Monday, June 13, 2011

Residency: The Journey Home

I stopped for a couple days in Durham, NC, to celebrate my sister’s recent MAJOR accomplishment, completing her dissertation in anthropology and graduating with her PhD. While there, I managed to cut a wide swath foodwise:

--a too-quick but wonderful visit with a friend who has the most amazing porch, where we enjoyed mojitos and a cilantro-cashew spread that made me beg for the recipe after one bite

--dinner at Toast, which features excellent sandwiches and soup. The cold sandwiches are served on white bread with the crusts cut off…so homey! I had a cured salmon sandwich with cold cucumber soup.

--a trip to the wonderful Durham farmer’s market, where I found my favorite whole grain mustard from Little Tree Farm

--lunch at Parker & Otis, a grilled pimento cheese/tomato sandwich and gazpacho (yes, it was very hot there, as evidenced by the preponderance of cold soups)

--a quick trip to the Taste of the Triangle, with food stands offering quick and yummy bites. I especially loved the shrimp and grits from East End Martini Bar and the iced coffee from Carrboro Coffee Roasters.

--I also found a great used book store, Wentworth & Leggett, where I found a nice hardcover edition of Katherine Anne Porter’s Pale Horse, Pale Rider, to replace the ratty paperback on my Favorite Books Bookshelf. Oh, and 5 more books…once you say yes to one, might as well buy some more!

--The party for my sister was fabulous, despite the but-it-hasn’t-rained-for-two-weeks downpour. She outdid herself with an array of amazing, Asian-inspired salads. And lucky me, she gave me the cookbook that inspired her for my birthday: Cooking in the Moment by local, James Beard award-winning chef Andrea Reusing. Seriously, vegetables never tasted so good—and I chatted with some party guests who are farmers, learning what it really takes to get that wonderful, sustainably-farmed produce to the farmers’ market (don’t you people EVER complain that the price is higher than at the grocery store!). Oreo Freeze for dessert! (If you have the patience to deal with an annoying website, you can get some recipes from the book here, and see the gorgeousness of the photos: )

--A quick breakfast at Biscuitville before heading out, where I also bought some treats for my patient husband (who’s been surviving god knows how during my extended absence) and then the Kroger, for my favorite sausage, Neese’s, complete with a picture of a pig on the paper label. See for yourself:

--And back to Virginia, for an excellent welcome home martini.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.