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Everything posted by wcmckinney

  1. Chapel Hill is a great town, hard to disagree. However it's a toughy for finding a good decent lunch inside town, or in the Greater Franklin Street area. Might I recommend Carrburritos at the top of Franklin St. which bottles Chapel Hill/Carrborro funk in a bottle. Additionally, Foster's on MLK/Airport captures the fancy lad qualities of Chapel Hill. Good sammiches, freshly fired pizzas and a great atmosphere all work in it's favor. Is Jujube open for lunch? That would also be a very solid option. The question you probably meant to ask was, where should I take my guests for an afternoon pint of beer? Top of the Hill has the nice views of town, but the more enjoyable place is probably Tyler's in Carrborro or Milltown (both of whom serve a solid pub-friendly yet sufficiently fancy lunch to boot).
  2. My man Pistachio raises a good question here. The interior looks pretty swank, especially considering how far off the street this place is. The chairs, which are sort of Louis XVI style oval backs are probably the nicest chairs I have seen in a dining room in Chapel Hill. The menu seems well put together and classicaly french. Any word on who the chef is or what the resto's originations are? I don't know when a nice French place was last in operation in town (Henry's and the time the served roast duckling my freshman year in Lenoir Dining Hall both don't count), how far back in Chapel Hill's culinary history should one look to find a true sacre bleu French place?
  3. Malik is right about heading down to Murrels Inlet for better eats. I think the McClellanville Diner is better than the Crab Pot, but you could probably stop off in Georgetown (about 20 minutes closer to Myrtle) and eat at some equally good spots, The Rice Paddy and a seafood diner on King St. are both quite nice...there's a decent BBQ place on the right side of US 17 in between Pawley's and Georgetown too...If you are driving down via I-95 then Schuyler's in Latta, SC is a really good BBQ buffet. While discussing BBQ, Sweatman's in Eutawville is a drive from Myrtle, but it is a doable drive. There's also some good BBQ in Manning, SC. Louis's is excellent. A very enjoyable place to eat. The Fish Camp is a little more informal than the dining room and there's a great outdoor patio. For the most part the seafood in Murrel's Inlet is uniform, Oliver's Lodge has a nice atmosphere and there's a reasonable Asian/Southern fusion place on 17 Alt. as well.
  4. I haven't been to St. Jacques, though I'ld be very curious to try it now. Perhaps Foodiehall and VaNC would like to join me (and pay for me) and we could see just how echt-Francais it is. Varmint, would you say that St. Jacques is better than Bistro 607, the irrascable, but neglected, restaurant on Glenwood South? The menu is decidedly not Bistro-ey, although having a good French restaurant in the South...that's probably the price you have to pay.
  5. Per my post header, it's on Wilmington St. (across from the Wilmington St. Parking deck). I don't know hours, and I'm not entirely sure they know hours yet. I know there's a glut of newly opening (fairly) nice restaurants happening all at once in Raleigh, and even in downtown Raleigh so I hope this one keeps its quality control up and makes it.
  6. Was walking to my normal lunch time haunt of the Brass Grill today when I came upon the just open (we're talking first lunch service) Riviera. Very fetching interior, in a refurbished older building with exposed brick and white wood. There's a small bar and probably 15 tables. The only menu items today were panninis...mine was turkey and brie with appel chutney and arugula. Portabellos and Roast Beef were the other options (plus another veggie). But the real winner were the french fries which come doused with truffle oil and malt vinegar...their tea is made with peach puree and brown sugar giving it an "Arnold Palmer" taste of freshness. The staff was very atune to pointing out that they make as much of what they serve in house (though probably not the turkey). The dinner menu looks solid and would be interested to see how this place is doing in a few more weeks because it has the makings of a solid eatery...as my friend said, "You know downtown Raleigh is growing up once a fancy Mediterranean place opens."
  7. Sweatman's in Holly Hill is supposed to be outstanding, though the mother ship in Eutawville is magnificent. Was in Charleston last weekend running around and had a great cheap big seafood meal at the Anchor Line on Folly Rd. out towards Folly Beach. You get a seafood feast (i went with shark and deviled crab) for about $15.00, which you would be hard pressed to beat anywhere else in the city. I'll second Holly when talking about Bowen's, it's a gem. Jestine's on Meeting St. is quickly becomming an institution and they also have pretty good cheap eats. Stay away from most of the restaurants close to the slave market. Bubba Gumps, Hyman's and the like probably won't be anything special and definitely won't be a good deal.
