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Posts posted by ediblerock

  1. It's a lot about expectations. Ruth's Chris has never met my expectations that they set through price, atmosphere, and advertising. They want to be considered a premium steakhouse, but in my experience, the food and service fell short; the steaks lacked flavor that I've found in similarly-placed steakhouses, and many of the sides were overseasoned.

    Here in Raleigh, Sullivan's blows away Ruth's Chris. But I have had steaks at Outback that are just as good as Ruth's Chris, at a third the price. I don't expect greatness at Outback, and am pleasantly surprised when the steak is flavorful and cooked properly - medium rare, please.

    Funny thing is, you will find similar arguments on super-premium steakhouses, and which are players and pretenders, like Luger's, Wolfgang's, Palm, Old Homestead, etc., all of which nearly require a second mortgage for one meal. I expect greatness every time when I lay out that kind of cash, and have only gotten it twice - at Peter Luger's, and Bern's in Tampa.

    Great, now I'm hungry!

  2. I bought the bushel of live #1 Jimmies from The Sea Depot, at the corner of Chatham and Maynard in Cary. The crabs were excellent, heavy and big. There were a fair amount of dead ones when I first sorted them (about a dozen), but the crabs were delivered on Friday instead of Saturday due to a personal issue with the crabber. Lee, the owner, said that was a freak occurrence and that I could expect the crabs to come on Saturday every time I order them from now on.

    The crabs were $110 a bushel, with a deposit required (cash preferred), but that price may change depending on the time of year and supply. I will definitely order from the Sea Depot again for hard shells.

  3. I've always been able to good crabs at Capital Seafood that's just across Lake Wheeler Rd. from the NC State Farmer's Market in Raleigh.

    Dean, your words hold weight, my friend. I called Capital Seafood before I posted; the gentleman quoted $150/bushel, but said he couldn't guarantee if they "all arrived dead." I expect a few dead ones, but all would be bad :huh:

  4. Nooo!  Now I can't get Nueske bacon.

    Actually, the new Fresh Market carries it. They carry (their labels) Market Style Bacon and Applewood Smoked Bacon. The label the meat dept prints out for the Applewood Smoked Bacon says "Neuskes Bacon".

    Also, it must be Neuske's, because it is $7.49/lb, while the market style is $4.99/lb!

    Fresh Market is now at the corner of Cary Parkway and Waldo Rood Blvd. It is huge now, the size of a Taj MaTeeter.

  5. After a three-week remodel, Fowler's Food and Wine was supposed to reopen today, but the following message appears on their homepage:

    After 82 years of operation Fowler's Food and Wine is closing its doors. We would like to thank our staff, loyal customers and long time friends for supporting us over the years. Sunday November 5th was sadly our last day of operation, our goal over the years has been to serve our customers and community quality products and quality service.

    Apparently, the owners are looking for a buyer:

    N&O: Durham market is for sale

    The last few paragraphs of the story seem to indicate not as many people cared as much about Fowler's as they used to. But where else can we get prime dry-aged beef and freshly made stock in the Triangle? To my New York friends, that was a sign that we had a little bit of sophistication. :rolleyes:

    What do you all think? Did the new, larger Southern Season and new Whole Foods stores kill off Fowler's for good? Or is there still room for a small local grocery that sells the best-quality products?



  6. Hey tell me if this is out there but.... I had the idea to make a cassoulet Carpaccio. I would take fava and cannelinni beans and pound them thin. I would serve it with duck confit terrine, pancetta chips, confit cherry tomatoes, and demi glace gelee. It would be a whole new spin to the everyday rich baked bean dish while still staying true to its ingredients. Let me know what you think about that.

    Oh wait! before i get too excited with that idea...has anyone heard of something like that before??

    Visit the TestKitchen

    You're going to pound beans thin :huh: ? My bs meter must be down, are you kidding? The rest of it sounds intriguing though . . .

    I have not heard of anything like that for cassoulet. It sounds like you are not going to cook them together to blend the flavors?

  7. In re the pork substitutes, my concern would be less about the smoke -- it would add a dimension that would recall, I'd think, the ancient roots of the wood-oven cooking -- but the salt.

    Ah, so the salt pork would definitely be a bad thing. One problem I have here is the the pork rind and belly is low-quality - we are near a Smithfield Products farm and I've cooked with both before - while the Salt Pork is Niman Ranch, from Whole Foods. The smoked ham hocks are easy to find in the stores, but they are also probably salted before smoked.

  8. I have made confit before, but this is my first time making cassoulet. Everyone in this fantastic thread keeps mentioning pork rind or pork belly, but several recipes I have also mention salt pork, slab bacon, pancetta, or ham hocks. Question: does the smokiness of the bacon or hocks detract from the final product? Would they be too strong?

    I also purchased navy beans because they were the only ones available at the local Whole Foods. Has anyone used them for cassoulet?

    Many thanks,


  9. Where to buy pastured meats?

    I've been buying my meats directly from the farmers, whom I found through eat wild (http://www.eatwild.com/products/nocarolina.html). But It's tough driving several hours just for a few chickens and cuts of beef. Not such a green way to distribute stuff.

    Nu Horizons Farm sells pasture-raised beef, as well as chicken, pork, eggs, and lamb, at the Farmer's Markets in Carrboro, Cary, and Fearrington Village. You can order ahead on their website and pick up your order at one of the markets, too. I have had their sirloins and ribeyes, and they were quite good, but not close to the sublime prime, dry-aged cuts at Fowler's. Of course, the difference is about $20/pound.

    As for fish, the lady who runs Earps' Seafood Market (Mrs. Earp, I believe), told me all the fish they carry are from North Carolina waters.

    Good luck!


