m

mikeh's Profile

Title Last Reply

Sweatman's BBQ - Holly Hill, SC

There's a much newer thread discussing Sweatman's: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/920922

From my own very recent experience, I put it up there in the very top echelon of Carolina bbq. It deserves a seat alongside Lexington #1, Red Bridges, Allen&Son, Skylight Inn, and Scott's Variety Store.

1 day ago
mikeh in Southeast
1

Fearrington

How was the atmosphere? I know they did a makeover a couple of years back, before which it was pretty classically "upscale plantation-style opulent Southern" with Queen Ann-style furniture, plush carpeting, ornate window draperies and the like.

Apr 12, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Fried Chicken: Pican or Miss Ollie's? [Oakland]

For lunch, yes. For dinner, I think you can get it any day.

Apr 10, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

2014 NC Farm to Fork Picnic tickets on sale

I agree that the price tag continues to give me sticker shock. It would be on the high end of similar events out here in the high-income/high-cost-of-living parts of California (except for a few lavish locally-sourced events in Wine Country where the objective isn't to help develop and/or expose an audience to local/organic/artisan culture). The price disparity over similar events in the Carolinas (TerraVita - $60 for non-alcohol; Lowcountry Local First's Potluck in Charleston at $75) is equally jarring. But I believe this is the largest concentration of Triangle-area purveyors we see all year, so it would certainly be a good opportunity to become re-acquainted with the latest goings-on in the local growers/makers community in the Triangle, about which I care very much.

Just hitting up Carrboro Farmers Market, Weaver Street, and a handful of eateries wouldn't have the same effect, although that's still my strong inclination given we never got a lucid response from the organizers when we pressed this issue with them when they first raised prices.

Apr 09, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

2014 NC Farm to Fork Picnic tickets on sale

What are folks' impressions of this event? I know there had been some complaints about the quality of food (pre-made dishes, salads) due to the remote siting.

Was planning on hitting up the NC mountains a weekend in June for the peak of rhododendron season and this might be good to tack on. Of course, I was vehemently opposed to the price increase from $60 to $100 a couple of years ago...

Apr 09, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Sweatman's Bar-B-Que, Holly Hill, SC

Only Friday and Saturdays now. Until 9 p.m. at night (I was there around 7:30 p.m. and they had plenty of skins).

Apr 01, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Sweatman's Bar-B-Que, Holly Hill, SC

Okay, so I went and am kicking myself for not having tried it sooner when I actually lived down there. They're doing it right. The bbq was clearly smoked the old-fashioned way with a wonderfully complex flavor and variety of textures. The outside brown was exquisite. And those pork skins? Seriously, one of the best things I've ever tasted. Crunchy and brittle on the outside, airy on the inside. It was "what have I done right in my life to deserve this?" level of good.

So prices may have crept up, but the new owners clearly know what they're doing. Steady stream of business on a rainy Friday night. I think they kept most of the old pit staff.

Apr 01, 2014
mikeh in Southeast
1

Softshells in Charleston?

I was just in Charleston this weekend and no soft-shells are in yet. Given the cold winter (azaleas not yet in full bloom even as the calendar turns to April???), I expect it may take a few more weeks.

Mar 30, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Sweatman's Bar-B-Que, Holly Hill, SC

Interested in any recent updates from Chowhounders on this place. I never made it when under original ownership, and reports had been that the new owners had some transitional growing pains when they first took over the place. Trying to decide whether it's worth spending a meal here on an upcoming trip from the West Coast to SC (when it would mean passing up on something tried and true like Dave's Carryout when I don't make it back to this area very often).

Is the food back to its old standard? Reviews are all over the map:

-Some people say it's still outstanding, but is that because they don't know BBQ or didn't try it before?
-Some people say they cook over gas or over roast the BBQ now, but the website says they still cook over wood and people have gotten a tour of the smokehouse
-Some people say the new owners are from NYC, but others say they are southerners. Can't tell if some of the poor reviews are because of irrational loyalty.

