Those were the days, my friend!

Love the song by Mary Hopkins, however, the picture she paints is a bit drearier than the one we experienced at a little tavern called Northside Bistro & Cocktails here in Raleigh, NC for our Team Calloway Dinner. The little bistro was pleasantly lit yet dim enough to convey a personal space for our team even though we were tabled on the floor. The food was simply fabulous, no way to describe it if you get a chance to attend one of their special pairing nights, do go!

The night we attended was “Cantina Reno Wine Dinner” with the culinary masterpieces of Chef John Scarangella paired with the premier wines of Cantina Roeno Vineyards from Brentino Belluno, Italy. The chef’s menu was flawlessly harmonized with each wine, the flavors impeccably augmenting each other to the delighted enjoyment of everyone at the table. I did not get that full experience, being a confirmed old water drinker, but I did experience the wonderful artistry of Chef Scarangella on a different level…

Each course was beautifully crafted for the meat-lover which presented a concern for me as I am a veggie-lover. The day of the dinner I was able to reach the restaurant and told them of my predilection, closing with “making simple salads, even repeating the Peaches and Greens, would be fine for me.” The young lady assured me she would speak with Chef Scarangella.

That night I experienced true culinary art. Chef Scarangella served extraordinary vegetarian dishes, each one a pair with my co-workers’ delicious plates while delivering a vegetarian twist to the experience. They were perfectly balanced vegetables, never overdoing the pasta as most restaurants are prone to do, instead offering a palate that challenged the most delicious of his meat-centered dishes. Each vegetarian dish was delightfully seasoned, full of tongue-rapturous flavor, and primally fulfilling. Not once did I gaze at my dinner companions’ plates wishing I could eat meat as I have so often before at dinners. Instead, I was a little girl at Christmas, savoring every bite and anticipating the next course, which culminated with an Asian dish of delight artistically served with chopsticks!

I was not alone in my pleasure as all of us were enjoying this level of delight, with and for each other, so that by the end of the evening, over our exquisite spumoni paired with Northside Expresso martinis (water for me), we were sharing our newly made memories, reliving the tastes and surprises. Just to make the evening even more enjoyable, none of us felt like we ate too much – the portions were appropriately sized, while being absolutely satisfying.
So, in the case of our “once upon a time”, the little tavern where we gathered, Northside Bistro & Cocktails, will always be a bright enjoyable memory of laughter and comradery mingling with the enchanting flavors of a talented chef who creates extraordinary epicurean dishes.

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Calloway & Associates, Inc.

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