Category Archives: Dining and Entertainment

Friday Fun Food Facts – November 17, 2017

Triangle Restaurant News

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

Featured Restaurant News

  •   After operating for nearly 70 years in Raleigh, the legendary Finch’s Restaurant is now open in Durham at 3211 Chapel Hill Road in the former Family Garden plant store and greenhouse. In addition to their breakfast offerings, they offer dinner and outdoor seating. A huge loss for Raleigh; an amazing gain for Durham; and a lot of smiling faces for all of those in the Triangle that have missed Finch’s since they closed. Not much has changed on their Facebook page.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • A couple of updates over at Crabtree Valley Mall thanks to Michael DePersia of National Restaurant Properties. Crabtree Beer Garden (former Tomato Pie across from Panera Bread) closed and will hopefully be opening soon as the Crabtree Ale House with an operator out of Fayetteville. Stay tuned.
  • Also, DePersia also informed us that the Red Monkey Tavern (formerly owned by the same group as Crabtree Beer Garden) was sold to new owners from Lincoln Brewery and Tropical Picken Chicken. There are no plans to change anything, aside from the addition of beers from Lincoln Brewery. The restaurant never closed throughout the sale and they are looking forward to the busy holiday season. Check them out here.
  • In North Raleigh, the folks over at the ITB Insider reported that Raleigh’s only source of fresh-baked English muffins, Michael’s English Muffins, will soon have a permanent spot to call home in a space at the Towne Square shopping center (corner of Capital Blvd. and Spring Forest Rd.). The English muffins are currently sold at a number of farmers markets and other retail locations around the area, but now the small cafe allows customers to either purchase the muffins in bulk or enjoy them on site with a variety of spreads. Congrats to owner Michael Annabelle Comisar. They hope to open by the end of the year. Get familiar with them here.
  • Also in Raleigh, Rocky Top Catering has announced that its premier event venue located at 1705 East Millbrook Street in Raleigh has been rebranded from 1705 Prime to 1705 East. The new name reflects the expanded scope of events the facility is able to host, from celebrations and special events to business meetings and corporate functions. Check it out here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • Conveniently located on Hwy. 86 between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, reader Sara Weiss notified us that New Hope Market is now open. Located just north of Allen & Sons they are open for breakfast, lunch and early dinner. The restaurant/market features a grill menu, locally roasted coffee (Carrboro Coffee Roasters), a market for everything from pantry staples to craft beer and local meat. Really looks like a cool spot. Check them out on Facebook here.
  • Also in Chapel Hill, the folks over at Taste Carolina informed me that Wilmington’s Tama Tea has opened at 105 East Franklin Street (most recently Sweet Frog Yogurt) serving up tea, coffee, smoothies and toast. And it doesn’t look like they are stopping there. A recent blog post suggested they are now looking to open a location in Raleigh. Stay tuned. In the meantime, check them out there.
  • In Chapel Hill’s University Place (I still call it University Mall), Southern Season’s restaurant, Weathervane, has revamped their menu and added back breakfast service. Thanks to Richard Brewer for the update. Check out Weathervane here.
  • Over in Durham, the INDY reported this week that the owners of Durham’s Old Havana Sandwich Shop will open a new restaurant, COPA, at 107 West Main Street (once occupied by Revolution restaurant) in mid-February. This new venture, however, means that Old Havana will close at least two weeks before COPA opens. Keep up with Old Havana here.
  • Also in Durham, Bites of Bull City founder Amber Watson informed me this week that Melina’s Fresh Pasta, located at 2717 Chapel Hill Road in Durham, will hold its grand opening Saturday, December 2 and will features new Grand Opening pasta varieties that will be announced closer to the date. During the event, there will be pasta samples, cooking and pasta making demos, and tours of the facility as the pasta machines are running. Check out details on the grand opening on their Facebook event page here.
  • Last week WRAL reported Northgate Mall’s Earth To Us, a 100% vegan farm to table restaurant, had closed after operating for less than a month. We learned this week that Green Paradise, a 100% vegan/vegetarian hand-crafted comfort food restaurant, has opened in that spot. It is owned by Esther Betty Ortiz and replaces her Lucky Chicken establishment.
  • Also at Northgate Mall, Salcedo’s Pizza has opened in their food court and features Italian fare including pizza pies, pizza by the slice, salads, pastas, stromboli, calzones, and paninis. Check them out here.
  • Timing is everything in the restaurant business, and so it is with Pittsboro Roadhouse’s Greg Lewis. Just as things start to turn cold here in North Carolina, Greg landed a gig this week cooking in tents in Naples, Florida where he’s been tapped to be the executive chef at the LPGA CME Group Tour Championship at the Tiburón Golf Club, Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort. Greg heads a team of chef’s from around the country. You are a smart man Greg, but we’ll see you back up here in the cold  in a few days! Check out Pittsboro Roadhouse here.

