Oyster ice cream: A surprising scoop of American food history

“People actually ate this...It was once a big deal in Read more

Chocolate, ice cream and N.C. root beer!

In my favorite round, Battle Uncle Scott's Root Beer, Merrell, who runs the tapas restaurant and "cocktaileria" Circa 81 restaurant in Morehead City, prepared one heck of a riff on a Black Cow, that famous chocolate, ice cream and Read more

Cooking lessons learned at 2014 Fire on the Dock

As the contest moves into its final battle tonight, I'm thinking back to the ideas I got during the 2014 tournament, part of the statewide Competition Dining Series that ultimately crowns an overall North Carolina winner from four regional Read more

Southern Collards should be the new kale

Will collards be the new kale, darling of diners seeking farm-to-table fare? If the 2014 Fire on the Dock chef competition is any indication, maybe. Read more

Food touring in Carrboro with Taste Carolina

As I often say, "I'm eat up with it," and Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours fed my obsession quite well this past weekend. Read more

Lights out at What’s Cookin’???

What’s Cook’n in Castle Hayne appears to be a restaurant in transition.

The 5212 N. College Road spot run by neighboring Lawler Catering has been locked for a few weeks. A sign on the door reads “Sorry for the inconvenience. We are closed for renovations.”

Calls to the restaurant and Lawler Catering were not returned. Read my full report in the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.

Posted on by lizbiro in Restaurants Leave a comment

Crow Hill locks doors :(

One of my favorite downtown spots closed up shop Sunday night, July 15, at the end of dinner service.

Crow Hill filled the 9 Front St. spot that Caffe Phoenix vacated in summer 2010. Read my full report at the Greater Wilmingotn Business Journal today and watch for my follow-up mid-week.

Crow Hill owners Derrick Cook and his wife, Anna Sharma, transformed the space into one of the coolest spots downtown. Warm brown tones, blacksmith art and grand black-and-white photographs depicting bucolic scenes reflected the farm-to-table menu.

The restaurant’s smoked trout salad with a panko-crusted poached egg atop curly endive was my favorite salad in Wilmington. Hopefully, we’ll see Cook and Sharma back in a restaurant soon!



Posted on by lizbiro in Uncategorized Leave a comment

Leland Italian spot adds Sunday brunch

New Italian restaurant competition in Leland may be treating diners to some extras.

On July 8, Tony’s N.Y. Pizza and Trattoria, 1107 New Pointe Blvd., started Sunday brunch service.

Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., the restaurant presents a grand buffet including a carving station, waffle station, omelet station, side dishes, fruit and desserts.

Read the details in my report for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.

Posted on by lizbiro in bacon, Brunswick County, Leland, Restaurants Leave a comment

Bastille Day specials

Francophiles grab your French flags! Saturday, July 14, is Bastille Day and Wilmington is celebrating.

Le Catalan’s Bleu, Blanc, Rouge Menu includes Salad Nicoise, zucchini and sausage gratin made with sausage from Hallboro’s Pierce & Co. meat market (the store was founded in 1897!); fresh fruit sorbet and, of course, the famous Kir Royale cocktail. Pernot, escargot and lots of other French classics are available, too. Find Le Catalan on the downtown waterfront, 224 S. Water St.

South ‘n’ France bon bon shop, 822 Orange St.,  stages its biggest sale of the year each Bastille Day. Bon bons cost $1 each, half the regular price, but you must bring cash and correct change. The sale happens 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or until bon bons are sold out.

Downtown’s Caprice Bistro, 10 Market St., also celebrates Bastille Day with a special menu, and keep the restaurant’s Belgian leanings in mind for a second celebration. Caprice rolls out its Belgian Independence Day menu July 21. The bar has a great Belgian beer list.

Posted on by lizbiro in dinner specials, Downtown, downtown Wilmington, French, Restaurants Leave a comment

Wilmington chefs, restaurants named best on N.C. coast

Wilmington restaurants again are taking out-of-town kudos, this time two hours west in Raleigh Metro Magazine.

Each year, the magazine bestows its coveted Metro Bravo Awards. Readers vote for what they consider the Triangle and coast’s best restaurants. The magazine permits one vote per person per category.

In 12 coastal categories focused on food and drink, New Hanover County locations took 16 awards, competing with spots as far north as the Outer Banks.

Manna, Catch, Jerry’s Food, Wine and Spirits and Cameo 19 Hundred, among others, earned honors. Find out who won what in my report for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.

Wilmington spots also swept the Best of the Best awards. Earning top spots for overall best coastal restaurants were Jerry’s Food, Wine and Spirits, first place; Boca Bay and Port Land Grille, honorable mention.


Posted on by lizbiro in downtown Wilmington, Restaurants, Uncategorized Leave a comment

Rx Restaurant opens on Castle Street

Chef James Doss, BBQ, slaw and hushpuppies at Rx.

