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PeterB's Profile

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Los Comales shut down- where to go for tacos in Durham now?

Went to Super Taqueria and I have to say the $1.50 tacos ( pastor, tinga de pollo, and carne asada) were fine. In fact the meat in the pastor and pollo might have even a little better than Los Comales. The tortillas, however, were decent but not like the hand made fresh ones at Los Comales. Also, their salsa bar was much smaller than I remembered it. Still, quite decent.

Jul 10, 2014
PeterB in Southeast

Old Fashioned Cocktail Neat?

I don't know if anyone is still paying attention, but this iceless Old Fashioned thing seems to have run its course. I must have been a 2012 thing. Cheers, PeterB

Jun 09, 2014
PeterB in Spirits

Los Comales shut down- where to go for tacos in Durham now?

Thanks Hounds. There are indeed other tacquerias nearby so I'll have to get used to life without Los Comales. The shack behind Don Becerra's at Club & Roxboro does nice work also.

Jun 09, 2014
PeterB in Southeast

Los Comales shut down- where to go for tacos in Durham now?

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that both Los Comales locations are shut down due to tax issues. Los Comales was my go-to taqueria (ok, I live really close) with fresh, hand made tortillas loaded up with delicious meats. For $2 or less. And I also loved their condiments bar. Anyway, where to now? Durham and Triangle hounds, what say?

Jun 03, 2014
PeterB in Southeast

What's the next best eating town next to Charleston in the Carolinas?

Durham is 4.5 hrs from DC on I 85 and has everything you're looking for.

Dec 04, 2013
PeterB in Southeast
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Pizzeria Toro Temporarily Closed

They are doing pop-up dinners at The Cookery during the hiatus. Get on The Cookery's e-mail list and Facebook for updates.

Dec 04, 2013
PeterB in Southeast

What bourbon are you drinking these days?

My new go-to cheaper bourbon is Old Forester. I did pick up a bottle of Buffalo Trace, which I like a lot.

Dec 04, 2013
PeterB in Spirits

What bourbon are you drinking these days?

Evan Williams Single Barrel and Elijah Craig 12. Excellent bang for the buck.

Jan 06, 2013
PeterB in Spirits

Asheville weekend

We went up to Asheville for a quick visit with our daughter and had three great dining experiences.

For lunch on Saturday we went to Nine Mile in the Montford neighborhood. It was our first visit and we were impressed. The cuisine is Jamaican fusion and the smell of garlic and sounds of reggae hit you when you enter the cheerful room. They have numerous meat, seafood, and vegetable dishes which are served over rice or linguini. I had the signature Nine Mile plate which had jerk chicken, ginger, fire roasted tomatoes, jalapenos, squash and zucchini served over linguini. I asked for medium heat and it was quite zesty but not too much. Delicious! My wife and daughter were also happy with their plates: Marley's Magic, a gingery curry fish plate; and a daily special of lemon chicken alfredo. All came with the excellent garlic Natty Bread. We also shared a side salad with the house made garlic tahini dressing.

For pre-dinner libations we went to the Thirsty Monk and their downstairs Belgian beer bar. This is a beer geek's delight. They had a local Green Man winter saison that was tasty. They also had Fin du Monde from Unibroue on tap, which you don't often see. If you are a beer lover you owe it to yourself to check out the Thirsty Monk.

Saturday night we had dinner at Curate downtown ( couldn't get in to Admiral). It was our second visit and once again everything was great. The server paced our various tapas perfectly and we had a wide range of delicious flavors throughout the meal. The eggplant with honey is unique and we had it first so as not to interfere with other flavors. The pan de tomate (tomato bread) with manchego cheese came next, simple but perfect. Next came a selection of olives then Serrano ham with a couple more pieces of the the tomato bread. That was followed by patatas bravas and lamb pinchos. The pinchos were skewers of grilled marinated lamb. Our last tapa was clams cooked in white wine with little pieces of ham. They were great and the broth was even better. We shared a couple of desserts and had cafe con leche to finish. Just perfect and reasonably priced.

