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Triangle Favorites


BryanZ
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I'm doing some food writing for Duke's newspaper and am looking for interesting places to try out and write about. I'm trying to set this thread apart from "The Best Restaurant in the Triangle" thread and am simply looking for everyone's favorite dining spots in the Triangle (preferably in/closer to Durham). An ideal suggestion would be one that's relatively inexpensive and somewhat novel or undiscovered.

So far my ideas include:

Detlechef's new Grasshopper restaurant

LocoPops

BLTs at the Merrit Store

Guglhupf

Local ethnic restaurants (i.e. best of local Mexican, Korean, etc)

Further suggestions in this vein would be greatly appreciated.

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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.

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Bryan - I'd have to recommend 2 favorites of mine that are mired in the RTP lunch circuit but deserve a dinner crowd-

The first is 9N9 - It is a Vietnamese place in the strip mall on the NE corner of Alexander and Miami. I didn't think I liked Vietnamese that much until I started going here. They changed that. Best spring rolls around, and they make a fine bowl of pho with just tons of cilantro and Thai basil and sprouts for your addition. I recommend the beefball or the sliced rare steak. The best thing for lunch, tho, has to be their sandwiches. The Chinese BBQ pork is a standout, and I like the grilled pork as well. I'm not into the 3 hams sandwiches, but I'm not a ham man. And the sandwiches are $2. I feel guilty going over there and only spending $4 on lunch, because 2 sandwiches is plenty of food. They put a little mayo, meat, and some fresh what I believe is Vietnamese cilantro on the sandwich. I like a little spicy sauce to dip it into. Not to be mean, but this place absolutely kicks the hell out of Kim Son on Guess Rd. They are open for lunch and dinner and are just starting a dinner following.

The second is Chosun OK, which is in a strip mall on the NE corner of 54 and 55. It says that it is a Korean BBQ, and that is what I'd recommend ordering (although no restaurant has reminded me more of eating in Japan than this place). I'd try the Bol Gogi (sp?) for lunch - About $8 I think. You will be very full. The box lunch comes with miso soup and a little tempura and a little sushi roll. And rice. And plenty of tasty kim chee. I have never been there for dinner, but I will go eventually. And after all this typing about it, I think I'll have lunch there tomorrow.

These 2 places are really exceptional. I can't say enough about them, and I fear for the day they close. It makes lunch in RTP a tough decision - So let me know what you think if you get the chance to visit them!

Oh - And I guess you should probably stop by Miranda's for some cheap tacos. It's an experience - Check some other posts for info. Duke students are too slavisly devoted to the Cosmic Cantina. :) You can't go wrong with Loco Pops or Guglhupf.

~Nibbs

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[

is Blue Nile still around in the Lakewood shopping center?

That should get on your list.

Also Pao Lim (though people say the quality is erratic....)

Sitar India Palace has a great weekend buffet with good South Indian food,

though the Cary area restaurants (Tower, Suchi, etc. etc.) are a cut above...

Milagai

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Thanks for the ideas. I've been to Chosun Ok and will be writing about it shortly. I'm also debating about writing about Blue Nile. I enjoyed it but some of my dining companions were not fans. I'm not a big fan of Pao Lim, in general. I will check out the 9N9 place, though I have to get away from Asian ethnic cuisines, as I just wrote about Grasshopper.

Any other ideas are greatly appreciated.

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Hmmm... I figured sure I would have hit you with an 0 for 2 on those 2... :)

Some folks really like Pao Lim. I've never been too impressed. Someone I work with was trying to explain that the food there is similar to the Chinese food found in India. That's no excuse.

For others reading the thread - I mis-spoke earlier. The Korean BBQ box is the way to go for lunch at Chosun OK. It is nicer cuts of beef than the beef bol go gi for a big extra $1. I ate there today and my buddy got the beef just to make sure there was a difference. There is. Go with the BBQ.

In my stomach brain, Blue Nile did for Ethiopian what Kim Son did for Vietnamese. Which is to say they both convinced me that I don't really like Ethiopian or Vietnamese.

9N9 fixed the Vietnamese problem. 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.

