdoor terrace at Loews. Chefs served samples of lesser known meat cuts from Porter Road, a meat delivery service, and how to best grill them for maximum flavor and tenderness. There were so many other interesting seminars but alas I could only be in one place at a time. Where was my clone when I needed her?!

👀 WATCH my video recap of The Ninth Annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival below and hope to see you there next year MAY 28-MAY 31, 2020!! Follow @atlfoodandwine for details

🎉🎉🎉🎉CONGRATS to Chef Kristian Wade of Beau Rivage Resort & Casino as this year’s winner of the #PNCBestoftheFest competition! The ‘Landmass Burger’ satisfies both burger fans & seafood lovers with it’s combination of beef + fried oyster!


The 9th Annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival took my tastebuds on a fun, foodie journey that I will never forget! I got to sip & savor, discover amazing flavors, and taste cuisine from the South and beyond. I also enjoyed the education received from culinary talent and the celebration of community during the entire weekend. Can’t wait until next year!

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Event Recap | 7th Annual Bull City Food & Beer Experience @BullCityEXP @DPAC #Durham #Food #Beer #Fun

On March 24, 2019, 30+ of Durham’s Finest Restaurants Paired with 30+ Fantastic Breweries at the 7th Annual Bull City Food & Beer Experience! This event was held at DPAC (Durham Performing Arts Center) in Durham, NC and presented by Tyler’s Restaurant & Taproom and Sam’s Quik Shop to benefit the ELLERBE CREEK WATERSHED ASSOCIATION.

Last year, I had the opportunity to cover the 6th Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience>>read recap here<< and can assure you it’s a great time for foodies and beer lovers alike!
The event features restaurants paired with breweries spread throughout all three DPAC floors featuring unlimited samplings and the Stella Artois Onstage Experience showcasing live music & local food trucks.

Admission into the Bull City Food & Beer Experience includes:

  • Souvenir Glass
  • Food Sampling from 30 of Durham’s finest restaurants in addition to local food trucks and food vendors
  • Beer Sampling from local and national breweries
  • A limited number of VIP Experience Ticket Holders will enjoy all elements of regular admission PLUS 30-minute early event access, a private entrance and restrooms, specialty food tastings, exclusive T-shirt, private access to VIP tasting lounge with specialty spirit, rare beer and wine tasting only available to VIP experience ticket holders.

Take a look at the 2019 List of Restaurant/Breweries:

Here are some of my Favorite Pairings and Highlights:

Harvest 18 – Tröegs Independent Brewing

Alley Twenty Six – Golden Road Brewing

The Pit – Bold Rock Hard Cider

Bleu Olive – Compass Rose Brewery

Qspresso – Stem Ciders

Stella Artois Onstage Experience featuring Live Music

Check out more of my favorite bites from the night:

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Swipe 🔙 to see some of the tasty bites from last night at the 7th Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience! Over 30+ local restaurants were paired with breweries and some of the Chefs created dishes using whichever beer,ale,cider,stout,mead it was paired with! The yummy variety at @bullcityfoodandbeerexperience is what I most enjoyed about the event! ********* See my YouTube video recap + Read more about this event #ontheblog, SobeSavvy.com! *********** #bullcityfoodandbeerexperience #BullCity #Food #Beer #Durham #NC #DurhamEats #919eats #DurhamFoodies #NCeats #DurhamRestaurants #NomNom #SobeSavvy #soNCsavvy #yum #Lifestyleblogger #EventBlogger #FoodBlogger #RaleighBlogger #DurhamBlogger #TriFoodies

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This event was simply wonderful. The variety of food vendors on 3 floors allowed for our tastebuds to never get bored. Most dishes were presented in the perfect bite size so my beer samples never spilled! Some chefs chose to incorporate their beer pairing as an ingredient in whatever dish they created. I also loved how most beer vendors took the time to educate guests on various beer backstories and fermentation methods. It was simply the perfect way to spend a beautiful early spring afternoon!

