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Southern/Soul restaurant (or buffet) off I-95 Jacksonville - Charleston?

We quite enjoyed the Old Times Buffet Country Buffet in Brunswick, GA in December 2012. Not the best food in the world, but a great selection of southern food for an unbelievable price. Not far from 1-95 at all.

Jul 08, 2014
anne7134 in Southeast

Straw Valley Cafe in Durham to get redesigned by chef at Il Palio

I've been meaning to post about the dinner we ate there almost a month ago. I completely agree with the comment that it is inconsistent. We went there for our anniversary and loved the setting but the hostess (who knew it was our anniversary) sat us in a room directly between two other two-tops that were occupied. It was very cramped and a little confusing given that we were surrounded by empty tables and empty rooms. Our excellent and observant waiter must have seen our faces and he came over and suggested we relocate to a room with much more space and a nice 2-top table by a sliding glass door. It was really appreciated. We had superb service and the restaurant went out of their way to help us celebrate with glasses of prosecco and dessert.

We started with delicious salads (beet salad and mixed greens) with beautiful presentation. We followed the salads with the antipasti plate which was also really wonderful (especially the burrata that they import from Italy according to our waiter). It was after this when the dinner fell apart, though.

I ordered the whole fried snapper. It was a gorgeous presentation (the fish appeared to be swimming upstream) and well cooked but saltier than anything I've been served in a restaurant. I expected some salt because of the fermented black bean sauce, but after a few bites it was inedible. My husband ordered the duck main which was also salty and he did not finish, but not quite as salty as my dish. As sides, we ordered a special of miso peas and the Carolina Fried Rice. The miso peas were rich and buttery but also terribly salty. The fried rice was delicious and the only dish eaten during our main course that wasn't oversalted. Everything was beautiful and the service was top notch, but given the price tag, I never expected to have issues with salt. When the waiter came to clear the plates, I mentioned to him that there were some issues with salt. He asked for more details (and mentioned he felt some things were too salty too) and told me he'd speak with the kitchen about it. He then brought us out two complimentary happy anniversary desserts.

Overall, I wanted to love it, but for $160 for 2 before tip (drinks and apps and mains since the prosecco and desserts were comped), I was extremely disappointed. Had one of the mains or both of the sides been salty, it would have been easier to forgive, but given that both of the mains were too salty to eat, I left with a bad (or maybe just salty) taste in my mouth.

I really loved the setting and I want to see them succeed, but I'm not interested in spending another $210 to figure out if they dialed back the salt.

Jun 27, 2014
anne7134 in Southeast

Anything to look for in Aldis?

I buy the canned green beans for my dog at Aldi. He gets a can a day and Aldi sells them for $.49/can as opposed to $.79/can anywhere else.

Jun 09, 2014
anne7134 in Chains

If you were jonesing for a coconut cupcake/cake in Chapel Hill ...

Thai Cafe on University Dr. in Durham has a fantastic coconut cake. It's not cupcakes, but they will sell by the slice (or by the entire cake if that floats your boat).

Nov 26, 2013
anne7134 in Southeast

Mattie B's Opens in Hope Valley Commons in Durham

We ate there last night and enjoyed it quite a bit. We are very happy to have this option in SW Durham. We had the salt and vinegar potato chips, hot wings and salads.

The chips were delicious - light, not greasy, great vinegar flavor, huge salt crystals. We had it with the guava cayenne sauce which was slightly spicy and nicely sweet. The wings were plump and juicy and peppery, but I wish there had been more wing sauce on them. The ones at the bottom of the bowl were better than the ones on the top because of the sauce that those got to soak in. I had a mixed greens salad, which was nothing particularly special, but was appropriately dressed (without too much dressing) and had good lettuce and apples. My husband had a cheese laden caesar salad that was delicious primarily due to the pickled shallots.

They had a great beer selection and very conscientious staff. We look forward to going back, particularly as they refine their food presentation.

