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Pop's in Durham, NC has closed

Both these items, and more, are still on the menu at Pop's Backdoor. They're still good, too.

Dec 15, 2014
walras in Southeast

Thanksgiving recommendations in the Raleigh area?

Last year, One in Chapel Hill did a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. They might be repeating that. Call to check?

Nov 05, 2014
walras in Southeast

Raleigh Durham dining

How about Tonali in Durham -- meat, fish, veggies all are superb. And a very visual room. Very generous Margaritas as well.

Jul 01, 2014
walras in Southeast

Mi Peru now open in Durham

My friend and I had lunch there today. It's still a work in progress. ABC license is not there yet,there were no soups, with some other missing menu items. The roast chicken with sides is very good, not in my view as good (crispy skin) as Mami Nora's, but still very moist and flavorful. Rice standard, as were the beans, cranberry not black, but creamy.

We did though have one of the greatest exchanges I've ever had with a server:

He: I'm not sure what that item on the menu is.
Me: Well, what about that other item?
He: I really don't know. It's Peruvian. I'm from Mexican, not Peru.
Ba da Bing!!

I'll return in a few weeks, since it's not expensive (my meal $7.95) and convenient.

Jun 26, 2014
walras in Southeast
1

Boone area romantic dinner recs updated for tomorrow night

A couple of years ago, my wife treated me to a birthday weekend at the Mast Farm Inn. They asked for our desire for a special meal, so she obliged with soup, rack of lamb with roasted potatoes, and creme brûlée. The owners had reopened by firing the chef, and turning over the kitchen to their French daughter, who had no culinary training.

So... The soup was tasty, and the rare rack of lamb was well well done. The roasted potatoes were not cooked through. The mid 1980s St. Julian I had brought with us was great, but the dinner was grim. Then the dessert. The creme brûlée was served in a low bowl, as they explained that they had no torch, and the broiler was not working, so they cooked it in the oven. It was a sweet soup.

Before you go, check recent reports (Trip Advisor?) We'll not go again.

May 26, 2014
walras in Southeast

MinGa Korean-Japanese Restaurant

Keep Min Ga on your radar ...

May 19, 2014
walras in Southeast

MinGa Korean-Japanese Restaurant

I've been going to Min Ga for lunch around
once every two weeks or so for a while. It's really excellent, and the food preparation -- from fresh ingredients to presentation -- is very appealing. And there are lots of vegetarian options, as well as seafood options. At dinner, for an appetizer try the kim chee pancake (it has seafood in it).

May 19, 2014
walras in Southeast

Help!! Feeding large groups in Durham, NC

I've had a group around that size in the private room at Parizade (Durham).

May 12, 2014
walras in Southeast
2

Best Whole-Hog Bar-b-que in the Triangle

Whole hog is usually found further east than the Triangle (east of I-95) -- the Piedmont does shoulders, as does Lexington style to the west.

See http://www.ncbbqsociety.com/trail.html

Apr 27, 2014
walras in Southeast

Piola in Chapel Hill Closed

Actually, I really liked their pizza. Having lived in Rome for several periods of months at a time, Piola's pizza was the closest to Roman style, as opposed to Neopolitan style, pizza I've found in the US. Having grown up in the NYC-Philly area, where Italian meant southern Italian/Sicilian family connections (the Milanese hardly immigrated in large numbers to the US!), most pizza I've known is a variant of the paradigmatic Naples pie -- even the "thin" NY style that "folds" is more Naples than Rome.

All of which is to say that I miss Piola, but Raleigh's Piola is too far to go for lunch.

Mar 27, 2014
walras in Southeast

TONALI in Durham, NC

It's a special restaurant. I take international visitors there to show off a family operation using local produce and impeccable cooking and warm service. As a "regular" I do my best to support them. Go.

Mar 19, 2014
walras in Southeast
1

Sunday night dinner in Chapel Hill

I don't think either the Lantern or Elaine's is open on Sunday, the day mountaincachers wants dinner.

Mar 03, 2014
walras in Southeast

Sunday night dinner in Chapel Hill

You'd have to drive to Kitchen.
I like Chola Nad -- it's just across Franklin Street.

Mar 02, 2014
walras in Southeast

Where should I spend my per diem in Fayetteville and/or Goldsboro?

