Apr 5, 2014
Jim Benson

Slow cooking – The Register

In December, Ken Fuller closed up shop at BBQ King, the food cart where he has served up Southern-style cuisine with his signature grin for nearly 35 years in various Eugene locations.

Although he normally takes a break during the winter months, he said, this time he was shutting the grill down for good.

“I was done,” Fuller, 66, said. “I was tired of doing it.”

But on the day he shut down he made it only a couple blocks from the cart before something else caught his eye — Big Town Hero, just west down 18th Avenue from the spot where he had parked his cart for the past nine years, had closed.

“I looked in the window, and this place was empty,” he said.

Fifteen days later, he had the keys in his hand and a lot more than barbecued chicken on his plate.

Now, for the first time in 35 years of barbecue cooking, Fuller will have a restaurant. BBQ King will open this spring on the southwest corner of 18th Avenue and Willamette Street.

Fuller will be shifting into more of a management role with the move, although he will continue to do some cooking, Fuller said. But largely, he will be supervise a small staff that will help him continue to dish up his signature barbecue, and he says he will continue to serve the barbecue entrees that were popular in his cart .

And while the 2,008-square-foot venue comes with its own set of challenges — up to $75,000 in remodeling costs, which he will pay for with a combination of savings and a loan; $3,000 rent a month and a team of employees to train and oversee — Fuller is looking forward to the conveniences he couldn’t quite achieve in a food cart. Those include storage space and a warm place to cook year-round.

“I’m ready to rock and roll,” he said. “I’m ready to get back into it.”

For Fuller, the journey from food cart to barbecue shop has been a winding one that required a heavy serving of what he calls “stick-to-itiveness.”

When he was laid off from his position as a job developer for the state Employment Department, he gathered up a few honey barrels to use as barbecue pits and took to the streets. His headquarters: a 1963 Ford Econoline van, from which he ran a business based on the Southern cooking he’d grown up with.

In his early years selling pulled pork, fried chicken and ribs in downtown Eugene, he said he was one of the few, if not only, mobile vendor in the area. He said he flew under the radar initially by moving the van around frequently, since he was in violation of public health ordinances that required him to cook from a licensed mobile unit rather than the barrels.

He was known in those days as “Bootleg Barbecue,” he jokes, adding that he has long since become a licensed mobile vendor.

Reining in the renegade

Fuller said he was invited to set up his cart at local woods products mills for nearly a decade — including Georgia-Pacific, Lane Plywood, Trus Joist and Weyerhaeuser — and he made good money doing it. But he saw business dwindle as many of the mills shut down.

Once he gained a vendor’s license, he said he frequented local festivals such as the Junction City Scandinavian Festival, the Lane County Fair and the Associated Students of the University of Oregon Street Faire on campus.

His most recent location, on 18th Avenue near the university, came as the result of an agreement with Safeway. The grocery chain owned the land where he parked, and it was a location that allowed him to connect with students, who ordered his food.

“Education is my thing,” he said. As a University of Oregon alumnus, he tries to make sure his student customers are keeping up in school, he said.

“Some people come by just to kick it with me,” he added.

Fuller’s new restaurant, which will seat about 32, will allow customers to kick it comfortably, with a roof over their head. Fuller already has hung jazz-influenced paintings on the wall and said he plans to add a piano in one corner.

Fuller plans to kick the menu up a notch, too, he said, eventually adding other dishes from his childhood in Texas and Los Angeles, such as collard greens, red beans and rice, fried chicken and catfish, and sweet potato pie.

He’s still finalizing the restaurant’s menu, but he estimates a chicken sandwich might cost about $7.50 at the new restaurant and a whole slab of ribs might run around $22, numbers that are similar to his food cart prices.

With a restaurant of his own in his sights, Fuller says retirement doesn’t sound nearly as appetizing as continuing to do the work that he loves.

“You’ve got to figure out if you want to sit on the couch and become a TV junkie and just get fat — I don’t want to do that,” he said. “I want to stay vibrant.”

“Until I can’t do it any more, I’m going to do it.”

Follow Kelsey on Twitter @kelseythalhofer . Email kelsey.thalhofer@registerguard.com .

Recommended Reading

Apr 5, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Treat Yourself To A Day Of Punishment

Back in February, we took a look at London’s courthouses – those redoubtable theatres in which the wheels of justice are set in motion. This time, we’re inspiring you to visit some of the sites where London’s justice has been doled out, often all-too cruelly. Don’t worry though – there’s plenty of food, booze, and even some gardens, along the way.

Prisons (and ex-prisons)

A visit to chokey doesn’t usually constitute the ideal weekend jaunt.  But there are plenty of exceptions here in London. The Clink, near to London Bridge, might be a bit of a tourist magnet, but there’s no denying its significance in London’s justice system. Felons were first banged up on this spot in 1144. Today, you can grimace at the horrific instruments of torture many would have been abused with.

Another Clink opened up recently – this one a restaurant in Brixton. Going by reviews, the food – made and served by HMP Brixton inmates – is decent, plus mobile phones are confiscated at the door (a bonus). More prison-based-yet-positive experiences can be enjoyed at the annual Open Garden Squares Weekend. This summer, Holloway, Wormwood Scrubs and Wandsworth prisons will be showing off their blooms, herbs and veggies to the public.

