#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.

Enter to Win 2 Tix @GreatGrapesFest on May 5 + @drinkeatrelax ‘s Beer & Bacon Fest May 19 @BoothAmp in #Cary #NC

Springtime here in the Triangle means the beginning of outdoor festival season and there are two ‘drink.eat.relax‘ events coming up in May that you don’t want to miss! Koka Booth Amphitheatre in the Town of Cary is where all the fun is happening on May 5, 2018 at the GREAT GRAPES WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL and again on May 19, 2018 at the BEER & BACON FEST. Tickets to both of these fun festivals are ON SALE NOW and I have two tickets to giveaway for each event! Two lucky readers will have a chance to win a pair of tickets to enjoy the fun! Here are the details about both festivals:

TWEET THIS:

Follow @SobeSavvy and Enter to Win Tix to 2 @drinkeatrelax events happening in May @boothamp!🍷🍴🍺🥓 Details at https://www.SobeSavvy.com

Great Grapes Wine and Food Festival

Spring is Here and It is Wine Time! Join us for the largest and most fun casual NC wine festival in the Triangle with HUNDREDS of wines available from over 22 wineries. As you enter…take your souvenir tasting glass and stroll from tent to tent and table to table, tasting and sampling the rich heritage of North Carolina vines. As you sip and savor the afternoon, relax in the beautiful green setting of the Town of Cary’s Booth Amphitheatre.

•200+ Wines from 22+ Wineries
•Great Live Music
•Fun Festival Eats
•Arts and Crafts and Gourmet Items
•FREE Kids Area

Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the lawn. Bring the family, bring your friends and take a day to UNCORK THE FUN!

TICKETS

VIP SESSION TICKET: $49.00 IN ADVANCE: $55.00 ON THE DAY OF EVENT
VIP Session: 11am – 6pm.

REGULAR SESSION TICKET: $33.00 IN ADVANCE…..$35.00 ON THE DAY OF EVENT
Regular Session: 12-6pm.

Designated Driver Ticket: $20 ONLY AVAILABLE ONSITE! Includes admission into the event ONLY.

For more information go to www.boothamphitheatre.com.

PLEASE NOTE: Photo ID IS REQUIRED as proof of age & proof of identity.

KIDS 12 & UNDER ARE FREE!

PARKING
GENERAL PARKING: Parking is free of charge in Amphitheatre owned lots. Some local businesses may charge a fee to parking in their lots. A limited number of PREFERRED parking space are available for $10.00 per car in advance or $15 on the day of event (cash only).

A limited number of accessible parking space are available on a first come first served basis with the proper hang tag or license plate. If using *Uber, I’m giving you $5 off each of your first 4 Uber rides. To accept, use code ‘2ackv’ to sign up. Enjoy! Details: https://www.uber.com/invite/2ackv

Please follow the signs & our Parking Staff to the pick up & drop off area.

ALL EVENTS WILL GO ON AS SCHEDULED RAIN OR SHINE, however in the event of severe weather please check website and social media for any updates or changes to the event.


ITEMS ALLOWED
•Lawn chairs
•Sealed Bottle of water (1 per person)
•Cameras
•All bags are subject to seach

PROHIBITED ITEMS
•Pets
•Drones
•Alcohol
•Weapons of any kind

For more information please visit www.uncorkthefun.com. Please drink responsibly.

BEER & BACON FEST

The BEER & BACON TASTING SESSION offers an exclusive tasting experience. Each guest will enjoy 15+ restaurant tasting stations (until 2pm) and fresh griddled bacon (until 3pm), a souvenir glass and boundless portions of over 75 craft beers and wines, plus 2 extra hours of alcohol sampling and all live entertainment. These tickets are limited and will SELL OUT!

Bottoms Up, Bacon Down
75 Craft Beers
15 Restaurants
10 Bacons From Across the US
LIVE MUSIC… and lots of Piggy Love

Cary’s Porkiest Playtime Returns and this time it will be even better. The ALL-YOU-CARE-TO-TASTE extravaganza comes complete with the best craft beers for your tasting pleasure… and of course the food of the Gods: BACON.

TICKETS
VIP Beer & Bacon Ticket Advanced Price: $59.00 Feb 9-March 18TH (midnight),
$69.00 March 19-May 18 (midnight), $79.00 DAY OF EVENT. Beer tasting session 12-6pm.

