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Everything posted by foodiehall

  1. Bump.....OK, forget "new and wonderful". Anything within walking distance of the coliseum which would accommodate a group of 12-13? Thanks in advance for suggestions!
  2. Hub & I will be in Charlotte for the ACC Tournament in a few weeks, haven't been there in several years. I've gone back through some Southeast threads for advice on Charlotte restaurants and since Lan4dawg seems to be impressed with Lulu, I thought we could check that out. Since we usually sit through all the games, we'll probably be going out to eat only a couple of times....for dinner. Are there any other "don't miss" places out there? We're very much into chef-owned places; not too interested in BBQ/steakhouse places on this trip. We used to love going to Lamplighter's on Morehead (?) Street and were very disappointed when it went out of business. Has that space been occupied by any other restaurant(S)? Thanks for any suggestions/advice you might pass along.
  3. Sorry I didn't suggest this sooner (maybe because it's not "southern"): Fins in downtown Raleigh, 110 East Davie Street, on the corner street level of a Progress Energy Building. Restaurant moved to this location several months ago and I think the the food there is better than ever. They don't have a website; I've copied this from Open Table (because I'm too dumb to figure out how to do links): # Fins writes... Open the door to Fins new restaurant in downtown Raleigh and WOW! The expansive bar has plenty of table seating for the early and late bar menu patrons. The open dining room, divided somewhat, has an intimate feeling and is surrounded by inviting booths. The 'robatayaki style' bar is an ideal vantage point for viewing the chefs as they work. Chef William D'Auvray has done it again and does not disappoint his many fans. As always, fish and seafood are a specialty but what he does with meat is unsurpassed. The variety in appetizers and entrees span the globe, using only the freshest harvest available. # Dining Style: Casual Elegant # Cuisine: Seafood # Neighborhood: Raleigh # Cross Street: Wilmington # Price: $30 and under # Phone: (919) 834-6963 # Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:30pm Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 11:00pm
  4. I'll give shout-outs for Frazier's and Porter's....a louder one for Frazier's. As to parking, you might get lucky and find a space on Hillsborough Street in front of the restaurants. However, we can usually snag a place off Hillsborough on Chamberlain Street with no difficulty.
  5. Just a nitpickin correction: South is part of the Urban Food Group which also includes Frazier's, Porter's and Vivace and is owned by Kevin and Stacy Jennings. The Noble Food Group is owned/co-owned by Charlie Deal and I don't think any of their restaurants are in Raleigh....correct me if I'm wrong.
  6. I'll cast a vote for two of my faves which you didn't mention: Sermet's Corner on King Street and Cru Cafe on Cumberland Street (easily overlooked because of its out-of-the-way location), both in downtown Charleston. Both serve lunch and dinner.
  7. Guess Raleigh isn't a pizza kind of place! Visitors come to NC looking for great 'cue, but great pizza? Not so much. You, of all people, know that!
  8. I'm giving this thread a bump, just having returned from Charleston yesterday afternoon, mainly for the benefit of those planning a trip there in the near future. I especially want to report back on Hominy Grill since I kept suggesting that "hazardnc" go there for a special meal. I sensed that something was up when, shortly before our trip, I got an e-mail from HG saying that their hours have changed---no more dinner on the weekends, cutoff for dinner during the week is 8 PM (meaning that you have to get there by 8; they don't clear out the place at 8). We went there for dinner on our first night...again on the patio. I immediately noticed that the twinkling little lights from last year were gone, light came from hurricane lamps on the tables and some muted lights placed around the patio. Am not sure why, but we immediately noticed that we had paper napkins instead of cloth napkins as before. I was pleased to see that the menu looked pretty much the same as before. Since we arrived after 7:30, we were among the last diners and our server had more time to chat with us and answer some questions. She explained that Chef Robert Stehling, a protege of the late Bill Neal, has had a "philosophical change" in the way he wants the restaurant to be perceived....he wants all the emphasis to be on the food, wants the ambience to be very casual (paper napkins, butcher paper covering the indoor tables, etc.). In other words, they most certainly aren't looking to be classified as "fine dining"---although I'd say the food is certainly as fine as ever! She said some of their regulars were a little put off by this and the change in hours, while others are more accepting. NOTE: if I haven't expressed this new philosophy correctly and you have more info about it, feel free to jump in and set the record straight. We had other good dinners at FIG (first time for us and we were suitably impressed); Fleet Landing (also a first for us; high noise level, definitely family friendly, outside tables were quieter---which was nice on the waterfront, but wouldn't have been so great once the rains came from tropical storm Barry); and Carolina's (a long-time C'ton favorite which has a new chef, Jeremiah Bacon, who has put in some time at the French Laundry). Lunches were at Cru Cafe, Blossom Cafe, and Sermet's Corner....nothing new to us there, always good food. We had reservations at Cru and even arrived 10 min. early to find lots of business, lots of scurrying around; could not be seated immediately as table wasn't ready yet. Chef/owner seemed to be working the front and back of house. Two couples came in at about the same time we did, without reservations....room for one duo was found at the bar, the other couple went to an outdoor table and we continued to wait and watch people without reservations being turned away. Finally we were seated, seemed that it took a long time for server to take our order....finally, when we saw both the couples leaving, after having eaten, and we still didn't have food, I knew something was wrong with the picture. I mentioned this politely to our server and in a few minutes, here came the chef/owner and I repeated this tale to him. In conclusion, finally our food came, it was great, and they didn't charge us for it....which was the Right Thing, but we didn't get any explanation for the delay. All said, I'd go back there again but not if I had time constraints, as in tickets to something immediately following the meal. Don't think I've ever seen any mention on this board of Sermet's Corner so I'll put in a good word: it's been in its convenient location on the corner of King & Wentworth Sts. for 10-15 years (a good run by C'ton standards), always does a good business for lunch and dinner, food is always tasty, slight Mediterranean influence due to the Turkish chef/owner Sermet, who can always be seen working on the food, but NOT trying to manage the place. A footnote: with the exception of Hominy Grill, we were always given cloth napkins....lunch and dinner, casual and otherwise.
