Indy Week: Best Kitchen Store of the Triangle 2015

by Kitchenworks11. June 2015 18:09


We've won! Thanks to our customers and friends, Kitchenworks has been named Best Kitchen Store of the Triangle in Indy Week's Best of the Triangle 2015 poll. We're so thrilled to be a part of this community, and we're elated at having been recognized by the very folks we are here to serve!

Congratulations are also in store for our University Place companions: Cameron's (formerly of University Place), The Red Hen, Southern Season, Chapel Hill Toffee, Glee Kids, Chapel Hill Tire, Alfredo's Pizza Villa, and the Weathervane for their various accolades! 

Thank you so much to everyone who voted!

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Chapel Hill | Events | North Carolina

Best of the Triangle: We need your votes!

by Kitchenworks13. April 2015 08:45

Indy Week's annual Best of the Triangle poll is upon us, and this year features a new category: Best Kitchen Store!

Please take a moment and consider writing us in!

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Chapel Hill | Events | North Carolina

Dreaming of Picnics

by Kitchenworks7. April 2014 13:20

I don’t know from where in the States (or world) you are reading this, but it is finally looking like we will be getting some spring weather around here.

Today was a gorgeous day: bright sunshine, blue skies, and flowers blooming. As you could guess, today was the perfect day to be outside. Fortunately, here in Chapel Hill, we have a lot of outdoor spaces, and plenty of people to occupy them. Weaver Street (a local hotspot in Carrboro that is both a neighborhood-owned grocery and communal gathering space) was overflowing with people enjoying a perfect spring day. A beautiful patchwork of blankets were spread across the lawn covered with lounging people, homemade picnic food, store-bought snacks, and more than a few bottles of wine and cider. Some children and a few pets ran and played in the “avenues” in between. The pleasant hum of laughter and conversation was all the music necessary.

Of course the most packed places are the parks of Orange County. Here is where the children reign supreme. Parents sit back and watch their kids tumble over each other playing and laughing at the Community Center Park (just down the street from Kitchenworks). The large hill and an elaborate jungle gym transform into a colossal mountain and expansive castle for anyone under the age of six. The nearby flower garden and the gazebo become the perfect places to calm down with a juice box and some snacks (or to discuss the heavy issues of “tag” with the adults). The Wilson Community Park caters to a slightly older group of kids. Cobbled together on the diamond are some teenagers in a pick-up game of barely adversarial baseball. The tennis courts nearby have the same style of lazy play, crazy stunts, and continuous laughter.

On a day like today, you can’t take things too seriously. After the cold of winter, before the hot humidity of summer, these are the kind of days we North Carolinians celebrate. We long to be outside enjoying the sunshine and those of us that have to be indoors spend the day daydreaming at a window. We dream of bright warm afternoons spent lazing about in a park or on a patio enjoying friends and hopefully some amazing picnic-fare.

Soon the picnic season will be upon us and as everyone knows, the name of the game is finger foods. Orange wedges, beautiful berries, or bags of almonds are perfect easy choices to keep the focus on fun rather than food preparation. A fresh crusty bread, deli meats, and some of your favorite cheeses are a great easy combo for DIY mini sandwiches. And of course, a picnic isn't complete without a festive beverage, whether it's a bottle of wine or a pitcher of lemonade. 

Of course if you have the time, there are some amazing recipes out there for picnic food. Pasta salad, deviled eggs, and fruit salad are classic picnic fare that will satisfy most appetites. As for the main attraction, a good Club sandwich would be perfect. This recipe is taken from The Food Network in 2001 and is one of our favorites.


12 slices white bread

3/4 cup mayonnaise

8 romaine lettuce leaves

16 slices vine-ripened tomatoes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

16 slices crispy cooked bacon

16 ounces sliced roasted turkey

16 frill picks, or plastic cocktail swords



Toast the bread in a toaster, or under a broiler on both sides. Cut the lettuce leaves in half crosswise and form into 8 neat stacks.

To make a double-decker club:

  • On a clean work surface, arrange 3 bread slices in a row.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon mayonnaise over 1 side of each bread slice.
  • Place a lettuce stack on top of the first bread slice, top with 2 tomato slices, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Place 2 slices bacon over the tomatoes (broken to fit neatly if necessary) and top with 1/8 of the turkey (without letting any hang over the sides).
  • Season the turkey with salt and pepper, to taste. Repeat with the second bread slice.
  • Carefully place the second layered bread slice on top of the first layered bread, turkey side-up.
  • Cover with the third bread slice, mayonnaise side-down.

Pin the sandwich's layers together by piercing them with 4 frill picks or cocktail swords through the top bread slice, in 4 places in a diamond-like pattern, all the way to the bottom bread slice.Repeat entire process with the remaining ingredients to form 3 more sandwiches.

Using a serrated knife cut each sandwich, diagonally, into 4 triangular pieces (each piece should be secured in the center with a pick or sword). Serve with pickles.

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North Carolina | Recipes | Chapel Hill

Salt & Smoke

by Gia10. November 2013 21:02

Last weekend was one of those times that reminds me why living in North Carolina is one of the smartest decisions I've ever made. Salt & Smoke is a community pig and oyster roast. I heard about it from the folks at Acme, who put on the event with Core Sound Seafood and Rock Quarry Farm, which hosted the afternoon's revelries. The rest of the details read like a who's who of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro local food scene.

