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Bahamas - Everywhere!

Hi,
I'll be island-hopping in the Bahamas this fall/winter on assignment for a travel guidebook, and am hoping to find out about the best places to eat, from glitzy celebrity chef-run restaurants on Paradise Island to low-key Bahamian takeout joints on the Out Islands. I'm also looking for tips on good bars.

My itinerary looks something like this: Freeport/Grand Bahama-Abacos-Nassau/Paradise Island-Eleuthera-Andros-Berry Islands-Biminis.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Oct 19, 2010
emandm in Latin America & Caribbean

Parisian-style macarons/macaroons in the Triangle: A report

So I've been on a bit of a Parisian macaron rampage lately, trying to find something as good as I've had in Paris or Singapore. No luck yet, but I keep searching. Here's what I've found so far:

- Miel Bon Bons in Carrboro sells macarons by special order only, but sometimes you can get some leftovers from a wedding order if you come in on Saturday morning. After several attempts, I finally got my hands on a few a couple weeks ago. Sadly, they were just OK. A bit too sweet, without well-defined flavor. The chocolate macaron had a brownie/cocoa-like taste that I don't like. Disappointing, since I think Miel Bon Bons makes some of the best chocolates in the Triangle.

- Lately, A Southern Season has been selling a half-dozen or so flavors of mini macaron in their pastry case. When I asked where they were from, one person said they were from Sugarland, another told me they were imported from abroad. They're pretty decent - reasonable texture, if a bit soft. Some flavors - pistachio, orange - are bright and sharp, while others, like caramel, are ill-defined or too sweet.

- Open Eye Cafe & Cafe Driade sell macarons made by a local baker, though I can't remember their name. I had a chocolate and a hazelnut. The chocolate had the aforementioned "brownie taste" and overly-moist texture (of course this could be due to the NC summer humidity), but the hazelnut was pretty good. Large.

- Amelia. The worst. Sugary, bland. Couldn't tell the lemon from the vanilla. :(

Unfortunately, neither of the Triangle's French bakeries (La Farm, Valour's) make macarons. I've been meaning to try the ones from the freezer section at Trader Joe's (not that I have high hopes!).

Does anyone have any intel on other places to look for good macarons?

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A Southern Season
201 S Estes Dr Ste 101, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Open Eye Cafe
101 S Greensboro St, Carrboro, NC 27510

Jun 11, 2010
emandm in Southeast

Best pig pickin' caterer / hog purveyor in the Triangle?

We're planning a fall wedding in Chatham County, and would like to do a really top-notch pig pickin'. The idea is to order an heirloom hog and hire a pig master to cook it, perhaps along with some fish or chicken. A separate caterer is providing sides like slaw and mac n' cheese.

Two questions for all you pork-loving hounds:

1) Which Triangle-area farm provides the best whole hogs? Cane Creek? Elysian Fields? Brinkley Farms? We'd like something humanely raised and ultra-delicious.

2) Who does the best pig pickin' catering in the area? I've heard good things about Smokey Dave from Hillsborough, Pig in the Pen in Pittsboro, and Allen & Son. A guideline to my tastes: my favorite Triangle BBQ places are probably Old Time BBQ, Clyde Cooper's, and Allen & Son. I like plenty of crispy outside brown and lots of nice spicy, vinegar-sting-y Eastern-style sauce. We'd need someone who was cool with just doing the meat, not the sides.

Any guidance you can provide would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Apr 04, 2010
emandm in Southeast

Anyone tried Rockwood Filling Station in Durham?

I went last weekend. I really wanted to like it, but it was just OK. A solid C+. Both pizzas a bit soggy. Chicken liver and pancetta pizza sounded promising, but was greasy and lacking zing. Spinach salad was nothing special. For a similar price, I'd much rather have the pizzas at Panzanella in Carrboro or Pop's in Durham. Disappointing, as an awesome gourmet pizza place with interesting local ingredients would be very welcome here.

Feb 28, 2009
emandm in General South Archive

Sunday Brunch in Raleigh/Chapel Hill?

The Sunday brunch at Acme in Carrboro is my favorite, hands down - whatever you order (I like the cheddar, tomato, bacon and wild mushroom omelet or the Carolina Eggs Benedict with fried green tomatoes) be sure to get a side of whatever the seasonal coffee cake is. Bistro vibe, moderate prices.

If you can make it to Watts Grocery in Durham, DO! The grits bowl with local sausage is amazing, and the churros (little cinnamon donut sticks) with hot chocolate dipping sauce are worth driving across the Triangle for.

Feb 22, 2009
emandm in Southeast

Triangle Burger-Beer Update

My very favorite Triangle burger is at a rather depressing (dim, beer-smelling, tinny Beatles music on replay) place called Abbey Road Grill in Cary. Burgers are huuuuge, juicy, cooked as rare as you want them. Homemade onion rings rule.

On Franklin Street, the lunch counter at Sutton's Drug does a cheap, impressive 2/3 pounder. Woody's (Four Corners) isn't bad either.

I used to love Milltown's burgers, but lately they've been really overcooked.

Feb 21, 2009
emandm in General South Archive

Road trip from Tampa to Asheville: Where 2 Eat????

I'm a huge fan of an Asheville Latin American fusion place called Salsa's - oddball combos like lamb, goat cheese and banana empanadas. Always crowded. Always order off the specials menu.

Feb 17, 2009
emandm in General South Archive

Food on the Bourbon Trail

Proof on Main is great. Lynn's Paradise Cafe in Louisville is a well-loved arty diner, with great breakfast - biscuits with sorghum butter!

Definitely hit the Holly Hill Inn in Midway, between Frankfort and Lexington and not too far from Woodford. It's a gorgeous old country mansion that a young married chef couple turned into a nifty "nouvelle Kentucky" restaurant - local meats, homemade pasta, etc.

Old Talbott Tavern in Bardstown is fun - oldest Western stagecoach stop in America, Lincoln stayed here, etc. Stick with basics like country ham and chess pie. Locals sometimes hang out at the bourbon bar.

The people at Chapeze House in Bardstown can arrange private bourbon tastings. Meals too, but expensive.

Feb 13, 2009
emandm in General South Archive

Chapel Hill Recs?

Gosh, even in "heathen" Chapel Hill a lot of good places are closed Sundays. A few of my favorites that aren't:

Crook's Corner - a longtime standby for funky, upscale Southern. Famous for their shrimp and grits. Kid friendly burgers and such too.

Talullah's is Turkish meze (like tapas) with exotic carpets-and-colored-lanterns decor.

Akai Hana, in Carrboro, has good sushi and a really nice, child-friendly staff.

Also in Carrboro, Southern Rail serves upmarket diner food in a refurbished train car. Food's decent, but setting is definitely the draw.

Feb 12, 2009
emandm in General South Archive

Valentine's Day - Chapel Hill/Durham

The last time I ate there was about a year ago, and I didn't notice much difference from previous times I'd eaten there. I always get the manti - little meat dumplings in yogurt sauce - and the shrimp with rosewater and almonds (when they have it).

Feb 12, 2009
emandm in General South Archive

Valentine's Day - Chapel Hill/Durham

Talullas, an upscale Turkish place on West Franklin in CH, has a special V-day menu. And their lounge-y, opium den vibe is kind of romantic, especially if you sit in the little room in the back with the throw pillows and the curtain. Provence in Carrboro is a quiet, romantic little family-run place that specializes in the seafood of the South of France - don't know if they have a special Valentine's menu though.

Feb 12, 2009
emandm in General South Archive