Keeping it local with The Blend & Co.

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When it comes to supporting local businesses, I’m one of the first to stand up and show my support.  Recently, a 

little coffee shop opened up in our historic downtown area of Burlington, NC.  I had been trying to get there since they opened, but hadn’t been able to until this morning.  Lucky for me, I had company and there was a car show in town.  Two great reasons in my book of life!

As soon as you step through the door, you notice they have very charming decor and you immediately get a  

 sense of brightness when inside of The Blend & Co.  It feels very modern, clean, hipster, but yet still classy and Southern.  They have a room that is semi separated if you had larger parties or just wanted to join others at a  

  

 community table type seating area.  They also have a bar area to sit at and plenty of windows to enjoy the view of downtown.

I know that they get their coffee products from Fortuna Enterprises out of Greensboro, so they truly stick with a buy local feel.  It was indeed one of the best lattes I’ve ever enjoyed.  With that being said, I would highly recommend the Caramel Latte if you join them for a pick me up.  The blueberry muffin was also equally delicious and looked gorgeous.  You know as well as I know that you can never go wrong with a blueberry muffin for breakfast.

If ever in the downtown area, you should stop in and check them out.  The coffee is top notch, the decor is refreshing, and the service is outstanding.  It’s a can’t miss gem of downtown.

The Blend & Co. – 127 E Front Street, Burlington, NC

Transported: Destination, Stoney Knob Café in Asheville, NC

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To be “transported”: To be moved from your current location. To be “beamed up” by Scotty (oh wait, that’s teleportation). To have a different experience than you expected. To allow yourself to relax in your current environment and go with the flow. Just….to be.

Granted the above is all my wording, but you get the point I’m sure. We can transport ourselves by plane, train, or automobile to anywhere we choose on this beautiful Earth, or beyond even. We have choices a plenty. Along that road of transportation, as a Foodie, we have another choice to make…where do we eat? I make it a goal to NEVER eat at a chain restaurant when traveling out of town. Lucky for us (sometimes), we have pretty much any chain restaurant you can think of within about a thirty-minute drive from home. Side note***When I say “chain restaurant”, I mean more than two or three of the same restaurants. I wanted to be clear here, because we have some wonderful local restaurants that are doing so well, we are fortunate enough to have more than one of their restaurants around us as they grow. They still have that local, hometown flair (unlike some of the more popular chains)…which is important in my opinion.

Back to being transported…

While traveling, I have become quite fond of two Droid apps. One of which is Urbanspoon, and another is TripAdvisor. This time, I went with TripAdvisor. While glancing through their top-rated restaurants for Asheville, NC, I found Stoney Knob Café listed as number 6 out of 267 restaurants in Asheville! Number 6 isn’t half bad, I’d say! The funny part…Stoney Knob Café isn’t even in Asheville. *wink* It’s actually located in Weaverville, NC. Which, sure, it’s right there on the outskirts of Asheville…but, wouldn’t it be more fair to say it’s in Weaverville so Weaverville gets a little credit for having one of the most amazing restaurants around??? Not to mention another one we went to while in Asheville….it too was amazing, and in Weaverville. *smile*

We pulled up to Stoney Knob Café, located a bit away from the hustle and bustle of Asheville (which I loved, because you can only take so much “downtown” on vacation). We were immediately met with a “Diner” feel from the outside with an extra room added to each side. Should I mention I pulled a little close to the brick sign out front, so the hub had to shimmy out the door when he opened it…hehe. *mischievous smile*

When you walk into Stoney Knob Café, you are immediately met with color from top to bottom, right to left. It was absolutely breath-taking with all of the amazing details in the restaurant. I may have gotten a touch of ADD being in there with all of the elements to look at. You didn’t feel like you were in Asheville anymore (oh wait, you AREN’T!). Let me rephrase that…you didn’t feel like you were in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the middle of winter, surrounded by a lot of monotone, once you stepped over their threshold.

We had truly been transported…

It was unlike anywhere we had been before, and little did we know that the food was going to prove that fact. Sitting down, it was immediately realized how comfortable our booths were and how clean everything was. The coffee was ordered, and the Brunch menu was reviewed. With menu items like…

  • Blackberry Crepes – Two Crepes stuffed with Orange-Cream Cheese topped with Blackberry Sauce & Honey Cream with a choice of Bacon or Sausage.
  • Huevos Rancheros – Two crispy Corn Tortillas with scrambled Eggs, Guajillo–Chili Sauce, Black Beans & Cheddar Cheese. Served with choice of Grits, Polenta or Potato.
  • The Spinach Artichoke Frittata – Baked open-faced Frittata with Artichoke, Spinach, Onions & Feta Cheese.
  • Johnny D’s Breakfast Burrito – Scrambled Eggs, Tomato, Onions, Green Peppers, Mushrooms, Cheddar Cheese & choice of Ham, Bacon or Sausage wrapped in a Sun-dried Tomato Basil Tortilla served w/Salsa.

It wasn’t an easy decision to say the least. I went with the Stuffed French Toast – Two slices of Texas Toast stuffed with Orange-Cream Cheese topped with Blackberry Sauce & Honey Cream with a choice of Bacon or Sausage. The hub chose the Stoney Knob Benny – Two luscious Crab Cakes topped with poached Eggs & roasted Red Pepper Hollandaise Sauce with a choice of Grits, Polenta or Potatoes. For the record…I didn’t write the word “luscious” when describing the Crab Cakes. It was there already, and man oh man was it the truth!