After checking in I headed to the bar, which featured Steel String Brewery on tap and wine curated by De Maison Selections. I decided a spanish red was best for wandering and headed over to the oyster pit.


Tending the fire under a bed of roasting oysters


I didn't garner an appreciation for oysters until college, so when I get to eat them, I feel compelled to make up for lost time. Shooting Point Oyster Company hauled 3000 oysters from their farm on Virginia's remote eastern shore and were roasting the first batch when I arrived. A grill the size of a twin bed sat beside the barn, covered with a pile of steaming oysters underneath a burlap sack. Company men stoked the fire and shoveled cooked oysters into basins for waiting shuckers. 

Checking the oysters (note shovel)


 My oyster experience up to this point has been a fairly privileged one - I've never had to shuck them myself. In anticipation of an afternoon of shucking, I stopped by Kitchenworks and picked up a Carolina Oyster Knife. We've carried these knives for years and customers ask for them by name, but I've never had an opportunity to try them out until today. 

 After throwing back at least a dozen (pre-shucked) raw oysters, and switching to a Big Mon IPA, I sidled up to the shucking tables and dug in. My first impression was congratulatory: a number of other shuckers were clutching Carolina Oyster Knives, and there were more scattered across the table. I patted myself on the back for at least dressing the part. Now came the moment of truth - admitting to the woman next to me that I had no idea what I was doing.

She waved off my trepidation and handed me an oyster. "You gotta find one that's smiling," she said, "Or smirking!" added her friend. "Find a seam, slide the blade along until you get inside the shell and twist to open." Seemed easy enough.

I soon learned how much of this technique is dependent upon picking the right oyster. After a few minutes digging into tight-lipped shells and cursing myself for coming without a glove or washcloth (those things were hot and sharp!) I learned to spot the smilers and fell into a nice rhythm.

The first thing I noticed about the oysters was that the shells were fairly thin. They chipped easily and felt light in my hand. I thought this could just be what happened when you roast oysters, but upon investigation, learned that this is one of the things that makes Shooting Point oysters special - the farmers 'tumble' them regularly to cull for shape and quality, which makes them more delicate and, ultimately, tastier.

I went to this event by myself because I couldn't convince anyone that an afternoon slurping oysters was one well-spent. 'They taste like boogers' was a common response among those surveyed and, really, who could blame them. Most oysters, even after they've been cooked, retain a kind of gelatinous structure that is hardly appetizing. I've eaten oysters from all over the world and, barring some differences in size and taste (mostly variations in sweetness and freshness), the texture is generally consistent.

Shooting Point Oysters are a whole other bivalve. I scolded myself between mouthfuls for not knowing about these sooner! Instead of a Dali-esque puddle, the oyster meat sat plump and bright inside the shell - even the raw ones - as if it had been waiting these past two years for just this moment. The meat was tender and perfectly cooked - a texture at the elusive sweet spot between jello and rubber, much like an expertly poached egg, that evokes the satisfaction of scallops or young octopus. These oysters are meant to be chewed, not just swallowed, which gives you ample time to find the pure sweetness underneath an expertly balanced layer of, what else, salt and smoke.

I lost track of time: transfixed by the seductive smoke and the regular cadence of tossed oyster shells. When I finally came up for air, I had finished most of my Big Mon, and it was time to switch proteins.

During my initial survey of the grounds I snuck a pre-chopped chunk of pork from under the dedicated gaze of Wyatt Dickson, the master behind The Pig Whistle, a whole-hog pork BBQ outfit dedicated to everything local and delicious. 

Wyatt pulling and talking pork with eager guests

I've eaten a lot of BBQ since I've moved here and, I must say, not all pork is created equal. There are only two local BBQ outfits I take yankees to when they visit (the barometer for my devotion) and, after Salt & Smoke, I am actively trying to determine how to gather enough people to justify bringing The Pig Whistle to my backyard. 

Wyatt encourages folks to come up and check out the meat, nab choice cuts, and talk pork with him. I lingered long enough to dip in for a check morsel. The meat was juicy, tender, and flavorful in a way that melts into your tongue - evidence of Wyatt's expertise at picking local, pasture-raised hogs, and smoking them to perfection.

After rinsing the salt off my fingers, I ambled up to the barn for a plate of pork, collards, cornbread, sweet potatoes and beans. I knew Acme was in charge of the sides, but a pig picking generally means the pork is the star of the show, so I had low expectations. The pork was chopped and bathed in sauce, which added a nice tang to balance the fat in the pork, but wasn't too briney that it overpowered the smokiness. The cornbread was peppery and moist. The collards were (of course) salty and smokey, but fresh and not at all oily. The beans were cooked but not mushy, sweet but not syrupy. The sweet potatoes were not-so-subtly packed with aromatics - like a holiday ale - that had everyone swooning. Lesson learned: never underestimate Acme.

After a few more rounds of oysters and beer, I finished the night beside the bonfire, contentedly breathing in the lingering smoke and watching the younger guests make castanets out of empty shells. It took a good 24 hours for the smoke smell to dissipate from my fingers, and I my palm is still healing from a few errant knife pokes, but I'm keeping my Carolina Oyster Knife, and I'm ready for next year.

The bonfire action post-gorge


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