Tag Archives: Cary

A Great Visit to Academy Street Bistro in Cary!

Academy Street Bistro
Many people don’t realize this but Cary has many hidden culinary gems that delight local foodies. I don’t make it there often enough to enjoy them all, but last month I had the opportunity to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my wife over a wonderful dinner at Academy Street Bistro in Cary’s Ashworth Village. The restaurant has a nice bistro vibe and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. The kitchen is run by Chef Brian Fitzgerald who is committed to using additive & nitrate free poultry, meat, & fish and tries to locally source ingredients from local farmers whenever possible. This is something I really value when looking for place to dine.

Academy Street Bistro
Upon our arrival my wife and I were promptly seated in a nice booth by the window in the dining room. Our Valentine’s Day dinner started off great with a small plated “Amuse-bouche” which is a chef’s choice single bite hors d’œuvre. Chef Brian had selected a combination of beats, cucumber, and crème fraiche presented beautifully. It was the perfect beginning to our special night. As an added plus the waitress was extremely knowledgeable about the wine list and gave us great advice for selecting the perfect wines to go with our dinner.

Academy Street Bistro
If you asked me when first walked into Academy Street Bistro I would have told you that I’m not a fan of mushrooms. All that changed when I took a chance and ordered the wild mushroom bisque with crème fraiche & chives for my first course. It was a hearty flavorful bowl that had a wonderfully smooth texture. After the first spoonful it completely changed my view of mushrooms. Who knew they could be so delicious?

My wife started off with the sautéed rock shrimp and asparagus risotto with shaved parmesan cheese. This dish really won her over. The risotto and shrimp were cooked perfectly and she quickly informed me that she would like to go back to Academy Street in the future simply to enjoy this dish again.

Academy Street Bistro
We were equally impressed with our main courses. My wife ordered the surf & turf grilled petite filet mignon and half steamed lobster au gratin potatoes, baby vegetables, béarnaise sauce. The presentation of this dish was excellent and the meat was cooked perfectly. My wife was also happy with the portion sizes. I’ve actually never had béarnaise sauce on a filet mignon before but she let me try a piece and I was an instant fan. It added a nice twist to an already excellent cut of meat.

Academy Street Bistro
For my main course I ordered the pan seared chilean sea bass with beluga lentils, sautéed swiss chard, red peppadew beurre blanc. I love sea bass and this was a nice fresh piece that was perfectly cooked. Again, the portion size was just right. I’m usually not the biggest fan of lentils but I trusted the chef’s choice and was rewarded as I found their earthy flavor went really well with the dish. Much like my wife’s surf and turf entree there wasn’t a speck of food left on the plate when I was done.

Academy Street Bistro
For dessert we shared the Valentine’s Day Tasting Trio comprised of raspberry-vanilla mousse w/ homemade cookie wafers, a chocolate dipped strawberry and raspberry cheesecake. The dessert choices which prominently featured berry flavors (which we both love) were the perfect ending to an excellent dinner. We both enjoy sharing dessert and having a few different treats to share made it even more fun.

Academy Street Bistro
Academy Street Bistro was the perfect place to enjoy our Valentine’s Day together. After spending an evening there I think it is a great spot for both special occasions or a casual night out with friends. The menu changes with the seasons and offers a variety of choices. Ranging from shrimp and scallops to filet mignon. They even offer a delicious black angus burger and have a very reasonably priced menu for children. Their lunch menu is equally impressive including a half wrap of the day, cup of soup, and small salad for just nine dollars. And if your are looking for a new brunch spot serve an excellent Sunday brunch as well.

Academy Street Bistro
Whether you live in Cary or are simply a Triangle Foodie looking for a new place to try and I recommend a visit to Academy Street Bistro. I’m looking forward to going back again soon once the weather warms up to enjoy dining on their outdoor patio. In the meantime, they have a few special events coming up that are worth checking out. I’ve provided some additional details below concerning their upcoming Easter Brunch and a special Beer Dinner featuring local brewery LoneRider Beer.

