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

Food|Celebrate #NationalCheesePizzaDay @DemosPizzaDeli in #Raleigh #NC #SobeSavvyEats #Pizza

Give me a P- I- Z- Z -A, foodies let’s celebrate #NationalCheesePizzaDay! If you live in Raleigh, hands down, DeMo’s Pizzeria & Deli is a great place to enjoy some amazing cheese pizza and more! Here’s why:

✔ Fresh, not Frozen crust

✔ Dough made in-house

✔ Homemade Sauce

✔ Quality Mozzarella Cheese

But that’s not all they do great.

Pizza, Hot & Cold Sandwiches, Award Winning Chicken Wings and Delicious Desserts are all on the menu for the whole family to enjoy!

THE MENU

DeMo’s Pizzeria & Deli on Glenwood Avenue in Downtown Raleigh has some of the best wings and pizza to be found anywhere.

Founded by two Raleigh natives, DeMo’s serves up everything fresh not frozen. House made dough, sauces and even the vanilla cannoli cream fillings!

But before I jump to dessert, I went there with my family in search of the best cheese pizza to have on National Cheese Pizza Day. We noticed they had comfy booth seating and our favorite foodie show ‘Chopped’ was playing on one of their flat screen tvs, so we felt right at home. We started with hot and fresh garlic rolls that was served with their house made marinara. They were soooo goood! Order these and get ready to dip, baby, dip!

A fresh Ceasar Salad is a great way to ensure you eat your veggies with your pizza and their salad was crisp, tasty and big enough for my #HeighPartyof3 family to share.

I highly suggest ordering some wings to start. Not just any wings but DeMo’s offer Jumbo Wings that are seasoned, baked to perfection and fried to order perfection. They are then tossed in one their many amazing sauces or you can get the sauce on the side.

It comes served with double batch ranch sauce and blue cheese for dipping. In addition to their award winning Buffalo IPA beer sauce, DeMo’s has some other sauce choices also like Mild, Honey Chile, BBq and Teriyaki. These wings are definitely a crowd pleaser!

Our medium Cheese Pizza came piping hot out of their oven! It had the right amount of gooey, ooeey cheese that our daughter loves, the perfect amount of sauce for me and my husband, who I call a pizza crust snob (since his first job was making pizzas) gave it his pizza lover stamp of approval.

In my opinion there is nothing worse than an unbalanced cheese to sauce ratio! But DeMo’s does not disappoint and there was goodness in every bite. Their pizza is thin NY style pizza. In other words you can hold or fold. The choice is yours! My little one aka #outandandaboutAva commented it was the best pizza she has ever had!

As the pizza was disappearing we made sure to save room for dessert after learning from co-owner Anthony DeMarco that the cheesecake (my daughter’s favorite) is not only homemade but has a bit of a unique twist in its recipe that my young foodie tasted right away! Also on the dessert menu are cannolis made with their house made vanilla cream filing. Both desserts were so good and the perfect sweet ending to our meal.

SobeSavvy Tip: If you just want to order a slice of pizza from DeMo’s , check out this daily combo’s special ⤵️

We left Demo’s feeling like everyday should be National Cheese Pizza Day! Our daughter waved goodbye to ‘Fat Tony’ outside of Demo’s and I grabbed a menu because you can dine in or order take out. DeMo’s Pizzeria & Deli also offers delivery which I will be using since this place is now our new favorite pizza spot in Raleigh!

DEMO’S Pizzeria & Deli
222 Glenwood Ave #121 Raleigh, NC 27603

Event Recap |#NCWineMonth September 2018 Kickoff, A Celebration of #NCWine + Featured Wineries To Try!

North Carolina Wine and Grape Month | 2018 Kick Off Event | Norris House-Raleigh,NC | August 28,2018

Hey Wine Lovers! It is time to raise a glass and support your favorite NC wineries because September is North Carolina Wine and Grape Month. This is the time of year vineyards and local wine makers are celebrated and recognized for helping North Carolina become the 7th highest wine producer in the nation!

