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Everything posted by wcmckinney

  1. I came across this website recently: http://www.jibarra.net/ Jibarra seems to be billing itself as High End Mexican on Six Forks Road. I like that idea alot and have thought for a long time that the Triangle has been in need of a restaurant like this, though a little surprised that it would locate to Six Forks, though perhaps with the North Hills boomlet that sort of thing is more possible now than previously. Has anyone yet been to this restaurant? Reports? Am going to try and get there in the next week or so if possible...
  2. Keep in mind that most Bar-B-Q restaurants worth their salts will be closed on Sunday. You might have luck with one of the Q Shack's many locations in the Triangle...
  3. Editor's Note: This discussion topic is to focus on the better Mexican and Latin American restaurants in the Triangle area of NC. Feel free to add your thoughts about your favorite place here. A couple of discussions were started elsewhere about Jibarra, a high end Mexican restaurant in Raleigh, and Vallarta, a Raleigh Mexican seafood joint. Rather than creating a new discussion for every single Mexican and Latin American restaurant in the Triangle, let's consolidate the discussions here.. As a critical mass of taquerias have sprouted up across the Triangle I was wondering if there was a consensus out there as to which one was the best? I am a big fan of Fiesta on Highway 54 outside of Carrborro though am not sure if this counts as a true taqueria or not (it is the latest incarnation of El Chilango, perhaps the best Mexican restaurant ever to grace Jones Ferry Road in Carrborro). I have had good quesadillas and tortas at the Tienda across the street from the Highway Patrol/State Bureau of Investigation HQs on Old Garner Road in Raleigh, and I was wowed by the diversity on the buffet of Garner's Taqueria Los Portales on Tryon Rd. until it closed. On the downside the new Taqueria that opened on Peace St. in Raleigh was severely disappointing (Brisas de Acapulco is the name). The meat was stringy and overfloured and the mole sauce runny. Is there any comprehensive take on these new additions on Triangle cookery?
  4. The Vienna Coffee House is deservedly a great tradition. Cafe Central is my personal old guard favorite, Cafe Hawelka is my quirky favorite, and Cafe Demel is my desert favorite. As far as food goes, Figmuller's is perhaps more overrated and touristy than a real echt-Vienna dining experience, BUT the schnitzel is SO huge that it's hard not to be impressed. The hueringen in Grinzig are all fun and I believe the further away you get from where the trolley car ends, the better these wine gardens are....
  5. Having spent a week in the early spring in Slovenia, i came away reallly impressed. Lbjulana was a loveletter of a town and the food, on the whole was good. There is a restaurant that every local tells you to go to (located about a block down from the Town Hall); it is not good. In fact it is hokey and probably a rip off but where Slovenians go to celebrate nonetheless. The Slovenian wines I had while on the trip were decent, but should have done a better job of trying them out as I must have missed the ones that I would have written articles about. Nevertheless there were some great eats along the way. The food is hearty if nothing else: stag steaks, wild boar goulash, fried cheese wedges, steaks with gorgonzola sauce. If you travel through the country having your own car is a real blessing as the bus/train schedules were a little eratic and disappointing. Good country "plastina's" would be worth your time to stop in and eat at though.
  6. Greenville, capital of Upstate SC dining, should offer you a bunch of good eating opportunities. Closer to the I-85 exit and better than Henry's Smokehouse (there I said it) is Bucky's on Brushy Creek Rd. They cook their Q with pecan and apple wood along with the standard hickory... If you are looking for something non BBQ, the Corporate Deli on East North St. serves up very tasty sandwhiches and has branched over into some fancier fair (corn meal dusted oysters, good salads) though their turkey melt on pumpernickel is still a favorite. For dinner, GG is right on the money with 33 Liberty. Soby's, Latitudes and the Augusta Grill are nothing to blush at either. Walking down Main St. should leave you with plenty of excellent dining options (including Soby's <nouveau southern> and Latitudes <international seafood>). The best hummus in the world is served at the Pita House on the Pleasantburg Highway and the best greek food in the world is served at Never on Sunday Coffee St.
  7. It should be noted that the allure of the A&M Grill for me has always been their cole slaw which is rather unique....not necessarily delicious but unique. They make sort of a Russian Dressing with mayo and ketchup to mix with the cabbage, carrots, etc.