Sunday morning we finally had the chance to eat breakfast at the Sunny Point Cafe in West Asheville. This place is deservedly famous and the crowds reflect that. When we had tried previously the wait was just too long. This time we were able to slide right in at around 10:30 and it was totally worth it. I had the MGB (mighty good breakfast): eggs, local sausage, chipotle cheese grits, and a fantastic biscuit. My wife and daughter each had the huevos rancheros which they raved about. The fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee were also excellent.

Even thought we love out local foodie culture here in Durham we love visiting Asheville and checking out their food and beer scene. Can't wait until our next visit!

Jan 06, 2013
PeterB in Southeast

Asheville for the weekend

The other recommendations are good. If you need Italian, Vincenzo's is actually quite good and they have great happy hour appetizer prices..

Jan 03, 2013
PeterB in Southeast

Charleston without breaking the bank.

You nailed it pretty well! If you go back I would also include Cru Cafe and Hominy for good bang to the buck food experiences.

Nov 26, 2012
PeterB in Southeast

The Admiral in Asheville - Anyone else think it's the most overrated place in town?

No, I think it's great and very fairly priced. As with others on this post I'd love to learn about places in the same league at 1/2 price. Curate is excellent but it isn't less expensive than Admiral.

Oct 29, 2012
PeterB in Southeast

Dinner in Durham/CH, pulling all the stops

Four Square never disappoints.

Aug 24, 2012
PeterB in Southeast

Mateo, downtown Durham

First dinner last night at Mateo. We arrived at 6:15 and were greeted and seated cheerfully. The interior is beautiful with a long, high banquette facing the equally long bar. You could see the kitchen in back with hams hanging in front. The wine list is overwhelming (in a good way) with sherries, white, and red Spanish wines. We were in beer mode, so we ordered Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, an excellent Saison. On to the food. The menu is divided into pinxtos (side dishes), cold tapas, and warm tapas. Paellas were not available tonight. We ordered pan con tomate, grilled bread with a tomato jam. Delicious. Then we ordered tortilla Espanola, albondigas, samfina, and fideua. The tortilla, a potato and egg frittata, was decent but lacked onions, in my opinion. The aioli was good, though. Albondigas were savory meatballs in a chorizo and field pea tomato stew. Lovely. The samfina, a daily special, had eggplant, peppers, and onions topped with a fried egg. Delicious. When we asked for bread to soak up the delicious sauce they brought us a small plate of it. Fideua was kind of a pasta paella, with chorizo, clams, calamari, mussels, and peas. Again, delicious. We had just enough room to share desserts so we shared a fig bread pudding that had white chocolate chips, walnuts, and creme fraiche. So tasty. All in all, the food was delicious, the service was great, the atmosphere hip and urban, a great experience. I'd love to come back to try the hams, the cheeses, more tapas, and explore that incredible wine list. A great addition to the downtown Durham scene. Nicely done, Mateo!

Aug 17, 2012
PeterB in Southeast

What bourbon are you drinking these days?

Finally tried Old Forester and have to say it is good for an inexpensive bourbon. I mostly use it to make Old Fashioneds. With ice. I have Jim Beam Rye for Sazeracs.

Apr 26, 2012
PeterB in Spirits

Fresh tortillas in Durham

Pahuatlan across from Compare is a little bit closer to you and has good fresh tortillas for $1/lb.

Mar 12, 2012
PeterB in Southeast

Old Fashioned Cocktail Neat?

I think this method by Robert Hess is as good as any

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrZOk0...

Again, the whole thing of serving them minus ice is very new. We'll see if it persists or is just a passing fad.

Cheers!

Feb 16, 2012
PeterB in Spirits

Authentic szechwan option in Durham

We had a less than stellar first impression when we first tried them for lunch. The shrimp in garlic sauce was noticeably sweet. However we went back last weekend for take out and it was much better. The Hot & Sour Soup was peppery and right. Others have commented on the dry sauteed string beans and I agree that they are delicious. The Ma Po Tofu off the Szechuan menu, though, was great (if you like spicy). It drove me to tears in a good way. Will be back to check out some of the other choices.

