Category Archives: Dining and Entertainment

Friday Fun Food Facts – January 12, 2018

Triangle Restaurant News

Triangle restaurant news…that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

Featured Restaurant News

  •  The News & Observer reported this week that Bu.ku, the restaurant that introduced global street food to downtown Raleigh, will open a second location by March or April in Wake Forest. This will be the third restaurant for owners Sean Degnan, Tony Hopkins and Todd Ohle, who also operate so.ca in Cameron Village. The new Bu.ku will be at 1228 Heritage Links Drive, in the Heritage development, next to Wine 101 wine shop. Check out Bu.ku here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • In Raleigh, got word that a new pizza franchise named Firenza will open in the McNeill Point development at the corner of McNeill Street and Wake Forest Road (next to Mami Nora’s). This will be the second location in the state (Charlotte has one) and the first in the Triangle. Get familiar with them here.
  • Speaking of pizza, blogger EatRaleigh reported last week that Brookside Market & Pizza is now open at 1000 Brookside Drive in Raleigh. Check them out on Facebook here.
  • And if that is not enough pizza news for you, the folks over at ITB Insider reported this week that Manhattan Pizza will be opening soon at the Falls Pointe shopping center at 9660 Falls of Neuse Road. While we are not aware of the timeline, the restaurant will open in the space once occupied by Greek Fiesta. The chain has locations in Virginia and Maryland and this will be their first venture into North Carolina. Check them out here.
  • We first told you about this back in June, 2017, but the Triangle Business Journal reported this week that Growler USA will open its first Triangle location this month at 314 S. Blount St. in the Moore Square Historic District. Apparently other locations are expected in Durham and Wilmington. Check out Growler here.
  • Got a note from reader Carole Walker that Creedmoor Café is now open for breakfast and lunch at 8315 Creedmoor Road. Check them out here.
  • And we are getting closer to the opening of the North Ridge location of Zoes Kitchen on Falls of the Neuse Road. There was an invitation-only event last night, and they are conducting staff training with invited guests on Saturday and next Monday. That usually means an opening immediately following that. Stay tuned. Check out Zoes here.
  • Over in Cary, reader Forrest Stroud sent me a note letting me know that the closed Peter Wang’s Asian Buffet and Szechuan on Kildaire Farm Road has been replaced by Silk Road Dim Sum & Sichuan. Couldn’t find an online presence for them – just their Yelp review here.
  • Down in Apex one of our readers brought it to our attention that Archibald’s Tavern at 5160 Sunset Lake Road fairly seamlessly transitioned to Shakey Ray’s Tavern. Might be too early to know what changes to expect, but the website suggests a new menu is forthcoming. Check them out here.
  • Also in Apex, reader Chris Creighton shared that a Mr. Dumpling has opened at 5470 Apex Peakway in the former location of Lee’s Garden Chinese Restaurant. They are serving up (you guessed it) dumplings as well as other Chinese food. Check them out here.
  • And finally a shout out to Chuck Russell over at D’Nardys Caterers. In addition to his catering, he has over 40 years of experience (he started when he was 6!) whipping cream cheese, sugar, and cream together to bring you the finest homemade cheesecakes. His D’Nardys Cheesecake Jars are now available in Whole Foods in the bakery department at nine locations in Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary. Kudos to Chuck and his success. Check his cheesecakes out here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • In Durham, the newer, more casual feeling Piedmont Restaurant re-opened this week featuring lower prices, expanded beer and wine selections, and a menu that chef John May created chock full of whimsical dishes. Check out the new menu here.

  • In Ram’s Plaza in Chapel Hill I noticed this week that the newest location of Firehouse Subs opened. It is in the new standalone building near the front of the shopping center. Check out Firehouse here.

Closings

  • Got word from a colleague that the Tossed location in Morrisville closed. The Tossed site suggests it might be relocating – so stay tuned.

Food Trucks

  •  See, even Mother Nature loves a good food truck rodeo. The single digit temperatures are gone and a warm(er) sunny Sunday is in the forecast for this Sunday’s Winter Food Truck Rodeo at Durham’s Central Park. Located at 501 Foster Street, the rodeo will take place this Sunday, January 14th from 12-4 p.m. Get all the details here.

Events

  • And here is a great event to kick off your 2018… Can you say sausage!?! Durham’s first Sausagefest will take place this Sunday January 14th inviting meat-lovers to taste and stock your fridge with locally crafted sausages from your favorite restaurants and butcher shops! VIP tickets include early entry from noon-1 p.m. with passed appetizers, t-shirt and an exclusive sausage-making demo. General Admission entry from 1-4 p.m. Sausages of all kinds will be available for take home from First Hand Foods, Left Bank Butchery and more. Restaurants providing bites to include Gocciolina, Dashi, The Root Cellar, Black Twig Cider House and more. VIP tickets are $45; General Admission is $25. Get all the details and tickets here.
  • Here’s a great time. I mean a really great time. The guys behind the NC Food & Beverage Podcast (Max and Matt) have teamed up with John May over at Piedmont in Durham to offer up their first dinner called “Pork & Rum” on Sunday, January 28th. They will be pairing rums from Lassiter Distilling with a menu by May – think Caribbean-meets-Hawaiian-meets-North Carolina. And for the best part, it’s family-style, i.e. big tables, big plates and flowing cocktails. Tickets are $65. Get your tickets and all the details here.
  • Also, the dates for the Lucy Daniels Center 2018 version of their popular Cooking for a Classic have been set. This year’s event consists of three rounds and eight chefs vying to win a restored ’49 truck. It is gorgeous! The first round kicks off on Monday, January 22 and continues through the week. The semifinals are the following week and the final showdown will be on Wednesday, February 7th. This year’s competing chefs are Trey Cleveland of Top of the Hill, Chapel Hill; Matt Hannon of Ironwoods Cafe, Southern Pines; Jonathan Ballard of Dean’s Kitchen and Bar, Cary; James Patterson, McConnell Golf Dining; Troy Stauffer, City Club, Raleigh; Aaron Matyac, Whiskey Kitchen, Raleigh; Dean Thompson, Raleigh Renaissance Hotel; and Nick Fay, Coquette, Raleigh. Get a peek at the truck and all the details here.
  • Mark your calendars for the return of Triangle Restaurant WeekJanuary 22-28, 2018. During TRW, participating restaurants offer special three-course menu options and fixed pricing, a great opportunity to try places you’ve never been before – or to enjoy your old reliables with a new twist. No reservations, tickets or passes required. Get all the details and a list of participating restaurants here.
  • The Cary Rotary Club is hosting its 15th annual Chili Dinner fund-raiser to Stop Hunger on Friday, January 26 at Kirk of Kildare Presbyterian Church (200 High Meadow Drive in Cary) between the hours of 12 and 2 p.m. and 5 and 7 p.m. This year they are working toward providing 94,000+ meals internationally and generating $11,000+ to support local hunger relief efforts. Each $8 ticket purchased will send ~19 meals internationally and $2.40 to relieve hunger in our own neighborhoods.  International meals are typically served in schools. Doing so encourages attendance and supports education/literacy. Delicious meals prepared by Whole Foods Market will be served at lunch and dinner. Get details on their Facebook event page here.
  • March 17th is the date for the second annual Food Shuttle Garden Gallop 5K to benefit the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Growing School Gardens program (better known as the Sean is Faster Than Gordon race). Put it this way, if I can do it, you can do it! Come on out and support a great cause. Register and get all the details here.
  • And looking ahead a bit, it was announced this week that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina will host a culinary event called Thrive NC set to take place at downtown Raleigh’s City Market on May 10-11. The two-day event will highlight the fact that 1.5 million people in the state struggle to buy affordable and fresh foods. A highlight of the event will be a two-day food festival featuring top chefs from 50 North Carolina restaurants serving food and drink samples against a backdrop of live music each night. Tickets will go on sale in February. Keep up with the details as they unfold here.