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As The 7th Annual @bullcityfoodandbeerexperience comes to a close, I would like to raise my #beersampling glass to @tylersrestaurant + @samsquikshop and everyone who came out to @dpacnc for this #Durhamevent benefitting @ellerbecreeknc! There were so many delicious local #Durham #NC #restaurants, paired with #breweries from across the nation. Stay tuned for more highlights from the #bullcityfoodandbeerexperience on the blog, SobeSavvy.com! ————— #SobeSavvy #Foodblogger #Raleighblogger #eventblogger #Durhamblogger #durhamfoodie #ncblogger #beer #food #bullcity #durham #yum #chefs #foodfest #sundayfunday #ipa #beerfest #foodandbeer #foodies #ncbeer #trifoodies #durhameats #event #eatlocal

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👀Watch my YouTube Video event recap here>> https://youtu.be/XByGcmJptZo

For more information about participating Restaurants & Breweries, how to donate to Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association or if you want to sign up for details of their next event in 2020, please visit – BULLCITYEXPERIENCE.COM

Check out @VidrioRaleigh #FirstFridayRaleigh Cocktail Series and Stay for Dinner! #VidrioRaleigh #SavorLife


Having a little one means sometimes foregoing a Friday night on the town. However, this past Friday Nana was in town and that meant one thing..DATE NIGHT! Lucky for us, a spot here in Raleigh that we had been wanting to try was hosting a special event. The place that has been on our radar is called VIDRIO.

This mediterranean inspired restaurant and bar is located in the heart of the bustling Glenwood Avenue South district. VIDRIO, which means glass in Spanish,  has been a social media star due to their savory food, exciting sips and their stunning decor. They also offer experiences such as wine dinners, private events, and wine tastings. On February 1, 2019, VIDRIO kicked off their “First Friday Cocktail Roundtable | A Spirit Filled Room”! Check out this promo video I made to share about the event:

EVENT DETAILSWhen: Every first Friday of the month, 6pm-10pm
Where: VIDRIO‘s Bar Area
What: A monthly contest that puts 2 bartenders up against each other in a craft cocktail contest

Why: It’s a fun night out and a chance to experience the sights, smells, and flavors of the world’s best spirits and craft cocktails. You vote for your favorite to move to their finale, and get featured as Cocktail of the Year!
How Much: $8.00 Craft Cocktails
EVENT RECAP

This week the visiting bartender was Matthew Bettinger. He is a mixologist of the highest caliber. His raw knowledge of the spirits and the fresh ingredients he chose and paired was amazing. Alex Bridges, a member of VIDRIO‘s beverage team is equally passionate and skilled in the art of cocktail-mixing! The crowd was enthusiastic and curious about each cocktail. Each month a VIDRIO bartender comes up with a cocktail to compete with the visiting bartender’s cocktail. It starts with a “base” spirit and they build on that. This month the spirit was Lunazul Blanco tequila.

First up was the creation of VIDRIO Bartender Alex Bridges called, “It’s  Been Fun“. The ingredients that caught my eye was aloe vera and peach jam! Having an actual slice of blood orange in the glass made this a very attractive drink.
The visiting Bartender, Matthew Bettinger, created a drink called “A Friendly Visit“. He infused Rosehip & Hibiscus into a cordial and added it to his cocktail creation. It was refreshing and pleasing to my palate.
Both were very different from each other and both very well done. I voted for “A Friendly Visit“, while my husband went for the “It’s Been Fun“! Turns out the cocktail that won was…drum roll, I mean martini shake please….”It’s Been Fun“!

It was a great time! Grab your favorite  drinking friends, or plan a date night and mark your calenders to return for the next one in March. Click here for details of the next event!

DINNER FOR 2

After such a fun experience at the cocktail roundtable, we decided to stay and have a dining experience here. We moved to a table for 2 in their spacious dining room. It has a endless ceiling with blown colorful glass on an entire wall. It was a surreal setting to say the least.

Both of us wanted some wine and lucky for us VIDRIO has 48 wines..ON TAP! They have something no matter what your wine taste dictates. We were as little undecided and ultimately chose to do one of their curated wine flight offerings. We went with 3 reds. Each 3 oz pour was very different from each other. One was dry, one medium and one had a touch of sweetness. Each sat on a cute descriptive mat with the names and varietal tasting notes. It was actually quite a beautiful display.

Oysters On The Half Shell were on deck for an appetizer. Half a dozen bivalves with all the trimmings. Freshly shucked and delicious. The full menu is available at the bar and prior to our dinner, we enjoyed their tasty and tender Moroccan Beef Skewers. I am a sauce person and loved every bit of the harissa Greek yogurt to dip the skewers in. Since we were not that hungry, we decided to just split a dish. Their Short Rib Bolognese Pasta came highly recommended by our friendly and attentive waitress. She explained how the the pasta and even their ricotta with lemon zest was made in house. It was very flavorful and expertly done. The pasta was thin and light and the short rib was incredible. This was one of the best pasta dishes I have had since one night in Rome 8 years ago! Their dessert menu had some great choices but we were beyond satisfied and called it a night.

