d

dschoonmaker's Profile

Title Last Reply

Vit Goal (Durham, NC) Changing Hands?

Went by there about 11:30 this morning looking for a bowl of tofu soup to restore circulation to my chilly fingers. A banner hung in front saying, "Grand Opening Under New Ownership," but it was not open. Hours still say 11:00-??:?? seven days.

Anyone know anything?

Nov 19, 2012
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Yamazushi in Woodcroft Shopping Center, Durham, NC

Yamazushi was the first place I ever ate in the Triangle--20 years ago this coming February, although that meal was in the RTP location, where Bombay Grille is now. A few years later, they consolidated to just the Woodcroft site.

It's still one of my top choices for a quiet business lunch, and I've always enjoyed the food, service and atmosphere. One of my coworkers lived in Japan for some time and considers it the only authentic Japanese restaurant around. I usually explore dishes other than sushi, just because they're not on menus elsewhere.

Oct 04, 2012
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Grocery stores - Outer Banks - Topsail

The Hampstead Harris Teeter is a full-feature version of the chain--that is, once inside, you wouldn't know you weren't in the Triangle. Very well stocked. No evidence of anything local.

There's a produce stand across the street from the Teeter, but it was never open during our stay (8/5-12).

The only on-island grocery is an IGA in Surf City, which carries only the basics. Worked fine, though, when we figured out there was no salt in the house.

We bought crab from Surf City Seafood and shrimp and crab from Shrimp Shack, which is about a mile over the "big bridge" toward Sneads Ferry. Both were good, but I especially liked the presentation at Shrimp Shack. In-your-face honesty about what was local, what wasn't and what you should be wary of when shopping elsewhere. They also carry lots of things to prepare seafood with, from Old Bay to the fairly exotic, and a pretty good selection of wine and beer.

Enjoy your stay! After more than 30 years of trying different NC-SC beaches, it's our fave.

Aug 23, 2012
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Elegant Saturday Lunch in Raleigh-Durham?

Many great suggestions here. Here's another we like:

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

Jun 25, 2012
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Bavarian Brathaus in Durham

Okay, I'll make it two. Their brats are really good. I've never eaten one there, but I buy them and cook them at home.

Jun 14, 2012
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Have you ever made and/or cooked w seitan?

I made a vegetarian shepherd's pie with it for the last Boxing Day:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

It was fantastic according to even the no-lamb skeptics. The seitan was fine, but it was the wine and dairy-rich yukon gold mashers that made it.

Apr 27, 2012
dschoonmaker in Vegetarian & Vegan

Favorite soup in Durham or Chapel Hill, NC?

Agree with many mentions, but my favorite is vegetable dumpling tofu soup at Vit Goal. Fair warning: the spiciest option is not for the faint of heart.

Jan 08, 2012
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Nanataco in Durham open

Only a few things to add. I had the fish tacos, which are available grilled or fried, and they were topped with a fruit-based salsa--no lettuce. The grilled fish was moist and flavorful. Altogether a wonderful experience, although the tortillas lacked the integrity to contain the contents when handled. Plastic utensils were (barely) up to the task. The rice was cooked well for my meal, and the black beans were tasty (although they came with a surprise dollop of sour cream, which I'm allergic to; staff quickly made amends). The refrigerated bar next to the counter had lots of interesting condiments, which all seemed to be prepared in-house--sliced radishes, a somewhat spicy slaw, green and red salsas, a mild salsa, pickled jalapenos, pickled vegetables, etc.

Others at my table had the grilled vegetable tacos and the pork tacos, both of which I sampled (glutton). The veggies were good, but the pork was outstanding--among the best carnitas I've had east of the Mississippi.

We'll definitely be back. Nanotacos joins Tonali as one of our Durham favorites.

-----
Tonali Restaurant
3642 Shannon Rd Ste 1, Durham, NC 27707

Sep 12, 2011
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Bull City Burger & Brewery in Durham, now open!

Didn't try the beer, but I had a Joan Jett yesterday. It was unlike any other vegie burger I've ever had. Whole black and garbonzo beans, yet it hung together quite well. It was very tasty and quite substantial; the only criticism I can muster is that it was a little dry, despite mustard, ketchup, pickles and aioli.

