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Everything posted by phlawless

  1. since I'm new to this site, I will concede to the majority. But I would be more in favor of high quality goods over any of the places mentioned.
  2. Action! I love action! Especially instead of bitching! It's funny, after writing the above statement I paused for a good forty-five seconds. Like you, Varmint, I'm stumped about how to make a difference, especially since I'm a mere kitchen rat without the funds to inspire true change, or loads of free time to devote to the very animal I loathe. But, and this is a big but, I have some pretty strong convictions that motivate me in many less deserving ventures, and I'd like to stop talking about the problems and move in a more productive direction.
  3. I don't know how to do all the fancy cut/paste stuff, so forgive my unorganized responses to the comments from previous posts. I don't agree with you varmint, about Mag Grill's success in Raleigh. For one, the atmosphere sucks. And Raleigh diners equate a certain blingbling with their meal. Ben and Karen aren't terribly interested in an all-over dining experience; they want to have the food transcend all other aspects that most people consider 'important'. Now neither one of them have actually said this to me, but I see where they spend their money on improvements to the restaurant, and very l
  4. Another technique that works quite well is applying the syrup a few minutes after they come from the oven, then wrapping in plastic while still warm. I do this for wedding cake layers, and it works like a charm. You don't want to wrap them when they are hot, allow them to cool for about thirty minutes, but trust me, they'll be dense and moist and incredibly easy to slice.
  5. Ben Barker is not a fan of Raleigh, and probably never will be. I used to scoff at his insolence about Raleigh, but now I understand his reasons. He knows he could make more money here or in Cary but would have to compromise his menu to do so. The atmosphere he creates in his kitchen is one I haven't seen paralleled anywhere else...maybe that's a good thing. But I will defend the incredible commitment he has made to a level of food preperation and community involvement that is regretably absent in other fine dining establishments. No corners are cut, the kitchen is unbelievably staffed, every
  6. I don't think the problem is a lack of three star restaurants, what i despise is that an enjoyable meal must come with a ridiculous check. Our mid-price selections have all been eaten up by the mega-mall franchises. People in this area dine out either for special occasions or ultra-convenience; few modest-priced locals exist, and this is what gauls me. Ben has had great forsight by establishing relationships with local producers, and I only wish we could have more options like that. We just learned however, that Carolina Organic Growers, a state wide distributor out of Asheville, will no lon
  7. I find myself choosing an atmosphere that i enjoy and sacrificing culinary gratification. Bloomsbury is such a place; I love the bar, though hate the dining room, and appreciate a Raleigh wine list not limited to California. I haven't eated enough of the food to have much an opinion, maybe that's the problem, it's boring as hell. Who's soupkitchen?
  8. Honestly, as you might have already guessed from my previous posts, I'm not real hot on dining in the triangle at all. But i do love Lantern, and i'm excited about the new effort by former Lilly's owner Benji whatshisface next to Elaine's. I think it's expected to open in a couple of weeks. In Raleigh I usually end up doing the cheap and easy: Dalat, especially their subs, Farmer's Market shrimp burgers, Cooper's...I try to avoid Glenwood South because parking has become such a pain. Though Vin's wine list has emptied my wallet on more than a few occasions. As I'm a pastry chef, I have my nigh
  9. Like soupkitchen, i've been cooking in the area since my early twenties, and have worked at a number of the places varmint listed. I do, however, think this area has prevented me from moving on to larger markets. Maybe that has more to do with my lifestyle and professional preferences, i.e. i don't care to spend 15 hours a day making money for someone else, like i know i would if i were to experience the kitchens of Le Bernadin, the Laundry, or Trio. This area affords you a more relaxed pace, and as a result, i think most professionals, just like the diners of the area, get a bit slack. Expec
  10. I'd love to get together and meet some fellow NC's who dig more than Rigazzi's. Though as an employee of Mag Grill, i'd love to do it someplace else.
  11. There's a relatively new place for BBQ in the Triangle: the Q shack...owned and operated by Scott Howell of Nana's. Wondered if anyone from here has an opinion, though it's not true eastern NC style, they have some sort of 'battle' between Western NC and Texas style. He's got one open in Durham now with a shop in Raleigh soon to open. Though an eastern fan myself, i appreciate the option they provide. But the sides suck...why doesn't anyone do mac n' cheese right? Where are the collards, and decent black eyed peas? The experiences i've had (Wilber's, Lexington, Cooper's: except the pork rinds)
  12. I didn't read all three pages of replies to this message, so i apologize if i repeat anything anyone else has already mentioned. I have been working as a pastry chef along side Karen Barker for the past five years at Magnolia Grill. I'm not a true southerener, but have fallen in love with the style and sensibility of southern food and especially sweets. The desserts you listed all sounded great, and i thought that i might be of some help with how a pastry chef goes through the creative process when designing a dessert menu. First and foremost, always go seasonal. You don't want to use peaches
  13. I'm wondering about the difference between using non-stick and regular angel food pans. Does the coating affect color, or the rise? What about bake time?
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