Regular Beer & Bacon Ticket Advanced Price: $39.00 Tickets are $45.00 DAY OF EVENT. Beer tasting session 2-6pm.

Designated Driver Ticket: $20 ONLY AVAILABLE ONSITE! Includes admission into the event ONLY.

For more information go to www.boothamphitheatre.com.

PLEASE NOTE: Photo ID IS REQUIRED as proof of age & proof of identity.

Kids 12 & under are FREE.

PARKING
GENERAL PARKING: Parking is free of charge in amphitheatre owned lots. Some local businesses may charge a fee to parking in their lots. A limited number of PREFERRED parking space are available for $10.00 per car in advance or $15 on the day of event (cash only).

A limited number of accessible parking space are available on a first come first served basis with the proper hang tag or license plate. If using *LYFT, Download LYFT app and you get 10$ off your first ride with code: BESAVVY1

Please follow the signs & our Parking Staff to the pick up & drop off area.

ALL EVENTS WILL GO ON AS SCHEDULED RAIN OR SHINE.


ITEMS ALLOWED
Lawn chairs
Sealed Bottle of water (1 per person)
Cameras
all bags are subject to seach

PROHIBITED ITEMS
Pets
Drones
Alcohol
Weapons of any kind

For more information please visit www.beerandbacon.com. Please drink responsibly.

Mandatory #SobeSavvyGiveaway Entry– Please answer the following question below in the comments:

Which festival would you like to attend:

a) Great Grapes Wine & Food Fest on May 5

or

b) Beer & Bacon Fest on May 19

**For more chances to win, click 👉a Rafflecopter giveaway to ENTER.

*One winner will be chosen to win 2 general adult admission tix for option a: Great Grapes Wine & Food Fest Valid Noon – 6pm. Includes a souvenir wine glass, unlimited wine samples, and all performances

*One winner will be chosen to win 2 Beer Only Tasting session admission tix for option b: Beer & Bacon Fest Valid 2pm – 6pm. Your admission includes a souvenir glass and boundless portions of over 75 craft beers and wines, and all live entertainment. Bacon/Food is a la carte.

Contest ends April 26, 2018 at noon. Winners will be chosen at random and have until 4/27/18 to claim prize. Good luck!

Event Recap|6th Annual Bull City Food & Beer Experience @BullCityEXP @DPAC #Durham #Food #Beer #Event

Yesterday, SobeSavvy.com joined a few thousand others at DPAC for the 6th Annual Bull City Food & Beer Experience! The word, “experience” accurately depicts this now iconic annual event that I had the pleasure of attending last year and sharing with you again. Enjoying 30 restaurants paired with 30 beers sounds like a great way to spend a ‘Sunday Funday’ especially while raising money and awareness for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association.

Pale Ale, Stout, IPA, and various ciders were all properly represented here. Small local breweries served their craft beer and stood side by side with international powerhouse breweries. They all coexisted perfectly. A few liquor brands, such as Social House Vodka, also served up some samples of their spirits. Durham has such an incredible food and beer culture and this event does an amazing job showcasing it! Check out my facebook photo album highlighting more from this event, here.

Taking up space on all 3 levels of the beautiful DPAC lobbies, this event is always a crowd pleaser and this year was no different. Inside the actual theatre, they had the Stella Artois Onstage Experience featuring County Fare. This year the food in this area was served by various food trucks based in the Triangle. These meals on wheels have now become a staple in the food scene not just here but nationwide. Guests mingled on stage and enjoyed some awesome live music by Big Fat Gap and beer garden games like bean toss. One of my favorites were the dumplings by the food truck Chirba Chirba. One dumpling was pork, the other offering were their veggie dumplings. Simply delicious.

Guess what else coexisted perfectly with all that beer? FOOD OF COURSE ! Over 30 restaurants of every imaginable genre/cuisine was there. From Italian to sushi and EVERYTHING in between. The restaurants participating gave unlimited samples of the dish they were serving. What also makes this event unique is that most tables paired a specific brew for the specific restaurant dish. Some foods pair better with a stout or pale ale and vice versa. Attendees didn’t have to wander far to find the perfect beer for their dish, it was right there alongside it! My favorite part was the opportunity to meet and talk with the Chefs from some of my favorite local restaurants.

If I had to use one word to describe this event, I would say ‘Incredible’! Where else can you experience local food, beer, beverage,craft artisians, all in one place?! The foodie in me appreciates organized events like this that I can partner with and celebrate what is offered here. Watch this video for recap of all the food + beer + fun!