It is not entirely vegie, let alone vegan. According to Seth, there is a tiny bit of egg in the burger to hold it together, and the bun contains some cottage cheese. I can't eat dairy, so I passed on the bun, but my spouse and daughter said it was delicious.

For sides, we had some dirty fries and fried pickles. Two out of three loved the fries; I was not entirely sold. The pickles were just amazing--fried or unfried on the Joan Jetts. Those are among the best pickles I've ever eaten.

It took a while for our food to arrive, but we hit the mid-day peak at 12:15. People who came in later were served much more promptly. Service was otherwise excellent, and the help were very friendly and enthusiastic.

Finally, I must mention the serving system. You order at the counter (or the bar) and receive a number on a metal stand. Not just any number, however. They're all years, and the back contains a commentary on some important local event that happened in that year. Ours was 1865, the year of surrender at Bennett Place. My spouse is a historian, with a specialty in the 19th century American South. Needless to say, we'll be back.

Mar 27, 2011
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Best Indian in the Triangle - Vimala's Curry Blossom Cafe

Four of us had lunch today at Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe, and we were all impressed, some more than others.

I hadn't been to sandwhich, so I was new to the location. It's tucked back into the Courtyard behind Penang, and is rather small. Business was brisk by the time we left, and other diners were eager to have our table.

I had the marsala dosa and was delighted. The dosa was as good as any I've had--crispy and flavorful. The marsala was very tasty and medium spicy.

The chicken curry plate received a "pretty good" from the chef of the group, whose skepticism was high owing to the largely vegetarian lunch menu. (Dinner offers a much wider selection for vegetarian and carnivore alike.)

The chole bhatura plate got a very strong review. The bread was said to be the perfect counterpoint to the chick pea curry. Again moderately spicy.

The other entree was a vegetable curry plate, which was rated "good" but not "very good," owing to something that might have been a potato that seemed a little undercooked, and the fact that the red curry was simply to spicy for the person's palate. The green, however, was fine. I tasted the red, and it rates medium on my Scoville, where habanero is hot.

You order at the counter and food is delivered to the table by the people preparing it. When my dosa arrived first, I was told that normally doesn't happen. The other three dishes arrived at the same time. One of people cooking stopped by to see if everything was okay. All the staff were very friendly.

Once finished, we bussed our own table. Vimala's is casual, by I don't mind that a bit. Overall, a very satisfying experience, and we'll be back. Better than Saffron? I couldn't say, as I haven't sampled enough of either restaurant's menu, but Vimala's is certainly a contender.

-----
Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe
431 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Jan 07, 2011
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Chapel Hill NC - Kitchen Restaurant (Midtown Market) - Anyone Know About This New Place?

Had lunch there today and was very impressed. I had the Thai curry mussels and fries, and my companion had the grilled vegetable sandwich.

http://kitchenchapelhill.com/kitchen/...

The portion of mussels was the largest I have ever seen, they were of very nice quality, and every one was open. The Thai curry was seriously intense but very tasty. There must have been at least two generously sized garlic gloves cut into slices, along with chopped onion and green onion. It was what I would describe as moderately spicy, but bear in mind that habaneros are practically a staple for me. If you don't like spicy, stick to the provencale.

The grilled vegetable sandwich looked divine. Zucchini, red peppers and onion with mozarella melted over them on a ciabata roll. My companion was very happy with it, and it was rather large as well.

The fries were pretty much frites. They were very good, but I wouldn't put them quite into the category of those from Watt's Grocery or Rue Cler. Not quite as crisp, but seasoned very nicely.

The service was excellent: attentive and prompt, but not over bearing.

We'll be going back.

-----
Rue Cler Restaurant
401 E Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701

Watt's Grocery
1116 Broad St Ste 100, Durham, NC 27705

Dec 17, 2010
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Traveling from Outer Banks to Beaufort N.C.

Depends on the route you plan to take. If it's ferries to Cedar Island, the first possible stop is 100 yards off the ferry at the Pirates Chest restaurant at the Driftwood Motel.

http://www.clis.com/deg/drift2.htm

Very good local seafood. It's about the time of the year when they're only open weekends, however.