  8. I like Fin's too. A lot. I don't care for the decor (a little too Miami Vice at times) and sometimes I've found the service to be...austere may be the right word, at times. However what comes out of the kitchen is exemplary. I get cought up on the appetizer plates and don't really leave. It should be noted that their sashimi plate is probably the best in the Triangle. I have had flounder, grouper, blue fin belly, Panamanian blue fin, etc. etc. All of it was delicious and fresh.
  9. Too bad 'bout Pao Lim, thems was good eats
  10. There is only one real Greenville, and I am from there. As a kid, and now, so still as a kid, I like Stax Omega off Heywood Rd. in Orchard Park. Another location has since opened right off I-85 but I can't imagine it holding a candle to the original location. Good diner food, open at all hours. I like the veal parm. sub and the monte cristo but there is also some fancier fare. Since a large portion of Greenvillians gum their food who aren't children, there are some good meat & three options: Gene's located on Washington St. probably being the best of them. If your kids like Greek food then Never on Sunday should do the trick. Iris and Nick T. are lovely people and fix lovely food. There is not a more pleasant place to eat for me. It's on Coffee St. downtown. If your kiddies like Middle Eastern style food then the Pita House may also work. It is on S. Pleasantburg near Greenville Tech. If your munchkins like Mexican I think Fonda Rosalinda (on N. Pleasantburg near Bob Jones Univ.) is a good authentic Mexican restaurant (less so a taqueria) that has opened up lately. Bartolo's and Barley's do good pizzas and they are both downtown as well. Have fun in Greenville...
  11. It is my understanding the Mitchell's in Wilson,NC closed within the past week or so. Has anyone else heard about this being the case? If it has that is too bad because I think his heart was really in the right place in regards to what he was trying to do for BBQ and pork suppliers. I hope he will be able to reorganize and reopen at some point soon... Note: Lest this message be too inside baseball or too cryptic or not pan-Southern enough, let me explain. Ed Mitchell is an African-American restauranteur who had opened up a BBQ restaurant on the site of his parents old store in Wilson that gained some renown for his devotion to pit cooking BBQ in an area where that is not done as often as it should. He has been featured on a number of TV shows, he and his BBQ operation have traveled down to Oxford, up to New York, are going out to Blackberry Farm, and he had recently started moving towards organic and heirloom pork. All good ideas.
  12. BryanZ seems to have set unobtainable or at least quixotic goals for Triangle dining. If only we were like New York where there are no California Pizza Kitchens with lines out the door, and Frank Bruni could come down here to dole out 3-4 stars to a Thomas Keller inspired restaurant where we would freebase some lima bean powder off a plate scented with rice and gravy...then we would finally be in business. Is Triangle dining perfect? nope. Is Triangle restaurant criticism inadequate? Yep. Does this mean we should throw the baby out with the bath water? There are plenty of good eats around the Triangle, dadgumit. And I would include Angus Barn in that line up. I think we have the best dining diversity here between Atlanta and Washington DC (with the notable exception of a high end Mexican place, when o when will you arrive?). Furthermore I think we are guilty of conflating fine dining with good eats. There are some incredible meals around this area that you could not pay for in New York City if you knew every secret handshake at the "21" Club. If you could get the atmospherics and essences of Allen & Sons, Pan-Pan (may it rest in peace), Magnolia Grill, or your own friendly neighborhood spot/cafeteria line up in the Northeastern corridor, I would gladly move to the land of high rent and low weather...
  13. Just returned to Raleigh after spending the first part of the week in Nashvillle, TN. What the city doesn't have in mountains or beaches by the sea, it makes up for in hot chicken and meat and three cafeterias. My question is such: what other cities in the South have as many strong meat and three restaurants and what dishes are requirements on a cafeteria line? As far as metropoli with this many good country cooking spots, I am hard pressed to find a counterweight so maybe that is a loaded question. However as far as classic meat and three dishes I think cucumber/tomato salads, chess pies, greens, beans, a roast, and offal meat (liver) belong, in that order actually.
  14. As we seem to be turning the corner in the Carolinas into the Spring I was wondering if there are any Springtime rituals/favorites y'all might have that involve Southern eating and drinking? I have some friends that forsake bourbon from here to the fall, this seems unduely harsh to me but nevertheless along the lines of what I am asking. Any thoughts or stories?
  15. How's Martha's at the Plantation? The webiste looks good. I am going to Nashville tomorrow and may piggy back on some of these suggestions. PS. good places to go get a drink?
