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Everything posted by VaNC

  1. Another problem with picking the best pizza is not just various tastes, but various types of pizza. There is what I call "gourmet pizza" with the fancy toppings, or good old fashioned pizza. Personally, and as many know, I move in a very small geographical world, I think Lilly's has the best "gourmet pizza" and really like Mellow Mushroom for good old-fashioned pizza. But, then, every now and then, I have to hit Piccola Italia for a good old-fashioned pizza with fresh garlic..... Some day, I may be forced to try pizza outside the beltline................ Well, actually, for a thin crust pizza, I like Bella Monica...hey..that's outside the beltline! Mostly, though, we eat Bella Monica pizza's that we get at WF and keep in the freeezer.
  2. Actually, it is important to clarify that it is in the NEW Progress Energy building. Directly across the street from Cooper's BBQ and next door to my personal favorite lunch place, Sosta Cafe. We love the new Fins too and not just because I have a thing for their Passionfruit martinis. The place is beatiful and the food is great. Too bad that they brought downtown with them the "front of house" problems they had at the old space....uninformed wait staff and a grumpy owner. I still just don't get that part.
  3. That is because Eastern is so much better : Not just 'cause it was what I was raised with, mind you, but I think Eastern is better because it is a "purer" product...for lack of a better word. I feel the true taste of the smoked meat comes out. In Western, the first thing I always taste is the sauce...I want to taste that great smoked meat flavor.
  4. I agree about variety, at least for vegetables, due to the requirement that the produce be local and that the grower be present at the booth. So, right now, they mostly have greens, asparagus, strawberries, and other "seasonal" items. If people are getting other items at the State market now, it is from a greenhouse, I would think. I was at Moore Square yesterday and admit that what I am mostly going for now, and I don't work downtown, is to pick up goat and cow cheese, beef and lamb. Last week, I picked up eggs and chicken. Then, while there, I pick up whatever seasonal veggies look good. I personally like that this market has that restriction, but could see how some people, who expect to do all their veggie shopping, would not appreciate what it has to offer.
  5. I shop at the MSFM regularly. I like that I can take the kids, they can get ice cream and watch/dance to the music, while I shop. I can pick up my chicken and eggs from Coon Rock, whatever veggies look great at the various vendors, and great cheese from Chapel Hill and Celebrity. I also pick up frozen beef while there. One stop shopping! I personally like that it is on Wednesdays, since Saturdays are busy days, but, hey, I don't work. I hate shopping at NC Farmer's Market on weekends, due to the crowds, but many of the better, seasonal vendors only are there on weekends. Plus the cheese and meat vendors have left NC Farmer's Mkt. I am glad to see them at Moore Square on Wed!
  6. We are heading to Key Biscayne this weekend and staying at the Ritz Carlton. I haven't been to the Key since the early 80's, so I need help. I know there are great places to eat in Miami (I have been searching the board!) but is there anywhere worth eating on the Key, assuming we get really lazy and don't want to leave the key? How is the food at the R.C...... Any special recommendations, assuming they have multiple restuarants? I recall a little place in a back corner of a strip mall where you could a great breakfast sandwich with a fried egg in the middle.(...great after staying out really late at Stefano's.) Anyone know if the place still exists? (Or goodness, if Stefano's still exist?) Any good places to have a drink and hang out, other than the Ritz Carlton? Thanks, Beth
  7. VaNC

    Zely & Ritz

    After multiple visits, some great, some with frustrating moments, I come down on the side of really liking this place. Like at Vin, I am happy when I leave, even if every dish is not the "best ever". The dishes are always made of fresh, good quality ingredients and well prepared, even if I think some miss the mark, at least for me. They have a great wine list. Their cocktails, especially in the summer when they have lots of fresh fruit, are great. I had one drink this summer made with fresh pear and mint, that I still think about. (I love drinks made with fresh fruit in the summer, but most places make their fruit drinks SOOOO sweet. Here, I could always expect a fresh summer drink that allowed the fruit to provide all the sweetness. At Duck and Dumpling, they are currenly serving a watermelon martini with fresh watermelon puree and 1/2 pack of Equal.....yuck...tastes like sugary chemicals! Okay, I digress) Back to Z&R, one big point for me is that the owners are truly great people who are down to earth and care about the food and their customers. I have bought fresh eggs there to take home, which is a bonus! This is definately a place to be a regular.
  8. there is a coffee place in the Sheraton, which serves Starbucks, I think. Also, a couple blocks down Fayetteville Street is Port CIty Java...a local chain. Coffee is pretty good, but their fresh "sqeezed" apple juice, for me, is the best reason to go there. For coffee, I would recommend Morning Times on Hargett(walking from Sheraton, down F. STreet, right on Hargett). Good coffee and GREAT french pastry. Just opened, but local place and very good so far. For lunch, there is Riviera on Wilmington, near Hargett, where you can get a GREAT lunch for about $12, although not sandwiches. Next to Morning Times is Times BAr, which has good burger, sandwiches, etc. Sosta Cafe, which is on Cabarrus, I think, the other side of F. STreet from the Sheraton, has great fresh sandwiches and salads. THey also have good coffee and probably, now that I think about it, closest to you. They serve Illy, I think. I second Treznor's recs. too.
  9. Wow, whaddya know. It is somewhat worrisome that the ownership has changed, but hopefully it is still great. The fact that I still have memories of it after....uh, 15 years...means something.
  10. I used to go there often, years ago, for work. Then, the only decent place to eat was called "The Char". Kind of an old school steak house, but it was pretty great then. Not sure if it is still there.
  11. VaNC