Make reservations now for your own great night at VIDRIO.
SobeSavvy Tip: Reserve your table today for Valentine’s Day at VIDRIO on Thursday, February, 14th for only $50 per person. ❤

VIDRIO
500 GLENWOOD AVE.
RALEIGH, NC. 27603
919-803-6033

#GiftIdeas|Giveaway @Root7products G & T Cocktail Set, Books from @DrinkLikeLadies @CherylCharming + @TopoDistillery Gin Recipes

Tis the season of celebrations, traditions and holidays. Raise your hand, or glass if you enjoy a good cocktail to kick off the festivities? 🙋‍♀️ Well today I have something for you or the cocktail lover in your life!

I am hosting a #SobeSavvygiveaway for this really stunning gift set. It’s an amazing invention by leading drinkware brand Root7. It allows at home mixologists to make their own gin & tonic creations.

Root 7 G & Tea Cocktail Set | photo credit www.Root7.com

The Root 7 G & Tea set is a fun, stylish and uber-unique way to mix and serve a cocktail for two. With a spectacularly chic design it’s ideal for master mixologists and fashionistas.

Root 7 G & Tea Cocktail Set | photo credit www.Root7.com

The set is made of high-quality rainbow tinted borosilicate glass with a shimmering gold pattern, which enhances any table setting and balances beautifully with your lighting.

Root 7 G & Tea Cocktail Set | photo credit www.Root7.com

The teapot comes with a filter basket keeping fruity lumps and pips out of the tea cups. If gin isn’t your cup of tea, then it can be used with real tea, so little fingers up and drink in class. It’s also perfect for any other cocktail and certain to be the centerpiece of any gathering.

Root 7 G & Tea Cocktail Set | photo credit www.Root7.com

Available on Amazon.com, this is a wonderful gift idea for a cocktail/tea lover and makes a great hostess gift! Or maybe you want to keep for yourself to make a ‘hot toddy’ to keep you warm. Watch this YouTube video for more info about Root7’s G & Tea set:

If that doesn’t inspire the mixologist in you, then perhaps these next two items (that I am also including in this #SobeSavvygiveaway) will. Check out these cocktail books both written by women authors who are passionate about sharing their cocktail knowledge.

Drinking Like Ladies | website

What I like about this book is how it pays homage to the accomplishments of women in history while giving you creative cocktails crafted by female bartenders. Cheers to the authors, Kristen Amann and Misty Kalkofen who sought out to dismantle the patriarchy one cocktail at a time!

The Cocktail Companion |website

What I like about this book is the fun facts about each type of alcohol. For example did you know that Gin is just vodka after its first distilling? The herbs and botanicals are added during the second distilling. It is fair to say that gin is flavored vodka! The photography in this book is beautiful also.

We love to make cocktails at home using TOPO Organic Spirits, which is locally distilled in Chapel Hill,NC. Their award winning TOPO Piedmont Gin is made from 100% North Carolina wheat and well balanced, which makes it easy to drink.

Here are some G & Tea Time recipes from the website that I plan to make using TOPO Piedmont Gin :

Photo Credit Root7.com

GIN & TONIC
All you need to do is put the ice into the bottom of the teapot, fill with gin and tonic and then place ingredients into the filter compartment and leave to steep for 5 – 10 minutes depending on how strong you want the flavours to be.
Easy:
‘Gin’gle Bells
  • Earl Grey Tea – 1 bag (scoop)
  • Lemon Zest – 1/2 Lemon
  • Cinnamon Stick – 1 stick
  • Cloves – 6
  • Tonic- 500ml
  • Gin – 100ml
  • Orange Zest – 1/2 Orange
  • Ice – handful

Medium:

Gin & Apple Pie
  • Green Tea – 1 bag (scoop)
  • Tonka Beans – 5
  • Vanilla Pod – 1
  • Gin – 100ml
  • Apple – 1/2 cut into slices
  • Cinnamon – 1 Stick
  • Muscovado Sugar – 3 teaspoons
  • Tonic – 500ml
  • Ice – handful

Harder

Vesper Mar’tea’ni
  • Breakfast Tea – 1 bag (scoop)
  • Gin – 100ml
  • Lemon Grass – 1 stick
  • Lillet – 50ml
  • Hibiscus – 2 flowers
  • Lime Zest – 1/2 a lime
  • Tonic – 500ml
  • Ice – handful
    Follow @Root7products for more recipes and cocktail ideas.

