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Seven staff - one full-time and six part-time - are leaving with redundancy payments totalling ?11,000. The prime minister of Iceland asks the president to dissolve parliament after allegations he concealed millions of dollars in offshore investments.
Most importantly, it’s a place that excitedly welcomes all into the kitchen to taste and learn something new. I invite both food connoisseurs and amateur food lovers to join me as I take you behind the scenes of Chapel Hill’s food culture. Here, I will feature what you want to see, whether that’s an award-winning restaurant, your favorite recipe or the student-chef in your dorm.
The inviting smells of bacon, roasted pumpkin and grilled peppers fills the nostrils upon entering Crook’s Corner Restaurant on Franklin Street on a Friday afternoon.
In the kitchen, Head Chef Bill Smith hurriedly paces between stations as he prepares some of the foods that he’ll serve on the dinner menu that night.
While these ingredients might not be the first things that come to mind when thinking about Southern food, Crook’s Corner, Chapel Hill’s celebrated gourmet Southern restaurant, has been serving traditional Southern dishes since 1982.
Food writers, critics and chefs have addressed the complexity of this culinary question for decades.
But with the growing number of immigrants in the South, Smith said that Southern cooking is changing now more than ever.
For Marcie Cohen Ferris, a UNC-Chapel Hill associate professor, Southern food is the taste of place. Ferris said it is the connection between Southern food and the history of the region that makes Southern food so special.
That deep sense of personal connection to food is also echoed in Mildred Edna Council’s description of what Southern food means to her.
Council was born in Chatham County where she says her family would garden and grow its own vegetables.  Sizzling barbecue chicken on the grill and mild clattering of silverware serves as the soundtrack in Mama Dip’s dining room. Council recalled that before she opened Mama Dip’s, she would visit restaurants in Chapel Hill which served vegetables like fresh garden peas, lettuce, sliced tomatoes and mashed potatoes. Council worked with her mother-in-law in a small take-out restaurant that served beans, dumplings, barbecue and fried chicken.
Claudia Rupcich, a senior from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is a multimedia journalist for the Reese Felts Digital News Project. That’s 63 years after it first opened, four years after it closed and seven months after its original date for a grand reopening.
Fountain, a 1980 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate and a real estate developer who lives in Wilmington, said she was overzealous when she set the Rathskeller to reopen at the start of the year. She said she underestimated how long it would take to get the lease settled, which has prevented her construction crews from starting demolition.
But after sorting out the paper work with an attorney, hiring a construction consulting company in Raleigh, and drafting a 37-page lease, Fountain said she is 100 percent confident that an August reopening will happen. With updated numbers and logistics in check, Fountain said demolition could gear up within the next ten days. Part of her initial budget — $847,000 for construction and kitchen equipment — had some gray area, she said.
Despite the reduced cost estimates, Fountain said she won’t have to hold back on any of her original plans, like the 65-inch plasma-screen televisions or the conversion of the old prep kitchen into a bar. She said she still wants to keep everything under $1 million, which should still allow for some cushion room. She said that although the restaurant’s reopening has been delayed, it was crucial to have this time to determine more accurate figures. Fountain said two different people have already committed to one share each, and she doesn’t anticipate any problem finding investors for the other eight. The investors will have the opportunity to have booths named after them, and possibly even the new bar space, she said. Crouching in dimly lit rooms, flashlight in hand, Diane Fountain can barely contain her excitement as she shares her vision for the Ramshead Rathskeller. For now, the alleyway space off Franklin Street that has housed the restaurant for decades is more memory than bustling business, more rubble than enticing aroma.
Two years after the restaurant closed and more than 60 years after it originally opened, Fountain has formed a team of UNC alumni — kitchen designer John Lindsey, property manager John Morrison and architect Jim Spencer — to help reopen the Rathskeller by the beginning of next year.
In addition to leasing the space from the Munch family, heirs to the Danziger estate, Fountain’s costs include $847,000 for construction, $100,000 in kitchen renovations and $40,000 for a digital point-of-sales system.
