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Tom M of Durham NC's Profile

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Where to eat in Savannah, GA??

I'm not a local but I was in Savannah this weekend and had a wonderful meal at the Sapphire Grille. Pricey but quite good--enjoyed some beautifully prepared scallops topped with a quail egg and an exquisite puree I couldn't quite identify, then the grilled duck breast with savory butter on the side and a potato-chevre tureen. Service was quite good, offering excellent wine suggestions for each course, and very easy on the eye--they seem to hire only gorgeous women to wait tables.

Need rec. for CSA in Durham/Hillsborough area

Thanks to everyone for their input so far. I will check out Brinkley Farm and the other CSAs listed here.

Following up micajack's resply, Goodness Grows in NC info can be found at

Again, thanks.

Need rec. for CSA in Durham/Hillsborough area

After reading Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma," I am committed to eating more locally and sustainably grown produce. For this reason I'll be joining a CSA this coming growing season. But which one? I've been researching on line and see that there are a lot of options but I have no way of distinguishing one CSA from the other. Anyone out there with any experience in this area? Any recommendations? My only requirement is that I be able to pick up the produce in Durham or Hillsborough--Chapel Hill's a bit too long a trek for a weekly pickup.


Recipe/Nutrition/Menu Planning Software (for the Mac)

This looks better that what's otherwise available but appears to lack a nutrition database, meaning it won't analyze your recipe for calories, carbs/protein/fat, vitamins, etc. etc. It has the capability for you to input all that information by hand, but the beauty of MasterCook is that it did all those calculations for you automatically.

Anything new in Durham?

I haven't missed with anything at Chosun OK yet. For variety of selection, reliability, and value, it is fast becoming my favorite restaurant in the Triangle. Of course, it helps that I moved from Flushing NY (ground zero for Korean food) to here in 1999 and spent quite a few years jonesing for authentic Korean.

Sep 11, 2007
Tom M of Durham NC in Southeast

Durham Wine Shops

There are lots of nifty back ways to get to Chapel Hill. It's worth finding them, because A Southern Season and Chapel Hill Wine Company are the two area stores that best fit your needs. You can avoid 15-501 by driving along Erwin.

pork tenderloin recipe?

I too love making Char Siu with pork tenderloin. I like to butterfly the tenderloin to flatten it out--that way the surface takes more marinade and it cooks much more quickly on the grill, which is where I like to make it. Just butterfly the tenderloin, then marinate it in

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking sherry
1 tablespoon sesame paste
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt

You can add a few drops of red dye to the marinade if you want that little layer of red around the perimeter, although I've never tried it so I don't know whether the effect occurs when you butterfly and grill the tenderloin. Regardless, it's delicious. This with some bok choy in oyster sauce and some jasmine rice is a recurring and very satisfying dinnertime menu around here.

Where to buy pork belly in the Triangle

The Korean market next to Vit Goal Tofu at the intersection of 54 and 55 almost always has it. Look in the freezer section, they keep a lot of their meats frozen.

Where to buy fresh Thai ingredients in Durham/CHill?

I'm looking specifically for Kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and Thai basil. I tried the Asia Market on Durham-Chapel Hill Road (next to the Gugelhopf), Galaxy Supermarket, Food World off Roxboro--basically all the ethnic markets in Durham I could think of. No luck at any of those places.

Any suggestions (short of heading over to Grand Asia Market in Cary? I live up north of Durham in the county, so Cary's quite a haul for me)?


Recipe/Nutrition/Menu Planning Software (for the Mac)

Just downloaded "A Cook's Books" and now remember why I stopped using it. It does have a nutrition database, which is nice, but the program is clunky and, to me amyway, counterintuitive, making the process of building and scaling recipes tedious and difficult. Now, it's true I only played with it for 10 minutes or so, but within 10 minutes I was already a whiz at MasterCook. That's the level of functionality I want in my Mac recipe software.

Recipe/Nutrition/Menu Planning Software (for the Mac)

Amen. I loved MasterCook precisely for the nutritional analysis--otherwise, cookbooks and recipes saved in Word documents are just fine. Why hasn't someone come up with a Mac program that performs this essential function? I mean, for goodness sake, that's exactly what a computer is for--that's where it's power is. A recipe program without a nutritional analysis function is like using a Peugot as a planter. Yeah, your flowers will look great but you're not really taking advantage of the machine's strengths.

That said, I believe there is a program out there with a nutritional database--it's called "A Cook's Books." I gave it a try six months ago or so and for some reason didn't like it--guess I figured something better would come along soon enough. Now that that's proven to be untrue I guess I'll give it another shot. Will report back if it's any good.

Dinner Lewes, DE

I've had many fine meals at Azafran. It's a lovely little tapas place right in town.