Thanks for reading and hope to see you next year! Cheers 🍻

Do you have a favorite food and beer pairing? Let me know in the comments below!

Event Recap|Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival @drinkeatrelax @theyardsdc #oysters #beer #fun

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival DC | Photo Credit: SobeSavvy.com

Hi, my name is Leslie and I am a seafood lover. Considering I was born in Maryland and lived there for 23 years of my life, seafood from the Chesapeake Bay is most likely in my DNA! So when I heard about the Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival, I knew this was going to be a shucking good time!

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival DC -Capitol Riverfront/The Yards DC

It all went down on October 21, 2017 from noon-6pm at the Capitol Riverfront, next to Nationals Stadium at The Yards Park in Washington,DC . It was the perfect day..sunny skies, high 70s..for an outdoor festival filled with seafood and libations. There were over 30 wines, beers, and spirits to sample along with over 15 types of oysters. The motto of the day was SHUCK. SLURP. REPEAT..oh and watch out for the Angry Mermaid!

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival DC “Shuck,Slurp,Repeat” ..and 1 Angry Mermaid

FOOD

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival DC | Oysters served Raw, Grilled, Steamed

Whether you like oysters raw, grilled, or steamed (or if you are like me and enjoy them in all ways), then this festival is for you! Some of the world’s best shuckers were there handling the 1000’s of bivalves with care at this All You Care To Taste event. If oysters are not your thing, there were food truck options, restaurant samplings and other types of seafood such as mussels, clams, shrimp and lobster*(if you were one of the lucky ones to get some). 

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival | New England Clambake, Charleston Seafood Boil & Lobster Steam

Per the Oyster listing, these were served at the festival:

Double T’s ● Shore Things ● War Shore Oyster ● Battle Creek Oyster ● Rocky Shores ● Tatamaguche ● Malpeques ● Fire lakes ● Caribous ● Blues points ● Delaware Bays ● Shooting points ● Bullseye’s ● Salt ponds ● Well fleets ● Duxburys ● Naked cowboys ● Sugar shacks ● Arrow heads ● Caraquets

If I had to choose one (which is a blasphemy to a seafoodie like me) the Blue Points were my favorite served raw. There was a condiment station with lemons, cocktail sauce and horseradish to add to the taste of those briny beauties. The Grilled Oysters with Goat Cheese +BBQ and Garlic +Parmesean were also amazing! I hope to recreate those at home to serve sooner than later.

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival | Freshly shucked Blue Points and Oysters from the grill

DRINK

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival DC | Souvenir Glass

Upon arrival, VIPs and General Admission guests received a Souvenir Glass to taste over 30 Beers, Spirits and Wines.  That’s right, the event is not all just beer. Included with the ticket price was access to the wine pavilion, where attendees could enjoy pairing with Champagne, Chablis, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc and many more!

Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival | Wines,Spirits,Beers

 FUN

Friends enjoying the Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival

If you have ever been to a Drink Eat Relax event or festival then you know their goal is to provide a fun, value -oriented experience that wows you and is worthy of your valuable weekend time. I can say after attending this one, between the games, music, drinks and flavorful seafood, I left feeling like the world was my oyster! 

If you saw my TwitterInstagramFacebook , I shared more photos from this fun event!  You can also click below to see the following: 

Watch “2017 Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival” on YouTube

Fun Times at Chesapeake Oyster & Beer Festival

Be sure to follow Drink Eat Relax on Facebook , Twitter , SnapchatInstagram and drinkeatrelax.com to find out where their next event on the East Coast (from NYC to Tampa) will be! You don’t want to miss it!

Event Recap|@Whiskey_Kitchen #SupperClubNo2 #JapaneseWhisky + #WhiskeyKitchen Eats!

On October 18, 2017, Whiskey Kitchen hosted a private (SOLD OUT) event -‘Supper Club No.2- featuring curated selections of Japanese whisky paired with inspired dishes created by Whiskey Kitchen’s culinary team. SobeSavvy.com was there to capture the celebration and give you an inside look of Japan’s finest offerings at this wonderful event!  

THE INVITE

Whiskey Kitchen | Supper Club No.2 Invite

THE SETTING

Located in Downtown Raleigh, Whiskey Kitchen is the perfect restaurant for hosting group & private events. Guests who attended Supper Club No.2 sat in reserved seating at long communal tables, which allowed for talking and sharing dishes family-style. The table was nicely decorated and each chair had a Japanese paper fan as a keepsake!