Closings

  • None to report. Keep eating local, folks!

Food Trucks

  • 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.

Thanksgiving Made Easy

  • It is turkey time! Donovan’s Dish is serving up chef prepared Thanksgiving meals to you and your family. Think fresh, made from scratch, locally-sourced and of course delicious; all without you having to spend hours in front of the stove. All this and they’ll deliver it right to your door! Order your Thanksgiving dinner and take the day off to enjoy friends and family. You’ll be THANKFUL you did! Get all the easy details here.
  • If you don’t want to spend your Thanksgiving in the kitchen, we have some information you will be interested in. Raleigh’s Q Shack offers up everything from whole smoked turkeys, to sides, to the entire turkey-day meal! My family has been doing this for several years and it has been fantastic! Order online here.

Events

  • The new WRAL.com Voters’ Choice Awards voting is under way now through December 17. The awards all 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! 🙂
  • Mattie Beason of Black Twig Cider House will host TxotxFest on November 18 from noon to 4 pm. TxotxFest returns for a second year, offering award-winning regional and national ciders with North Carolina cuisine, and features the txotx – a traditional Spanish cider barrel. Beason introduced TxotxFest in 2016 as the first event of its kind in the Southeast to celebrate cider, the fastest growing segment in the beverage industry. This year, Beason kicks off TxotxFest November 17th with a $50 five-course cider-paired dinner at Black Twig Cider House featuring Asheville’s chef Steven Goff of Brinehaus Meat & Provisions and ciders from Noble Cider, Urban Orchard, Appalachian Mountain, and James Creek. Get 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!

Raising a Ruckus

  • Fellow restaurateurs, Ruckus Pizza has created a non-profit organization, Raising a Ruckus (RAR), which works with local guidance counselors to help identify families most in need in our Wake County School system. These are families that without someone stepping in to help, would not have what many of us know as “Christmas.” In the spirit of the season, we would like to reach out to our fellow restaurant owners and see if you would be open to partnering with us for collaboration on this annual project.
    Ruckus
    will take care of the organization of the project, including identifying the families needs, creating marketing materials, putting together all materials your restaurant would need and coordinating the pickup and delivery of the items to these families. What we are asking of you is to consider “adopting” one of these families with us and promoting the giving tree in your location and working to collect all items on the family’s wish list. More often than not, most items are basics like socks, pants, a jacket, a gift card for groceries, a new doll and other basic items.
    With several of us working together, we can partner to help provide for those most in need in our area and allow our customers to get involved in the giving process. This is a brief summary of the program, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us on how to get involved or if you have more questions. We hope you will consider a partnership together during the time of year that can often be one of the most difficult for those in need. For more information contact: [email protected]
...[READ MORE]   Source: Triangle Food Blog

Saint James Seafood, Durham: A Dazzling Culinary Cruise for Oysters, Fish and Ambiance

Front of Saint James Seafood Restaurant in Durham - nctriangledining.com
Front of Saint James Seafood Restaurant in Durham – nctriangledining.com

If you love the food scene in Durham, you sometimes think it can’t get any better. But every now and then, you still run into some very impressive surprises. Take the new Saint James Seafood Restaurant out on W. Main Street! While I knew that Chef Matt Kelly (Mateo, Mothers and Sons) was leading the build-out of the space and I was impressed with his resume, there have been so many new openings of late, I lost track of the Saint James. And located in the old Fishmongers space, I had concerns about what the Saint James would be about given how basic the decor had been. But as luck would have it, I was in Durham the day Saint James Seafood opened up and decided to change my dinner plans to see what all the hub-bub was about!