Food Bank Corner

  •  Looking to get your company involved (in a very easy way) in fighting hunger in our community? Virtual Food Drives increase the impact of your donations! For every $1 donated, the Food Bank can provide $10 worth of food, thanks to their partnerships and buying power! Create a personal page and invite your friends and family to browse through our virtual grocery aisles, add items to a shopping cart, and check-out by making a monetary donation. Consider making it a team effort by organizing a competition between your neighbors, within your company, or among your community by easily setting up a team page. Find out how to set up a Virtual Food Drive here.
...[READ MORE]   Source: Triangle Food Blog

Best New Restaurants, Food and Drink in the Triangle, 2017 Edition

Best New Restaurants, Food and Drink in the Triangle, 2017 Edition - nctriangledining.com

All good things must come to an end so we say goodbye to 2017 and eagerly look forward to what may come about in 2018 for the Triangle food scene! It was an interesting year, probably not as strong as last year (Best New Restaurants of 2016) but there were certainly some great new restaurants that opened up in the Triangle. Most of the action seemed to happen early and very late in 2017 which made it tough for me to draw up this list. And I’ve got to say that there were some pleasant surprises out of Cary for me. While better known for its chain restaurants, Cary seems to have committed to growing its downtown core with quite a few new, cool restaurants and businesses.

Choosing the best new restaurants for the year is always a huge challenge but in the end what really helps guide my choices revolves around a single question: How excited am I to go back for a meal? If a friend calls and says, “Let’s meet at xxx restaurant”, how excited am I? Do I feel meh and just alright about dining there? Or am I grabbing my car keys and running out the door with my foodie tail wagging?!

The other consideration I had for this best of 2017 list was: Are they likely to be successful in the long run? Does this restaurant offer value, a unique experience and are they well-run? Are they getting better over the course of the year after opening? Predicting long-term success is a bit tricky in the restaurant and hospitality business but with all the years I’ve been reviewing, you just get a strong gut feel on which restaurants and businesses are built for the long haul!

So without further adieu, my best new restaurants and bars for the Triangle, 2017 edition! Click on the restaurant name for a full review with details.


Accordion Club, Durham – Opened February 2017

First up on my list of the best new restaurants and bars of 2017 is the fun and cool, Accordion Club! This newer lounge out on Geer Street really is a fantastic neighborhood bar offering inexpensive drinks and a fun crowd. Toss in the interesting decor, table games, and discrete location, it all makes the Accordion Club a hidden gem in my opinion. Over the course of the year, they continue to innovate and try out new things. The Accordion Club is currently serving up green chile breakfast burritos (on Sunday) along with their hot dogs, pretty cool!


Brewery Bhavana, Raleigh – Opened March 2017

What’s there to say about the Brewery Bhavana that hasn’t been said in the national press?! Super interesting decor and dining concept built around a brewery, floral shop and dim sum (Chinese small plates), I’m mostly focused on the food and beer here. While Brewery Bhavana may be a bit pricey, I respect what they’ve done here offering upscale, spun up Chinese eats along with really fresh and interesting beers. Love Brewery Bhavana’s space, the sleek decor and white interior design makes for a very elegant dining and drinking experience without being stuffy.


City Market Sushi, Raleigh – Opened December 2016

The emergence of City Market in Raleigh as a food destination in the Triangle continues on in 2017! While City Market Sushi officially opened up at the end of 2016, I’m rolling it into this 2017 list! Love the sleek and modern Japanese decor at City Market Sushi along with its cute, little sushi bar in the corner. They do a fantastic and different bento box, offering up soft-shell crab sliders, pork belly salad and ahi poke, dee-licious! City Market Sushi does great sushi and fish along with hearty portion sizes in a cool environment, so glad to have you in the area!


Grub Durham – Opened July 2017

While Durham is well known for its upscale culinary scene, I always hoped for more affordable eats when visiting the Bull City and now you’ve got one, the new Grub Durham. Located in a renovated gas station, I love the retro space! Front patio, rooftop seating and then a classic diner counter with some 4-tops inside, Grub Durham works really well as a modern diner. The smaller menu covers a variety of breakfast plates, bowls, sandwiches and a handful of blue plate entrees. Their grub is well-prepared and shows a lot of care and talent in the food coming out of the kitchen. A fun spot for Durham locals and visitors to this neighborhood!


Mekong, Morrisville – Opened February 2017

Oftentimes choosing the “best” for me is not about the money spent and Mekong Vietnamese in Morrisville is the perfect example of great, low-budget dining. Simple but excellent Vietnamese food across all forms, they do a great banh mi, bun (vermicelli), com (rice plate) and pho which is extremely rare in my experience. Personable service and a more modern dining room makes this “hole in the wall” Vietnamese eatery a wonderful culinary surprise. You can’t go wrong with anything off the menu here, I can say that with confidence after 8 or 9 meals at Mekong! And while the address says Morrisville, Mekong straddles the Raleigh line for those of you in N. Raleigh.


Oakwood Pizza Box, Raleigh – Opened September 2017

When it comes to pizza, there are a ton of options in the Triangle but few as consistently good as Oakwood Pizza Box! Given the pizza pedigree of owner Anthony Guerra I’m not really surprised but I am so happy to have the Oakwood Pizza Box in ITB (inside the beltline) Raleigh. Thin-crust pizza with quality tomatoes and cheese makes for a great foundation pie and the handful of toppings offered are also excellent. Love the neighborhood vibe and simplicity of this modern pizza joint, they’ve done a great job so far and I’m hoping for an expanded menu in 2018!


Pizzeria Faulisi, Cary – Opened March 2017

Continuing on with the pizza theme in my best new restaurants of 2017, how about the top-notch Neapolitan pies at Pizzeria Faulisi? Cary has been hopping when it comes to new restaurants and this pizzeria sports clean and stylish decor along with a great location near Bond Brothers Beer. And the pizza? Some of the best Neapolitan in the area serving individual thin-crust pizzas topped with high-quality and delicious Italian ingredients. Don’t miss their $10 pizza special on Tuesdays (great deal) which truly shows off the pizza-making skills and delectable crust at Pizzeria Faulisi.


Saint James Seafood Restaurant, Durham – Opened November 2017

Even though I’ve only eaten at Saint James Seafood once, it was enough to blow me away and put them on my best of 2017 list. Everything across the board was impressive and memorable at Saint James Seafood, starting with the dining room decor, service and menu. Love how they’re offering up an array of fresh seafood for the Bull City covering raw oysters, fresh fish dishes and fried Calabash seafood. And their quirky tiki drinks and cocktails are a lot of fun. Truly an impeccable dining experience for the Bull City, I expect more and better from Saint James Seafood this year!


soca, Raleigh – Opened March 2017

Over in Cameron Village you’ll find a slew of average restaurants with not many stand-outs except for the new soca on the corner of Clark and Oberlin. This stunning restaurant combines modern and upscale decor with an interesting selection of small plates from south of the border. Choose from Jamaican lamb patties, crab mofongo and conch fritters as a nod to Latin-American cuisine. All the plates are beautifully presented and their waitstaff is very well-trained and knowledgeable on the expansive menu. Definitely do not miss dessert or the patio here, they are both exquisite!