Leslie H., Founder of Lifestyle Blog- SobeSavvy.com with hosts NC Wine Guys! Follow NCWineGuys.com as they share their knowledge of all things NC Wine

The NC Wine Guys hosted their invitation only kickoff event at the famous Norris House in downtown Raleigh. This historical home was the perfect venue to promote the upcoming month and feature some regional wineries.

Norris House | Raleigh,NC – Beautiful location for the North Carolina Wine and Grape Month 2018 Kickoff Event

After the presentation of the Governor’s Proclamation which officially sanctioned the month of September, guests had the chance to network, and eat from a spread of spectacular breads, cheese and meats provided by local favorite La Farm Bakery.

La Farm Bakery eats are the perfect pairing to NC Wines!

Guests also had an opportunity to taste wines from different wineries across the state, showcasing what North Carolina Wine is all about. Got To Be NC wine glasses were provided to sample over 25 wines from 8 wineries. Want to know how to effectively taste a number of wines and appreciate them all at an event? Here is a Pro Tip to Wine Tasting provided by NC Wine Guys!

Pro Tip

Swirl – take a moment to swirl the wine in your glass to get some air into it.

Smell – stick your nose right into the glass and sniff.

Sip – take the wine into your mouth, swish it around, and see how it tastes.

Spit – this is important as you’ll be tasting about several wines. *Spit cups, dump buckets, and water were provided.

I was quite impressed by the variety of the wineries that we had the pleasure of tasting yesterday. Most have tasting rooms and winery tours on their property that I look forward to visiting! Be sure to check out their websites for more details.

Banner Elk Winery, Banner Elk, NC http://www.bannerelkwinery.com/

One of my favorites was the High Country Rosé~a dry seasonal wine that would go great with baked salmon. Their use of French-American hybrids of grapes and the elevation to which they are grown is what gives thwir wines a unique taste!

Childress Vineyards, Lexington, NC http://www.childressvineyards.com/

I just loved their Starbound Dessert Wine. This blueberry wine is fortified with Brandy and aged in Oak Barrels for at least a year. It was my first time trying it but will not be my last. It retails at $19.99 at selected Harris Teeter.

Jones von Drehle Vineyards and Winery, Thurmond, NC https://www.jonesvondrehle.com/

Their Petite Manseng wine is simply fabulous. Grown on their 85 acre vineyard, this award winning white is something to behold. If you like dry, European styled wine, then I would recommend wines from this family owned winery. As reviewed by Epicurean Magazine in Charlotte, watch my video and hear more about why red wine lovers enjoy this full bodied white!

Biltmore Wines, Asheville, NC https://www.biltmore.com/visit/village-winery

Located on the iconic 8,000 acre Biltmore Estate grounds, their Chardonnay is aged in both steel and oak barrels which gives it a distinct finish that I enjoyed. Their winery is mostly self sustainable. So much that the winery vehicles actually run on used oil from their operations instead of gas!

Raylen Vineyards, Mocksville, NC https://www.raylenvineyards.com/

No matter if you are a wine expert or novice, I find there is always something to learn from sales/marketing managers and tasting room managers of wineries. We spoke with Micah Habershaw, Assistant Tasting Room Manager of Raylen Vinyards, who gave us ideas for food pairing choices with their fruit forward wines. For example, their 2016 Petit Verdot would be great with lamb chops and grilled salmon with 2017 Rosé of Cabernet Franc.

Laurel Gray Vineyard, Hamptonville, NC https://www.laurelgray.com

I tried their Scarlet Mountain Red Table Wine, which is their best seller. If you like a red that is not too sweet and straight down the middle, this would go well with any red sauce dish you could think of!

Also in attendance was Cybress Bend Vineyards from Wagram,NC , Junius Lindsay Vineyard from Lexington,NC and Sanctuary Vineyards of Jarvisburg,NC. From the mountains to the coast, wines from every region were represented at this kickoff event. These featured wineries truly exemplify the diversity of wines found here in our great state of North Carolina.

