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Everything posted by wcmckinney

  1. Is there such a thing as a quintessential holiday desert that is not a pie? I understand the importance of pecan pies, sweet potato pies, apple pies, and their cobbler varietels, but is there a dish that you or your family valued as being traditional to the South? I read a Saveur magazine cover story recently about having a southern Christmas dinner but the dessert section of this southerners in Upstate New York dinner story didn't really dwell on the sweets as much as it did on the savories...
  2. Has anyone been to the new food boutique Figs that opened up in Cameron Village? I believe it is near the Fresh Market there. Though it seems to me that the Fresh Market has trouble doing very well there. so why would you open up an even smaller version of it in the same shopping center (not to mention having a Harris Teeter at the front of the shopping center)? Regardless, I would be interested to know if anyone has been in it yet and what they thought of it.
  3. Interestingly Esquire magazine listed a new restaurant in Charleston as one of the best new restaurants of the year in the latest issue. The restaurant's name is Sienna, has anyone been there to eat yet? It's my understanding that it is a very good take on Italian cooking...
  4. Without having to revert to a grocery store or Cliff's in Carrborro, does anyone know of a good butcher shop in Raleigh, NC?
  5. So goes the Greenville Journal, though I would not place too much weight on them as an indicator of the Greenville dining scene/culinary culture. As long as there are John Malik-types around Greenville I am sure things are in good hands. Besides does the Greenville Journal have any readership outside of the 29601 area code? I wish I could say that the Greenville News improves on the situation over at the Journal with its dining/food info, but unless there have been drastic changes since I left, I don't think that is the case. I remember their restaurant reviews would usually come from random locals and be at strip mall pizza places, etc. I digress...The State in Columbia does give some good treatment to food, I think they cover Louis Osteen's awards, etc. Considering it is a Knight Ridder paper -- like the Charlotte Observer -- maybe it speaks to Knight Ridder having a stronger devotion to food stories....or maybe not.
  6. There are alot of eats in Charleston, and I think the topic has been chewed over before as to where the Holy City should rank amongst culinary destination points...but why not start it again! The divine Mrs. Purvis's article on Johnson & Wales moving north to Charlotte highlights the fact that food drives the bus in the town. However, I think anyone would agree that in a town of that size (namely small) with that many restaurants (namely alot), there are going to be some good ones and some bad ones. I guess the trick for us foodies is identifying which of the ones thought of as "good" are actually "bad," and which of the "bad" ones are actually "good." Not to mention which of the "good" ones are really and truly "great." I agree with Holly Moore that Bowens is probably great and I agree with Kathleen that the other previous posters that Hominy Grill is also great. They are not great because they lack white table cloths on the tables (am not sure Bowen's even has what we would all accept as tables...more like benches) or are reasonably priced -- they both are, but for devotion to their product these two are at the top of my list. Having been to Hominy Grill with a picky eating friend, I think we both found it really enjoyable...not to mention a good restaurant should make even the pickiest of eaters fall in line and eat the good stuff. I have only had one meal at SNOB but I did like it quite much, even if the whole process felt a little forced. (note: I ate there the day Johnny Cash died and they were playing his music on the stereo, a nice touch.)...I guess all this goes back to my point that in a city with so many restaurants and so many of them trying to out do each other (nothing quite like barkers for Bubba Gump's Shrimp Company trying to coax you into their establishment) the diversity in dining experiences is going to be quite broad. Meritage down below the market is also a nice place to have a glass of wine and some tapas, even if it is not the most Southern of Southern places to go.
  7. This sweet potato outpouring is all quite interesting. I am surprised by how many Latin American influences come out with the sweet potato, and frankly how "un-southern" these recipes are. When you out there eat a sweet potato do you think of it as entering into the southern cooking tradition, like you would if grits were on the plate, or does the sweet potato have to be prepared in a certain way? Since we are sharing good ways to eat sweet potatos with each other I would just note that my friend prepared a tasty savory sweet potato bake with rosemary this past weekend. Rosemary brightens up the dish without making it too sachrine.
  8. wcmckinney

    Jones Sodas

    I am actually a fan of the Jones Soda Company and their flavors have been pretty refreshing and just different enough for them to create a significant market share. I think these holiday sodas help their pubicity tremendously and reinforce their market brand. That being said, I can't imagine imbuing any of them any time soon.
  9. wcmckinney

    Duck Rabbit

    Thanks for the correction on which town D-R beer comes from...should have sourced my post better I guess. Isn't Durguey's beer also made in Farmville, or used to be made in Farmville? Moreover, isn't Greene county technically a dry county?
  10. wcmckinney