    #DrinkDifferently

    Enter my #SobeSavvyGiveaway for your chance to win:

    • a G&Tea cocktail set from Root7

    • ‘Drinking Like Ladies’ book

    • ‘The Cocktail Companion’ book

    Comment below your favorite cocktail or tea! BONUS entry- Follow @SobeSavvy on IG. Winner will be chosen randomnly Dec.6, 2018 at noon. Good Luck!

    Celebrate #NationalVodkaDay with @BedlamVodka + Try this Fall #Vodka #CocktailRecipe

    October is here?! Can you believe it. Seems like the summer has gone by so quickly, which is why I try to make the most of every season. Life in general is to be celebrated and I like making the most of any occasion.

    Today I am celebrating National Vodka Day and sharing with you a Fall cocktail recipe using Bedlam Vodka. Based in Durham, NC, Bedlam has a unique smooth flavor profile and was recently voted top 10 by USA Today as one of the 10 Best Craft Vodka Distilleries in the United States! A panel of 7 distinguished spirits experts from throughout the US nominated the final 10 distilleries and it was a proud moment to see my fave that is made here locally on the list! One taste and you will see why this vodka is an outstanding base for a myriad of different cocktails recipes as well as great served chilled by its self.

    Fall means shorter days and a chill in the air (although here in NC, we are forcasted for high 80s this week). It also means fans of cocktail culture get a chance to indulge in seasonal favorites. Now I do enjoy Bedlam all year long, but I like to make one of my favorite cocktails for friends in celebration of the arrival of Autumn.

    Hubby likes to mix things up for our patio chats and this time he created what I like to call “The Fall Harvest“. Served in traditional mule copper mug, the recipe is below:

    THE FALL HARVEST COCKTAIL INGREDIENTS

    Fresh Lime Juice
    Ginger Beer
    Apple Cider
    Bedlam Vodka
    half slice Fuji Apple on Top

    ●Shake ingredients and pour over ice filled Copper Mug and top w/apple

    It’s an awesome fall cocktail for the season! Check out more Bedlam Vodka cocktail recipes here: https://bedlamvodka.com/cocktails/

    Thank you for reading and please let me know in the comments below what cocktail will you be enjoying this Fall? Cheers🥃!

    Event Recap | Tacos ‘N’ Taps @DrinkEatRelax @BoothAmp in #CaryNC 🌮 #Tacos #Beer #Fun 🍻

    🌮 Tacos and Beer🍺? They go together like, well Beer and Tacos! You know the saying..if you don’t like TACOS, then I’m NACHO type!? Well all the taco and beer lovers found their tribe this past Saturday at the first annual “Tacos N Taps” held at the Booth Amphitheatre in Cary,NC. This one of a kind event gave foodies a chance to experience over 60 Craft Beers, Mezcals, Tequilas along with tasty Mexican Tacos.

    SobeSavvy.com hosted a #SobeSavvygiveaway on Instagram as well as attended this fun,foodie event where guests enjoyed the following:

    Souvenir Glass for an All You Care To Taste Experience of Craft Beers, Mezcals, Tequilas, Ciders and Wine

    Taco Trucks, Taquerias and some of the best Mexican Restaurants, like Cantina 18 were featured along with all you can taste chips & salsa!

    VIP Taco & Beer Tasting session ticket holders got a chance to experience exclusive food and beverage tasting in the VIP area for the first 2 hours. Advance entry allowed guests to get a jump on lines!

    Music from the Mariachi Bands and Triangle’s hottest DJ’s kept the mood festive.

    Fun and prizes at the Pinata Playground and lots of Lawn activites and games gave guests something to do in between eating a drinking.

    Tacos n Taps was a day of sunshine, great people, great food and great fun! It was super hot out but the festival event planners had a nice treat for us to cool off with…an Exotico Tequila Snowcone!

    👀 Watch more highlights as seen on the scene by SobeSavvy.com here ⤵️

    SobeSavvy Tip:

    If you missed the Tacos N Taps event this past weekend, fret not. It moves on to Wilmington, NC on April 27, 2019. Coming up next to Koka Booth Amphitheatre is BRUNCH FEST on October 6th. Get 15% off tickets by using code “EGGS”. For more details go to drinkeatbrunch.com

    Do you like attending food festivals? What’s the next foodie event on your list? Find one to go to near you at www.drinkeatrelax.com

    #NCFarmTour | Where NC Agriculture Meets Educational Fun ~Recap by SobeSavvy.com

    On June 27-29, 2018, I joined a group of bloggers on a fantastic tour of northeast North Carolina. We were invited by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to experience the diversity of eastern North Carolina including cucumbers, white potatoes, wine, beer, brats and seafood. Here is a recap of what I learned, where we traveled, who we met and of course, what I ate along the way!

