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Guilty Gourmand

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  1. Difficult question. I have not been this year and so I am speaking from dated and limited experience from last year but my general impression was that the quality / variety of produce (main reason I go) was not all that great and the prices were pretty high. Although I certainly support the locally and directly grown efforts, my sense is that those efforts really are still catering to a pretty limited audience / niche crowd willing to pay to support those sorts of things. If volume is desired / required for survival, I think quality has to be top notch and that they may have to move away from some of their local sourcing requirements. For example, I heard folks in my office say they went last week and the stuff didn't look all that good and was really expensive. Some went back the next day and got stuff from the City Market folks all based on price and (perceived) quality. If quality and variety are great, you probably have a chance to lure some folks in that aren't as concerned with the locally grown aspect but quality has to sell the item. I work downtown and think that a Wednesday lunch period probably makes the most sense if you are going to do a mid-week market. My sense is that more people are likely to make a special point of taking a slight detour at lunch than would plan to trek over and/or hang around late afternoon or after work unless they live immediately downtwon. I personally would go over on a Wednesday lunch as a break in the day but would be very unlikely to take the time to go after work. We live close to downtown and so would personally support a Saturday morning market if you could pull that off on a full-scale basis. Wonder if that would that create any conflicts with some of the current vendors and other markets? At any rate, I think there are likely to be many many more people downtown willing to make a short detour mid-day on a Wednesday than would be willing to make a special trip downtown on Saturday.
  2. I second the Stitt recommendations and would also add Hot and Hot Fish Club (which is not mainly a seafood restaurant) for high end dining with local ingredients. Carpetbagger hits on some B'ham dining institutions--barbeque and hot dogs. Everybody has their own barbeque preferrences so you can get a lot of different opinions there--my recommendation would be Pat James Full Moon Barbeque. Another Birmingham dining institution is the meat-and-three steam table lunch spot. Nikki's West is probably the best of the bunch--or certainly the most famous. The atmosphere is, in my opinion, pretty awful but the veggies are good and it is a real landmark. If I recall correctly, they are open for dinner but hey--you've got to eat lunch too so why not hit them up for a quick lunch. Another great dininng institution is the Bright Star in Bessemer which is worth a little drive to take in an evening meal.
  3. Just curious if anyone eaten at Windansea in Morehead City lately. It has always been one of my favorite places there and I recommend it to others in addition to Stillwater and Blue Moon, etc. but haven't heard much about them lately.
  4. Thanks for everybody's suggestions. Sorry for my late reply. We actually ended up at Babymoon Cafe as most of the folks in the group knew where that was. Although not as adventurous as some of the other options along that stretch, it was a nice meal and worked out well for our group. Thanks again for everybody's suggestions.
  5. Have 4 people all coming from different points in the Triangle that are looking to have dinner somewhere off of I-40 between Chapel Hill and Raleigh. I don't get out of Raleigh much anymore. Are there some good dining choices around the Streets of Southpoint area (other than the usual chain suspects), around the 54 /55 interchange, or RTP that would be good for dinner. Not looking for fine dining really--just solid dining away from a chain. Thanks.
  6. Sorry it didn't go well. I used to spend a good bit of time in B'ham and Jim n Nicks was always one of my favorites but mainly for the pork, pig in the garden or onion rings. I understand from friends that Pat James Full Moon B-B-Q continues to be the best in town but I haven't tried it recently and everybody seems to have a different preference for their cue.
  7. Sorry for the late reply but wanted to add this for future reference for anybody looking for a quality bbq joint between Raleigh and Wilmington off of I-40. Stephenson's Bar-B-Q is located just 5 minutes or so off of I-40 directly on your way to Wilmington. It's about 20 miles or so out of Raleigh. To get there, take the McGee's Crossroads exit off of I-40 East (Exit 319). After exiting, take a right onto NC Highway 210 and go a couple of miles to the intersection with NC Highway 50 (McGee's Crossroads). Turn right onto Highway 50 and go another couple of miles and Stephenson's is located on the right. I grew up in eastern NC and think Wilber's is at the top of the list but frankly my palate is not sophisticated enough to justify a detour to Wilber's when excellent cue is so close by at Stephenson's. I've heard some say this is "B-level" cue compared to Wilber's or Allen & Son but I frankly have not experienced that in my several visits. In fact, I would put this above typical Allen & Son most days just because I've had some inconsistent stuff at Allen & Son. (I agree when Allen & Son is on, however, it's just about perfect.) I understand that Stepehnson's cooks over hardwood coals so I guess they are not a true "woodburner" like Wilber's and Allen & Son but they also aren't using an electric or gas cooker. At any rate, I believe it's superior to the other nearby options. I love the smoky flavor. It also has a great atmoshphere--an old country Bar-B-Q joint with tons of locals eating around lunchtime. Was in Saturday and there must have been about 30 Legion baseball players in eating in addition to the farmers, families and several "little old ladies." It's just classic. They also serve fried chicken and tons of vegetables.