In this section, we couldn’t forego mentioning the Tower of London, which has incarcerated everyone from William Wallace to the Krays (not to mention cage-loads of unfortunate animals). And although Newgate Prison is long-gone, you can still see the dreaded Execution Bell in St Sepulchre-without-Newgate.


Nab a window seat at The Prospect of Whitby pub in Wapping, and you’ll soon be aware of the unsettling sight of a noose swinging outside. Don’t worry – it’s not for customers who can’t foot the tab – rather a brazen reminder of what this stretch of the Thames used to be, namely Execution Dock (read more about it here).

The Prospect of Whitby

The Prospect of Whitby

The last woman to be hanged for murder in Britain was Ruth Ellis, at Holloway prison in 1955. You can supposedly find evidence of her crime at the Magdela pub in Hampstead. This is where the platinum blonde call girl shot her lover David Blakely to death. The front of the The Magdela is peppered with marks that look like bullet holes (Ellis had fired many times, and even struck a bystander in the thumb.) The pub claims the holes are from the shooting, although others say they’re from a plaque – since removed – which marked the site of Blakely’s death.

Today, beer festivals and wedding receptions are the bread and butter of Le Gothique in Wandsworth. But this Hogwartsesque complex has switched roles many times; it’s been an orphanage, a hospital, and a school. Most interesting to us, it served as a detention and interrogation centre during the Second World War – one of its cells housing the Nazi Rudolph Hess for a while.

Museums and miscellaneous punishment sites

London’s police museums provide an all-round picture of crime and justice in the city. Of course, it’s the latter we’re concerned with here. At the City of London Police Museum, keep your eyes peeled for the heavy wooden truncheons that Victorian policemen would use to keep the city’s ne’er-do-wells in check. More truncheons, plus handcuffs, nooses, and an escapee board can be found inside the minuscule Wandsworth Prison Museum. Cuffs (again), plus a fascinating ‘punishment book’ (dated 1839-1865) are among objects at the Thames Police Museum (this one’s appointment only). Sadly, the notorious ‘Black Museum‘, which contains such treasures as the Jack the Ripper ‘From Hell’ letter and Dennis Nilsen’s cooking pot, is not open to the public.

Site of the Tyburn Tree

Site of the Tyburn Tree

The most infamous spot in London for public hangings was the Tyburn Tree. Countless criminals and martyrs gasped their dying breath swinging from the multiple-noose gallows, which stood near the southern tip of Edgware Road, until 1783. A cracked plaque marks the spot now. Recently, the Tyburn Tree inspired Marc Almond and John Harle to record a brooding album of the same name. Put it on the headphones during your visit, for added gloomy ambiance. Kennington Common was South London’s answer to Tyburn. For a period of roughly 75 years, this green space doubled up as a venue for both hangings and cricket matches.

For more notable punishment and execution sites try: the Mount Pleasant Mail Centre (once home to the 20 evil treadwheels of Coldbath Fields Prison); Banqueting House (where you can retrace the final steps of Charles I before his beheading in 1649); and outside the Royal Exchange in Cornhill, near the conduit in Cheapside, and in Fleet Street near where Temple Bar originally stood. Daniel Defoe spent a day pilloried in each of these three spots in July 1703. As a happy coda to this article, Defoe had only flowers thrown at him, while his friends sold spectators copies of his specially-written text, A Hymn to the Pillory.

Thanks to Dick Bulch and Martyn for use of their images via the Londonist Fickr pool.

See also: A map of London’s execution sites.

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Apr 5, 2014
Tina George

Masses find spirituality beyond the church pews

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That morning the congregation was packed in – cheek, by jowl, by spectacles – and the overflow crowd peered in through the open doors to hear from one of the stars of the Brisbane Writers’ Festival, although it was hardly a solemn sermon.

For the next hour those assembled listened intently to William, roared with laughter and took part in a lively question time as the microphone was passed from hand to hand. Not an experience you imagine you’d have at your local St John’s Anglican, but I’d wager everyone in attendance that morning went home feeling just as, if not more, uplifted and inspired. Their quest for a spiritual experience fulfilled.

As our churches are abandoned and the Scout halls where political parties once met, sit empty – these two institutions in permanent disrepair – the hunger for communion with like-minded souls is growing. Especially among women who are not content to sing along to the same old hymn book or obey party rules set by institutions run by men.

Traditionally, church homilies addressed some of the moral issues women faced – mostly dilemmas of faith and family – but they didn’t meet the desire for a true engagement in the wider world beyond hearth and home. The notions of “what if” and “why not” were never on the agenda. Although “because I say so” was a well-worn theme.    

When you look at the topics on offer for discussion at writers’ festivals, which run the gamut of the political, cultural, fantastical and myriad matters psychological and philosophical – no wonder they are bringing in the crowds, all eager for something more nourishing than the current arid political debate can provide.  

