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Danny's BBQ in Cary. Bad. Real bad

I have to defend Danny's. I've been eating Danny's BBQ for the better part of 14 years. When the sign went up in RTP 10 years ago, I started calling asking them when that branch would open. They are by no means an NC BBQ restaurant (nor do they claim to be), but they are great for several reasons.

- Sauce. Great hot sauce and really good sweet sauce. The closest I've had to their hot sauce was at Authur Bryants in KC.
- chopped pork - good amount of smoke to the meat. Not artificially wet or too tender/mushy.
- fries. My favorite fries in the area. Behind it are Vin Rouge, Ruc Cler and Pooles when they make fries. My wife would rank the others higher, but agrees that Danny's are worth eating.
- Their turkey is also excellent. Although I've had it all of 3 times in 15 years.

Please consider giving them another shot. I've had a pork plate with fries and slaw probably > 150 times in my life. If I ever leave NC for somewhere else, it would be one of the first places I would miss. I respect your opinion, and I've never had the ribs so I can't speak to them. I may be a Yankee, but I have done a head on whole pig over hickory I burned down to charcoal myself, and I'll eat Danny's any day.
~Ed

Jan 01, 2012
Nibbs in Southeast

Best Sandwich in the Triangle?

If you are willing to drive, I think the Saigon Sandwiches Bakery in Greensboro is good. And they will make a durian shake, which I can't find in the Triangle. But I stand by the 9N9 - The pork is unique and with the hot peppers and mayo, its a nice combo. Especially if they grill the bread.

May 09, 2010
Nibbs in Southeast

Best Sandwich in the Triangle?

My favorite is the pork bahn mi @ 9N9 in RTP. I eat them 2 at a time, and they are a reasonable $3 each. 2 of those and an iced coffee and I'm ready to go.

Second vote on pastrami @ Piedmont. That's a top 5 easy.

Roasted tomato w bacon @ Toast (on soft bread) is great as well.

Guglhupf used to have a beef and blue with arugula that I ordered for years. Discontinued and now I don't have a favorite there. Still love the place, tho. I think maybe we'll head there now...

Oh - bbq po-boy at Papa Mojos. Top 5 on that too.

And q with slaw at Bullocks. And avocado blt at Serena (although it has been going downhill without the ciabatta). And a recent favorite is the oyster po boy @ fish shack.
~Ed

May 08, 2010
Nibbs in Southeast

one more for Durham, NC - where to get good wings?

I know the original poster was asking for takeout wings; But for eat in wings, I enjoy both the James Joyce and the Down Under Pub. Fair warning - The DU is a dive for sure, and if you've never been, you might be wary of getting food (My wife has lived here for 5 years, and I haven't dragged her there yet). But their sesame wings are top notch, and they give the choice of ranch or blue. I order the sesame with a touch of hot.

Maybe I'll go catch some of the playoff games there today... :)

Jan 11, 2009
Nibbs in General South Archive

HK foodie trip in October

I'm leaving for HK tomorrow and was on the board looking for recommendations for this jaunt. I read your question regarding Hutong - I've only been 1x (based on a NYT 24-hours in Hong Kong article). The view was fantastic. I found the food to be unsatisfying. Did not enjoy the whole experience and will not return. I was excited and then disappointed by the fried lamb. The dim sum place a few floors down (name, anyone?) has a nearly identical view with enjoyable food, but the atmosphere is completely different. On the way to dim sum, I feared that the company I was dining with was taking me back to Hutong. I don't spend enough time in HK for second chances. But I know Hutong has their fans.

Sep 21, 2008
Nibbs in China & Southeast Asia

Good Showing from Piedmont in Durham

That pastrami sandwich is something to be proud of. It either made me like pastrami or has ruined me for all other pastrami. I'll make it back for lunch for that alone.

Nov 04, 2007
Nibbs in General South Archive

Chapel Hill: Crooks for the first time in Yrs.