    Z Kitchen

    "4) Surrounding area has money, but I have no way to reach them (see #1) and they are not used to this kind of food and not all that experimental in their tastes" As a resident of the surrounding area that is both into food and experimental in my taste, I must say I am somewhat offended by your assessment of the area. We have had incredible what you would call "experimental " dishes multiple times in other city's and in other people's homes locally. However, speaking for myself, the main reason I would not jump to frequent a place like yours is that I have no desire to return to a college dorm/apartment to do it!
  12. Likewise, the corn and blueberries we bought have been our favorites of the summer. Being there late, I got to hear all the vendors talking to each other and the general consensus was that they all were pretty happy and sold well. They hoped it wasn't a "first time" crowd. I don't think it will be. Debbie, I hate I am missing the tomato dinner. We are such losers.... when we called only 5:30 and 9:30 seatings were left! Neither are possible for us. We will be at the Mondavi tasting on Monday night though!
  13. I was there and it was great. The main reason I went was to get some really fresh farmer's cheese from that Creamery (can't remember the name), but she did not have any. Whole Foods sells theirs, but it is just better bought fresh. They had sold out of mozarella, so I bought cheese only described as "raw milk". Had some tonight. Very different, but great. The vendor used to be at the Farmer's Market, but doesn't go there now that they have forced the meat and cheese vendors to the upper building. Otherwise, there were about 7 farmer's there. They all had what appeared to be very fresh produce. Bought some great blueberries, cantelope, cukes, etc. The blueberries I bought came from "right below Southpoint" and were great....and this is from me, who thinks if blueberries are not from around Burgaw, they are not worth nuttin'. I got there pretty close to 2, which was closing time, so I am not sure whether there were lots of things that were unique that were already gone, but mostly I saw the "regular" items. I saw Ashley Christiansen at the Lyon Farms tent, which I made a tactical error of going to last, after I had bought quite a bit. But did pick up some GREAT heirloom tomatoes and some strawberry cider which my kids LOVE. Tastes just like drinking a very sweet fresh strawberry. Pretty sweet for me, but as it is not overly processed, I don't mind them drinking it. I also got a little ground meat from the beef vendor. I have had good luck wtih the meat from Chatham Choice farm that I have gotten at the state farmer's market, but had not been happy with their ground meat, so wanted to try this vendor. Can't remember the name. Overall, it was good market and a good time. I sent the kids to get ice cream from the cart while I shopped and they ate it and watched the guy playing guitar. It was nice to know the produce was all directly from local farms, which you can never be sure about at the Farmer's Market. It was also fun to be downtown. In addition to Ashley, I also saw the chef from Riviera buying tomatoes. The kids have already requested that next week, we make a morning of it (Amazing Glaze, lunch, market)
  14. Looks like something we need to check out. Here is more info: http://www.godowntownraleigh.com/news-detail.cfm?nid=15
  15. Well, I guess we disagree. I have only been once and our experience, food, wine and service, was "very good". I still stand by my statement that the menu is traditional french...at least it was when we went.
  16. Could it be St. Jacques? It is relatively new. It is in North Raleigh, out Falls of the Neuse. It is VERY traditional french and very good.
  17. Ah, I figured there was some reason for the italian connnection! They should not go wrong wtih Caterina's. My husband and I still think about a dish we had there.....very simple pasta but incredible flavor. The closest we have had to food in Italy anywhere. I haven't been since the move but PAck Square, but it should be great! Have fun!
  18. I second the Red Rocker Inn. I used to have a client nearby and always stayed there when I visited, and was thrilled to wake up for breakfast, or take the client there for dinner. If I went to a wedding in a place as beautiful as Black Mountain, I would want to eat fresh local food rather than italian,.......just me. I assume ya'll have some reason for wanting italian though.
  19. VaNC