~Nibbs

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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: )

Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit. -Oscar Wilde
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[

quote=nibbs,Sep 12 2005, 12:25 AM]

Bryan - I'd have to recommend 2 favorites of mine that are mired in the RTP lunch circuit but deserve a dinner crowd-

The first is 9N9 - It is a Vietnamese place in the strip mall on the NE corner of Alexander and Miami. I didn't think I liked Vietnamese that much until I started going here. They changed that. Best spring rolls around, and they make a fine bowl of pho with just tons of cilantro and Thai basil and sprouts for your addition. I recommend the beefball or the sliced rare steak. The best thing for lunch, tho, has to be their sandwiches. The Chinese BBQ pork is a standout, and I like the grilled pork as well. I'm not into the 3 hams sandwiches, but I'm not a ham man. And the sandwiches are $2. I feel guilty going over there and only spending $4 on lunch, because 2 sandwiches is plenty of food. They put a little mayo, meat, and some fresh what I believe is Vietnamese cilantro on the sandwich. I like a little spicy sauce to dip it into. Not to be mean, but this place absolutely kicks the hell out of Kim Son on Guess Rd. They are open for lunch and dinner and are just starting a dinner following.

~Nibbs

-----------------

AMUSE ME

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In my stomach brain, Blue Nile did for Ethiopian what Kim Son did for Vietnamese.  Which is to say they both convinced me that I don't really like Ethiopian or Vietnamese. 

eh? does that mean you don't like ethiopian food at all,

or that blue nile you think is not good?

i can't claim to be very knowledgeable or a great conoisseur of

ethiopian food, but the few times i've had it (e.g. in dc etc.) it's been

fabulous! blue nile is one of the only places in the durham area to

get any and it's not at all bad!

they have a counterpart in chapel hill that's so-so in comparison....

why did the "companions" of the OP who didn't like blue nile

dislike it? ethiopian food phobia, or a genuine critique of the

specific restaurant?

if the former, well, really......

that's no reason to leave it off your list!

if the latter, do enlighten me? (i mean that sincerely)

milagai

ps: to fix your ethiopian food phobia, unless there is

a raleigh area restaurant that i don't know about,

try a trip to wash dc.....

Edited by Milagai (log)
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I enjoyed the Ethiopian food at Blue Nile. The restaurant itself is somewhat, how shall I say this, kitschy.

My friends, however, simply did not like the food. And while this is certainly no reason to forgo writing about it, I often have to keep in mind that my greater audience is not nearly as adventurous with food as I am. Since I am still a new writer, I have to toe that line between offering places that are new or novel and offering places that might just be a little too out there for the common palate. I'm trying to build up an identity as a writer so that people can trust me and my dining choices. But that's just my schpiel.

Any other recommendations are always welcome. I'm especially looking for Mexican places, as we are trying to run a showcase on Mexican food in the area. So far I've got Melinda's and La Villita.

Edited by BryanZ (log)
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I enjoyed the Ethiopian food at Blue Nile.  The restaurant itself is somewhat, how shall I say this, kitschy. 

My friends, however, simply did not like the food.  And while this is certainly no reason to forgo writing about it, I often have to keep in mind that my greater audience is not nearly as adventurous with food as I am.  Since I am still a new writer, I have to toe that line between offering places that are new or novel and offering places that might just be a little too out there for the common palate.  I'm trying to build up an identity as a writer so that people can trust me and my dining choices.  But that's just my schpiel.

Any other recommendations are always welcome.  I'm especially looking for Mexican places, as we are trying to run a showcase on Mexican food in the area.  So far I've got Melinda's and La Villita.

and what's wrong with kitschy decor if the food is good?

and re "greater audience" not being adventurous with food, in this day and age,

in an "educated" place like the triangle, such attitudes are

beyond pathetic. ....

i have food likes and dislikes too, but i see them as being

my own shortcoming than dismissing an entire

(yummy) cuisine.....

the triangle has such a diverse population that what is considered

"the common palate" might be much wider than assumed,

and your audience will likely reflect that....

have you actually received feedback as a writer that you need

to narow your spectrum?

milagai

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I just thought of two other places I love:

Pho Cali house of noodles on capital blvd

here is the address:

Pho Cali

(919) 862-8900

3310 Capital Blvd

Raleigh, NC 27604

Not the prettiest place in the world, but awesome pho, inexpensive-always tons of asian families.

