Rocky Toad Road Iris Farm in North Raleigh Opens Today! ~ April 23, 2021

Now that the warmer weather is here it is time to get outside and get working in the garden! If you are looking to add some beautiful color by planting Bearded Iris in your landscape there is no better place to get them than the Rocky Toad Road Iris Farm in North Raleigh. They are located at 1216 Rocky Toad Road off Falls of Neuse Road just a little north of Raven Ridge Road in North Raleigh. The farm is only open for a limited time each season when the Iris are in bloom and they just announced this week they will be opening TODAY Friday, April 23rd from 4pm-6pm.

I love planting Bearded Iris in my yard becasue they add a nice splash of color each spring, are super easy to grow and best of all the deer don’t touch them so you can plant them almost anywhere! Don’t worry if you can’t make it over on opening day, they will also have hours this Saturday (10am-5pm) and Sunday (2-5pm) and will be open each weekeday from 4-6pm, but make sure you don’t wait to long to stop by. They are usually open for just a week or two before they sell out for the season!

When you go to the farm be sure to bring cash to pay for the plants. The unique thing about getting Iris plants at Rocky Toad Road is that you actually get to walk the fields and point out plants you want. Proprietors Robert Wilson or Randy Ray then dig up the plants for you. They are a lot of fun and happy to give you gorwing tips and advice. Last time I was there the plants were 3 for $20 or you could try your luck with some pre-trimmed pot-luck bulbs that go for 5 for $20. All of the plants they have are sourced from a great selection of show winners they divide each year. There are lots of colors to choose from and you wouln’t find a better stock of Iris around. Happy Gardening!!

Rocky Toad Road Iris Farm
1216 Rocky Toad Road
Raleigh, NC

2021 Farm Hours:
Monday-Friday 4-6pm
Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 2-5pm



Filed under Events

Chef Scott Crawford announces re-opening of Jolie with a French picnic menu!


Jolie’s French Crullers

Good news Raleigh Friends! Chef/Owner Scott Crawford announced this week the re-opening of his French bistro Jolie with a French picnic menu to complement Crawford & Son’s dinner service.


Chef Scott Crawford

“It feels amazing to activate the Jolie space again. We have missed her energy!” Crawford added, “We are very thankful that our customers have responded so well to Crawford Curbside. It has been really meaningful to safely feed our community. Now, with more of our team on board, and experience crafting meals to-go, we’re excited to bring Jolie back to life by sharing that quintessential French picnic experience – perfect for enjoying at home, in your backyard, or in one the Triangle’s beautiful green spaces, for lunch or dinner.”


Jolie’s all-new menu can be viewed here and ordered á la carte, complete with bubbles, rosé or craft beer. Jolie’s menu will be ever-evolving and available for curbside service beginning Wednesday May 20th and on-going, Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon and to 6pm. Orders may be place daily from 11am until 6pm by calling 919-803-7221. Walk-up orders can be picked up at Jolie’s charming French window and curbside pick-up will operate on Pace Street.

For more info Follow @JolieRestaurant on Instagram & Twitter and Jolie Restaurant on Facebook. Sign up for the newsletter and view the menu at

1 Comment

Filed under Events

Support Local: Little Waves Coffee Roasters of Durham – Coffee Subscription Program


A lot has been going on since my last post in February. Everyone’s routine has changed as we all work through this new normal. Like so many others I needed to take a few weeks to focus on other things. As we all look to a brighter future I am continuing to explore ways we can lift each other up and support our great local businesses in the Triangle that are navigating through these challenging times.

One thing I have been doing to support some of my favorite spots is buying local coffee. Most if not all of the local coffee shops in the area remain open offering to-go orders that can be conveniently ordered online for curb-side pickup. Many also roast their own coffee and selling their retail bags is a great way for them to generate revenue to continue paying their staff.

Little Waves2

Areli Barrera de Grodski & Leon Grodski de Barrera
Little Waves Coffee Roasters & Cococa Cinnamon

Durham’s own Cocoa Cinnamon is a great example of this approach. Their in-house coffee roasting business is called Little Waves Coffee and it supplies all of the coffee served at their three shops. You can buy their beans at the shop (curb-side pickup) as well as online and they recently announced the launch of their coffee subscription service with different coffee options to suit your tastes and delivery options from once a month to every two weeks.

Signing up for the Little Waves Coffee Subscription service is an easy way to make a major impact on the long-terms sustainability of their business and in the short-term it will go a long way to ensuring they can continue to pay their staff a living wage during the pandemic.

For more information visit:

Leave a comment

Filed under Events

“Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” brings Disco to DPAC

Summer 2

Dan’yelle Williamson (Diva Donna) and the Company of SUMMER
(Photo by Matthew Murphy)

If you have ever been to a wedding, you have heard “Last Dance” but I didn’t realize just how many Donna Summer Songs I knew until this past Tuesday night when Summer: The Donna Summer Musical opened at DPAC in Durham. I also didn’t know that Donna Summer also wrote most of her hits or that she faced so much sexism and adversity in the music business as her fame grew while she simultaneously tried not to be pigeonholed as just the “Queen of Disco”.

