Recently I set out to buy a chalkboard. After coming up empty-handed after hitting four or five stores, I grumbled, thinking chalkboards had gone the way of the slide rule. And while there is, in fact, a chalkboard app for the iPhone, the real culprit, I've happily come to realize, is the locally minded restaurant —those places where the menu changes daily.
Raleigh's Wilmoore Cafe (223 S. Wilmington St., 424-7422, on Facebook) boasts the newest hand-scrawled sign in the Triangle. And the menu, says chef Jackson Harris, displays "whatever we can get our hands on." The lineup of soups, salads and sandwiches are in constant flux, with the goal being to use North Carolina products as much as possible. Wilmoore sources bread from La Farm Bakery; meats from Ashley Farms, Coastal Cattle Company and Top Hogs Enc.; and coffee from Carrboro Coffee Co. The latter can be ordered as espresso, a simple cup of drip or prepared in a French press or Chemex pour-over. In the future, Wilmoore also hopes to offer North Carolina beers and eco-friendly wines.
Current sandwich options include a pork bahn mi (a sandwich with roasted pork shoulder, hoisin, pickled daikon and carrots, jalapeños, cilantro and a Thai chili and garlic sauce; $6.25). And Harris says the restaurant will always feature an array of Southern snack sandwiches such as pimento cheese, ham and cheese, and tomato sandwiches when tomatoes are in season (all $4). Homemade chips and pickles are also available. Wilmoore Cafe is open 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more Southern sandwiches, head to Capital Club 16 (16 W. Martin St., Raleigh, www.capitalclub16.com, 747-9345) between 3 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, for a Kentucky Derby party and hat contest. Co-owner Shannon Wolf says the restaurant will feature finger foods like pimento cheese crostinis in addition to Derby must-haves including the mint julep.
Wolf became interested in the Derby 15 years ago while covering the event as a fashion writer for the Oxygen Network. She plans to don her grandmother's red velvet hat for the festivities, and she encourages others to get as creative in their costumery. The contest will take place throughout the afternoon, with winners announced shortly after the Run for the Roses.
Also on Saturday you can support Durham's Central Park School for Children at its eighth annual Strawberry Festival, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Old North Durham Park (724 Foster St., cpscnc.org/strawberry). The festival kicks off with students performing a strawberry dance choreographed by Chuck Davis. Afterward, Central Park student Ian Campbell, Megafaun's Phil Cook, The Tender Fruit's Christy Smith and others will take the stage. Admission to the concert is free.
Throughout the day, Central Park will sell strawberry shortcake with cake from Guglhupf, plus peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwiches. In addition, Pie Pushers and King's Sandwich Shop—Central Park's neighbor—will have food for sale on site.
Know about a fun food happening in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at firstname.lastname@example.org.