For bbq, Wilber's in Goldsboro is best by far for those two towns -- see NC BBQ Trail.

http://www.ncbbqsociety.com/trail.html

Feb 20, 2014
walras in Southeast
1

Best South Durham Resto News Ever

I correct my earlier:
Sun-Thurs: 9AM-10PM
Fri-Sat: 9AM-11PM

They now have takeout menus available.

Oct 30, 2013
walras in Southeast

Best South Durham Resto News Ever

I asked and I think the woman said 9 to 9.

Oct 30, 2013
walras in Southeast

Best South Durham Resto News Ever

However, it looks like there is no walk up window for ordering. It seems like it's going to be wait staff service, which means higher prices. And there's no place I could see for a condiments bar. They seem to be installing a regular bar, though.

I'd like to be wrong, but this seems unpromising at this stage.

Oct 22, 2013
walras in Southeast

Wow me for lunch on Monday in Raleigh-Durham!

The best "wow" on for lunch Mondays is Oakleaf in Pittsboro. Blu Seafood in Durham is open for lunch on Mondays. Chola Nad in Chapel Hill is open too, as is Min Ga. All solid but no "wow's".

Oct 09, 2013
walras in Southeast

New chefs at One (Chapel Hill)

While I've eaten at a number of Michelin starred restaurants over the years, I confess I've never eaten at the French Laundry, or Alinea, or Per Se, or even (gasp!) El Bulli. But the two new chefs at One have worked at all those places. It shows.

Our meal yesterday was remarkable. The previous chef, whom I liked, seemed to get more and more "fussy" and over-complicated with his dishes, like his mentor at Four Square. The food had been good, sometimes even very good, but not on a consistent and thoughtful basis like Magnolia Grill, Nana's, or the like. What we had yesterday sets a standard that, for us, dominates Heron's, Nana's, Oakleaf, and certainly Fearrington House.

There were two amuse bouche -- the first a sort of of mocha cookie with a brie like cheese inside, the second a rolled chickpea (?) wafer around a radish of sorts.

The appetizer we shared was described as
"[squash falafel]
pinenut ∙ squash hummus ∙ crispy garlic" which involved small marble sized balls of really tasty falafel on a bed of a mild squash "hummus" with several other pipings of sauce, toasted pinenuts, all mounded with some greens.

The mains we had were seafood: mine was
"[diver scallops]
sour cream gnocchi ∙ brown butter ∙ broccoli ∙ currant ∙ caper" which was a half dozen of the best scallops I've ever had, perfectly crusted on one side, arranged in a curve as if taken off a skewer, with a decadent small gnocchi in between each scallop, with tiny broccoli florets that had been cooked in a broth I assume, all on a mild broccoli puree with a caper and current garnish. The fish, capers and currents recalled Sicily.

Partner had
"[east coast snapper]
hazelnuts cooked in garbanzo broth ∙ okra ∙ chorizo ∙ cooked egg aioli". The beautifully cooked -- roasted ( or sous vide?) fish was finished to give the top side a fine caramelized exterior to a moist interior. It was sitting on a bed of cooked hazelnuts (visually suggesting a Tuscan fish on a bed of beans) -- the chef came over and poured some chorizo infused broth, a sort of aioli, over it all.

Wine list is comprehensive, with a couple of sparkling wines, and a half-dozen each of white and red wines by the glass. We were too bedazzled to attempt dessert. With four glasses of wine, tax, and tip the bill was around $140.

I can't believe that Greg Cox hasn't written up this "new One". Someday we'll go into training to try the tasting menu.

http://www.one-restaurant.com/default...

Sep 29, 2013
walras in Southeast

Best South Durham Resto News Ever

other info, e.g when it is supposed to open?

Sep 28, 2013
walras in Southeast

Ribs in Eastern NC

I've been eating chopped cue at Allen and Sons since the early 70s. Every year or so I try their ribs again. Every such year I vow to never do it again.

Aug 03, 2013
walras in Southeast

Pita Grill - Timberlyne, CH

I'm only a casual falafel-ist, but I am partial to the Mediterra Grill's (on Erwin Road) casual Lebanese, and falafel. Do those more knowledgeable have an opinion, as in how does it compare with other places?

Aug 01, 2013
walras in Southeast

Turkish Pistaschio Nuts

They are smaller and more intensely flavored than California/Arizona pistachios. Southern Season carries them, as does my local Harris Teeter on occasion.

