Food Friday Feature: The Fiction Kitchen – Raleigh, NC

By Megan Vick

 

On Thursday, July 24, Matt and I made time to treat ourselves to dinner – a fancy dinner. Despite the encroaching rain, we headed to beautiful downtown Raleigh to the all-vegan restaurant, The Fiction Kitchen. The Fiction Kitchen opened a couple of years ago and we went shortly after it opened. It was great back then, but we lived about a 40 minute drive away. Now, we’re a quick 10 minutes from the restaurant – and believe me, we’ll be there a lot more often.

 

We were greeted and seated right away and we had water on the table before I could blink my eyes. After much debating about what we would have, we decided to get the vegan tasting plate as an appetizer and some house-made root beer. Then, Matt ordered the chicken and waffles while I ordered the evening’s special, the tomato pie.

 

Tasting Plate: local crackers, spiced pecans, blueberries, peach jam, smoked cashew cream, tempeh pate, and cashew cream.

Tasting Plate: local crackers, spiced pecans, blueberries, peach jam, smoked cashew cream, tempeh pate, and cashew cream.

 

Let’s talk about this tasting plate for a minute… wait, sorry… I’m drooling. Anyway, the smoked cashew cream was maybe the greatest thing I’ve ever had. Matt and I had a great time mixing and matching different combinations. The tempeh pate with the smoked cashew cream was exquisite and the cashew cream with a little peach jam topped with spiced pecans was divine. We even ordered extra crackers so we could savor the cashew cream combinations and before our wonderfully attentive waitress took our plate, she let me scrape up the extra goodness with my finger. Oh yeah, I was that girl. Poor Matt – he just can’t take me anywhere.

 

Vegan Food

Matt’s Chicken & Waffle

 

What you’re seeing there is The Fiction Kitchen’s house made “chicken” breaded and fried better than the Colonel himself could do it. He’s also got a light and fluffy Belgian waffle under all that chicken along with blueberries and arugula. There were pros & cons with this dish. Pro: It was so good, Matt devoured it. Con: It was so good, Matt devoured it and I didn’t get any.

 

raleigh vegan food

Nightly Special – Farmers Market Tomato Pie with Fried Chicken

 

My picture of my meal did not do it justice. I didn’t turn on my flash because I didn’t want to disturb the other guests at the restaurant. I have an heirloom tomato pie with cashew creamed corn topped with fried chicken. The chicken was an additional suggestion by our waitress (did I mention how awesome she was? I think her name was Taylor…). Even though we already had an appetizer, I went for adding the vegan protein to the meal because why the hell not?! It’s North Carolina – how often do you get deliciously wonderful vegan fried chicken??

Not to mention, I had seen it coming out of the kitchen for several minutes while we ate our tasting plate and it looked so good, I couldn’t say no. I have no self-control when it comes to food. 

The tomato pie itself was delicious and the tomatoes were some of the sweetest I’ve ever had. It was quiche-like, minus the eggs, of course. And that cashew-creamed corn… Holy Southern-Style Vegan Food Batman! I could seriously eat that ALL.DAY.LONG. It was sweet and creamy, like creamed corn should be, but had a little bit of an extra kick to it too.

 

Vegan Food Raleigh

Vegan Peanut Butter Cheesecake with a Pretzel Crust

 

Ah yes, the piece de resistance – Vegan Peanut Butter Cheesecake. It’s so good, it deserves to have all the words capitalized. It was light and fluffy with a crisp, but not crispy, pretzel crust. Best of all, it was topped with soy whip. Matt suggested we share a piece and I (reluctantly) agreed. I was ridiculously full, so I am glad we shared the cheesecake. Despite the sharing, I still want to cradle the cheesecake in my arms and whisper, “My Precious,” over and over. Because it was that good.

 

Long story short – go to The Fiction Kitchen in Raleigh. If you’re a local – visit often! If you’re not a local, make time to grab some food during your visit. And if you’re travelling alone – let me know because Matt & I won’t even hesitate to join you.

 

Thanks to The Fiction Kitchen for being awesome and letting us linger in the restaurant for damn near 3 hours while we ate, talked, laughed, took pictures of food, ate some more, and drank the best root beer ever. Y’all rock. ❤

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Vegan Desserts on the OBX

By Megan Vick

I interviewed Sara, vegan, mom, and owner-extraordinaire of Kind Confections, a vegan cupcake business on the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina. EVERYBODY needs to try her cupcakes because they are all delicious. The Peanut Butter Cupcakes are indescribably yummy.