Feb 16, 2012
PeterB in Southeast

Durham NC Hound in Orlando Weekend Trip Report (long)

No worries on Prickly Pear. It was the only real dud and we do have the show to talk about. Also, they treated us so well at the Wine Vault that we wanted to give that restaurant group some business. I skipped the Butter Beer but tried a few ales from Orlando.They are doing good work and are worth supporting.Thanks again for your local expertise. I'll be happy to reciprocate if you're up in NC.

Jan 23, 2012
PeterB in Florida

Durham NC Hound visiting Orlando

Jan 23, 2012
PeterB in Florida

Durham NC Hound in Orlando Weekend Trip Report (long)

Thanks to Orlando Chowhounds for the advice prior to our trip to Orlando. As Durham NC foodies proud of our local scene we were pleasantly surprised at the food and drink options in Orlando, as well as the downtown neighborhoods; the local atmosphere; and all the lakes everywhere. After checking in to the Grand Bohemian downtown we headed out for an afternoon at the Harry P Leu Gardens. We stopped for lunch at Hawkers. Hawkers has an Asian street food concept which they execute very well. The server steered us to some great small plates the best of which was a Laksa curry. They also had an excellent beer list and we tried an Olde Pelican Ale from Orlando Brewing (more about that later) which went great with the food. The Leu Gardens were awesome, 40+ acres of tropical and regional plantings on a lake, and the weather was perfect.

On the way home we stopped at the Funky Monkey Wine Vault to get some wine for the room. Walking in it looked like an expensive wine place but the staff was friendly and knowledgeable and they had some great economical wine choices.

That night we took a short walk from the hotel to Rusty Spoon. The stylish urban vibe of Rusty Spoon was a bit of a surprise after the picture of cows on the website but the food and service were very good. We started with some of the best onion rings ever served with a dipping sauce made with Orlando Brewing Blackwater Porter. My wife had a Caesar salad made with local baby romaine and a lentil soup which she enjoyed. I had a plate of local Cornish game hen served with braised baby Brussels sprouts and mashed sweet potatoes with ginger. We shared a dessert of apple fritters with a caramel flavored whipped cream. Delicious.

My wife being a huge Harry Potter fan we went to Harry Potter World at Universal the next day. We got there early to beat the crowds and by lunchtime we were ready to hit Emeril’s Orlando at Citywalk. We had excellent Po Boys (shrimp for her, oyster for me) and well prepared Bloody Marys. Our theme park tickets got us a comp dessert of vanilla crème brulle. Not a cheap lunch, but delicious. The service and setting were first rate. I know Emeril is overexposed and it’s kind of a chain but they deliver on quality and service.

We were impressed with the beer we had from Orlando Brewing so after relaxing at the hotel we headed over there for the 6pm tour. The taproom was bustling and we had some of their great beer before the tour. Gene, the brewmaster and owner, gives a great tour. He is passionate and skillful about making beer and he has many awards to show for it. Also, he is one of the few certified organic brewers in the US. Orlando beer lovers, check out his beers and his taproom located south of downtown near the Medical Center.

We then headed over to Prickly Pear for a light dinner. I wish I could give a better review of them but the food was substandard and pricey for what it was. The Caesar salad had lettuce that was marginal and the duck quesadilla was very small. My wife’s chile relleno was adequate, but also small. The prickly pear margaritas were good, though, and the service was friendly and professional. An unexpected surprise was the entertainment: a campy musical revue with a Dolly Parton impersonator! Pretty hilarious.

Sunday was a lazy morning where we took a walk around Lake Eola Park .It was beautiful and the Sunday Farmers market was a pleasant surprise. We followed that by lunch of Dim Sum at Ming’s Bistro. The clientele at Ming’s was overwhelmingly Asian and the dim sum delicious and authentic. We then went to Albin Polasek the sculpture museum and gardens in Winter Park. Another beautiful setting on one of Orlando’s beautiful lakes featuring the master artist’s sculptures.

