Weekend Picks! April 24-27th


Weekend Picks ~ April 24-27th

The stage is set for the last weekend in April to go out with a bang. There is so much going on you will be hard pressed to pick where to go. It is going to be a gorgeous weekend to be outside and enjoy good food, local beer, and lots of music! Here are my weekend picks:

Thursday April 24th
The Grand Taste Experience at DPAC
TASTE 2014 is a five-day festival of food, wine & beer events, taking place between April 23 and 27,2014. The Grand Taste Experience will be held in the atrium of the DPAC and include fine wines, locally brewed beers, local spirits, coffee, and culinary creations from celebrated local chefs.

Friday April 25th
Art of Cool Music Festival (Fri & Sat) – Durham
The Art of Cool Festival is a two-day music festival with 2 outdoor stages, 6 indoor venues and over 20 world-class performances presented by the Artof Cool Project. The title sponsor of the Art of Cool Festival is the American Tobacco Campus.

Amateur Cookie Baking Contest – 9th Street Bakery in Durham
Friday night 5-8pm. $8 for audience members includes unlimited cookies, coffee, milk, and tea. If you would like to compete please email ninthstreetbakery@gmail.com. It is free to compete but you must register in advance and plan to bake at least 2 dozen cookies.

Front Porch Music Series at Carolina Inn – Chapel Hill
The Carolina Inn begins the 12th season of its popular end-of-the-workweek celebration called “Fridays on the Front Porch” on Friday, April 25 from 5-8 p.m. Along with live music, The Inn offers seasonal picnic offerings ($14 grill menu and $9 kids menu with gluten free options), various beverage selections and fun times under the shady oaks and magnolia trees. There is no cover charge or reservations for the event. Event Info

Wake Forest Spring Fling
The Wake Forest Elementary School Spring Fling and Food Truck Rodeo is scheduled April 25, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., with games, raffles, a silent auction and more. 136 W Sycamore Ave., Wake Forest, 27587. Art over at “The Wandering Sheppard” has all the event details on his blog here.

Gringo A Go Go Grand Opening Celebration
Gringo is a new Taqueria in downtown Raleigh. This Firday from 4 – 10 they celebrate their official grand opening!We will be having live music from the Dex Romweber Duo AND the and The Eddie Taylor Trio.There will be GREAT food and beer as well as various specials including:  Shrimp Cocktail,  Ceviche,  ShrimpTacos,  Burritos,  Margaritas, Cervezas, Light Snacks, and $2 beer bottles!

Saturday April 26th
Brewgaloo – Raleigh
Local Beer, Food Trucks  and music 2-10pm in Downtown Raleigh- City Plaza. No cover. Presented by Shop Local Raleigh. Enjoy over 46 NC breweries, 27 food trucks and 11 local bands. I suggest getting there early to avoid any lines. Going to be a great time!
3rd Annual Brewgaloo 

The Pitt BBQ Cuegrass Festival
Beer, Bluegrass and BBQ take over W. Davie Street in downtown Raleigh in Front of the Pitt BBQ.12-6pm. I suggest bringing a lawn chair and finding a spot to relax and enjoy an afternoon of great music and food.
Pitt BBQ 6th Annual Cuegrass 

E3 Field Day Event - Raleigh
E3 Project is excited to host the first ever Feel the Beat Field Day on April 26th, at Dorothea Dix Campus Field (Blair Drive, Raleigh). Join us for a day full of activities and surprises for kids and their families. This is a FREE event – we’ll have a ton of fun with a chance to learn cool stuff about healthy living (and snacking!) and having some classic field day laughs. Come out, bring a friend, bring your bikes, and reconnect your heart with healthy, active, AWESOME fun!
E3 Project’s Earth Day Field Day 

Piedmont Farm Tour – (Sat & Sun)
Learn about the Triangle’s local and organic farm & food scene. Meet local farmers & tour their farms! The tour is self-guided and farms and sites are located throughout the Triangle in Alamance, Chatham, Durham, Orange, and Person counties. Visit any farm in any order.And, don’t forget to take a cooler so that you can take home some of the farm fresh products for sale at many farms. 