Jul 02, 2013
walras in Southeast

any chile verde to be found in Chapel Hill/Durham/Hillsborough area?

Fiesta Grill's chile verde platter is better than any I have had had in Arizona over the years, and I get it at least once a month. Enjoy!

Jun 19, 2013
walras in Southeast

Georgio Bakatsias is at it again in Chapel Hill

It's called Kipos
http://www.kiposgreektaverna.com

I realize that snickering at Parizade is a board staple, but this is a serious and good place, folks. Giorgio Bakastias seems to have decided that the area is stable enough for him to do the restaurant he always wanted to do, a Greek Taverna like those he grew up with. He brought his sister over from Athens to do the bakery, and another friend from Athens as chef.

The website is very loving, with family pictures everywhere.

The space is great -- Pyewacket is long gone. Open kitchen more accessible than Parizade, bakery at the entrance with lots of great stuff to take home for breakfast, etc.

Was there for dinner on Wednesday -- place packed, active bar. All Greek wines and many Greek beers. And the food was really special. Wife and I made a meal of four mezzes -- spicy sausages in sauce, koftes with dressing, calamari with tzatziki, and baked eggplant with onion and tomatoes and cheese.

Great service, including from Mr. Bakastias himself who was hosting and facilitating service. I've spent time in Greece, and this place is for real. It has a great feel, with UNC couples, Greek families (friends of the owner probably in these friends and family early opening period?), academics, BFF tables, etc.

It was a happy experience, good prices, really tasty (and a lot of locally sourced) food, and we'll become regulars it seems. What's not to like?

Mar 22, 2013
walras in Southeast

China Palace in Durham

The first, the Chef Special, is a section of the regular menu -- it's like every other American Chinese restaurant's Chef's Specials, which are not particularly special, just more expensive.

The other three are all sections of their "Special Chinese Menu". For my money, that's where the good stuff is.

Mar 01, 2013
walras in Southeast

China Palace in Durham

I go around once a week. The Special menu certainly has several bitter melon offerings. They have two paper menus, the regular and Special: several items on the Special are only available at lunch Saturday and Sunday. And yes, quality remains excellent. Personally, I'm fond of the spicy dried bean curd with shredded pork, and the noodles with Szechuan meat sauce, both from the Special menu available all the time.

Feb 28, 2013
walras in Southeast

Triangle Chili?

I've checked threads, and can't find any discussion about places in the Triangle that do a good bowl of chili. I don't mean chili mix ground beef, like the stuff that tops hot dogs or burgers, but actual chopped unground meat that is slow cooked with chilis, or veggies with good powder or such. Years ago there was a real chili parlor in Raleigh, but it didn't last long.

The (original) Q-Shack has a good chili, but using smoked brisket makes it too smoky for my taste. Ted's bison chili is ok, but ...

With winter coming (maybe), a good bowl of red might be nice to find. Durham or Chapel Hill preferred, but a serious chili is worth a drive to Raleigh or Cary. Suggestions?

Dec 08, 2012
walras in Southeast

knife sharpening [NC- Triangle]

I've used Kitchenworks twice, and have been pleased. Southern Season also sharpens knives (of course in the same University Mall as Kitchenworks.) Might I ask which of those did work that was unsatisfactory? Cliff, at Cliff's (butcher) Market in Carrboro, sharpens knives too.

Dec 08, 2012
walras in Southeast

Camos Brothers Pizza in Chapel Hill

Exactly right on Italy/NY issue. I've lived several places in Italy for periods of one month to five months, North, South, and Central. NY style pizza is not found in Italy. Philadelphia style is close to Neopolitan though. The only place around Chapel Hill that has an Italian style pie, albeit Roman not Neopolitan, is Piola. Their pies are like the Roman ones, thin crust, reasonably small, and not by the slice. Those you get in Rome by the slice are close to the square pies here with pieces in rectangles, like what are sometimes called "Sicilian" in Philadelphia, breadier than 8-10 inch full pies with thin crusts. Given this, when I'm nostalgic for Rome, I go to Piola. When I'm nostalgic for Philly, I get a Piola Neopolitan style (which isn't as tasty as their Roman pies), and when I'm nostalgic for a NY pie, I rotate among Randy's and the others discussed in this thread.
I've never understood what "authentic" pizza means as a result. Pizza is a food group, not a collectible.

Nov 10, 2012
walras in Southeast