  9. Best pizza in the triangle? Guess that depends on what your taste buds are in the mood for at a given moment---thin, cracker-like crust; thick, chewy crust; great tomato sauce/no tomato sauce, etc. etc. etc. I can make a pretty fine pie in my home oven....crust is focaccia-like and I can use whatever toppings I want to, put as many mushrooms on as I like---after my pizzas, the commercial ones pale in comparison. I do however lament the loss of Brothers Pizza on Hillsborough Street.
  10. I wish I'd seen this post before we went to Fins last night. I thought there was just one Progress Energy building, the one on Fayetteville Street, and could not figure out how Fins could be on the corner of anything when that building isn't on the corner. But we finally found it. Yes, the new place is beautiful and so spacious compared to the location in North Raleigh. I think my meal last night was the best one I've ever had at Fins. Started with house salad....OK, not too imaginative, but I've gotta have my greens! Hub had conch seviche, a little of which he shared with me; I preferred my salad. As my entree, I had fresh day-boat seared scallops with pork, carrots, Jerusalem artichoke veloute and topped with William's shredded fried onions.....a wonderful dish! I would never have thought of combining pork and scallops, but it worked beautifully. I'm not able to wax poetically about food the way some eG'ers do, but this dish was soooo good. Everything in it was cooked to perfection. Hub had the Alaskan salmon......again, I preferred my choice. Gluttons that we are, we both had the signature tiramisu "en vace" with espresso sauce for dessert---hey, you gotta indulge sometimes! I don't imbibe so I can't comment on that aspect; hub had a couple glasses of wine which he liked. My "Lisa story" is that the very first time we went to Fins, we were about 15 min. late (my fault of course) and she chided us a little. I don't recall what she said, but hey, I figured we deserved it---and since then, I'm always careful to call a restaurant if we're running late. Anyhow, since then, she's been nothing but hospitable and gracious to us, always calling us by name and chatting with us. No problems with service last night; I do recall a server at the former place who was sub-par, but I didn't see him last night.
  11. Where exactly is Fins located? My understanding is that it's in the Progress Energy building. I drove by there recently but didn't see any sign/hint that Fins was there. Maybe I had the wrong building? Could you give us something more specific about the location. Thanks.
  12. Um....I don't know how often you visit the Moore Square/City Market area on Saturdays but I can tell you that very often, especially from spring thru fall, there are other things going on at Moore Square on Saturdays, if not the entire weekend (meaning lots of congestion). Granted, I haven't visited the Wed. market so I have no idea as to how much space is needed for that operation. I wonder if the farmers' market could be moved to another area (Nash Square, near Municipal Bldg.) or a closed=off street (on the weekend, of course). Also....are you aware that 2 vendors/farmers are at City Market Produce on Blake St. on Thurs/Fri/Sat.? These guys mainly have seasonal produce, both local and some non=local, hoop cheese, side meat (nothing fancy) and various preserves. How is the parking situation on Wednesdays around Moore Square? Better at 10 AM than 12:30 PM? TIA for the info.
  13. Inquiring foodies await the report of your culinary experiences....while still fresh in your mind.
  14. Sorry to keep harping on Hominy Grill here....maybe I've misunderstood you, but I want to be sure you're aware that HG isn't "across the bridge". Last time we were there (dined on the patio with twinkling lights), it appeared that several duos/groups were indeed there for special occasions---I say that based on the way they were dressed, body language, etc. How about Carolina's, located right off East Bay St. near the Broad St. t-intersection...I'd consider that "fancier" than HG. Or for more sophisticated ambiance, the restaurant inside the Charleston Place Hotel....the Charleston Grille?---my bad, can't think of its name which has changed a couple times over the years...but still a lovely setting. I'd like to hear more about this Cordiva/Cordava place myself; alas, can't help you with that.
