Nov 27 2014

Final Fire: Competition Dining Taken to the Next Level in Raleigh!



Over the past three years, Got to be NC Competition Dining Series has become a summer event that helps promote and support both local food producers and local restaurants.  And as a food-lover, I’ve had the opportunity to hit up 5 or so Fire in the Triangle competition dining events over the past three years as attendee and judge.  As the event has grown in popularity, Competition Dining has created another tier of competition where the winners of each regional series then went head to head against each other to crown the best chef overall, Final Fire!   While I didn’t attend any Competition Dining events this past summer, I was surprised and excited to get an invite from their PR team to raffle off a pair of tickets and join them for their November 19th competition pitting Fire on the Dock Champion Antoine Murray of Cape Fear Country Club in Wilmington, versus Fire on the Rock Champion Michelle Bailey of Season’s at Highland Lake, woohoo!  Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 25 2014

First Take: 518 West for a Number of Excellent Italian Eats

Outside of 518 West in Raleigh- Foodalicious Follies

Outside of 518 West in Raleigh- Foodalicious Follies


For Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week, I was hoping to get to a couple of restaurants that had slipped off my radar screen.  Take 518 West for example.  A longtime restaurant on S. Glenwood, I remember eating here a bunch of times when I first got to Raleigh given my experience at its sister restaurant 411 West in Chapel Hill.  And it follows pretty much the same formula: formal brick exterior, continental cafe interior with solid pastas and wood-fired pizzas.  But over the years I sort of forgot about 518 West even though it’s right down the street from my condo.  And I’m not sure exactly why because it’s still serving up some very good Italian cuisine in a comfortable environment.  All reinforced by my return visit here after being away for years. Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 23 2014

An Alternative to Beer and Wine at Bull City Ciderworks and Honeygirl Meadery

Tasting room at Bull City Ciderworks, Durham- Foodalicious Follies

Tasting room at Bull City Ciderworks, Durham- Foodalicious Follies


With all the craft breweries popping up in the Triangle you knew that there would be other libations that would start manufacture in the state.  Liquors from TOPO, Mystic Liquer and Krupnikas for example.  And now, hard cider and mead from Bull City Ciderworks and Honeygirl Meadery!  Yes, you heard that right: cider and mead is now being made in the Triangle.  And as luck would have it, these two nascent craft drink makers are located pretty close to each other making for easy visits.  So what to expect if you visit Bull City Ciderworks or Honeygirl?  Here’s how my visit went… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 22 2014

Thanksgiving and More from Foodalicious Follies!


As we head into the kick-off for the holiday season, I wanted to wish you a happy and wonderful Thanksgiving this week!  As you can guess, I enjoy this holiday quite a bit given how much food and fun we get.  And I did want to thank the readers and followers of my Foodalicious Follies blog for stopping by the website on a regular basis.  I’m always a little surprised by how many people come and check things out on Foodalicious Follies and of course I’m always appreciative and honored that you’re willing to spend some of your time on the Internets with me!

One note is that I have started to do some advertisements on the blog if you haven’t already noticed.  Hopefully they’re not too intrusive and sometimes helpful.  While this blog is a labor of love and mostly about sweat equity, there are some expenses associated with hosting the blog, various WordPress add-on’s and what have you that I’m hoping to recoup.  And of course I’m always looking to evolve the blog and currently have projects to create a better mobile version of it for those of you on the go.  That will (knock on wood) mean a full re-design in 2015 to make things more modern and readable.

But in the end it’s always about providing you all with accurate guidance on how to spend your dining dollars.  My goal is to give you accurate information on which restaurants and spots will deliver the most bang for the buck regardless of what you’re interested in.  And hopefully I’m also giving you some new options for drinks and food that you might not have considered.

So thank you again dear reader for following Foodalicious Follies and checking out my blog.  It all works so much better when we learn from each other about what’s cool and fun in the Triangle for food and eats!  And now, back to your regular program….





Nov 21 2014

First Take: Toast Cafe in Cary for Great Service and Sammiches!

Sign for the new Toast Cafe, Cary- Foodalicious Follies

Sign for the new Toast Cafe, Cary- Foodalicious Follies


Out in Waverly Place, activity and construction continues with the recent opening of Toast Cafe, the fifth location from a small chain of sandwich spots from the Carolinas.  With a nice patio to the side and large space inside, Toast Cafe was hopping with action during its opening week.  And here’s what makes Toast Cafe a bit special as a lunch option in Cary… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 18 2014

Media Giveaway: Free Pair of Tickets to 11/19 Final Fire Dinner- Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series!!