Other notes on the plan include the current state law concerning food service and handling, necessary equipment, the Rat’s original cartoon logo of a rodent hoisting a beer mug, and of course, the menu. Each of the six rooms will still revolve around original, if updated, themes, like the Cave, the Train Room and the Circus Room. Lindsey designed the custom flatiron skillets needed to authentically recreate how The Gambler was served for decades. Traditional items on the menu will stay, but the restaurant will also cater to students with new items, like a recipe for wings courtesy of Fountain’s son, Meares Green, and homemade dough for a New York-style pizza. The old prep kitchen will be converted into a second bar, and students will be able to vote on a new theme for that room.
The furnace that customers huddled around in the winter will be replaced by a heating system that will warm the entire restaurant, and the faux fireplace will work electrically. The slate floors and wood paneling will stay, but ceilings will be raised and electrical wiring will be updated.
One thing that won’t change is the decades of names etched into the wood paneling and the booths. Fountain remembers going to the Rathskeller as a little girl and later taking her own children there.
Fountain said her kids loved to play with the jukeboxes, even though many of them no longer worked.
And students walking through the alley have peered in the windows when the lights are on, and Fountain has rushed outside to confirm suspicions and to tell them that the restaurant would be reopening. A 2008 auction — held to satisfy nonpayment of state sales taxes by the previous owner — saw many items from the restaurant purchased by businesspeople and fans alike. Jim Lilley, a local real estate agent who joined with two others to buy $10,000 worth of booths and tables, said he would like to see those items back in the restaurant. What made the Rat special and what most people remember about the Rathskeller was its staff. Rodwick Nunn, a former cook who began working at the Rathskeller in 1980 at age 18, said he grew up in the restaurant long before he started working there. Larry Alston, who started as a dishwasher in 1989 and became a cook six months later, said he grew up without a father.
Danziger said they just kept digging, and over the years it turned from a one-room beer joint into a six-room restaurant. Following Ted’s death in 1965, his wife Bibi ran the restaurant until she died in 1990, when the estate took over day-to-day management.
And since Fountain, the sole investor in the project, took on this effort, she has heard from many who are interested in the restaurant and said she is working to make it possible for more people to invest. Just like the Rat’s founders, Fountain wants the restaurant to revolve around its people. A warm breeze rushes through The Courtyard, a collection of shops and offices on West Franklin Street, carrying with it an aroma that wafts near a softly babbling stone pond. Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe is the product of Rajendran’s lifetime love of cooking, years of hard work and generous support from the community.
Small community dinners began to draw a big crowds — more than 300 people came to her home at some of the final events. Rajendran raised $125,000 through personal loans from friends to open the business, and she is still looking for $25,000 to put in some upgrades or grow to a bigger location because the current space has only 28 indoor seats. Rajendran quickly emerges from the cafe and greets de Jong with a hug, offering her food despite the hectic circumstances.
Growing up, Rajendran learned generosity and kindness from her parents, who always shared the food they had even when they didn’t have much. Rajendran said her childhood in India and her experiences at markets in Bombay helped shape her passion for cooking with healthy, quality ingredients. A passion for good food keeps Rajendran looking for local ingredients to include in dishes served at Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe. With James Beard-nominated restaurants, cuisines ranging from Ethiopian to Thai, and farmers markets offering local and sustainable produce, Chapel Hill is rich in diverse food.
The food-truck craze sweeping the nation has been welcomed in neighboring Durham and Carrboro. Durham’s mobile dining scene includes juicy beef patties from Only Burger, seasonal fruit pastries from Daisy Cakes, and spicy curry from Indian Food on Wheels.
Authentic tacos at the Taco Truck in Fitch Plaza and chocolate crepes at Parlez-Vous Crepe in Carrboro have students lining up for the affordable food and fun experience. Lex Alexander, co-owner of 3CUPS, a coffee and wine cafe, filed a petition to the Chapel Hill Town Council to reconsider its regulations on food trucks.
In the petition, Alexander said the town’s ban on food trucks was outdated and hindered new business growth.