Viceroy, Durham – Opened November 2016

Last up on my best of 2017 list is the newer Viceroy out in Durham. Officially it opened up late in 2016 but I’m rolling it forward to my best of 2017 list! The rich Victorian decor, dining room details and ambiance, makes for a wonderful dining experience and great date spot. I really appreciate the tasty Indian-English gastropub menu which highlights classics such as short rib pasties, goat samosas and curried Shepherd’s pie. While the wait for a table can be a bit long, I love that the Viceroy has brought spicy eats to the downtown Durham dining scene and Main Street!


So there you go, my top 10 for 2017 and let me tell you that I spent hours trying to figure out where to finish the Best of 2017 list from the restaurants (My list of new 2017 restaurants) that opened up this past year. There were quite a few restaurants that were on the cusp for me so honorable mentions go out to Cortez Seafood, Hummingbird, Namu, MOFU Shoppe, Quarter Horse Arcade, and Saigon Grill and Bar. Your list may be a bit different than mine so feel free to comment and let’s discuss!

And what do we have to look forward to in 2018? More pizza with the upcoming Pizza Times and Pooleside Pie along with food halls! Some delays mean that Morgan Street Food Hall, Transfer Co, County Fare (food trucks), and Blue Dogwood Public Market should all hit the Triangle in 2018! If you want to keep up on my lists of new and upcoming restaurants, check out the links below which will be updated throughout the year. It’s always fun to explore new restaurants in the Triangle, here’s to the new year along with whatever foodie delights it may hold!

New Restaurants and Bars in Cary

New Restaurants and Bars in Durham

New Restaurants and Bar in Raleigh

The post Best New Restaurants, Food and Drink in the Triangle, 2017 Edition appeared first on NC Triangle Dining.

...[READ MORE]   SOURCE: NC Triangle Dining

Friday Fun Food Facts – January 5, 2018

Triangle Restaurant News

Triangle restaurant news…that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

Featured Restaurant News

  •  A Place at the Table will open this Monday, January 8th as Raleigh’s very first “pay-what-you-can” style restaurant, joining the list of nearly 60-70 restaurants of this kind worldwide. It will be located in the former Café de los Muertos space in downtown Raleigh at 300 W. Hargett Street. Check out this exciting new concept here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • So excited to share the news that one of my favorite chefs, Michael Chuong, the owner of Elements in Chapel Hill, will return to Cary (where he was formerly with An Cuisines) and open a second restaurant in the historic Sam-Jones House in downtown Cary. No timeline on the opening or the name, as some improvements will need to be made to the historic home before Chuong takes over. Thanks to the News & Observer for the details. In the meantime, visit Elements here.

 

  • Ashton Mae Smith was the first to let me know that the folks behind Raleigh Times and Morning Times (and four other concepts under Empire Eats) are opening a pizza joint, The Pizza Times, on the Wilmington Street side of their ’empire’ at 210 Wilmington Street. The opening date hasn’t been announced yet, but look for it very soon. In the meantime, check out the rest of the Empire Eats concepts here.

 

  • John Huisman, aka Triangle Explorer, noted that just two months after opening a location in Chapel Hill, Wilmington’s Tama Tea has opened their Raleigh location at 401 Fayetteville Street (at the intersection with E. Davie Street). They serve up tea, coffee, smoothies and toast. Get to know them here.

 

  • Also saw in Ashton Mae Smith’s weekly email that The Dogwood Bar & Eatery opened over the holidays at 610 Glenwood Avenue in downtown Raleigh. The Dogwood is the latest concept out of Bunch of Fives Hospitality Company (The Anchor Bar, The Milk Bar, Mofu Shoppe and Southern Charred). Visit all five concepts here.

 

  • Got word from reader Monica Williams that Postmaster at 160 E Cedar Street in Cary has opened. They feature seasonal southern dishes using local ingredients, paired with a classic, but creative bar program. Check them out here.

 

  • Thanks to the folks over at Raleigh Offline, we learned that Edwards Bar & Grill recently completed a mini-overhaul including a new chef, a new menu and a new look. Highlights of the new menu include a weekend brunch and $5 Burger Saturdays. Leading the menu overhaul is the chef from Mura with family recipes and NC inspiration. Check them out here.

 

  • Got a press release in December that Vita Vite, the popular Raleigh wine bar and art gallery, will open a Midtown location this spring in the Park Central building at North Hills. Keep up with them here.

 

  • On the beer front, ITB Insider reported that Funguys Brewing will be holding a grand opening celebration of their new Raleigh brewery at 2408 Paula Street on February 24. They will have their first can release, a food truck, games and more. Get all the details here.

 

  • Down in Garner, got word from Hugh Autry that the Tripps at Garner Station had closed and was being replaced by a Mexican concept called Cocula Mexican Restaurant. We don’t have any other information at this point, but will kindly ask Hugh to keep an eye on it for us!

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • Saw in the News & Observer that Saltbox Seafood Joint, the shack that turned fried fish into an art form, opened its second Durham location the Tuesday before Christmas. The new Saltbox is in the former Shrimp Boats spot on Chapel Hill-Durham Boulevard. Congrats Ricky MooreMoore said the original location will go dormant and reopen in the spring. Check them out here.

 

  • The News & Observer also reported that Jack Tar & the Colonel’s Daughter opened that same Tuesday on the ground floor of the Unscripted Hotel in downtown Durham. Jack Tar takes its name from the original hotel on Corcoran Street, which was renovated and reopened earlier this year as the boutique Unscripted Hotel. This is the third restaurant from the owners of Pizzeria Toro and fine dining bistro Littler, Gray Brooks, his wife, Cara Stacy, and business partner Jay Owens. Get familiar with them on Facebook here.

 

  • Durham’s farm-to-table pioneer Piedmont is going “casual” in the new year, shifting somewhat away from fine dining, which has been its identity for nearly a decade, to more of a neighborhood restaurant. Piedmont will reopen Jan. 10 with a new, more playful menu that’s built around smaller plates and a few shareable entrees at lower price points with the talented John May still working his magic in the kitchen. Keep up with them here.

 

  • Ali Rudel’s plans to open a pie shop in East Durham just got bigger with the new year! Indy reported this week that with the new year (and a slight weather delay) Rudel has changed up the name of the soon-to-open bakery to East Durham Bake Shop, expanding the menu beyond pies (the plan was always to eventually expand the offerings – it is just happening sooner rather than later). In addition to everyone’s favorite sweet pies, she will also carry savory pies, soups, salads, and other pastries like croissants from scratch, seasonal cobbler, scones, and morning buns. Doors should open in a week or two. Follow their progress and opening on Instagram here.
  • Over in Chapel Hill, reader Charles Harrington noted that the Monterrey Mexican restaurant on Elliot Road is moving in February into the former Bailey’s spot in Ram’s Plaza. No word on the exact date. They also have a location in Carrboro. Check them out here.
  • And down in Chatham County, the folks behind Chapel Hill’s The Root Cellar (Sera Cuni and Susan White) have opened their second location very close to the intersection of 15-501 and Hwy. 64 in the Chatham Park development. The space is absolutely gorgeous and inviting with three large garage doors that will open to an expansive outside dining area when the weather cooperates a little more. And next door will be a brewery set to open this spring. I see a lot of collaborative outdoor ‘events’ in this space. Check out The Root Cellar Pittsboro here.