So some exciting news for readers of Foodalicious Follies!  I have two complimentary tickets courtesy of Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series for tomorrow night’s battle (11/19) pitting Fire on the Dock Champion Antoine Murray of Cape Fear Country Club in Wilmington, versus Fire on the Rock Champion Michelle Bailey of Season’s at Highland Lake! Chefs compete in an Iron Chef style competition complete with secret ingredient, winner advancing to the next round.  And you get to enjoy six wonderful courses and are part of the judging action as a diner, cool huh?

Details on the event below but it will be held in North Hills starting at 6pm.  I’ll be raffling off the tickets tomorrow afternoon and if you’d like to be part of the raffle please email me your contact information by 1pm.  Pretty easy, huh?  And if you don’t win, tickets are still available for the 11/20 Final Fire dinner on EventBrite. 

I plan on contacting the winner of the raffle for this pair of tickets at about 2pm tomorrow, the tickets will be sent online electronically!  Further details about the competition are available in the press release below.  Best of luck and hope to see the lucky winner at dinner tomorrow night…

Final Fire: Fire on the Dock Champion v. Fire on the Rock Champion

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 10:30 PM (EST)


Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel
4100 Main at North Hills Street
Raleigh, NC 27609



Enter the Raffle for the Pair of Tickets by emailing me your contact information by 11/19, 1pm EST!

Please send your name, email address and telephone number to for a random drawing…


Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series Announces Chef Brackets for Statewide Championship, Final Fire

Interactive Dinner Competition Returns to Raleigh for Championship Battles Nov. 19 to 22

Raleigh, North Carolina –  The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series, a tournament highlighting the best of the state’s food, agriculture and culinary talent, is gearing up for its Final Fire series in which five chefs from across North Carolina will battle it out to take home the statewide championship. Community members are invited to attend the tournament’s four live dinner events, savoring the six-course meal and serving as judges, from Nov. 19 to 22 in Raleigh.

The five competing chefs won their regional series to move on to earn a place at Final Fire. It’s all part of the 2014 Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series, a single-elimination, Iron Chef-style challenge between local chefs across North Carolina. Regional series included Wilmington, Asheville, Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte, with eight to 16 talented chefs competing in each tournament.

The five winning chefs, representing some of the best North Carolina culinary talent, recently drew knives to determine the championship bracket for the upcoming Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series Final Fire, which is scheduled as follows:

  • Nov. 19 Dinner: Fire on the Dock Champion Antoine Murray of Cape Fear Country Club in Wilmington, versus Fire on the Rock Champion Michelle Bailey of Season’s at Highland Lake in Flat Rock
  • Nov. 20 Dinner: Fire in the City Champion Jon Fortes of Mimosa Grill in Charlotte, versus Nov. 19 winner
  • Nov. 21 Dinner: Fire in the Triad Champion Tim Thompson of Marisol Restaurant in Greensboro, versus Fire in the Triangle Champion Dean Thompson of Flights in Raleigh
  • Nov. 22 Championship Dinner: Nov. 20 winner, versus Nov. 21 winner

Along with bragging rights, at stake in the Final Fire series is a grand prize of $4,000 cash, two handmade chef knives by Ironman Forge and a trip to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, California, compliments of Kikkoman and the Pro Chef Program.

In each of the Final Fire dinner battles, just as each dinner throughout the year-long Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series, two participating chefs each prepare three courses centered on a secret or featured ingredient that comes from a North Carolina farmer or artisan producer. Featured ingredients are revealed to the chefs only an hour before they start cooking that day and must be used in each course.

At the dinner events, ticketed guests get in on the action, savoring the combined six courses without knowing which chef prepared each plate. Alongside culinary and guest judges, diners rate each dish using an interactive app, ultimately determining who moves on to the next round and who goes home.

“North Carolinians are really getting into these interactive events; we’ve had such an amazing response from fans across the state,” said Jimmy Crippen, Competition Dining Series founder and host. “With the level of talent competing, the four Final Fire dinner battles are sure to be extremely competitive and entertaining for everyone in attendance. It’s the culmination of the fun, creativity and talent we’ve seen throughout the year!”

All Final Fire events are held at Renaissance North Hills Raleigh, located at 4100 Main at North Hills Street. Tickets to attend the first three battles are $129 each excluding beverage, tax and tip. Tickets for the final championship battle are $139 each excluding beverage, tax and tip. Learn more at

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