Recently, I was invited to attend the "Taste of the Town" event in the nearby town of Garner. While there were no Scotty McCreery themed menu items (think about it Garner!), there was a new Scotty McCreery music video premier and an auction for a giant Scotty billboard at the event, so I was not unsatisfied in that regard or any other. I have several close friends who live in Garner but regularly head to Raleigh to satiate their foodie cravings, so I was eager to see what was available in their neck of the woods. In addition to such Garner staples as Bojangles, Ragazzi's Italian, Tripps, Logans, McDonald's, Cheesecakes Plus, and Chick-fil-a, I was excited to sample the tasty offerings of locally owned and operated establishments like Tookie's Grill, Terra Fin, Aversboro Restaurant and Sports Bar, and Aversboro Coffee.
Two of my favorite samples for the evening were provided by local catering companies Alaksha's Custom Catering and Unforgettable Food Affairs. I took a breather from my vegetarian leanings to sample a few select meaty delights, and was glad I did! The butter chicken with vegetables and rice cooked up by Chef Alaksha Surti of Alaksha Custom Catering was a true highlight. The butter chicken was fall apart tender in a fragrant mild sauce of creamy tomato and well balanced spices. The rice was perfectly cooked, and having lived in Asia and eaten rice every day I feel that I can make that statement on decent authority. Alaksha's Custom Catering provides office catering and even family dinners, all out of the personal chef's own kitchen. I wish she had a restaurant! An entree for four can be whipped up by your personal chef for anywhere from $24 to $36 dollars. You can visit her website at http://www.alakshascustomcatering.com/.
My second favorite tasting of the evening was also compliments of a catering company. Unforgettable Food Affairs put out a lovely spread with an equally lovely table scape. (Anyone getting married?) They offered an assortment of cheese spreads, and dips, crudites, chicken salad and my absolute favorite...an AMARETTO FRUIT DIP. I could have eaten it by the bowlful...and in fact I did get seconds. Find out more about catering from Unforgettable Food Affairs from http://www.raleighcatering.com/
The next delicious highlight that was truly worth remarking upon, was a sampling provided by Tookie's Grill. While apparently known for their chicken salad, it was their homemade Pimento cheese with a delicious spicy kick that I found to be their most noteworthy item. And with a price of $4.25 for a pimento cheese sandwich, it's a price that can scarcely be beat.
I'm a coffee junkie always looking for my next fix, so I like to know where my options are for wherever I may wind up in the surrounding area. I had heard that there weren't any coffee shops in Garner that didn't come with a heaping helping of religion. (I get enough of that when I visit my parents.) Don't get me wrong, I take no issue with religion (my dad is a minister,) but I prefer my coffee to be dark as sin. So I was so pleased to see (and taste!) Aversboro Coffee. It comforted me to receive my coffee from a kohl lined barista who might fit in at any Seattle punk rock coffee shop. Those are the people I trust for a good coffee after all! Aversboro brings in freshly roasted beans every two days from their close friends at Cup-A-Joe in Raleigh.
The friendly owner of the local Aversboro Restaurant and Sports Bar informed me that their casual public house and bar food establishment is like a family friendly "Cheers." I'll be sure to pass their existence along to my Garner friends always looking for a new watering hole. Plus..you can get your fries ON your burger there!
FYI, while I have no idea which of these places Scotty McCreery frequents, certainly he would have tasted some of these hometown favorites.