This was the 2nd year of this event hosted by NC Wine Guys and North carolina Wine and Grape Council. What a great introduction and celebration for North Carolina Wine and Grape Month. Help spread the word about North Carolina wines and be sure to go check out these wineries and buy their wines for yourself or as a gift! Follow #NCWine and #NCWineMonth on social media for information and to join the conversation about North Carolina Wineries throughout the month of September and beyond!

Do you have a favorite NC Wine that you enjoy? I ❤ 2017 Pearl Albariño from Santuary Vineyards as it pairs well with seafood. Share in the comments below your faves!CHEERS 🥂🍇🍷

Cheers to North Carolina Wine And Grape Month – September 2018

Shop Luxury Items for Less @NationalPawnNC in #Raleigh #NationalPawn #Pawn #PawnShop

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post courtesy of National Pawn. Photos and opinions are 100% my own.

You see that picture above? Yep, that is me walking out of a pawn shop with my daughter. A few years ago, I would have never thought to stop in a pawn shop or even think to take my kid with me just based on misconceptions of what a pawn shop is like. One trip to National Pawn and it will dispel any misconceived notions. Who knew National Pawn could be such a great place to find luxury items!?! Read on to see why National Pawn is ranked #1 Pawn Stores….

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

SobeSavvy.com was recently invited to shop at National Pawn to see how they are “changing the perception of the pawn business“. It was quite a pleasant experience for my whole family and I am writing here to tell you all about it! Pawn shops have traditionally gotten a bad rap. Dim unkept stores with less than stellar customer service. NOT here.National Pawn has 16 locations throughout North Carolina and we shopped at their “Raleigh 1” location off of Glenwood/Rt 70 conveniently located on Glenwood Boulevard between Crabtree Mall and Brier Creek. The pawn and jewelry store “On the Hill” is a bright and airy storeroom that has something for everyone!

AFFORDABLE FINDS

When looking for electronics, musical instruments, luxury items or piece of jewelry, the first place most people think of is a big box store or going to the mall. Did you know you could find those things and more at deeply discounted rates at National Pawn? We saw everything from luxury items to Keurig Coffee makers to the latest and greatest electronics like the Apple Watches and to high end Italian purses. We were amazed at how most
these items were in very good to new condition. Diamonds, electric guitars, rare coins and unique items like this autographed chair from the Broadway Play ‘The Color Purple’!

MY SHOPPING HAUL

Having a good camera is an essential for every blogger. Our camera had recently died and we were on the look out for a new one. Luckily for us, Lindsey was there to not only provide us with great customer service but to give us her expertise on cameras since she studied photography. She helped us compare a few models and we settled on a great Nikon Coolpix w/a zoom lens for under $70. They had a great variety to choose from and no matter your budget, National Pawn does offer layaway.

My daughter loves her Nintendo WII and after we got her off of a bike and a scooter she found a fun looking racing game for under $10. If
you know anything about video games then you realize just what a great deal that was! I immediately told my Mom friends of all the awesome finds for kids at National Pawn. I was so surprised!

I wanted something in the jewelry section and was delighted to see that had a pretty big selection of Pandora bracelet charms. Lindsey is indeed a Jill of all Trades because she used to be a manager at Pandora! She pointed out that alot of the Pandora charms were rare or discontinued. I spotted a
gorgeous wooden charm that would pair well with my other wood accessories. It was priced around $30 and I am now the proud owner of this beautiful gem.

GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE

Everyone was quite friendly at this National Pawn location and Lindsey went above and beyond to answer any of our questions.

Great customer service always makes for a great and memorable shopping experience in my opinion. Our purchases were kindly wrapped up and we were informed of their 3 day no questions asked money back guarantee if we needed to return any item for any reason. This alone is almost unheard of in the pawn shop business. Most places have a “final sale” policy, but not at National Pawn.

SobeSavvy Tip: Sign up 👉 HERE to Join Rewards Program and Get Special Deals & Discounts !!

Next time you are looking for luxury items for less, shop at National Pawn.

Odds are they not only have it but they have it at a price that will keep more of your money in your pocket!