My only major quibble is with the TVs in the restaurant. I really don't like TVs where I eat, but they were appropriate for the style/decor. This is just my personal preference.

Sep 04, 2013
anne7134 in Southeast

Looking For Good Mussels in Charleston

Another vote for Fat Hen! I ate the mussels there on July 1. I have to admit that I chose the wrong preparation for my tastes, but the mussels themselves were really fantastic!

Jul 08, 2013
anne7134 in Southeast

ISO Boston Cream Pie in RDU Triangle

Madhatter's makes one, but the filling is more cream cheese flavored than custard. I don't recommend it. I have enjoyed the one at Wellspring in the past. I suspect that daisy cakes will make one if requested.

Jun 12, 2013
anne7134 in Southeast

Anyone been to the new Piedmont?

I went with a group of 10 last Monday and we were all fairly underwhelmed. Reports ranged from okay to terrible. I had fish (I think it was mahi mahi, but I'm not positive I correctly remember) on a bed of spicy lentils. The fish was fishy smelling but only slightly fishy tasting. The lentils were the highlight of the meal. I heard reports of bad pasta dishes and just okay beef and pork dishes, but I didn't eat them so I can't comment. I felt like the dishes were on the pricy side and was surprised to see that they charge for bread. Overall, I feel like there are much better places in the immediate area that have similar prices and more attentive service. I will not be returning.

Oct 02, 2012
anne7134 in Southeast

What's a good alternative to the Magnolia Grill?

My vote is for Four Square. Like Tom, we preferred it over Magnolia Grill.

Jul 10, 2012
anne7134 in Southeast

3 Nights in DC - please review my dining choices

Estadio looks like a great choice for her and is less than 2 blocks from our hotel. I think I may replace B&B with Estadio. Thanks for the tip!

3 Nights in DC - please review my dining choices

My husband, 6 year old daughter and I will be in Washington, DC for 3 nights in April. My daughter is well-behaved and an adventurous eater, but she certainly has her limits, so I'm trying to stay away from very fancy/long meals. My daughter's favorite food is Indian and mine is Turkish.

I've made reservations at 6:00 pm (to account for the child in tow) at Rasika, Zaytina and Birch & Barley.

Do you all have any thoughts about these choices, especially given that we will have a child with us?

Thanks in advance.

Battle Wounds

A few months ago, I was pureeing cashews for a curry chicken and cashew dish. The cashews gummed up my immersion blender, so I picked it up and started scraping out the nuts with my finger. I forgot to unplug the blender and my palm hit the switch blending my finger. My husband rushed me to urgent care and they glued it back together. I didn't even lose the nail! Interestingly enough, I was that office's second immersion blender accident of the week and I fared much better than the other cook.

Jan 22, 2012
anne7134 in Not About Food

Help me use my frozen green beans (blech!)

Sauté them with lots of garlic and stewed tomatoes.

Jan 06, 2012
anne7134 in Home Cooking

Cape Gooseberries in the Triangle?

I purchased some at Harris teeter and they were great. Perhaps you were particularly unlucky. HT will refund your money.

Sep 06, 2011
anne7134 in Southeast

Charged For Things In Restaurants That Other Restaurants Give You Gratis

I often wonder if this stinginess is a function of Subway franchise costs. If I recall correctly, Fast Food Nation claimed that Subway was one of the worst franchises to own because start-up costs were so high and they were forced to purchase supplies and ingredients at inflated prices from the Subway corporation. I'm not sure if that is still the case, but I just have always assumed that some stores were particularly conscious of vegetable use because their margins are so thin due to the way the franchise is set-up.

Jul 12, 2011
anne7134 in Not About Food

Cheesemonger/Cheese Shoppe set to open in Durham

Great news! Thanks for the heads up.

Jun 15, 2011
anne7134 in Southeast

Birthday cake in Triangle area, NC

Costco makes great sheet cakes (especially for the price). If we're serving a lot of people at a birthday party, we rely on Costco's cakes.

Fancier cakes can be found all around, but I highly suggest Guglhupf or Daisy Cakes in Durham.

