Tag Archives: Chapel Hill

Tar Heel 10 Miler Discount Code


The Tar Heel 10 miler is a great local race with a course that showcases downtown Chapel Hill, the UNC Campus and some nice surrounding historic neighborhoods. The 2019 race will take place on Saturday, April 13th. The registration fee is currently $65 but you an  use the discount code THJOHN and save an $5 on your race registration.


I’v run the Tar Heel 10 Miler three times now and I’m looking forward to doing it again in this year. A ten mile race is a great distance to train for especially if you are looking for something a bit longer than a 5k. It is long enough that it’s challenging yet not so far that you need months and months to prepare like you might with a full or half marathon. There is also a 4 mile option if you are looking for a shorter distance race. The course is really nice and you will have lots of support along the way. Keep an eye out for the folks playing the Alpenhorns along the course!


Of course there are some hills, but that comes with the territory when running in a place named Chapel Hill. With approximately 6,500 runners this is a nice size local race with good energy and has become one of the premiere races in the Triangle. It’s one of my favorites and a must do if you area a local runner. Hope to see you out there on the course!

Race Details:
Date: Saturday April 13, 2019
Tar Heel 10 Miler Discount Code: THJOHN (Saves you $5)
Race Website: http://tarheel10miler.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TarHeel10Miler/

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Filed under Chapel Hill, Events, Races

The Magic of The Paperhand Puppet Intervention


If you are looking for something different to do this weekend I suggest catching a performance by the Paperhand Puppet Intervention. This has been on my Triangle bucket list for years and I finally had the chance to catch them last weekend. The group uses diverse styles of puppetry and artistic expression to create shows that inspire and promote social change. Performances feature giant puppets, masks, multi person marionettes, shadow puppetry, and stilt dancing to create magical larger than life characters to tell a thoughtful and entertaining story.


I saw them perform their latest production, The Beautiful Beast, Paperhand’s seventeenth annual summer pageant. The show explores the relationship between humans, the earth that supports us, and “the beasts” of the natural world and how they are viewed through different lenses as both creatures to fear and adore. In addition to the elaborate visuals of the puppets and masks a critical and equally impressive part of each performance is the live original music performed by a six person band right in front of the audience. Not only do they provide a great score to the show, they are also the source of sound effects and provide narration and vocals throughout the numbers.


This year’s production opened at Chapel Hill’s Forest Theatre last week and runs each weekend with shows Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through September 5th. After that the show will move to NCMA in Raleigh (Sept. 9–11) followed by The Carolina Theatre of Greensboro (Sept. 17–18). I highly recommend catching the show at the Forest Theater as the outdoor setting under the trees is wonderful and really adds a lot to the overall experience.


Tickets for the Forest Theater performances are only available at the door and are sold on a first come first serve basis. Seating is general admission with suggested ticket donations of $15 for adults and $8 for children. Nobody is turned due to lack of funds. For more information vist http://paperhand.org/.


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Filed under Chapel Hill, Events, Theater

Weekend Picks: June 17th – 19th


Peter Lamb and the Wolves play Creekside Wind Down this Friday
(Photo courtesy Brad Habeeb Photography)

Below is a quick rundown of my top picks for the weekend. Whatever you end up doing I hope you stay cool!

Raleigh RunDown 1-miler – Friday
Looking to run your fastest mile ever? Then this is the race for you! The Raleigh RunDown is the fastest mile in North Carolina! This fast one mile course downhill along Centennial Parkway. The Raleigh RunDown is your chance for a PR! Resigstraition is jus

Creekside Wind Down at Triangle Town Center – Friday
This Summer Triangle Town Center Mall is hosting the Creekside Wind Down each Friday from 5:30-8:30PM for Creekside Wind Down. This family-friendly summer series will feature a live band every week, plus yard games, local brews and more! Located outside the food court near the fountain. This week’s band is Peter Lamb and the Wolves.

Triangle Community Band Festival – Saturday
The Triangle Community Band Festival starts at 4pm in Durham Central Park featuring. It will include performances from The Cary Town Band, Durham Community Concert Band, Holly Springs Community Band, Raleigh Concert Band, and the Village Band!  Each group will perform for a half hour and then we join together for a mass performance of Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” Food and drinks available for purchase from local food trucks. Admission is FREE.

Outdoor Movie at North Carolina Museum of Art – Saturday
Celebrate the 30th anniversary of cult classic Labyrinth with a night of music and film! Cirque de Vol and the Labyrinth Bowie Cover Band perform, followed by a screening of Labyrinth. The event includes food trucks, face painting, and a Bowie tribute wall. Doors open (and activities start) at 6:30 pm, performances start at 7:30 pm, and the movie screens at 9 pm.Tickets: $10 NCMA members, $15 nonmembers

Durham Food Truck Rodeo – Sunday
This is Durham’s Annual Father’s Day Food Truck Rodeo. Over 50 local food trucks in Durham Central Park from 12-4pm this Sunday. Local beer will also be available for purchase. You can view the complete list of participating trucks here.

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Il Palio in Chapel Hill ~ Italian Dining at its Best


I was recently invited to dine at Il Palio, the four-diamond rated Italian restaurant located inside the beautiful historic Sienna Hotel along East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. The restaurant opened in 1987 but the hotel and restaurant changed ownership back in 2009 and both underwent major renovations last summer resulting in a new modern & open design in the dining room and a revamped menu from the kitchen.