NATIONAL PAWN |Raleigh

6740 Fleetwood Dr.

Raleigh, NC 27612

(919) 390-7622

info@nationalpawnshops.com

A Family Guide to Happy Thrills at #Carowinds | #AmazingLooksLike @Carowinds #FamilyFun

Thanks to Carowinds for hosting SobeSavvy.com to a day of summer fun and “happy thrills”! Complimentary media passes were received in exchange for marketing purposes. Opinions and photos used in this review of my experience are 100% my own.

Recently my #HeighPartyof3 which consists of my husband, daughter and me, traveled from Raleigh,NC for a short 2.5 hour drive to Carowinds. This 400 acre amusement park, with 13 roller coasters, seven water rides and the new Camp Snoopy, was the perfect place to enjoy some end of summer fun and to celebrate #outandaboutAva turning 7 years old!

#outandaboutAva gets a birthday hug from Sally and Schroeder from Peanuts at Camp Snoopy in Carowinds

I asked my daughter to give me two words to describe our family fun day at Carowinds to which she replied: “Happy and Thrilling”. So from the mouth of babes, I present to you “A FAMILY GUIDE TO HAPPY THRILLS AT CAROWINDS”. While this was not our first visit as a family to the amusement park, this was our first time experiencing the Carolina Harbor Water Park, checking out the new County Fair rides and seeing what’s new at Camp Snoopy. I have some mom friends who have children 7 and under who have not visited Carowinds yet, so my hope is that they will read this and be inspired to go and learn from our family experience.

Arriving at CAROWINDS

Upon arrival the first decision to be made is where to park. One thing folks like to complain about is parking. Yes Carowinds is a huge park that has thousands of daily visitors. These visitors also need thousands of parking spots. Parking is plentiful and visitors have two parking choices , General and VIP. VIP sections tend to be closer to the entrance than general.

Entrance in the water park is also entrance into the main park. You can purchase all the same tickets and passes there that can be bought at the main entrance. It is also smart to start here if you want to purchase a cabana for the day because they usually sell out in the first hour or two also.
We started our day at the Water park first and then enjoyed the main park.
The order you choose needs to only make sense to you !

SobeSavvy Tip:

For this trip, we found that if you drive around to the Carolina Harbor Waterpark entrance in the first hour or two of opening parking spots can be found that do not require a long walk.

Waterpark Fun in the Sun at CAROLINA HARBOR

Nestled right between the two states of North and South Carolina is Carolina Harbor Waterpark at Carowinds. There are so many splash adventures to be had at this 27 acre waterpark, including Blackbeard’s Revenge, a six story water slide, two wave pools and a two-acre family area. We are water lovers and really enjoyed staying cool by the pool, soaking up sun and relaxing on the lazy river ride. It’s no wonder Carolina Harbor Waterpark was one of the top winners of USA TODAY “Best Outdoor Waterpark” because of it’s themed water rides and one of a kind attractions for all ages.

SobeSavvy Tip: Now that you know that Carolina Harbor is the coolest place to slide,splash,chill and dine (BTW…the pulled pork Carolina BBQ sandwich is so good!), you should definitely consider renting a cabana. Cabana Life is the way to go to have your own private shaded haven. It comes with a flat screen tv, a mini fridge with half of dozen cold waters waiting for you, a table with 4 chairs, 2 lounge chairs, and menu service. It fits up to six people. So if you come with another small family, you can split the costs!

Love, Peace and Water Tubes at Tidal Wave Bay | Carolina Harbor

Happy Days Are Here Again at the COUNTY FAIR

The all-new County Fair themed area features 3 acres of timeless fun for all ages. There are 4 retro rides like the Zephyr swing ride, go round in a circular motion while enjoying music and spectacular lighting on the Rock ‘N’ Roller, flip upside down 63 ft above the ground on the Electro-Spin and don’t miss the twists and turns of Do-Si-Do, which glides guests up, down and around on three giant arms!

