RonboNC's Profile

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So, Costco has a BBQ beef brisket sandwich at the snack bar... [moved from Great Lakes board]

I tried it today and there is some good meat on there, BBQ sauce a bit bland with some pepper, not bad but probably not a great value from a Costco perspective. I'd definitely try it with cole slaw to perk it up...

Oct 27, 2013
RonboNC in Chains

Best Indian in the Triangle - Vimala's Curry Blossom Cafe

Rory, yes I'm aware there are different regions-states but my point is that restaurants like Azitra and Mantra inhabit the high end of the restaurant scale for a specific reason. To cater to a demographic that sees Indian food as exotic and is willing to pay more money for it in that environment. There are probably many who would be less willing to pay less and go hole in the wall as I'd prefer to do.

But Indian food is not intrinsically expensive due to some sort of armchair-academic perception of the cuisine. In a country of 1 billion plus it's unlikely. I've dined with my Indian friends at Azitra and Mantra and the comment is usually, "it's good but it's expensive. C'mon now, we're talking vegetables for $x." And yes, I've been to India and spent ten days in country with an Indian family.

In the end, I don't judge your perceptions but you all are more than happy to judge a comment like "it's pricey" as some sort of insult and slap in the face. Very lame and it strikes me of food snobbery. If you want to go for an upscale experience and pay more, more power to you. My comment was just based on my opinion which is equally valid. I enjoy Mantra a LOT but I certainly can't go there on a weekly basis. I've happily gotten Indian at Regency (a gas station) which I'm good with.

And I'm not going to even start with the comments on Chinese cuisine. Not even worth my time...

Feb 02, 2013
RonboNC in Southeast

Why Does Taco Bell's Steak Burrito Smell Like Cynicism?

Fun read and great to hear that a national (and powerful) chain reached out to you for your opinion. In the end, I'm glad you weren't overly swayed by Lorena's charm and beauty! I have to believe that if she were schmoozing me, I probably would have been like silly putty in her hands... (figuratively speaking)

Feb 01, 2013
RonboNC in Features

Best Indian in the Triangle - Vimala's Curry Blossom Cafe

BBQme I lived in San Francisco for six years and all the Indian places I frequented had entrees typically under $10. No different than Chinese food, most ethnic food places that cater to their people are not white tablecloth type spots. So they tend to be relatively inexpensive. Azitra, Mantra and Saffron don't fall into that category. And as an FYI, most Chinese food is very time-consuming and labor intensive, I've cooked it and yet it's still relatively cheap in the Triangle.

If you find it insulting, you really need to get out more, visit major urban areas and eat at great "hole in the wall" ethnic places. I don't find anything I said "insulting", just accurate.

Jan 27, 2013
RonboNC in Southeast

Best Indian in the Triangle - Vimala's Curry Blossom Cafe

I've done Azitra, Blue Mango, Mantra and would like to try Dawat but I did try Tamarind from where I believe, the Dawat chef was from. In general the are all pretty pricey for Indian food but prefer Mantra over the rest. For lunch it's a good deal.

Don't get out to Chapel Hill much but would like to try Cholanad and was impressed by Vimala's. Funny thing but I've also tried Regency Indian-Bakery which does Indian food out of a gas station. Shockingly, it's not bad at all for lunch..

Jan 27, 2013
RonboNC in Southeast

Stay-cation in the Triangle Area (March 1st-10th)

Yep, plenty of day trips mpjmph! I heard Goldsboro does some good que.

On a sidenote since you're sorta new to Raleigh I'd also hit up the NCMA, Museum of Natural Science for free. A movie at IMAX or maybe a Taste Carolina or Triangle Segway tour downtown. For First Friday hit up Artspace, VAE, DesignBox for art galleries? Drag show at Legends and visit to Videri Chocolate in the Warehouse District? How about the State Farmers Market and breakfast at the SFM restaurant? There are options in the City of Oaks but timing is everything...

Jan 26, 2013
RonboNC in Southeast

Stay-cation in the Triangle Area (March 1st-10th)

Given you lived in the Triangle most your life I think you've got that down pat. I'd head out to Wilmington and the beach, west out to Mooresville or southwest to Charlotte and Atlanta. How about Carolina Tiger Rescue (Pittsboro) or the Lemur Center (Durham)? The Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville? BBQ tour in Lexington? Grab a cheap hotel in Charlotte and hit up IKEA and Amelie's French Bakery? Out to Asheville for beer and food? Lots of local options but I'd probably go explore beyond the Triangle and grab some cheap hotels on Priceline or Hotels.com

Jan 26, 2013
RonboNC in Southeast

Raw honey in the Triangle area?