Writers are deluged with invitations extended to attend as speakers at festivals. They come weekly from Byron Bay, Broome and Beaconsfield. (And that’s just the “Bs”!)

Two weeks ago I was at the inaugural Beaconsfield Golden Words gabfest in Tasmania. You’ll recognise the name because it was where gold miners Brant Webb and Todd Russell were rescued after two weeks underground in 2006.

I was privileged to host a remarkable event – the Richard Carleton Address given by his colleague, friend and celebrated local son, Charles Wooley. Not 100 meters from the Chinese restaurant where we sat that night, journalist Richard Carleton had collapsed and died while covering the mine cave-in.

That his family was there to listen gave the evening an extra poignancy. Wooley’s provocative speech sparked a lively debate on the ethics of modern journalism that reverberated next morning, even in the Rotary tent serving sausage sandwiches. 

The Golden Words festival, like so many others – be they poetry, music, or food festivals – offer regional towns the chance to fill the void left by half-dead churches, political parties and irrelevant media outlets. Newspapers are folding, TV and radio stations run syndicated content from the capital cities. Politics are often run by remote control from party HQ. Social media doesn’t offer that same real connection.

A town’s desire to pursue shared passions, build social capital and even to re-brand its identity – in the way Beaconsfield wants to be known for something more than “that place those blokes got trapped back then” – is to be celebrated, admired and supported. Regional communities know they are not defined by the headline that their mine or factory is closing. They have so much more to offer.

Sometimes I look at the hard men and women who are presently conducting our nation’s Commission of Audit, running a ruler under the figures to see whether our future will be more or less “bleak” and think they’ve missed the big picture of who we are and what sort of society we aspire to be. 

“It’s the economy, stupid!” 

You’re bound to find that being discussed under canvas by the banks of a river somewhere in Australia this weekend by people who know they are being short-changed. A monetary surplus or deficit isn’t the only indicator of how we’re doing as a nation.

This weekend I’m at the second Newcastle Writers’ Festival. The steelworks closed in 1999. Far from withering and dying, the city was reinvigorated in “unimaginable ways”, so said The Newcastle Herald.

“Closing the steelworks has allowed Newcastle to grow up, to become the capital of a region that is now, finally, seen across Australia for what it is: a beautiful place to live, with a host of natural advantages, plenty of work and a great sense of community.”

This Sunday the good women and men of Newcastle will be getting together to discuss “What does it mean to live a good life?”

As I say, the magnificent Christ Church Cathedral may have a few empty pews, but at the Newcastle City Hall it will most likely be standing room only.

Wendy Harmer is the Editor in Chief of The Hoopla. www.thehoopla.com.au


  • It is so very encouraging Wendy, to participate in a growing movement of examination of the real issues of life and living rather than the ludicrous bronze age mythologies of the church, mosque, temple and synagogue. Beaut cultural icons as they are, museum pieces to our cultural childhood, may our growth into adulthood continue apace, either leaving the pews ever emptier or perhaps transforming their use and utility into something of value.

    Glenn Jacob
    Date and time
    April 05, 2014, 9:16AM

    • A splendid piece by Wendy Harmer. No doubt many readers will connect with her picture of our society at large as seeking some form of communal spiritual experience, something to lift our lives above the arid round of the pursuit of material gain, to relieve us from the heartless deadlock of our political debate.

      I was reminded of these words in a poem by the English poet, Stephen Spender. Written in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, ‘After they have tired of the brilliance of cities’ describes the despair and disillusionment of those times and then delivers these words.

      …let not those who follow after -
      The beautiful generation that shall spring from our sides -
      Let them not wonder how after the failure of banks,
      The failure of cathedrals and the declared insanity of our rulers,
      We lacked the Spring-like resources of the tiger
      Or of plants which strike out new roots to urgent waters.

      The ‘constant craving’ (that K.D.Lang sang about), the yearning for a life of the mind and spirit beyond our material existence, lives, I believe, in every one of us.

      Whether the ‘pews’ be empty or full, it is no surprise to read that art and gifted artists like William McInnes are magnets to large crowds of people seeking to keep alight that flame of spiritual search.

      Corrimal, NSW
      Date and time
      April 05, 2014, 9:44AM

      • A “spirituality” where we are our own god is appealing, as it requires nothing, is infinitely malleable, and we are always right, while at the same time providing a nepenthe for the divine. We won’t speak of “god” as that suddenly makes it not about us. We all crave “communion”, but reject sacrifice and anything in which we, individually, are not the main focus.

        Date and time
        April 05, 2014, 10:48AM

        • This thing called sacrifice gives me pains. Most people lead good lives, most people are charitable. We sacrifice our time to provide lives for our families and yes, believe it or not, ourselves. If there is indead a God, then God help us if it is actually based around the doctrine we have been provided, because when does sacrifice end and living start?

          Date and time
          April 05, 2014, 2:34PM

        • While Wendy’s article is and excellent one and the comments following all making lots of sense, your tendering of “an other side of the dice” ) ( I was going to say ‘another side of the coin ? …. but there is quite likely way more than 2 sides to explore here! :-) ! ) ) ps … I;m going off to look up ” nepenthe” …. haven’t the slightest clue what that means :-) !