When Rx Restaurant and Bar opened for a trial run Sunday night, chef James Doss stacked the dining room with the toughest critics in Wilmington. He invited the city’s best cooks, names like Catch’s Keith Rhodes, Cameo 19 Hundred’s Kirsten Mitchell, Yo Sake’s Josh Woo and Manna’s Kyle Lee McKnight.

“Maybe I’m crazy,” Doss said with his signature maniacal laugh just hours before the doors opened.

Fearless is more like it. Before Well before Rx opened to the public Tuesday, Doss and his business partner/longtime friend Josh Novicki busted into the Port City food scene. Read all about it in my report for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.



Posted on by lizbiro in barbecue, Downtown, downtown Wilmington, Local food, New restaurants, Restaurants, Uncategorized Leave a comment

Downtown Italian deli opens

Find Cousins downtown on 3rd Street, across from the New Hanover County Courthouse.

Joseph DeLiberto and family were stuck inside like everyone else when the current heat wave struck Wilmington, but unlike most of us, the DeLibertoes were happy to be cooking at hot stoves.

The family was busy prepping for the opening of Cousins Italian Deli, 7 N. 3rd St., across the street from the New Hanover County Courthouse. The deli opened July 2.

Meantime, Falcone’s Italian restaurant has opened in Waterford Center, near Harris Teeter on Old Regent Way in Leland.

Read more in the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, and check out some pictures from Cousins below.

Bacon destined for sandwiches.


Must-haves at anyu Italian deli.Cousins is a family-run deli, and this wall holds the family photos.


La familia! A real photo of the DeLiberto family on the Cousins family wall.

Posted on by lizbiro in Downtown, downtown Wilmington, New restaurants, Restaurants Leave a comment

Catch food truck adds more than a menu

Thai Spicy Pork Salad at Catch.

Chef Keith Rhodes’s first truck, an extension of Catch, 6623 Market St., was scheduled to hit pavement July 7 at the Ocean City Beach Jazz Festival at North Topsail Beach’s Ocean City Beach Community Center. Expect easy Catch menu items and Latin leanings: fish tacos, Rhodes’ well-known North Carolina sweet potato salad, ceviche, fresh calamari tostadas.

About a month later, look for the Phun Seafood Bar truck featuring the Asian street food stylings served at Rhodes’ 215 Princess St. eatery.

Rhodes has yet one more food truck in the works, but he’s not ready to reveal details.

Rhodes’ celebrity – he’s been a James Beard Award nominee and a Bravo TV “Top Chef” contender – helps assure his trucks’ profitability, but his entry into the market is also likely to boost the area’s food truck industry.

Read more in the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.

Posted on by lizbiro in Downtown, downtown Wilmington, Food trucks, New restaurants, Restaurants, Uptown Wilmington Leave a comment

Adventureous eating on the fishing pier

Chef Rhonda Uhlmann, most previously at Southport’s Ports of Call, has opened The Flying Fish Café at Oak Island Pier, 705 Ocean Dr. in Oak Island.

Look for Uhlmann’s popular cream of mushroom soup, a carry-over from her past restaurant, Chagall, which operated from 2008 to 2010 in Oak Island, but Flying Fish visits world flavors. Think gazpacho, fish tacos, fried shrimp, grilled corn and cilantro crostini with feta, roasted tomato soupand blackened shrimp salad with jicama and cucumber avocado dressing.

Prices range from $9 to $12 for lunch and $10 to $18 for dinner. Hours are 11 a.m. to

8 p.m. Sunday and Monday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Call 910-278-5504.

Posted on by lizbiro in Brunswick County, Restaurants, Uncategorized Leave a comment

Moonshine toast to Catch’s success

Catch 'ceviche,' one of the dishes Gwyneth Paltrow learned to cook at the restaurant.

Chef Keith Rhodes and his Catch restaurant have been getting a lot of attention lately. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow recently dined and got a cooking lesson at Catch, which she writes about in a post on her food blog, goop.

Catch was recently among best seafood restaurant and best coastal chef MetroBravo award winners. Raleigh Metro Magazine gives the awards. See the July and August Raleigh Metro Magazine issues for winners.

The News & Observer of Raleigh food writer Andrea Weigl interviewed Rhodes for a profile of the chef for the newspaper.

Finally, actors Robert Downey Jr. and William Sadler also recently dined at Catch, 6623 Market St.

Rhodes owns Catch and downtown’s Phun Seafood Bar, 215 Princess St., with his wife, Angela Rhodes. Keep an eye on Phun for future food classes!

Known for its use of local foods, Catch honors homegrown goodness with the Grapefruit Moonshine Mojito, a great toast to the restaurant’s success.

The cocktail includes Troy & Sons moonshine, distilled in Asheville, N.C. The spirit is mixed with grapefruit and cranberry juices, fresh mint leaves, simple syrup and a splash of lemon-lime soda. The cocktail costs $10.50.


Posted on by lizbiro in Downtown, downtown Wilmington, Local food, Restaurants, Uncategorized, Uptown Wilmington Leave a comment
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