Front of Saint James Seafood Restaurant in Durham - nctriangledining.com
Beautiful interior at Saint James Seafood in Durham – nctriangledining.com

As I approached the Saint James from across Main Street, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Bright Duke blue awning, large plate glass windows, I spied a handful of diners inside at 5:30pm. Peering inside, I’m met by the host and hinted that I was probably only going to stop in for a drink, so I’m seated at the bar. But I can tell you for sure that the decor and interior of Saint James Seafood is totally unrecognizable from the previous tenant. Gone are the long and worn wooden benches to be replaced by a beautiful and modern nautical theme throughout the dining room. Black and white tiled floors, patterned white globe lamps overhead, deep blue and yellow leather seating and stools show off splashes of color and style throughout the space. The white tiled back-wall behind the bar is classic seafood restaurant style and reminds me a bit of my trips to New Orleans.

Bar area at Saint James Seafood Restaurant in Durham - nctriangledining.com
Bar area at Saint James Seafood Restaurant in Durham – nctriangledining.com

At the bar I take in the whole scene and it’s a breath of fresh air. The staff here is decked out in colorful Hawaiian shirts while the kitchen is in classic navy and white aprons. There’s several displays of fresh seafood on ice and the beautiful brass lamps overhead resemble spotlights that you might find on an old merchant ship! I put in an order for a Fog Cutter drink (rum, gin, brandy with fruit juices) and start to take a closer look at the menu. And it’s a really interesting menu covering raw seafood, baked oysters, 10 or so appetizers and 8 seafood entrees along with some Calabash-style seafood plates. It’s all quite ambitious for a new restaurant but after perusing the menu, I realize that I’m eating dinner at Saint James tonight! 95% of the menu is seafood-focused along with a smattering of vegetable and meat dishes. I put in my order for baked Oysters Ashworth and a red drum fish dish. As I wait, my tangy Fog Cutter shows up in a ceramic tiki tumbler along with a dish of spicy crackers!

Oysters Ashworth at Saint James Seafood Restaurant in Durham - nctriangledining.com
Oysters Ashworth at Saint James Seafood Restaurant in Durham – nctriangledining.com

My Oysters Ashworth appetizer is placed in front of me and it’s a beautiful dish! Bright yellow, seared Hollandaise sauce covering up spinach, bacon and the oysters all served on top of rock salt. The hollandaise shows off a lemony tang which cuts through the richness of the butter, oyster and bacon. With four on the plate, there’s a lot to eat here for a solo diner. And I’m definitely looking forward to trying some raw oysters here, sometime soon!

Red drum with crawfish butter at Saint James Seafood Restaurant in Durham - nctriangledining.com
Red drum with crawfish butter at Saint James Seafood Restaurant in Durham – nctriangledining.com

My red drum entree is next and it’s a stunning plate! The fish is served on top of crawfish “butter” and fried dirty rice, you get a New Orleans etouffee feel here. The red drum is a large, perfectly seared meaty whitefish that plays off well with the savory crawfish and spicy rice. But what really makes the dish are the long slivers of fried okra on top which give an awful lot of delicate flavor and texture to the meal, very inventive. Overall it’s a very creative and well-executed plate taking advantage of this fleshy and firm fish. Entrees at Saint James Seafood run in the $20 to $32 range with appetizers from $8 to $14.

Second floor dining room at Saint James Seafood Restaurant in Durham - nctriangledining.com
Second floor dining room at Saint James Seafood Restaurant in Durham – nctriangledining.com

As you can guess, service was solid throughout the meal. Saint James Seafood was heavily staffed for its opening day and I suspect they will do well here given the overall dining experiences I’ve had in their sister restaurants. After the meal, I explored the upstairs area of the Saint James, called the Captain’s Quarters. Take the stairway on the ends of the dining room, up the non-slip metal stairs and through a narrow hallway to reach it. While it’s primarily for private parties, there were seated diners in here when I visited. It’s a very cozy and more traditional space compared to the downstairs, showcasing a lot of warm woods, nautical paintings, three beautiful circular chandeliers and portholes that look out on the main dining room. Very cool and very well designed, a quiet spot compared to the bustling main dining room.