He also said the trucks offer a prospect for new businesses since they are less expensive to start up. Traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants are mixed on the idea of food trucks in Chapel Hill. Hillary Winter, publicist for Sugarland, said that the food trucks could negatively affect business in the small town. Brad Smith, co-owner of BSki’s, said he “digs” the idea of food trucks in general and has looked in to the possibility of opening a truck to sell his popular wraps.
But Smith also said he worked hard to open a restaurant on his own despite the high cost of rent on Franklin Street and other logistical hurdles.
The workshop has ample space for up to 15 students, either bring your own group, or join in with one of our day courses, open mornings or evening classes.
Why not sign up to a two day course and stay a few days to explore this part of beautiful rural Essex? Saffron Walden is an historic town dominated by a stunning church with many of the listed buildings on the high street dating from the 15th and 16th centuries - it even gets a mention in the Domesday Book! It is a pretty market town, lying in rolling countryside, it offers good shopping and a variety of accommodation to suit all budgets. There is a selection of excellent places to eat, good shopping with plenty of eclectic independents alongside high street mainstays, several antique shops, cook shops, wine shops and an even an old fashioned toy shop, all based around the busy market square (markets Saturdays & Tuesdays). Explore the open green spaces of the Common with its playground and brick maze (one mile long!), or visit the American Playing Fields; which incorporates a park, picturesque cricket green, playground and seven interlinking formal gardens and kitchen gardens, laid out in the nineteenth century and recently restored by volunteers. The Imperial War Museum at Duxford is about 15 minutes by car (ita€™s FREE from 4.30pm until closing). For more alternatives, local information and accommodation further afield, a€?the Saffron Walden Tourist Information office a€?are most helpful. Family accommodation, central Saffron Walden, a€?a 2 storey, 2 bed, self catering converted stable available for min. The Gate, Thaxted Road, Saffron Walden a€?01799 522321(newly changed hands now offering very authentic and delicious Italian food). The Eight Bells, Saffron Walden a€?01799 522321(elegant contemporary pub, also newly changed hands, great menu, popular). The Railway, Station Road, Saffron Waldena€?a great pub (and handy for Ashleigh House B&B, in Saffron Walden), with garden. For more alternatives, local information and accommodation further afield, the Saffron Walden Tourist Information office are most helpful. Family accommodation, central Saffron Walden, a 2 storey, 2 bed, self catering converted stable available for min. The Gate, Thaxted Road, Saffron Walden 01799 522321(newly changed hands now offering very authentic and delicious Italian food). The Eight Bells, Saffron Walden 01799 522321(elegant contemporary pub, also newly changed hands, great menu, popular). The Railway, Station Road, Saffron Waldena great pub (and handy for Ashleigh House B&B, in Saffron Walden), with garden.
And its kitchens have embraced hospitality like few markets do, cooking wholeheartedly for the diners who keep their front of house humming: law makers, lobbyists, diplomats, and a cadre of political movers and shakers, who are often more conservative in their dining habits than the blue-leaning city might let on. With its grand reception hall, stunning courtyard, and elaborate banquet rooms, the Omni Shoreham delivers just that.
Built in the late 1800s, great attention has been paid to filling each room with period pieces and whimsical flourishes that spark a homey (think Granny’s country cottage in Kensington, right before Poirot arrives). Smith mixes and bakes the meringue used for his famous banana pudding, steams a bright batch of Brussel sprouts for a chilled salad, and begins sauteing celery and onions with the Carolina Gold rice he’ll use to make the seasonal pumpkin and sweet pepper risotto.
Author of Seasoned in the South, a recipe book compiling Crook’s Corner recipes and his own, Smith says the foundation for the food he prepares is the Southern recipes he grew up with.
And although some people still have stereotypical perceptions that all  Southern food is made of fat, greasy and fried ingredients, chefs and food scholars in Chapel Hill have different definitions for what Southern cuisine is and what it means to them. At a conference in Atlanta on the Global South, Smith had the opportunity to explore a region that hosts immigrant populations from all over the world who fuse typical Southern foods with their traditional recipes.