Is there a Yemeni cookbook?

Noticed some talk of the Yemen Cafe in Brooklyn on the Outer Boroughs board. When I lived in Brooklyn I ate their regularly, as it was quite good and very, very economical.

All that talk has me hankering for some of my favorite dishes at the Yemen Cafe. Alas, I now live in Durham, NC, far, far from Atlantic Avenue. I am, however, a pretty good cook, so if I can find some decent recipes I might be able to reproduce at least some of the dishes I loved.

Does anyone know if a Yemeni cookbook even exists? My internet search for one has come up blank.

Alternately, does anyone know how to make:
--the doughy dumpling swimming in what I remember as a lamb gravy; I think the dish is called assad;
--the torn bits of pita soaked in a yogurt sauce, which I remember as shafotah (but that's probably not exactly right, as a google search for shafotah turns up nothing)

Those'd be a great start. Thanks!

Rec: Wine shop in Decatur, GA that delivers?

For future reference--I have discovered that what I wanted to do is illegal in Georgia. You can't deliver wine there, you can't even purchase a gift certificate from a wine shop over the phone. Very restrictive laws. :-(

Rec: Wine shop in Decatur, GA that delivers?

I live in NC. I'd like to buy some wine for someone in Decatur, GA. Does anyone know of a shop in Decatur that has a good selection and reasonable prices and will deliver a case of wine in town?


Can anyone recommend good Asian cookbooks?

I like Tropp's Modern Art too, although it is so detailed that it can be intimidating. Recently I picked up a used copy of Irene Kuo's Key to Chinese Cooking and it is fast becoming my favorite Chinese cookbook. Plenty of used copies available for cheap online, so it's easy enough to find even though it's out of print.

For Korean, I have had surprising success preparing recipes from this website:

It's a good place to start, I think.

Possible real fish monger at Food World- Durham, NC

OK, I just got back from my first visit to Food World. Here' the skinny:

The place is basically a Korean/Mexican supermarket with a number of "generic" supermarket products mixed in. Sort of a Grand Asia Market (Cary) meets a tienda meets Food Lion, but with the focus on Korean (rather than Chinese) products.

My overall reaction if mixed. Walking in, I couldn't help hoping that this place would be Durham's answer to Grand Asia Market. It may develop into that eventually, but it's not that now. The produce was only OK--some cool greens, nice plantains, some wilting chard, reasonably fresh nopales (including some bagged that had already been trimmed--nice for those of us who can't clean nopales without getting a palmful of stickers), stuff of that nature. The selection wasn't that great and freshness was hit-and-miss. I was disappointed in not finding any bok choy.

The freezer section holds a lot more promise. Lots of exotic frozen seafood, pot stickers, ready to make udon soups, etc. The refrigerator section had a nice assortment of Korean appetizers and kim chee in jars of varying sizes. I tried a couple of the appetizers--the squid in hot sauce was very good, the seaweed salad was not.

The butcher section has some hard-to-find cuts, including pork belly. It is not in the same league as Grand Asia Market, however; you will not find duck tongues here. In fact, you'll find very little you wouldn't find at a carneceria.

The fish monger is a find, with some caveats. This afternoon only one person was working the counter, and she was caught up in a long conversation with the customer ahead of me. It was a long wait. Also, she didn't speak English very well; I was eventually able to communicate what I wanted, but it was a little frustrating. I got a whole tilapia that was very fresh at $1.69/pound, which I thought was a pretty good price. The selection wasn't broad but everything looked nice and fresh.

Finally, if you crave barrel-sized containers of kochugang and kochukaru, this is the place for you. For a fleeting moment I had a sense of what going to a Costco in Korea might be like.

Overall, I liked the place, although I don't know how often I'll visit it. I live north of the city, so Food World isn't so convenient for me. The Chinese place near Foster's Market is more convenient and carries most of the products I use frequently. The big Mexican market on Roxboro takes care of most of my exotic/variety meat needs. The fish counter is the biggest draw; that and the Korean products that the Chinese place doesn't carry.

I'm interested to hear what others' experiences have been like.

Jan 25, 2007
Tom M of Durham NC in Southeast

Possible real fish monger at Food World- Durham, NC

This is very exciting news. Thanks!

Jan 23, 2007
Tom M of Durham NC in Southeast

Great everyday red wine

Our local Costco sells Maciarelli Montepulciano D'Abruzzo for $6.99, and it has essentially become the "house wine," pardon the pun. It also sells Marques de Caceres Rioja for $8.99 a bottle; we drink a lot of that as well.

Jan 06, 2007
Tom M of Durham NC in Wine

Good Showing from Piedmont in Durham

Just had our first meal at Piedmont and were very impressed. We will be back again, and soon.