SobeSavvy Tip: Save room for some traditional fair food to eat! Here is wherr you can find hot dogs, cotton candy and my favorite..funnel cake!

Go back in time to 1959 County Fair and ride the Do-Si-Do Ride

Enjoy Kid Sized Thrills at the New CAMP SNOOPY

The former kids’ area known as Planet Snoopy has been completely transformed to the newly expanded Camp Snoopy, which includes six new attractions, a new wilderness theme and parent-friendly enhancements. There were lots of fun photo ops especially for fans of The PEANUTS and you may even get a chance to see your favorite characters. There is so much for young children to see and do here and great memories to be made at Camp Snoopy!

SobeSavvy Tip: Ride the Woodstock Express rollercoaster and choose a FunPix souvenir photo to take home. FunPix is a way to capture and share your memories of Carowinds with unlimited digital photo downloads! Its just one of the many great amenities at Carowinds.

This photo magnet of my daughter with her Dad on her first roller coaster ride at Carowinds is priceless!

Be sure to download the Carowinds mobile app from the App Store or Google Play and Follow Carowinds on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or head to Carowinds.com for more information.

Check out more ‘happy and thrilling’ moments at #Carowinds, plus WATCH my video recap of our family fun experience here ⤵️

What “Happy Thrills” did you experience this summer? Have you ever been to Carowinds? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!

#HeighPartyof3 at Carowinds Aug. ’18

CONNECT WITH ME Facebook |YouTube| Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Treat Yourself To Oysters for #NationalOysterDay (or any day) in Raleigh & Wake Forest NC!

Sunday,August 5th is one of my favorite food holidays because it is National Oyster Day! The seafoodie in me loves to eat these beauties from the sea. Whether you like them raw on the half shell, roasted, charbroiled, topped off with cheese or fried in a po boy sandwich, there are so many places to enjoy fresh oysters in the Triangle. Here are some of my favorite places to enjoy oysters in Raleigh & Wake Forest!

18 Seaboard

NC oysters from Core Sound topped with pimento cheese and proscuitto

18 Seaboard, the brainchild of Chef Smith and his wife Laura,winner 2018 Best of Downtown restaurant for a business meeting, is best known for its locally sourced seafood dishes. Here is where I made my first stop to celebrate National Oyster Day!

Pair the oysters with a glass of Rosé or 18 Seaboard’s Prosecco cocktail

Chef Jason Smith, who was recently featured in the IndyWeek top 100 dishes, gets his oysters fresh from Locals Seafood and serves Core Sounders topped them with pimento cheese brulee +prosciutto +crystal cane syrup ! They are raw but torched at the end to melt the cheese just a little. You get 5 to an order, but you may want more after tasting the hot sauce sugar syrup. It is literally the icing on the oyster!

Chef-Proprietor Jason Smith was recently featured in Indy Week! 18 Seaboard serves delicious local NC seafood dishes!

18 Seaboard

18 Seaboard Ave
Raleigh, NC 27604

Whiskey Kitchen

Oysters, fried to perfection at Whiskey Kitchen

Whiskey Kitchen..winner of 2018 best of Downtown Bar Food, known for best outside patio and an all around great vibe. I recently was here enjoying a girls night out and the fried oysters were such a memorable bite!

The Drink Menu is extensive at Whiskey Kitchen. No matter the celebration, they have plenty of libations!

During the day, Whiskey Kitchen still has a great atmosphere but it is more kid friendly and even dog friendly on the patio. If you are a fan of day drinking, head to Whiskey Kitchen for the best place to enjoy fried oysters on the patio for and pair is with prosecco, a glass of wine, a Bloody Mary, beer or just ask Johnny to make something special!

Whiskey Kitchen

201 W Martin St
Raleigh, NC 27601

bu*ku Wake Forest

If you read my review of bu•ku Wake Forest, then you know I could never say nada to their

~

….