Vegan Cupcakes - Kind Confections

Would you believe these are 100% vegan! YUM! (Photo courtesy of Kind Confections)

How did Kind Confections begin? 
Kind Confections: KC was born from my desire to help show people there a kinder way to eat. When people think about Vegan, some assume it’s not a very tasty lifestyle. I want to change that stigma. I want to show people Vegan desserts are just as delicious as traditionally made desserts, if not better!

 

Desserts are usually thought of as tasty, but unhealthy. How are you trying to change that?

KC: A dessert is a dessert no matter how you slice it. We like to say if you’re going to treat yourself to a dessert, a vegan dessert is the way to do it! Our vegan desserts still have calories and sugar, but the reason we can say our desserts are more healthy than a traditionally made dessert are because of the ingredients we use. We use many organic, non-GMO, non-hydrogenated, fresh, pure, and natural ingredients. We also never use any animal products, (This makes them cruelty free and cholesterol free!), no artificial colors, or chemical food dyes either. People ask us why we only bake in “mini” sized, we feel like a small cupcake is the perfect size for a treat! (Even if you end up having 2!) It keeps things balanced and in line with healthy portion sizes.

 

What other vegan establishments would you recommend on the Outer Banks?
KC: Of course we highly recommend Zen Pops! They are the most amazing cool treats we’ve eaten, and believe us we’ve tried a LOT! We love Bad Bean for their tofu tacos and we’ve found most restaurants here on the beach will gladly work with you. This is a question we get asked a lot, we are currently in the process of adding a web page to our site with our recommendations. Stay tuned for that!

 

Any other favorite vegan/healthy brands (clothing, personal care, shoes, etc)?
KC: We definitely wouldn’t say this if we didn’t mean it but, we love Shorganics! All of the products are amazing and safe and Vegan! We are HUGE Shorganics lip balm lovers, HUGE.

 

What is the overall philosophy of your business?
KC: As I mentioned above, we just want to break down the misconception that vegan = yucky, weird, not delicious, etc. If we can show you that vegan desserts are delicious perhaps minds will be open to trying other vegan fare. Or even vegetarian, or even just doing a Meatless Monday every week. We know living a vegan lifestyle is not for everybody, but every day we are all faced with choices to make that effect our planet and the beings that live on it. If we can all make a kinder choice here and there it will all add up and really make a big difference!

 

 

Where can we find your delicious treats?
KC: At the Zen Pop shop! You can also scope the Kind Confections website for other locations and you can always order directly from us all year round.

 

Any upcoming plans?
Stay tuned to our website and LIKE our Facebook Page. You can also follow us on Twitter to keep up with all Kind Confection news and upcoming plans!  We also have a Pinterest, we Pin every day!

North Carolina- A New Place for Vegans!

By Megan Vick

With an increase in people, including celebrities, “going vegan,” more and more businesses are beginning to address this niche. Of course, the mecca for veganism has been southern California, but now, it seems to be growing by leaps and bounds nationwide! Vegan restaurants are popping up in all 50 states, with an increasing number of veg restaurants in North Carolina. From Murphy to Manteo, veganism is growing in NC thanks to more public information from documentaries, celebrities, and transplants from other states.

 

Asheville has one of the best, most pronounced vegan communities by far. With several restaurants in downtown offering vegan fare (and a lot of it), veganism isn’t some weird fad, it’s a welcomed lifestyle choice. From vegan handbags and shoes to vegan food, Asheville’s veg community is growing and thriving.

 

Charlotte has (from what I hear) another thriving vegan community. I haven’t been to the Queen City in about 20 years, but the website Queen City Vegan, has restaurants, markets, and stores for veg-heads in and around Charlotte.

 

The Triangle has had a huge increase in veg-friendly restaurants in just the 3 years I’ve lived here. Not to mention nearly every restaurant has a vegetarian friendly meal (or can make one to order).  I’ve been to numerous restaurants where I can sub out the meat for sauteed mushrooms! It’s always delicious! Some great restaurants in the area include The Remedy, Mellow Mushroom, and Sage Vegetarian Café. With cool places like Harmony Farms and the Carrboro Farmers Market, you’ll never be short somewhere to shop for vegan and organic goodies.

 

Wilmington is another city I haven’t seen in 7 years or so, but I hear some fantastic things from the vegan community. Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn (and Flaming Amy’s Bowl) can fix you something right nice if you’re vegan. Also, be sure to check out Nick’s Diner on Front Street. They have a separate vegetarian menu and have a few vegan dishes too.