The food…took the restaurant to a completely different level in our minds, as if the décor hadn’t already. The food was delivered with pure beauty, it tasted like pure bliss, and it left inspired smiles for the day of traveling ahead of us on our faces. The way the Blackberry Sauce dripped seductively off my fork tines as I tried to make the entire bite fit in my mouth just left you wanting the next bite even more. I know…it sounds like I was taking big bites, but come on…some of the bites need to have every single element of the dish on the fork, because there is a reason the genius Chefs put them on the plate together in such a perfect combination to begin with. Method to the madness, people. *smile* The Benny…oh the Benny! Back to that word “luscious” and the word’s relation to their Crab Cakes…they aren’t lying to you. They were amazingly luscious. You also know how much I adore a perfectly poached egg (maybe because I leave it to the professionals and don’t make them at home). Everything about both of these dishes was pure perfection, from the “pop” of the poached egg to the Honey Cream to the Red Pepper Hollandaise Sauce. I wish I could order this every morning for breakfast.

Plates were cleaned as if a hungry pup had enjoyed the remainder of the nibbles. Coffee cups were drained empty, good to the last drop as they say. This all signified that the transportation we had just experienced was coming to an end. The time came to journey back over the threshold of which we had crossed earlier, from our blissful transportation to a peaceful world with delightful food and on down the currently monotone mountains and back to our equally monotone piedmont area.

As we took a peak at the rest of the restaurant rooms (the additions previously mentioned), sighed in amazement, and headed back to our own mode of transportation home, we resolved ourselves to the fact that we could only get this experience in one city…Weaverville, NC. Thank you, Weaverville, for offering us a meal we will certainly never forget.

Stoney Knob Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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More Bacon Please! Bacon Biscuit Muffins

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Confused? Yeah…me too. But, I couldn’t find a better name for these little guys. I posted very recently about the BEC Pockets, and the day before I had made these Bacon Biscuit Muffins. Don’t worry, I don’t eat like this normally. It sure is nice though to get up on the weekend and have time to actually prepare and cook a warm breakfast. The humdrum 5am buzzer and lucky to grab a pack of oatmeal workday mornings are gruesome. Nothing better than getting to cook in my opinion. *huge smiles*

I believe I have posted about these previously. Honestly though, I just want to drive home the point that it is so easy to get creative with breakfast. We get so tied down to processed “crap” for breakfast on our busy work mornings that we forget about the other options. Sure, you can make this healthier and all…but the point still stands. Simple, homemade, and warm in the morning is good for the breakfast soul.

Bacon Biscuit Muffins

  • 1 can refrigerated biscuits
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheese (your choice of cheese) + a little extra
  • 6 pieces of bacon (more or less, this is 1 pc per jumbo muffin)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Spray muffin tin with baking spray. I used a jumbo muffin tin.
  2. Put one biscuit in each muffin hole.
  3. Next, cook bacon to desired doneness. I preferred crispy since it was going to be mixed with the eggs. It would hold it’s own better in the mix.
  4. Add the eggs, onions, salt and pepper to the skillet with the bacon and cook until the eggs are soft set (just before the doneness of how you would serve them).
  5. Stir in cheese, and spoon the mixture evenly amongst each biscuit.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. You are looking for the biscuit to have risen and the edges to be golden brown if you can see the edges.
  7. About 5 minutes before being done, sprinkle the extra cheese on top of each one to have a melty golden topping. *smiles*
  8. Finish baking and serve with your favorite cup of coffee! Enjoy!

***Adapt this recipe for more people by increasing the ingredients. I have faith in you…eyeball it. *wink*

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Product Recommendation: Caribou Coffee–Amy’s Blend

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It’s no secret to those that know me.  I absolutely adore a good cup of coffee.  It has to have just the right flavor blend, and it can’t be any of that weak stuff either.  I need to taste it, feel it, and smell it brewing.  With this out of the way…I have found a new top-three coffee, folks.

Caribou Coffee – Amy’s Blend

Not only is their slogan perfection on it’s own…”Life is short. Stay awake for it.”  But, this blend in particular is quite warming to the body and soul.  On the back it reads…

“About Amy: Amy Erickson, our beloved Roastmaster, loved life, laughter, tulips and, of course, coffee.  In fact, the craft-roasting standards she established still make our coffee what it is today.  When Amy began her fight with breast cancer, we created Amy’s Blend to help with her medical bills.  We now bring this special blend back yearly in memory of Amy – and to help find a cure.  Here’s to Amy.”

In fact people, one dollar of each bag of this particular blend sold goes to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  Why wouldn’t you want to support a wonderful product, supporting a wonderful cause?  Breast cancer isn’t something to be taken lightly.  It affects both women and men.  My prayers to all that have been touched by this. 

Although, we hate to see our loved ones affected by such awful cancers as this one, if they do lose their battle, we are fortunate enough to rest in the peace and faith that they have become angels to remain with us always…..Here’s to Amy…

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Grocery store brand coffee isn’t always bad…

Coffee Recommendation

We  found a great grocery store coffee…FreshSmart.  You can find this at Lowe’s Foods.  We have found we like the Coffee House Blend.  A little strong, but not too strong, and it goes perfect with hazelnut creamer (which I can’t live without).  They have a lot of other blends as well.  The package is pictured below.  It has quite the pretty package…