These oysters are on their menu everyday so I can celebrate my love for oysters anytime and so can you!

bu*ku Wake Forest

1228 Heritage Links Dr suite 100 Wake Forest, NC 27587

National Oyster Day may be coming to an end but lucky for us we have quite a few restaurants here in Raleigh that serve up these delicacies from the sea. Hummingbird features Chef Coleen Speaks’ oyster dishes (she does an amazing oyster po’boy, along with smoked marinated oysters and charbroiled oysters), as well as Mandolin, who offers delicious local NC oysters on the half shell with Chef Sean Fowler’s house-made sauces. Another restaurant in Wake Forest that I have enjoyed is Shuckers. Remember, The World Is Your Oyster, go out there and enjoy!

Photo Courtesy of Mandolin

Do you like oysters? Did you celebrate National Oyster Day? If so, leave your favorite oyster spot below!

Concert Recap |@KidzBop Live Rocks Raleigh @RedHatAmp @LiveNationNCSC

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to review this show and share our experience with you. The opinions are 100 percent my own!

Music has always been oxygen to me. It is apparent I have passed this trait on to my soon to be 7 yr old daughter!
She sings, she dances and she gets lost in the beats just like me. While I love this aspect, I am always concerned with some of the more “adult” lyrical content of today’s pop hits. A few years ago I found a great solution to this modern problem. It is called KIDZ BOP. Some of my child free followers may not know what that is. No worries, I am here to help!

KIDZ BOP is a musical group that takes all the current top 40 hits and remixes some of the lyrical content within the songs to make it more kid-friendly. They use very similar music and most of the lyrics are the same.The most important difference is any cursing and sexual innuendo are replaced seamlessly with more kid appropriate lyrics. Young talent with amazing vocals do the cover songs. They also come up with dance moves to go with the dance tunes that will sure to get any kiddie party started! So when I learned that this group was touring and stopping in Raleigh,NC at Red Hat Amphitheatre, I wanted to surprise my soon to be birthday girl with her very first concert experience! It actually was our first mother and daughter concert date and we had so much fun!

KIDZ BOP has been Billboard Magazine’s #1 Kids’ Artist for eight consecutive years (2010 – 2017).
What works so well is the fact that each song they produce could stand on it’s own as an original. Most of our Friday Family Fun Nights at home consist of my daughter and I having our own dance or lip sync battle to any of the songs from the latest Kidz Bop Album. My husband will even play it in the car to just jam out during road trips. Parents, kids, girls and even boys enjoy rocking out to KIDZ BOP which is why the Kidz Bop Live 2018 Summer Tour is a must see!

The concert was 90 mins long with a 15 min intermission and featured 20 hit songs. Our favorite moments were dancing along to the Kidz Bop Shuffle, singing along to Havana, and other latin hits like Despacito / Mi Gente. We also liked all the Bruno Mars songs: Uptown Funk/ That’s What I Like/ Finesse / 24K Magic and the 90’s Dance Off featuring adults from the audience was EPIC! They showed us their best dance moves to Whoomp There It is / Jump / Poison / U Can’t Touch This and we the audience got to choose the winner by giving the loudest applause.

WATCH MY FUN VIDEO RECAP OF THE SHOW ⤵️

I had alot of Friday Night fun with my little one at #KidzBopLive 2018 at Red Hat Amphitheater in Downtown Raleigh. Those KIDZ BOP kids are so talented and put on an amazing show! Catch some of their singing [and our dancing] via my @sobesavvy u instatories and be sure to check out LiveNation.com to see what other concerts are coming to the the Triangle!

#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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#FoodieFriday Feature| Dinner For Two Review @bukuwakeforest! Eat Global,Support Local and Celebrate Grand Opening 6/28 in Wake Forest, NC

Recently, SobeSavvy.com was invited to a hosted dinner at the new bu•ku Wake Forest, a restaurant that is recognized for its global street food menu thanks to its flagship establishment in downtown Raleigh,NC. Their website states they are inspired by the pushcarts of street vendors from all over the world. I was excited to taste what they offered and hoped it would remind me of my experiences abroad as well as introduce me to something I’ve never had before.

