The Lowdown on North Carolina’s Brunch Bill

If you are a North Carolinian, you may have heard a lot of buzz in the last few months about the “brunch bill”. But do you really know what’s going on with it?

The “brunch bill”, which is actually Senate Bill 155 and contains a plethora of other changes to North Carolina’s liquor laws, would allow stores and restaurants to begin selling beer and alcohol starting at 10 a.m. on Sundays (it was previously noon). The bill was signed into action by Governor Roy Cooper on June 30 however local municipalities have to approve the bill for their own communities before the law could go into effect.

Surprisingly not everyone has been on board with this bill and some communities (such as Kure Beach, Nags Head, and New Bern) did not reach the 2/3 majority of votes needed to pass it. From my reading, it seems like the biggest reason the bill did not pass was because of morality reasons – people fear that by selling alcohol earlier on a Sunday, it would deter individuals from going to church or that it would ruin the “family” atmosphere of a tourist area.

Seriously? The beaches are already covered with cigarette butts, beer cans, and other less than savory items in these “family” areas. You walk an extra block in some cute little historic town and may find yourself in a crime ridden neighborhood where heroin needles linger in the gutters. I think our communities need to focus a bit more on fixing their already existing issues than trying to blame those issues on something that hasn’t even come to fruition yet.

But I digress.

I’m not a big drinker myself. I might have one Corona on occasion or a pumpkin beer during the season, but that’s about the extent of it. Does it matter to me about picking up a 6-pack from the grocery store at 11:30 a.m.? Not really. Even though I rarely consume alcohol, I still see the need for North Carolina’s Brunch Bill to pass.

Why?

Revenue.

Living off the cuff of North Carolina’s coast, we receive a lot of tourists to this area. A lot of tourists who support our local businesses and would more than likely not attend church in the area anyway. These are typically families who aren’t going to go wild and crazy and turn into lushes at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning. They are the ones who are going to want to go out, have someone else prepare their breakfast, and enjoy a mimosa or two with their family.

This is the opportunity to drive additional business to our areas. Instead of staying home and fixing their own drinks, people could spend the money out in the community. They could support our local restaurants and shops. The price of one bloody mary may not seem like it would make much difference, but if that person then decides to wander into the shop next door, then multiple people benefit.

The majority of restaurants seem to be in favor of the “brunch bill” but as the communities in North Carolina continue to vote, it’ll be interesting to see the overall outcome.

What do you think about the “brunch bill”? If you aren’t in North Carolina, what time does alcohol sales start on Sunday in your area?

Continue Reading

The Flour Girls Cafe and Bakery [Elizabeth City]

I think that I have found my new favorite lunch destination.

The Flour Girls Cafe and Bakery is another one of those newly opened places to eat at in Elizabeth City that I’ve been wanting to try out but haven’t gotten around to. Okay, so really they opened back in mid-2016 and they aren’t that new but new enough that I don’t feel bad about taking so long to try them out.

The Flour Girls Cafe and Bakery serves breakfast and lunch along with a delicious looking assortment of baked goods – they also cater and can do special order cakes/cookies. On top of everything else, they host cookie/cake decorating classes! The owners were winners of the 2016 Jump-Start Elizabeth City Downtown Business Plan Competition which works to bring new businesses to the downtown area.

For lunch I order the half of the Pilgrim sandwich [turkey, provolone cheese, pesto, cranberry sauce, and maybe on homemade bread]. It’s served with house pickles and your choice of sides – I went with chips.

Let’s start with the pickles. I cannot say enough about their house pickles. Those suckers are delicious. I could eat a whole jar full. After eating a couple, I knew that I needed to share some with my boyfriend (he loves pickles) but the thought of those tasty little nuggets sitting just feet away from me right now is torture. The pickles are a perfectly balanced blend of sweetness and crunch. I’m not a pickle aficionado (other than the sweet pickles that my mom makes) but these may be bread and butter type pickles?

Ordering the half size of a sandwich gives you plenty of food in my mind. My sandwich was delicious and in each bite I was able to snag a little turkey, a little pesto, a little cheese and cranberry sauce. The bread is crisp and serves as a great vehicle to transport everything into the mouth.