  8. For what its worth the new stadium is gorgeous, and you can still feel good about yourself if you just pretend the team is called the Joe's (in honor of Shoeless) instead of the Drive.... Tailgating close to the stadium may be tough so i might advise against bringing the grill. You might try Chicory Alley on South Main as a light dining option, or the restaurant in the Poinsett hotel which is supposed to be quite good (Spoonbreads)...both of which will be close-ish to the stadium. Greenville is one of the best cities in the world, but it doesn't run on all cylanders during Sundays. Stax Omega is a perfectly respectable diner, as is Stax original if you are feeling like a big breakfast. Rick Erwin and Deveraux's have both opened recently and seem trendy, they're also downtown and close to the stadium...i'ld bet one of the two would be open on Sunday. Selfishly, since I haven't been to the stadium and posted recently on the Southern Foodways Forum about this, I'd like to hear if there were any good eats in the actual stadium... Enjoy your trip to God's Country
  9. 10-4, you are correct Varmint. I wear my Cary directions ignorance as a badge of honor.
  10. Had a nice supper there on Friday night as well. I think the place is still ironing out a few kinks but nothing that wouldn't be expected of any restaurant just opening up. From my understanding after talking to the hostess, the place only makes reservations for half of the dining room so it can still accomodate walk up traffic. This was good because we were walk up traffic. I liked the wine selection which was reasonable and varied and ended up with a bottle of sangiovese/syrah that was not too overwhelming. The water being served in the glass bottles was another good touch. Ordered the mussels, a pizza margharita, spring risotto and a ceaser salad. The mussels and salad really stood out. the bivalves and the sardines were very fresh and worked well with their respective dishes. the pizza was the only (slight) let down and i think that is because our taste buds were overworked by the time it came out. The basil was fresh and the tomatoes were good, but it seemed like chopped up sun dried tomatoes were also added to the pizza which seemed to through the taste off a bit...anyway, no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater since i agree with Varmint and ZebA that this was a great addition to the North Hills North development.
  11. Thanks for the post Nibbs, i think you are spot on and am glad you are making penence for your initial BBQ comments. RTP is really the Triangle's dining version of Epcot Center (and I think with the tech businesses there we could really stretch this analogy out even more). I noticed that you didn't mention any Japanese places. Is this what Greater 54/55 is missing? Additionally, I think the Chatham/Harrison intersection in Cary is quickly developing a South Asian cooking niche. King Kabob, Suchi, and the Veg. Indian place have all maintained a decent level of cookery (though Suchi lost their best cooks to Spice and Curry from what I understand). King Kabob is also supposed to be starting up a buffet soon which is good news since their menu offers some good Pakistani style sausages.
  12. There's a really fun Chinese/Indian restaurant on the other side of I-40 than Hanes Mall in a strip mall that is run by a Chinese family who immigrated to India a few generations back. The brother runs a similar operation at Pao Lim in Durham. Additionally, the New York Times did a 36 hours in Winston recently. That might be of some interest since the Times seems keen to 36 hour just about anywhere in North Carolina recently (l'ld attach the link, but having some e-troubles).
  13. Its a good point -- sadly. For a number of reasons (and I don't think Mr. DHEC is the only reason, in fact he may be a falll guy) there just isn't much pit bbq in urban Carolina towns. Hard pressed to find any pit BBQ in Charlotte, Greenville, Charleston, Raleigh or Columbia (Maurice's comes to mind but little more)...There're more broasted chicken stands in Columbia than you can shake a stick at, but just seems to me that there isn't as much of a link with Pit BBQ in metropolitan areas than there is in smaller or more rural towns.
  14. Thanks for the guidance: The more I think about it the more I like the herb tea brine. I'm guessing something like a tablespoon of herb mixture per cup of water, or am I aiming too high? Agreed that the point of cooking over wood is to impart the smoke on the meat, but i think that smoke is more flavorful than tasteful so hopefully I can get some herby quality into the pork that will go well enough with the BBQ sauce (which also admittedly takes away from the smokiness). I'll leave the sugar for the rub, and probably keep it simple with a little Brown Sugar, S&P and paprika
  15. Heat will be indirect, but due to the size of the grill not as indirect as one might like. Agreed that too much sugar can be an issue, and I know this first hand from flare ups, but typically many BBQ rubs already have some brown sugar in them. The more I think about it the more a thyme and garlic tea sounds like it might do the trick for the brine's liquid. Any other suggestions though would be much appreciated.