With over two dozen iconic Donna Summer songs in this hour and forty-five-minute production with no intermission, in many ways this show is more of a concert, but between the musical numbers they do a good job of capturing the highlights of Summer’s life story in the form of a career retrospective starting from her early years growing up sing in her church choir to the time she dropped out of high school to perform in a touring production of Hair in Germany to the apex of her musical career as queen of 70’s.


Steven Grant Douglas (Bruce Sudano), Alex Hairston (Disco Donna) and the Company of Summer
(Photo by Matthew Murphy)

The show starts off with and is narrated by Dan’yelle Williamson who portrays “Diva Donna” representing her later years. The story bounces through time throughout with glimpses of milestones and hits throughout her career with Alex Grayson playing her mid-career years as “Disco Donna” and Olivia Elease Hardy playing the young “Duckling Donna”. All three of these actors do an amazing job channeling the spirit of Summers and their powerful soaring voice are truly the highlight of the show.


Katherine Roarty, Brooke Lacy, Tamrin Goldberg, First National Tour of SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical
(Photo by Matthew Murphy)

There are a limited number of speaking roles among the rest of the company with the majority of the cast serving to provide spirited dance numbers as the backdrop for each number. Actually casting is really streamlined in this show with a predominantly female both Williamson and Hardy playing dual roles as Summers and other family members in her life.

Summer 3

Dan’yelle Williamson (Diva Donna) and the Company of SUMMER
(Photo by Matthew Murphy)

The costumes are everything you would hope they would be in a show rooted in the 70’s Disco scene. I do have one minor quibble with the set and how it was so minimal. The opening scene with a lone stereo turntable a symbolic start, but the majority of show is set to an empty black backdrop occasionally populated with some moving video panels that don’t add a whole lot to the scene. I think it is a missed opportunity to capture some of the magic and unique 70’s vibe. Still It is the music that makes this show so great and it is jam packed with it from start to finish.

For some this show may be a fun stroll down memory lane to the exciting and uncertain times of the 70’s while for others it offers a glimpse into a storied past they’ve only heard about but never experienced. Either way Summer is a widely entertaining show about a music legend that empowered women in the industry for years to come and that is a story everyone should see.

The touring production of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical performs at DPAC through Sunday, March 2nd. For tickets and more information visit


Filed under Events

Sassool Cafe Announces “Sisters vs. Sisters Battle” Against Food Bloggers, Soul-Full Sisters


Photo courtesy Stacey Sprenz Photography

This sounds like a fun foodie throwdown! Earlier this week the sister owners and managers of Sassool Cafe, Simone Lawson and Noelle Scott,  announced the date for a Sisters vs. Sisters Battle against food bloggers, Paten Carlton and Quinn Bostic from Soul-Full Sisters. This special event will be the first of its kind and will take place at 1705 East located at 1705 E Millbrook Road in North Raleigh.  The sisters will faceoff in a cooking competition, using recipes derived from their grandmothers for an epic battle that will benefit the Lucy Daniels Center. The event will take place Thursday, April 2, 2020 from 6pm-10pm.

The competition will be a full sensory experience where the sister duos will tell the stories of their biggest food influences —their grandmothers —through food. The Sisters vs. Sisters Battle pits Lebanese family recipes against Southern home cooking. Each pair of sisters will be preparing 4 courses each to be voted on by the diners. Between each course, the dishes will be explained with heartfelt stories for why that particular dish was chosen. The winner will be announced after the final course.

Tickets available for purchase:

Sisters 3

Photo courtesy Stacey Sprenz Photography

About the Lucy Daniels Center
The Lucy Daniels Center was founded in 1989 to provide mental health services to children and families in the Raleigh, N.C. area. They serve nearly 700 children and their families each year. The Lucy Daniels Center believes that the earlier a child’s challenges are addressed, the better the chance to help that child develop socially and academically. Their founder, Dr. Lucy Daniels, noted author and psychologist, founded the Lucy Daniels Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering emotional and creative freedom through education, outreach and psychoanalytic treatment and research; and the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood, now known as The Lucy Daniels Center, to promote the emotional development of young children and their parents.

About the Sassool Sisters:
We are Noelle and Simone, and we run the three Sassool restaurants.  We both share the passion for our roots and “Sassool’s standard,” ensuring that the tradition will continue.  We could not be more opposite, but we have learned a lot working together and have found a synergy. Nothing and no one is left unattended, just like Grandma “Taita” Cecilia would insist. We know the restaurant inside and out, having started working since the age of 15 with our father when he was at Neomonde.

About the Soul-Full Sisters:
We are Paten and Quinn, and we are sister food bloggers and storytellers who just really love food. It all started with us watching, listening, and tasting. We were brought up with the divine instinct that food must be appreciated in its most simplistic form. The dishes we loved the most were the ones with the shortest ingredient list you’d ever seen. We were taught to appreciate fresh food in season. We promise to bring our deep roots and unique flavor combinations to help create long lasting memories and leave your palate comforted and full of soul.

1 Comment

Filed under Events