If you're going to drive around the Pamlico and Neuse rivers, there's Georgie's Sports and Oyster Bar in Belhaven. Maybe the best scallops I've ever eaten. Dinner only. The waterfront in Belhaven is lovely, but other parts of town seem to be hurting. Bath would probably be a better place for shopping. I don't know Washington or New Bern well.

http://www.georgiessportandoysterbar.com/

Lots of good choices for food and shopping in Beaufort, although I'm partial to Beaufort Grocery Co.:

www.beaufortgrocery.com

-----
Beaufort Grocery Co
117 Queen St, Beaufort, NC 28516

Oct 05, 2010
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Topsail, NC

Green Turtle on the waterfront in Snead's Ferry across the New River from Camp Lejeune. Really excellent local seafood eaten mainly by locals. It's entirely unpretentious yet sports a Marlborough, NZ, sauvignon blanc on its wine list.

On the island, we've always enjoyed Beauchaines, but it's more upscale than Green Turtle.

http://beauchaines211.com/

-----
Green Turtle
310 Fulcher Landing Rd, Sneads Ferry, NC 28460

Jul 20, 2010
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Mediterranean Deli

I was in a week ago for the first time since they remodeled. Falafel salad was excellent, although huge.

Jun 07, 2010
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Who has best fish tacos in Triangle?

Second on Tonali.

-----
Tonali Restaurant
3642 Shannon Rd Ste 1, Durham, NC 27707

Jun 07, 2010
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Best Huevos Rancheros in Durham/Chapel Hill?

I enjoy the huevos rancheros at Fiesta, but for different and very special treatments of huevos, try Saturday brunch at Tonali (Shannon Road between MLK and Old Chapel Hill). They do several different renditions, but my current favorite is huevos divorciados (half red, half green).

-----
Tonali Restaurant
3642 Shannon Rd Ste 1, Durham, NC 27707

Apr 18, 2010
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Skip Poogan's Porch in Charleston, SC

The last time I was there must have been in the late '80s or early '90s. I remember it as being okay--especially when herding small children--but nothing extraordinary.

Feb 10, 2010
dschoonmaker in Southeast

I-85 north Atlanta to High Point, NC

Well, the classic is Lexington Barbecue (aka Number One) in Lexington, just as a little ways short of your overnight. Many who prefer this regional iteration of cue claim it to be the state's best.

Nov 18, 2009
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Kimchi in Chapel Hill/Durham?

There's a grocery store next to Vit Goal Tofu restaurant on Allendown Dr. south of 54 just east of 55. Assuming some relationship to the (excellent) Korean restaurant next door, it should be the spot.

Oct 13, 2009
dschoonmaker in Southeast

Sarah's Empanadas - Durham, NC

I like the empanadas a lot, but the lunch special is one of the real food bargains of RTP. Usually a riff on chicken with rice and a salad, but the other day I had salmon with the same sides. $5.95. Add a guarana to drink, and you're still out the door for less than $7.50.

One caveat: The special usually sells out by 12:30.

Sep 01, 2009
dschoonmaker in General South Archive

Tonali Saturday Brunch- Durham, NC

Yes, closed all day Sunday.

Aug 04, 2009
dschoonmaker in General South Archive

Tonali Saturday Brunch- Durham, NC

I can't add too much menu wise, but I can confirm that it's very different from the lunch or dinner menus. I had huevos divorciados--fried eggs over blue-corn tortillas separated by a fence of frijoles charros; one side red, the other green. Fabulous! My daughter was quite impressed by the queso fresco torta, and my spouse had the omelet with zucchini blossoms, etc., which she also loved.

The coffee was organic Mexican which had been mixed with some cinammon, Mexican brown sugar, bay leaf and lemon and lime zest (according to Andre). Outrageous!

Andre said that he's hoping to add Mexican pancakes and waffles as time allows. The menu is already quite extensive, though, and could keep me busy for quite a few Saturdays.

Aug 03, 2009
dschoonmaker in General South Archive

Charleston, WV suggestions?

I'll second Blossom Deli. I used to avoid stopping in Charleston when traveling on I-77, but since finding Blossom, I make a point of trying to stop there. Great food and a fun place.

Jun 04, 2009
dschoonmaker in Mid-Atlantic

Durham, NC

I don't know of much near the Hilton. In between there and the Ballpark, there are many, many restaurants across the spectrum. Personal favorites;

Blu Seafood
Vin Rouge (next door to Blu)
Watts Grocery
Parizade
Nikos Taverna
Pop's

Walking distance from the ballpark:

Tyler's Tap Room (across the street; much beer, okay food)
Rue Cler (one of my top Durham restaurants)
Piedmont (pretty far)

Other walkables others speak well of:

Revolution
Toast Paninoteca

May 17, 2009
dschoonmaker in General South Archive

Triangle Gyro Quest...