Closings

  • Two closures to report in Apex. Readers Jeanette Hauser and Chris Creighton confirmed that Rookies Sports Bar has closed. And Creighton also shared that Lee’s Garden Chinese Restaurant has closed.
  • Also sad to report that the Clayton location of McCall’s Bar-b-Que and Seafood has closed after a 13 year run. They still have the original location in Goldsboro.

Food Trucks

  •  This is going to be fun to watch in 2018 – County Fare over in Durham. What is it? Let’s see if this gets your attention. A barn located at 1920 Chapel Hill Road in the Lakewood neighborhood that will be surrounded daily by at least four food trucks with seating inside for 150, outside for an additional 200. And did I mention a ‘beer garden’ that will offer beer, wine, cider and other beverages? Yes Mattie Beason, you have our attention. Look for it to open in the fall of this year, or by year’s end. Follow their progress on Twitter here.
  • Hopefully these frigid temperatures are soon a distant memory, and we can once again enjoy being outside – just in time for the Winter Food Truck Rodeo at Durham’s Central Park (501 Foster Street) on Sunday, January 14th from 12-4 p.m. Get all the details here.

Events

  • And here is a great event to kick off your 2018… Can you say sausage!?! Durham’s first Sausagefest will take place on January 14th inviting meat-lovers to taste and stock your fridge with locally crafted sausages from your favorite restaurants and butcher shops! VIP tickets include early entry from noon-1 p.m. with passed appetizers, t-shirt and an exclusive sausage making demo. General Admission entry from 1-4 p.m. Sausages of all kinds will be available for take home from First Hand Foods, Left Bank Butchery and more. Restaurants providing bites to include Gocciolina, Dashi, The Root Cellar, Black Twig Cider House and more. VIP tickets are $45; General Admission are $25. Get all the details and tickets here.
  • Also, the dates for the Lucy Daniels Center 2018 version of their popular Cooking for a Classic have been set. This year’s event consists of three rounds and eight chefs vying to win a restored ’49 truck. It is gorgeous! The first round kicks off on Monday, January 22 and continues through the week. The semifinals are the following week and the final showdown will be on Wednesday, February 7th. This year’s competing chefs are Trey Cleveland of Top of the Hill, Chapel Hill; Matt Hannon of Ironwoods Cafe, Southern Pines; Jonathan Ballard of Dean’s Kitchen and Bar, Cary; James Patterson, McConnell Golf Dining; Troy Stauffer, City Club, Raleigh; Aaron Matyac, Whiskey Kitchen, Raleigh; Dean Thompson, Raleigh Renaissance Hotel; and Nick Fay, Coquette, Raleigh. Get a peek at the truck and all the details here.
  • Mark your calendars for the return of Triangle Restaurant WeekJanuary 22-28, 2018. During TRW, participating restaurants offer special three-course menu options and fixed pricing, a great opportunity to try places you’ve never been before – or to enjoy your old reliables with a new twist. No reservations, tickets or passes required. Get all the details and a list of participating restaurants here.

Food Bank Corner

  • The last thing you probably want to do after reading this long blog (especially long after the holiday break) is read more. But I’m going to challenge you. PLEASE take an extra three minutes out of your day to read this blog post over on the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina’s website. It is a post by Matt Kopac where he challenged himself to ‘survive’ on just $4.70 per day for food through the SNAP Challenge. It is a real eye-opener to the reality of food insecurity and the importance of organizations like the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina in preventing hunger in our community. Please read this! You can thank me later for the perspective it will provide you. And perhaps you will take the SNAP Challenge.
...[READ MORE]   Source: Triangle Food Blog

First Take: Waffle House for Heart-Warming Southern Eats

Front of Waffle House in Durham - nctriangledining.com
Front of S. Miami Blvd Waffle House in Durham – nctriangledining.com

I’ll confess that given I grew up outside of the North Carolina area, so I had NO clue about Waffle House. I was always more of a Denny’s or IHOP sort of guy when it came to greasy breakfasts but it would be a mistake not to put Waffle House on the list of great casual breakfast and lunch joints. Around for over 60 years, the Waffle House has been an iconic diner for the Southeast with that famous yellow and black lettered sign. They specialize in down-home breakfast and lunch eats, perfect for fueling up for a long day of activities if you’re on the road. And given they’re open 24 hours a day, it’s hard to find an excuse NOT to eat here every once in a while when the mood hits you. Well as a newbie, I’m still learning about this Southern diner classic and so far, so good! Especially those hash browns….

Counter at S. Miami Blvd Waffle House in Durham - nctriangledining.com
Counter at S. Miami Blvd Waffle House in Durham – nctriangledining.com

Having stepped into several Waffle Houses (GA, SC, NC) at this point in my life, the experience is usually pretty consistent. Inside Waffle House and you’ll usually find a lot of noise and activity given their popularity with the locals. Open kitchen with counter seating to watch all the action. Rows of booths with vinyl benches and formica tables lined up against plate glass windows, Waffle House is the quintessential Southern diner experience. You’ll be handed over a laminated, plastic menu by a very seasoned waitress who affectionately calls you honey or sweetheart and gets you started with a coffee or soft drink.

Waffle House menu - nctriangledining.com
Waffle House menu – nctriangledining.com

The menu is pretty basic, listing the usual breakfast favorites ranging from eggs, bacon and sausage to their always-famous, hash browns!! Why the hash browns? The Waffle House does a hash brown with shredded potatoes and then you customize the sh** out of it! You can add cheese, gravy, onions, ham, tomatoes, mushrooms and more using the Waffle House hash brown code (scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, etc…) And yes, there’s American cheese on a lot of the food here so you won’t go home hungry! And pretty much everything is under $10 outside of the steak options.

All-Star special at S. Miami Blvd Waffle House in Durham - nctriangledining.com
All-Star special at S. Miami Blvd Waffle House in Durham – nctriangledining.com
Pecan waffle at S. Miami Blvd Waffle House in Durham - nctriangledining.com
Pecan waffle at S. Miami Blvd Waffle House in Durham – nctriangledining.com

I’ve had the chance to sample several items off the Waffle House menu, from breakfast to lunch and it’s all pretty solid! For breakfast, you can’t go wrong with their All-Star Special: Two eggs, breakfast meat, grits, and toast along with one of their famous waffles ($7+). I’d recommend upgrading to hash browns and trying the fluffy and crunchy pecan waffles to get the full experience. My sunny-side up eggs were cooked perfectly and loved the hash browns topped and covered (chili and American cheese). There’s a LOT of food here so take your time!