Whiskey Kitchen | Guests seated for Supper Club No. 2

THE WHISKY

Whiskey Kitchen | Supper Club No. 2 Reception Cocktail made with Suntory Whisky Toki      

When we arrived, we were advised to head to the bar to receive our reception cocktail which was hand-crafted and curated especially for the evening. In this video, bartendar legend Johnny Berry explains how this refreshing cocktail was made!

We all received a menu which listed the selection of whisky we would be tasting along with notes for proof, color, nose and finish. In addition to the reception cocktail, there were four types of whisky to try. My favorite was the Suntory Whisky Toki , which is a blended whisky that has hints of vanilla. I just happened to be sitting next to two reps from Beam Suntory who shared that Suntory Whisky Toki is a blend of 3 different Japanese Whiskies aged in different casks.

Whiskey Kitchen | Supper Club No. 2 ‘Suntory Whisky Toki’

THE FOOD

Whiskey Kitchen | Supper Club No.2 Menu

The culinary team at Whiskey Kitchen did an excellent job at creating Japanese inspired cuisine with a southern touch. We enjoyed 8 dishes created specifically for this event, but some of them may make its way onto the permanant menu because it was that good! Everything was AMAZING….just feast your eyes on the following food pics from the event (which I also shared on my Instastories on Instagram) :

Whiskey Kitchen | Supper Club No.2 ‘Onigiri’ Rice Ball w/Andouille Sausage and Pickled Plum

Whiskey Kitchen | Supper Club No.2 ‘Takoyaki’ – Savory Cake w/ smoked octopus,scallion, vesta aioli, bonito flakes

Whiskey Kitchen | Supper Club No.2 ‘Roasted Cauliflower’ w/Shishito, Wakame Butter, Crispy Garlic and Edible Flowers

Whiskey Kitchen | Supper Club No.2 ‘Green Tea Soba Salad’ w/edamame, mushroom,radish,seaweed, ginger/whisky dressing

Whiskey Kitchen | Supper Club No.2 ‘Tuna Tataki’

Whiskey Kitchen | Supper Club No.2 ‘Smoked Lamb Shank’

Whiskey Kitchen | Supper Club No.2 ‘Mochiko Pork’ w/Tonkatsu Sauce, Oriental Sweet Potato, Kohlrabi, Turnip

Whiskey Kitchen | Supper Club No.2 ‘Koshian Cake’ Hakushu Poached Golden Pear, Red Bean Cake, White Chocolate, Yuzu Ganache, Miso Caramel


THE NEXT EVENT

Whiskey Kitchen | Supper Club No. 2 =Whisky+Food+Fun

This was Whiskey Kitchen‘s second large scale celebration of whiskey and food and I highly recommend going to their next event. You don’t have to be a big fan of whisky to appreciate the experience with other foodies. This renowned Raleigh restaurant has already made plans to host Supper Club No. 3! More information about more event happenings can be found out by visiting this link.

I had an amazing time meeting new people, trying new things and learning about a variety of whisky from Japan. The food was really good as always with Whiskey Kitchen. You should definitely make plans to visit Downtown Raleigh and dine at this restaurant or hang at their beautiful bar, which serves not only whiskey but wine, beer and uniquely crafted cocktails! Hope to see you at the next event. Cheers! 

WHISKEY KITCHEN

201 Martin Street

Raleigh, NC 27601


Celebrating #NationalVodkaDay with #NC ‘s own @OakleeDistill #BootsVodka #TroopStrength 

Boots Vodka Troop Strength | ‘Vodka with Traction’

Hey Vodka lovers, time to celebrate! October 4th is National Vodka Day and I want to tell you about a delicious vodka made by Oaklee Distilling Cocalled Boots Vodka Troop Strength. Based in Wendell, NC., founder Lee Browne has created an unique vodka distilled using sweet potatoes and corn!

Boots Vodka Troop Strength at Yelp Triangle Made Event | Oaklee Distilling Co. Founder, Lee Browne with Leslie Heigh, Founder of SobeSavvy.com

I had the pleasure of meeting Lee recently and tasting Boots Vodka at the Yelp Triangle Made Event. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it neat! Lee served it chilled-shaken,not stirred-for guests to try and advised that this spirit would serve well in vodka forward cocktails, such as this classic: B&B Vesper 

-Add 2oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin, 1oz. Boots Vodka Troop Strength, and 1/4oz. Cocchi Americano to a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

We learned that Boots Vodka is milled, distilled and bottle filled at Troop Strength, which identifies it as 90 proof. That’s a slightly higher proof than the usual vodka product. No wonder it’s known on the vodka market as a “Vodka with Traction”.