Then the food court/cafeteria (I don't know what you'd call it) in the Grand Asia Market in the South Hills Mall in Cary. I don't know what I love more poking around in the store or eating there--aswesome smoked duck, I had a cold poached chicken with ginger one time that was superb. You have to be pretty inquisitve as the menu in English I think is edited. My favorite part though is the line for the all the pastries..I wish i knew the name of them, but the seasame balls with the sweet bean paste rule!

-----------------

AMUSE ME

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My editors were skeptical of it.  I have nothing against, Blue Nile itself, I'm just not sure if I will be writing about it in the near future.

that's indeed too bad.....

ethnocentric editors....

milagai

Milagai, now let's not pre-judge the guilty ... :rolleyes:

I think Triangle dining is progressing wonderfully, perhaps a little bit slower for your taste.

When I was studying over at Chapel Hill in fall 1987, I remember, during one weekend, seeing a long line going out the store down onto Franklin. It happen to be the grand opening of a eating establishment called ... Taco Bell ...

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Milagai, now let's not pre-judge the guilty ...  :rolleyes:

I think Triangle dining is progressing wonderfully, perhaps a little bit slower for your taste.

When I was studying over at Chapel Hill in fall 1987, I remember, during one weekend,  seeing a long line going out the store down onto Franklin. It happen to be the grand opening of a eating establishment called ... Taco Bell ...

i agree the triangle has progressed wonderfully in terms of

available eateries.... that's my whole point.

based on descriptions upthread, the editor in question seems to have an attitude

personally stuck in the 1987 you describe; i.e. almost 20 years ago.

i recall when we moved here mid 90's people used to tell us that

not too long before that howard johnson's was considered THE

big thing in eating out....

milagai

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[q

uote=Milagai,Sep 18 2005, 09:20 AM]

Milagai, now let's not pre-judge the guilty ... :rolleyes:

I think Triangle dining is progressing wonderfully, perhaps a little bit slower for your taste.

When I was studying over at Chapel Hill in fall 1987, I remember, during one weekend, seeing a long line going out the store down onto Franklin. It happen to be the grand opening of a eating establishment called ... Taco Bell ...

i agree the triangle has progressed wonderfully in terms of

available eateries.... that's my whole point.

based on descriptions upthread, the editor in question seems to have an attitude

personally stuck in the 1987 you describe; i.e. almost 20 years ago.

i recall when we moved here mid 90's people used to tell us that

not too long before that howard johnson's was considered THE

big thing in eating out....

milagai

-----------------

AMUSE ME

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what do people think of tallulah in chapel hill?

we haven't been there yet...

milagai

I'm a big fan. Besides the food being very satisfying, it's just a really fun place to go. The wine list is interesting and affordable and it's just so damned festive. On top of that, every time we go there we end up leaving full and happy and spending less than we expected. It's not super cheap or anything, but it is much less than other "dining out" options.

I got into an argument once with someone who claimed it was a rip-off because you could get the same kebab down the street at University Deli for $5. Of course, you've got to order from a counter, eat off a paper plate on a linoleum table under flourescent lights with plastic utensils. I'd prefer the vibe at Tallulah.

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I got into an argument once with someone who claimed it was a rip-off because you could get the same kebab down the street at University Deli for $5.  Of course, you've got to order from a counter, eat off a paper plate on a linoleum table under flourescent lights with plastic utensils.  I'd prefer the vibe at Tallulah.

It's funny, but a few weeks ago I got into a simlar argument supporting Grasshopper to a friend of mine. He was complaining about the number of shrimp in the Sweet Basil Shrimp bowl and I was saying that for eleven or twelve bucks I thought it was a delicious dish and that I'd order it again. His take was that for the same price he'd get more shrimp at Pao Lim. It didn't seem to matter to him that the shrimp at Grasshopper were 16-20 count and those at the other restaurant were 40-50 count. He's what I call a bulk eater, and I've never been able to win an arguement about food with them, they just don't care enough.

Bryan C. Andregg

"Give us an old, black man singing the blues and some beer. I'll provide the BBQ."

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