Definitely available at the Raleigh State Farmers market which is open 7 days a week. Bee Blessed is in the main building but in the back building (market shoppes) you'll also find a bunch of stores with local honey, raw and otherwise. Even with the natural comb. And it's typically reasonably priced....

http://www.ncagr.gov/markets/faciliti...

Jan 26, 2013
RonboNC in Southeast

Suggestions for Restaurant Week in the Triangle?

Agreed with RockyCat, the Weathervane menu is the same as what was used for the Competition Dining series last year. Interesting stuff.

The other menu that stood out to me was G2B which offers a $20 dinner which seems pretty solid. Sono and 18 Seaboard are both consistently good so I'd recommend either of them too.

I just wrote up a quick post on TRW, see below...

http://trianglenc-restaurants.com/201...

Jan 19, 2013
RonboNC in Southeast

Chapel Hill, NC for long weekend BBQ suggestions?

Thanks for the heads-up, BBQme! I remember the previous BBQ place that was in the same space and it was decent. But since I've moved out of the area hard to justify the ride back to check out the pig.

MarieThomas, another fun spot to check out is Southern Season which is a local food/kitchen store that's an icon out here. I guess sorta similar to Dean DeLuca but obviously Southern...

Dec 30, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Chapel Hill, NC for long weekend BBQ suggestions?

Might also want to try The Pig on Weaver Dairy Road. Haven't made it over there yet but have heard consistently good things about their food...

Unfortunately the Triangle is not a big BBQ mecca. In Chapel Hill you also might want to check out the Kitchen, Jujube, Mediterranean Deli, Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen and Acme (for brunch). I've got a post for the area...

http://trianglenc-restaurants.com/201...

Dec 29, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

White peach juice in the Triangle?

I'd check with Trader Joe's too. I think I've seen it there...

Dec 21, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Anything really good in or near City Center (Raleigh) for Sunday dinner?

As a single diner it's a bit trickier but you can eat at the bar which gets you into busier spots like the Pit and Beasleys. Another favorite Sunday choice for me is Gravy which does a beer and balls night (yeah it sounds odd) where you get plates of pasta for $8 and drafts for $2.50. Chuck's should be open and does a mean burger, Sono does great sushi. The area is relative busy even on a Sunday night so you should be fine. Calavera would also be a fun spot as a single diner, it's open on Sunday and does empanadas. I've got a posting which covers some of these options...

http://trianglenc-restaurants.com/201...

Dec 16, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Pho & Japanese Steakhouse (Raleigh)

Thanks for the details, RockyCat...

Dec 04, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Pizzeria Toro in Durham is open!

Oh and the Italian word for the end crust is cornicione. Since the crust is everywhere, they have a specific word for the crust bones...

Dec 02, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Pizzeria Toro in Durham is open!

Hit up Pizzeria Toro last night and I liked it overall. Place is well-run given how short a time it's been open and how busy it is. It's got a similar menu and theme as Bella Mia in terms of pizza, salad and a handful of apps. Had the straight margherita and a pumpkin app. Overall I thought the food was solid but prefer a softer crust and I'm not a fan of the salt sprinkle on top. Would prefer them to either add more salt to the dough or to the sauce rather than getting a hit of salt on the tongue.

Nice spot but right now I prefer the simpler approach at Bella Mia. But still a good option for Za, Durham did not have a lot of great pizza options so nice upgrade for the area...

Dec 02, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Cool or Unique Restaurants in Raleigh NC

I'll second Calavera as a cool little spot, great empanadas but maybe too casual for a 30th birthday. Capital Club 16 always does well for me but a bit noisy at times. Poole's as everyone has mentioned is really a Raleigh institution for the short time it's been a around but a bit pricey, noisy and no reservations. J Betski's is an excellent spot. Remedy and Irregardless are both good for vegetarians but I'm not impressed with the food at either space. Hayes Barton Cafe is quintessential Raleigh but not vegetarian friendly. Good luck!

