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Posts posted by VaNC

  1. The Wine Merchant (stores in Raleigh and Cary, although I have never been to the Cary store) has tastings, but they also have an great introductory wine class. My husband took it back in his single days, for the same reason you give, and raves about it. It is a fairly serious committment of time and money, but I think you will come out knowing tons . Here is a link to the last one. http://www.thewinemerchantinc.com/courses/IntroCourse.html

    Bud Saylor and his wife own Wine Merchant and he used to be a professor at State. Bud and Marilyn, as well as their son Kurt, are great people and I think, like the guys at Carolina Wine Company, would be good people to get to know if you want to learn about wine.

    In addition to the class and tastings, they also offer monthly Advanced Tastings. They are held at the store, include food and are a great way to mingle with a bunch of winos (I know there is another more appropriate name, but the only one I can think of now is wine snobs and I certainly didn't want to use that!) and enjoy an evening. Luckily for us, we can walk home from the Raleigh store.

    Good luck!

  2. I was at Porter's a couple weeks ago and they said that Fraziers would open soon. We saw the place and it was still totally gutted, so it is amazing that they got it done so quickly. I love Frazier's and, as you say, the owners are very nice. I am sorry to hear they could not do the expansion they had planned. The "word" I heard was that they ran into insurmountable problems in adding on the space next door. I must admit, one thing I love about Fraziers is the size, so I am not so sad that they did not expand. I am sorry for the owners, though, that they did not get to do what they wanted. Thanks for letting us know that it is back open and still great!

  3. I apologize if this has been asked before, but I can't get the search to give me what I am looking for. We are heading to Charleston next weekend, again (Hubby goes to Board meeting, I get to run the kids around a city that is GREAT except for the odd lack of playgrounds downtown). We are pretty well versed in the Charleston restaurants (and most nights are choreographed by the company anyway) but we have yet to find a decent place to stop on the way down. Please help me. I don't want to stop at McDonalds again! Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!

  4. I am surprised that you had such an experience at Vin.  They have highchairs, and we have brought out daughter there for dinner and brunch many, many times.  No one has ever been anything other than very accomodating.  When we take her with us, we generally try to eat at non-peak times, like 5:30 or 6 pm, but it has never been a problem.  In fact, it is one of our favorite places to take her.

    Zeb, as I mentioned in my post, this was three years ago. I was there at about 5pm. My daughter has been many times since and loves it. She is partial to the pate.

  5. Varmint -

    One of my issues is that two of mine are two, so ribs, etc. are just not going to cut it...yet. The 6 year old will eat most anything...but portions are an issue.

    I had forgotten about Neomonde. And indian restaurants are good too, as the kid will eat "red chicken".

    Funny you should mention Vin. I recall taking my now 6, then 3 year old there way back. We got there REAL early..were the only people on the patio and I asked, just out of curiosity, if they had high chairs (I can get around them, but it is easier when they are real little). The waiter copped an attitude and said, in a haughty voice "Uh, we don't really get children in here". I said no problem. You should have seen his face when she ordered the duck and woofed it. By the end of the night, they were all asking if she was always this good in restaurants and agreeing to bring her a special ice cream sampler. She has been back many times now.

    You mention DC. We stayed at the Monaco last time we were there and ate their restaurant We had 4 kids under 5 and a middle schooler. They had a great kids menu. Including a simple broiled chicken breast with green beans. My kids loved it.

  6. Okay, I like to eat good food. Not just fancy, expensive food, well prepared fresh, interesting, and healthy food. I am trying to raise kids who are the same. This is a frustrating in these days of packaged, oversalted, over colored, oversugared food for kids. This is a huge pet peeve of mine and all my kids have been bored many a time with my rants.

    Which brings me to my question. Too often we go to otherwise good restaurants and my choice is either to get them a full-size entree, or order off the "kid menu" which is always the same thing (fries, nuggets, fries, really bad pizza, fries, etc.) On the other hand, there are some restaurants that are aware that kids do exist, that they are part of a family, and should be able to go to a restaurant, that is not fast food, with their family (an issue where Italy, Spain etc. are WAY ahead of us. They welcome kids in restaurants there! I digress).

    So, please, please, can you share your finds in the Triangle area or NC in general? And tell me why they are great for kids?