          Date and time
          April 05, 2014, 3:47PM

      • So,as a society we have become more spiritual, but less religious.
        More and more parents with atheist beliefs send their kids to faith based schools because they like the values they teach. Oh the hypocrisy! In our post modern society where “right and wrong” is so often managed by a simple “paradigm shift”, our children must get terribly confused, but then again, it is nothing that a little cognitive behaviour therapy won’t fix eh?

        Steve P.
        Date and time
        April 05, 2014, 12:33PM

        • Are the children confused, Steve P? Are they as confused as children who are told at the defenseless age of 7 or 8 that they will be burned alive for rejecting the bald assertions of know-nothings writing thousands of years ago about events outside of space and time? It’s an irrational ad hominem fallacy you deploy, this feeble idea that those skeptical of a god concept never yet defined and defended not by data but by fallacious appeals to force, lack morality. Believe or die. This is the unvarnished message of the monotheists. That tax-free religious organisations have hijacked education to the detriment of the public system is the fault, perhaps the design, of successive under-funded governments in a tax-averse nation, not the responsibility of those seeking to educate their children in what they see as the best possible environment. As an evangelical preacher’s child and having attended a church school, I can assure you that none of the so-called ‘christian’ schools minister gospel to their flocks. Given the core message of Calvary is an irrational argument based on threat, this is nothing that upsets me.

          Surry Hills
          Date and time
          April 05, 2014, 2:06PM

        • John A- “the core message of Calvary is an irrational argument based on threat”- Putting aside the fact that “Calvary” is not mentioned in the New Testament, I think your simplistic rejection of the Bible’s message is rather sad. The crucifixion and resurrection are indeed the central message, and the crucial question (pun not intended) is whether the story is true, and of course what it means for us if it is true.

          David Morrison
          Blue Mountains
          Date and time
          April 05, 2014, 2:28PM

        • John A. what are you on? Can you cite evidence of any mainstream Christian denomination teaching kids this? Why on earth would you want to tax religions? Do you seriously expect people to give to the Salvos if they are taxed? They are not a business. The Catholic school system saves the taxpayer billions – or has, especially when nuns and brothers taught in them – and you want to tax them? This is the same bigotry we have seen for 2 centuries in this country and that is currently on display in the US (see New York’s latest on tax benefits for religious schools). Wendy’s spray is the usual stuff – show me spirituality and I’ll show you infinity – but I’m sick of those who have benefited from the religions of this country banging on about tax. What hypocrisy.

          Small Mac
          Date and time
          April 05, 2014, 4:42PM

      • Modern society wants a spirituality that stands up to the rigours of intellectual reason. The pews are empty because people don’t want to listen to things that don’t make sense

        Date and time
        April 05, 2014, 12:47PM

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        Apr 5, 2014
        Tina George

        Best adventures on the US East Coast

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        Apr 5, 2014
        Tina George

        Are Humane Farming Practices Entering Into the Public Conscience?

        I asked Chef Jared Van Camp on the November 2012 Dinner Party if we would ever have food in grocery stores like the food that we have in restaurants: food from small farms with the emphasis on humane standards. Produce in stores has been organic for years, but we haven’t been seeing meat from small farms emphasizing the humane treatment of the animals. Indeed it seems that no one can even agree on the terminology of what signifies humane treatment. Cage-free? Free range? Pasture-raised? And what about processing? Processing and the conditions therein are rarely mentioned. Seemingly unfathomable, many animals are transported up to 1,000 miles in horrid, cramped conditions on top of each other to be lead to a processing plant where hundreds at a time are forced to slaughter within earshot of each other. I wondered when humane conditions in farms would become a topic people cared about.

        Jared’s response was interesting. “It is considered the Top Chef vocation of our chef culture to disseminate information.” This is why so many small farms are listed on menus, even if not yet in grocery stores. The chefs are providing information and supporting their local growers and producers of vegetables and meat. Jared predicted a trickle-down effect from restaurant to grocery store. He may be right, but there is still a ways to go.

        At the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference in Chicago this spring, artist Douglas Gayeton talked about his work visiting small farmers across the country and his project highlighting the way we discuss our farming practices and food, as well as working with high school students to persuade Washington to reconfigure factory farming practices. He spoke immediately after Executive White House Chef Sam Kass furthered the First Lady’s message of “Let’s Move!”

        At the Good Food Festivals, during the same weekend in Chicago, over 60 small family farms were represented. Although not all had gone through any sort of certified humane inspection process, when interviewed all explained animal conditions that were free roaming in open air and pasture raised. Processing happened by driving small batches to processing plants less than two hours away. While this is still more than I was hoping for — Gayeton spoke of mobile processing units that go to the farms, rather than the other way around — it is much better than 1,000 miles.

        Taking things one step further, Whole Foods, a sponsor of the Good Food Festivals this year has invested in the Global Animal Partnership Program, which was implemented in stores as of 2011. They have established a 5-step program that allows larger farmers to start ameliorating farming practices at a pace which can happen gradually enough to not be financially impossible, and yet be significant enough to affect the animals’ quality of life. Much like turning the Titanic, Whole Foods is smart not to ostracize farmers and build a ladder which will help them get to the humane treatment of animals while also elevating the knowledge base of the consumer at the same time.