Ferris teaches teaches courses on American foodways, Jewish studies and Southern studies, and is part of the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization that documents, studies and celebrates food culture in the American South. Growing up in a Jewish household in Arkansas, she devoted a lot of attention to the different styles of Southern foods which people around her ate.
She hired Wakefield Associates in Raleigh to re-evaluate the construction costs, and she said with their more accurate numbers, these estimated costs shrunk to $541,000. She originally thought it would be $1.6 million, but had prepared to go up to $2 million, she said. She is looking to sell 10 shares at $100,000 each, to raise a total of $1 million from investors. Its assets were auctioned off to satisfy payment of taxes by a previous owner, and the structure was abandoned. Employees from Sutton’s Drug Store, up on Franklin Street near Amber Alley, walk down to assist with the circuit breakers. The dish is noted on a prototype menu as a “chewy, elongated, highly inedible half-pound rustled steer.
The wall holding the Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec style painting in the original Mural Room will be knocked down to enlarge other areas, but a similar-style painting by the same artist will be created on a new wall in that room.
But these colorfully etched tables will have a new addition — mini flat-screen televisions that echo a time when the tables once held jukeboxes, Fountain said. Her father, Jim Fountain, was head cheerleader at UNC, and the Rat was always a stop when he took the family back. When Fountain went to a football game this year, the crowd around her was buzzing with rumors of The Rat’s return. It was not uncommon for customers to ask for their favorite wait person each time they visited. Former head waiter Eugene “Pops” Lyons started working at the Rathskeller in 1963 when he was 17.
Danziger and his family fled their native Austria and the Nazi invasion in the late 1930s, making their new home in Chapel Hill. Ted would travel to Chicago to buy high-quality meat because there was no local market that could provide enough for the Rathskeller and the Danzigers’ other eating establishments, he said. Fountain said she even got a call from former Tar Heel basketball star and coach Phil Ford, asking how he could help with the restaurant’s return.
Perhaps it’s the smell of tandoori chicken marinating in ginger and garlic, or sesame-seed-speckled plantains frying in a crunchy rice batter, or even Basmati rice with cardamom. Rajendran, owner and executive chef of the cafe, came to the United States from India and has been living in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area for 25 years.
Her donation-supported home cooking became known as Vimala’s Takeout, and three years later she started hosting her locally famous community dinners.
And though opening Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe forced Rajendran to stop hosting the dinners, she said that she hopes her work will inspire others to start up their own. Soft light spills through lime green drapes, and there is a light shuffle of activity in the kitchen. Rajendran’s policy is that employees must take off their aprons and eat with family or friends who come to visit, and her family members often make appearances at the cafe to help out. Like Marie de Jong, who said she hoped to get her first taste of the South Asian cuisine at Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe. Some of the meat and produce at the cafe is sourced locally from several farms and farmers markets, said Robert Jones, sustainability coordinator for the cafe. People who come to the cafe know that they’re getting quality food, the same quality she served at her community dinners.
However, one gastronomic trend is notably absent in this culinary-forward town – food trucks.
Kay Pearlstein, senior planner for the town, said ordinances regulate where food trucks can park and conducts screening processes for selling. Elliott Rd., and Alexander thinks the vacant parking lot could be a place for the trucks to operate. He cited the nationwide food-truck trend and argued that as an innovative culinary town, Chapel Hill should embrace this change to the food landscape. Chapel Hill has limited opportunity for new businesses because of a lack of old buildings to renovate or lower-rent areas to develop. The council decided to reshape the petition for clarity on the regulations, and address it at a later meeting. She said that Franklin Street has a certain prestige with its culinary establishments and that opening the area to food trucks could harm the core group’s business. Smith said that because the trucks cost less to start up than a restaurant, more people can get involved with business which he believes is a good thing. We often have friends and families getting together for a couple of days to do something creative together, they always are surprised by what a beautiful place Saffron Walden is.