Nov 29, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Bida Manda report, new Laotian resataurant in Raleigh

So of course I had to wikipedia Laos and Laos cuisine and yeah, apparently it's all about sticky rice. And given it's location tween Vietnam and Thailand, it's got influences from both in its food. So the menu may be authentic but it'll probably also be familiar.

But yeah, I still like the spot, I hope Bida Manda does well. Now if we could only get a Malaysian restaurant!

Nov 20, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Raleigh Triangle - Your Favorite Salsa

I"m a fan of Yah's Best which sells at the NC State Farmer's Market. They've got a ton of varieties but typically super-fresh, flavorful salsa....

http://www.yahsbest.com/

Nov 18, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Chubby's Tacos Raleigh-Help me ID A Particular Salsa

De nada, RaleighRocker, enjoy your salsa....

Nov 18, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Bida Manda report, new Laotian resataurant in Raleigh

I liked the place, menu seemed like a mix of Thai and Chinese but that may be due to geo location of Laos more than anything. Nice renovated decor, solid service and decent prices. Reviewed it a while back...

http://trianglenc-restaurants.com/201...

Nov 18, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Chubby's Tacos Raleigh-Help me ID A Particular Salsa

Funny thing, I looked through my photo archives and I did take a picture of the salsa menu! Pretty sure its called Bandidos...

Nov 18, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Chubby's Tacos Raleigh-Help me ID A Particular Salsa

I know which salsa you're talking about RaleighRocker and also drawing a blank on the name. Definitely different than what you usually get. Somebody needs to take a picture of their salsa bar, there's no mention on the website...

Nov 18, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Camos Brothers Pizza in Chapel Hill

Won't disagree with you about pizza margherita but you really think Italian Pizzeria III in Chapel Hill is the best in the area? Not a fave of mine, I prefer Randy's, Cozzolino's or Camos Bros.

Nov 15, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Camos Brothers Pizza in Chapel Hill

Well if you want to try Neapolitan in the area, Bella Mia should be pretty close. The reason why NY is considered a pizza mecca is because, doh, there are a lot of Italians in the area. Admittedly their pizza may be slightly Americanized given we're in the States but I'll disagree that pizza and all its variations are ok. In the end, food represents a lot about the history and origins of a culture. I think the "best" pizza comes from the NY/CT area and no surprise, there are a lot of Italian-Americans there.

Don't get me wrong, I'll eat Domino's or what have you and it's tasty but to me it's disrespectful to not understand what the authentic version is about and what it represents...

Nov 14, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Raleigh Dinner Recommendations

Buku is a great spot in terms of the space, the food is eclectic but can be a bit hit or miss so hopefully you'll like your dish. Centro can get really busy and loud too but solid neuvo Mexican with good drinks. Have fun, I'm sure you'll have a good night regardless of where you go...

Nov 14, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Raleigh Dinner Recommendations

Pooles can get really busy and they don't take reservations. I'd also look at Beasleys, Capital Club 16, Calavera, maybe Buku, maybe Busy Bee Cafe. Not sure what your tastes are like food-wise...

Nov 11, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Durhamite going to Charlotte--good place for Guglhupf or Vin-Rouge-style bakery breakfast/brunch?

Uhm, not certain about brunch or breakfast just like I said, CarolinaDawg. I've only been to Amelie's once so I have no clue about their brunch offerings. I'd expect them to be good but can't vouch for them directly...

Oct 28, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Durhamite going to Charlotte--good place for Guglhupf or Vin-Rouge-style bakery breakfast/brunch?

Amelie's is insanely good but not certain for brunch/breakfast. However, they are open 24 hours a day and if you have a sweet tooth, this place will cure it. Don't miss out on their pecan tart or salted caramel brownie. No joke when I say the brownie will change the way you look at pastries!

Oct 28, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast

Please Explain Ashley Christensen to Me (Raleigh, NC)

Well I haven't been to Milltown in ages and was always mixed on their food (love the patio). But I can vouch for the fries at Chuck's. They have a thick fried skin and it nearly peels off to reveal the soft interior. And they have the choice of 8 or so dipping sauces including aioli and chili sauce, yum...

If you haven't checked em out, make the effort! Pic attached so you can salivate...

Oct 28, 2012
RonboNC in Southeast