We JUST (I mean 1/2 hour ago) had our first ever experience at Crooks. And sure enough, I feel robbed. :)

Robbed of our Sunday - We got there at 11:30, were seated at 12:15 and the food was there by 1PM. I figured I'd order some hushpuppies and fries, as they looked good coming out of the kitchen. Fries above average, I guess. Don't bother with the puppies.

Everything was super slow, and I felt like we were imposing on them. This despite having only about 50% capacity (I counted 17 tables on the patio, 8 of them filled). Look, if you don't want to serve brunch, then just stay closed. Just because 'you can't f&*k up breakfast' is a popular restaurant maxim doesn't mean you should adopt it as a business plan.

My wife's eggs new bern were cold and so salty that I didn't try a second bite. My fried oysters with eggs were OK, but nothing special. A companion's pancakes were really good, I guess. But for that kind of wait and inconvenience, *everything* should be good.

Ahh... The price of high expectations... I've for sure had a worse breakfast at Honey's, but it wasn't nearly as expensive from a time or $ standpoint. And I've definitely had better meals at Honey's (and Honey's, let's remember, is a pay shower shy of being a truck stop). Maybe dinner is better, but based on breakfast and experience, I'd have to go to Honey's first.

And with everything going on in Durham for food these days, that isn't going to happen.

Nov 04, 2007
Nibbs in General South Archive

Huizhou Suggestions

After spending 2 weeks in Huizhou, China, I’m afraid I don’t have too many restaurant suggestions to offer. That’s not to say we haven’t eaten well – As a whole, the food has been tremendous. The problem is that I can’t read the names of the places or report an accurate address. Here’s what I can tell you.

If you’re staying at the Kande, don’t eat a dinner in the Italian/Western restaurant. I don’t care how tired you are. Better to eat a granola bar and go to bed than eat there. The Japanese restaurant Kisso on the 2nd floor is a better bet. On our one visit I didn’t have anything outstanding, but nothing was outstandingly bad. One thing I can’t recommend is finishing a bottle of shochu solo. I did like the tempura shrimp… I think…

All directions will be relative to the Kande, so here we go. We had OK food at one of the places if you exit the hotel and go left towards the McDonalds. They had some photos on the menu. Best things we had were a sweet and sour fish dish (evidently called squirrel fish, which I believe refers to the cut – fried so it almost looks like calamari) and some cold sour noodles with veggies. This was with Westerners pointing at menu items – No Mandarin. Everyone was very nice, to the point of shaking our hands on the way out of the place. This was the fist place you hit, and I think there are 2 right next to one another. Sorry I can’t be more specific.

I had the worst McDonald’s cheeseburger ever a few night later when I needed a snack. Maybe try the fries instead if you’re desperate. I think the night shift isn’t cooking the burgers enough. For the severely homesick only.

We had some great sweet and sour pork and hot pepper chicken across from TCL Display (aka Cotco). If you cross the river at the bridge closest to the Kande and then stay straight for a while (passing the sport park), you’ll see a big building called TCL Display. Ask the cabbie to pull over at that point. Looking at the shopping plaza, I’m talking about the restaurant all the way on the left. Little 15 year old working the front speaks a little English. All the waitstaff in yellow. That may change.

We had menu guidance when we went here – So have someone at the hotel write out s&s pork and pepper and chicken and maybe you’ll get what you want. I am not kidding about this s&s pork. We had it everywhere because we had it here first. And nowhere else comes close. They are putting some kind of fruit or spice or combination thereof that can’t be beat. Not syrupy and didn’t seem like it was from a jar (but if it was, I’d buy a jar). 3 dishes usually ran us a fat 50 rmb (about 8 bucks). So $4 a person. Silly. Snicker at s&s if you want, but it is special here.