  10. I applaud the people who are honest enough to say they can't stand the sight of children at a Michelin three star restaurant. But the question was not: "how would you react if I brought my child to a $1000-dollar restaurant you were patronizing". The question was: "should I bring a five-year old and nine-year old to Taillevent". I am in the NO camp. The children are clamoring to go because they hear Mommy and Daddy raving about what a life-changing experience it is. A good parent can separate him/herself from her children long enough to enjoy a night out. A night out that will be less stressful on the parents, children, patrons, and waitstaff if the children stay in the hotel with the funky French nanny for a few hours.

    I have a five-year old daughter, and while she has terrific restaurant manners, between the time change and the length of the meal, I wouldn't want to put her through the stress of 'behaving' for that long (how many times do you want to shush a child for laughing or talking too loud for the circumstances?).

    I also have a friend who would take her five-year old daughter to Taillevent and not even realize her child is acting like an Alpha brat. She would take her because she can't stand the thought of not being with her child for more than 20 minutes. She would notice no one else (or pretend not to). The blame lies with the freak-show parent, not her misbehaved child.

    Browniebaker, you do not sound like that kind of parent, but I believe you will have a more relaxing, enjoyable evening at Taillevent if your children are not with you for a couple of hours. If you really want to take your children to a fancy restaurant, take them to a one star, or a nice bistro like Bofinger. If you haven't been to Taillevent, there is a good book recently written about the experience there ((A Meal Observed, by Andrew Todhunter).

  11. My SO and I were back in the Triangle last week, and it fell to me to choose the dinner destinations. I've been wanting to try Magnolia Grill since forever. So we went there. And you know what? It wasn't all that great.

    Granted, we dined there on the Thursday before Duke's parents' weekend, so it was pretty packed with parents and students, but I don't think that should be an excuse. Ben Barker was present that night, so I have to imagine that our food was prepared to his standards.

    So my question is: Has anyone else had a disappointing experience there? Does everyone believe Magnolia deserves all the hype? Am I just spoiled? Opinions, please.

    I have had one meal at Magnolia, and it was close to as you described: good, but not memorable. I owe it at least two more visits, but my wife is harder to convince.

    As for being there on a crowded night, you're right, it shouldn't be an excuse, but service and food quality are more likely to suffer on nights where the restaurant is SRO. When I try a new restaurant, I like to go on the slower nights (Tu-Wed) rather than on nights I know it will be packed, with a waiting list, and servers might be getting pressure to turn tables more quickly.

    I have had some excellent meals at Vin Rouge. But I have yet to go there on a Friday or Saturday.

  12. If someone knows where I can go to fix my Ethiopian food phobia, speak now.  If anyone knows where I can go to fix my hellenologophobia, let me know that as well.

    hellenologophobia: An abnormal and persistent fear of Greek terms or complex scientific terminology.

    I recommend what helped me: a graduate degree from St. John's College in Annapolis, MD. (Annapolis, Greek for City of Anne :huh: )

  13. Carrboro Farmers' Market is open now on Saturdays, click for hours and directions.

    If you want to stay in Durham, Fowler's Market is by far the most fun. Their meat department ranks with the best anywhere in terms of quality and people. Prime beef, Prime and dry-aged beef, foie gras, several kinds of bacon, even guanciale on occasion. There are also excellent cheeses, deli, and coffee. They make sandwiches and cheese plates for lunch and dinner, and best of all, free wireless!

    Fowler's is not in Brightleaf Square, but right next to it. Also next to Fowler's are Pop's restaurant, which features seating at a bar right in front of the cooking stations. The mise en place is right in front of you! The food is good, above average, if you like Northern Italian.

    There is also a fun, big place to shop next to Pop's; Morgan Imports as mentioned before is great place to be diverted by shopping.

    If you have a car, A Southern Season is most definitely worth a visit. They have moved into a new building (over a year ago), and the place is huge. If you want seven different kinds of smoked fish, a huge wall of chocolate bars from around the world, 30 kinds of salt, and a good cafe for breakfast/lunch, Southern Season is the place. They also have free wireless in the cafe.

    Southern Season is an anchor store for a redone mall, University Mall, and there is a hidden jewel of a store in there, Kitchenworks. Gadgets galore, but gadgets that are actually useful and rare, not $20-fruit-peelers.

    Foster's in Chapel Hill is pretty good, but mostly a restaurant (a tiny market). Guglhopf is an excellent bakery, right next door.

    As for the BBQ, Allen & Son is indeed terrific, but is two exits past Chapel Hill on I-40, maybe 20-25 minutes away from Durham. The Q Shack is co-owned by a four-star NC chef and a Texas boy, and is one mile from the Duke campus. They have NC pulled pork, Texas beef brisket, Texas smoked beef sausage, St. Louis ribs, and now chicken. Even better, they serve beer (most NC BBQ joints don't). Their website lists a now-closed location at the newest mall here, Streets at Southpoint; the University Drive location is the close one for you. Bullock's is overrated; Dillard's BBQ is better, although both gas-cook their meat :unsure: . Q Shack properly smokes all theirs :cool:

    The NC Farmer's Market, Raleigh is a good 30 minutes from Durham, close to downtown Raleigh, but by the time you get here, they will have a great selection of produce. Located there is also the Seafood Restaurant, and the Nahunta Pork Outlet! Mmmmm. . . pork.

    Good luck!

  14. Depends on if you mean City of Tampa, or the Tampa Bay area. If you're willing to go to the beach, Thai Pan Alley in Indian Rocks Beach is quite good. They will make the pad thai as hot as you wish; the heat-rating-as-stars includes five-star, "for Thai nationals only". And their Thai tea with coconut milk is excellent as well. We get a green curry dish too that has lots of great contrasting flavor.

    The best part is the great prices.

    2300 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach 33785, 727-593-3663.

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