Boots Vodka Troop Strength | ‘Boots Up’ Cocktail Recipe

After trying Boots myself, I thought the vodka was earthy, pleasing to the palette and would be something my husband and I could serve to both our male and female friends. Since Fall is here and the time is near to start cozying up due to cooler temps, I thought I would warm you up with a fun recipe post for a cocktail made with Boots Vodka. Ladies and Gents, I present to you the Kinky Boots Martini! 

Boots Vodka Troop Strength | Kinky ‘Boots’ Martini


KINKY ‘BOOTS’ Martini

In a shaker combine 1-1/2oz. Boots Vodka Troop Strength, 1/2oz cranberry juice, 1/2oz. fresh lemon juice and add a splash of grenadine for more red if you wish (like in the Broadway musical play ‘Kinky Boots’, Red is a sexy color! ). Shake with ice until chilled and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Below are a few events Oaklee Distilling Co. will be attending if you would like to meet with them there and try Boots for yourself! 

  • 10/6 and 10/7 – Wendell Harvest Festival — Wendell, NC
  • 10/19 – Little River Ducks Unlimited Banquet — Wendell, NC
  • 10/21 – Rex Hospital Gala — Downtown Raleigh

Also here’s the website if you’d like a little more info: http://www.oakleedistilling.com/

I highly suggest you make plans to tour the distillery and taste some of Oaklee’s vodka, now available in North Carolina and Virginia. This season, enjoy the above recipe made with Boots Vodka Troop Strength and let me know in the comments below⤵

HAVE YOU EVER TRIED BOOTS VODKA OR SWEET POTATO VODKA? WHAT IS YOUR FAVE VODKA COCKTAIL?


Cheers!

Boots Vodka Troop Strength | Distilled from sweet potatoes and corn and bottled at Troop Strength

Looking for a place to celebrate #NationalDrinkBeerDay on 9/28 ? Head to @PourTaproom #Durham #NC

Beer Lovers Rejoice! September 28 is National Drink Beer Day and I am excited to share my experience of a local place where you can celebrate: Pour Taproom Durham! Located in Bull City, I recently mentioned how my husband and I checked out this spot during our staycation in downtown Durham and we loved it!

 

At Pour Taproom, you can literally sample over 60+ different beers, wines and ciders on tap. That’s like enjoying the variety you would at a beer festival but with a tasting room atmosphere, except it is Self Serve! That’s right, this new (opened in June 2017) self-pour taproom allows you to get it yourself, no bothering-the-bartender necessary.  We appreciated the touch screens above each tap, which gave tasting notes as well as a ‘Beer Pouring 101’ instructional how-to.

Start a tab and you will receive a computer bracelet which allows you to pour yourself any amount of any tap in the room. They charge by the ounce, so never have a full glass of beer you don’t enjoy. I loved the fact that I could try some beers at my own pace and amount, as well as the freedom to explore new tastes and varieties. Pour Taproom Durham features a curated selection of the finest Durham’s local craft brews, as well as regional, national and international favorites.

We got to meet Dan Enarson, a Durham resident and Co-Owner/General Manager of Pour Taproom Durham. I learned that this taproom is owned by four friends, who spent the past decade working as aid workers among refugees and communities affected by war and disaster in places like Darfur, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Uganda. 

 “We found that whether you’re sitting under a tree with a group of elders in a remote village or visiting the home of local friends, you’re going to get served a drink. It might be water, fermented milk, or a warm beer, but you always drank, and it was always good.”        “We believe it can be a sacred thing to share a drink in community, and it’s universal to want to connect in that way,” Enarson said.


Pour Taproom Durham has outside seating available, but we chose to sit inside the bright, airy 2,250 square foot space. There are some communal tables, which encourages conversation with Durhamites and visitors alike who enjoy experiencing the best of craft beer, cider and wine. Rest assured you can grab a bite to go along with your drinks of choice. They have a great menu to compliment their on tap selections. We tried a delicious tasting board of salami, cheese and brie! Yum!

SobeSavvy Tip: A kids’ snack menu is available, and per their “What’s On Tap” community board, kids eat free on Sundays! Yay to kid-friendly places! 

