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Sunday morning treat - Chapel Hill/Carrboro

The bakery at Kipos?

Jun 15, 2015
otto_pivner in Southeast

NC Triangle - Best Chili Relleno?

I'll throw out Tonali: it varies a little bit, sometimes stuffed with quinoa, sometimes with mashed potatoes, but it's always good and the smoky tomato sauce that accompanies the peppers is excellent.

Jun 03, 2015
otto_pivner in Southeast

Best bets for a Saturday brunch in Raleigh/Durham/Cary/Chapel Hill

I went to Dos Perros for brunch this past Saturday; it was positively the worst dining experience I've had in the Triangle, probably ever. The waiter seemed entirely unfamiliar with the menu, not asking us which of the two types of guacamole on the menu we wanted after we ordered it, not asking which side I preferred with the meal I requested. Silverware wasn't on the table, wasn't given to us after the appetizer was dropped, and we had to ask the server for it when our entrees were served. The poached eggs I ordered were not runny, but this was only a minor complaint in the scheme of the whole meal.

When I ordered a margarita, it was served to me with a bug on the top. I was going to send it back right away but my girlfriend tends not to like do send things back. After stirring the drink, I found another bug at the bottom. My girlfriend had ordered "freshly squeezed" OJ; when she took a sip of it, her face soured. The OJ was warm and had fermented. She took both drinks back to the bar: she was told she had accidentally been served "yesterday's" orange juice and that fruit flies had been a problem at the bar. This baffled us. Why keep orange juice from the previous day, advertise it as "freshly squeezed" and keep it unrefrigerated so that it is allowed to ferment? Even a quick glance at the flute showed how it had discolored. If the bar staff knows it has a fruit fly problem, why not cut the fruit freshly and inspect the drinks before they are sent out?

We were charged full price for the meal, including the drinks, and were not offered any sort of apology. I will never go back.

May 21, 2015
otto_pivner in Southeast

Gonza Tacos Y Tequila Durham location open.

I went two Saturdays ago, and they no longer offered a brunch menu, alas....

Feb 17, 2015
otto_pivner in Southeast

Looking for a gathering place (drinks & light food) for a largish group after work in Durham or Chapel Hill after work…

Spice Street might work well for what you're looking for, but the drinks aren't cheap and the food is so-so, really, at best and definitely overpriced. The interior is trendy but it's a large space. They run specials -- for instance, martinis are five bucks on Thursday nights -- which can keep costs down.

Mar 02, 2010
otto_pivner in Southeast

Kimchi in Chapel Hill/Durham?

Harris Teeter sells kimchi -- they stock it by the carrots, mushrooms, etc. It's not bad but pricier than what you'd pay at an Asian Store.

The Asian market on Rosemary also sells a few varieties of kimchi. Some kimchis can be fishier than others depending upon how the fermentation process, so you might ask the lady who works there her personal preferences....

Oct 09, 2009
otto_pivner in Southeast

Korean restaurants asheville to durham chapel hill to charleston?

In Durham, there are two Korean restaurants, both good: Chosun OK and Vit Goal Tofu. They are both within close proximity to one another. The menu at the former is more extensive, as Vit Goal specializes in Tofu soups and bulgogi, narrowing their offerings....

Here are some links that may be helpful, though Chosun does not have a website:

Late Night Food in Carrboro/Chapel Hill

You probably won't get this on time, but Buns in Chapel Hill might not be a bad option: they're open until three in the morning and have veggie burgers, which are pretty good. And they heap on the fries if you order a side....

Wendy's Square freaks me out!

I always heard that D. Thomas wanted square patties to send the message that Wendy's doesn't cut corners....

Mar 18, 2009
otto_pivner in Chains

baba ghannoush chapel hill

I went to Sandwhich today, as I had a hankering for an avocado sandwich. I noticed that the Baba Ghannoush had vacated their space. Peeking inside, I could see no signs of their having been there. Anyone what the story is on this? They didn't stay long...

