WHAT WE'RE EATING
Cookies, especially the pecan-chocolate chip variety from LOAF (111 W. Parrish St., Durham). Crispy and thin, with an optimal nut-to-chip ratio, these cookies should be placed in a safety-deposit box so you won't eat them all at once.
Well-traveled palates should try the vegetarian arepa with black beans, cole slaw, caramelized onions and an avocado-based sauce from Guasaca South American Grill (4025 Lake Boone Trail, Raleigh), or head across the culinary Atlantic to Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant in the Mission Valley Shopping Center (2109 Avent Ferry Road). There, you'll find yebeg wat, a scrumptious lamb tenderloin dish with spicy red pepper sauce, or for non-carnivores, the vegetarian combo: split red lentils, cracked yellow peas, house salad, cabbage and collard greens.
IDLING CARS ARE THE DEVIL'S PLAYTHINGS: Amazon could open drive-thru supermarkets in the Southeast, according to The Triangle Business Journal. Order groceries online and then pick them up like you would a pizza.
Harris Teeter already offers this service, although it appears the Amazon grocery would be drive-thru only. The company is targeting the Southeast because this region of the U.S. is "car-dependent." That is not a compliment, folks.
The problem with drive-thru banks, fast food joints and pharmacies is that when cars idle, they emit carbon dioxide—a component of greenhouse gases—into the air. The EPA reports an average passenger vehicle emits 4.7 metric tons of CO2 into the air each year. Idling at the Amazonian won't help.
See Cuba before the restaurant-with-the-golden-arch-that-can't-be-named sullies the Malecón. Roberto Copa Matos, a Cuban native, and Elizabeth Turnbull, who co-own Old Havana Sandwich Shop (310 E. Main St., Durham), will be your tour guides for a winter trip to Cuba, Feb. 5–15. The sojourn is classified as a people-to-people trip, which means you can travel legally to the island without getting a nasty letter or a fine from the U.S. Treasury Department. The cost is $3,470 per person, which includes hotels, visas, food and entertainment, but not airfare, which Old Havana arrange through a Durham-based travel agent specializing in Cuban travel. A free information session is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m. at the restaurant.
Why whine about weeding, when you can weed and drink wine? So asks Raleigh City Farm, which sponsors a Wine & Weeds event each Wednesday. Meet at Wine Authorities (211 E. Franklin St.), at 6 p.m. for a glass (vinho verde is very refreshing) and then head over to Raleigh City Farm (800 N. Blount St.), to rid the garden of common lespedeza. The farm provides the gloves and tools; you provide the backbone.
Raleigh food truck Sol Tacos is teaming with Bombshell Beer of Holly Springs for dinner on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at the Berkeley Café (217 W. Martin St., Raleigh). The menu includes oregano parsley chimichurri, stuffed avocado with yellowfin tuna and pickled shallots, pork shoulder tostatos, fish and chicken tacos and bruléed chocolate flan. Reserve your spot through the Sol Tacos Facebook page.
The Piedmont< (401 Foster St., Durham) is hosting an heirloom tomato tasting dinner every Monday through Thursday. The 55 varieties are sourced from Coon Rock Farm, which uses a dry farming method, aka the plants aren't irrigated. Less water (to a point) equals a more concentrated fruit. The three-course menu ($35/$50 with wine) includes tomato gazpacho, tomato sorbet and pasture-raised pork. It runs while tomato season lasts, which we wish were forever.
HERE'S YOUR DINNER MIXTAPE:
If you're headed to Cuba, then stock up on Ibrahim Ferrer and the Afro-Cuban All-Stars; for a less literal interpretation, one of my favorite '80s records is the Silos' Cuba. You'll sing "She Lives Up the Street" while julienning your carrots. Sebadoh's The Freed Weed packs 40 tracks into one compilation. With a running time of more than an hour, you can listen to it while simmering a pot of chili.