    Duck Rabbit

    I was at a local watering hole last week with a buddy and we both tried a milk stout out of the Greensboro area called Duck Rabbit. it was rather good and full bodied, and like it says in the title: milky. I was wondering if anyone else had tried this beer, I think it is only available on tap right now? I liked that it was dark but also had a bright and clean taste to it. Is this something beer experts frown upon, namely a stout should be good and heavy or is it ok for it to taste "light."
  11. These looks stellar Brent...Which one would you say is your favorite? Secondly, I am not familiar with any chicken bog shacks like one might have BBQ shacks. Would you concur? I have seen chicken bog on numberous BBQ buffets for that matter, but it doesn't seem to stand alone very much. On the topic of bog recipes: Charleston Receipts has a terrific recipe that calls for using a "mean old rooster" as the center piece of the dish...
  12. It has generally been my rule of thumb that chicken and pastry meant that there were noodles, and that chicken and dumplings meant that there were dough balls. Regardless, agreed that it is a supreme comfort food. Kudos to Glory Foods as well for helping to make food that requires some prep time available for people who do not have the means or time to go that extra mile at every meal. I know they are a company that it is actively involved in the Southern cooking community and does a noble deed in providing scholarships for folks to attend the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium in Oxford, Mississip.
  13. In my attempts to eat healthy these days, I had a zucchini casserole at a country cooking establishment in the Chapel Hill area last night. I am still undecided if I loved or hated it, or if it was just another meal. Is there anything particularly Southern about vegetable casseroles? I know the filler makes a little zucchini go a longer way. I know chicken stock/pork stock is a southern way to dress up vegetalbes. I know I have had plenty of them at family reunions. But is it really something that comes out of the Southern cooking tradition?
  14. I think this is an interesting article and maybe it says something greater about Southern Cooking: Pork may be the reason there is so much southern "frites." Lard produces the fat to do the frying, and it is the same pork stock that Momma Dip cites in her quote on Southern vegetables (fried or not). Admittedly, southern food in general owes a tremendous amount to black culture that came from Africa and the Carribean. I would think that today fried food is so profligate in the South (and the rest of the America) that its origin is almost superfluous. One of the interesting issues that Southern Fried Cooking raises is healthiness. I know of a few public health programs that are trying to teach "healthy" frying techniques to Southern communities. Probably a good idea.
  15. Some of the more profound comments that were made at the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium this year were about black domestic servants in the South. Trudier Harris of UNC's English Department and Pulitzer Prize winning writer Diane McWhorter both touched on this subject in various ways and I would like to throw their thoughts open to this larger community. Harris and McWhorter go to great lengths to humanize the black domestic servants who cooked and help raise white families in the South. Yet they were always "almost like family" and not actual family (though even that line may be blurred in some communities). That these servents were usually women, and usually helped prepare meals is worth noting. The whistling walk from the plantation kitchen to the dining room was so dubbed, Harris profers, because people who were slaves were forced to whistle while bringing the food out so they could not spit in it. Similarly, through the 20th century black people who were domestics were found in white households across class lines (partly because they were all paid so little). Harris and McWhorter both note that there was a certain phenomenon, which was exerted on these domestic workers. Certainly the food they prepared was controlled, but so was the food they could take home (this is where terms like "tote bags" come from). So how 'bout it? Is this legacy continued into today's Southern Food? Are southern cooks that were also domestic servants romanticized, celebrated or even noted today? I would be interested in hearing about y'alls' own experiences or thoughts about how this relates to Southern Food Culture...
  16. Brent, my man in Loris! I have long been a devotee of Chicken Bog, or as you note Pilau -- which it is called in more polite circles. It is juicy, it is tender, it is flavorful without being overpowering. I have fond memories of eating it with family in Pamplico, SC where we would sometimes purchase it in a shack in the parking lot of a grocery store (maybe it was an IGA or Food Lion) and take it home to eat. Chicken Bog does eek up into North Carolina, I have seen it on buffets around Lumberton for example. However I think you are right that it is most at home from Charleston up through the Pee Dee.
  17. John T Edge wrote a great piece on slug burgers in an Oxford American issue perhaps last year or the year before. I believe there is a place in Mississippi (and perhaps it was Corinth) where Slug Burgers were still king. John T's conclusion, if I may paraphrase, was that they tasted like dirt. I'll probably take his word on this subject!
  18. Yes, I should have provided that from the get go: http://www.ourstate.com/store/trans/produc...1&tow=-1&toh=-1 I guess my point with the highway/southern cooking comment, was that all of these restaurants ARE on interstates, which sort of makes them anachronistic from the get go. I guess in the end that is the whole sui generis of this booklet.
  19. wcmckinney