Stairs to second floor at Saint James Seafood Restaurant in Durham - nctriangledining.com
Stairs to second floor at Saint James Seafood Restaurant in Durham – nctriangledining.com

All in all I can say that I was VERY impressed with Saint James Seafood Restaurant on its opening day. The team here knows what it’s doing and everything I experienced was sublime. From decor to food to service and the entire meal, it all just feels comfortable, modern and impeccably well put together. But I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised given the success of Mateo and Mothers and Sons. So welcome to the Bull City, Saint James Seafood! I’m pretty sure that you’ll be dealing with very long lines of excited diners, soon enough…

 

Saint James Seafood Restaurant and Raw Bar

806 W Main Street

Durham, NC 27701

984.219.7900

 

Location on Google maps

The post Saint James Seafood, Durham: A Dazzling Culinary Cruise for Oysters, Fish and Ambiance appeared first on NC Triangle Dining.

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

Friday Fun Food Facts – November 10, 2017

Triangle Restaurant News

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

Featured Restaurant News

  •  WRAL reported this week that The Remedy Diner moved into a new home in downtown Raleigh this past Tuesday to 927 W. Morgan St. – that is the old home of P.G. Werth’s, which closed in February after two years in business. Remedy has been around for eight years. Check them out here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • Whitaker & Atlantic, chef Coleen Speaks’ new private event venue, is now open and available for holiday parties, weddings, pop-up dinners, fundraising galas, corporate dinners and community events. It is located at 1053 East Whitaker Mill Road and can accommodate 150 for dinner and 275 for cocktails. Get all the details here.
  • In North Raleigh, the ITB Insider reported this week that the Falls Pointe Shopping Center on Falls of Neuse Road will soon become the second Falls of Neuse shopping center to house a Moe’s Southwest Grill. Permits were issued for the renovation of the space that previously housed CasaSan Carlo Italian Bistro. San Carlo closed in July. No timeline yet on when this location of Moe’s will open. Check out Moe’s here.
  • Also in North Raleigh, Chopt Creative Salad Co. opened its second Raleigh location this week and 51st store on the East Coast at the North Ridge Shopping Center. It is located in half of the space that used to be Tribeca. The other half is slated to be a Zoës Kitchen. Check out Chopt here.
  • Doel Gonzalez and Antonio Rodriguez owners of Spanglish Food Truck purchased Nashers Sandwich House on Durant Rd, Raleigh and plan to keep the menu the same but change the name to Pressed Sandwich House. The deal was brokered by Neal DePersia of National Restaurant Properties. Check out Nashers here and Spanglish here.
  • And we can’t leave Raleigh before mentioning the panic that ensued with the closing of the Starbucks in the Harris Teeter at Cameron Village as they moved into a stand-alone building across the street. The transition to the new space forced them to close for a few days. Eegad! Last we checked, everyone survived and the new location is now open. Thank goodness!
  • Over in Cary, the second Cary location of Shuckin’ Shack’ will be part of a Harris Teeter anchored shopping center at Tryon Village. They are targeted to open November 14th. Check out Shuckin’ Shack here.
  • Got word from Ravi Patel that he and his business partner opened Built Custom Burgers in the new Whole Foods shopping center at Alston Town Center in Cary. This is their second location, the first being in the food court at the Streets at Southpoint. Get familiar with them here.
  • And down in Holly Springs, the latest Famous Toastery opens today (November 10th)  in the Holly Springs Towne Center. They already have locations in Cary and Morrisville. Check them out here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • After operating for nearly 70 years in Raleigh, the News & Observer reported that the legendary Finch’s Restaurant will open in Durham next Friday, November 17th at 3211 Chapel Hill Road in the former Family Garden plant store and greenhouse. In addition to their breakfast offerings, look for the new location to offer dinner and outdoor seating. A huge loss for Raleigh; an amazing gain for Durham; and a lot of smiling faces for all of those in the Triangle that have missed Finch’s since they closed. Not much has changed on their Facebook page.
  • Nothing like family to help during a transition. And so it is with restaurants as well. Alberello’s big sister restaurant, Oakleaf, is moving locations from Pittsboro to Carrboro (last meal in Pittsboro isn’t until November 25) and while the new space is under construction, they will both be operating out of the Alberello’s space in Briar Chapel. From December 1 through January 27, Alberello’s menu will be available for lunch from 11 a.m. -2 p.m. and then they will reopen at 5:30 p.m. operating as Oakleaf for dinner. What could be better than two awesome restaurants under one roof?! Check out Oakleaf here and Alberello here.
  • And just on the outskirts of downtown Durham in Erwin Square, the Triangle’s second location of Shuckin’ Shack just opened at 2200 West Main Street. They opened at the end of October. Check out Shuckin’ Shack here.

