Friday, May 25, 2018

Just a Few of my Favorite Things at Cantina 18

To be honest, there are a few basic things in life that consistently bring me happiness.
Here are FOURGuacamole. Tacos. Margaritas. Dining Outside.

All four of these things and more converge in a delicious and refreshing way at Cantina 18 in Cameron Village. Chef Jason Smith uses locally sourced, fresh ingredients to make some delicious food and drink offerings right here in Raleigh. You may know him from Seaboard 18, an amazing restaurant in downtown Raleigh’s "Shops at Seaboard Station"- a re-purposed, historic coastal train depot in Raleigh. Cantina 18 is located in Raleigh's historic Cameron Village. If you love Southwestern food and guacamole, tacos and margaritas much as I do, you should make plans for lunch or dinner at Cantina 18.

GUACAMOLE. Cantina 18 always uses the freshest seasonal ingredients and sources other ingredients from local farms including the goat cheese in this guacamole! Tomatoes, pickled jalapeƱos, black beans, cilantro and of course, avocados. SO good.

TACOS. I honestly think I could (and sometimes do) eat tacos every day. I literally never get tired of eating tacos! I love the fish tacos at Cantina 18. The fish taco is crispy and blackened and the fish is locally sourced and combined with Lunazul tequila slaw, and a delicious chile-lime aioli. This taco has just the right amount of crunch and flavor. I also love the grilled chicken tacos with goat cheese, cranberries and apple. Really nice and a good healthy taco option! Along with chicken and fish, you can also choose beef, short rib, shrimp, chickpea masala, pork belly carnitas and BBQ duck confit for your taco platter.

Chicken + Fish Taco plate

MARGARITAS. I don't drink cocktails on a regular basis (although I'm getting more interested in craft cocktails), But I do LOVE a great house margarita on the rocks with salt! This house margarita at Cantina 18 is A M A Z I N G. Fresh and flavorful, made with Blanco tequila, triple sec, house-made sweet & sour, it's a win! On Mondays, they are on special for $6.50! While I was there, I also tried the JalapeƱo mule. Really nice lime flavor with a spicy bite! Ingredients include fresh jalapenos, Social House Vodka, ginger beer, and fresh limes. If you like a little heat, this is a wonderful drink to add to your Raleigh cocktail list!

House Margarita

Jalapeno Mule

AL FRESCO DINING. Lastly, who doesn't love dining outdoors? Cantina 18 has a nice patio for dining outside but if it gets a little too hot and humid for you or if there's the threat of a NC summer thunderstorm, try dining upstairs where the Juliette windows open up for a wonderful open-air dining experience in the Cantina without getting wet or over-heated!

Also, a side note, if you are looking to host an event, Cantina 18 features a private dining room for corporate and social gatherings from 15 to 150!

Juliette windows upstairs dining room

Patio dining at Cameron Village

I hope after reading this you feel inspired and I hope you can visit Cantina 18 and try all these tasty items out for yourself. Summer is here and it is a great time to enjoy patio dining with friends and/or family. Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

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 Cantina 18 on your outdoor dining plans soon!!

HOURS: Monday – Sunday: 11:00am – 10:00pm

LOCATION:433 Daniels Street, Raleigh, NC 27605 ph: (919) 835-9911

#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, May 10, 2018

The Dillon Raleigh - Sneak Peek on the Sky Terrace

Last night we got a sneak peek at The Dillon in the Raleigh Warehouse District. We joined several others on the 9th floor lobby of the new Dillon building and enjoyed a fabulous night on the stunning sky terrace. We had the opportunity to do a self-guided tour of the amazing fitness center, conference rooms, sky bridge to apartments and a peek at one of the corner apartment units. We sampled flavors from O-Ku Sushi and Heirloom Brew Shop, both of which will be opening in the Dillon this Summer/Fall sometime. I posted a few photos of my sneak peek to enjoy.  The terrace will eventually be open to the public space with stunning views of the Oak City.

I've also linked a great neighborhood map that The Dillon has shared on their website:

PHOTOSET (If viewing on a mobile phone, click here)

The Dillon is the first mixed-use development of its kind in downtown Raleigh’s rapidly expanding, vibrant Warehouse District. The 18-story project includes 220,000 square feet of Class A office space, two seven-story apartment buildings with an adjoining parking deck, and dynamic street-level retail space. With a nod to its 100-year-old history, parts of the original Dillon Supply warehouse building have been preserved and reused in its new life. Learn more about The Dillon at

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Prom Season in the Village

For most schools here in the Raleigh and Triangle area it's prom season! It's definitely worth putting in some time and effort to make for a smooth prom day/night. It's good to have a budget so you know what you can spend. Talking to mom and dad should be part of the plan and make decisions on what each will contribute to the budget. Try to stick to your budget once you've set it. Prom is a chance to be creative and express who you are as an individual and most importantly...make some fun memories!

Finding your prom dress is one of the most important things of prom planning and it can be very stressful. Shop for a dress that works with your style and you are comfortable in.  One great way to find a beautiful dress and keep the budget in check is shopping high end vintage/consignment stores in the area. We found some beautiful dresses at Fifi's Consignment Boutique in Cameron Village that were stunning, top quality and within $50-100! Fifi’s is a Designer Consignment Boutique for women. They specialize in designer and name-brand apparel and accessories. (They are open 7 days a week and accept seasonal consignments year-round without an appointment).

A popular color this year for prom and wedding season is blush and we found some beautiful blush-colored dresses at Fifi's just last week! These dresses could also work for bridesmaids dresses! One of the dresses we found was a stunning J Crew creme colored dress that could even be worn as a bridal dress. One of Fifi's staff was kind enough to model these dresses for us!

Designer dresses from $50-$100

Along with the blush color being popular, bright colors seem to be in style this year with lots of sparkle and vintage feel. Here's a few gorgeous choices that we found at Fifi's if you want to make a colorful statement. My daughter had prom this weekend and we were seeing lots of bright blues, yellow and reds!

Fifi's also carries accessories, jewelry and shoes so you can accessorize your dress as well to make your outfit complete. Good choices for prom are clutch or small hand held bags without straps. It basically just needs to hold the essentials like phone, money, prom tickets and makeup. Shoes should be dressy and neutral but try and find a comfortable pair! Going with a neutral, nude or black heel is usually a safer bet and can be worn again. We found some great ones at Fifi's. 

Prom was Saturday for my daughter and coincided with my opportunity to test drive the 2018 Range Rover Convertible Evoque from Jaguar Land Rover Cary. We had a blast running errands and grabbing lunch at Village Deli on a stunningly beautiful day in this eye-catching very sporty car! Plenty of looks coming our way as we drove through Cameron Village! I felt like a celebrity! ;-) This was the first time I've ever driven a convertible and living in Raleigh, I could get very comfortable with it! One push of the button brought the roof up or down neatly and VERY quietly and didn't take up any of our trunk space either. Currently there are only two of these at the Cary dealership (they are a unique model and hard to find anywhere else in the Triangle).

Later that afternoon, we caught up with the kids for prom group photos in Durham at the picturesque American Tobacco Campus. Of course they wanted to snap a few photos in the car and with the picture perfect weather, they had a lot of fun posing for pictures! Her blue dress and his white tuxedo were stunning and after taking them for a "chauffeured" ride around the block to their car, we said goodbye to them as they headed out to dinner, and prom and off to make some final High School memories...

#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!