Brunch at Piedmont followed by Coon Rock Farm Tour (Sat & Sun)
Start the morning off with a delicious brunch at Piedmont in Durham followed by a visit to Coon Rock Farm. This is a great way to spend the day, enjoy the Piedmont Farm Tour, and support CFSA! Shearing 30 sheep (Sat), Grilling CRF pastured pig brats, $5, Ice cream from Homeland Creamery, $2/cup (choc, strawberry, butter pecan).Tour the farm and picnic. Richard & Jamie will lead tours every 30 minutes – or guests can check out the farm on their own.

North Hills Midtown Park Opening (Sat & Sun)
A celebration of North Hill’s new Midtown Park, an open green space and outdoor amphitheater in North Hills! Bring the whole family to enjoy: Live music, Food tastings, Family-friendly activities, A spring fashion show (3:30pm and 5:30pm Sunday, April 27th).
Opening Celebration Event Info

Sunday April 27th
Mini-Food Truck Rodeo Benefit at Cary Creative Center
Food Truck Rodeo featuring four fabulous food trucks, vendors, and MORE!  This event benefits Cary Creative Center’s C3 Raise the Roof Campaign, a fundraising initiative to help C3 relocate. Event runs from 11am-3pm. 
Event Info

Pop-Up Sunday at Ornamentea – Downtown Raleigh
POP-UP Sunday is this Sunday from 12-5pm in the Ornamentea Parking Lot. The event provides local businesses, artists and the community a chance to mingle. This Sunday’s market will feature tons of local shops, vintage collectors, recycled art, food trucks, and crafty activities to enjoy. The Record Krate will be spinning vinyl records and taking requests. RA Jeffreys has donated lots of Aviator Beer-you can try all their flavors for a donation to the SPCA of Wake County. If you prefer wine or Italian Ice, we will have that on hand too! Always a fun time and a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Durham Earth Day Celebration
Attend Durham’s 2014 Earth Day Festival at Durham Central Park and learn how you can help Durham save energy and reduce our carbon footprint. Carpool, walk, ride the bus, or bike to this free, fun-filled, earth friendly event. Activities for kids, mini-parade, music, and food trucks.

Picture of the Week – North Hills Midtown Park


Midtown Park at North Hills

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Triangle Coffee Pros Head to Seattle to Compete in US Coffee Championships

USBC 2014 Header

This is a huge week for the US specialty coffee industry and of course the Triangle is right in the thick of it. Tim Jones of Jubala Village Coffee in Raleigh and Jonathan Bonchak of Counter Culture Coffee in Durham head to Seattle this week to compete among the nation’s best baristas and coffee professionals in the 2014 US Coffee Championships (USCC). Scott Conary, President of Carrboro Coffee and Chair of the SCAA Competitions Committee is will also be attending the USCC on the other side of the counter with the competition judges.

Tim is putting his skills to the test in the US Barista Championship, while Jonathan is competing in the US Brewers Cup. These two gentlemen have been working tirelessly over the past few months to prepare to go up against the nation’s best. Please join me in wishing them both good luck as they wrap up their final week of planning. If you would like to follow along this weekend the event will be streamed live online here starting on Thursday. You can also track the action via twitter coverage provided by @SprudgeLive. Visit the event website for the complete schedule of events.


Tim Jones of Jubala Village Coffee

US Barista Championship Explained (From the Official Website)
“The United States Barista Championship (USBC) is a platform for baristas to enhance their espresso beverage making skills through an exciting and challenging competition. In 15 minutes, the barista must prepare and serve espressos, cappuccinos, and a personally designed signature beverage for four sensory judges; all while being assessed on their preparation abilities by two technical judges. The USBC is more than a competition; it’s a place to develop community and meet other coffee lovers from across the US. Throughout the year, baristas from all across the country compete in six regional competitions to qualify for this national event and the winner of the USBC will go on to represent the United States in the World Barista Championship.”