 

The Outer Banks is also creeping up in the world of veganism. With places like Zen Pops, Kind Confections Vegan Bakery, and Bad Bean OBX, you’ll have everything you need for a vacation! Other restaurants, like Tortuga’s Lie, Lafogata, and Café Lachine may also have something for you. One of my favorite restaurants, The Brine and Bottle, has even been making a few vegetarian dishes, like butternut squash gnocchi. Call ahead for this restaurant though; they book up quickly and their menu changes frequently.

 

What other restaurants in North Carolina give you southern hospitality and vegan cuisine? Share some of your favorites with us!

 

8 Tips for Outer Banks Vacationers

By Megan Vick

Even with the rocky economy, tourists are still flocking to the beaches of the Outer Banks.  Locals both love and hate the summer.  Summer brings people (and by people, I mean money), which is loved, but summer also brings people (and by people, I mean idiots), which is not so loved.  As a native “OBXer,” here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a “touron,” an affectionate name given to tourists by locals when they are acting like morons (tourist + moron = touron- we are a clever bunch).

1. Let’s talk about driving

Driving is the biggest issue OBX locals have with tourists.  We understand you are in unfamiliar territory and, let’s face it; you can’t exactly go around the block on a strip of sand if you miss your turn.  That being said, there is so much traffic in the summer, the only way to get anywhere is to use that center turn lane as much as you can (just don’t drive in it).  When you need to make a left turn onto Highway 158 without a traffic light, pull into the center turn lane to make your move into traffic.  Otherwise, you’ll be hard pressed to get anywhere.

Also, it’s 2012.  With GPS built into your car, your phone, and your tablet, locals have very little tolerance for those who don’t know where they’re going.  You can always print directions from Google Maps.

2. We live here year-round

Yes, we live here year-round.  Yes, we think it’s pretty cool.  But when summer is over, winter is impressively boring on the Outer Banks.  Very few restaurants are open and going to the beach is out of the question.  We have jobs (sometimes 2 or 3) and take the kids to dance class – just like your life.

3. The beach is not a trash bin

While it is difficult to keep trash bins on the beach due to wind, all we ask is that you plan ahead.  Bring an extra baggie for the family to dispose of lunch waste, cigarette butts, and beer bottles/cans.  We know you drink on the beach (we do too!), just please help keep the beaches clean.  No one wants their toddler to pick up your empty beer bottle to put on a sand castle.

4. Love the locals and we’ll love you

It’s that easy.  If you ask a question, listen to the answer.  If you like the service, leave a tip.  If someone smiles at you, smile back.  We’re here to help you, and we are far more likely to comp your appetizer, or tell you that cool little local place where they have the best peel-and-eat shrimp on the OBX.  A little love goes a long way.

5. Don’t eat seafood from a buffet

What? Don’t eat seafood from a buffet?  That’s right- it’s nasty.  Seafood can be found at nearly every restaurant on the OBX and it is super fresh.  Why would you want to waste a lot of money on a breeding ground for bacteria?  Seafood was never meant to mixed with those awful heating lamps and I can’t tell you how many vacations have been ruined because of shrimp on a buffet.  Save yourself (and your family) the trouble and have your seafood cooked to order.

6. That’s not how you say it

Ah, pronunciation.  We will rarely correct a tourist who mispronounces a word, mainly because it’s always funny to hear it.  Here are some commonly mispronounced words along the Outer Banks:

Corolla– It’s not like the car.  It is said “Cah-rahl-ah.”

Rodanthe– Luckily, Nicholas Sparks helped us here and it is not nearly as butchered now.  It is said “Ro-danth-ee.”

Wanchese– Named for the Native American chief. It is said, “Wan-cheez.”

Manteo– Another Native American chief.  It is said “Man-tee-oh.”  Locals say, “Man-ee-oh”

Chicamacomico– This one isn’t too bad, just intimidating. It is said, “Chick-ah-ma-com-eh-co.”  Tell the kids to say that five times fast.

7. Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes.

Weather really does change that quickly on the OBX.  Although, to avoid an afternoon shower, we always recommend hitting the beach in the morning and early afternoon.  When it rains, go shopping!

8. No, acting like a pirate never gets old.

Seriously.  We think it’s pretty awesome.

Check out our upcoming series of posts on the Outer Banks, including Best Restaurants, Favorite Attractions, and Best Shopping!