Mar 26, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Charleston's best vs. we have it pretty good here in the Triangle

Charleston's more casual offerings are where it really excels compared to the Triangle. Where in the Triangle can you get the spread of farm-fresh southern-style veggies like at Tomato Shed Cafe, SeeWee, Martha Lou's, Dukes, Gullah Cafe or Hominy Grill? Other than Saltbox in Durham, where can you get exceedingly fresh casual seafood like at The Wreck, Bowen's Island, or Dave's Carryout? Where can you get charcuterie like at Craig Diehl's Cypress? Where can you get true "Tuscany or Umbria-wall-town" quality Italian like at Ken Vendriski's Trattoria Lucca?

Husk doesn't really compare well to Angus Barn - Husk's style is Tennessee/Kentucky/Appalachia more than anything else. I'd describe it more as a dressed-up version of Tupelo Honey Cafe.

Don't get me wrong, the Triangle is, aside from Charleston, my favorite foodie city in the Southeast. But I think if you go to Charleston for the food traditions specific to the Lowcountry (Gullah-influenced, hyperfresh seafood, hoppin' john, she-crab soup, farm-fresh veggies, etc.), that's where they shine. And as an aside, we owe it to Mike Lata at FIG in Charleston that any Triangle restaurant even serves triggerfish and other "by-catch" that he singlehandedly helped make popular again by developing relationships with purveyors and a lot of trial-and-error.

Mar 22, 2014
mikeh in Southeast
3

TONALI in Durham, NC

It's funny how I always forget about this place even though it was one of my favorites while living in the Triangle. It's really hard to find locally-sourced, authentic Mexican cooking anywhere at the level that Tonali has been consistently doing for years.

Mar 19, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Low Country Road Trip

You'd better check if Ernie's is even still in business. See this article from November 2013:

http://blog.postandcourier.com/raskin...

Mar 15, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Best "Local" Seafood Restaurants in Bay Area? Coming from a distance and need FIX!

Thread was asking about local seafood, not just seafood generally. Farallon appears to source from all over (Maine, New Zealand, Hawaii, Alaska, the Mediterranean, etc.). Not the same as "catch of the day" stuff coming off local boats.

Truth is that you can't find many of those true "locally-sourced only" places in the Bay Area (except for some of those mentioned above). It's not like in some other parts of the country (Louisiana and the Carolinas come to mind) where you can go to seafood places where everything they serve is from local boats that are catching everything in a 100-mile radius.

Mar 14, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Best "Local" Seafood Restaurants in Bay Area? Coming from a distance and need FIX!

Fish in Sausalito (recent thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/966670

)

They do it about as local as it gets around here, which means sourcing from individual fishing vessels along the West Coast and only serving sustainably-caught species. The quality is first-rate.

Mar 13, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Brunswick, GA to Culloden, GA Road Trip

This links to a fantastic guide for rural meat-n-threes in the area of middle Georgia around Macon.

http://home.earthlink.net/~white_and_...

Mar 09, 2014
mikeh in Southeast
2

La Ciccia "call back tonight or else" voicemail - crossing the line or appropriate?

The ask about appropriateness was not that they asked for confirmation, but a) bringing up that they were asking because of a previous no-show; and b) they would automatically cancel the reservation if I didn't call back that evening because I had previously no-showed.

The argument is that the correct approach from a "customer service" point of view is to do the confirmatory call without bringing up the no-show or threatening to cancel a reservation on such short order (but maybe call a day or two earlier and give a longer period of time to respond). It could have, in theory, put one in a very difficult situation if one happened to be out of pocket for just a few hours and this were a dinner with an important client or something.

Mar 02, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

La Ciccia "call back tonight or else" voicemail - crossing the line or appropriate?

Thanks for all the replies. To tie this off, we had an absolutely exquisite meal at La Ciccia last night n a warm and inviting atmosphere. Its reputation is well-deserved. The owner and waitstaff were top notch as well. They run a classy operation.

I think the reality of dining out in the Bay Area puts pressure on everyone. For diners, the need to book good places (not just special occasion meals, but normal "end of week" meals as well) a month in advance when plans are apt to change. For restaurant owners, having to deal with the fallout of that. I think it's a unique difficulty that we face here. Even in NYC, aside from places like Per Se, there's such a volume of restaurants there that they don't have to deal with this problem as much as we do.