The missus started with a beet salad that had a hint of grapefruit in it. Everything balanced wonderfully--it was a lovely dish. I had the duck liver mousse, which was phenomenal, and quite filling. I could see stopping there for just that and a glass of wine and leaving quite satisfied.

For entrees, my wife had the hog cheek ravioli, which she described as "tremendous." The few bites she shared with me confirmed her assessment. A subtle red sauce complemented the dish without overpowering the meat, which was of course the star of the plate. I had the leg of duck confit with a few lightly roasted brussel sprouts halves and a sweet potato and grapefruit puree--the grapefruit was just there as a slight highlight, adding a nice sourness to balance out the sweetness. The duck was served over the puree and worked nicely together for the few forkfuls they shared. I'm pretty partial to duck on its own and didn't want to take too many bites that diluted the 'duckiness.' Bottom line, the dish worked either way.

With a lovely bottle of Barbera the entire meal came to under $80 before tip. As I said up top, we'll be back again, and soon. This place is everything I hoped the brains behind the Federal would come up with once they started their own restaurant.

The room itself, BTW, has a nice casual-but-elegant feel to it. The service was friendly, unhurried, and professional.

Good Showing from Piedmont in Durham

Where is this place located? The missus and I would like to check it out tonight but I can't find a phone number, address, etc. anywhere on line.

NYer Going to Durham, Suggestions?

This is a hotly debated subject but IMHO you can't go wrong with Allen and Son on 86 north of Chapel Hill. Just take 40 westbound to 86 and head north about a mile, or take 85 west to 86 and head south about 5 miles. It's right by the railroad tracks on the west side of the street.

Asian markets in Triangle area?

Don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet but there is a wonderful Korean specialty market next door to Vit Goal Tofu. It's on 55 just south of 54, on the east side of the street in the small mall just past the large mall. Hope that's enough info to get folks there!

The Best Restaurants in the Triangle

Another vote for the Durham-Chapel Hill orbit. Housing values in Durham are phenomenal--my wife and I live in a wonderful house about 10 minutes north of the city in the quiet countryside and our mortgage is less than our rent on the ass-end-of-Astoria two-bedroom we rented 7 years ago. Your choices are more limited if you are not willing to become a 'car person.' The adjustment wasn't as difficult as I feared it would be.

If you come here expecting NYC-quality innovation and variety, you will be bitterly disappointed. If you are looking for well-prepared and occasionally surprisingly good fare, you will be content here. You will find your favorite taqueria and your favorite cheap Southern food place, you will be disappointed by the Chinese food, and you will be delighted to find not one but two very good Korean restaurants on the South end of town. You may fall in love with the Federal, a Durham bar with consistently good and reasonably priced food, or you may prefer Tyler's Taproom, which is dependable if less creative in its menu.

Personally I've found this is a great area to learn to cook everything. You will find everything you need to cook Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Greek, you name it--shopping here is very good, although (again) it may require some driving. Great wine shops--my personal fave is Chapel Hill Wine Company, because the owners are incredibly service-oriented and the prices are pretty good. A Southern Season is a godsend; Whole Foods, Mariakakis, Capri Flavors, the little Korean grocery next to Vit Goal Tofu, the giant Asian market in Cary... all wonderful. IMHO you can't beat the ROI/QOL here. QED. ;-)

Down home food in Durham NC: Grandma's Kitchen

I am not entirely sure but I think this place went out of business. Too bad, the food was really good. That's a doomed location--nothing seems to last there long. Shame, I hope they open somewhere else.

Looking for a dessert that contains lard

Thanks to everyone for all the help so far! Lots of great choices.

Looking for a market selling zampone or cotechino in Triangle

I was planning to serve dinner guests cotechino with lentils at a dinner party this weekend. The folks at CapriFlavors told me a few days ago they'd have a cotechino in their shop by today; now they say they won't have them until next week. I have no idea what other retailer in the area would carry this item. Any ideas? Thanks!

Looking for a dessert that contains lard

I'm planning a multi-course Italian dinner and I realize that every course includes pork. That is, except dessert, which I haven't decided on yet. So of course now I'd like to find a dessert that includes some pork product, just to complete the thematic circle.

Lard seems the best prospect. Any suggestions? Doesn't have to be lard, either--just so long as there's something porky in it.


XO Sauce: Where to Buy?

As for favorite ways to use it, I enjoy using it as a sauce in quick seafood stir fries. I'll get the wok going with a little ginger, garlic and oil, throw in some squid or shrimp, cook them, then finish the dish with a little XO sauce. Serve that with greens or rice, it's good!

Duck Fat - the gift that keeps on giving?

Try using it to make a roux. Then make duck gumbo. Mmmmmmm.