Closings

  • WRAL reported this week that Earth To Us, a 100% vegan farm to table restaurant in The Shops at Northgate, has closed after operating for less than a month.
  • The News & Observer reported that Korean Garden in Cary announced on Facebook that it will close its restaurant at 748 E. Chatham St. at the end of the month.
  • And got word from several clients in downtown, that Cafe Carolina will close their doors in the Wells Fargo building on November 13th. The News & Observer noted that it was an 18 year run. And word is they are looking for a smaller, downtown spot so stay tuned.

Food Trucks

  • One final Food Truck Thursdays of the season in Knightdale. Next Thursday, November 16th, Mama Voula’s will be at Knightdale Station Park for lunch and dinner. Just look for it from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm near the amphitheater (rain or shine – shelters are covered). Thanks to Mark Ginsburg for the heads up. Get all the details here.

Thanksgiving Made Easy

  • It is turkey time! Donovan’s Dish is serving up chef prepared Thanksgiving meals to you and your family. Think fresh, made from scratch, locally-sourced and of course delicious; all without you having to spend hours in front of the stove. All this and they’ll deliver it right to your door! Order your Thanksgiving dinner and take the day off to enjoy friends and family. You’ll be THANKFUL you did! Get all the easy details here.
  • If you don’t want to spend your Thanksgiving in the kitchen, we have some information you will be interested in. Raleigh’s Q Shack offers up everything from whole smoked turkeys, to sides, to the entire turkey-day meal! My family has been doing this for several years and it has been fantastic! Order online here.

Events

  • The new WRAL.com Voters’ Choice Awards voting begins next Monday, Nov. 13th. The awards all you to vote for your favorite North Carolina people, places and businesses, from the mountains to the coast. Starting Monday, vote here.
  •  On November 11th, the folks over at Mofu Shoppe are holding their inaugural Pho-All Fest at Mofu Shoppe on Blount Street in downtown Raleigh. All proceeds to benefit Neighbors to Neighbors. In addition to their truck, there will be lots of music and fun activities including several eating contests. Come join in the fun! Get all the details on their Facebook event page here.
  • It’s time for the 2017 Triangle Chili Challenge. On Sunday, November 12 in Downtown Cary, restaurateurs and food trucks compete alongside the Cary Police and Fire Departments for the “Best Chili in the Triangle”. The event also features live music, craft beer, art vendors, raffles and cash prizes. The winner will go home with $300 in cash, a trophy and serious bragging rights. Registration is now open. For sponsorship packages, competitor registration and more information, go here.
  • Also on November 12, the Much Ado About Cheese Festival is taking place from 1-4 p.m. at the Rickhouse in downtown Durham. American Meltdown, Durham’s gourmet grilled cheese food truck (and now restaurant!) aims to bring the wonders of the Triangle’s local cheeses to the community. Tickets are $8-$15. Tickets and all the details can be found here.
  • Reap the spoils of competition while top Triangle chefs compete to be named Soup-erior Chef at Urban Ministries of Wake County’s annual Stone Soup Supper on Wednesday, November 15  at NCSU McKimmon Center. Funds raised from the event will be used to feed, shelter, and provide healthcare to low income individuals living within Wake County. Guests receive unlimited bowls of specially crafted soup from more than a dozen chefs. Guests also receive one piece of artisan pottery, hand-crafted by the Triangle Potters Guild. Get all the details here.
  • Mattie Beason of Black Twig Cider House will host TxotxFest on November 18 from noon to 4 pm. TxotxFest returns for a second year, offering award-winning regional and national ciders with North Carolina cuisine, and features the txotx – a traditional Spanish cider barrel. Beason introduced TxotxFest in 2016 as the first event of its kind in the Southeast to celebrate cider, the fastest growing segment in the beverage industry. This year, Beason kicks off TxotxFest November 17th with a $50 five-course cider-paired dinner at Black Twig Cider House featuring Asheville’s chef Steven Goff of Brinehaus Meat & Provisions and ciders from Noble Cider, Urban Orchard, Appalachian Mountain, and James Creek. Get 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!

