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?

Northeastern NC Craft Workshop 2017

Another Northeastern NC Craft Workshop has come and gone! I love attending this yearly workshop. Since this is my 4th year attending, I’ve come to expect certain individuals to appear there each year. One of those individuals did not attend yesterday but I’m hoping that everything is alright with her and she just decided to attend today.

My chosen course this year was Embroidery taught by a lovely woman by the name of Glenda (her husband teaches the decoy carving class) from Virginia Beach. She was full of knowledge and was a great instructor.

She had already traced our patterns and chosen the colors for our “masterpieces” which left us with the hard job of piecing it all together. We learned several stitches – Lazy Daisy (my least favorite), the French Knot (which I didn’t like at first but came to love), the Back Stitch, the Satin Stitch, and there may have been another one.

Our prepaid lunch was provided by the delicious Golden Skillet over in Plymouth, with choices of salad, chicken and pastry, and fried chicken. We were also able to purchase cookies – which I definitely took advantage of.

So this is the outcome of my 6 or so hours of work. Upon wetting it, the blue pattern should fade. You can certainly see where I struggled (the flowers) and how I improved on the french knot as I went. It’s funny – my shoulder was getting sore by the end of the day!

I’m undecided what I will do with this – I’m thinking of bringing out my granny’s vintage sewing machine and maybe filling it with lavender and turning it into a sachet of sorts. I discovered that I enjoy embroidery and am already daydreaming of my next project.

It’s great getting to try out skills that I might not normally get to try. I’m crossing my fingers that maybe next year I will be able to take two days off from work to try out one of the two day courses!

North Carolina Oysters

During the late 1880’s, North Carolina oysters were being harvested as an alarming rate and shipped out all over the country. At it’s peak in 1902, 800,000 bushels of oysters were harvested, exhausting the supply and threatening the future of the species [information from NC Oysters]. Thank goodness that efforts have been made to rectify this and increase the population.

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Like I’ve said before, I have been fortunate to grow up surrounded by fresh seafood. Oysters aren’t a delicacy to me but are simply another reason to gather around at my grandparent’s house. We’ve had oyster roasts for as far back as I can remember, though when I was younger, the oysters were heated on top of a wood stove until they popped open. Now we steam them over a cooker but they taste just the same – delicious. Typically we wait until January to cook oysters the first oysters of the season(sometimes we will have them on Christmas Eve) though the recreational harvest season runs from October 15 through March 31.

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I tend to like my oysters a bit firmer than most (otherwise it tends to look like snot). I also  chew my oysters (unlike most of my family). Once I’ve waited as long as I can wait, I snatch the oyster from the cooker, careful to avoid the steam. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve learned to open an oyster with moderate success. You lay the blade of your oyster knife into the hinge of the oyster and twist until it pops apart.

If there is any juice, I sip it. The salter the better and where/when your oyster was harvested sometimes dictates the saltiness. I slather the meat in homemade cocktail sauce (a mixture of horseradish and ketchup, though I’m a bit heavy handed on the former) and eat it.

When we get fresh oysters, we always eat them steamed. If we are wanting to fry oysters, we usually will pick up a jar of already shelled oysters from Quality Seafood.

This wouldn’t be a post on oysters if I didn’t highlight the oyster knife of my dreams. Made by Carolina Suckers from an old railroad spike, this oyster knife is practically a work of art to me.

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The Mother Shucker

Maybe one day I’ll get my hand of one of these beauties. For now, I’ll just keep using the crusty – well, let’s call them vintage – oysters knives rummaged from drawers at my grandparent’s house.

Do you eat oysters? What is your favorite way to eat them (steamed, fried, make into an oyster stuffing)?

Northeastern NC Craft Workshop

Back in 2013, I was looking for something to do during two days off from work. House-sitting while my mom was out of town, I had taken the time off to enjoy a hot summer day and planned to relax and grill out. I ended up stumbling across the Northeastern NC Craft Workshop.

The NENC Craft Workshop is a two-day event that offers a variety of classes such as stained glass, decoy carving, embroidery and more. Registration is first come, first served meaning some classes tend to fill out rather quickly.

After my first year of attending, I fell in love with the event and have always been eagerly anticipating the next one. Though my schedule doesn’t always allow me the time off to attend (such as when I started a new job or when someone else was already scheduled to be off of work), I have tried my best to attend.

Here are some of my creations!

2013 – This was my first year attending and I decided to sign up for the bonsai class.

Unfortunately I forgot to take an after picture. My green thumb was still in the works during this time and my bonsai died not too long after. :-/

2014Garlic Basket! I enjoy basket weaving even if my patterns didn’t always come out right.

Garlic basket all done!

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2016 – My sea grass stool. This was a class I had been trying to get in for a couple of years so I was pretty excited to be able to attend.

@ NENC Craft Workshop. Seagrass stool before picture. 🙂

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What is really neat about my sea grass stool is that we have a nearly identical one my grandmother made during a different event years ago.

Though it’s easier for me to take the one-day events, I do want to eventually try Decoy Carving/Painting and Fishing Fly Tying! I love that these classes introduces me to skills that I may not normally have been able to try out. What’s also pretty neat is seeing some of the same people return year after year.

Registration is open now, by the way. There is a little fee attached to each class, but if you click the link below, it’ll clue you in as to how much.

For more information, please visit https://currituck.ces.ncsu.edu/2017/02/northeast-north-carolina-craft-workshop/.

A Farm-to-Fork Dinner

This is one of those posts that I should have typed up long ago. But life happened (we left for Alaska a few days after) and I wasn’t exactly happy with my photos.

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At the beginning of October, a friend of mine had an open invitation for people to come to her family’s farm for a delicious farm-to-fork meal that she helped produce along with a friend of hers from Raleigh. I couldn’t resist the urge to go even though rain somewhat threatened the day (only to reward us later on with a gorgeous rainbow). 

This wasn’t the first time I had been out to Somerset Farm and I hope that it will not be the last. I love spending way too much money at their table at the Edenton Farmer’s Market picking up delicious and fresh vegetables. The menu at this particular event featured produce and lamb straight from the farm.

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The menu:

  • lamb pate with blood orange marmalade + rosemary crisps
  • chioggia beets with feta + berbere chickpeas
  • couscous with roasted butternut + golden raisins
  • eggplant with za’atar + pomegranate molasses
  • grilled lamb ribs
  • pear + date croustade with vanilla cream
  • lemon balm mojitos
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lamb pate | blood orange marmalade | rosemary crisps

Everything that I ate was delicious, and yes, I even braved the pate! My evening was spoiled slightly when I locked my keys into my car, which contributed to some of the less than flattering plated photos, but my boyfriend came to my rescue (eventually) and brought me my spare keys.

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lamb ribs being grilled

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chioggia beers | feta | berbere chickpeas

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My plate – prepared by a friend that I had invited while I was out dealing with my car issues.

All in all, it was quite the magical evening! She hosted a November event in honor of Guy Fawkes Day that featured Indian food, but unfortunately I was not able to attend. I hope that she resumes these events once the weather grows warmer.

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