My 43 day local food challenge ended on Monday. I do apologize for not writing until today. I’ve been at a professional conference in Asheville with little time to blog. Anyway, on Monday I decided to go out with a bang! For breakfast I ate leftovers from the Mother’s Day brunch I prepared with all local foods, crustless quiche and a blueberry muffin. The best part about the meal was definitely drinking a glass of chocolate milk. Maple View Farm’s chocolate milk is amazing. It’s so rich and fresh. You can taste the difference in this milk, which is produced 30 miles from where I live. I don’t mind spending a buck more for better tasting milk and for essentially decreasing my carbon footprint.
Sarah, Simone, Gabi and I went to lunch at Beasley’s in downtown Raleigh. I ordered the vegetable plate for 9 bucks. The collard greens were tasty. A lot of people don’t like to eat “greens.” If you’re one of these people that’s iffy when it comes to collard greens, you’ve got to go to Beasley’s. I promise you will change your mind. They are prepared with a little vinegar and I added Beasley’s homemade hot sauce for a slight kick, I like things spicy! The coleslaw was also delicious and interesting. The coleslaw I typically eat is prepared with finely chopped ingredients and of course, lots of mayonnaise. Beasley’s uses local produce in their coleslaw and what I found to be a unique addition were the tomatoes. The coleslaw isn’t swimming in mayo and is chunky, which created a nice crunchy texture. The best vegetable on my veggie plate was (by far) the mac and cheese. Is mac and cheese a legit vegetable? Well, today it is! The mac and cheese was prepared with Ashe County pimento cheese. The pimento added a nice flavor to the baked mac and cheese. I am slightly obsessed with cheese in general and in my opinion, Ashe County makes some of the best darn cheese in all of North Carolina.
Courtney wanted to treat me to dinner for my graduation. We had to drive out to Holly Springs to run an errand so we decided to grab dinner at Homegrown Pizza. When we pulled up to the restaurant, we were a little nervous. You have to walk through what looks like an office building filled with chiropractors and dentists before actually reaching the restaurant. We sat down in a booth and started people watching. A lot of parents were treating their kids to pizza. Soon my attention was drawn from the families to the pizza. The crust was bubbly and the aroma of the pizza passing by the booth was divine.
Courtney and I asked our waitress about the local ingredients they use in their pizza. The pizza dough and marinara sauce are homemade and prepared every day in the restaurant. The produce is delivered to the restaurant by Papa Spud’s, an online farmer’s market that connects restaurants and people to local and sustainable farmers. Papa Spud’s delivers fresh food right to Homegrown Pizza’s door. The only time Homegrown Pizza doesn’t use local foods is when particular items aren’t in season. Courtney and I decided to order the veggie pizza prepared using local produce. She added pepperoni and jalapenos to half of the pizza. She’s my friend who likes everything extremely spicy, remember?
The pizza came out to our table within a few minutes. I enjoyed the pizza and my favorite part was the crust. I felt like I was on cloud nine after taking the first bite of the pizza crust. The crust was golden brown, a little crispy, and airy. The produce was so fresh and tasted wonderful with the homemade marinara sauce. I also appreciated that Homegrown Pizza doesn’t drench their pizza with sauce. I would definitely go back to this pizza joint soon!
After dinner, Kristin and I drove over 30 minutes away to Angier for ice cream. I told you I was going out with a bang! Kristin and I are ice cream buddies. Our love for ice cream instantly bonded us when we first met a few years ago at NC State. Sunni Sky’s was featured on Good Morning America and Kristin told me I had to try their homemade ice cream. We pulled up to flashing palm trees and a huge crowd of locals devouring waffle cones piled high with ice cream. We walked into the ice cream parlor and there was no way I was going to decide between Sunni Sky’s 90 plus flavors. I started sampling a few flavors and my indecisive personality got the best of me. I asked the two employees to pick out their favorite flavors for me, which were strawberry cheesecake and brownie batter.
Kristin and I sat outside at a picnic table. We couldn’t stop raving about the ice cream. No wonder Sunni Sky’s was featured on Good Morning America! Their ice cream is fabulous. My favorite flavor was the strawberry cheesecake. The chunks of cheesecake were huge! The brownie batter was also amazing. I think they should rename their brownie batter as death by chocolate. I’m a chocolate lover so I was pleased. The chocolate ice cream was heavenly and creamy, then the brownie bites made the ice cream even more divine. I would drive every day to Angier to get this ice cream.
Eating local foods has been challenging at times but it was surprisingly much easier than I thought. In my next blog post I will be reflecting on the past 43 days. I also promise to keep this blog going when I find interesting restaurants or recipes that use local foods.