Raising a Ruckus

  • Fellow restaurateurs, Ruckus Pizza has created a non-profit organization, Raising a Ruckus (RAR), which works with local guidance counselors to help identify families most in need in our Wake County School system. These are families that without someone stepping in to help, would not have what many of us know as “Christmas.” In the spirit of the season, we would like to reach out to our fellow restaurant owners and see if you would be open to partnering with us for collaboration on this annual project.

    Ruckus will take care of the organization of the project, including identifying the families needs, creating marketing materials, putting together all materials your restaurant would need and coordinating the pickup and delivery of the items to these families. What we are asking of you is to consider “adopting” one of these families with us and promoting the giving tree in your location and working to collect all items on the family’s wish list. More often than not, most items are basics like socks, pants, a jacket, a gift card for groceries, a new doll and other basic items.

    With several of us working together, we can partner to help provide for those most in need in our area and allow our customers to get involved in the giving process. This is a brief summary of the program, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us on how to get involved or if you have more questions. We hope you will consider a partnership together during the time of year that can often be one of the most difficult for those in need. For more information contact: [email protected]

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

Phat Chicken Grille in Raleigh: Delivering Mouth-Watering Chicken and Sides

Phat Chicken in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Phat Chicken in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

Over the past five years as the economy has improved, Raleigh has been busting at the seams with growth. And as Raleigh has grown, development in the area has shifted to the east and south of the downtown core. And I recently ran into an interesting spot in the East Raleigh, Phat Chicken! While it may not look like much from the outside, I’ve often found wonderful hidden gems in these quieter neighborhoods. And true to form, Phat Chicken delivers some great eats for not so much dinero. Here’s how my first lunch visit went down!

Dining room at Phat Chicken in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Dining room at Phat Chicken in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

Head on over to E. Martin Street and you’ll find a quiet little plaza with some local businesses. Phat Chicken sits on the right-hand side of this innocuous location. Inside, Phat Chicken is bare-bones and simple. Chalkboard menu to the left, open kitchen, order kiosk and a handful of four-tops scattered about. A TV in the dining room is playing 70’s and 80’s tunes to keep things light! And the menu at Phat Chicken is super simple: fried chicken, grilled chicken, burgers along with some quesadillas and burritos. A good selection of sides are also offered ranging from fries, onion rings, rice with beans, collard greens, potato salad and more! All meals come with a side and rolls, the menu feels mostly Southern with a bit of Latino. I go with some grilled chicken just because online reviews seem to speak highly of it here at Phat Chicken. A small refrigerated case of drinks serves up the beverages for your meal.

4-piece grilled chicken meal w onion rings at Phat Chicken in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
4-piece grilled chicken meal w onion rings at Phat Chicken in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

It takes  a bit of time for my food, maybe 15 minutes but that means everything is cooked to order here at Phat Chicken. My 4-piece plate of grilled chicken (dark meat) comes out with a heaping pile of onion rings and a couple of pieces of grilled bread, yummy! My eyes light up when I see this dish because it all looks really good. Phat Chicken’s chicken is done Latin-American style and slathered with spices like Mami Noras/Alpaca. BUT the key difference is the chicken is also grilled, charring up the skin for some more flava! Wow, a wonderful bite and there’s a bit of spice at the end. The onion rings here are also awesome using a light and bubbly beer-tempura batter covering thick pieces of fresh vidalia (I think) onion! Served up with a bit of ketchup and spicy comeback sauce, I could make a meal out of these bad-boys, alone. If you haven’t guessed, portion sizes here at Phat Chicken are substantial!

Griddled poundcake at Phat Chicken in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Griddled poundcake at Phat Chicken in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

And based upon online reviews, I can’t resist missing dessert at Phat Chicken and get the griddled pound cake. And it is GOOD! They do a cinnamon pound cake here, drizzled with caramel sauce and served up with a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream. The browned edges of the pound cake are awesome and totally worth the additional calories but probably best shared with a friend.