Texas bacon cheesesteak melt at S. Miami Blvd Waffle House in Durham - nctriangledining.com
Texas bacon cheesesteak melt at S. Miami Blvd Waffle House in Durham – nctriangledining.com

For lunch I’ve tried their Texas bacon cheesesteak melt which takes two thick pieces of toast and stuffs it with thinly sliced beef, grilled onions and some bacon. A bit heavy on the salt but definitely a satisfying sammich. Paired with some hash browns melted with American cheese and onion and you’ve got yourself a meal! Just don’t plan any after lunch meetings after this onion-filled lunch.

Iconic sign at S. Miami Blvd Waffle House in Durham - nctriangledining.com
Iconic sign at S. Miami Blvd Waffle House in Durham – nctriangledining.com

So what can I say but Waffle House, you really hit the spot. While the menu is a bit small compared to other diner options, what Waffle House serves up is really good. And the service is usually super-friendly and personable. It’s a depending dining option that’s open 24 hours a day, which is pretty impressive. There’s even a Waffle House Disaster Index which rates the severity of a disaster by the local Waffle House status. If Waffle House is closed, you know it’s REALLY bad out there. Rock on Waffle House, I’m not sure when I’ll be back but you can be sure that I’ll be getting those hash browns again…

 

Waffle House

2,500 various locations in the Southeast

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First Take: Milk Lab Cafe in Cary for Ice Cream Rolls Made Right in Front of You!

Milk Lab Cafe in Cary - nctriangledining.com
Milk Lab Cafe in Cary – nctriangledining.com

If you’re a fan of frozen treats and ice cream, you may have heard about Thai ice cream rolls. I had run into a Youtube video online a couple of years ago and ice cream rolls puts a spin on the ice cream making process! Instead of churning cream, sugar and toppings over some hours and then freezing the mixture, cream is poured directly on a freezing surface and prepared right in front of you. Well guess what, we’ve finally got some options for Thai ice cream rolls in the Triangle, people! One of the newest places offering ice cream rolls is Milk Lab Cafe in Cary (Opened on 12/8). And I had a chance to see what the deal is all about with this upcoming ice cream craze…

Menu at Milk Lab Cafe in Cary - nctriangledining.com
Menu at Milk Lab Cafe in Cary – nctriangledining.com

Head on over to a small plaza over at Tryon/SE Cary Parkway and you’ll find the Milk Lab Cafe in the far corner, far away from both streets. It’s a spartan little spot decked out in white, blacks and woods with modest seating near the front window and a handful of small 4-tops. A chalkboard menu up front shows off 12 ice cream flavors along with an assortment of toppings for $6.47 each. (I’m guessing it rounds up to $7 with taxes!) In addition to ice cream rolls, there’s also milk teas with boba on the menu, very Asian!

Toppings at Milk Lab Cafe in Cary - nctriangledining.com
Toppings at Milk Lab Cafe in Cary – nctriangledining.com

I’m a bit unsure what to order given I’m a ice cream roll virgin and all the flavor combos sound pretty good. Campfire Delight, a smores spin, sounds wonderful along with Monkey Business (nutella, banana). But my eyes settle onto Unicorn Poop, I mean who can resist that name? Fruity pebbles? Caramel and honey? Count me in! So I send in my order and you can choose your toppings after your rolls are made.

Making ice cream at at Milk Lab Cafe in Cary - nctriangledining.com
Making ice cream at at Milk Lab Cafe in Cary – nctriangledining.com

The Milk Lab Cafe has two ice cream prep surfaces but they’re not too busy today so only one is being run by a young guy in black. Cream is poured on top and spread across the freezing surface along with a cup of fruity pebbles. Choppity-chop-chop-chop, he quickly smashes up the cereal and scrapes up the ice cream mixture across the surface again. Honey and caramel are drizzled on top with squeeze bottles and the process repeats itself. In a couple of minutes, the mixture has frozen pretty solid and he scrapes the mixture off into six separate rolls. They’re placed in a cup where you can finally add unlimited (well, limited by the size of the cup!) toppings to your frozen treat.

The unicorn poop ice cream rolls are speckled with bit of fruity pebbles giving it its name. For my toppings, I decide to go with gaudy and ask for more fruity pebbles and gummi worms. With a little whipped cream on top, my ice cream rolls makes for super colorful sundae! The ice cream rolls are very light and easy on the tongue. And while I do like the colors in my Unicorn Poop rolls, the gummi worms get pretty hard and chewy with the cold, so I’d pass on them in the future. Overall it’s a tasty cup and a nice little snack for the afternoon.

Unicorn poop ice cream rolls at Milk Lab Cafe in Cary - nctriangledining.com
Unicorn poop ice cream rolls at Milk Lab Cafe in Cary – nctriangledining.com

So what can I say but Thai ice cream rolls are a lot of fun to watch being made. The ice cream itself is ok but I’ll have to come back to try some different flavors. But If you’re in the area and have some kids, it’s a fun way to do ice cream as a performance. Just understand it takes some time for these rolls so you may be eating your cream on a staggered schedule. But very cool, Milk Lab Cafe! Thanks for bringing a different take to ice cream to the Triangle and I’m looking forward to cup #2…

 

Milk Lab Cafe

6418 Tryon Road

Cary, NC 27518

 

Location on Google maps

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Fab Five Recommendations for Food Photography

Churro waffles at soca in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Churro waffles at soca in Raleigh – One of my favorite pics this year, partially because the dish was also fantastic! The lighting at soca was perfect inside and the plate has a lot of texture and color. Shot this one at a near overhead angle, maybe 80 degrees off the table.

You know the saying, a picture is worth a 1,000 words and it’s never been more true than when you talk about food blogging or social media. We’ve all been tempted by a foodie photo on twitter or Instagram and every now and then, a really good food picture will make you hungry and salivate. And sometimes I’ll find one of my pics up on a website or in an email to tempt others. Given my background as an amateur photographer (years ago), I’m amazed at the versatility and ease at which we can take food pics nowadays. I remember the days of carrying TWO SLR’s, one loaded with color film, the other with black and white film (OMG). But there are still some basic rules and guidance you should follow to get the best food pics out there, whether you’re carrying an iPhone, point and shoot or full-blown digital SLR.

So I thought I’d share some of my top tips that I’ve learned the hard way over the years. Photography is all about light, shutter speed, distance-focus, composition and color, five really important points to consider. And I’m going to assume your auto-focus is working properly on your camera!

Shrimp and grits at Humble Pie in Raleigh
Shrimp and grits at Humble Pie in Raleigh – Love this pic, shrimp and grits are usually basic but the translucent element of the shrimp and broth really pop out here. Pretty sure I was outdoors on a cloudy day on their patio for this shot.

First of all, lighting. Light is key to any photography and the more natural, flat light you can get, the better. Too little or too much direct light (bright sunlight) and your pics will not have any color or get washed out. Ideally, choose a dining spot where you’ve got some good, flat and even natural lighting. The right time of day can be crucial here, mid-day hours are usually better. Barring perfect lighting, you’ll have to adjust for low-light situations which is often the case for night-time restaurant visits. So choose your dining spot carefully if you’re really looking to get some great food pics! A seat by a window is usually best or a decently-lit inside table. Watch out and avoid spots with colored lighting and bulbs, they will make it very hard to get a good image.

Patio at Mulino Italian Kitchen, Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Patio at Mulino Italian Kitchen, Raleigh – A wonderfully lit night shot on their fantastic patio. You can guess I shot this pic carefully with two hands, feet spread apart to steady the lens and with a higher ISO. It came out really sharp which surprised me. The Samsung S7 is strong in low-light conditions.