Upcoming Events at Academy Street Bistro

  • Sunday, April 5, Easter Brunch: 10:00am-4:00pm
    Menu features customer favorites from the Brunch menu plus, Chef Brian’s special Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Benedict, Smoked Salmon Benedict, Roasted Leg of Lamb and more.
  • Sunday, April 26th 5:30pm, LoneRider Beer Dinner
    Fantastic four course dinner featuring Kobe Beef Sliders, Veal Bratwurst, Roasted Applewood Smoked Bacon Wrapped Quail, Herb Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb and more. Each course paired with a different LoneRider Beer, including Hops You Rode on IPA, Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen, Eve Amber Ale, Sweet Josie Brown Ale and Tombstone Reserve-Oak Aged Rye Stout.

Academy Street Bistro
200 S. Academy Street
Cary, NC
phone: 919-377-0509
website: http://www.academystreetbistro.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/academystreetbistro
twitter: @AcademyStBistro

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Filed under Cary, Restaurant Reviews

Drink Local: Fortnight Brewery in Cary

Fortnight Brewery ESB

Fortnight Brewery ESB

A few weeks ago I came a across a nice find in my local bottle shop. Although I had missed the news I discovered Fortnight Brewery in Cary had started canning their beers. In case you didn’t know, Fortnight has only been around for about a year and they focus on UK inspired brews. They have a taproom at the brewery, host food trucks each week (calendar),  and even do tours on the weekends. Fortnight is initially offering their X-Pat IPA, Blonde, and ESB in cans but may offer others in the future as well. I picked a can of the ESB (Extra Special Bitter) to drink at home. I like the copper color and the slight but well balance bitterness of this beer as it reminds me of the bitter style beers I came across on my trip to Australia many years ago. I haven’t been to the brewery yet but hope to stop by this spring. The taproom is open Mon-Thurs 4pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-11pm, and Sun 12pm-7pm. You can learn more about this local brewery at http://fortnightbrewing.com.

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Filed under Beer, Brewery

12th Annual Gingerbread Benefit at The Umstead Hotel in Cary

1st Place- Corinna Morris of Prestonwood Country Club

Last weekend I had the honor of being a media judge for the 12th Annual Gingerbread Benefit held at the Umstead Hotel in Cary. The annual holiday event benefits Triangle Family Services and its mission of “Building a Stronger Community by Strengthening the Family”. The benefit features a gingerbread house competition with elaborate gingerbread houses designed by the Triangle’s finest chefs and bakers. More than a dozen houses were submitted for the media and attendees to view and judge. While there were many great houses, in the end the media and people’s choice award for 1st place went to the spectacular house submitted by Corinna Morris of Prestonwood Country Club.


Gingerbread House by Wii Little Chefs

The truth of the matter is it was incredibly difficult to pick any one as “best” as they were all so incredible. The creativity and attention to detail was mind boggling. Several of the homes looked like they took days to create and had elaborate scenes set up INSIDE the gingerbread house that revealed themselves only as you peered in the windows.

House Created by Harvest 18

The house pictured above was done by Harvest 18 and was a personal favorite of mine. I loved the creativity of using cereal for roof shingles and pretzel logs as siding to give it the appearance of a log cabin. The little farmers’ market filled with fruit shaped candies and Santa’s legs dangling out of the chimney were nice touches too.

2nd Place- Robin Bilodeau of Searstone

My wife and I  were also blown away by Searstone’s house which was made to resemble Raleigh’s famous Angus Barn. I loved how they used rosemary as trees and thick white icing on the rood to look like packed snow. My wife pointed out that if you viewed the house from the back you could see intricate dining rooms with tables and place settings. It was very impressive.


3rd Place- Emma Isakoff of Fearrington House

A last minute addition to the lineup was the simple yet elegant gingerbread house from Fearrington Village. Another onlooker with more baking experience than I pointed out that the clear globes were made from blown sugar and that they are extremely difficult to create. I had a nice time being a judge at the competition and enjoyed my first visit to the Umstead. If you ever have the opportunity to pay them a visit I recommend you jump at the opportunity.

About Triangle Family Services
Since 1937, Triangle Family Services (TFS) has served as a safety net for the community. TFS accomplishes its mission of “Building a Stronger Community by Strengthening the Family” through one of TFS’ focus areas that include Family Safety, Financial Stability, and Mental Health.  These direct family services directly impact children from economically disadvantaged and/or abused homes. To learn more about their mission visit the TSF website.