        For example, below are the 5 steps for humanely raising pigs. Whole Foods suppliers must at least meet Step 1. They also carry suppliers from the other steps. The consumer can see which meat is from which step and can choose accordingly, thus, allowing farmers to start gradually, entering at level 1, while allowing consumers to know what they are eating and how that meat has been raised and handled.

        Step 1: No crates, stalls or cages
        Step 2: Enriched environment
        Step 3: Enhanced outdoor access
        Step 4: Pasture centered
        Step 5: Animal centered: No physical alterations
        Step 5+: Animal Centered: Entire life on same farm

        In short, Whole Foods is using their corporate might to do the right thing and bring us all along with them.

        In Chicago, restaurants from all over city offer meat and fish from small farms because the meat and fish is so much better. Erling Wu-Bower, Executive Chef of Nico Osteria, who did a cooking demonstration with fish at the Good Food Festivals, was clear. “Freshness has to do with how the fish is killed, handled and raised, as well as time.”

        While it is difficult to have this discussion without talking about price (corn subsidies make factory farming less expensive than pasture farming), rationale (since when did super-sized meal portions become a divine right at breakfast, lunch, dinner, in our drinks, in our ice cream, in our doughnuts, in our chocolate and in our pancakes?), obesity and food deserts, the assistant Manager of Publican Quality Meats, Darin Latimer, said it best. “Factory farms can’t hide anymore.”

        Jim Slama, President of Good Food Festivals, now in its 10th year, explained that through public awareness and pressure, small changes are coming down the factory farm pipeline. “Gestation crates have been banned,” he noted, and companies like Chipotle and Whole Foods are demanding better.

        On the consumer spectrum, any pricing increases for small farm meats, which tout benefits like no antibiotics or growth hormones, as well as not hacking off chicken beaks due to small living quarters, doesn’t seem to hurt Chicago’s booming restaurant business. Last time I went to Publican Quality Meats, specializing only in artisan small farm meats, pâtés, charcuterie and more, it was packed on a random Tuesday around 11 a.m. The line was sizeable and everyone seemed pretty happy.

        Perhaps this bodes well for future animal conditions and thank you to Whole Foods and the restaurants that support small farmers. There might be hope that the public conscience forms around this issue, for humane reasons and human health reasons — do you really want to eat meat with injected hormones and bruised, tough and pumped high on anxiety from abusive living conditions? — and that things start to change en masse for the better.

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        Apr 5, 2014
        Tina George

        Lambertville plans first food festival, streets closing for ‘foodie’ food …

        LAMBERTVILLE — A new food festival with 12 “foodie” food trucks, 15 tables showcasing city restaurants and a beer garden serving three Yards Brewing Company craft styles is planned for Thursday evening, June 12.

        The first Lambertville NiteFare will close three downtown blocks of North Union Street and is sponsored by the Lambertville Area Chamber of Commerce.

        Chamber President Wilson Weed said yesterday, April 3, that the idea is to make more people aware that Lambertville is “the premier location for restaurants and quality food. I know our restaurants are the best, but when I go to Philly sometimes people don’t know that.”

        The details are still being hammered out, Wilson said, but he anticipates that, even as a first-time event NiteFare should draw about 10,000 people. If it does, he said that would make it one of the largest food festivals in New Jersey.

        And Weed thinks it will attract visitors who will return again and again to the riverfront city. He described the food trucks that will be here as “the type of food truck foodies love. This type of food truck market typically attracts young professionals, from their late 20s through mid 50s who like to eat out and research good place to go out.

        “They’re looking for quality food, variety and service, and that’s what Lambertville is.”

        Weed said the Chamber of Commerce plans to run a free shuttle from nearby parking lots to the festival, similar to what it does each year for Shad Fest.

        Visitors will buy food a la carte, he said. Those who want to sample the Yards will show ID to get a bracelet and will be limited to three beers — hand stamps will keep track.

        “We want people to enjoy” the food festival “and still get home safely,” Weed said.

        Table space is being provided to up to 15 city restaurants at no charge, Weed said, and participants have the option of selling food or putting out information about their eateries.

        Nonprofit groups will benefit, he said, because the Chamber of Commerce is getting kegs of root beer and allowing volunteers to sell it and keep proceeds.

        He said local bartenders and “bouncers” will be hired for the beer garden, keeping with the goal of benefiting the local economy.

        Weed said NiteFare will be similar to Night Market Philadelphia street food festivals, just smaller.

        “We want to showcase our restaurants, Lambertville as a shopping destination and a place we like to call home,” Weed said. “Lambertville is Lambertville, we’re not any other city. We’re a river community very proud of our family-owned businesses. We don’t want to be like anybody else.”

        More Hunterdon County news: NJ.com/hunterdonFacebookTwitter

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        Apr 5, 2014
        Tina George

        Florida food festivals guide: What’s on the menus in spring 2014

        When most people think of Florida, they think of sun and beaches – but don’t forget that Florida is a foodie’s paradise as well.