  16. Am planning on dropping a big pork shoulder on the grill this weekend, and want to brine it before hand. Preferably with something particularly funky. I was thinking a coca-cola/water brine, or maybe thyme scented tea brine. I want the pork to taste like BBQ at the end of the day, but I'd like to mess around a bit with the brining process before rubbing it and putting it on the grill. Many thanks
  17. "Tastes great!" "Less Filling!" Poor Johnny Apple, just trying to find a fresh angle to justify going down to the Charleston Food & Wine boondoggle and he ends up stiring up a firestorm with New Orleans and its boosters New Orleans may not be Charleston and Hugo may have in fact been different than Katrina + the other one, but I think Cynical Chef (and Johnny Apple) may be on to something that Charleston is the only other city in America that has the same allure as N.O....on any scale...sorry Baton Rouge. They're port cities with history, charm, style, and a sense of uniqueness...that are really humid too often too. I think the Holy City and New Orleans also have something in common in that the rest of the state (and CC might be able to back up here as an honorary Greenvilian) in that they seem a little detached from the rest of the terrior. The big cosmopolitan city and the provinces, so to speak, in each venue, never seem entirely sure what to do with the other. Thought the Times piece did a good job for a big city Yankee paper whose last article on Charleston was on what absentee vacation homeowners needed to know in order to avoid unnecessary real estate costs. Shout outs to Hominy Grill are always on point, and not dwelling on the already established joints (Penninsula, McCrady's, etc.) was a good move... Moreover on a sociological level the phenomenon Apple describes in passing of classic Charleston chefs leaving for the provinces (Louis Osteen to Pawley's Island) is intriguing to me. Are guys like Louis (native SC-inians) being displaced by ueber chefs who do Southwestern flavored cooking with SC ingredients? I tend to think that's not the case and John T's right that the South is always changing, and developing new culinary interests...and that's great, but Apple does seem to at least hint at it in the article. Also, did he leave out any noted spots? I'm glad Gullah Cuisine and SeeWee Diner get noticed since they're great and honest Charlestonian places...nothing of Anchor Line or The Wreck of Richard and Charlene, or Sully's?
  18. for fishies there are some decent options: Tom Robinson's eponymous establishment behind Armadillo Grill is very solid, he also offers cooking courses at Southern Season. Additionally fish in Raleigh is easier to find than a butcher, Earp's on South Saunders, Capital City Seafood near the Farmer's Market, and Jezbel's in North Raleigh have always been postive experiences for me. Cliff's in Carrborro is also the meat capital of the triangle. I picked up a 17lb. pork shoulder there last week (or my EGullet associate Pistachio Disguisey got it for me) at $1/lb. It was a beautiful shoulder and had no damages or bruises on it! I should ditto the shout outs to Cafe Driade and 3 Cups which are to coffee shops what David Noel and Tyler Hansborough are to basketball (old and underappreciated; young and innovative with an old school charm). Additionally, has anyone been to the Caspian Food Store right off Capital Blvd. (on the other side from the *divine* Fortune Palace). Is it a Russian good place? Anything particularly noteworthy there?
  19. I went to nosh at Jujube on Tuesday before the Dook-Carolina game. I will try to seperate my disappointment from the outcome of the game with my dining experience, but keep in mind both events happened on the same nite. Jujube was packed before the game and I think it was evident that the waitstaff was a little green when it came to handling such a big crowd. We had a rotating crew of three waiters while eating at the (admittedly very cool bar). Beers were ordered and did not arrive, some beers were evidently sold out, so other beers were ordered and then did not arrive, and then other beers arrived. All the beers were good and very pleasantly priced so this wasn't a huge problem, but it was a little exhausting (note: one of these beers was comped, which was nice). The appetizers (shrimp and pork dumplin's and veggie spring roles) were really sharp. The dumplings held together well and were savory without being too strong. I am guestimating that I could have eaten 10-12 before having to tap out. I had the beef short rib for dinner. It made a great sauce, fell off the bone, meat tasted almost like an Asian pot roast and it was cheerfully presented...a solid plate. It was different than what was advertised on them menu for short rib presentation, but it wasn't disappointing... My partners in crime had the prawns and a mixed vegetable dish, both of which were finished off to very positive remarks. Look forward to going back when I can take my time on the dishes and drinks.