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Gather in Downtown Cary Celebrates One Year Anniversary ~ Friday Aug 29th!


Gather is a unique business located at 111 West Chatham Street in downtown Cary. Gather is a hybrid space that serves many functions: coworking, gift shop featuring local goods, coffee shop, and classroom and it’s celebrating it’s one year anniversary on Friday August 29th from 5-9pm. The celebration will feature 20% discounts on everything in the shop, and free chair massages by one of their coworker businesses. The Humble Pig food truck will also be there serving BBQ and beer will be provided by the soon-to-be-open Pharmacy Bar & Bottle Shop in downtown Cary.

About Gather 
Passionate about community and revitalization, Michelle Smith, founder of The Rock & Shop Market, has taken her expertise on local makers, design and marketing and applied it to another retail incarnation, Gather, in downtown Cary. As an introverted creative entrepreneur Michelle saw a need for a space for herself and others to work out of that was more organic, less competitive, and felt more like a home away from home than traditional coworking spaces – a place that fostered other entrepreneurs like herself.

The majority of Gather’s coworkers are women: editors, massage therapists, programmers, photographers, and artists. Though the gender mix isn’t intentional, the atmosphere is. “I wanted to create a space that fosters emerging makers and entrepreneurs through many channels, not just a shop featuring their goods, but also a place for them to work and meet and learn that suits their creative personality.

The choice of housing the space in downtown Cary is intentional too, if not unconventional “It was a bit of a risk to place Gather in downtown Cary since my audience has traditionally been in Raleigh and Durham, but I believe strongly in the concept of making the Triangle as a whole more unified. I see a lot of potential in downtown Cary, and I like that it is this sleepy, under-recognized town in the middle of the thriving Triangle.”

The gift shop portion of Gather aims to elevate the concept of shopping locally by featuring high caliber North Carolina products and merchandising them well: think Anthropologie, or West Elm, but with a focus on makers in the Triangle’s own backyard. Durham-made peanut butter, for example, or terrariums, hand-stitched leather wallets and bags, all made in Raleigh, or modern mugs adorned with geometric shapes, are just a few of the products you can find in the store. The shop also has a coffee and tea bar, which serves locally roasted Joe Van Gogh coffee and loose-leaf teas from Raleigh-based Tin Roof Teas.

In addition to coworking and products, the space hosts classes continually. The majority of the instructors are North Carolina makers themselves whose goods are in the shop. Gather finds the instructors and curates the classes in the same mindful way they do of the pieces in the gift shop. The most popular offerings so far have been Hand Lettering, Product Photography and Styling, Marketing Your Business, and Making a Terrarium.

About Michelle Smith
Passionate about promoting emerging artisan entrepreneurs, community and revitalization, Michelle Smith has long promoted the best local and regional makers through her endeavors as The Rock & Shop Market, a 2000+ person annual event held in Durham featuring juried emerging artisan makers alongside bands, DJ’s and food trucks.
A designer herself, Michelle creates surface design patterns for textiles and home wares and also works as a stylist and photographer. Her work has been featured in Real Simple, Southern Living, Design*Sponge, West Elm, Anthropologie and more. She is the owner of Gather. She was the creative director of the short-lived but inspired non-profit retail incubator, Kindred, in downtown Raleigh. For more info visit http://www.michelle-s.com

111 West Chatham Street – Cary, NC
website: www.gatherNC.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/GatherNC
twitter: @GatherNC
instagram: @GatherNC



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Peach Day at Western Wake Farmers’ Market – Saturday July 12th!


The Western Wake Farmers’ Market in Cary is hosting  “Peach Day” this Saturday, July 12th. Market hours are 8am – noon. In addition to the usual great weekly offerings the market will highlight peaches on Saturday with samples, market recipes, chef demonstrations and children activities. Hope to see you there!

Peach Day Highlights
  • Chef John Childers of The Umstead cooking demos using peaches
  • Hillsborough Cheese Co.  peach chèvre for sale
  • Locals Seafood recipe for shrimp and peach kabobs
  • Angelina’s kitchen recipe for Greek-style peaches
  • Fun activities for the children


Wester Wake Farmers’ Market
1225 Morrisville Carpenter Roady – Cary, NC (map)
twitter: @wwfm
facebook page: Link


Filed under Cary, Market