        In nearly every part of the state, no matter what time of year, there’s bound to be some sort of food festival that leaves attendees loosening their belts a notch or two.

        Given the Sunshine State’s unique agriculture and proximity to the ocean, it’s no surprise that the local food festivals offer a varied menu. Yes, there’s the normal barbecue festival fare, but there’s also an offering of feasts dedicated to everything from blue crab to zucchini.

        So as we get ready to kick off summer, check out some of these popular food festivals happening across Florida in April and May.


        April 4-6: 19th Annual St. Augustine Rhythm Ribs Festival, St. Augustine. If you are looking for a treat for your taste buds and ear candy too you may wish to check out this one: The 19th Annual St. Augustine Rhythm Ribs Festival will be serving up scrumptious barbecue and music all weekend long on April 4-6. Admission is $2 except on Saturday evening when it is $5 (children 13 and under are free). The event is at Francis Field on Castillo Drive. Festival hours are from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. http://www.rhythmandribs.net

        April 9-12: Miami Wine and Food Festival, Miami. Ranked as one of the top ten wine events in the nation, the festival features an array of culinary and wine events including wine tasting and interactive dinner with a top chef, live and silent auctions offering exotic travel packages, and some of the highest quality wine lots in South Florida. Admission. 305-646-7111. http://www.miamiwinefestival.org

        April 11-13: Gulf Coast Rhythm and Ribfest, Palmetto. The nation’s top Rib Masters will serve their award-winning specialties as they compete for this year’s coveted 2014 Gulf Coast BBQ Champion award. Entertainment includes a variety of local, regional and national bands performing a mix of Country, Blues, Jazz, Pop, and Rock, and for children, the Interactive Kid Challenge Fun Zone. At Manatee County Fairgrounds. Admission. 941-746-7470. http://www.gulfcoastribfest.com

        April 12-13: Florida Ice Cream Festival, Lakeland. In 2013, this festival’s inaugural year, it saw 30,000 people to the surprise of organizers. Now in its second year, the festival is set to impress yet again with two full days of music, vendors and more. Guests also have the chance to see Joey Chestnut, one of the most celebrated competitive eaters, participate in a six-minute ice cream eating contest. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday for the church and family day. Tickets are $3 each. http://www.floridaicecreamfestival.org

        April 12-13: Florida Blueberry Festival, Brooksville. This year’s blueberry festival will feature 60 artisans selling their creations alongside 20 food vendors that promise to offer a variety of blueberry treats and more. There will also be zip lining, a Blueberry Derby, a Masters Putting Challenge and a Monster Transmission Car Show. Hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for anyone ages 6 to 17 and free for children 5 and younger. http://www.floridablueberryfestival.org

        April 25-27: Pompano Beach Seafood Festival, Pompano Beach. In its 30th year, this beachside food festival promises to serve up great seafood and entertainment for guests of all ages. Friday’s hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $15. http://www.pompanobeachseafoodfestival.com

        April 25-27: The Cotee River Seafood Blues Festival, New Port Richey. This fest serves up music and food plus arts and crafts and other family-friendly activities along the river in Sims Park Friday-Sunday. Bands include national, local and student bands. Dig into fresh seafood, made-to-order sushi, and the Food Trucks of Tampa. Other highlights include the Mermaids of Weeki Wachee, a boat show, car show, kayaking and fly fishing demonstrations. For more information, call 727-842-8066 or visit http://www.nprmainstreet.com/cotee-river-seafest.

        April 25-27: Blueberry Jerry Jamboree, Spring Hill. Small, blue and tart is the order of the festival featuring live music, food, arts and crafts, and, of course, blueberries. This family-friendly event returns for the second year in a row from April 27-29 at the Rotary Pavilion on the Concourse. For more information, visit pascoblueberryfestival.com.

        April 26-27: The Great American Pie Festival, Celebration. Oh, yum, yum! Lakeside Park in the town of Celebration in Central Florida sets the scene for the annual Great American Pie Festival. The fest features demonstrations, bake-offs, pie tastings and pie-eating contests on April 26-27. Admission is free. Ticket prices for the Never-Ending Pie Buffet featuring ice creams, pies, toppings and beverages are $10 for adults and $5 for children and seniors. 407-566-1200. http://www.piecouncil.org/Events/GreatAmericanPieFestival/


        May 2-3: Smoke n’ Blues, Bikes and BBQ, St. Cloud. Florida BBQ Association sanctioned competition for both pros and backyard teams. Festivities include live blues entertainment, bike show, crafts, children’s play area, BBQ vendors and much more. At St. Cloud Lakefront. Free admission. 407-498-0008. http://www.stcloudmainstreetflorida.org

        May 2-4: 30th Annual Pensacola Crawfish Festival, Pensacola. The bayou meets the beach at this gigantic mud bugs boil featuring Cajun and Zydeco music, dancing, crafts and games, crawfish races, crawfish eating contest and a complete range of foods from boiled crawfish to crawfish pies and poboys. At Bartram Park. Adults $5, children under 12 free. 850-433-6512. http://www.fiestaoffiveflags.org/