CHeff Teddy

Il Palio Executive Chef Teddy Diggs
(Photo courtesy Star Chefs)

The kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Teddy Diggs who took the reins at Il Palio in early 2014 and oversaw the restaurants renovations. He was recently named one of the top “16 Chefs to Watch in 2016” by the foodservice website Restaurant Hospitality and was previously the head chef of prestigious restaurants in Washington DC and Martha’s Vineyard prior to moving to Chapel Hill. A main element of the kitchen renovation was the addition of a wood-fired grill which helped to reshape Il Palio’s Northern Italian menu featuring wood-grilled steaks, chops and whole fish incorporating flavors indigenous to Italian cooking like “smoke” and “wood” as a result of the grilling process.


Of course being there several fresh pasta dishes as well featuring seasonal local ingredients. But when I say pasta here don’t think of your typical pasta and sauce dishes. The menu features dishes like hand-crafted acorn fazzoletti with roasted local mushrooms and pappardelle with bolognese ragu just to name a few. We started things off with the delicious house made rosemary and sea salt focaccia bread and the nine herb salad was which was amazing. It came with great light lemon dressing and garnished with a tiny edible flower.


Next up we enjoyed the fresh house made fettuccine pasta & porcini mushrooms. It is honestly one of the best things I have ever had. I’m actually not the biggest fan of mushrooms but the way Chef Teddy prepared them they were just so flavorful that I honestly couldn’t get enough of them. And nothing beats freshly made pasta. The dish was a big hit at our table. These particular mushrooms are only in season for a short time so at this point are probably not on the menu anymore until next season, but they were are strong indication of the creativity and skills in the kitchen and how they can incorporate seasonal offerings into incredible dishes throughout the year.


As I mentioned earlier the wood-fired grill stoked with hard woods allows for creative meat dishes that incorporate smoke as an actual flavor. My wife ordered the 6 oz. beef filet with salsa verde. It was cooked perfectly and was delicious. We also shared the Chicken “al Mattone” with herb batuto and baby arugula which was excellent as well.


My wife and I enjoyed the look and feel of the dining room and overall atmosphere at Il Palio. It is an upscale dining experience for sure, but it’s very approachable. Perfect for a special occasion and getting dressed up, but also a great option for just a fun evening out with a great meal (no jacket and tie required).  There are seating options for all occasions, ranging from a private table for two and large booths for group to a large communal “chef’s table” with a view of the kitchen. Service wise the hostess and wait staff were exceptional. Our server chatted with us throughout the evening and sharing welcomed tips about the menu and wine pairings for each dish.


I was happy to see that Il Palio also has a patio area for outdoor dining during the spring and summer months. I don’t need an excuse for a return visit to  Il Palio but I enjoy eating outside this time of year and I’m already thinking about dining there again soon to see how the summer offerings have been incorporated into the menu. I am also looking forward to trying a few more of the many wines from their large Italian collection. I’m not sure just yet what I will order next time for dinner, but one thing I do know is what I will have for dessert. The first thing I will tell my waiter on my next visit is to save me one of the Videri dark chocolate souffles. They only make a handful each night and I hear it is wonderful!

Il Palio
1505 E Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 918-2545
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IlPalioRestaurant/
Instagram: @il_palio


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Filed under Chapel Hill, Restaurant Reviews

8th Annual Pepper Festival Sunday Sept 27th!


If you’re a voracious local foodie, a supporter of North Carolina’s sustainable agriculture or just enjoy good music and a cold beer, don’t miss the 8th Annual Pepper Festival this Sunday, September 27th, 2015 from 3-7pm at Briar Chapel Community Park in Chapel Hill.

The 2015 Pepper Festival challenges approximately 45 of the state’s top chefs to create one-of-a-kind recipes, from pepper chocolate to pepper vodka, using the locally grown and bred North Carolina pepper. The roster features culinary heavy hitters, such as Herons at The Umstead, The Fearrington Granary, TOPO, Harvest 18 and Gravy with craft brews from Carolina Brewery, Fullsteam, Crude Bitters, Yesteryears and more.


Photo courtesy of Abundance NC

For the first time, the Pepper Festival will feature Pepperpalooza, kid-friendly activities to provide hands-on education about local agriculture. The schedule features creative workshops such as “Food Fonts,” a chance to play and write with food, and “The Insane Science of Fairyland,” a storytelling experience that combines science with fairy-tale characters like the Big Bad Wolf. Festival goers can also enjoy artisan booths, acrobatic entertainment and music.


Photo courtesy of Abundance NC

Adult admission is $25-35 based on a cascading registration schedule. Drinks are cash bar. Children under the age of 12 attend free. Tickets may be purchased at www.pepperfestnc.org or by calling 919-533-5181. The festival will be held at the Great Meadow Park at Briar Chapel located at 185 Granite Mill Blvd. in Chapel Hill, N.C. Festivalgoers can enter Granite Mill Boulevard from Andrews Store Road near Margaret Pollard Middle School and follow signs to the festival.


Photo courtesy of Abundance NC

All proceeds benefit Abundance NC (formerly Abundance Foundation), a nonprofit that cultivates and celebrates resilient communities by strengthening food systems, increasing renewable energy education and developing robust local economies. Abundance NC partners with Piedmont Biofarm and other Chatham County farms to supply local peppers for the festival. Piedmont Biofarm produces sustainably grown, high-quality food year-round while improving soil fertility. A full list of partnering farms is available at pepperfestnc.org.


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