  20. I'm really keen on this BP on Capital Blvd near Cookout, I can think of two BPs in that general area and I'm assuming it is the larger of the two where a shooting took place last year... Since I've gotten two emails asking about Jiberra I thought maybe I should add something about the experience. I went about two weeks ago and found the experience good, but not great. I think the problem are issues that gobble up most restaurant when the immediately open: a couple kinks on the taste of the food and not quite working out the menu. Greater detail: The drinks were wonderful. The pear and cilantro margarita was just right, sublte pear and not filled with green cilantro chunks, but still with a look, feel and taste that let you know what you were drinking. A+ The fresh bread basket was warm and fufilling, my personal favorite was a biscuit like concoction that was stuffed with a cheese mixture. Fresh tortillas were also notable. Queso Fundido: Good. Cheese was fresh and hot, and the mushrooms, chorizo and spinach were all fine. Rabbit Flautas: Good bunny in a crispy shell with a tasty adobo sauce around the plate. The lettuce that they rested on would have been better suited for a steak and ale, but they were not bad. I should note here that all the dishes came out on oblong plates. Jiberra doesn't seem keen on having any normal tableware, which is fine, but noticeable. Goat Asada: The cabrito was awesome but veyr rustic. I had some ribs and a shank, both tender, both tasty, both messy. The potato gratin was disappointing; soggy, uninspired and not nearly as tasty as the goat. B+ Desert was a Mexican egg nog three ways: served as a shot, as a custard and as a cake. The shot and custard were the best, the cake was good, but better when touched up with the shot and custard...creative presentation. I think its a little pricey for what you are getting and more main courses should be served with side dishes, but I'm most definitely not throwing out the baby with the bathwater... Overall grade: B+/A-
  21. Very interesting point on the chop suey, I would still argue that the spread of chinese food in general is a postwar phenomenon which is different from the soul food diaspora which I would assume began with the Great Migration in the early part of the 20th century. So you could identify this as two different types of food diffusion (as opposed to fusion, right? That was a lame joke, and I'm sorry for it): There is food that spreads because of people moving (soul food) and perhaps the new wave of taquerias/parillas. Then there is food that spreads because people return home (often from wars): Chinese, Vietnamese, and perhaps one day Mediterranean/Iraqi? I think Southern cooking is somewhat different than other regional cuisines (like Tex-Mex) that have spread because of the diversity of ingredients that moved with it. Additionally Tex-Mex exists as more of a restaurant cuisine where Soul Food may have greater conotations with the hearth itself...
  22. Not to quibble, and I love all the places listed in NC, but do any of them cook in an actual pit? Granted they all cook with wood (Short Sugars finishes theirs on wood pits, but mostly cooks over gas), but I think Lexinton #1 and Bridges in Shelby use contraptions that are built above ground, does a pit have to be dug? Mitchell's used what I think of as a pit concept in Wilson, but as we know it is currently closed. Is this a distinction without a difference?
  23. I think the thing that is so good about The Federal is that it works very well in Durham as a Durham place. It collects alot of the things that make Durham the coolest city in the Triangle (and I say this as a Raleigh resident): a familiar place to hang out, killer french fries, big screen TV for sports and a tendency to lean on Loretta Lynn and Wilco. I wish the kitchen would stay open later, it fits the bill perfectly as a place to grab a late nite bite but all things considered I'm just happy to get there to eat.
  24. Interesting point Kathleen, though in SC a terroir is what my cousins called their dog...I liked your point about Choped Suey though I had always associated that and other post-War boomlet dishes that appreared in newly minted Chinese Restaurants to the returning troops from Asia more than an immigrant experience. Am in total and absolute agreement that the evolution of these dishes is what makes them so special (and almost better, like a natural nouvelle couisine), but it's equally interesting to me that Soul Food is at once the same thing and different than Southern Cooking.
  25. Had my New Year's Day lunch of collards and black eyed peas (well BEP in spirit as they were no longer carrying them) at Amy Ruth's in Harlem this year. Interestingly I thought the food (very satisfying, though my palate, like the rest of me, was having a hard time getting back into the game) seemed different in a few ways. Got me to thinking: Chicken in waffles is discussed as an iconic soul food, yet it is hard to find on menus in the South. Chicken Fried steak was served with green peppers and tossed in a dark gravy, whereas I've always had it in the South stand alone and with saw mill gravy. Fried Okra was served whole, something seen in the South but something that seems rather rare to me. Granted, there is no right way to serve any of these dishes. Granted no. 2, these dishes as I noted were quite tasty, but do you think that these classic southern dishes which has been transported to different parts of the nation have taken on different characteristics or flavors once they are out of the South?
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