With all the attention our area garners from some of the nation's most fastidious foodies and slow food advocates, one thing's for certain: The Triangle is definitely worthy of the praise. Our farmers, chefs and communities are helping to pioneer the local food movement one tasty bite at a time, reviving old local traditions while carving out new niches.
The Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com) recently named Chapel Hill among the 10 best U.S. cities for local food. Citing Chapel Hill's Lantern (lanternrestaurant.com) and Sandwhich (sandwhich.biz) and Carrboro's Acme (acmecarrboro.com) for using farm-fresh ingredients, the blurb also references Bon Appetit's October 2008 article, which described our area as "a place with a devoted locavore following where the foodies not only have a favorite chef, but also a preferred farmer."
Vanity Fair also showered some love on Sandwhich in its July issue, noting the West Franklin Street eatery's "cult following" and including it in a list of the staff's favorite sandwiches across the nation.
The movement has gained so much steam that even the state legislature is climbing aboard the local food bandwagon. Senate Bill 1067, which would create a local food policy advisory board to promote a sustainable local food economy, has been sent to Gov. Beverly Perdue for her to sign it into law. The proposed board would spearhead initiatives such as increasing local foods in school cafeterias, establishing a system for using food stamps at farmers' markets, and encouraging backyard and community gardening.
Meanwhile, Chef Charlie Deal is keeping up with the local food movement while maintaining the heritage of ethnic cuisine and the precise gourmet flair he is noted for. Deal, the owner and founding chef of Jujube, has opened Dos Perros in downtown Durham (200 N. Mangum St., 956-2750, dosperrosrestaurant.com). Authentic Mexican in a hip environment is what Dos Perros is going for, incorporating local ingredients into higher-end, traditional dishes for lunch and dinner (and soon, breakfast), as well as offering hand-crafted cocktails. Deal recommends the conchinita pibil—Yucatan-style pork slow-roasted in banana leaves.
Raleigh's City Market welcomes Edelweiss Bakery (317 Blake St., 834-0901, www.edelweiss-bakery.com). Slated to open by Sept. 1, it offers the capital city a taste of German bread, cakes and pastries. Owners Steve and Nicole Reed moved the bakery from its Selma location to what Nicole, a Munich native, describes as "the hustle and bustle of city life," which reminds her of Europe. Steve was stationed in Germany for 12 years as a cook for the U.S. military, where he learned to bake German breads and desserts from a master baker in Schweinfurt. The Reeds plan to feature live music and a broad menu that ranges from breakfast to beers.
"My husband and I love what we do, and we hope to bring back memories of Germany to some customers and introduce a little bit of Europe to others," Nicole says.