Top 3 Restaurants To Try This Fall In NC @koan_cary @Il_Palio @DriftwoodRDU

Top 3 Restaurants To Try This Fall In NC | Cary * Chapel Hill * Raleigh

Hello November! ‘Tis the season to indulge in some good eats and treat yourself to memorable dining out experiences. I recently got to try 3 different restaurants and each one while different in cuisine share the same passion of bringing you an array of flavors on their new Fall menus. Take a look and discover where to eat in the Triangle at these TOP 3 RESTAURANTS TO TRY THIS FALL!

kō•än | Cary, NC

Photo Credit | Tabletop Media Group

🆕️ Restaurant Alert! The most exciting place for food right now is kō•än in Cary,NC, which opened November 1, 2019 with great anticipation! I got a chance to experience the restaurant and its menu at a media preview dinner and enjoyed everything from its innovative cocktails to their delicious small/large plates meant for sharing!

The new restaurant, located at 2800 Renaissance Park Pl, Cary, NC 27513, brings Executive Chef Drew Smith’s [ formerly of Raleigh’s bu•ku and so•ca, and winner of 2019’s Cooking for a Classic dining competition] vision of Southeast Asian cuisine in a zen-like atmosphere. Check out my Facebook post>>here for a look at some of the tasty menu.

For more info on kō•än, follow #koancary @koan_cary on Instagram and Twitter or visit www.koancary.com

Il Palio|Chapel Hill

Photo Credit | Tabletop Media Group

Transport your mind, body and tastebuds to Italy when you experience world-class dining at Il Palio, located in The Siena Hotel at 1505 East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, NC. Chef Adam Rose and his team uses the best local and Italian ingredients to prepare fresh, homemade pastas like this signature Butternut Squash Ravioli! *[see here for recipe]

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It's #WorldPastaDay ..and there are so many delicious pasta-bilities on the menu at @il_palio, located in @thesienahotel in Chapel Hill, NC. Chef Adam Rose and his team uses the best local and Italian ingredients to prepare fresh, homemade pastas like this signature Butternut Squash Ravioli! Swipe 🔙 for a look at some of the amazing culinary artisanship and fantastic dishes served at Il Palio! . . . . #IlPalio #TheSienaHotel #ChapelHill #NC #Italiancuisine #Italiancooking #ravioli #pasta #seafood #steak #dessert #nceats #foodtalk #ncfoodfinds #chapelhillrestaurants #diningout #f52grams #SobeSavvy #soNCsavvy #foodblogger #lifestyleblogger #RaleighBlogger #NCBlogger #chapelhillblogger #foodwomenwine #foodiefriday #nomnomnom

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If you enjoy Italian cuisine along with a lovely wine selection, and amazing culinary artisanship, then you will savor the fantastic dishes served in a warm and inviting Tuscan villa atmosphere at Il Palio!

For more information, follow @thesienahotel #TheSienaHotel on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Follow @il_palio #IlPalio on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Driftwood Kitchen & Bar | Raleigh, NC

Photo Credit | Tabletop Media Group

All my lovers of chicken and waffles [….and really good comfort food] make your way to DRIFTWOOD KITCHEN AND BAR (formerly known as Driftwood Southern Kitchen), located in Lafayette Village at 8460 Honeycutt Road, Suite 112, Raleigh, NC 27615 for a taste of the 🆕️ delicious menu revamped by Chef Nunzio which also includes tacos, meatloaf with tasso ham gravy, pulled short ribs, and chicken & biscuits (made from scratch), plus great craft cocktails, like the “Black -Eyed Rye made with Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey.

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Are you #teamsyrup or #gravy on your #chickenandwaffles? 🤷🏽‍♀️ Well at @driftwoodraleigh you can enjoy both, now available on the 🆕️ delicious menu at Driftwood Kitchen & Bar located inside @LafayetteVillage. ———— Chef Nunzio has revamped the previous menu to include exciting new additions like chicken and waffles, tacos, meatloaf with tasso ham gravy, pulled short ribs, and chicken and biscuits. Invited #raleighinfluencers got to experience the new flavors and take a tour of the refreshed restaurant space including a brand new private room for events and parties. ———— Follow #driftwoodraleigh on my #instastories to see some highlights from the #medianight ! Swipe 🔙 to see our tasty experience at Driftwood! . . . #SobeSavvy #soNCsavvy #RaleighBlogger #lifestyleblogger #raleighfood #trianglefoodies #raleighrestaurant #lafayettevillage #visitRaleigh #Raleigheats #NCfood

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Invited Raleigh influencers got to experience the new flavors and take a tour of the refreshed restaurant space including a brand new, communal style private dining room for events and parties. The restaurant’s unique open kitchen concept and scratch made menu showcases the best ingredients from as many regional and local farmers and producers when possible. Feast your eyes on some of the highlights from our media tasting experience on my Facebook page>>here.