Second, shutter speed. If it’s dark and you shoot at too slow a shutter speed, you’ll get camera shake and a blurred pic which is definitely no bueno. Some options to compensate is to bump up the ISO (film speed) which is tricky on the iPhone but doable on Android. Use ISO 400 preferably, 800 for worst case. At ISO 800 and beyond you’ll usually start running into graininess in your photos. Another way to compensate, is to shoot your pics with a sturdy base. Lean up against a wall, put both elbows on the table and shoot with two hands. With the right physical support, I’ve gotten decent images with longer shutter speeds (1/8 second) that are still usable. Newer smartphone cameras are pretty fast with large aperture lens (1.8 to 2.0) so choose wisely! A larger aperture lens will allow for faster shutter speeds and minimize shake.

Pancakes with apple at the old Provenance in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Pancakes with apple at the old Provenance in Raleigh – A nice shot with lots of textures and colors. I wanted to capture the apples on top but to also pick up the layers of pancake so I had to find a compromise angle for both. While it’s a bit mono-chromatic (yellows-browns), I think I got the complexity of the dish.

Third, distance and focus. I always suggest getting as close to your food subject as possible to capture the detail but cameras sometimes have problems at close (macro) distances. Make sure you tap where on the image your camera should be focused on when you’re in tight (close to subject). Alternatively, you can try to take a photo at distance and then crop the photo digitally to make it look like it’s “close”. But you will lose detail here, even if it may seem like an easier proposition.

Skillet burger at Kindred in Davidson - nctriangledining.com
Skillet burger at Kindred in Davidson – Sandwiches are usually tough because of the bun covers everything but this burger is stacked just right to open up the insides. Getting close shows off the melty cheese and textured ground beef, I get hungry looking at this pic!

Fourth, composition. This aspect of photography is key and what I’d call the photographer’s eye. Part of composition is distance and I usually suggest getting as close as possible to fill the frame and eliminate any distracting background details. Although sometimes you will want some background, especially if it’s interesting. Composition is affected by the angle you shoot at. Some people like their food pics directly overhead for a 2 dimensional viewpoint. I prefer about a 30 degree angle (relative to table) so I get some texture/height of the dish. You should also consider moving the plate and/or spinning it to get the right view of your food. There are definitely good and bad sides for food dishes so consider the perspective before you snap that pic! I also prefer not shooting at 90 degree angles with the lines of your subject squared up in your viewfinder

Crab mofongo at soca in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Crab mofongo at soca in Raleigh – soca does an amazing job with plating/color and this crab mofongo shows it off. Great porcelain bowl, creamy rice, white crab with pickled red onions show off a lot of color and texture.

And the last and final point, color! Color is so important for any picture but you’re often limited by your subject and lighting. Some dishes are just bland in color (brown, beige, orange, mono-chromatic) and there’s nothing you can do. Other issues are the type of lighting you have (fluorescent, tungsten, colored). Use your Auto-White Balance (AWB) settings on you camera/phone to compensate for the temperature of your light (cool-blue to hot-orange). Good cameras will allow you to set a custom temperature by shooting a white card to set it up. Or avoid the problem altogether by shooting in natural light (see Tip #1). Unfortunately some dishes just don’t photograph well even though they are still delicious!

Christmas at the Angus Barn, so much to look at in this fram but shot this pic hand-held standing on some stairs. Luckily there was enough light from the tree to allow for faster shutter speeds.
Christmas at the Angus Barn in Raleigh – So much to look at in this frame but shot it hand-held, standing on some stairs. Luckily there was enough light from the tree to allow for faster shutter speeds.

Digital photography has totally changed the picture-taking game. Not only because you can take as many pictures as you want and cull out the best ones (volume photography) but you also have the ability to fix/edit photos, in post-processing. I rarely ever use photos I’ve taken, directly into my blog. Normally there’s always some cropping, lightening and color editing to maximize the impact of the picture. And of course, your equipment and smartphone camera. While I’ve typically been an iPhone guy, a switch over to the Samsung Galaxy S7 brought me a slew of compliments on my posted pics. Although I do have interest in possibly getting a Lumix G7 or G85 mirrorless camera sometime, soon. In the end, smartphone cameras are excellent overall and will do a great job 90% of the time. So just practice, practice, practice with your food pics! Eventually the hardest part of photographing a food pic will be holding back on digging into your delicious meal!

 

Five Ways to Improve Your Food Photography!

  • Light – Find natural and flat light, no flashes!
  • Shutter speed – Keep it over a 15th to a 30th seconds and max, ISO 800.
  • Distance-focus – Stay as close as possible, watch the background!
  • Composition – Shoot directly overhead or at a nice 30 degree angle, find the best view of your plate.
  • Color – Use AWB or set your white balance and edit oh smartphone if necessary to maximize color. You may need to post-edit on your PC or MAC.

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First Take: The Cardinal Bar for Beer, Hot Dogs and Chill…

The Cardinal Bar in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
The Cardinal Bar in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

When it comes to bars you pretty much get a huge variety of places to choose from. While the beer, wine and spirits may be mostly the same from place to place, what usually distinguishes a bar is its staff and clientele. So when it comes to the Cardinal Bar in Raleigh, I can tell you that its discrete location and funky space tends to draw a local hipster crowd. But its hot dogs? Well that’s a whole different ballgame which changes the mix quite a bit, here’s why!

Interior of the Cardinal Bar in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Interior of the Cardinal Bar in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com
Lit bar at the Cardinal Bar in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Lit bar at the Cardinal Bar in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

If you’re looking for the Cardinal Bar, you’ll have to probably use your GPS because even though I’ve lived in the hood for 10 years, it still took me a bit to figure out where it was! Located in an older building that used to be home to the Cardinal Cab Company (thank your Uber and Lyft!), you’ll find it up on West Street in a quiet little stub off of Peace Street. Out front you’ll immediately spot the red brick chimney with Cardinal signage along with the large covered porch. Head on inside past the large, roll-up garage doors and you’ll find a brightly lit bar, a handful of tables along with a digital jukebox and some TVs overhead.

Patio at the Cardinal Bar in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Patio at the Cardinal Bar in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

The crowd at the Cardinal is a bit mixed but definitely has a younger, hipster bent! It definitely feels like a neighborhood bar with plenty of regulars given the discrete location. With a small selection of beers on tap and bottled beer, liquor and mixed drinks are the sweet spot for an adult bevvy at the Cardinal. Oh yeah, and those hot dogs! I had heard through word of mouth and online reviews that they might be the best in Raleigh so color me curious. And hungry!

Hot dog order card at the Cardinal Bar in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Hot dog order card at the Cardinal Bar in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

So after you order up a drink, look for the little hot dog order cards. It all feels a bit like Char-Grill but WAY simpler! Choose the number of dogs you want along with free and pay extra toppings and then add chips or make it a veggie dog! You’ve got some interesting topping options like sriracha, beer onions and hot sauce along with your more typical condiments. Drop off your card with the bartender and it’s time to sit tight while he goes to work at the corner grill.