Jonathan Bonchak of Counter Culture Coffee

US Brewers Cup Explained (From the Official Website)
“The United States Brewers Cup is an exciting competition that highlights and celebrates the fine art of manual brewing. Competitors are judged in two rounds by skilled coffee tasters. The first round is a blind tasting, the competitors all brew the same coffee on their chosen manual deceives. Those who advance to the second round will brew and present their chosen coffee to the judges’ panel. The winner of the US Brewers Cup will represent the United States in the World Brewers Cup Championship.”

USBC 2014 1

USCC 2014

US Coffee Championships – Seattle, Washington April 24-27
To learn more about the US Coffee Championships visit their official website here: http://uscoffeechampionships.org

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New Lunch Spot: Kiwi Cafe & Smoothies in Wakefield

Kiwi Cafe Raleigh 5

Seating at Kiwi Café & Smoothies

Every once in a while there is a place I have on my list to check out and for one reason or another I just takes me forever to make it there. This was the case with Kiwi Cafe & Smoothies located in Wakefield by the Rex Wellness Center and Harris Teeter off Falls of Neuse Road. A friend on twitter alerted me to their opening several months ago and I’ve had them on my radar for a while. A few weeks ago I finally had the chance to check them out for lunch. I’m really glad I finally checked them out because I’ve been looking for a new lunch spot and I was very impressed with their offerings.

Kiwi Cafe Raleigh 2

Kale and Apple Salad

Kiwi Café offers a wide range of salads, soups, sandwiches and smoothies. What really sets them apart is that the ingredients they use are in many cases non-gmo or organic. They also offer gluten free breads, pastries, and cookies which can be hard to find in this area. My wife ordered the Kale and Apple salad which included fresh kale, spinach, sliced apples, carrots, berries, goat cheese, pecans, with a honey lemon-lime dressing. The salad was very fresh and made for a great lunch.

Kiwi Cafe Raleigh 3

Smoked Turkey and Gruyere

I ordered the Smoked Turkey and Gruyere sandwich which is comprised of freshly sliced smoked turkey breast, gruyere, cranberries, arugula-spinach mix, pecans, basil aioli. My sandwich was delicious and I would definitely order it again. I think it is important to point out that I ordered my sandwich as a panini, but what I got I’d describe as a lightly toasted sandwich, not really a panini. Still it was quite good. I kind of wish it came with chips or a pickle but to be honest I could do with a few less chips in my life.

Kiwi Cafe Raleigh 4

Coffee Counter at Kiwi Cafe

Kiwi also has a full coffee bar offering a full range of coffee and espresso drinks. They use an organic coffee from a roaster out in Greensboro called Fortuna. While I find this coffee to be nice, I have to admit it would be even better to see them use one of Raleigh’s local roasters to keep with their stay “local” theme. They also offer a selection of fruit smoothies. I haven’t had a chance to try one yet, but plan to on my next visit.

Kiwi Cafe Raleigh 1

Kiwi Café & Smoothies in Wakefield

My wife and I both really enjoyed our meals and I definitely plan to go back for lunch again soon. It is nice to have a locally owned place to grab a healthy lunch and I definitely recommend giving them a try. Kiwi Café is open Monday through Friday 8am-6pm and Saturday 8am-4pm. They are closed on Sunday.

Kiwi Cafe’ & Smoothies

11211 Galleria Ave
Raleigh, NC 27614 (map)
website: http://www.kiwicafeandsmoothies.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kiwicafeandsmoothies
twitter: @kiwicaferaleigh


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Triangle Outdoor Music Schedule


Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival

As we put what I hope is the last cool week behind us, the Spring Concert Season quickly approaches. This past weekend things kicked off with the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival in Pittsboro and next weekend things really start jumping the Art of Cool Fest in Durham. As we approach the end of April the outdoor concert scene is really going to take off.

With so much great music going on it can be hard to keep track of all the different free and ticketed shows and concert series in the Triangle. Fortunately the News & Observer’s Sound of Spring: Outdoor Music Guide 2014 and WRAL Out & About’s List of the Triangle’s Free Concert Series came out last week and are the perfect resource for area music lovers. I highly recommend bookmarking these comprehensive lists and scanning them for upcoming shows to add to your music calendar.