Mint, chapel Hill

I went yesterday at lunch and tried the buffet, so I don't really want to pass judgment based upon that. But my initial impressions are similar to Rory's -- the inside is nice (kinda reminds me of Saffron in that the bar is very prominent within the restaurant space), though the buffet was fine but typical. The naan, brought to table, was good -- crispy where it should be & not too buttery. I only had the veggie entrees: all of them were tasty, though nothing really struck me as being fantastic. My sampling consisted of lentils, veg korma, a mushroom/pea dish, sag paneer, and onion pakoras (prob. my fave item from yesterday). For meat eaters, there was tandoori chicken, a goat curry, and chicken tikka, as mentioned above.

I'll have to go back for dinner sometime, but it is nice that Chapel Hill now has a potentially good Indian restaurant.

Foods you love at Trader Joe's that got discontinued? [OLD]

The canned tuna packed in olive oil, I learned yesterday, has been discontinued until further notice. Something about the source being unreliable/inconsistent. I bought this stuff lots, alas.

Sep 11, 2008
otto_pivner in Chains

What happened to Spice and Curry????

I thought the same thing, and as I was walking down Franklin St. toward the Cradle the other night (and missed Polvo, alas!), I made a similar observation to my friend. He told me, though, that he always sees a steady South Asian crowd at IP and, sure enough, to prove me wrong, about six folks were lingering outside of the restaurant just after closing.

I used to eat there a lot when I first moved to the area -- because I was young enough where I could gorge on the buffet without real consequence -- but they got rid of the all-you-can-eat & changed owners, and their lunch-time crowd seemed to diminish significantly. The last time I went was a rainy night about two years ago and the food I had -- a few appetizers, like pakoras and samosas -- were so bad that I wouldn't go back unless famished.

So I, too, hope Mint does well. From what I can glean, it looks like they're trying to set up a classy operation and they've proclaimed on their sign that it will be upscale Indian food.

What happened to Spice and Curry????

It's only two doors down from India Palace! If the new place, called Mint, is any good, I suspect India Palace will fold quickly.

Dinner suggestions in RTP, NC?

You might consider Saffron in Morrisville. It's got a pretty swanky/contemporary interior which belies its strip-mall location. The chef serves up very good Indian fare with some fusion dishes thrown in. The service, at times, can be spotty, but I think it might fit your bill.

Charlottesville with my pooch

Your best bet is to head to the Downtown Mall and sit outside one of the several restaurants there. It's been a little while since I lived there, though I visit relatively frequently, so take my recs with a grain of salt. But I think you can't go wrong with Hamilton's (upscale new American food), while I also liked Bashir's, which is mid-priced Mediterranean fare. People rave about Christian's Pizza (by the slice), though I was never overly impressed by their pies. For Thai food, you can try Monsoon Cafe, up a block or so from the Downtown Mall -- I'm pretty sure they have outdoor dining out front. Enjoy your weekend.

Great Triangle Thai? Durham, NC

I'd try Twisted Noodle in Durham on University Drive. Kinda back behind the SuperTarget & Sam's Club. Service there can be a little erratic but the dishes are usually quite tasty. I like it a little better than Thai Cafe, up the road a little, also on University Drive, which isn't to say the latter is bad.

Where can I find kimchi in Chapel Hill?

There are a lot of places that sell the stuff in Chapel Hill. Harris Teeter, as mentioned above, as well as Weaver Street, carry kimchi. It's a lot more expensive, though, than purchasing it at an Asian grocery. When I lived in Chapel Hill, I found the closest place was the Asian market on the west end of Rosemary Street, near the huge construction site they've got going on.

Need Chapel Hill, NC restaurant recommendations

I would absolutely avoid Penang -- one of the few meals I've sent back & had it come back worse.