Jun 10, 2011
anne7134 in Southeast

Farm To Fork 2011 in NC

Tickets are on sale now.

Apr 05, 2011
anne7134 in Southeast

Cachaca in the Triangle?

Last summer I bought Leblon at the ABC in Durham off 15-501 by Kurama and the ABC in Falconbridge.

Mar 06, 2011
anne7134 in Southeast

The Pig--Chapel Hill

I guess it's their version of poutine.

Oct 07, 2010
anne7134 in Southeast

Kid-friendly but good place for dinner in Charleston?

I can't second this recommendation enough!! We took our 4 year old to SNOB at 5:30. They were incredibly welcoming and she loved it. They have a children's menu for the small one that has standard kid fare, but our daughter ordered off the appetizer menu and stuffed herself with pate.

Aug 24, 2010
anne7134 in Southeast


How much was the entire meal?

Aug 22, 2010
anne7134 in Southeast

Eats on Folly Island

I agree with the Taco Boy recommendation as well as Lost Dog Cafe. About a year ago I ate at a seafood restaurant on the right just before the last bridge onto the island. The place had a great screened in deck over the marsh and good local shrimp. I recommend it, but maybe someone else can help me out with the name!

Lost Dog Cafe
106 W Huron Ave, Folly Beach, SC 29439

Taco Boy
15 Center St, Folly Beach, SC 29439

Aug 13, 2010
anne7134 in Southeast

Farm to Fork Follow-Up

I'm resurrecting this to add a bit about Crumb since I mentioned them here. Although the cakes were delicious at the Farm to Fork, the business owners seem to lack basic customer service skills.

Jun 03, 2010
anne7134 in Southeast

Farm to Fork Follow-Up

We had a great time and I totally agree with your assessment of the chefs; the chefs and the farmers seemed genuinely pleased to be there and enjoyed interacting with us. I was pleased with how smoothly everything ran and I felt like we got our money's worth. Going into the picnic, I was a little concerned that it would be too crowded with too small portions and we would be disappointed that we had paid $60 per person. That was not the case at all. Portions were generous and plentiful.

I think that rockycat is thinking of the cakes from Crumb, not Weaver Street Market (tall cakes, chocolate, strawberry and sweet potato). They were delicious!

We started at the end opposite from the entrance and enjoyed Neal's Deli subs first - the lamb sausage was outstanding! The lamby joes were not as good as they have been when I've eaten them in Six Plates, so don't feel bad about missing out on them - the rolls were harder/drier than usual and the meat was a little less juicy. I enjoyed the "zas".

I'm sorry to have missed out on the shortrib sliders as well as the strawberry donuts.

Neal's Deli
100 E Main St Ste C, Carrboro, NC 27510

Weaver Street Market
228 S Churton St, Hillsborough, NC 27278

May 24, 2010
anne7134 in Southeast

Rehearsal dinner - Raleigh/Durham, NC

Here's a thread with answers to this exact question.

May 18, 2010
anne7134 in Southeast

Cupcakes in Triangle

I agree!

I think Bliss in Chapel Hill is decent (better to me than the options at Whole Foods and Weaver Street), but nothing beats cupcakes from an Airstream.

Apr 08, 2010
anne7134 in Southeast

Speak Greek? (NC -Triangle area)

I highly recommend MediTerra Grill on Erwin Road for good, inexpensive Mediterranean food. Very casual, but they are extremely accommodating for large groups. They have the best gyro meat in the area in my opinion! I also love their lamb.

Apr 02, 2010
anne7134 in Southeast

Crepes Truck, Carrboro NC

I think Bliss is fine - not outstanding, but decent. I prefer Daisy Cakes, but if you're desperate for a cupcake, Bliss will fit the bill.

Mar 14, 2010
anne7134 in Southeast

Butternut Squash Restaurant - Chapel Hill NC?

Being mother and daughter does not preclude people from being friends.

Mar 13, 2010
anne7134 in Southeast