I have a new part-time gig! I am now a tour guide for a company called Taste Carolina. Based in the Triangle, recently expanded to Winston-Salem and Greensboro, we do walking culinary tours of the prospective cities.
On the tour, you get to meet chefs and owners of five to eight different restaurants, eat food prepared specially for YOU and learn each stop’s story with historical tidbits about the city along the way.
Every Saturday, rain or shine, the tours go on. Greensboro tours started April 30 and Winston-Salem tours started May 21. There are two Winston tours, to fit in all of the farm-to-table goodness that encompasses downtown Winston-Salem and adjoining neighborhood, West End.
My first introduction to Taste Carolina was Durham. When you think of Durham, you don’t think “Food Capitol of the World!” but this city is transforming itself into a foodie destination, not unlike many of the Triangle’s counterparts (ie. Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough).
We started the tour with muffins from Scratch, headed to Piedmont for a sample made with house-made creme fraiche and brioche, popsicles from Loco Pops, crostinis from Toast (where we ran into my mom! Ha!), grilled pimiento cheese sandwich fingers from Parker & Otis, more grilled cheese from Rue Cler with a sampling of wine, and last--we enjoyed a sampling of beer and plates of fried pickle chips from Tyler’s Taproom. All the while, our tour guide filled in historical blanks about Durham with tales about tobacco, warring families, and industrialism that attracted populations to the piedmont area.
|The chef at Piedmont was suffering from laryngitis and didn't stay with us long but the sample was delicious.|
|My chocolate-toffee-fig frozen pop. We visited the "World Headquarters" and the owner, Summer, came out to talk to us|
|Loco Pops headquarters: Where all the magic is made|
|The back entrance to Parker & Otis. I didn't think to photograph my sample of pimiento cheese, but I liked the ironwork of the entrance.|
|Even though Durham is no longer a tobacco center of the state, many structures still stand today.|
I’ve been training for this new gig for a month now and even though I am confident I will do an excellent job (talking, eating, and showing off the city! OMG! I was BORN to do this!) I am a little nervous I will leave things out or not be able to answer a question asked of me. This is the same feeling I get right before I teach a class at Best Health. My nerves make me tremble and my heart beats fast from the adrenaline coursing through my veins. But when I open my mouth to pronounce the first syllable, all fear and doubt exit with it. I always knock each class out of the park and I need to remember that I will do the same with these tours!