All that said, I’ve saved the best for last. If you’re in Huizhou, you will thank me for this one. If you’ve got a lakeview room (and as I write this, the lake is a drained mud pit), look out your window. Look right. See a sign that says ITAT in yellow? Or maybe a tall building with green lights on the top (they’re off right now, so not always)? As long as it is a reasonable hour, leave the room and start walking. Walk right to that Itat (something like ‘Super Club Shopping Fun’). Take a soft right. You are now on the correct street. Stay on the left hand side of the street. You’ll pass what looks like a police station on your side of the street. And then a China Construction bank on the opposite side of the street. Keep walking, and you’ll see a restaurant on your side with all kinds of fishtanks outside. Probably some actually out on the sidewalk. Is there a menuboard with picks outside the door? Are there hostesses in yellow long dresses? Are there pink tablecloths? Hell, this still might be any old restaurant. You better make sure. Duck your head in and look left. Big butcher window inside the restaurant? You have arrived.

Don’t expect any English. If you have hosts, have them write down ‘bamboo clams in black bean sauce’. Succulent and easy to eat. And chicken. Definitely chicken. This is the best chicken I’ve had in many years. Salt and, um, I don’t know - Maybe heroin. Fantastic. I could eat a whole one no problem (maybe next time). Get the fried rice, if you’re in the mood. Most of this we ordered either through charades or pointing at picture menus; Mandarin phrases like ‘Do you speak English’ and ‘I don’t speak Mandarin’ were of no use when ordering. We paid 108 rmb to stuff ourselves. They bring the check and then you pay up front. Couldn’t be easier, and they’ll be happy to see you.

Other places to try if you have hosts – The Sicuan hotpot place with the dude with the long spouted (talking 4 feet here) teapot. Never had Sicuan hotpot before. Fantastic – Kind of like shabu-shabu, except addictive and flavorful. All with a strange sweet tea included. Highly recommended.

That’s all from Huizhou. Enjoy it!

Oct 21, 2007
Nibbs in China & Southeast Asia

My Favorites in Hong Kong (would like to hear yours too)

Can I add a least favorite (as of last night)?

Hutong at 1 Peing Place has a stunning view. I'll give it that. It was mentioned in the NYT '36 Hours in Hong Kong' article I clipped and saved in April. Alongside such obvious reccomendations as 'Take the Star Ferry' and 'Visit the Peak', there was a shout out to Hutong.

Specifically, it was written that 'the restaurant Hutong bears no resemblance to those old, smelly Beijing alleys of the same name'. Hmm - Now I've never eaten in a smelly alley in Beijing, but I'd have to now assume that the cuisine is inventive and well executed and the service attentive. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend the smelly alley.

The smelly alley probably doesn't give you a $600HKD min and a 60 minute turn-time warning after pointing out your lack of a reservation. Smelly alley proprietors might not tell you how spicy the crabs were, but they certainly would be back to take a drink order to help quench the fire. And those smelly alley prices - You come away fat and happy and wallet-intact.

In Hutongs defense, the crabs were OK and really beautiful. But with no beer to wash them down, I could only do about 3. The pigeon was OK, nothing I would repeat. The spring rolls may well have come out of a box. And although I've heard raves about the lamb, I found it to be so-so. Sure, plenty of fat and nice and crispy, but none of the accompanying sauces made the dish snap into place (although the minced garlic paired well). The best part of the meal was my lychee drink.

I guess my problem was twofold:

There were no dishes that I would order again if I were ever to visit Hutong a second time. We ordered 5 things, and not one would I run to for comfort, knowing that we could count on it. All of this after a 12 hour flight, during which the "beef bulgogi" (think air quotes when you read that) was my dinner (UAL - Worst airline food ever?).

Second, I only have 2 nights in Hong Kong during this 2 week trip to China, and one of them was blown on a really dissapointing restaurant experience. If I die right now, I'm pretty sure this meal would be my greatest regret. I need to eat something else soon... :)

So, NYT, I guess these 36-hour columns are just a reporting of what someone DID in 36 hours, and then you guys present it as a highlight no matter the actual experience.

I will try one of the Chowhound-reccomended spots on my way back through Hong Kong. I hope I fare better, because it is a long flight home...