Lunch menu at:

Nikos Taverna
4075 Davis Drive
Morrisville, NC

or

Brightleaf Square
Durham, NC

Jan 07, 2009
dschoonmaker in General South Archive

Pierogi's in the triangle?

I have no personal knowledge, but I have coworkers whose culinary opinions I respect who enthuse about Halgo's.

Dec 11, 2008
dschoonmaker in General South Archive

Tortas in Durham

I'm fond of the tortas from Carneceria Toledo on 54 just across the railroad tracks east of 55 (RTP).

Aug 27, 2008
dschoonmaker in General South Archive

Anyone tried Rockwood Filling Station in Durham?

I had dinner there last night and lunch today.

Five of us arrived for dinner at about 6:30pm and learned that there was a 45-minute wait for indoor seating. The patio, however, had an immediate opening, so we took it.

Service was prompt and very, very competent--no surprise, we later learned, since our waiter turned out to be the co-owner (with Scott Howell). Four opted for the $6 Chianti, and I chose the $6 Sauvignon Blanc. The wine was served in juice glasses, which were actually quite effective and less fussy than standard stemware. I heard no comments on the Chianti; the SB was fine, if not exceptional. Mixed drinks are also available, including some dangerous-sounding concoctions. Full bar by all appearances.

All of us ordered pizze: one chicken liver and onions (on the recommendation of Craig and Seth at Wine Authorities across the street), one ham and egg, a white pie, a marinara (no cheese) and one I'm not sure of. They also offer appetizers, sandwiches, salads and a build-your own pizza option.

It took about 20 minutes for the pies to arrive. I was delighted with my marinara. The crust was thin and crisp, the tomato sauce sparingly applied but very tasty, and it was decorated with halved roma tomatoes, baked garlic, onions and fresh herbs. The approximately 12" pie was quartered, making folded pieces the best option for those of us who eschew attacking pizza with tools.

The meat eaters were happy with both the ham and egg and chicken liver options. The fried eggs were placed off center so quartering wouldn't cut into the yokes, the ham looked pancetta like, and they hoovered it all. The true chicken liver aficionado thought that frying did the liver injustice, but he still liked the pie just fine. All I can say is that, thankfully, I couldn't smell them.

The pies ranged from $8 to $12, and the sensible eaters had some to take home. I did not. Ambiance wise, the patio was pleasant enough, despite some flies, and the service was excellent.

My SO liked her white pie enough last night to suggest Rockwood for lunch today. At 1:00pm there was plenty of indoor seating, and we got a nice spot close to the big windows at the corner. The interior is mostly understated and a little industrial--in keeping with the pizzeria theme. A number of people were dining with their children, so I suppose there was some excuse for the two TVs tuned to NASCAR. At least the volume was either very low or off, and we were seated where they weren't in our line of sight.

My daughter ordered the eggplant luv pizza, which in addition to the aforementioned had onions, garlic, mozzarella and ricotta. She was delighted with it. Two others had the mozzarella and tomato salad with caramelized onions, which received high marks other than a few less than perfect tomato slices. I had the PLT (pancetta) with white bean and arugula salad, all of which I found to be excellent. The pizza was $12, the PLT $7.50, and the salads $8.

Iced tea glasses stayed full, and the service was again excellent. We'll definitely be back. The pizze we tried easily trump Brixx in Meadowmont, the prices are reasonable, and there's considerable subtlety to the seasoning. I think it's a hit.

Aug 02, 2008
dschoonmaker in General South Archive

Good fish markets in/around Topsail-Surf City NC?

There may be fish opportunities on the island, but I haven't found them. Shrimp lady, a pickup truck and tent in North Topsail where Island Drive crosses the ICW and heads inland, has dependably provided excellent local shrimp for a number of years though.

I suspect the fish are in Snead's Ferry, but I haven't explored.

Mar 20, 2008
dschoonmaker in General South Archive

Best Huevos Rancheros in Durham/Chapel Hill?

My favorite so far is from Fiesta Grill, west of Carrboro on 54.

Mar 17, 2008
dschoonmaker in Southeast