Dining room at Phat Chicken in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Dining room at Phat Chicken in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

Service at Phat Chicken is pretty basic and friendly given the set-up. And I run into the owner who checks to see what I think and is enthusiastic about our customer experience. While I can’t say that Phat Chicken is a place I’d bring a date to, it really hits the spot in term of tasty food, done right. While the menu may be small, I was pretty impressed with what I tried and am excited to try more off of it! So thank you Phat Chicken for shining during my Friday lunch. I think I may be finding more reasons to drop into this hood for some of your delicious down-home eats…

 

Phat Chicken Grille

717 E Martin St Unit 199

Raleigh, NC 27601

919.589.7428

 

Location on Google maps

Save

The post Phat Chicken Grille in Raleigh: Delivering Mouth-Watering Chicken and Sides appeared first on NC Triangle Dining.

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

Media: La Stella Wood-Fired Serves it Up Hot and Tasty for Raleigh

Marquee at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Marquee at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

Over on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, you’ll find it usually teaming with NC State students along with a smattering of cheap eats type restaurants, great for a student’s budget. And every now and then you’ll find better restaurants such as the old H-Street Kitchen. But even with all this foot traffic, keeping a restaurant open in this neighborhood can be tough going so when I saw the “Closed for Renovations” sign at H-Street, you get alarm bells ringing in your head. And no surprise but H-Street Kitchen was to be no more and instead, a new concept, La Stella Wood Fired would be taking its place. As sister restaurant to Pizza La Stella, La Stella Wood-Fired is taking those some great pizza ovens but going for a more expansive menu tuned for the Raleigh crowd. And a recent media visit to this new restaurant and gastropub was pretty impressive leaving me optimistic about the future of food on Hillsborough Street. La Stella Wood Fired is one of the best restaurant options for the NC State crowd, here’s what to expect if you visit!

Bar at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Bar at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com
Kitchen and dining room at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Kitchen and dining room at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

Head on to 2401 Hillsborough Street and La Stella Wood Fired will be easy to spot, just look for the large white movie marquee! Inside, the space hasn’t changed drastically from before but it is improved. There are a handful of additional televisions mounted overhead for the big game and the upstairs has been opened up. There are no longer any private rooms, the second floor works now as a lounge area with stuffed chairs and two small patios, very nice. Two beautiful red wood-fired ovens take center-stage in the open kitchen. La Stella Wood Fired’s goal is to produce their entire menu from those ovens so they are certainly the stars of the kitchen.

Pizza ovens at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Pizza ovens at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com
Macho nachos at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Macho nachos at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

Our small group is seated at a long communal table by the kitchen so we get a great look at these crimson, bad-boys! We meet up with owner Rudy Theale, Chef Matt Kepp and manager, Travis before we get the preview started. The menu for tonight covers a broad array of delicious eats from that oven ranging from wings, mac n cheese, pizza, fish, short rib and even dessert! We’re started off with some tri-colored nachos covered in melty cheddar queso, jalapenos and crema. Smoked chicken adds a bit more savory to this tasty starter!

Jerk wings at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Jerk wings at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com
Mexi-madness wings at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Mexi-madness wings at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

Next up are some delicious oven-roasted wings ranging from Jamaican Me Crazy (Jerk), Calabrian Ginger and Mexi-Madness (with corn). I was pretty pressed with all three, they all displayed a bit of char while still keeping the meat, tender and succulent. Chef Matt definitely likes to play with his food in a good way and keeps things pretty creative with his flavor combinations. He definitely has an interest in some Tex-Mex spiciness for the menu.

Pimento mac n cheese at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Pimento mac n cheese at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com
Hot piggie mac n cheese at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Hot piggie mac n cheese at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

As we’re finishing up the wings, three bubbling hot cast-iron skillets are brought to the table showcasing La Stella Wood Fired’s mac n cheese and pimiento pub fries! A perfect use of that super, hot 800+ degree oven, the mac n cheese is beautifully browned and looks so tempting. The piggie mac is covered in cheddar and parmesan cheese along with some bacon and bread crumbs, yum! And the classic pimento mac n cheese has a beautiful crust, digging in you uncover creamy cheesy pasta and more.