If you are asking yourself… what is global street food?..It is basically no frills food native to the area it originates from. It tastes exactly like they would make these dishes in their home for their families. My introduction to street food was sudden and unexpectedly delightful. The year was 2006 in Phuket Island, Thailand. My friend who lived there at the time was taking my husband and I around and showing us the sights. We were hungry and he said “Let’s go by noodle stand #5”. Not quite sure what that was so we went along with it. We pulled up to a side street where an elderly woman had set up a plastic table on the back of her bike with a steaming contraption alongside. To our western sensibilities this was strange. We had one of the best meals of our lives right there in the alley. That unique dining experience shaped my willingness to try different foods and made me ready to enjoy dinner for 2 at bu•ku.

RESTAURANT VIBES

Since this locally owned and operated restaurant is celebrating global street food in an elevated way, you will not find plastic tables here. The decor is modern and the ambiance is inviting yet intimate. You have the option to dine inside or outside on the patio but as soon as I walked thru the doors at bu•ku Wake Forest, I knew I would enjoy dining in the serene, beautifully designed dining space. I had an early dinner reservation at 6p but soon the restaurant was bustling with quite a few large dinner party celebrations as well as friends casually meeting for drinks after work at the bar. There were even families with children enjoying dinner and couples enjoying a dinner date night. No matter how busy it got, service was welcoming and attentive throughout the evening.

COCKTAILS ANYONE?

If you are one that enjoys a good drink before, during or after your meal, then you will be quite satisfied with the wine list, beer and cocktail menu at bu•ku Wake Forest. Whether you choose to enjoy on their patio, at the bar or with your dinner, I do suggest this restaurant for their interesting selection of wines, beers and craft cocktails. Here are two drinks that you must try on your next visit to bu•ku:

Sangria Roja at bu•ku is the perfect Summertime Sip!

My new favorite bubbly cocktail: The Secret Garden at bu•ku

DINNER MENU

Per bu•ku Wake Forest, their Global Street Food menu is ..”a new type of dining, designed for the type of mix & matched tasting and plate-sharing that sparks conversation.” If you’ve ever been to the Raleigh location owned by culinary visionaries Sean Degnan and Tony Hopkins, you will notice some menu differences. The team partnered with longtime friend, Todd Ohle, owner of the second bu•ku Wake Forest, and each restaurant has its own Chef that develops their own creations while still supporting menus and programs for the entire restaurant group. Just like the Raleigh location ( which is moving to Cary in 2019), bu•ku offers gluten free, vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu. Feast your eyes on the small plates, large plates and big bowls we enjoyed for dinner:

Small Plates | Chinese Steamed Buns at bu•ku | 2 per order- Braised Pork, hoison sauce, pickles and scallions. Served on a perfectly warm “steamed” bun. Perfection in it’s simplicity yet complex in it’s flavors. Yum!

Small Plates | Edamame + Ostras Asadas at bu•ku | Edamame has a bit of a kick thanks to the addition of peppercorn. The grilled local oysters are some of the best I have had in the Triangle because of the flavorful toppings!

Large Plates | NC Catch at bu•ku | Local Seafood meets Global Flavors on a plate! The flounder was perfectly cooked and served on a bed of cauliflower,rutabaga mash, pistachio and topped with fennel-shallot confit. My favorite part was pouring the parmesean beurre on top!

Big Bowls | Vietnamese Phô at bu•ku | The seared filet mignon was so tender and my favorite part about this dish. I wanted more flavor from the broth and plan to do some spice additions to my leftovers at home!

Dessert | Tres Helados at bu•ku | You get a trio of chefs selection of gluten free sorbet and ice creams, toasted coconut flakes, and fresh berries. It was my first time having avocado ice cream and I loved it!

SobeSavvy Tip: EVENT ALERT A celebration for the new bu•ku Wake Forest will take place Thursday, June 28th with a cocktail hour and ribbon cutting for media and city officials on Thursday, June 28th. Dinner service will begin at 5pm and feature live music from Joe O’Keefe’s “3 Second Rule” band (who owns neighboring Wine 101), as well as complimentary sangria for all guests. As founding members of A Place at the Table, Degnan and Hopkins will donate a portion of proceeds from this evening to this charitable cause!