The studio itself is in a handsome Victorian building with some car parking and there residential parking locally or long stay at Swan Meadow, 10 minutes walk. Much of the quaint town centre is made up of listed medieval and beautiful Victorian buildings, including St Marya€™s, one of the largest churches in Essex.


There is a small museum, and the library in the market square has a pleasant reading area & separate childrena€™s room. Try your orienteering skills in a full size maze, one you have a good chance of getting lost in! Opposite there is a charming miniature railway around the Audley End Estate, which tours through woods packed full of friendly teddies. There is also on indoor playbarn, Tumbledowns, on the Shirehill Estate, and a leisure centre with a swimming pool and baby pool. We cannot however be liable for any expenses such as booked accommodation etc which you should cover a€?through your own insurance.
We cannot however be liable for any expenses such as booked accommodation etc which you should cover through your own insurance. Chefs are serving the city just what it wants, taking familiar foods and making the best possible versions of them, making them distinct, and knocking it out of Nationals’ park on execution. The restaurant’s charm and elegance is bolstered by its all-American menu inspired by seasonal ingredients. Karoum’s menu is an ode to tradition and is the result of extensive research and travel in the country. The evening service is Italian, and the Sunday Gravy menu is based on the end-of-the-week family meals Isabella ate growing up in New Jersey.
Adorno is a classically trained chef with contemporary technique in his holster and influences from Greece, Mexico, and Puerto Rican street food. His menu at Kapnos is inspired by owner Mike Isabella’s travels to Greece, and it's is filled with soul-fortifying spreads, breads, vegetables, and small plates—including the signature wood-grilled octopus. 2014 Rising Star Chef Johnny Spero is at the helm of the savory team, whose plates reflect his playful (obsessive) approach to modern cuisine and technique. With stylish decor akin to its New York counterpart, Osteria Morini evokes a rustic and warm ambience, with a clear view of the open kitchen for diners to look on (and salivate).
Dedicated to local purveyors, he’s showcasing his refined yet whimsical style of modern American cuisine. Red Apron's offerings are rooted in Italian charcuterie, but Anda’s style is an all-American mash-up. Accompanied by Wine Director Danny Fisher, who’s all about the off-the-beaten-path wines, they’re setting the standard for chef-somm teams in the Capital City.
While the a la carte menu promises thrills, its Rising Star Chef RJ Cooper’s 24-course tasting menu that offers the truly unexpected treats. Previously in charge of all things hopped at Capital City beer hot spots Rustico, Church Key, and Birch & Barley—where Bailey was the chef—D.C. 2006 Rising Star Tony Conte and Bartender Jeremy Ross join forces to create menus that cater to both the classic and contemporary cuisine cravings of the D.C.
It’s all due to the care and craftsmanship of 2014 Rising star Chef Mike Friedman, who’s making it cool to have grilled chicken on your menu again.
The restaurant boasts clean lines and an open-air atmosphere, plus an attention to detail that echoes in the plates coming from the kitchen.
If you need to unwind after long days off hoofin’ it, you can relax at the indoor pool and whirlpool, as well as pump up at the fitness center.
The hotel’s center houses is just the kind of comfortable, chic bar in which you want to relax after a bustling day touring the nation’s capital. Mislabeled with strips of tattered duct tape and old restaurant surveys, the breaker lights only about a third of the restaurant. Slipped under the table to any bandit with a miserly amount of salad, a few mashed up fries and burnt bread. He spent 42 years with the restaurant and considers himself to be the leader of the former staff.
It could be one of many home-cooked Indian dishes that Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe has been serving up since it opened in June. Her first marriage ended in divorce, and around 16 years ago, she became a single mother and had to take care of her family without child support, alimony or public assistance.
Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe keeps an “everybody eats” policy, which means that anyone can come for a meal regardless of their ability to pay.