    Day 1- Wednesday, 6/27

    Stop 1 on the #NCFarmTour – Lunch at Nothing Fancy Café, Edenton

    Locally owned, Nothing Fancy Café features made-from-scratch southern home cooking. The restaurant also features a variety of retail items including antiques and baked goods. I left with a beautiful $5 pineapple candle holder and an appreciation for this restaurant who serves field to fork food. The collard greens I enjoyed as a side came from a local NC farmer and tasted like my grandma made it! Nothing Fancy Café is also my new favorite place to enjoy a burger. When the beef comes from a local farmer, trust me you can taste the quality and the difference.
    Facebook: @NothingFancyCafe

    Stop 2- AJ Smith and Sons Farm, in Edenton, NC

    Did you know that Edgecombe County is #1 in growing of cucumbers in NC? We visited a farm started by AJ Smith and is now run by his four sons + grandsons. The farm is extremely diversified. They grow clary sage, peanuts, soybeans, corn,watermelons, cucumbers, and snap beans. The farm also has cattle and hogs. We got to pick some cucumbers at AJ Smith and Sons Farm as well as learn about the process of preparing them for packaging. And just in case you were wondering..yes, they do get waxed for preservation purposes. All cucumbers are not created equal. However, curved or straight if they were grown in NC they will taste great!

    SobeSavvy Tip: When selecting a cucumber, look for cucumbers that are very firm and rounded right to the ends.

    Stop 3 on the #NCFarmTour is a tour of Historic Edenton

    PLAY | Thanks to the Chowan County Chamber of Commerce, we took a horse and wagon tour of historic Edenton. We learned alot of history, enjoyed nature, and viewed beautiful architecture in the “South’s Prettiest Small Town”. WATCH my youtube video of highlights from this tour:

    EAT | Ended Day 1 of #NCFarmTour at Cypress Creek Grill, a family-owned restaurant is in downtown Elizabeth City, one block from the Pasquotank River. Their meals feature
    fresh seafood and local ingredients. Executive Chef Bradley Chambers created a special menu that showcased the best of what Northeast NC has to offer and combined an amazing array of flavors!

    STAY | We stayed in nearby Elizabeth City overnight at Fairfield Inn, which offers guest FREE breakfast with stay plus this comfy, modern hotel has an indoor pool/jacuzzi and mini fridge+ microwave in the room.

    Day 2- Thursday, 6/28

    Day 2 of #NCFarmTour started off at TCOM, LP

    Look up in the sky..it’s a bird, it’s a plane..no it’s a blimp that has been assembled and tested at TCOM,LP located in Elizabeth City,NC. It was so cool to tour the 225-acre facility that manufactures and test aerostats (airship or hot air balloon, especially one that is tethered). The hanger is 150 feet tall and 1,000 feet long and can hold six fully-inflated 71-meter aerostats. Their blimps are used for sporting events, by the US Military and for national security. TCOM,LP
    is not a blimp manufacturing company however they do make the envelope and assemble them without the mechanics on it. It was so fascinating to see up close!

    SobeSavvy Tip: Here’s an interesting connection to agriculture: The first aerial applicator was not a plane,
    but a hot air balloon. It was used in 1906 to spread seed over a valley in New Zealand that had flooded.

    Day 2,Stop 2 #NCFarmTour John E. Ferebee Farms

    This seventh-generation family farm focuses on potatoes, each year growing and packing red, white and yellow flesh potatoes. John E.Ferebee Farms potatoes are shipped across the US. They’ve also worked with many of NCDA&CS marketing programs. We met both sisters but it was Martha took us on the tour around the facility, which have washed bulk capabilities/cold storage, and onto the potato fields. I learned that summer potatoes of eastern NC come from farms situated alongside well nourished soil beside saltwater sounds/freshwater river beds. Did you know that NC produces over 16,000 acres potatoes? This farm grows 350 acres of North Carolina Potatos.

    Day 2 #NCfarmtour Lunch and Tour at Weeping Radish

    If you are hungry for bratwurst, beer and knowledge just talk to Uli Bennewitz, owner of Weeping Radish, a brewery, restaurant, butchery and farm that celebrates craft! He came to NC in the early 1980s, from Bavaria, Germany, established a microbrewery and worked with lawmakers to change the NC laws to allow microbreweries to sell beer directly to consumers. In addition to brewing beer, cattle and hogs are sourced from local farms and processed on-site into sausage and charcuterie. The retail counter sells sausage, pastrami, bacon and beer. The Pub serves lunch and a housemade draft root beer that you must try!

