Tag Archives: Organic

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.

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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.

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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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Elevation Burger Brings Organic Burgers to Raleigh!


Elevation Burger in Brier Creek

On Thursday I had the opportunity to get a special sneak peek at Elevation Burger, a new casual burger restaurant opening up in Raleigh’s Brier Creek shopping Center. One thing to note right off the bat is that this place is different from other burger places in that it features 100% organic, grass fed, free range beef. This is something that can be tough to come by when getting a burger locally. I am pretty excited about this new dining option. If you want to check them out they will be holding their public Grand Opening this Saturday August 17th from 11am-9pm.


Elevation Burger with Aged Cheddar

In addition to the 100% organic burgers the menu also includes veggie burgers with a vegan option, fries cooked in olive oil, salads, and a host of different (and very addictive) milkshakes and malts. There are tons of great topping options, including a great six month aged cheddar cheese as well as organic bacon . I went for their flagship “Elevation Burger”  made up of two beef patties. My toppings of choice were the aged cheddar, lettuce, tomato, pickle, mustard, and ketchup. I really enjoyed the burger. The aged cheddar really added a great flavor to it. The fries were pretty standard, but overall I was very pleased with the meal and enjoyed the fact that it was organic since what I eat and where it comes from is something I take seriously. Like the Elevation Burger motto says “Ingredients Matter”.


Counter Service

Typical counter service is offered at Elevation Burger. You simply place your order at the register and they call your name when your order is ready. I was there pretty early when only a few people had arrive for preview night so they actually brought the food out to the table. Not sure if that will be the approach when they are busy, but it was a nice touch. I also had several friendly employees stop by the table to check on me to see if I needed anything else and offered to clear my table.


Indoor Seating

The inside seating area is open and spacious with wood floors and lots of tables and lots of natural light from the windows lining the walls. One thing I noticed was there were no TVs on the wall and no blaring music. Actually there was no music at all. I like unplugging when I eat out so I found this a welcome absence. I asked the owner Marc Finch about this and he explained that Elevation Burger “strives to provide a conversation-friendly atmosphere with no televisions or background music to distract families from spending time with one another.”


Coca Cola Free-Style Machine

As with most new places Elevation Burger has fully embraced the new Coca-Cola “free-style” drink machines that offer tons of drink & flavor options. I don’t drink soda anymore so I opted for an iced tea. It was interesting drinking their tea because they don’t offer the typical sweet or unsweet options. They simply offer a Cinnamon Orange brewed tea that apparently originated from California roots of the founder of Elevation Burger.


100% Organic Beef

The Elevation Burger grand opening event this Saturday will be centered on the theme “Elevate your Education” to help inform guests about the ingredients they’re eating, why it’s healthier and the benefits of eating organic. The event will also be the first of many tied to local schools. Elevation Burger is helping to kick off the school year right by encouraging its guests to bring school supplies to the event. All supplies collected will be donated to Brier Creek Elementary School, of which Elevation Burger recently became a proud sponsor. For more information about Elevation Burger and their menu check out their website and facebook page below.

Elevation Burger
8301 Brier Creek Parkway, Suite 101
Raleigh, NC 27617 (map)
website: http://www.elevationburger.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElevationBurger
twitter: @elevationburger

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Time to Get Your Garden Ready!


With the weather finally warming up here in Raleigh, now is the perfect time to start preparing for your spring and summer garden. The heavy clay soils found in this area make raised beds and container gardenining a popular option. I spent last weekend turning over the soil in my square foot garden and adding compost and organic fertilizer. I like to add a bag of black cow compost and organic fertilizer like Espoma Garden Tone.


Every year I try growing some things by seeds but I haven’t had much luck with certain plants so I purchase seedlings of those from are nurseries. Pictured above is a romaine lettuce seedling I purchased at Logan’s in downtown Raleigh. They sell seedlings in packs of four for $1.59. Early spring is a great time to grow cool weather leafy green crops like lettuce, cabbage, and spinach. By the time May rolls around it gets too hot for these types of plants so it is important to get them started in the garden early.


This is the square foot garden I built last year. It is 4′ x 4′ and 8″ deep. Last year I filled it with planting media comprised of a mixture of compost, peat moss and vermiculite. With a square foot garden, you minimize the space needed for a garden by eliminating space needed for walking space between the rows of plants. You break the garden into a grid giving 1′ squares to eac plant. For example, my 4′ x 4′ garden makes up 16 individual 1′ planting squares making enough room for sixteen different plants.


Now that I have my cool weather crops planted (lettuce and spinach) I can start planning what I will plant for the warmer season after the last frost date, which is typically April 15th in this area. This year I am planning on growing several different herbs along with some cucumbers, peppers, and an heirloom tomato. I plan to buy seedlings for all three at the local farmers’ markets which should be in full swing by mid-April. For more information about gardening check out the NC State Extension website.

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The Irregardless Cafe – Healthy Dining in Downtown Raleigh

Irregardless Cafe 1

Last weekend my wife and I headed into downtown Raleigh to have dinner at the Irregardless Café for her birthday. The café is mainstay of Raleigh with a loyal following which has lead to its continued success over the past 35 years. We enjoy going there because they often have live music entertainment on the weekends and offer a wide variety of items from including pasta, fish, poultry, beef, and lamb, most prepared using organic ingredients. They are also one of the few restaurants in the area known for offering vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options on their menu. You can check out their menus on their website here.

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On the night we dined there it was fairly busy, but we were seated at a table right away because we had reservation (not needed, but a good idea for weekend visits). The clientele spans a wide range of ages and it isn’t uncommon to see tables for two on a date night next to a larger round table with a family out for the evening. The restaurant has a warm ambiance with what is typically a talkative and lively crowd. The musical offerings vary from week to week ranging from acoustic performances, to smooth jazz and vocals. Sometimes they even move the tables aside to open up the dance floor so people can “cut the rug” after their meal. On our most recent visit there was a string trio playing the modern day tunes on the violin and electric bass. During one of their breaks wandered around the restaurant playing table-side and even plucked off a “Happy Birthday” song for another lucky customer.

Going to the Irregardless Café is a rare treat for my wife and I, but a must see for anybody living in Raleigh looking to eat at a quality restaurant with a local flare.


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Time to start your spring vegetable garden seedlings

It’s still cold and wet outside but spring is just around the corner.  Now is a great time to start seedlings indoors so you can transplant the seedlings into the garden in early to mid-March.  The mild weather in the Triangle is perfect for creating an early spring garden with leafy green cold weather crops like broccoli, kale, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, and peas.  Some great local garden centers to get seeds and supplies include Logan’s in Raleigh, Fifth Season Garden Co. in Carrboro, and Barnes Supply in Durham.

Check out the NC State Cooperative Extension’s Spring Vegetable Garden Planting Guide here for more information on suggested planting dates for seeds and seedlings.  If you are like me and working with limited space, check back here next week when I post step by step instructions on how you can build your own square foot garden to enjoy this growing season.

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