Thursday, April 19, 2018

APRIL: Events, Exhibits + Time to Get Outside at NCMA and Cameron Village

Last week I shared some fun cocktails to try out on the patio at Tazza Kitchen in Cameron Village. Since the weather is finally getting nice, it's a great time to get outdoors in Raleigh. I've put together a few things to get outside in Raleigh!

When: April 26th and 27th from 4-7 pm

The shops of Cameron Village will host a series of special events, live music, exclusive merchandise, sales & promotions on the evenings of April 26 and 27. Participating restaurants will host beer and wine education and/or food tastings on their patios. Plan to shop and get your Spring wardrobe ready…receive a $25 gift certificate for every $125 you spend in the Village.

There will be live music on every block featuring classic rock, Motown, jazz and beach music!
In case you have not heard, the NCMA has a brand new exhibit that is a must see: You Are Here: Light, Color and Sound Experiences. Stunning immersive art installations by 14 international artists are on display through July 22! There are also a couple installations to look for in the NCMA park.

Artist Anila Quayyum Agha, Intersections

Artist Soo Sunny Park, Photo-kinetic Grid

Artist Yayoi Kusama, Light of Life

As part of the You Are Here exhibition, the Museum is hosting two weeks of interactive light graffiti, parties, and workshops with Austrian artist collective OMAi, May 15–26! OMAi invented an app to create and manipulate colorful worlds of large-scale, digital animated projections that will be shown on the outside of the Museum, with opportunities for visitors to contribute to the light murals.

Along with workshops and a Family Day, OMAi artists will appear at four FREE community festivals featuring musical performances, food trucks, art making, and opportunities to see your creations projected on the side of the Museum.

This Spring I'm partnering again with Cameron Village and Land Rover Cary, and I recently got the opportunity to test drive the new 2018 Range Rover Velar for the day.  I decided to take it for a spin to the NC Art Museum!

Design inspiration from the 2018 Range Rover Velar + the NCMA Park! 

Test Driving the Range Rover Velar
I appreciate the opportunity to test drive these luxury vehicles and to experience all their modern technological advances! One feature in the new Velar that I really like is being able to set up the GPS map on the actual dashboard behind the steering wheel versus off to the side. You can program what you want to see on both sides of the speedometer. Very nice! I also love the panoramic dual moonroof, ambient lighting, black leather seats and the flush deployable door handles. The gesture tailgate is always a very useful feature when loading groceries or other items into the back. Not to mention its excellent curb appeal! This is a diesel vehicle and I have to say I like that the engine turns off when you are stopped. It's quiet and energy efficient!

Slick dashboard in the Range Rover Velar 2018
After the museum, I headed to Cameron Village to check out what's new. The new Starbucks has an AMAZING spacious patio overlooking Cameron Village. It's a great spot to meet up with friends or to take a break from all that shopping! :-)

New Starbucks in the Village

Plenty of seating and a nice view at the newest patio options at the brand new Starbucks in Cameron Village

Spring has sprung in Cameron Village!

Lunch and dinner served on the patio at Cantina 18

Outdoor dining is back in the Village! Spring weather is finally making an appearance in Raleigh and there are some great spots in Cameron Village for patio dining. Check out last week's post on some fantastic Spring cocktails at Tazza Kitchen.

Patio is open at Tazza Kitchen

It's important to eat, drink, shop and explore local, and take some time to get to know the amazing folks who put their time and effort, sweat, tears and passion into creating cool experiences for us here in Raleigh. I hope you are able to get out and enjoy some of these fun events happening this Spring in Raleigh, NCMA and Cameron Village!

Patio dining at Village Draft House

#CVTRENDREPORT: I'm excited to partner again with Cameron Village and Jaguar Land Rover Cary again this Spring to feature some of the great merchants in the Village and highlight some 2018 Spring trends and great "hidden gems". I love shopping, dining, drinking, exploring local and it's been an amazing opportunity to get to know these merchants, their stories and their passion for what they do!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Five Spring Cocktails From Tazza Kitchen in Cameron Village

After a long, cold winter that decided to extend itself all the way into April, it looks like some warmer temps are finally on their way to the Raleigh area! The pollen is pushing through, and soon will be gone and it's finally...PATIO WEATHER!

One of my favorite places for patio dining in Cameron Village has to be Tazza Kitchen. We've been there for dinner, special birthday occasions as well as brunch and lunch (which I blogged about last year). I recently visited them again to learn more about their brand new Spring Cocktail menu. I'm really a beer girl at heart but these hand-crafted cocktail beauties from Tazza Kitchen's own cocktail guru, Mara, are enough to make even this beer girl start to reconsider my beverage of choice for Spring drinks. And most importantly, these cocktails are made with premium spirits and the freshest ingredients.