    Here are some of mine:

    Kashin (Crossroads, Cary) - I was there today, which prompted me to post this). Japanese is very kid friendly cause my kids love miso soup, rice and california rolls. The oldest (6) also eats actual sushi (eel, salmon and "little bags of salt" are her favorites). But at Kashin today, they did simple things like bring the kids water in actual sippy cups for the 2year olds, with straws in them. Made my life much easier. And with my udon, they brought little melamine kid bowls, saying "so you can share your noodles with the babies". Without my even asking. My kids chowed, I had a somewhat relaxing lunch, and the food was good.

    518 -Glenwood South/Raleigh - Here they have a kids menu that is simply smaller versions of their regular menu (Imagine...what an idea!) They have a small wood oven pizza, a bowl of penne with fresh tomato sauce. Great.

    Armadillo Grill - okay, it is a bit chain like, but they have a peanut butter and jelly tortilla that I envy every time my kids get it. Plus they have have cocktails. Keeps me sane anyway.

    Frazier's Hillsborough Street/Raleigh- I went there one day with another Mom who was freaking because they didn't have a kids menu (I find it a plus) and they waitress goes "We can make grill cheeses!". It is a good grilled cheese, not premade. And they are also very willing to work with you to get something on a plate the kids will eat. Such as duck quesadillas without onions, or if you see something as a side on the menu that your kids will eat, then they will put several on a plate and just make up a charge. Very accomadating to kids.

    Deluxe (Downtown Wilmington) - Like Fraziers, they don't freak out if you bring in kids. You can just say, I see you have mashed potatoes and green beans, can we have a plate with some on them...." They will make food for your kid that is good. This is the only place where my oldest will eat spinach. Mine just doesn't meet her standards.

    So, that is all I can think of now. Does anyone else have any favorites? Suggestions?

  7. You know, Quinn, now that you have asked me about it, I realize that I mispoke. I drink bourbon with Sundrop, vodka with Wink (beach porch sipping drink). Although as Wink is much like Sundrop, it would probably go with bouron similarly.

    I really like Wink by itself though, cause it is not as sweet as other lemon-lime type drinks. And it has a bit of a bite. One day I read the ingredients and found out what gives it that bite....pine tar.

    So, all you lovers of retsina, try Wink!

  8. I had forgotten about Sundrop. I remember visiting NC relatives, during my Va childhood and wondering at Sundrop, which was their drink of choice. Then, in college in Richmond, I had to have a guy I dated at UVA "import" Sundrop from Charlottesville so I could mix it with my bourbon. If you have never had a bourbon and Sundrop and watched a football game on a Saturday afternoon, you have never lived. There was speculation on my hall that I only dated him for his ability to bring me Sundrop.

    And yes, they still sell Wink at the Harris Teeter here in Raleigh and it goes VERY well with my bourbon too.

    And Yes, my brothers are embarrased that I mix anything but "branch water" with my bourbon!

  9. I miss the small glass bottles of coke too. I have a vivid memory of riding to "downtown" Burgaw NC with my uncle in the morning and after breakfast at the diner, walking to the hardware store where all the "menfolk" would gather to "ride the train". This involved throwing down a dollar on the pile and getting a coke from the machine. The person (man) with the coke from farthest away won the money.

    Was Kickapoo Joy Juice from the South? I remember it growing up too.

  10. The Thai place is called Indochine. Went about a year ago, it was okay. We had the steamed fish and must have been one of the few who ordered it as the chef came out to see if we liked it. It was good. The other dishes were fine, nothing to write home about.

  11. Varmint is right about PortLand Grille being the place to go for high end.

    I don't know about BBQ, but Breakfast House/Middle of the Island is good for home cooking, as is Salt Works, the one on Wrightsville Ave. Check out the boardwalk in Wilmington and have a glass of wine and a pate/cheese plate at Catalan and watch the sunset and then dinner at at Deluxe or Cafe Phoenix. I heard Pilot House and Elijah's had some trouble during Bonnie, don't know if they are back up and running. Anyone? They are great for sitting outside, having a bite and a drink, I don't know if I would call it fine dining, but nonetheless and enjoyable place to spend some time. See my old post for more.

  12. We are regulars at Vin and agree that they are one of the few restaurants where we know we can always get a good meal, but I must admit I have been rather frustruated with them lately. Why does the service always take so so so long? They have tons of people working there. Why does it take them so long to get to your table. When it is just my husband and I, we usually sit at the bar, as the service is always much faster there. Once we were there with a big group of family, some older with less tolerance, and it took incredibly long. When we complained they said "well, it has only been an hour since you ordered and it always takes longer here". First of all....why? Second, it may have been a good argument, if it hadn't taken a waiter about 15 minutes just to come to our table in the first place!