Mar 01, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area
2

La Ciccia "call back tonight or else" voicemail - crossing the line or appropriate?

So now that I'm clearly behind the count with this place, should I expect a bad table/indifferent service or anything else out of the norm? Is it pretty much over between me and them (at least until I regain their good graces)?

Feb 27, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

La Ciccia "call back tonight or else" voicemail - crossing the line or appropriate?

Do restaurants normally do this or do they let it slide in the name of customer service? Again, I have absolutely no comparison data points, but it's setting a negative tone on the experience before it even begins.

They could've called yesterday or Tuesday like most places that have call back policies...

Feb 27, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

La Ciccia "call back tonight or else" voicemail - crossing the line or appropriate?

This afternoon around 5 p.m., I received a voicemail from La Ciccia asking me to call back to confirm my reservation for tomorrow since I had previously canceled and/or no-showed a reservation there. If I didn't call back to confirm this evening, they would automatically cancel my reservation for tomorrow.

It's true that I once didn't honor a reservation there months ago. I was urgently called out of town on a business emergency. They never called me to confirm (and they don't usually call people to confirm), so I completely lost track of it with everything else going on. It's the only "no show" I've done in the past 10 years of frequent dining.

I'm torn as to whether this call I got from them is inappropriate. I understand restaurants operate on thin margins, especially small places, but it's still a buyer's market with thousands of restaurants to choose from. To give me an ultimatum voicemail the evening before with only a few hours to respond to keep my reservation is a bad first impression on what was supposed to be a special occasion meal. Also, what if I happened to be out of pocket today. If I were flying back from the East Coast, I would've completely missed the voicemail until it was too late to preserve my reservation from getting canceled.

Feb 27, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

Fish Restaurant in Sausalito - Report

I was also there this past weekend and had one of the special main plates - the McFarland Springs Trout over broccolini and carrot puree. It was absolutely wonderful. What I love about Fish is that the seafood is as fresh as can be, the portions generous, and one can always piece together a meal that has a hearty serving of veggies (either as side vegetable dishes or by the conception of the mains themselves). A fallback standby is to get one of the fish of the day (they usually offer several to choose from off the blackboard) over pasta or salad.

Re prices, I haven't found better that is sourcing from West Coast fishing fleets - and I'd rather pay $25 for a filling meal than $17 or $18 where I'm still hungry afterwards.

If anyone has any recommendations for a similar type meal (that's closer to SF or the Peninsula), would greatly appreciate it. My FasTrak over the GG Bridge gets quite a workout thanks to Fish Restaurant.

Feb 24, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

Kin Khao - Thai-style Thai in SF

How does the soft opening work? Unannounced but otherwise open to the public, or via invitation only?

Feb 18, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

SF Dining recommendation similar to Gary Danko?

Sawa Sushi?

Jan 30, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

Best BBQ Between the Triangle and Charlotte

Lexington #1

Jan 29, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Kabuto Ownership Change [San Francisco]

The SF liquor license query system shows a changeover on March 15, 2013 from Kim and Cho (who bought the business from Kojima back in 2005) to just Cho. But as of now, the permit is still with Cho.

Jan 26, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

Eater Silicon Valley Heatmap

How does this make him an expert in food?

Jan 24, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

Chapel Hill - Chip Smith of Bon Soiree - At Celebrity Dairy?

Andrea Weigl article in today's N&O:

http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/01/2...

Jan 23, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Mami Nora's to open in Morrisville/Cary

I've now been away from the Triangle for years (in CA) and still dream about Mami Nora's rotisserie chicken. It's simply the best there is.

Jan 22, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Tupelo Honey - Charlotte

Wow, this suddenly makes my 3-hour layover in CLT after the holidays very, very interesting...

Dec 20, 2013
mikeh in Southeast

Lers Ros Hayes St open again and excellent as ever [San Francisco]

Shouldn't we question why this happened in the first place instead of unconditionally patronizing them? It's not like it was something out of their control like a fire or earthquake; self-inflicted, no excuses.

Dec 05, 2013
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area