When it opened in July, Bickett Market (219 Bickett Blvd., Raleigh, www.bickettmarket.com, 291-3286) set a clear course for itself as a sustainable farm-direct grocer and wholesaler. That was at the peak of the produce season, when shelves were stocked and products sold with relative ease.
Now that the days are colder and the local crops less varied, owner Jason Stegall says he has had to look for other ways to make a go of the business while attempting to remain true to the market's initial concept.
Up first is an array of cooking classes taught by local chef Ricky Moore. Stegall says the market has planned about a dozen courses, including one covering basic skills. Learn about vegetarian casseroles at 7 p.m. on Jan. 20 ($38) and eggs Benedict at 11 a.m. on Jan. 22 ($35). Also, between 1 and 5 p.m. on Jan. 22, the market hosts a Beer & Brat & Whole Pig BBQ Bash to benefit the Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue. Tickets to that event are $25 and include samples of whole hog barbecue prepared by Bickett Market, beers by Fullsteam Brewery and brats by J. Betski's. To purchase tickets or to register for a cooking course, call the market or e-mail email@example.com.
For another venue that's diversified its offerings in order to draw more crowds, check out the North Carolina Museum of Art (2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, www.ncartmuseum.org, 839-NCMA). As part of its "Art in a Glass: Pairings of Beer, Food, and Culture" program, the museum will offer lectures, meals and tastings this winter.
This first, "American Beers with a Rockwell Twist," is at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 22. Museum educator Joseph Covington will discuss a Rockwell painting and several images from Massachusetts, Rockwell's native state, which is now home to numerous craft breweries. After the lecture, try three beers from that area and a meal catered by Iris, the museum's in-house restaurant. Tickets—$60 for members and $65 for nonmembers—can be purchased by calling 664-6785.
For sightseeing closer to home, sign up for Triangle Food Tour's newly established East 54 and Glen Lennox outing in Chapel Hill. The walking tour includes at least a half-dozen new and established restaurants in the area, with the next tour set for 3 p.m. on Feb. 19. Tickets are $30 and space is limited. For more information or to reserve a space, visit www.trianglefoodtour.com.
Also new to the Triangle is Bellini (2519 Fairview Road, Raleigh, www.belliniraleigh.com, 782-4908), which opened last month in the former home of Mangia. The restaurant is open every day for lunch and dinner, and features classic Italian entrées. In the lounge, look for small plates, from frog legs ($8) and truffle macoroni and cheese ($7) to kefta skewers ($8) and Spanish clams ($9). There are also martinis and, as you may have guessed, bellinis.
Last weekend, the Twittersphere lit up with the news that The New York Times had listed Durham—with such exotic locales as Kosovo, Zanzibar and Turkey—as one of 41 places to visit this year. Why? The food: Scratch, Parker & Otis, Rue Cler, Counter Culture Coffee and Revolution were all mentioned by name.