    Day 2 #NCFarmTour ..a look at our visit to Sanctuary Vineyards, Jarvisburg, NC

    The Wright family-owned vineyard grows a variety of grapes on 10 acres. All grapes are picked by hand and the use of french oak barrels gives their NC wine a wonderful taste. We toured the vineyards and learn how world-class wine is made at Sanctuary Vineyards. I purchased a bottle of Morton which is a red wine blend that I can not wait to enjoy!

    Jennette’s Pier, Outer Banks

    PLAY | Jennette’s Pier is the oldest fishing pier in the Outer Banks and has been a landmark since 1939. Fisherman catch a variety of fish from the 1,000 foot pier including red drum, speckled trout and croaker. We bloggers took advantage of the opportunity to cool our heels from all the farm tour walking at the pier since you get access to the beach!

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    Today was filled with so much to learn, see and do, here are some of my fave moments from the #NCFarmTour Northeast North Carolina Day 2 w/@nc_agriculture @gottobenc ——————— •A visit to @jennettes_pier_official gave us access to the beach and a chance to see the oldest fishing pier in #OBX • We got to see who makes the envelopes for blimps and learn this history of #TCOM ,LP •John E. Ferebee Farms gave us an inside look of how they grow and pack red, white,yellow potatoes •@weepingradish is where we celebrated the craft of cooking, butchery amd farming. We had lunch at this microbrewery before taking the Beee and Brat Tour • i enjoyed tasting some NC wines from Sanctuary Vineyards and learning about their wine making process •Beautiful views from my balcony room at The Oasis Suites Hotel • Lastly, Dinner @lonecedarcafe Where their fried soft crab was some of the best I ever had caught fresh here in #NC.

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    EAT | Dinner at Basnights Lone Cedar Café, located on the Roanoke Sound, is family owned/operated and serves only seafood caught in NC by local fishermen. Pork, poultry and vegetables are sourced from local farms. Herbs are grown on-site. Deserts are made from scratch daily on-site by the pastry chef. Everything we tried was delicious, especially the soft shell crab!

    STAY |The Oasis Suites Hotel is the only boutique hotel on the Outer Banks. All rooms have private balconies with water views and are very spacious! Take a LOOK at my room reveal video to see for yourself how lovely this hotel property is:

    Day 3-Friday, 6/29

    Everything tastes better with bacon right? If you like savory and sweet, try the Maple Bacon Donut from Duck Donuts, Nags Heads

    After enjoying breakfast from Duck Donuts, we started Day 3 of #NCFarmTour at O’Neals Sea Harvest in Wanchese. Sara Marabilio, who is the Fisheries Extension Specialist at NC Sea Grant, met us at the family owned and operated
    seafood wholesaler to lead the tour and provide more information about NC Seafood. At O’neals Sea Harvest, you can purchase locally caught, fresh
    seafood daily. The also sell fresh and frozen seafood (crab, variety of fish, shrimp & scallops) through their retail store and Monday-Friday they serve the fresh catch at their restaurant on-site.

    Next stop, was nicknamed by me as Crabmeat Lover’s Heaven because Captain Neill’s Seafood, in Columbia is the largest domestic crab processing (by hand-picking) plant left. Owner Phillip Carawan started buying hard/soft-shell crabs, then opened (in 1997) a facility to process wild caught crabs caught from NC waters and purchasing daily from crabbers that dock behind their facility. Captain Neill’s processes a variety of crabmeat products in
    addition to oysters, cocktail fingers and ready to eat steamed crabs.
    They sell to a variety of markets, including grocery chains, under the
    names Capt. Charlie’s and Capt. Neill’s. I learned that aprox 11 pounds of crab yield 1 pound of crabmeat and that an emplyee can pick the meat out of the crab in aprox 15 seconds! I left there amazed at the efficiency of the process and hungry for crab. SobeSavvy Tip: If you are a member of Sam’s Club you can purchase their crabmeat there.

    EAT |Our last stop and final lunch on #NCFarmTour was at Garden Spot Café in Plymouth,NC. Located in a building built around 1900 on the banks of the Roanoke
    River, this restaurant is owned by three sisters and known locally for their home-style cooking. They offer a variety of menu items to meet every taste preference. I tried the fried shrimp platter/flounder because after all that time learning more about NC seafood I was craving it!