  16. Salsa is good and cheap, owned by the same feller who runs Zambra. Last time I was there I think the menu is written out by hand and then photocopied. Tupelo Honey is also located downtown. It rocks, is veg friendly, and is one of the more comfortably chic places in comfortably chic Asheville. Finally, ditto to Early Girl Eatery. It's a great place and has a sense of place that some other restaurants in the area miss out on.
  17. My only time in the "Jewel of the Alps" has been having my passport examined to and from Croatia, so some buddies of mine and I are planning a trip there for a few days. Any particularly good suggestions as to places to eat/drink/be merry in ljubljana or Bled? Fancy food is not really what I am looking for, rather a good authentic slice of Slovenia would be welcome.
  18. There is always a feeling of discomfort for me upon entering a grocery store that is not my normal shopping site(s). If I ever stumble into a wormhole to an alternate universe (like Buffalo, NY), I imagine the experience will be similar. However yesterday I went with a friend into a Lowe's Food here in Raleigh, and was impressed with 1. how many organic offerings there were and 2. how many hispanic themed ingredients were included in the FRESH food area (though I was a little curious as to who or what I would find for sale in the dry good aisle dubbed "Hispanic."). I was wondering if any of you around the South had picked up a difference in the goods that are being offered in your local grocery stores? Is it a good thing where you live? Or has the quality of ingredients soured? Also, I was curious as to knowing if any of you used corner markets, local grocers, etc. for your food. I seem to see more of these in smaller towns (relative to Raleigh) than I do in larger areas. Lexington, NC, for example, has a good grocer located basically on the steps of the courthouse. Finally, I was interested in knowing if there are any other distinguished Southern organic themed grocery store chains besides Earth Fare. Do you find these shopping trips to these places worthwhile?
  19. I am usually not one to stick up for the institution/individual being knocked, but I will say in this instance, that I was impressed that Fowler's does dry age their own beef and they will cut their steaks to order. That is nothing to blush at, I reckon. Secondly, from a vox populi stand point, the last couple times I have been in there around lunch time (it is located close enough to Torrero's that I like to duck in when I go for Macho Burrito Mondays) there seems to be more than decent sized crowd for a lunch time location in downtown Durham.
  20. The literary slant is one that I will be milking for bar conversation through the weekend. This maybe slightly tangential to the story, but it is familly lore that one of my ancestors was dismissed from the Citadel around the turn of the century (previous) -- along with the entire class!!! -- for a food fight of epic proportions.
  21. There's a decent BBQ shack on US64 in the middle of Cashiers that is pretty good on the pork, great on the atmospherics called Cashiers BBQ. I think there is alot of fun to be had in Highlands as well, though it is a bit touristy. One of the benefits of all these tourists is that the food is better there than virtually anywhere else West of Asheville/Hendersonville in NC. The Kelsey Restaurant is always packed in the Highlands Inn, the one time I ate there (and I was even more of a child then, than I am now) was memorable for its fried chicken. I do not remember the name of it, but the coffee shop next to or near Cyrano's Bookshop is a good respite from the hordes of Georgia tourists that come up in the summer to escape the heat. I think one can chart the proximity to NC mountain towns to Metro Atlanta by the number of coffee shops that serve panninis in the town. As an aside, Cyrano's would be a good stop to pick up a copy of the Architectural Guide to Western North Carolina, part of a series published by UNC Press that is an outstanding driving companion through small NC towns. Not necessarily food related, though many of the older restaurants/inns in the area are described in the book.
  22. Lewisberg sounds like it may be the winner here, thanks for the info. Hopefully I can get by the General Lewis Inn, which sounds remarkably similar to the Daniel Boone Inn in Boone, NC...minus the ghosts.
  23. Am going up to Snowshoe this weekend to play in the snow. Are there are preferable spots to get a bite to eat in the area? Alternatively, is there anywhere good to eat on the way out to Snowshoe coming from Raleigh-Durham?
  24. Is Farrington House too far out of the Triangle? I like the Lantern is not included in the non-scientific list, but given a shout out nonetheless. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I like it so much. What about Frasier's or Glenwood Grill? Are they cut from the list as well? Doth not a steak house merit inclusion on the heavy hitters list?
  25. I thought this was a good article, though unlike Seth Stevenson I live in a Hardee's saturated market and I haven't seen these ads either. I wonder if they are just being circulated online as a form of gorilla buzz marketing? Secondly, the food/porn line can be a fine one (see Like Water for Chocolate for a good 2 hour example). I know Jan and Michael Stern have written on both subjects, and every time I read about how lucious some foodstuff is in a review, or silky some dessert is, my mind begins to wonder.
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