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A cup o' something warm

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When winter—even our lame-o version of it—lingers, damp and chilly, you may hanker for a cup o' something warm. If you happen to be standing on Broad Street in Durham when this hankering hits, you could turn left or right to fill up.

Turn right to head into Joe Van Gogh. Turn left, and you'll find Broad Street Cafe. Both have coffee, locally made pastries and Wi-Fi.

Joe Van Gogh (1104-B Broad St., 286-4800, www.joevangogh.com) is owned by Robbie Roberts, who also owns the Cup A Joe stores in Hillsborough and Chapel Hill. Joe Van Gogh opened last summer, and Roberts chose the name partly for legal reasons and partly to reflect its mission: the art of coffee. Roberts has been roasting coffee for 15 years, so he knows his bean. The store sells coffee by the pound and offers a thorough description of each.

Down the street, Broad Street Cafe (1116 Broad St., 416-9707, www.thebroadstreetcafe.com) is known for being a music club at night, but it's open six days a week, all day. And if you've heard owner Jonathan Tagg is looking to sell, don't freak: As we wrote in January ("More shifts in Triangle music venues"), Tagg's aim is to find a partner to manage daytime operations, so he can be with his fellow night owls.

How about a bowl of soup? Gourmet soup awaits you at Urban Ministries of Durham's Empty Bowls benefit from 5:30 to 8 p.m. March 6, at the Durham Armory, 220 Foster St. The event supports Urban Ministries' work to eliminate hunger and its root causes.

For $30, you can enjoy soup from six of Durham's restaurants, along with bread and desserts. Soup will be served in handcrafted pottery bowls made by area potters, and they're yours to keep. A panel of local "celebrity" judges will declare "The Best Soup in Durham."

The folks at Watts Grocery, Blu Seafood and Bar, Six Plates Wine Bar, Symposium Cafe, Whole Foods Market Cafe, Pao Lim Asian Bistro and the Fairview Dining Room at the Washington Duke Inn are planning, chopping and stirring, hoping for that prize.

Tickets can be purchased at Urban Ministries, 410 Liberty St., and at the door. All proceeds go directly to UMD's hunger relief efforts. For more info, see www.umdurham.org.

Durham's still got the (unofficial, estimated) lead in food bloggers per capita, but I'm starting to hear from other points in our three-pointed polygon. In Chapel Hill, "Aaron and Ellen" eat out and document the experience, at I Like That: A Meal Blog (ilikethat-meal.blogspot.com).

Many bloggers write about their meals, but Aaron and Ellen mostly let photography speak for them. They recently went to Singaporean restaurant Merlion's (410 Market St., Chapel Hill, 933-1188, www.merlionfood.com). Their curry samosas, Merlion dumpling parcels, chicken rice and roti prata with chicken curry in coconut broth looks lovely. I feel like I was there with them, and now I know about another great restaurant.

Know about a special food happening in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at food@indyweek.com.

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