For more info, follow Driftwood Kitchen & Bar #DriftwoodRaleigh, @driftwoodraleigh on Instagram and Facebook

Thanks for reading! I hope this post has made you hungry and ready to make reservations. Any of these restaurants would make a great dining out date option or a place to meet friends for small bites and cocktails! Cheers!

Have you dined at any of these restaurants? If not, which one are you checking out first?

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Western #NCFarmTour Recap: The Food, The Farms, The Fun w/@NCAgriculture #gottobeNC #avlbba

Disclosure:  I joined food bloggers/writers from NC on a sponsored tour of agriculture in Western NC. Lodging, Transportation and meals were covered , however the opinions shared here are 100% my own. Thanks again to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA &CS) and the Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association for hosting our group. Also thanks to Kristen Baughman of Tabletop Media Group and Heather Barnes, the marketing specialist for the NC Dept of Agriculture who did an amazing job organizing the tour! 

On July 19-21, 2017, I went on a fantastic tour of agriculture in Western NC and let me tell you, I learned so much about food, where it comes from, how its sourced and the people. Our group traveled from Raleigh,NC to Colfax, Salisbury, Hickory, Marion, Black Mountain and Asheville and came back with so much knowledge and respect for what it takes to produce quality food from farm to table!

I shared with you some of the highlights from our two and a half day tour on social media @SobeSavvy but encourage you to also check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram of our groups social media shares at #NCFarmTour. Growing up in the city, it was great to meet farmers, experience farm life and learn about the diversity of NC agriculture. I mean as a ‘foodie’, I think it was a right of passage for myself to see where it all begins. So let’s begin…..

DAY 1 |Wednesday, July 19

Here I am with Quinn and Paten Carlton, SoulFull Sisters departing from the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market in Colfax. We left from Raleigh Farmers Market but made a stop here to pick up bloggers from Charlotte,NC. I am happy we stopped here because I was able to get a to- go snack from Moose Cafe , voted “Best Restaurant for Best use of local ingredients”.  I got one of their homemade biscuits and signature apple butter to try and it was just like grandma used to make..so good! 

Fading D Farm -Salisbury, NC

Owned by Faythe (head cheesemaker) and David DiLoreto, this is the only working water buffalo dairy herd in NC and is one of the stops on the NC Cheese Trail. During this stop we toured the fields, farm, creamery and store and got to hear how a trip to Italy and their love for cheese sparked their passion to produce at a farm of their own . Fun Fact: The water buffalo get nicknamed after cheeses and their milk is used for making their award winning fresh/aged cheeses, which we got to enjoy tasty samples of. I learned that the water buffalo milk is 30% higher in protein and if you are dairy sensitive, these milks/cheeses are a better option. In addition to selling the cheese at their on-site farm store, you can buy soaps, other gift items, and  select cuts of water buffalo meat (which is low in cholesterol and flavorful). If interested in trying some for yourself, join Heidi Billotto of Heidi Billoto Food for her On The Farm cooking class, which features 5 courses/wine pairings and fun! It’s being held at Fading D Farm on July 30 from 2-5pm! Email to make a reservation HLNC@carolinarr.com. Check out my photo album of this tour stop >>>>here

Highland Avenue Restaurant –    Hickory, NC 

For the record, this part of the blog post is making me hungry as I look over the menu and pictures from this farm to table feast we enjoyed courtesy of Highland Avenue Restaurant. Led by Executive Chef Sam Stachon, the team at this restaurant provided us with top notch service along with their amazing dishes. It’s no wonder they have received regional and national recognition for sourcing local foods. The Chef shared with us that he sees this as a ‘friends to table’ restaurant because of the personal relationships he has built with the farmers and the food they provide. See some of the delicious dishes that we enjoyed for dinner>>>>here.

DAY 2 | Thursday, July 20

Sweet Biscuit Inn, a Bed & Breakfast in Asheville, NC 

This Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association Inn was my accomodation during the tour. Our group was divided among the different 15 Asheville area inns, that work together to promote outstanding guest service, guest safety and quality. The Sweet Biscuit Inn’s hosts, Claudia and Christian Hickl, exceeded in hospitality by making our stay comfortable and sharing their insights of the area. My room (check out youtube for room reveal video)  was decorated with European style and a southern charm. It was spacious and suitable for 2 adults and 1 child. This inn welcomes children of all ages and is convenient to downtown Asheville and only 1/2 mile north of the Biltmore Estate entrance. The 3 course gourmet breakfast prepared by Chef Claudia was mouthwatering and memorable! Watch my video to get a taste of Sweet Biscuit Inn and make plans today for your next Asheville stay!  https://www.instagram.com/p/BW-jZcVh4S0/

