Day 108–A Locavore’s Brunch–Lucky 32

So, I am still thinking about the issue of whether or not local food can be truly accessible. After my last dining out experience, I wasn’t too sure, but we ventured out for a post-5K brunch at Lucky 32 in Cary, and I’m feeling better about it. Lucky 32 has undergone somewhat of a revolution in the past few years. The food has always been good, with a southern emphasis and cool, but family friendly vibe. Over the past 3-4 years, the restaurant rebranded itself as “Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen” and began a Farm to Fork journey that included developing relationships with local meat producers, vegetable farmers, cheese makers and even brewmasters. They are one of the few restaurants in Cary that features a menu of mostly local food.

So, we entered our brunch experience wondering how much our “experience” was going to cost us. Looking over the menu, most of the entrees are in the $6-$10 range, which is pretty good for our area. I quickly honed in on a dish of Carolina Pulled Pork Hash, featuring pulled smoked pork, homefried hash browns, sharp white cheddar plus two eggs scrambled, toast and a spicy sauce called Whistle Pig sauce. The whole thing was $8. When our server approached the table, I asked “Where does your pork source from?” Without batting an eyelash, she said “Mae Farm in Louisburg.” SOLD! Mae Farm is one of our favorite pork producers AND she knew the answer without having to go check with someone. I love her. Tom had the local farm egg omelet with ham, cheese and local grits. Plus we had awesome corn cakes. And when we ate all those, they brought more. Apparently, I carbo-load AFTER a race 🙂

We noticed that the menu has a list of some of the restaurant’s farm partners and a brief description of them, which is nice, and they also sell fresh vegetables at little farm carts around the restaurant. Not sure how successful that is, but it is cute and reminds you that you are not just eating food on a plate, you are supporting a local farmer.

So all total, our brunch came to $18 for the two of us. That is right–$18. That is only $4 more than the one hamburger I had the other night and my brunch was absolutely delicious and almost more than I could eat. Almost.

We decided that this was the best locavore bargain we have had recently. Very good food, not pretentious and served in a friendly atmosphere. If you’re in Cary (or Greensboro), check out Lucky 32 for brunch. Eat local, eat yummy, and don’t break the piggy bank 🙂

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Day 42–A Locavore’s Lunch–Market Restaurant

The Market Restaurant provides fresh, organic, locally produced food!

I work with some really awesome people who, thankfully for me, seem to “get” me. For my birthday, they gave me a generous gift card to a restaurant in Raleigh called Market. Market serves primarily locally grown, seasonal food and locally produced, pasture-raised, pasture-fed meat. How did I not know about this place??? So on my birthday yesterday, my husband and I walked to lunch at Market and enjoyed a very healthy and delicious lunch!

Market is located in Raleigh on the north end of Blount Street (for you Raleigh natives, it’s down near the Pilot Mill Building, where Halifax Court used to be). In a converted service station, Market is on the small side, with about 15 tables inside and a few more on the patio. Lunch begins at 11:30 and when we arrived at 11:20, there were already people waiting to get in. By the time we left at about 12:15, it was full, so get there early! They also serve dinner and sometimes Sunday brunch.

The menu clearly articulates the mission statement of Market and lists their local producers (yay!!). Was glad to see our favorite Mae Farm listed! Since Fridays feature $5 Friday specials, we both had the specials and I had a house salad, which was very fresh and probably the best salad I’ve had in a while. I had the vegan 3 bean chili special, which was a thick, spicy chili served over jasmine rice. On a chilly winter day, it was perfect. My husband had the pulled pork sandwich with apple/cabbage slaw and he really liked it, although he didn’t like the pickled onions served on the sandwich (easy fix, scrape them off and move on). Other specials included rockfish tacos and risotto with mushrooms and squash. Other entrees included fried duck salad and a variation of pupusas.

When we left, we felt full, but not stuffed, which was nice. The portions are satisfying, but not overly huge. Would love to try their brunch sometime. The staff regularly post specials and events to their Facebook page and Twitter, so it’s easy to keep up with the menu.

I hope Market is just the beginning of socially conscious dining in Raleigh. They certainly prove that you can be organic, sustainable and local and still have really yummy food!