Thanks for reading and I hope you are inspired to make dinner reservations for 2 at the new bu•ku!

bu•ku Wake Forest

1228 Heritage Links Dr suite 100, Wake Forest, NC 27587

Hey #Raleigh, If you seek Authentic Greek, head to @TavernaAgora during @TriRestweek and #TakeBackLunch

Leslie, Founder of SobeSavvy.com visits Taverna Agora to #TakeBackLunch during Triangle Restaurant Week

Greece is known for many things. The Acropolis and inventing the modern Olympic games just to name a few. Something else Greece is known for… healthy and delicious food! Whether it’s how they cook their lamb or use feta cheese in different dishes, Greek cuisine is adored worldwide. Although Greece is 5,000 miles away and eating there for lunch or dinner tomorrow is impossible for most, I have some great news. Greece is right here in the City of Oaks in the form of Taverna Agora Restaurant!

Taverna Agora is a bi-level restaurant serving authentic Greek cuisine in the heart of downtown Raleigh

Located in downtown Raleigh,NC, Taverna Agora offers old world flavors and rustic roots “reminiscent of gathering places found in Greece.” As soon as you walk in you get a feeling of traditional mixed with modern. The atmosphere is quite charming and I loved the decor both inside and on the covered rooftop patio.

At Taverna Agora, get ready to Eat, Drink,OPA!

SobeSavvy.com was invited there for lunch during the special Triangle Restaurant Week that runs from June 4 thru June 10. For a fixed price, you get to try dishes from the regular menu at a discount. Lunch at Taverna Agora during this special is $15 per person (plus tax/gratuity) for 3 COURSES! THAT is such a great deal don’t you think?!

Taverna Agora’s TRW Lunch Menu

Drinks are not included with TRW Lunch menu but I shared on my instastories two cocktails identified as “Village Favorites”. Both the Greek Mule and Greek Lemonade were refreshing!

We started with a couple of great cocktails and got down to the business of food. Our waiter welcomed me back (since I dined there before) and gave a warm welcome to my guest who was there for the first time. We ordered an appetizer, entrée and dessert from the special Triangle Restaurant Week menu as follows:

1ST COURSE

Greek Village Salad at Taverna Agora

Options were Lemon Chicken soup or a choice of two different salads. Both the Greek Village Salad and the Watermelon and Feta Salad were fresh and flavorful. I also was pleased to see that the portions were big enough to share with each other. Thanks to the quality of the balsamic vinegar combined with watermelon and feta, I have found a new fave summer salad!

Watermelon and Feta Salad at Taverna Agora

2ND COURSE & 3RD COURSE

It’s Lunchtime at Taverna Agora!

For entrees we went with the Chicken Penne and a Gyro Pita. Each of these were quite good and we were impressed again by the quality of the ingredients used. I have leftovers of the pasta that I can’t wait to enjoy! We both finished with their signature Greek dessert of Baklava.

Save room for Taverna Agora’s dessert…the 3rd course was amazing!

SobeSavvy Tip: Make some time and join Taverna Agora during your lunchtime to #TakeBackLunch. Studies show you’ll be happier and more productive when you back away from your desk, leave the screen and take time for lunch. You could even win a midday meal for 10! Enter >>>>here.

#TakeBackLunch on June 15th National Take Back The Lunch Break Day at Taverna Agora!

Triangle Restaurant Week ends Sunday but there’s still time to experience multiple dishes and flavors and immerse yourself in the tastes of Greece. You can still get those amazing dishes on their regular menu but don’t miss this chance to try the TRW Menu at this great price! Plus service was attentive and professional and I loved the setting. For all of those reasons combined with delicious food, hurry down to Taverna Agora!

TAVERNA AGORA

326 Hillsborough St.

Raleigh, NC 27603

Thanks Taverna Agora for hosting SobeSavvy.com! I really enjoyed my dining experience and looking forward to next time!

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