Pisgah Brewing Company –                 Black Mountain, NC 

Before moving to NC, I would casually drink beer only in the summer as a pairing with Maryland steamed blue crabs. Then when I moved to Miami, I started covering beer events, festivals and grew to develop my palate thru tastings. I even have a category on the blog dedicated to Spirits/Beer. So I was excited to tour NC’s own Pisgah Brewing! We learned all about this brewery , founded by Dave Quinn. Our tour guide, Tom, shared that the #1 ingredient in beer is water and because of the great quality there in the western NC mountains, they are able to produce brews consumers enjoy! Since 2005, they have specialized in craft brews made with 100% whole leaf hops and organic grains and malts. We got to walk threw the brewery and learn about the history of Pigsah and process of making beer. Outside we saw their real beer garden, viewed the hop vines and learned how they use local produce to make beer. My fave part was sampling some of Pigsah’s brews inside their taproom, which is open 7 days a week and often has live music and other events. Wanna see more from this part of the tour? View pics >here.

New Sprouts Organic Farms-Black Mountain,NC

Ever wanted to follow the journey of a seed to the grocery store? Well Founder, Alan Rose and his son took us on a tour of New Sprout Organic Farms -it’s office, packing house and we even got to visit the fields(see pics >>here).  The family owned farm grows, pack and ships certified organic fruits and vegetables to East Coast grocery stores, including Ingles, Whole Foods, Earth Fare, and Harris Teeter. During this part of the tour, I learned what it means to be GAP certified. It means Good Agricultural Practices are met for food safety.  For optimal health, it’s important to eat local to ensure the days from field to plate are not long. This is a way to to make sure you get the most nutrients from your vegetables. Check out the youtube video of my photo recap of this tour.  And thanks again Alan for our New Sprout Organic Farms swag!

“Taste of Local” event at Ingles Market

After a delicious lunch at locally owned Black Mountain Bistro , it was time to head to Ingles Market in Black Mountain for their “Taste of Local” event. This event is held every Thursday at Ingles stores and gives customers a chance to meet local farmers/vendors who supply Ingles and sample their products. I came home with some edible souvenirs like Unicoi Preserves, which owner Suzy Neal explained are “perfect pairings with cheese and charcuterie” !

All of the staff/farmers/vendors were so passionate about their products and a pleasure to talk to. Special thanks to Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian Leah McGrath (we share a Maryland connection, Go Terps!) who not only is a pioneer in her field, but has done an amazing job connecting brands and products to consumers and informing customers about health and nutrition.  

If ever in the area, this is a free event you should attend! Here is my event recap : https://www.instagram.com/p/BWyMOjQB1K4/

Engadine Inn & Cabins at Honey Hill-Candler, NC

So much to see and say about this wonderful evening at Engadine Inn & Cabins. The Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association (ABBA) welcomed us to a feast featuring dishes from many of the B&Bs. We got to tour the historic inn, and enjoy dessert by the fire pit. Dinner was delicious and the sunset views of the Blue Ridge Mountains were amazing! I captured some of it here via Facebook live. This 12 acre property offers the choice of staying in one of the B&B elegant rooms(adult only) or in the cozy,comfort private cabins(which allows pets and children). This is also a perfect place to host a wedding or any indoor/outdoor event. Want to see more photos, check them out >>>>here

DAY 3 | Friday, July 21

Harvest Farm- Marion, NC

Harvest Farm is a conventional family farm owned by Cassandra Benfield. During this stop on the #NCFarmTour, we learned that in addition to distributing their produce to wholesale distribution facilities, the farm also works with local produce stands, local restaurant delivery trucks, food shelters, Move With Compassion Ministry, The Society of St. Andrew, and a local cattle farmer. Cassandra is passionate about freshness and makes every effort to provide the best produce to a diversity of people within the community. We were thankful to not only learn about her and what she does but we also got a chance to pick tomatoes to take home and plant cabbage! We hope to return in the fall to the Harvest Farms Corn Maze and Pumpkin patch. See my photos from our visit>>>>>here.

Ingles Distribution Center

The final stop on the Western NC Farm Tour was the Ingles Distribution Center, which is located within 250 miles of Ingles stores, allowing it to meet the store’s standards for freshness and quality. Now that’s an #InglesAdvantage that customers appreciate! All merchandise (grocery, perishable, frozen, health & beauty) for Ingles stores is distributed by the company’s 1.6 million square feet distribution center. No cameras were allowed inside, but we were in awe of how much product was stored, the organization of operations, and positivity of the employees (many who have been there for years). There are approximately 200 stores in six southeastern states all accepting deliveries 7 days a week. After lunch, sponsored by Ingles, we were on our way back to Charlotte & Raleigh, with memories, knowledge and a great appreciation for agriculture and the people in Western NC.