    All of these stops on the tour are just a short drive from the State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh. I encourage you to take the to time to explore more of NC, shop at your local farmers market, support restaurants where you can eat local foods and buy local goods. There are so many fun ways to support our state’s number one industry, AGRICULTURE! I am so inspired to incorporate what I have learned when it comes to food that my family consumes and make sure it comes from a North Carolina Farm!

    Leslie Heigh, Founder of SobeSavvy.com on the #NCFarmTour

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    #CheerstoMom Cocktail Recipe with @TOPOdistillery Organic Spiced Rum🍍Inspired by #DisneyDoleWhip

    In celebration of warmer temps in NC and Mother’s Day weekend, I plan to host some Mom friends on my outdoor patio for a fun, ‘Cheers to Mom‘ celebration! I like to create speciality drinks when I entertain and to me, nothing says summer is near more that a good rum cocktail. I have been seeing all these Disney Dole Whip recipes and decided to try one of my own using NC’s own award winning organic spirits: TOPO Carolina Spiced Rum!

    The Spirit

    Admit it, the words “organic” and “liquor” do not usually exist in the same sentence. Not anymore. After being a fan and consumer of TOPO Organic Spirits [they offer a whiskey, vodka, gin and moonshine], I was excited when my friends at TOPO sent a sample of their new release, TOPO Organic Spiced Rum. After living in Miami for almost 20 years and attending several Rum festivals [like the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival], I became somewhat of a rum expert. dark rum, light rum, Haitian Rum, Jamaican rum, Puerto Rican rum. I have had them all at one time or the other. What I was not familiar with however was rum from North Carolina!

    TOPO has the distinction as the only Green + Certified distillery in the country. Environmentally friendly and 100 % organic ingredients go into their lines of spirits. I didn’t quite know what to expect. But after the initial smell and sip, I was in love!

    Per their website, the rum… “has flavors of the coastline: allspice, vanilla, orange peel, peppercorns, cinnamon and clove. It’s a marriage of the finest organic botanicals with an incredibly smooth rum. We make a tasty white rum and then use a mortar and pestle to grind spices to add more flavor. You can smell and taste the difference. “

    The Cocktail

    More than one of my Disney Social Media Mom friends [that I recently got to connect with at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference On The Road Celebration in Miami] has made me aware over the years of a special concoction they had enjoyed at one of the Walt Disney World Theme Parks called “Dole Whip”. It is sometimes in the form of a soft serve ice cream or as a non alcoholic beverage. However there are some places in the park that will serve this as a rum infused tropical cocktail, sort of like a grown up smoothie! I have not had one yet, but I am on a mission to get there soon to enjoy one or two for myself. Until then, I thought I would DIY my own Disney Dole Whip Rum drink and call it a ‘Cheers To Mom’ Cocktail.

    The Recipe

    🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍

    Dole Frozen Pineapple Chunks
    Vanilla Coconut Milk
    Topo Organic Spiced Rum 2 TBLS of White Granulated Sugar
    Ice Cubes

    🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍

    Blend the above in a blender at high speed for 30 seconds and sample. Adjust any ingredients to taste. I added a little more rum because well, more rum equals more fun! Top of with Whip Cream [optional] and enjoy!

    SobeSavvy Tip: Give the gift of TOPO for Mother’s Day!

    Known far and wide as one of the nations premier local breweries, plan a date and take Mom on a TOPO Distillery Tour at their Chapel Hill complex. When you are done, go upstairs to dine at their restaurant and patio bar, The Top Of The Hill, which offers great sunset views of Chapel Hill! You can also give your Mom a TOPO Gift Card or simply go to your local ABC, purchase her favorite TOPO Organic Spirits and box it up with love!

    HAVE YOU EVER TRIED ANY OF THE TOPO ORGANIC SPIRITS? HOW ABOUT A DISNEY DOLE WHIP? If not, here is your chance to enjoy the two together on your very own with the above Cheers to Mom cocktail recipe!

    Enjoy and Cheers to Moms everywhere! 🍍🍹🍍🍹🍍🍹🍍

    #FoodieFriday Feature | What’s New at Red Monkey Tavern in #Raleigh @ShopCrabtree #dineCrabtree

    On a recent visit to Crabtree Valley Mall, lunch and libations were on my agenda. I am excited to share my #dineCrabtree experience at Red Monkey Tavern, who recently switched over ownership and have so many awesome things going on! They have a NEW menu, NEW concept, NEW management and a NEW fan in me!