  15. Wow, you totally nailed that one, I couldn't have said it better myself! I try them once in awhile, but am always dissapointed. Other things: Mushrooms. (if one more person tells me "There's some mushrooms in this, but I swear you can't taste them!" I'm gonna go postal. I can SENSE the slimy little bastids.) Shellfish/Mollusks. Texture, again. I like crabmeat in stuff, and the flavor of shrimp, but the texture of all of it (plus the idea of eating oceanic bugs, or the entire whole of an animal digestive system and all, just kinda turns me off). I'm not so into veal either, it always felt kinda mushy to me, and bland. There's very few chicken preprations that I really love, maybe a perfect roasted chicken, or some great barbecued or fried chicken. Outside of that, I can think of 10 other proteins I would rather have. Mostly, I eat chicken as an excuse to eat whatever sauce it's in, or whatever's accompanying it. I think it's just dull. Same with tofu. The texture and un-flavor bugs me. Too close to eggs? Maybe. I like the really dense chewy kind, or dried fried tofu, but the snowy white blocks are kinda spongy and bland. I feel kinda eh about eggplant, too. It always feels like I'm eating a mouthful of slimy fat. If it's chopped fine, in with a lot of other stuff, then fine. If its in cubes or chunks, then I pick around it. Breaded fried eggplant is the exception, because somehow that doesn't get that slimy fatty texture. I know I've replied to a thread like this before, but I love it. I always feel less alone, when I see other egg or mushroom haters. I think it's because we go through life getting the "you hate EGGS?! What the hell? Who hates EGGS!?" treatment. ← YESSSS! I'm right with you on the egg thing. I certainly use them in baking...but as for egg dishes (I'm OK with quiche as long as it's loaded with meat/veggies/anything to cover up the eggy taste), custards, creme brulee, deviled eggs, chopped egg additions----noooo way. Frankly, I think that onion-haters (and I know a few) miss out on more good stuff than I, the egg-hater.
  16. Just a clarification on Hominy Grill location: it's not off the peninsula by any means. It's just not in the heart of historic downtown Charleston, rather is closer to College of Charleston and the med school---sort of on the edge of downtown. Maybe you were already aware of this; if not, I wanted to let you know since location seems to be one of your main criteria for selecting a place.
  17. "Best dining experience in the historic district"? Guess that would depend on whom you ask and what aspects of said dining experience are most important to you. I can think of places which serve great food....but the atmosphere is like a train station. I can think of critically acclaimed places where we've dined....and felt like we'd been ripped off. On our last visit, my favorite dinner was at Hominy Grill....interior is probably not the most romantic setting, but the outdoor patio can be lovely. Also the HG isn't in the heart of the historic district so that might make a difference to you.
  18. I don't care how lovely the place is....we're simply not going to pay the prices for the food offered on the Oak Steakhouse menu---and we're not hurting for money. I suspect that when a place charges those prices for food, a lot of that money is going for overhead...and hey, we're not interested in paying for that. Just because a place charges top dollar for food doesn't necessarily mean that said place will present you with the best meal you've had in a particular city. Since we'll be making our annual trip to Charleston later this spring, I'm particularly interested in the posts on this thread. I've never tried FIGS, but seems that many others are pleased with it. Peninsula Grill is good, also Carolina's. You can get wonderful meals at many Charleston restaurants without having to shell out the $$$ charged by the Oak. Just depends on what you like, what's important to you in a dining experience. Good luck.
  19. Thanks for these tips! Still time for more before we leave here , but I've printed these out in the meantime. Wonder what your Hooters has that ours does not? Cheryl
  20. The hub and I will be visiting Tampa in a couple weeks to attend the mens' ACC basketball tournament at the St. Pete Forum, arriving on a Wed. and leaving on Sunday. We'll be staying at the Marriott Courtyard on Cass Street and will not be renting a car. Since we usually sit through all the games when attending these tournaments, many of our meals will consist of arena food. We'll probably be eating only a couple of dinners outside the Forum. I'm seeking advice/suggestions on dining options in this general area of the city...either within walking distance or a short cab ride. After eating said arena food, we'll be interested in real food/local specialities. Any places we should avoid? Thanks in advance for your help---either suggestions or referral to existing threads. Cheryl
  21. 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. ← I've been buying Nueske's Applewood Smoked Bacon for a couple of years at the good ol Fresh Market in Cameron Village.
  22. I'm in Raleigh but I've been making annual pilgrimages to Charleston for the last 25 years. That said (and I believe I said this in the Charleston Dining thread), my advice is to head to Hominy Grill. I think you'll find what you're looking for there. Can't help with accommodations---we're into the crystal and antiques places, which also have a good location.
  23. I'm glad to hear that you found corn that was advertised as "Silver Queen" to be the real stuff. That's what bothers me more than anything: someone calling their corn "Silver Queen" when it's actually something else. I've had some good Supersweet, BUT it's still not as good as Silver Queen, IMO. Regardless of the flavor, Supersweet just doesn't have the texture of Silver Queen.
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