This February, the keyword for coffee is blend.
Blend Cafe (twitter.com/blendgoldenbelt) recently opened in Durham at Golden Belt, a former textile factory renovated by Scientific Properties. It includes artist studios, loft apartments and office and retail spaces.
Blend offers coffee by Counter Culture in addition to breakfast and lunch options. Owner Howard Udell, who operates Yogen Fruz franchises in Raleigh, stocks that line of frozen yogurt at the new shop. In addition, Courtney and Camryn Smith of Sudie's Fresh Baked Goods in Durham manage the day-to-day cooking. Expect soups, sandwiches and other grab 'n' go options.
Blend is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
The theme continues at Raleigh's Cafe Helios (twitter.com/cafehelios), which will host a brunch titled Blend on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 10 a.m. in an effort to connect Helios' coffee and food options.
Chef Justin Johnson will prepare a five-course brunch, including crab and sweet corn chowder, and roasted heirloom beets with Raleigh's Videri brand chocolate served with homemade ricotta and micro greens. Five Counter Culture coffees will be brewed using five methods. Representatives from Counter Culture will join Helios' coffee director, Zach Neuman, to describe each technique and answer questions.
Tickets to Helios' Blend brunch are $30 and available at the restaurant.
The Triangle's newest Tyler's Restaurant & Taproom (tylerstaproom.com), now open in Raleigh, will host a tasting of rare and vintage beers from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4 (raleighrarebeertasting.com). One of the restaurant's owners, Daniel Kulenic, says when the new location opened, numerous brewers offered him unique beers as a way to celebrate.
But Kulenic says he was "at a loss about how to showcase the beers." He found inspiration in a rare-beer tasting event associated with the Great American Beer Festival that supports the nonprofit Pints for Prostates. Tyler's beer and cider tasting will benefit the same nonprofit, which raises awareness and funds in the fight against prostate cancer.
Forty craft breweries will be represented at the tasting. Tickets are $65 and include unlimited tastings, a commemorative stemmed glass, a tasting notebook, light appetizers and bottled water. Designated driver tickets are available for $15. To purchase tickets, visit raleighrarebeertasting.eventbrite.com.
As a prelude to Memphis the Musical, the Durham Performing Arts Center is hosting a showdown between Memphis and North Carolina barbecues Thursday, Jan. 26, on Vivian Street in front of DPAC.
Old North State BBQ, Dickey's Barbecue Pit and the Backyard BBQ Pit will sell their specialties and regular menu items. Plates are $10; a portion of the proceeds goes to KidzNotes, a nonprofit that fights poverty and helps engage children in classical music. The event is open to the public.