If you're looking for a New Year's resolution that's simpler and less taxing than sweating on the elliptical machine, pledge to go meatless each Monday in 2012.
The Meatless Monday Pledge-olution was created by Eleni Vlachos, who co-organized last year's Bull City Vegan challenge and hosts the annual Vegan Thanksgiving Record Party.
"We want to do it in a fun way," she says. "And harness the power of New Year's and resolutions. And address reasons why resolutions fail."
Our best intentions fail because we take on too much—thus the one-day-a-week pledge—and we keep them private. Peer pressure has its benefits.
As an incentive, pledges can enter a contest to win a grand prize. That person will receive a gourmet dinner for two at Solas in Raleigh, a copy of the award-winning documentary Forks Over Knives, two free passes to Fiction Kitchen's vegan brunch, cooking classes, cookbooks and more.
And if you're already meatless, refer a pledge and you're eligible to win the Karma prize. We could all use better karma.
The contest runs through Jan. 9. Get more details at trianglemm.com. —Lisa Sorg
For eaters not ready to take the meatless plunge, two new local delis approach the venerable cold cut sandwich with quality meats and fixings to keep a wholesome eating conscience pleasingly satiated.
Keep an eye out for Sympathy for the Deli (sympathyforthedeli.com), a new food truck and catering business set to roll in a couple of months. Jonathan Richelson, formerly of Memphis, Tenn., began curing meats purely as a hobby. A few years and many taste tests by friends later, he has caught the food truck buzz and is using The Cookery in Durham to launch his business.
Richelson was at work last week on a solid sauerkraut that he set to cure for almost a month. He says he smokes, cures and brines all his own meats, which he obtains from local farms via Farmhand Foods. He's currently looking for a local turkey meat supplier. His truck will rove as a catering mobile—deli trays and boxed sandwich lunches—with plans to dole out fancy sandwiches as a standard food truck.
In Chapel Hill, Galleria Shopping Center has gained a new storefront. Tracy's New York Deli and Coffee Shop (tracysnewyorkdeli.com) is a bona fide city sandwich deli, complete with matzo ball soup made fresh daily. Traditional Boar's Head brand cold cuts mark the menu, along with bread from Guglhupf Bakery and produce from the Carrboro Farmers' Market.
In non-eating news, Durham's Southwest Regional Library has been hosting a somewhat under-the-radar culinary book club once a month on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Catch the next one Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. to discuss the book The Art of Making Tea. The event will include a tea tasting presented by Ryan Hinson of Tin Roof Teas in Raleigh's Cameron Village. For more information about the book club, call 560-8590. —Victoria Bouloubasis
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