Being in a bakery, I of course had to order dessert so I went with one of their daily cupcakes – this one had a delicious lemon frosting (with lemon zest flecked throughout it) and coconut flakes. The cupcake itself wasn’t dry or crumbly, the frosting wasn’t too sweet and even better, they added a logical (i.e. proportionate) amount of frosting on top!

Since I only had the opportunity to run down there on my lunch break, I called in my order ahead of time. There is plenty of seating available in the cafe however and the service was quick. Everything was nice and clean and if I were to find out that they had free WiFi, I would make this my morning place to bring my laptop on the weekends (note to self: look into that update: they do!).

Located in downtown Elizabeth City, right on the waterfront, this is a great place to stop, grab a bite to eat, and mosey around some of the little shops in town. You should definitely give it a shot!

The Flour Girls Cafe and Bakery
102 Water St.

Elizabeth City, NC 27909
Monday 7:30 am to 5:00 pm
Tuesday – Friday 7:30 am to 3:30 pm
Saturday 8:00 am to 2:00 pm

Continue Reading

Sweet and Tart Spaghetti and Meatballs

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Back when I lived in Raleigh, I used to love to visit the Got to be NC Festival. It was like the State Fair but with more emphasis on local. Seeing all the local food vendors made my heart sing.

18193797_10213156816423285_3261705746098314174_n
Got to be NC Festival | Logo Used With Permission

Before this year’s event, I had the opportunity to speak one of the Homegrown Fare vendors, Fadia House of Floury Apron. Fadia started Floury Apron after her kids went to college. She’s always enjoyed cooking and creating new recipes and wanted to share her unique take on Eastern and Western flavors with others.

When asked if she had any advice to offer others interested in starting their own food-based company, she had this is say, “Love what you do and do it correctly.  Work hard and learn your customer’s needs and fulfill it.  Ask questions, attend seminars.”

While a few of her products are sold at Southern Season in Chapel Hill, they can also be purchased directly from her website.

Some of her products include wheat crackers (in flavors like zaatar and parmesan) and baklawa but her best selling product is her Sweet and Tart Tomato Sauces. Available in oregano, ginger, or spicy, her sauces are a great accompaniment to items like meatloaf, hot dogs, and my personal pick – spaghetti and meatballs!

untitled3

There is nothing simpler for me to fix after a long day of work than spaghetti and meatballs. Sometimes I will use jarred spaghetti sauce from the store, sometimes I will use our own tomato base that we can every year. This recipe uses store bought sauce for ease. Once the sauce is prepared, you can start to relax as everything bubbles away together. While Fadia’s Sweet and Tart Tomato Sauces are not intended as a substitute for spaghetti sauce, it is a great addition.

Sweet and Tart Spaghetti and Meatballs
(serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. spaghetti, cooked al dente in salted water
  • 2-30 oz. jars of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1-16 oz. jar of Floury Apron’s Sweet and Tart Tomato Sauce, Oregano
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 eggs
  • 1/4 cup. panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 cup parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Place spaghetti sauce and the Sweet and Tart Tomato Sauce in a large saucepan and simmer over medium heat.
  2. In large bowl mix together beef, Italian sausage, egg, panko, garlic, salt and Parmesan.
  3. Shape into 9 large meatballs.
  4. Place meatballs in simmering sauce.
  5. When sauce returns to a simmer, cover and cook 50-60 minutes till cooked through.
  6. Serve sauce and meatballs over your spaghetti.

14723984_s

Don’t forget to check out Floury Apron’s booth at the Homegrown Fare presented by Lowes Foods May 19-21 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. The event, part of the annual Got To Be NC Festival, will feature 100 local food, wine and beer companies. Admission is $3, but you can get in free with your Lowes Foods loyalty card. Plus, you can get a free gift while supplies last by mentioning this blog at the Got To Be NC merchandise booth. More information about the Homegrown Fare and the Got To Be NC Festival is available at www.gottobencfestival.com

Also something neat to think about is that when you go and make a purchase in the Homegrown Fare tend, swing by the Got to be NC booth so you can get a selfie in the frame. Make sure to use #homegrownfare17 when you share it!

Want to see what everyone else made? Check out these Got to be NC Blogger Posts for #HomeGrownFare17

Continue Reading