So now you know where to go for National Drink A Beer Day, Sunday Funday or any day when you want to enjoy community and relax with a drink. Bring family, friends and your thirst for some amazing beers to Pour Taproom Durham!  Cheers! 🍻

POUR TAPROOM DURHAM

202 N. CORCORAN ST., #200  *(ground level of Unscripted Hotel)

DURHAM, NC 27701

{Open from noon to late night seven days a week}

For more information, visit pourtaproom.com/durham/ or follow on Facebook and Instagram.

To see more SobeSavvy.com photos of Pour Taproom Durham..see here.

Celebrate #FirstDayofFall with #EndofSummer Sips made with @BedlamVodka #bringthebedlam

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, however all pictures and opinions are 100% my own.

If you attended the NC Restaurant & Lodging Expo or followed my stories on Instagram, then you know that was an amazing event to meet vendors in the restaurant, food service, lodging & hospitality. While there I got to sample and learn about Bedlam Vodka who is distilled and bottled by Graybeard Distillery in Durham, NC. After one sip, I knew I had to help spread the word about this amazing Vodka via my Spirits/Beer blog, as well as share some of my favorite #SobeSavvySips cocktail recipes (crafted by favorite at-home mixologist, my husband).

Before I share two cocktail recipes that will have you dancing like the bottle of Bedlam in the above video clip, let me tell you the number one reason we found this vodka to be enjoyable. It is so S.M.O.O.T.H! There was no burn and very smooth to drink. Per the company and as printed on the bottle: “Vodka Need Not Burn” 

Bedlam Vodka “Vodka Need Not Burn”

How is that ‘no burn’ possible you ask? Bedlam Vodka is distilled from rice instead of wheat or potato. Designed from an Irish vodka recipe handed down over a few generations of Scott Russ’ family, this spirit is sure to elevate any vodka cocktail recipe you may have already in your repetoire. Speaking of recipes, brand director/bartender Jesse Cortez, mixes the versatile vodka into unique drinks that are unexpected and delicious. Be sure to follow Bedlam Vodka on Instagram for inspiration!

#BringtheBedlam | Bedlam Vodka

We have tried Bedlam Vodka in two cocktail recipes that I think everyone over 21 would love:  Moscow Mule & Thyme for Fall Martini

RECIPES

Bedlam Vodka | #SobeSavvySips Moscow Mule

MOSCOW MULE

PREP 5mins TOTAL 5mins

This perfect all-year round drink is a classic, easy to make drink that only requires 3 ingredients. Invest in some His and Her copper (a favorite autumn color) mugs and enjoy!

Makes 1 drink

YOU WILL NEED

A half of lime

2 ounces Bedlam Vodka

4 ounces cold ginger beer

Ice

DIRECTIONS

●Squeeze lime into a copper mug
●Fill glass with ice then pour in the vodka and ginger beer
●Garnish with a lime 

Bedlam Vodka | #SobeSavvySips ‘Thyme For Fall’ Martini

THYME FOR FALL Martini

PREP 15mins TOTAL 20mins

This cocktail is inspired by a recipe called The Salty Dog . I’ve made some variations to suit my taste. For example I prefer a sugar rimmed martini glass while the recipe calls for course salt around the rim. This tasty, thyme-infused drink calls for gin in some recipes, but my husband thought Bedlam Vodka would go well in this light, citrusy, herbal cocktail. He was right!

This recipe calls making a Thyme Simple Syrup with these ingredients: 1/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup water + 8 sprigs Thyme

*The Cocktail Novice has a great guide for infusing herbs in simple syrups , that you can check out >>here.*

Makes 1 martini drink

YOU WILL NEED

2 oz. Bedlam Vodka
3 oz. Freshly Squeezed Pink Grapefruit Juice
½ oz. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
½ oz. Thyme Simple Syrup
1 Tbsp Sugar, For Glass Rim
1 Grapefruit wedge

DIRECTIONS

●Combine Vodka, Juices, Thyme Syrup and Ice in a Cocktail Shaker
●Shake Well
●Sugar the rim of a Martini Glass
●Strain Cocktail Into Martini Glass
●Garnish with a Thyme Sprig &      Grapefruit Wedge

Bedlam Vodka is available in NC ABC Stores plus bars and restaurants across the state.  Also, those of you in SC and GA can also enjoy the smooth taste of Bedlam Vodka. This company has plans of going nationwide, and to #bringthebedlam to everyone! Be sure to follow www.bedlamvodka.com to see what locations they will be in next!