    Second, the last two times there I ordered seafood and both dishes contained lots of sand. It was really upsetting. First, was the mussels appetizer and most recently (last Sunday night) that great scallop dish with the limas and corn. It was an incredible dish and I wanted to really enjoy it, but every bite was full of sand. Should I have said something? Probably. But it puts such a damper on a group's evening for one person to complain and then have to wait for a dish to be redone, etc. I just ate it and tried to make the best of it. But, this is just not something that should be happening when my portion of the bill alone was about $70! It should be a flawless meal.

    I know this is a rant, and I really want to continue to know I can enjoy Vin, but have been increasingly frustrated with them. These are mistakes that a really good restaurant should not be making.

    Okay, I will shut up now.

  13. When I was in grad school there, granted this was a WHILE ago, here are the places we hung out for good cheap food.

    Cheese Shop -GREAT sandwiches with that "secret sauce" that a friend that worked there even would not give away. A great hidden gem right off DOG street.

    College Delly - a college sub hangout.

    The Old Chickahominy House. Kinda like a real version of Cracker Barrel Virginia style - But the food, at least used to be good. A limited menu of virginia staples, such as ham biscuits, brunswick stew and, yum, warm buttermilk pie for dessert. Not expensive, but it was where my parents and other family used to want to go when they came to visit and I was glad to go.

    Chowinings Tavern - on DOG street in CW. This tavern serves only pub food and pretty iffy pub food at that, but go for the beer and the gambols. Eat peanuts, throw the shells on the floor and listen to colonial music played by guys in colonial garb. Kinda fun. In grad school, they used to sing bawdy songs, had booths and beer winches to mess with you and teach you how to play tavern games, but it has been somewhat remade to be more "family friendly" but is still fun.

    King's Arms - was historically the best of the taverns. I don't know if it is still true. If you want to do one of the nice tavern dinners, go to CW website and get reservations. CHownings will not require them.

    Surrey House -is this place still there? I just remember going there for a date and eating peanut soup. If you want to enjoy the trip (it is across the river from Jamestown in Surrey, VA.) you should put a bottle of red and two glasses under the seat of your car for the ferry ride over and back! Worked with me...............................

  14. Foodie Penguiin, that was the reason for my post too, I just had less diplomacy, I guess. It just gets my goat when someone who disagrees with my opinion on a subjective issue tells me that I must be an idget because I don't agree with them. A personal problem I know. :blink:

    I agree with ya'll about NeoChina. It is fresh and good Chinese-American. I just prefer the more authentic, although I will admit that I often disagree with my chinese friends about what I like. They like Hong Kong's dim sum better than NeoChina's. I like NeoChina's dim sum cause it is not as greasy, at least to me. I do find it amusing when the servers don't tell us everything they have unless we have Chinese friends with us, as they assume we don't want the more traditional dishes. You should see the look on their faces when my five year old peers into the cart and says "do you have any jellyfish in there?"

    Varmint, if you live where I think you do, I have a question for you, as I think we are neighbors. How did you get your house looking so good?

  15. Just an update. Went tonight and ate at the bar. Service was great, had "bar snacks" including fried artichokes, asparagus soup, and shrimp/corn/ham risotto. All were great and not too pricey. But I am leaving this report cause we got creme brulee for dessert and I had to tell you. It was, hands down, the best creme brulee we have had in years. Smooth as silk, not too sweet. Wow.

    We will go back.

  16. Well, this is upsetting. They were always the place we relied on. Maybe they are having financial problems since their place in Glenwood South (Cody's) is not doing well. The food there is not very good, although a bunch of us went after seeing "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman" and were the only people there and we got the chef just to make us a series of dishes and they were GREAT! When we call Peking Garden for take-out, they always try to talk us in getting it delivered. I say, "no, I'll come get it" afraid that they will deliver it from Cody's, since we live downtown.

    We go to NeoChina in Cary for dim sum and think it is great, although we are not thrilled with either NeoChina's regular day menu.

    My Chinese friends say Ma Ma Wok in Cary is the best. I, so far, have only been there for dim sum. It was good, but did not have the variety (or the carts) that NeoChina has.

  17. I have always heard that there is a guy sharpening knives at the State Fair flea market, but rarely go there anymore, so don't know it for a fact.

    I would call Beck's and see if they do it or if they could recommend someone. Altlhough it is always fun to go there just to drool over all the cool knives. It is in McGregor Village right off 1.

    You could also call Burke Bros. Hardware and see if they do it, or know someone. I know that Ferguson's Hardware, before they closed, had a guy that came every couple weeks.

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