    Ziploc omelet

    This was posted on another food website I go to. The discussion there resulted in much reference to the Ziploc website's caution against boiling ziplocs. That whole off-gasing into your food thing. Not recommended. Unless you don't worry about such things, which I know some don't, and will likely tell me I worry too much.
  20. I was very excited about this place opening as we are big fans of Frazier's and Porter's, so we made reservations for last night (our 10 year anniversary). I must say I was a bit disappointed. The place is beautiful, no doubt. I loved the outside seating and bar area particuarly. The dining room is very nice, but I felt that the tables were WAY too close together. I felt very crowded in. Given the crowded feel and the fact that the noise bounced around the high ceilings so you could barely hear (the aging ear problem again) I found the dining room a bit uncomfortable, which I must say got the evening off to a rocky start. I ordered a bellini to make it better, which helped. The food was good, but I guess I was expecting more. I got the gnocchi appetizer which was very good. It was nice to have gnocchi not smothered in sauce, but just pan fried with a little oil and mushrooms, etc. Very good. But the entree was not great. I got the chicken saltimbocca, which may have been a bad choice, but I was not in the mood for pasta or red meat, and, oddly, don't prefer swordfish or monkfish, which were the two fish choices. The chicken was well cooked and tender, but rather bland. Had proscuitto and fontina, but the flavor of neither came through. All I could taste was sage...at least I think it was sage. There was a line of ground spice in the middle that was a little too overwhelming for me and in some bites turned my stomach a bit. Ben had the monkfish wrapped in pancetta, which he pronounced "pretty good". Neither of us got dessert as nothing appealed to us (I just don't get how people can want to eat panna cotta anyway). We went to Baskin Robbins for dessert, since they have lemon custard now and lemon custard might possibly be the single most perfect ice cream ever, so the evening ended well. I could definately see going back and sitting outside for drinks and snacks (I love mostarda, but did'nt want to get the meats and cheese that go with them last night). I would also like to try sitting at the kitchen bar and maybe ordering better by seeing what looks good. It is a beautiful place, so I hope it makes it.
  21. Hereghty's in Glenwood Village S.C. (right inside the beltline on Glenwood) is a new, indy French pastry shop. Thier pastries, especially thier cheese danish, as well as their small cakes, are incredible. I am often in there for coffee and a "little something" and it is the place of choice for party cakes for us now. With their addition to our end of Raleigh, the only thing I am lacking is a good source for bread, other than my kitchen and Whole Foods (which is better than nothing, but not THAT great). We get it from La Farm when we are at the Farmer's Market, but won't venture as far as Cary for it. I wish there were a good bake shop in ITB Raleigh.
  22. I think I am a cool Mom, but my kids aren't so convinced! Mostly, I am the lazy Mom. Sticky rice can be steamed and on the table in 12 minutes.
  23. I am just frustrated with it since they expanded, though. I can't find some things I use to rely on being there. The wonderful bean cakes/moon cakes that used to be in the refrigerator section wraped in white paper. My kids and I would always get some bean paste ones as a treat to eat on the way home. The flaky pastry got all over the car. The paste was soft and sweet. The ones they have now are in plastic containers by the check out, not fresh and very old and stiff....yuck. Does anyone know what happened to them? There are other things missing, but I can't of course. think of them right now. But I am reminded that we are getting low on sticky rice in the freezer, another kid favorite.
  24. Based on the recommendation of one of the carpenters working on my remodel, who interestingly happens to have been the ex-sous chef at Frazier's, I have tried the place in the BP station on Capital. Next time I head out there I will get the real name. There are three ladies there running a lunch counter (maybe dinner too, not sure). I found it somewhat hard to order as my Spanish is weak and I had two 3 year olds with me, but all the food was fresh and great. It has been a while since I went, so I can't remember what I had, but will have to try it again and report. But I would recommend it. It is on the right side of Capital going north, before you get to Cookout. I promise to be more specific next time! Dean, you will have to come to my house....I have been into making my own tortillas lately. I am still practicing, but we are woofing down the results!
  25. Okay, we are doing the long drive to Philly with three kids for Thanksgiving. Actually, dinner is in Swarthmore, but we are staying at the Sheraton Society Hill to be near hubby's aunt and to get to see more of the City. There is no way I am going to be able to fix, much less pack, anything to bring from Raleigh, given the crowd in the van and the number of stops we are making. Any suggestions on something we can pick up in Philly on Wednesday in Reading Terminal Market (where we hope to get!!!) or anywhere else somewhat near our hotel that we can take to dinner in Swarthmore on Thursday. I don't want to show up empty handed (we are taking wine, but.....). We will also be doing the museum thing with the kids at some point, so we will be in that area too. Any suggestions on any local delicacies we should pick up at the Market to take home for ourselves would also be appreciated! Also, any suggestions on where to eat (not fine dining, we will have the kids...who are good, but not good enough for white table cloths) in Society Hill? Thanks to all ! Beth
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