Here is just a sampling of a few performances I am looking forward to:

Art of Cool Fest – April 25th & 26th in Durham (ticketed)
While the ticketed festival features a weekend of great music at several different venues, they also offer some great free music to enjoy. This Friday you can catch Peter Lamb & the Wolves, Yolanda Rabun, and Mel Melton and the Wicked Mojo’s for FREE in Durham Central Park from 4-7pm. Info: http://aocfestival.org.

Tift Merritt - May 17th Artsplosure in Raleigh (free)

BoneslingerMay 18th Joyner Park, Wake Forest (free)

Mandolin OrangeMay 29th American Tobacco Campus (free)

Triangle Brass Band - June 27th Cary’s Bond Park (free)

Dave Matthews BandJuly 23rd at Walnut Creek (ticketed)

Visit the articles I linked to above for a full list of music events this spring and summer. Huge hat tip for the N&O and WRAL for putting this great lists together. It makes it so much easier to make music plans!




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Weekend Picks! April 18-20th


Mint Julep Jazz Band
(Photo by Ashley Warren)

Easter weekend is usually a little quieter but there are still plenty of things to do in the Triangle this weekend. My selections this week include all my favorites: Music, Food Trucks, and Beer! Here are my weekend picks! 

Friday April 18th
Mint Julep Jazz Band Plays Lounge at G2B – Durham
Shake off these winter blues and come check out the spring menu goodness at G2B Gastro Pub and the swinging jazz of the Mint Julep Quintet! It’s recommend making a reservation if you would like to eat or have a seat – please specify that you would like to be seated in the jazz lounge

PopUp Jazz Jam at Cocoa Cinnamon - Durham
The Art of Cool project pop up jazz jam returns to Cocoa Cinnamon this Friday 4-7pm! Drop by and get your AOCFEST tics and enjoy FREE local live jazz! You will not want to miss this!

Labour of Love Artist Last Third Friday - Durham
This is the final artist reception before Labour of Love closes it doors. The reception is from 6 pm – 9 pm with LabourLove Artists. Come to LabourLove and wind down from the work week with a glass of wine, creative people and art.  All events for third Friday are free and open to the public.


Saturday April 19th
Wake County SPCA K9 3K Dog Walk – Moore Square Raleigh
The 15th Annual K9-3K Dog Walk is a benefit event to help animals in Wake and surrounding counties. All the money raised at this event goes to support the work of the SPCA of Wake County! Visit the website below for more information and to register.

Brewery Olympics at Raleigh Brewing Company
Six local breweries, eight spectacular events, and a cask tasting. Come help vote for your favorite cask and watch the brewers take on each other in head to head challenges! Events include such daily brewery tasks as keg sacking, speed bottle capping, and grain bag carrying. The event is free to spectate, though the cask tasting includes a charge. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Ted and Erin Gross of Bottle Revolution to aid in her recovery process.

Fairview Garden  Flora & Food Trucks – Raleigh
Saturday from 11am-2pm. The Flora and Food Trucks series promotes the idea that local food and local plants go hand in hand.  Event attendees will have the opportunity to attend classes on vegetable gardening, herbs, perennials and container gardening. The events are family friendly and admission is free.  The food trucks will be charging their regular prices for the food offered.  Food trucks: Only Burger, Srage’s Chef, Will and Pops, Dump Pho King, Sweet Stacey Cakes

Durham Farmers’ Market
The Durham Farmers’ Market runs from 8-12 each Saturday. It is my favorite market to visit. Not only do they have tons of great local farmers with a great selection of produce, but there are also food trucks along hunt street, live music, and great people watching. This market is very popular and has a great energy.

Sunday April 20th
Happy Easter! Easter Sunday Brunch Ideas:
Midtown Grille – North Hills – Raleigh
Driftwood – North Raleigh Lafayette Village
Lafarm Bakery – Cary
Piedmont – Durham
Joule Coffee – Downtown Raleigh

Looking Ahead to Next Weekend
A few things you may want to note coming up next Saturday April 26th:
Pitt BBQ 6th Annual Cuegrass – Beer, Bluegrass & BBQ
3rd Annual Brewgaloo – Local Beer and Food Trucks
E3 Project’s Earth Day Field Day – Yoga, Biking Dancing and more




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