Bedlam Vodka Cocktails

Hope you enjoy these 2 cocktail recipes and are inspired to go out and buy Bedlam Vodka and toast to the first day of Fall! 

Cheers!

Looking for a daily #HappyHour in #Raleigh ? Try @BoneFishGrill #BoneFishHH Cocktails🍹+Bar Bites🍴

Disclaimer: Thanks to Bonefish Grill in Raleigh North Hills for hosting me, along with fellow Raleigh/Durham bloggers for my #SobeSavvyEats series. Complimentary bar bites + cocktails were provided for our #SundayFunday meetup, however my opinion for this review is 100% my own.

#SobeSavvyEats Event~ ‘Bloggers & Bar Bites’ Happy Hour ~BoneFish Grill Raleigh, NC

Yesterday was a ‘Sunday Funday’ I will never forget thanks to seven blogger baes and one of my favorite restaurants! After a long year of studying, I wanted to celebrate the passing of my CPC exam with some fellow foodie friends, who are also NC Bloggers/Influencers. After hearing about the New Hand-Crafted Happy Hour menu at Bonefish Grill, I knew that would be the perfect place to meetup! 

A high top table for our large group was reserved in the bar area (which is generally first come, first served seating). After being greeted by staff, it was time to put in our drink order. 


COCKTAILS | Tonight we had two options to try:  Fresh Watermelon Martini or..

.. Sparkling Blue Hawaiian Martini 

Both of these cocktails were refreshing, made with fresh ingredients and beautiful to the eye. Not only did they look good but it was love at first sip for me! If you are looking for eternal summer in a glass, these are the cocktails to choose. 

BAR BITES | The menu consisted of these six $6 items ranging from seafood to beef.

Everyone enjoyed the variety of options on the bar bites menu and I discovered some personal faves that I can’t wait to eat again! Take a look at what BoneFish Grill is offering up during Happy Hour, daily from 4pm-6:30pm:

Crispy Cod Sliders

~  Fresh Alaskan Cod served on 2 potato buns with lettuce, tomato and a signature sauce. This is no McDonald’s fish filet. It’s a healthier, tastier option for fish sandwich lovers.

Wagyu Beef Sliders  

~  Want some meat instead? Order the beef sliders! You can’t go wrong with these because its made from Wagyu Beef which makes for 2 juicy mini burgers.

Crispy Au Gratin Bites

~  Every good bar menu requires something starchy right?! Get your carb fix with these cheesy potato bites. Those who do not eat bacon did not try them but those of us who did really liked the crispy au gratin bites, which comes with 2 sauces for your dipping pleasure.

Ahi Tuna Poke 

~  We had a self-proclaimed ‘poke snob’ amongst us, as well as someone who never tried raw tuna before who gave this dish a thumbs up! This dish paired with the Sparkling Blue Hawaiian drink will transport your tastebuds to a beach in Hawaii. This was one of my favorites.

Calamari 

~  I liked the asian twist on this classic dish. Instead of marinara or cocktail sauce, you get a sweet/spicy sauce on the side. Not too greasy and flash fried with peppers and asian noodles, this is a great dish to share with other calamari fans.

Prince Edward Island Mussels Josephine 

~  Although this is a nice sharing portion, this is one bar bite I did not want to share! Simply because I love mussels and these were my favorite out of everything we tried. You are going to want some of BoneFish Grill’s bread to dip in the flavorful broth and enjoy…by yourself!

SOBESAVVY TIP: Today only, All Day enjoy $5 Martini Mondays

I am happy to advise I will be back for the Hand-Crafted Happy Hour ! The all-new menu items and hand-crafted cocktails are something you are going to want to enjoy with family, friends, co-workers, loved ones or even by yourself (if you don’t want to share the mussels like me~lol). It starts daily at 4p.m. and end times vary by location. Please check your location page for location-specific Happy Hour offerings and times. Prices, product availability, participation and hours may vary by location.
Again, Cheers to everyone who joined me for a #SobeSavvyEats Sunday Funday and special thanks to BoneFish Grill ! The new Hand-crafted Happy Hour is not to be missed!