        May 2-4: Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, Fernandina Beach. The Pirate Parade is the kick-off event for the annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival. Includes stage performances, putt putt tournament, blessing of the fleet, best decorated boat contest and more. In downtown area. 904-261-5841. http://www.shrimpfestival.com/

        May 10: Windsor Zucchini Festival, Windsor. For the past 30 years, the folks in Windsor celebrate the zucchini with a zucchini contest, zucchini carving a Duke of Zuke Zuqueenie Pageant and even zucchini ice cream. Festival runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. http://www.afn.org/~windsor/page2.html

        May 17: Newberry Watermelon Festival, Newberry. Some of the favorite festival activities started many years ago and still continue today, including contests for watermelon eating, seed spitting, hog calling, pie/cake baking, and of course the “Big Melon.” Melons are from local growers and are provided free to festival goers. At the future site of Destiny Community Church. Free admission; fee charged for parking. 352-278-5190. http://www.newberrywatermelonfestival.com

        May 17: DeSoto County Watermelon Festival, Arcadia. Held annually in May, which is the height of watermelon harvesting season. Features a variety of pageants, contests, vendors and activities. Historic Downtown. Free admission. 863-494-2020. http://www.arcadiamainstreet.com

        May 17: 24th Annual Tupelo Honey Festival, Wewahitchka. Honey is a local delicacy in Wewahitchka, and one day a year people come from all over the world to sample the sweet nectar. Festival runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. http://www.tupelohoneyfestival.com/

        May 23-26: Blue Crab Festival, Palatka. Florida’s largest Memorial Day celebration. Includes Memorial Day Parade, seafood cook-off, live entertainment, helicopter and airboat rides, arts and crafts, antiques, and more. Downtown. Free admission. 386-325-4406. http://www.bluecrabfestival.com


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        Apr 5, 2014
        Kim Rivers

        STRICTLY BUSINESS: Food Truck Mania returns, free coffee and garden tour

        They’re baaaaacckk. First Street between Main and Bush streets will be inundated with food trucks for the second time at Woodland’s First Sunday Food Truck Mania. Due to popular demand (read: lines 50-people deep), there will be more trucks this time (read: shorter lines).

        Now that there is a better idea of the anticipated turnout — March’s inaugural event had some 1,500 people — April’s first Sunday Mania will see four more trucks for a total of 12, more truck staff, children’s entertainment, and possibly a band to “make sure the experience is much more seamless,” said Paul Hausen, director of Sacramento Mobile Food Trucks.

        Be there or be hungry.

        If Oprah had a “favorite things” list for Woodland, Meli-D Creations might just be on it. Owner Melissa Armis makes sustainable furniture, home decor and jewelry for sale at reasonable prices. With a decorating background, Armis recently went full-time with her new business. Potential customers can see an “available” list on her Facebook page, Facebook.com/MeliDCreations. She also takes custom orders, either revamping a client’s own piece or creating one they want. For now, Armis sees clients by appointment only by calling 867-0258 or messaging her on Facebook. She plans to have an open house of her merchandise each month at her warehouse in Woodland.

        In other news, Woodland’s “ticket to a better night sleep” is now open. Sleep Train Mattress Store is the latest business to open in the Gateway Shopping Center at 2051 Bronze Star Drive.

        But the company isn’t all about snoozing. Officials are excited that the Woodland store will enable the company to reach more consumers with its philanthropic message to assist local foster children. It hosts six annual drives to collect essential material items for foster children including shoes, pajamas, clothing, school supplies and gifts during the holidays.

        “Opening here creates an additional location where donations to our award-winning Foster Kids program can be made, supporting our goal to deepen the impact of our efforts. It’s a win for the community at-large,” said Mike Wilson, executive vice president of marketing for the mattress firm.

        At present, Sleep Train is hosting its annual Shoe Drive for foster kids, seeking donations of new shoes in all sizes from infant to teen.

        Now until Sunday, April 13, McDonald’s is offering free, small McCafe coffees to customers. There’s speculation that the promotion is to counter Taco Bell’s new breakfast menu which rolled out March 27, including a waffle taco. Still, free coffee is free coffee. Woodland has two McDonald’s locations.

        A vintage wedding gown fashion show on the grounds of the Gable Mansion will be a highlight the Woodland Library Rose Club’s Annual Garden Tour. The club itself is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year; this is the 23rd garden tour. Eight private gardens, plus the extensive collection at the library, may be viewed by participants from noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, April 27. The tour culminates in the fashion show and tastings of Yolo County wine, honey, olive oil and coffee from 4 to 5 p.m. Guests will enjoy champagne or lemonade and a “wedding” cupcake during the show.

        Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children. They may be purchased in Woodland at Corner Drug, The Gifted Penguin, Boxwood Nursery and Terry’s Hallmark, or online. Part of the proceeds of the tour go to the Rose Club’s scholarship fund for students. Call 662-6277 for more information.

        Nugget Market now carries Woodland-based Simas Family Vineyard‘s wines at its flagship store. They are stocking two 2013 California State Fair Silver medal winners, including Mourvedre (a little known Rhone varietal) and Syrah (a better known Rhone varietal).

