Monthly Archives: December 2012

Olde Rabbit’s Foot — Symbol of NC Beer’s Collaborative Spirit


North Carolina is in the midst of a craft beer explosion. 2012 brought with it announcements that three of America’s most popular craft breweries were building East Coast facilities in the Olde North State. As Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Oskar Blues begin to set up shop in North Carolina, one thing remains unchanged: our state’s brewing industry is firmly grounded upon a foundation of incredibly passionate people who seem to genuinely like each other.

This collective passion was especially evident this past Saturday in Winston Salem, as Foothills Brewing released this year’s installment of Olde Rabbit’s Foot. Olde Rabbit’s Foot is an Imperial Stout, brewed with honey and cocoa nibs. The bottles were only available for purchase in the Foothills Brewpub, but the beer itself came to be through a collaborative effort between Foothills, Duck Rabbit Brewery (Farmvillle, NC) and Olde Hickory Brewing (Hickory, NC). For the fourth year in a row, each brewery provided wort (wort contains the sugars that are eventually fermented by the brewing yeast to produce alcohol). Once fermented, the viscous stout was left to age in Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels. In most sectors of business, these companies would be in direct competition with each other; in the beer business, they combine their efforts to deliver a superior product.

As the doors to the brewery opened, I quickly realized that the brewers weren’t the only ones with a collaborative spirit. With two hours before the beer officially went on sale, hoards of people, from all over the south, shared unbelievably rare beers with friends and strangers. If this selection of collectible beers wasn’t enough to please your palate, Foothills also offered Olde Rabbit’s Foot and Sexual Chocolate on draft. When the back room finally opened, people efficiently moved through the line and scooped up their four bottle limit. The rich stout, with balanced flavors of oak and bourbon, was certainly worth the wait (and the nearly dollar per ounce price tag – read as $20 per bottle).

While the eclectic mix of North Carolina beer options will continue to grow, we can rest assured that the breweries responsible for establishing North Carolina as the Fertile Crescent of craft beer will continue to push the boundaries in their beer and their business plans.

REVIEW: Boondini’s Sandwich Superstore – Raleigh

boondini's logoIf you are looking for a change from the Jersey Mike’s or Jimmy John’s or whatever chain sandwich store that you most likely frequent on the days when you don’t bring your lunch to work, its time that you check out Boondini’s Sandwich Superstore in the Celebration at Six Forks Shopping Center right near I-540 on Six Forks Road.

This was my second trip to Boondini’s but the first with my camera. My last visit I ordered the Boondini’s Special which has ham, Genoa salami and bologna on a hoagie and had it grilled. My friend, Tyler, ordered the same thing but ordered it cold. We traded half sandwiches to try both the grilled and cold versions. The consensus was that the grilled version was a little bit better. I enjoyed the shredded lettuce and tomato and even put a little bit of Cavender’s all purpose Greek seasoning (which was a staple in my family’s pantry growing up) on the sandwich.

Boondini's - Outer Banks Clam Chowder

The weather in North Carolina hasn’t been very December-like. In fact, it has been hot but I hit up Boondini’s on one of the chillier days that actually required a jacket. I felt like it was appropriate weather for soup so I got a bowl of Boondini’s Outer Banks clam chowder on the side. It was chock-full of tasty ingredients as well as surprising amount of clams. I’m definitely looking forward to trying some of their other soups.

Boondini's - Cubano

As much as I enjoyed the Boondini’s Special the last time, I decided to branch out and try a different sub. I ordered the Cuban which is a grilled sub with ham, sliced roast pork, Swiss, butter, mustard and optional pickles  which are not optional in my opinion. Boondini’s version of the Cuban doesn’t come on the traditional Cuban bread but everything else is damn near authentic to the recipe. Some may argue that the bread is what makes it but I enjoyed this sandwich just as much. There was a chili spice in the sandwich that I couldn’t place so I am guessing it was either from the mustard that was spread on the bread or from the pork’s marinade before it was cooked.

I always like cracking some eggs of knowledge in the posts about the food when I can. The Cuban sandwich or “Cubano” as many people call it traditionally was a working man’s sandwich similar to New Orleans’ po’ boy sandwich. It became a staple at restaurants outside of the cigar factories and sugar mills in Cuba when workers took their lunch breaks. The sandwich then traveled, figuratively, to Tampa and Miami with Cuban exiles and expatriates. The deliciousness that is the Cubano has taken various forms as it has spread across the country from Cuban communities to your local deli’s menu. Like any great sandwich, arguments are common place as to where the original Cuban was made and what the ingredients are.

Boondini’s is well worth checking out. It can get crowded during the lunch hours as local workers seem to flock there but its worth the wait. I also witnessed one intelligent businessman call in his order ahead of time to avoid the wait. I am sure he will  be mad at me for leaking his loophole in the system. I will be trying their steak and cheese next. I will let you know how it goes.

Boondini's North on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Boombalatti’s Ice Cream – Wilmington

It’s December and I’m writing about ice cream that I ate while I was at the beach. Weird.

Boombalatti’s is the place in Wilmington where everyone seems to get their ice cream fix. When I first walked in, I really thought that it was a chain store. It was very well branded throughout the store and the format of the space really seemed like it could have been a chain but the owner said this was the only location. I could see this becoming a chain especially if they are able to keep up the quality of ice cream production that they are known for. It is located on Military Cutoff Road in The Forum shopping center which is very close to both Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach.

I ordered a double scoop of the English toffee flavor. I am a sucker for Heath bars and Skor bars and about any kind of toffee but the ice cream is what makes this so special. The ice cream is made on-site in small batches using quality ingredients. It is rich and smooth the way that ice cream should be. It seems that most ice creams these days are all into cutting out the calories but doing so causes the ice cream to taste awful.

Tyler and Blake both ordered a sampler which came on homemade waffle bowls and had four single scoops of different flavors. This might be the way to go if you can’t pick just one kind of ice cream. I think this cost about $5 or $6 although I had stepped out to the car to grab my camera to snap some shots to post on here so I am not really sure.

I can only imagine how this place kills it during the summer beach months when snowbirds descend on Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach to catch some rays and build sandcastles. It isn’t a place that you can walk to from the beach but it is a not-so-far excursion in the car that you will probably turn into a regular thing after your first trip there.

Boombalatti's Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

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