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Raleigh Dinner Recommendations

I've been to Bida Manda a couple times, as have a number of my friends, and everyone's loved it.

Nov 14, 2012
injust in Southeast

Bida Manda report, new Laotian resataurant in Raleigh

I was surprised I hadn't seen anything about this on Chowhound, so had to post my experience from last night, which was fantastic. I may have been a little biased, as the owner is one of my classmate's friends and I love new Southeast Asian food, but the space is beautiful, prices were reasonable, and the cocktails, appetizers, entrees, and desserts were all excellent. The owners are a Laotian-American brother-sister team and named the restaurant for their parents, with photos from Laos and memorabilia of their parents scattered around the room. The chef is Laotian, and I believe the bartender/mixologist used to be at Fox Liquor Bar. The owner, Van, came around and talked to all the tables, asking what entrees people had ordered and what they thought.

Our party of 4 had:
Cocktails ($7-9)
*Pina Colada- excellent and potent, with housemade coconut cream
*Witbier flip- creamy, very tasty beer cocktail with cognac, lemon, simple syrup and egg
*Sazerac- I just had a small taste, but seemed well-balanced
*Ginger Julep- strong and ginger-y, served in a nice metal cup with tons of ice that tempers the drink as it melts

Appetizers (All were $6.90, IIRC)
*Ground pork spring rolls- a little different from typical Thai/Vietnamese fried spring rolls, with a richer, almost pate-like flavor, very good
*Roasted Anaheim pepper stuffed with Lao sausage- subtly spicy in places, somewhat small, everyone liked it
*Soft shell crab- delicately fried on top of lettuce-like greens, very tasty

Entrees (all $13-15, I believe)
*Beef Larb- excellent and spicy (they ask about preferred spice level), similar to Thai and Cambodian larb I've had, with really excellent sticky rice served (and steamed?) in an enclosed wicker basket. You can order it traditional style with tripe, but I opted not to.
*Green papaya salad with grilled duck- you can choose your topping from steak, duck, chicken, and I believe veggies as well. A big hit, spice level also to order.
*Saffron crepe with shrimp and bacon- delicious comfort food, with a great fish sauce
*Caramelized ginger pork ribs- possibly everyone's favorite, very tender with excellent balance of savory-sweet-ginger flavors, also served with sticky rice

Dessert (can't recall prices)
*Purple sticky rice custard topped with mango and coconut- like a gourmet version of Thai mango sticky rice, delicious
*Tempura bananas with ice cream- nicely fried and really tasty

I hope this wasn't too much detail. You can probably tell we had a great time, were very impressed by the whole experience, and want to go back again soon. There were definitely some more dishes (pork belly soup, basil beef, summer rolls, pho...) that we were excited to try.

Sep 15, 2012
injust in Southeast

Make your own Bloody Mary bars in the Bay Area?

This is at Elixir?

Dec 08, 2006
injust in San Francisco Bay Area

Make your own Bloody Mary bars in the Bay Area?

I must agree, though- Zeitgeist does make a great Bloody Mary.

Dec 08, 2006
injust in San Francisco Bay Area

Make your own Bloody Mary bars in the Bay Area?

i'd been yearning for a good bloody mary bar the likes of East Coast Grill's in Boston, and was asking people about it last night. They said that Elixir has one, and apparently it is so! Article from SFBG:
The article says they have a nice selection of pickled vegetables as well: "including pickled green beans, olives, pepperoncini, cocktail onions, lemons, limes, celery, and horseradish".
The article also discusses similar offerings at Levende and Home. I, for one, am looking forward to the weekend. :)

Dec 08, 2006
injust in San Francisco Bay Area

Author of "Omnivore's Dilemma" at SF Main Library, Nov. 30

thanks for the tip! i adore both 'the botany of desire' and 'omnivore's dilemma' and think he's an incredible writer. i'll be there!

Nov 16, 2006
injust in Food Media & News

Hayes Valley/Civic Center options for Monday dinner?

Whoops- missed it! Thanks.

Nov 09, 2006
injust in San Francisco Bay Area

Hayes Valley/Civic Center options for Monday dinner?

sushi place on hayes? haven't heard about this- do tell!

Nov 09, 2006
injust in San Francisco Bay Area

Mountain View near W El Camino Real

Amber India on El Camino is excellent.

Oct 12, 2006
injust in San Francisco Bay Area

Need suggestion for social event for 15-20 people in Palo Alto/Mtn.Vw. - good food/private rm.

My sister had her graduation party at Nola in Palo Alto. Cajun-ish place- she got to choose what dishes to have on the platters that they brought, and they got the food and the room for a good price. The food was quite good, though I don't think it's authentically Cajun- just nicely Cajun-influenced. Nice interior and nice atmosphere also. (they have a private parties section on their site)

Oct 09, 2006
injust in San Francisco Bay Area