Oct 10, 2007
Nibbs in China & Southeast Asia

Huizhou Suggestions

I'll be in Huizhou for the next 2 weeks or so, and I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations. I'll post my experiences here later so that someone will have some clue as to where to get a good bite to eat there. I'll be at the Kande hotel, which I hear has a 1/2way decent Japanese restaurant. I guess we'll see about that...

~Nibbs

Oct 10, 2007
Nibbs in China & Southeast Asia

Watts Grocery in Durham, NC

Kidnapped a coworker for a long lunch today. Got to support Durham local places as much as possible (am I the only one feeling the stress here? So many good places in town, I'm starting to feel shiftless lazy when we stay home and cook....But with a 10 month old, it IS easier to stay home...)

Lunch was a little longer than we wanted. There was some kind of computer glitch related to the taking and sending of orders. Server brought us a cone of hushpuppies to make ammends - Butter for spreading as well. They were excellent. Really liked that they were served in a cone.

I had a chicken sandwich and onion rings. The rings seem house-made. They were pretty good - I give them a 6/10. Tough to compete with rings from the Q-Shack (which I'm pretty sure are NOT house made, but I'm pretty sure ARE the best rings ever). Menu didn't say we'd get fries with our sandwiches, but we did. Not my favorite - They were a smidge larger than McDonalds dimensions, but seemed like they were just fried until dark brown (rather than par-fried). On the plus side, they were not skin-on. Skin is for baked potatoes only. Fries are incredibly subjective, so if these sound like some you'd like, you may.

I was disappointed by my chicken sandwich as well. Advertised as having roasted chilis, but the only thing on my sandwich was a roasted red pepper. I don't have anything against a roasted red pepper, but I would have ordered something else had I known. Friend's catfish po-boy was enjoyed - She liked the slaw the best.

I do really like the space - Beautiful addition to the neighborhood. I especially like the fact that they are doing late night. Not that I get out late much anymore. Watts may prove to be a reason to get out.

I feel like I've been mostly negative, but my experience was OK, and definitely worth some additional visits. Reviewers so far seem to be highlighting dinner dessert and brunch, so I'll try them next. Service was good and friendly.

Anyone have anything they really liked at lunch? I know someone mentioned the turkey sandwich, so maybe I'll go that way next time. Anyone had the shrimp burger?

~Nibbs

Oct 02, 2007
Nibbs in General South Archive

Cocktail and Wine Bars in the Triangle

Best cocktails I've had at a restaurant in the Triangle were at Bin 54. Jujube and Enoteca Vin also in the same league. And based on limited experience, Raleigh Times and Lantern. Also An in Cary.

Not too many bars offer a good cocktail. Unless, like me, you take your 7 on the rocks. I guess that makes me easy to please...

Aug 26, 2007
Nibbs in General South Archive

Nishi-Shinjuku recomendations?

Well, I'm stuck in the Fuji area for the time being. And I don't think I'll be in the Shinjuku area around dinner time before I head back to the US. So Torikai may have to wait. But for the benefit of the board, can someone post where is it/what is it? I can't seem to get any results from searching the web or the boards here.

I may get to go to a sushi spot by the fishmarket on my way back - If so, I'll post the experience. Nothing special to report on the food I've had here in the Fuji highlands area (although I did have horse sashimi yesterday at lunch - that was a first). ~Nibbs

Jul 03, 2007
Nibbs in Japan

Nishi-Shinjuku recomendations?

I'm in Shinjuku for 2 nights on business - Today and Thursday 7/5 (I know, I'll be missing fireworks back home). I tried out Tsunahachi Rin in the MyCity department store (is this still called MyCity? The cabbie knew where to go, but he also pointed at the Lumine Est tower, with its big yellow sign, and that's the building I went to).

Summary: 7th floor, across from the wall of old PCs (see pic here: http://tokyoq.com/weekly_updates/tqoo...) Look for something, anything, called Rin. Then you'll know you are at the right place. I couldn't see Tsunahachi written anywhere. Then again, I don't read Japanese.