    VIEWS + VIBE

    This was my first time dining at Red Monkey and I honestly did not know what to expect. In fact because of my love-hate relationship with monkeys, I just never thought to do anything except take out of town guests to the infamous monkey bench that sits outside the restaurant and let them take funny photos! Do you remember the time when Michael Jackson had a pet monkey named Bubbles? I think this bench lets people have their wish of getting up close and personal with a monkey. You will almost always see someone sitting beside it. LOL!

    I am so glad I was invited to step inside and dine at this cozy, casual restaurant. The decor has a bit of a tropical feel to it and in my opinion one to many plush monkeys. However after receiving a warm welcome from the host followed by a friendly greeting from the waitress, I felt comfortable at the Red Monkey. Salsa music and Latin Jazz tunes were playing and I immediately liked the vibe. We were seated at a cozy booth across from the bar but they also have some intimate tables for two

    as well as outside patio seating

    and a lower level lounge area, which can be reserved for private events!

    DRINKS

    Before ordering food, I took a look at their “Monkey Drinks” menu, which consisted of beer, wine and craft cocktails. I ordered one of their “Monkey Mules” called a Redneck Mule, which is made with Jack Daniels Honey and ginger beer. I love moscow mules and was impressed with their unique, refreshing twist on a classic drink! My hubby ordered a top shelf L.I.T. Monkey, which stands for Long Island Iced Tea.

    After meeting Marcella and learning that she was from Miami, she encouraged me to try a Mojito and I am so glad I did! After living in Miami myself for almost 19 years, I can say Red Monkey will be my go to place when I want a real Mojito without getting on a plane to South Florida. And guess what…on Mondays you can enjoy a Mojito for just $5.00! Yes, I’ll drink to that!

    THE MENU

    At first glance of the menu, you will see American faves and tavern food like wings, nachos and burgers. I also saw some dishes that reminded me of my favorite foods from traveling in the Caribbean like yellow rice, plantains, jerk chicken and ceviche. The cuisine is Latin Fusion and I learned from talking to the owners/management that many of the new dishes are inspired by family recipes. If you taste sofrito in a dish, you have Randy’s Abuela to thank for that!

    Appetizers

    When I asked our waitress what was her favorites on the menu, she advised everything is good but she loved the steak! So that’s where we started with an order of the steak nachos plus the Maryland style crab cakes. Considering my husband and I were both born in Maryland, we are a bit of crab cake snobs. ‘Not bad’ we thought but we also shared with the owner they may not want to call it Maryland style. Perhaps simply crab cakes. It did have a nice flavor and I enjoyed the cilantro cream that it is served with.

    If you love nachos, definitely order the “Monkey Nachos”! They come in a huge bowl and are gluten free. It is served with chipotle queso, bacon, Pico de Gallo, roasted jalepenos cilantro crema and you can add on chicken or steak for extra yumminess!

    Entreés

    The menu offers a delicious variety of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and house favorites to chose from. Our eyes were drawn to two classic dishes we enjoyed while living in Miami around so many cultures. Check out the description of the Cuban Sandwich:

    As described, I felt like I was on a mini vacation enjoying a sandwich I learned to love in Miami. The bread, the pork, ham, cheese,pickles… everything was just right! However,I could not finish my food due to the constant visits my fork took to my husband’s entreé. He ordered the Skirt Steak Churrassco and as soon as I saw it and smelled the aroma, I knew I wanted to taste his dish. The quality, tenderness and flavor of his steak along with the yellow rice & pigeon peas, black beans and sweet plantains made me secretly wish I had ordered his instead. The chimichurri sauce served with the steak was also very good!

    Desserts

    Red Monkey has a Happy Hour dessert special from 5-7pm offering $5 specials different days of the week. The food portions were so big I almost did not have room for dessert but trust me you will want to either save room, make room or get dessert to go! The Tres Leche de Coquito was amazing! It’s a moist sponge cake topped with coquito, which some people refer to as Puerto Rican egg nog. There is enough to share but it is so good, you may not want to. Like their Mojito, this dessert is authentic and delish!

    SobeSavvy Tip: Save the date for these Upcoming Events!

    This upcoming week Red Monkey has a Trivia Night coming up on April 24th along with their weekly Salsa Classes on Wednesdays: https://www.facebook.com/events/145767506137467/

    Also on Mother’s Day they are offering an All You Can Eat Buffet Brunch!

    The lesson in my dining experience here is to not judge a book by its cover. I let the name of a place and past reviews discourage me from ever stepping in to the restaurant. The staff, service, sips and steak were all satisfying and I know I will be going back! I encourage you to stop in and see what’s new at the Red Monkey Tavern. Follow on Instagram @RedMonkeyRaleigh & @ShopCrabtree.