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On the TablePickled okra, asparagus, and squash
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SaladSummer berry salad with mixed greens, berries, candied almonds, goat cheese, and basil vinaigrette
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SandwichesItalian Panini - smoked mozzarella with basil pesto, tomato, caramelized onions, and roasted peppers on focaccia
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Homemade ChipsHousemade chips with a honey barbeque flavor
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Roanoke ViewThe view of Roanoke from the top of the Taubman
A visit to the Taubman Museum of Art should now always include lunch. Norah's Cafe, the beautiful spot hidden away inside the museum (that has a surprisingly gorgeous view), is now serving up creations by Blue Ridge Catering. If they're anything like the sample menu I tried this afternoon, visitors are in for some seriously tasty treats.
Blue Ridge Catering, a local Roanoke company that's been in business for ten years, is owned by Mark Baldwin, who, I'm told, is an anthropology major interested in culminating cultures of food in a unique, delightful way. Judging by the few tastes I had, he's got that method down pat.
With the partnership comes a bevy of great events such as Thursday Night Live, a weekly gathering for art and live music; Wine and Paint class; and Taste Buds & Brushstrokes, where the menu matches the art. Visitors can get an explanation of the works of art in addition to the meals (their own works of art, really) and enjoy them at a reasonable price (*see more below about one of these upcoming events). The Taubman wants to have more theme nights in the future (send your letters and express how they simply must have a chocolate pairing night).
The Taubman and Blue Ridge Catering also hope to host more weddings and receptions in their spaces (where Blue Ridge would be the exclusive caterer). A 144-seat theater is nestled off to the side, where they'll be starting up movie night ("Fast Times at Ridgemont High" is first on the viewing list for Back to School), while there are two other large rooms that can be rearranged for a cozy reception (and the room on the top floor has quite the view!)
The menu will have daily specials, but some items on there will include snackable delights like roasted beet hummus and pimento cheese with crudite, pita chips and flat bread crackers (the flat bread rotates out on a regular basis); apple, caramelized onion, and brie on flat bread; and fig, prosciutto, and gorgonzola on flat bread. They also added their housemade chips to the table, one full of flavorful honey barbeque, the other with bleu cheese chips.
Our summer berry salad was sweet and flavorful, the mixed greens and berries pairing nicely with goat cheese and a basil vinaigrette.
Sandwich items on the menu include the turkey wrap (turkey, bacon, avocado, tomato, provolone and basil mayo on spinach wrap); an Italian panini (smoked mozzarella with basil pesto, tomato, caramelized onions, and roasted peppers on focaccia); and we also got a peek at the fall preview, the pork sandwich, with apple, roasted pork, bacon, and gorgonzola cheese with creamy dijon on focaccia.
Pumpkin cream cheese scones, carrot ginger scones, compost cookies (with potato chips, pretzels, butterscrotch, chocolate chips and cookie dough), and banana-nutella oatmeal cookies made the dessert list the piece de resistance.
The Taubman's agenda certainly sounds exciting and with the Blue Ridge Catering menu, Norah's is a real treat for those looking to have a bite to eat in between gallery viewings. For more information, visit the Taubman Museum of Art website or stay updated through their Facebook page.
*Taste Buds & Brushstrokes will be hosted Thursday, September 12 at 6pm. Join Chef Rob Carkin (of Blue Ridge Catering at Norah's Cafe) and Briana Blanchard (Taubman Adult Education Coordinator) for a presentation designed to enliven the senses! Learn more about the museum's permanent collection while sampling dishes designed to perfectly pair with each work of art. The menu will include poached salmon over smashed peas; pear and pomegranate endive salad; white barbeque smothered spaetlze with pulled pork and braised collards; and a desser trio, including warm molten lava cake. Tickets in advance are $20 for members, $25 for non-members, while tickets at the door are $25 for members, $30 for non-members.