    Deviled Eggs

    Agreed that divining the provenance of the deviled egg may take us to places we would rather not go, but am curious as to the origin of the term "deviled." Similar to deviled crab, is this a term for pepper or spice added to the product? Or, similar to deviled crab, is this a term for restuffing an old vessel with something new, as if it has been possessed? Where does this leave Devil's Food Cake? so many questions....
  20. I recently picked up the pamphlet my buddy DG Martin has written on good eats on the highways of North Carolina. The book is typically exhaustive and stops at a number of the culinary capitals of NC (which conveniently and perhaps inevitabley located near highways and places of commerce). The book is published by North State magazine and perhaps my only fault with the books is that it describes the people to the exclusion of the food sometimes. Then again, if that is where the truly interesting story is why write about something else? Regardless, I was wondering what you all thought about the ideas of 1. eating a big ole meal while driving a long ole distance, 2. highways as such a symbol of modernity juxtaposed such an agrarian concept as southern cooking can be, 3. how often y'all eat slow while driving.
  21. interesting topic thread, driving from Raleigh to the Holy City and back can be quite a haul, and i am good about driving on days where it rains and rains and rains. quickly, on playgrounds in charleston: battery park has some great activities, if not an actual playground and ditto for the park behind the Fireproof building on Meeting St. on road food eats, I like Schuler's BBQ around Latta, SC at the state line. it's about half way between the two cities and just a few miles (2) off the highway. they have really good ribs, jowels in the vegetables, and while the mustard based bbq is not on level with Bub Sweatman's, it is open more often than our favorite place in Holly Hill is. secondly, Fuller's in Lumberton is about as good a retaurant as any that advertises on I-95. it is a great celebration of Lumbee Indian culture, good corn pancake patties that remind me of a southern take on arepas. thirdly, Duke's in Orangeburg is a really great BBQ spot and the orginator of the Duke's BBQ Empire. fourth, if you decide to take US 17 instead of I-95 and I-26 then there's a slew of places along the highway, many of which I am too enraptured with to divulge to the entire internet.... happy travels, drive safe on I-95.
  22. This is a sharp looking dinner, thanks Chef Ashley, Sommelier Chrish and Gourmand Varmint for doing the leg work on this event! I am fully ready to take advantage of the good eats. Chef Ashley, would you mind writing a bit about how you went with these food pairings. Tacos and Raviolo and Short Ribs all sound luscious, did you pick the food around the wine? Wine around the food? Any (southern) regional inklings behind the menu? do we just need to swing by Vin anytime before the Monday to purchase the ticket, right?
  23. was disappointed to go into Whole Foods recently and not find them carrying Celebrity Dairy goat cheese, or really any local artisinal cheeses. understood that Southern Season in Chapel Hill and the Carrborro farmer's market do carry such things, and they (artisinal cheese producers) have even poked their head out once or twice at the Raleigh State Farmer's Market. so my questions are: 1. is there somewhere reliable to go in Raleigh to get good local cheese. 2. how is it that the South can contain both Clemson Blue Cheese and Hoop/Rat Cheese. 3. is it ever ok to like "sub-par" cheeses: i.e. Cheez-Whiz. While I am not CW fan, i must note that the Cheese Dip at Armadillo Grill is luscious and silky to the point of absurdity....like the Foie Gras of the Cheese Dip world. 4. in the New Yorker of a few weeks ago, the fromagier they profiled talked about how important it is to keep cheese wrapped in wax paper. as an experiement, I wrapped my handy cheddar in wax paper and it had dried out like nobody's business. do they mean only semi-soft cheeses should be wrapped this way? Has anyone mentioned this to places like Enoteca Vin where the cheeses are being imprisoned in plastic cells?
  24. Calhoun Falls on Highway 123 is always a very nice spot to go to eat, and GG is right about the Mdren Center having good food, from the reports I have heard. You may want to drive over to Greenville (40 minutes) for a number of fairly good options: 33 Liberty Soby's Augusta Grill La Boheme Outback (Just kidding, you can go to the one even CLOSER to Clemson) the hot dogs at Death Valley (i.e. Clemson's Memorial Stadium)are also superb, but still not as good as the general atmosphere of a Tiger football game. Seriously, the concession stands at Clemson are some of the finest oiled machines around for food delivery purposes.
  25. Admitedly, this may border on the pedantic, but I believe both the big BBQ spots in Albermarle, NC have female pit masters. Debbie Bridges of Bridges in Shelby also more or less runs the show there, even if she is not directly flipping thems shoulders. Secondly, my friend Elizabeth Karmel runs a great website "Girls at the Grill" which is all about getting women involved in grilling/BBq-ing. Elizabeth herself is a Greensboro native living in exile in Chicago, though she still cooks/BBQ-s up there www.girlsatthegrill.com
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