  8. Maybe Sol y Luna. I believe they have a nice Sunday Brunch if you're looking for something a bit unique. As gifted notes, Sunday options are a bit limited. You may want to investigate the listings on bhamdining.com if you haven't already.
  9. I had the opprtunity to duck in for a late lunch on Thursday and found it very good. It was after 2:00 so all they were serving were Panninis. I got the turkey and brie as well. Didn't see a listing for fries and didn't ask but got served a side of noodles with the pannini and all was pretty good and reasonably priced. I'll be interested to sample a few of their pastas and other selections at later dates. Not sure the food I had was on par with my new favorite restaurant, the Raleigh Times Bar, yet but it's very nice to have these additional options downtown and I look forward to checking in again. Just to be a little more clear on the location, it is on Wilmington, just past the interestection with Hargett heading toward the Capitol. Next to the Wilmington St. deck and across from the Mechanics and Farmers Bank and the Alexander Sq. Deck.
  10. Zeb, Thanks for the post. We have actually been several times and received good service on most occasions but the last two times we went there seemed to be a particular edge. Perhaps its just us. At any rate, enough on the negatives. I really was posting to note that a couple of days ago we received an email from a representative of Porters who said they monitored egullet and other sites in order to get feedback. First, the individual apologized for our negative experience and second also assured us that they had reemphasized for their staff the importance of treating all guests--even the younger ones--with the same attention to detail that I have found carries through in other aspects of their operation. Kudos for Porters for monitoring egullet and for taking time to not only respond but also address my concerns with their staff. The response was noted by my wife who I think has now agreed to pay a return visit.
  11. I'll second or third the food recommendation but I have to say we received really bad service when we brought our kid with us. I know it's a tavern and all and that they do not intend to cater to kids (although they do have a kid's menu) but the attitude we received caused my wife to swear we would not be going back--even without our son--and despite the fact she loves their fish taco. Too bad for me I guess as I'm ashamed to say I'm willing to put up with some rudeness for a good and conveniently located burger.
  12. I don't live in Winston-Salem but visit occassionally. Nobles is good but pretty upscale. No suit required but i think you would call it a "fancy type place." They are associated with several other Noble's restaurants and have a website. You may want to check the hours--I suspect a lot of places are closed on Sunday nights. Other steakhouse / grill type places include Ryan's (not the chain) and Twin-City Chop House. Other possibilities might include The Village Tavern in Reynolda Village by Wake Forest (I also think they have a location by Hanes Mall). Typical upper-scale Tavern food in a casual setting. (Perhaps not outstanding but I enjoy it as a good comfort food type place.) There is also a relatively new brewpub called Foothills Brewery which we found pretty fun and to have pretty good food. Along those same lines you might also try Lucky 32--a small local chain. I'm pretty sure they have a website too--maybe www.lucky32.com. They provide a solid upscale but casual dining experience and usually have some good regional specialties. I have not been but hear good things about Twin City Diner as well. There is a website called www.triaddiner.com which may also be helpful. Hopefully some natives will respond as well.
  13. BryanZ, Say, I was interested in reading your review in the Chronicle but I cannot seem to get a full-size version of the article to show up on the screen or to print out. Is that just the way the archived articles work or am I doing something wrong? Would you mind providing a link to the reviews for all us egulleters to see. thanks
  14. Bryan, Welcome back to the Triangle. This recommendation is rather limited in scope but I have to add a plug for what I think of as an underrated local treasure. If you or your colleagues happen to be in Raleigh, try Sylvia's gelato shop on Hillsborough St. across from NCSU. A much broader selection and much better quality than Francesca's during recent visits in my opinion. I now find that all desserts pale in comparison to their pistachio gelato.
  15. Greg, Again, welcome to the boards. I am glad to see your participation and interest in these discussions. I am sorry my post came across as suggesting that you needed this site's help for column ideas as that was not my intent. I was just trying to make a joke and publicize your work and I do apoplogize if it came across differently. We really enjoy and appreciate all the hard work and research that goes into your reviews of the diverse dining scene in the Triangle and wanted to be sure others outside the main N&O circulation area saw the discussion. Keep up the great work!
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