Had the 5000Y price fixe (no english menu - The gist I got was that the 3500Y item was just tempura, whereas the 5000 had sashimi). Sashimi was very good, first uniquely Japanese taste since I got here this afternoon.

?? What are those large-ish green leaves that taste a bit like a bitter lemon-basil (that's the best I can come up with)??

Tempura started coming. Highlights were the fritter that came in a box (fish and ?? - It was rectangular and outstanding) and a little fried baby corn (so simple, but hit me right), Then I had what I'm pretty sure was pork belly in broth. This was outstanding. The clam tempura was OK, as were the asparagus and some kind of small fish. Rice with some small shrimp tempura on it to finish was great, And the miso soup had little tiny clams in the bottom, which was nice.

Only regret is that I didn't specifially order one of those shrimp that they have swimming around behind the bar (sweet shrimp? I think that's what they're called). I was hoping I'd get one automatically. Foolish. Had they had an English menu, I probably would have been better off. Total with 1 beer - 6078Y.

Now I need to find some lunch for tomorrow before I take a bus to the Mt Fuji area. So many types of Japanese cuisine, so little time... :

)

~Nibbs

Jul 01, 2007
Nibbs in Japan

Twisted Noodle open in Durham

Wife and I stopped in TN tonight. Got the fried tofu app - Just OK, but also just $4. Well fried (not greasy), but I won't be craving it. I had the Drunken Noodles. Seems very similar to Cary's Thai Villa's 'Thai Villa Noodles' dish. Since that is all I order every time I've been to Thai Villa for the last 6 years, I have a strong basis for comparison. I like Thai Villa's version better (more carmalized, less lo-mein like greasyness, and spicy), but TN has it's upside (more veggies). I guess that's an upside...

Wife had he better dish of the Penang Curry. I'm never that into currys, but this was really good. Spooning it on the Drunken Noodles helped them out a lot. Perfect spice for my wuss of a wife (she said I could say that...) Overall, beats the Thai Cafe in my book, but I wouldn't drive out of my way to get there.

Jun 11, 2007
Nibbs in Southeast

Savannah - Tybee top 7

It has been several years, but I remember having a great family style breakfast at Mrs Wilkes Kitchen (sp?). I'm guessing someone here has eaten there more recently and could offer an up-to-date assessment.

May 20, 2007
Nibbs in Southeast

9N9 at RTP - how to move beyond pho?

I gotta say I love their sandwiches. The only thing I don't like is the guilt I feel for pigging out on 2 sandwiches for only $4. So usually I pile some spring rolls on to get my bill up to a more respectable sum.

That said, I only get the pork sandwich. They used to offer bbq pork or chinese pork. There was a difference, but I don't know which was which. Now I just order pork and eat what they bring me. I didn't really like the 3 hams style, and the chicken isn't worth $1.

But I've never been to Dalat. Need to try that.

May 17, 2007
Nibbs in General South Archive

Pizzeria Roma (Durham)

Whoa! Someone said Santarpios and I got all excited... That's some good pizza - Only been there once, but the 2 pies that I brought back on the flight from Logan were consumed that very evening. And were still better than anything Durham has to offer.

That said, I've had Bocci once and found it to be OK but not worth a second visit (but dosen't everyone deserve a second chance?). I rather like Cinellis (sausage with italian hot cherry peppers, please - a topping left off far too many menus), but they aren't consistent.

And yes, I really like Randy's when the pie is right. The new one out on Guess Rd seems to be run by someone who takes his pizzas seriously. He had to remake my last one because he thought it didn't turn out right. The Randy's that closed (on Broad) was never even remotely consistent. One of the guys in RTP said it might be the oven. Truth is that it wasn' the tools, it was the craftsmen. I got to asking who was making the pizzas before I would order.

Apr 15, 2007
Nibbs in General South Archive