Also, check out my fun video recap on YouTube : https://youtu.be/LNHMfyr6sT8

Bonefish Grill 
4421 Six Forks Rd

Raleigh, NC 27609

#TastyTuesday Spotlight on @OroRaleigh ~ Where to Eat #DowntownRaleigh #LunchDate #NC

Downtown Raleigh has an amazing culinary scene with some great options being on Martin St. One of them being the stylish ORO Restaurant and Lounge. But let me tell you its not all just style, there is substance being served on those plates!

Recently I met with fellow NC Blogger\Influencer, Jen Lawrence of JenOni.com. We made plans to enjoy lunch and feature ORO since we’ve both heard awesome things about the restaurant, menu, drinks and of course the food.

The Restaurant

As soon as you walk in, the sleek white decor will catch your eye. Opt to sit at the chef’s table for a closer look of the magic in the the kitchen, 

in the main dining area or in the mezzanine, which has a fireplace.

Although I was there for a casual business lunch, I can definitely see myself coming back for a date night or a fun girls night out. If you are looking for a casual yet chic place to dine in Downtown Raleigh, this is the place! Looking for a place to hold your Private Event and /or offers Catering? ORO provides those services as well.

The Menu

Serving fresh, local ingredients that is pleasing to all and designed to be shared among friends is the mission of ORO. Created by Hylton Hospitality, Christopher and Cara Zalcberg Hylton has done a fantastic job featuring a variety of small plates and signature dishes since Spring 2012.
Executive Chef Chris Hylton has created lunch (served 11am-2p) and dinner (served 5-10pm) menus where all items  are identified with respect for dietary  restrictions. So if you are looking for Vegetarian, Vegan or Gluten-Free dishes that are flavorful and delicious, reservations at ORO are a must. The restaurant also offers some off the menu items that are chef’s selections using seasonal ingredients. 


The Drinks

Looking for an after work spot to enjoy cocktails and conversation? Step up to the full bar and order any of their exclusive wines or beer on tap and check out their specialty cocktail list. I recommend the Mimosarita.

 It’s made with peach infused 1800 reposado..mango infused moscato..lemon.. orange and a large ice cube made of orange juice and sparkling water. Once the ice starts to melt, you get a nice effervesent surprise! Also on the menu is 3 types of mules. Jen tried the classic Moscow Mule made with Tito’s Vodka. Both drinks were refreshing and memorable in a good a way.

The Food

Soups,Salads and Starters...Oh My! Everything on their lunch menu sounded so good, we could not wait to try. The Truffle Mac & Cheese is a staple on the menu. Since the restaurant has been open for the past 5 years, it has been a favorite of guests. So I had to order the vegan dish to try for myself. Made with yellow and white cheddar cheese and fine herbs, the truffle mac and cheese is served as a shareable plat , but you might hesitate and keep all that yummy goodness to yourself. Jen ordered the Chef’s feature soup which was green curry and chicken. I love a good soup because when all the flavors come together, it’s like a party in a bowl. Let me tell you, I had a sample of her soup and my tastebuds were dancing at the party.

From the Sides menu, I tried the Wok Fried Brussels, which is suitable for both vegans and vegetarians. The soy, ginger and chili flakes gave it a wonderful flavor. Not too salty or too spicy,  but just the right balance to make me happy with this side dish. 

Everything looked so good under the Main Dishes portion of the menu that I was a bit undecided. Do I want seafood, or beef or chicken? Thankfully, Maresa was there to guide me thru and offer some of her personal favorites. I ultimately ordered the Fish Tacos. You get 4 tacos topped with mango salsa, cucumber, red onion and cilantro lime aioli. For me the aioli and salsa is what elevated the dish from being just a basic fish taco.

Beef & Broccoli is what Jen opted to order. It was a nice portion of marinated filet served with chinese brocoli and water chestnuts. She enjoyed it and mentioned she would recommend this dish for those who enjoy the Chinese classic. 

Be sure to save room to order something sweet from the Dessert menu. I had my eye on either the creme brulee or banana bread pudding, but an off menu featured dessert was described and we went with that. Ladies and Gents, feast your eyes on this celebration on a plate! 

A housemade funnel cake ice cream sandwhich with birthday cake ice cream in the middle and confetti sprinkles. Since my birthday is on Thursday, it was apropo to go with this and make an early birthdy wish! This was heavenly indeed! Such an amazing sweet ending to a great lunch. 

SobeSavvy Tip: Visit ororaleigh.com and subscribe to ORO’s Newsletter to receive updates and the latest news!

ORO Restaurant & Lounge

18 E Martin St

Raleigh, NC 27601 

Phn 919-239-4010