Chili cheese dogs with onions at the Cardinal Bar in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Chili cheese dogs with onions at the Cardinal Bar in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

So what makes the hot dogs at the Cardinal so special? Well they’ve got a couple of tricks up their sleeves! The hot dogs are braised in beer and the split-top buns (New England style) have a bit of mayo slathered on the sides to give you nicely grilled and browned surfaces. Topped with some decent chili, soft onions and cheese makes for a really great hot dog! I’ve tried a handful of them with chili, cheddar and onions, all perfectly put together. Add in a bag of crunchy kettle potato chips and you’ve got yourself a meal.

Chili cheese dogs with onions at the Cardinal Bar in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Chili cheese dogs with onions at the Cardinal Bar in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

All in all I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the Cardinal. Part neighborhood bar, part meeting place, part hot dog emporium, it’s a chill little spot to meet up with a friend and grab a quick bite to eat. Its secluded location means you’ll probably only run into people in the know and certainly not the usual Glenwood South crowd. Which is the perfect formula when you want to keep things on the down-low! Enjoy the Cardinal Bar for everything it is and everything it isn’t…

 

The Cardinal Bar

713 N West Street

Raleigh, NC 27603

 

Location on Google maps

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Friday Fun Food Facts – December 15, 2017

Triangle Restaurant News

Triangle restaurant news…that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

Featured Restaurant News

  •  Saw a tweet from Ted Boyd sharing the news that Annelore’s German Bakery, owned by Norbert and Annelore Gstattenbauer, opens today, Friday, December 15th, in their new building at 308 W. Chatham Street in downtown Cary. The Gstattenbauers have been operating their home-based bakery since they moved to the area in 2008. Prior to today’s opening, they have sold their goods at the Western Wake Farmers Market and State Farmers Market (and they will continue to do so!). Keep up with them on their Facebook page here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • Thanks to a post from friend Jimmy Schmid, I learned of the soft-opening of Your Pie in Cary this past week. The grand opening is today, December 15th. They specialize in personalized/customized pizzas, paninis and chopped salads. They are located at 685 Cary Towne Blvd. in the Cary Village Square shopping center. Congrats to Jack Fladeland! Keep up with them on Facebook here.
  • Also in Cary, got word from Matthew Bettinger about a new bar he is bringing to the downtown scene. SideBar is a neighborhood bar with a strong spirit focus that shares a wall with Pizzeria Faulisi and an outdoor space with Pro’s Epicurean Restaurant and Bond Brother’s Brewery. Keep up with their progress on their Facebook page here.
  • Over in Raleigh, got a note from Joey Guarglia about a new spot opening soon next to Chow’s in Brennan Station at the intersection of Creedmoor Road and Strickland. The sign in the window says Creedmoor Cafe “coming soon” and “under new ownership.” I couldn’t find anything online, so we’ll just have to stay tuned. Thanks Joey!
  • Looking to make a difference this holiday season? Carroll’s Kitchen has been open a little over a year, offering opportunities for local women to escape homelessness by providing job training at the restaurant as well as housing. Recently, the project announced a second location, and they need your help to bring it to fruition! Carroll’s plans to have a spot in the Morgan Street Food Hall in downtown Raleigh and they’re looking to raise $150,000 to pay for equipment that will help them expand the non-profit restaurant. So this holiday season, consider giving a gift that will keep on giving while making Raleigh a better place for all. Click here to lend them your support.
  • And a HUGE congratulations to Ashley Christensen and Vivian Howard on being named the News & Observer’s 2017 Tar Heels of the Year! Read the full article here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • So you’ll see below the announcement about the closing of Heavenly Buffaloes at The Bullpen in downtown Durham. But the good news is that Heavenly Buffaloes is opening another location in the former Sandwich spot on Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street. Sandwich closed back on September 21st. No word as of yet on when Heavenly will swing open their doors. Congrats to Dain Phelan and Mark Dundas. Keep up with them on Facebook here.
  • Also in Chapel Hill, friend Karis Jackson noted the signage on the doors of the former One Restaurant in Meadowmont. It reads “Fusion Fish Sushi & Bar” but I have been unable to dig up any additional information. We will keep an eye on it.
  • Over in Durham, Karis also informed me of a new sushi place coming to the Food Lion shopping center near the intersection of Highways 54 and 55 (next to Brig’s). Sushioki is a new fast-casual concept specializing in burrito-sized, hand held sushi rolls called sushi burritos. Lawrence Yoo, Jeff Carter and Jiyun Bulcken are behind the concept. Yoo and Bulcken bring years of kitchen/restaurant experience to the venture. Sushioki will open in January 2018. Keep up with their progress here.
  • Congrats to my friends over at Durham-based Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours on their expansion to two new cities, Charlotte and Asheville. That makes nine cities overall in which they operate walking food tours: Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill/Carrboro, Hillsborough, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Wilmington, Charlotte and Asheville. A fun holiday gift idea is a Taste Carolina gift certificate, which allows recipients to choose any tour in any city on any date! Check them out here. Kudos to Lesley Stracks-Mullem and Joe Philipose!

Closings

  • Heavenly Buffaloes announced via Facebook that their location at The Bullpen in downtown Durham was closing (December 9th was the last day). They noted that their contract (just one year) was not renewed. It was on the ground floor of the American Tobacco Campus’ Diamond View III building. The Bullpen’s Facebook page notes a “new menu” coming in January. Stay tuned. Heavenly Buffaloes still has their original location, “the shack,” at 1807 W. Markham Ave. in Durham. Keep up with them here.

Food Trucks

  • Got word from Ed Hall that he is bringing a new franchise to the Triangle called Mr. Stickys. It’s a food trailer that serves up sticky buns. Wha?? Sign me up!! Mr. Stickys is operating in PA and NY and has a big following. Welcome to the South! We wish you much success Mr. Sticky! They are targeting a January 20th launch. Stay tuned.
  • So if you love food trucks and are looking for a good cause to support this time of year, do I have the opportunity for you. Carly Erickson is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign (halfway there!) to fund the next phase of her Boro Beverage business – a “beverage camper” that will allow her to mobilize her dream of bringing healthy drinks to the Triangle. Consider helping her Kickstarter campaign here. Thanks to Julie Albert for bringing this to our attention!
  • So, with the cold months upon us there simply aren’t many “official” food truck rodeos happening. So, you will have to act like a squirrel and really work to find your food trucks for the next several months. Here are a couple of online resources to help you do just that (please note, this is not an endorsement of any of these sites, just an effort to help my readers find their favorite trucks). Street Food Finder is one, check them out here. And another is aptly named Roaming Hunger and you can find them here.

