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Cary, NC restaurant recs?


Rich Pawlak
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I'm heading south this Friday for a family reunion, but also wnat to be able to dine decently in our free time. We're travelling with twin 1 yr olds, so please keep that in mind in your recommendations. we'd be most interested in good 'cue and any other place that is not worth missing. Friday dinner and Sunday early dinner on our way back out of town are the times we expect to be dining out.

And THANKS in advance!

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Rich, if you're in Cary, you're pretty much right in the middle of lots of options. If you must have barbecue, I'd suggest getting in the car for a 15-20 drive to Allen & Son in Chapel Hill. I can get you directions from where you'll be staying if you PM or email me.

I think you'll need to give us a bit more guidance regarding what you might want before we can truly help you with other items.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Thanks, Varmint. All I'm really looking for is a moderate price restaurant or two that would also be OK to take two babies to. We're stuck with 'em for at least 17 more years. And I havent had Carolina BBQ in over 30 years. Allen & Son sounds like a good start to dining down there.

Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Rich, I'll second the recommendation for Allen & Son. It's great. Really great. Make sure that, in addition to the barbecue (which is great) you save room for their great desserts. Especially the banana pudding. Which, I might add, is pretty great.

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Well, since you have the kids, your choices are limited. Trust me, I know! Right by your hotel is Lucky 32, which is a very small chain. It's nothing exciting, but it's very kid friendly. However, I know you want more adventurous than that. So, let's get you some good Southern cooking. The restaurant at the NC Farmers Market is only 15 minutes from your hotel. It's a classic meat n' 3 place where the food is decent, but not outstanding. However, it's a fun place for a lunch or breakfast.

I think you should drive into Raleigh and eat at Enoteca Vin for an early dinner. It's top notch food, you'll miss the crowds, and my friends with really young kids have told me many times that they put up with the youngsters.

Hopefully, Zeb A will come on board with some more kid-friendly ideas, as he's the man in that regard.

By the way, Allen & Son will probably be a half hour drive from your hotel.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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When it's on its game, Allen & Sons can compete with the best. When it's off, it can be a real disappointment.

I don't go there often enough to know what causes these issues but I suspect it has something to do with the owner's presence.

A couple of pointers - ask for the BBQ "outside brown" so that you get the crispy burnt outer edges chopped into the mix. Make sure your waiter knows what you are talking about (and sometimes they have college kids working in there that don't) so that he can be your advocate in the kitchen.

Also, the BBQ sauce has butter in it and should be served slightly warm to the touch. If it is not, ask for a fresh bottle. Remember to use the sauce sparingly to just moisten the BBQ. This is not Kansas City.

I wouldn't recommend the fries. Stick to slaw and hush puppies as your sides.

I've never eaten dessert there but they always have something interesting on the menu. Others might comment on whether it is any good.

If you know all of this stuff, forgive the lecture. I have read too many posts from people who go to Allen & Sons and then complain about the greasy sauce or the dried out BBQ. That can happen even with precautions, but forewarned is forearmed.

Also, I have a hunch they will be closed on Sunday as very few BBQ joints in NC are open on Sundays.

Edited by BrentKulman (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Allen & Sons in Chapel Hill is the way to go for Q.

For another meal, if you want to try something different in Cary, I'd recommend Lotus Leaf Cafe. It's a Vietnamese/French-influenced place in Cary. I've only been once or twice and I was quite impressed. Good food moderate prices and a bit of flair.

There's no better time to get the little ones into food than when they're very young.

Check out the site: www.LotusLeafCafe.com

We're on their mailing list:

From: Lotus Leaf

To: lotusleafcafenet@lotusleafcafe.com

Sent: Friday, June 16, 2006 12:12 AM

Subject: [LotusLeafNews] Saigon Street Menu Every Saturday Morning

Dear Diners and Friends,

If you ever visited Vietnam and enjoyed the wonderful food on the streets and sidewalk cafes, then you will appreciate our new Saigon Street Menu on Saturday mornings. This Summer, every Saturday morning, our new sous chef from Saigon, Duc Dang, will feature these delicate dishes called "Diem Tam" for our Asians diners and those with palates for truly authentic Viet flavors. Come join us every Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm for:

- Banh Cuon (rice steam rolls)

- Banh Beo (prawn cakes)

- Banh Cong (crispy shrimp cake)

- Banh Canh (thick noodle soup)

- Hu Tieu (seafood noodle soup)

- Bun Bo Hue (spicy Hue style beef noodle)

- Lau Hai San (seafood hot pot)

and other street-side favorites.

Remember, the Saigon Street Menu is only available on SATURDAYS from 11 AM - 5 PM. After that, we will return to formal dinner with live jazz on the patio.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Lotus Leaf Cafe

***

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