Foods you love at Trader Joe's that got discontinued? [OLD]

I sadly miss the Thai chili peanuts. I was addicted to the lime leaves contained therein & recycled the dried chili peppers when I needed to spice up a dish. I haven't seen this item in months.

May 30, 2008
otto_pivner in Chains

RTP: Saffron

My guess is that you were looking for Sitar Indian Palace. The place by Twisted Noodle is only a grocery store, and is named India Palace, though they have good samosas that they make there.

Sitar Indian Palace, which is a good restaurant, is across the road, tucked back toward a furniture store and not much else. The address is 3177 Shannon. The website is:

Chubby's Tacos-Durham. Anyone else been there yet?

There are several tables inside; there's a counter by the register; and there are one or two sidewalk tables. I've been twice now and like the place a lot; it's a good joint for someone like me who doesn't pork, chicken or beef. I've had the tilapia, tuna and grilled shrimp tacos -- all the seafood versions. They're flavorful, cheap, and quick. I hope the place succeeds -- I'll be eating there a lot.

Gulf Rim Cafe (Hillsborough, NC): perhaps the best casual seafood in the Triangle (fresh and local!)

I live in Hillsborough and have eaten here a few times, though the place hasn't made quite the impression upon me as it has upon you. Nothing has ever stood out: the conch fritters were fine enough, though nothing memorable and nowhere near "sublime," while the fish burrito is priced a dollar or two more than I feel it's worth. The black beans that accompany the burrito, I think, are tasty. The servers are friendly, but if you go there later in the evening, they seem to be in a hurry to close up the restaurant. One evening some friends and I went in to have some appetizers and some beers and we were, more or less, hurried out. We went next door to the Wooden Nickel only to find two of the Gulf Rim servers hurry through the door minutes later.


Chatham Square in Cary has Udupi, a vegetarian restaurant that is moderately priced and absolutely delicious. That's where I'd dine, provided you like Indian. Suchi -- Hyperbadi Indian cuisine -- is pretty good, too.

vegetarian around durham

I would do Piedmont on Foster Street. I actually just went by there this evening to pick up a gift certificate as a token of gratitude to a colleague of mine who doesn't eat meat. I've enjoyed the vegetarian dishes I've had there. They post their daily menu here:

Vit Goal Tofu Restaurant (Korean)- Durham

It's barley water/tea, or what's called bori cha, a common Korean drink.

Mar 31, 2008
otto_pivner in Southeast

Padgett Station in Carrboro

They re-opened recently under new ownership. The menu largely looks the same as the one the old owners had; in other words they're spreading themselves pretty far trying to do an awful lot. Originally, it was just a coffee place; it changed its focus and is going for a bistro-type atmosphere, banning laptops after eight o'clock to encourage imbibing spirits. The crepes were okay when I had them. I've had other food there, none of which was outstanding.

Online menu is here:

Fried Chicken in the Research Triangle?

so i have abstained from eating fried chicken (and all other poultry and beef) for several years now, but the other weekend when i had brunch at watts grocery in durham i very nearly reconsidered. their fried chicken looked really, really good. i'd go there.

baba ghannoush chapel hill

I have to agree with tommio. As a vegetarian, I'd probably rather eat at Med Deli than Baba Ghannouj. I think MD's baba ghannouj is much better -- better texture, smokier, less acidic. I do think B.G.'s falafel is better, though.

Charlottesville, Va.

I lived in C-ville for a long time, though my folks still reside there. I bought them a gift certificate to L'Etoile not too long ago, and they really enjoyed it, this coming from very picky eaters. It had pretty rave reviews on here, but I've never dined there. Their menu looked quite good.

I liked the C&O on the end of the Downtown Mall. It's got a nice, unpretentious atmosphere. Other places I liked were Duner's out toward Ivy and Oxo, also on the Downtown Mall. For quick food, I always do Bodo's for lunch -- good, cheap bagels. Continental Divide was always a good standby, pretty cheap, too. Oh, Bashir's was another frequent stop for me.