But it was her own “insatiable passion” for good food that made her look outside of her home for ideas. He works with Rajendran on sourcing as much food locally as possible and said they have set a modest goal of sourcing about 30 percent of the food locally year-round. Having made a name for herself in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area over the past 25 years, Rajendran hasn’t had trouble attracting business. We are on the main line just 50 minutes from Liverpool Street, London, or 15 minutes from Cambridge, with Audley End station just a few minutes taxi ride away. Saffron Walden Town Trail will guide you around the notable places of interest (a map of which is downloadable (from Tourist info site listed below) or available from the Tourist Information Centre, Market Square). In the kitchens, Chef Matt Kuhn has given free reign to his imagination, creating his versions of international classics, all flavor focused and technically precise. The meat-centric menu also offers a glimpse in to the extensive street food culture—from Argentinian sandwiches to anticuhos—and updated versions of comfort food from around the globe.
In the kitchen Chef Drew Trautmann offers everything from Rappa whelks to snakehead fish pie.
From his elegantly simple tortillas to the wild Sherry float at the bar, everything is always impeccable.
Paintings of sandwiches and produce dance on the walls at this warm and casual spot in the Fourteenth Street corridor, right next to Isabella’s north Greek restaurant, Kapnos.
End your wild tastebud odyssey with the fantastical, out-of-the-box sweets from 2006 Rising Star Pastry Chef Rick Billings. Sommelier Morgan Fausett has put together a 1,000-bottle strong wine list, and at any given time has at least 40 by-the-glass selections.
He bends tradition (and expectations) through endless experimentation and curiosity, using ingredients like Asian chiles and Fernet Branca to enliven his program. Just make sure to get there ahead of time so as to beat the line that starts early and stretches almost around the block. The master of simplicity, Friedman’s creamy-dreamy sauces and slight of hand with spice are whole-heartedly soothing. With its stellar views and elegant dining, at Robert’s Restaurant, the Omni is ideal for a weekend getaway, business, or a month long respite. Electrical cords are tangled on the floor, ceiling tiles are misaligned, old ductwork is exposed and piles of wood block entryways. Once Fountain contacted Lyons, he contacted other former employees in hopes they will return to work at the Rat.
Army, Ted and their father dug out the space that is now the restaurant, according to Ted’s brother, Erwin Danziger. Her personality and her cooking have been bringing hundreds of locals to her restaurant for months—and to her dinner table for years.
Amelia Roberts and Kathryn Stein work on assembling samosas, or stuffed pastries, in the dining area. That’s why there’s no budget for advertising — there’s no need for it because as Rajendran said, the food speaks for itself. By car it is 10 minutes from junction 8 of the M11, half way between Cambridge to the north and Bishops Stortford to the south.
For art lovers there are several galleries, two on Church Street and I highly recommend the Fry Art Gallery, down a tiny alley off Castle Street, which represents the many well known artists (Eric Ravillious, Bernard and Chloe Cheese, Edward Bawden, Olive Cook and others) linked to this area.
Behind the bar, bartender Ben Matz is following suit with a selection that ranges from oyster shooters to slushies like you’ve never seen before. Behind the bar, Taha Ismail works the taps of sunny gin Lemonade and Greek inflected cocktails at this neighborhood favorite filled with warm woods and a chandelier made of wine glasses. Stop in to fill up your table with cured meats or pick up a grab-and-go sandwich and beef fat fries. And Bailey is cooking amped-up pub cuisine that has the rib-sticking refinement to match the nuance (and variety) of Bluejacket’s house-brewed beers.
The restaurant is directly below the Shrunken Head Gift Shop on Franklin Street, a space that once held the family Viennese candy shop, Danziger’s Old World Restaurant and Candy Kitchen. Both Stein and Roberts got to know Rajendran through her community dinners and have been working at the cafe as general employees. And though the business is thriving, it’s the people and the memories, not the profit, that she says make all of the hard work worthwhile.
For older children Saffron Walden is the site of One Minet Park, listed as one of the top five best skateparks in Europe, it is located behind the leisure centre and well worth a visit, even if just to watch. His food is approachable and has the technique, polish, and power to mold the palates of the drinking crowd in the duos large, spiffy, industrial space.



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