        Patrons will also find Simas’ Marsanne, a white Rhone varietal that pairs well with mildly spicy foods; Capay White, a blend of the white Rhone varietals and Capay Red, a blend of the red Rhone varietals, on Nugget shelves. The wines will be associated with a tag outlined in blue, indicating that they are local.

        Have a business tip? Email Elizabeth Kalfsbeek at ekalfsbeek@dailydemocrat.com.

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        Apr 5, 2014
        Terri Judson

        Breathtaking getaway

        Brought to you by:

        Breathtaking getaway

        Drive down Western Australia’s stunning coastline for the perfect sun-kissed escape
        Imagine: Fresh air, azure skies and a salty breeze in your hair as you cruise down a coastal road. Western Australia, with its blend of nature, outdoor activities and buzzing cityscape is an unrivalled option for self-drive vacations.

        There are many possible itineraries, and the four-day Indian Ocean Drive is an easy, beautiful route with lots to do.


        A five-hour flight from Singapore, Perth is a great base for exploring Western Australia, and a pristine,

        accessible city with plenty to discover. Hone in on the hip dining scene comprising restaurants like Print Hall housed

        in heritage buildings, quirky or vintage fashion boutiques along William Street, and Fremantle — a preserved 19th century port city with a fascinating maritime history and weekend markets. Sample the region’s outstanding produce in two major food and wine festivals — Eat Drink Perth is ongoing till April 30, while Taste of Perth takes place from May 1 to 5.

        Drive downDrive down


        It’s a must to stop by Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park for the dramatic sight of thousands of towering limestone spires. Then, continue on to Lake Thetis to learn about stromatolites — ancient fossil remains — before a seafood picnic at the Indian Ocean Rock Lobster Factory. Head to Emu Downs Wind Farm for a spectacular photo with 48 massive turbines serving as a dramatic backdrop, and learn about wind energy.



        Stop at Jurien Bay and hop aboard a sea lion charter boat or skydive onto a glorious beach. Sea lovers can also snorkel at Jurien Bay Marine Park, home to a wonderous world of dolphins, sea lions, soft corals and tropical fish.


        At Dongara Port Denison, explore scenic walking trails and charming heritage cottages, or go fishing, kayaking and paddle boarding. Visit the well-preserved Central Greenough settlement for a glimpse of 1800s village life.


        Geraldton is a hot spot for wind and water sports. From July to October, you can’t miss the stunning wildflower display that spreads as far as the eye can see. Visit the poignant HMAS Sydney II Memorial, which pays tribute to 645 sailors who died in World War II, before heading back to Perth, a five-hour drive or one-hour flight away.


        Last year, more than 20,000 people took the plunge into the waters of Ningaloo Marine Park, off Coral Bay and Exmouth (two hours’ flight from Perth), for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of swimming with whale sharks. These harmless, gentle giants feed on plankton and are the world’s largest fish, growing up to 18m long. With a shark sighting success rate of 98 per cent, this is one of the world’s best places for getting up close and personal with the awe-inspiring creatures. Whale sharks are listed as a protected species in Western Australia. Visit between May 22 and 25, and be part of the Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival, an annual community celebration.


        For more information on Western Australia, visit westernaustralia.com.


        Jetstar offers up to two daily flights between Singapore and Perth, with as many as 13 return flights per week. Visit jetstar.com for details.

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        Apr 5, 2014
        Kim Rivers

        TASTE: Lone Wolf food truck teams up with Burn Co. for festival Saturday

        Lone Wolf Food Truck

        Lone Wolf Food Truck

        Philip Phillips puts together an order while his wife talks to customers at the Lone Wolf Banh Mi food truck. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World

        BurnCo BBQ

        BurnCo BBQ

        Co-Owners Adam Myers(left) and Robby Corcoran work at BurnCo BBQ’s new location at 18th and Boston Avenue. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World

        Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014 11:19 am

        Updated: 11:49 am, Fri Apr 4, 2014.

        TASTE: Lone Wolf food truck teams up with Burn Co. for festival Saturday




        Here’s a partnership to get excited about… Lone Wolf food truck is teaming up with the barbecue geniuses at Burn Co. to dazzle and delight your taste buds at the K-Dub food truck festival Saturday.

        Lone Wolf will will be serving a banh mi sandwich made with slow smoked pork from Burn Co. The food truck will be parked in front of the Circle Cinema during the event, which runs from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at Admiral Place and Lewis Avenue in the Kendall-Whittier District.

        There will be seven trucks including Pollo al Carbon, Lone Wolf Bahn Mi, Doghouse, Mangiamo, Bohemia, Mr. Nice Guys and Gyros by Ali

        The musicians who are performing are Cody Brewer, Wink Burcham, Dustin Pittsley and Jill Holzbauer.

        They will also have a Kids Zone with bouncy castle and chalk art, and appearances by Capstone the Magician and the Raks al Hassana dance troupe.

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        Friday, April 4, 2014 11:19 am.

        Updated: 11:49 am.

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