Let me introduce you to five of these "must have" cocktails for Spring:

Plantation dark rum, Batavia arrack, lime, guava, vanilla, almond, greek yogurt and crushed ice.
Are we missing anything? ;-)

luksosowa vodka, becherovka, cointreau, lemon bitters, up.
I'll admit I'm not a cocktail expert and I have never heard of a couple of these ingredients,
but I do know to trust your bartender! Yum.

beefeater gin, el jimador blanco, byrrh, lemon, strawberry, pilsner, on the rocks.
You had me at the name. Refreshing combo.

el jimador reposado, amaro Montenegro, chamomile, lemon, plum, egg white, up.
Light and tasty...all the hipsters are drinking it. ;-) 

titos vodka, amaro nonino, lemon shrub, bitters, mint, rocks.
Try not to get to cerebral about this, just enjoy! ;-)

Of course while sipping on these fabulous cocktails, you should definitely order some of the specialty dishes at Tazza Kitchen. Patio dining is perfect for sharing a few plates with friends.  Here are three tasty options that pair nicely with any of these cocktails.

The roasted spaghetti squash is SO good! It is a main dish that can be shared easily and consists of the roasted spaghetti squash (it's like pasta!) black garlic, farro, peperonata toasted pine nuts, grana padano and fresh herbs.

The mussels are a great start and perfect for sharing with seafood fans. These mussels had a nice subtle spice to them in a delicious broth of chorizo, fennel, onion, fresh herbs, lemon and tecate served with brick oven bread. Really good and fresh.

You can never go wrong with pizza from Tazza Kitchen (be sure to check out their brick oven in the back of the restaurant). We loved the spicy sausage and black pepper honey pizza with aged provolone and fresh mozzarella!

These quality house specialty drinks featured are reasonably priced at $9.50. I hope you feel inspired and can get to Tazza Kitchen this Spring/Summer and try these delicious drinks out for yourself. Spring is the perfect time to enjoy some downtime on the patio with friends and/or family. You deserve it after this dreary winter!

It's important to eat local, support the local community and take some time to get to know the amazing folks who put their time and effort, sweat, tears and passion into creating cool dining experiences for us here in Raleigh. I highly suggest putting Tazza Kitchen on your radar for Spring/Summer dining soon!! 

HOURS: Monday: 4:30pm- 9:00pm, Tuesday-Thursday: 11:30am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-10:00pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:30am-2:30pm, 4:30pm -11:00pm, Sunday: 10:30am-3:00pm, 4:30pm-9:00pm

LOCATION: 432 Woodburn Road, Raleigh, NC 27605 (919) 835-9463

#CVTRENDREPORT: I'm excited to partner again with Cameron Village and Jaguar Land Rover Cary again this Spring to feature some of the great merchants in the Village and highlight some 2018 Spring trends and great "hidden gems". I love shopping, dining, drinking, exploring local and it's been an amazing opportunity to get to know these merchants, their stories and their passion for what they do!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Margaritas + More Secret Tacos from bartaco

Last week, when the sun decided to show up for a day, we decided to get out and roadtrip for lunch at bartaco in Chapel Hill. This was our second time eating here and honestly, round two was even tastier! Bartaco has launched a series of margarita-inspired cocktails, with one featured each week. Using bold new flavors, these drinks are a spin on the classic margarita.

Bartaco kicked off these new drinks on #NationalMargaritaDay, Thursday 2/22 but we were there last week and had the featured drink, the Esmeralda. SO good! I loved the great mix of unique ingredients like Elderflower liquor, lime, matcha and thai basil! I'm sure the other cocktails are just as fantastic. Here's the line up of new drinks and when they were/are being released!

• Chai-Chica-Rita: Feb 22 - Feb 28
• Dos Piñas: Mar 1 - Mar 7
• Spring Riser: Mar 8 - Mar 14
• Esmeralda: Mar 15 - Mar 21
• Blood, Sweat + Cheers: Mar 22 - Mar 31

We started our lunch with chips, guacamole and two salsas, a roja and a verde. The guacamole was amazing and both salsas were unique and really flavorful. We selected six tacos to try including the #bartacosecret taco, the Spiced Lamb taco. This secret taco is a Mediterranean Kofta inspired taco made with ground lamb, harissa and topped with a preserved lemon crema, and a fresh tomato, cucumber and herb salad. It was really good with a nice crunch. Remember you have to ask for this one because its a secret and its not on the menu! ;-)

We also loved the cauliflower taco, mojo pork carnitas, baja fish and pork belly tacos. We were pleased with all of our choices. I have to say everything we had had such great fresh flavor.

We couldn't help but order the churros dipped in chocolate to finish. I can't even. They were as good as the churros we had in Mexico City recently. The dipping chocolate had a hint of sea salt which I really enjoyed.

I have to say I really like the relaxed coastal vibes of bartaco, and the fresh bright interior of the restaurant. The place was nice and busy at lunch and even the music was spot on. We plan to come back when the temperatures go up a bit and take in the patio dining. I will be back for that drink. AND guacamole + churros for sure!

Get to bartaco + Enjoy!
Click here for more about our first visit to bartaco in January.

The Esmeralda

guac + roja + verde + chips

baja fish taco with chipotle slaw

six tacos for lunch for two of us

#bartacosecret - spiced lamb

churros + chocolate

see you soon, patio!