Events

  • The new WRAL.com Voters’ Choice Awards voting is under way now through December 17. The awards allow you to vote for your favorite North Carolina people, places and businesses, from the mountains to the coast. Vote here. And while you are there, if you love my blog I would be greatly honored if you’d throw a vote my way for Best Blogger! 🙂
  • Here is a great event to kick off your 2018… Can you say sausage!?! Durham’s first Sausagefest invites meat-lovers to taste and stock your fridge with locally crafted sausages from your favorite restaurants and butcher shops! VIP tickets include early entry from noon – 1pm with passed appetizers, T-shirt and an exclusive sausage making demo. General Admission entry from 1 – 4pm. Sausages of all kinds will be available for take home from First Hand Foods, Left Bank Butchery and more. Restaurants providing bites to include Gocciolina, Dashi, The Root Cellar, Black Twig Cider House and more.  VIP tickets (Noon – 1pm) are $45; General Admission (1-4 p.m.) are $25. Get all the details and tickets here.
  • Also, the dates for the Lucy Daniels Center 2018 version of their popular Cooking for a Classic have been set. This year’s event consists of three rounds and eight chefs vying to win a restored ’49 truck. It is gorgeous! The first round kicks off on Monday, January 22 and continues through the week. The semifinals are the following week and the final showdown will be on Wednesday, February 7th. This year’s competing chefs are Trey Cleveland of Top of the Hill, Chapel Hill; Matt Hannon of Ironwood Café, Southern Pines; Jonathan Ballard of Dean’s Kitchen and Bar, Cary; James Patterson, McConnell Golf Dining; Troy Stauffer, City Club Raleigh; Aaron Matyac, Whiskey Kitchen, Raleigh; Dean Thompson, Raleigh Renaissance Hotel; and Nick Fay, Coquette, Raleigh. Get a peek at the truck and all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • No child or family should go hungry during the holidays… and with your help, they won’t! That’s the power of your giving when you share a meal from your table to theirs. Help reach the goal of 2.5 million meals before December 31!
  • A gift of $35 will feed a child for twoFOUR months
  • A gift of $85 will provide groceries to an elderly couple for over twoFOUR months
  • A gift of $120 will provide enough food to sustain a familyTWO FAMILIES through the winter months
  • A gift of $210 will provide more than 1,0002,000 piping hot holiday meals to local families

    And your gift goes even further this winter. To help make sure our neighbors have enough to eat, friends of the Food Bank have generously agreed to match donations, up to $56,000, now through December 31st. Help ensure that no one goes hungry this holiday season…Share a meal today!

...[READ MORE]   Source: Triangle Food Blog

Retake: The Angus Barn in Raleigh For Aged Beef and Holiday Magic!

Entry to the Angus Barn in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Entry to the Angus Barn in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

When it comes to classic Raleigh restaurants, it’s rare when people do NOT mention the Angus Barn! Around for over 55 years, the Angus Barn has become synonymous with family celebrations and special occasions for many families in the Raleigh area. However, given it’s location off of Lumley Road in N. Raleigh, I had yet to get the full Angus Barn experience. But as anyone in the area knows, if you’re going to visit the Angus Barn, you definitely do not want to miss them during the holidays. So off I go to grab dinner and some aged beef at the ever-popular Angus Barn on a Sunday night…

The Angus Barn in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
The Angus Barn in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

Located on the south-bound side of Glenwood Avenue at the Lumley Avenue intersection, you can not miss the Angus Barn because of its size! A huge sprawling red barn, the Angus Barn is totally lit up for the holidays with white lights. If you’re headed to RDU airport, the Angus Barn sits conveniently on the north side of the landing field within easy reach of the terminals. As you pull into the parking lot at the Angus Barn, you realize how big the place must be given the number of spaces and how full they are! Past the covered patio front of the restaurant, I head on inside to the warmth of their main dining room.

Holiday decor at the Angus Barn in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Holiday decor at the Angus Barn in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

Up front, the lobby is bustling with people and activity. General store to the left, hostess kiosk in front, everything is cheerfully adorned in red, white and green for the holidays! The dining rooms are pretty rustic with checked cloth tables and a farmhouse feel. Tonight we’re dining upstairs in the Wild Turkey Lounge. As we head upstairs you pass through a lobby area with their centerpiece Christmas tree. It’s nearly 30 feet tall and stretches upward to meet the timbered high ceilings here. A stunning holiday display along with a display of antique firearms and pistols in back.

Beautiful Christmas tree at the Angus Barn in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Beautiful Christmas tree at the Angus Barn in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

In the Wild Turkey Lounge the space is jammed with diners and drinkers. One large bar in the center with leather stuffed seating to the right and left. There’s a small dining area primarily consisting of 4-tops in the back and seating is first come, first served. It all feels very warm and cozy, this lounge seems to be very popular with the old guard Raleigh crowd and locals. We grab a couple of seats at the bar to keep things simple tonight, the lounge is already 95% full by 6pm! I order up a glass of wine to get my meal started, the Angus Barn is known for its extensive wine list and has one of the best wine cellars in the country.

Wild Turkey Lounge at the Angus Barn in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Wild Turkey Lounge at the Angus Barn in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

And before you even start your meal, the Angus Barn offers up complimentary olives, pickles, crackers, and cheese at a table. Most long-timers LOVE the cheese here but I chose not to fill up on extras. The menu at the Angus Barn is pretty typical steakhouse offering up dry-aged beef, along with ribs, crab, lobster and a handful of other choices. While the entrees in the Wild Turkey Lounge range from $25 to $50 (potato-starch included), the main dining room entrees also include a salad-soup and is priced higher for the additional starter course.

Ahi tuna at the Angus Barn in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Ahi tuna at the Angus Barn in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

We start our meal off with the ahi tuna appetizer, four nicely seared slices of deep pink fish served with a soy-teriyaki and wasabi sauces. A basic and nicely done dish that is a light bite before our meat-filled meals coming later. The Angus Barn has about a dozen appetizers on the menu ranging from French onion soup, shrimp cocktail, king crab claws and oysters ranging from $8 to $20+.

10 oz. prime rib with asparagus at the Angus Barn in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
10 oz. prime rib with asparagus at the Angus Barn in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com
Pork barbeque ribs at the Angus Barn in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Pork barbeque ribs at the Angus Barn in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

For our entrees, I’m going with the combination prime rib and barbeque ribs while my table mate also gets the ribs and a double-stuffed potato. My meal shows up and the prime rib looks great! About an inch thick and pink in the middle with plenty of fat around the edges. Served simply with some au jus, horseradish sauce and a grilled tomato. We’ve both got pork ribs but the entree portion comes as a full rack and a half, whoa! The ribs at Angus Barn are tasty and come off the bone easily. Overall the meats here are well-prepared but a bit under-spiced in terms of salt and spicing. My chocolate chess pies is a nice finish to the meal and is apparently the signature Angus Barn dessert.

Chocolate chess pie at the Angus Barn in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Chocolate chess pie at the Angus Barn in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

And what can I say about the service at the Angus Barn but it was stellar. I’ve dealt with them a handful of times over the phone and such and they are EXTREMELY well-trained in terms of hospitality. The bartender in the Wild Turkey Lounge was not only handling a huge crush of customers, she was taking care of all our needs without even having to be asked. And as I left the Angus Barn I did come to the realization of what makes this place so special for Raleighites. While the food falls in the middle of the road for me in terms of options and flavors, it’s the type of place to bring your family and parents who may be picky eaters. It’s a place to celebrate and enjoy solid American fare and be assured of a great dining and service experience. And while for me, personally, it wouldn’t be at the top of my list due to price and location, it totally serves its purpose for a lot of others. So thanks so much Angus Barn! I really enjoyed visiting you for the holidays and may your lights shine ever so bright for another 55 years!

 

The Angus Barn

9401 Glenwood Avenue

Raleigh, NC 27617

919.781.2444

The Angus Barn menu

Full gallery of Angus Barn pictures

 

Location on Google maps

The post Retake: The Angus Barn in Raleigh For Aged Beef and Holiday Magic! appeared first on NC Triangle Dining.

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