That evening we wanted to stay close to the hotel so we took the short walk to the Bento Café. Bento is one step above fast food but it was decent and inexpensive.

We really enjoyed our weekend in Orlando. The weather was awesome, the people were friendly, and there were a number of venues featuring locally sourced, well prepared food. Will definitely try Ravenous Pig if we get back there. We also appreciated all the non-theme park things to do. Thanks, Orlando!

Jan 23, 2012
PeterB in Florida

Shaking vs. stirring, Peychaud's, and other newbie tips?

The Sazerac is an excellent cocktail and worth the trouble to make. You can definitely substitute Pernod, Ricard, or Herbsaint (the standard In New Orleans) for the absinthe. Yarn's Robert Hess recommendation is good. Another excellent cocktail book is the The Bar Guide from Williams-Sonoma

http://www.amazon.com/Bar-Guide-Willi...

Cheers!

Jan 19, 2012
PeterB in Spirits

Old Fashioned Cocktail Neat?

I don't believe that every cocktail should be served on the rocks. I do believe that Old Fashioneds should, though.

Jan 19, 2012
PeterB in Spirits

Old Fashioned Cocktail Neat?

I'm glad so many people replied with so many opinions. Also, I'm sure Jamie Boudreau really knows his stuff. it was just during decades of watching adults drinking them and subsequently drinking them myself they had *always* been served on the rocks. Then to get served Old Fashioneds iceless twice in a 2 month period I thought there was some new movement toward that way of serving them. It appears that it is not a general trend but something i may run into again if there are disciples of Jamie mixing. Now I'll probably get funny looks when I ask for them on the rocks.

Jan 18, 2012
PeterB in Spirits

Durham NC Hound visiting Orlando

Thanks Sam and Orlando Hounds. I'll let you know what we find.

Jan 18, 2012
PeterB in Florida

Old Fashioned Cocktail Neat?

I think I found the culprit: Jamie Boudreau, purportedly "The World's Best Bartender". Whatever.

http://spiritsandcocktails.wordpress....

Jan 17, 2012
PeterB in Spirits

Durham NC Hound visiting Orlando

Orlando Hounds, opinions please. I'll be staying in downtown Orlando for a few nights. Where are the best bang for the buck independently owned joints in downtown and vicinity? Thanks in advance and I'll be happy to reciprocate if you're up our way.

Jan 17, 2012
PeterB in Florida

Old Fashioned Cocktail Neat?

Yes, I realize the error of my nomenclature. That was actually the term the bartender used who served me the iceless Old Fashioned. Both of the cocktails I experienced were served down. In any case it seems to be very nonstandard to me. I just think the Old Fashioned already had enough permutations (muddled fruit, soda water, etc.) and didn't need any additional ones. At the end of the day, I still expect an Old Fashioned to come in a proper glass (an Old Fashioned glass) on the rocks with orange peel and a maraschino cherry. Muddled fruit is optional and not in the ones I make.

Jan 17, 2012
PeterB in Spirits

Old Fashioned Cocktail Neat?

Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like most agree that a proper Old Fashioned is served on the rocks. The Sazerac is an excellent cocktail that should be served strained (up, neat, down-in any case, no ice cubes in the glass). I was just wondering if some new cocktail guru had bartenders serving Old Fashioneds that way. I guess I'll start specifying "on the rocks" when ordering them, although that shouldn't be necessary.

Jan 17, 2012
PeterB in Spirits

Old Fashioned Cocktail Neat?

Booze Hounds, help me out, please. This has happened to me twice in the last couple of months. While out at a bar I have ordered an Old Fashioned. When the drinks were served they were neat. I requested ice and was accommodated, but I have never in my life heard of that. Is this some sort of new thing or just a strange aberration? Both bartenders were quite young. Just to make sure I hadn't missed something I did a Google image search of "old fashioned cocktail" and every image showed ice in the glass. Please advise.

Jan 16, 2012
PeterB in Spirits