Seared short rib at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Seared short rib at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com
Brussel sprouts at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Brussel sprouts at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

We move on the meats and fish, Chef Matt treats us with some roasted short rib and trout fresh out of the oven. I’m a huge fan of the sinewy, beefy short rib! It’s soft but nicely seared for some chewy texture and shows off some char from the oven. Paired with some lovely fire-kissed brussels sprouts (honey-mustard) and you’ve got yourself a meal. I also sneak a bite of the bourbon butter pork chop which is tender and perfectly cooked.

Wood-fired pizzas at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Wood-fired pizzas at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com
Oven-baked sandwiches at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Oven-baked sandwiches at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

I’m pretty much ready to tap out at this point but owner Rudy is a wonderful host and now we’re getting a preview of La Stella Wood Fired’s pizzas and puccia (sandwiches). The Bianco, Picante Elote and Hottie Hawaiian all show of nicely charred crusts and delicious toppings. La Stella Wood Fired does a thinner crust pizza with non-traditional toppings but they are well put together. And the puccia sandwiches look really interesting but I’m pretty much stuffed to the gills at this point to try them.

Desserts at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Desserts at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

But of course, who can resist a sweet and happy ending? Our meal finishes with the Smores and Brownie Explosion desserts, skillet cookie sundaes. Nicely done and your sweet tooth will thank you if you order these desserts for your dinner! I’m only able to take a couple of bites to taste these desserts but enjoy it immensely. It’s hard to beat warm brownie and cookie topped with soft, cool ice cream eh?

Overhead view of dining room at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Overhead view of dining room at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com
Upstairs lounge area at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Upstairs lounge area at La Stella Wood Fired in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

Our group is pretty much ready to pass out in a food coma on the spot but a huge thanks to Rudy and Chef Matt for hosting this expansive and wonderful preview meal. I’m pretty impressed with what they’re doing here at La Stella Wood Fired. They are definitely stretching the capabilities of those Italian wood-fired ovens and putting out some excellent and satisfying food for the NC State and Raleigh crowd. And everything is quite reasonably priced in the $6 to $15 range for all this tastiness. So if you’re in the hood or a student at State, don’t miss out on La Stella Wood Fired! They’ve got some delicious eats and a beautiful space, perfect for catching the big game or a casual meal with friends. Just make sure your parents pick up the tab…  🙂

 

La Stella Wood Fired

2420 Hillsborough Street

Raleigh, NC 27607

919.504.1002

 

Location on Google maps

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The post Media: La Stella Wood-Fired Serves it Up Hot and Tasty for Raleigh appeared first on NC Triangle Dining.

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Friday Fun Food Facts – November 3, 2017

Triangle Restaurant News

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

Featured Restaurant News

  •  Matt Kelly has done it again. Just yesterday he opened his latest venture, St. James Restaurant and Raw Bar in the former Fishmonger’s spot in the Brightleaf District. Kelly first opened Mateo Bar De Tapas where he was named a James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in 2013. And last year he added Mothers & Sons Trattoria, an Italian trattoria, and Lucky’s Delicatessen, a sandwich shop with a choice beer cooler. Get by soon, but in the meantime, check them out here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • Downtown Raleigh’s Glenwood South district recently saw the opening of Saigon Grill & Bar located on the ground floor at 222 Glenwood. The menu features a fusion of Asian and Vietnamese culinary traditions. It is owned and operated by John Tang and Richard Fong. Tang is the owner of Sushi O Bistro and Sushi Bar, while Fong hails from New York, but most recently was working in the now closed An Asian Cuisine restaurant in Cary. Check them out here. Thanks to Jennifer Martin with Shop Local Raleigh/Greater Raleigh Merchants Association for the tip.
  • Last weekend Southern Charred, a new barbecue joint serving up pulled pork, smoked deviled eggs, biscuit sliders and more, opened their doors at 510 Glenwood Avenue in downtown Raleigh. Southern Charred is part of the Bunch of Fives Hospitality Co. that also brought us The Anchor Bar, The Milk Bar, Mofu Shoppe and the soon-to-be Dogwood Bar & Eatery (coming in 2018). Check them out here.
  • Over on NC State’s Centennial Campus the StateView Hotel recently opened overlooking Lake Raleigh. Of equally important note, the hotel features an American-style restaurant called Flask & Beaker, which draws inspiration from North Carolina flavors and crops, as well as incorporating innovative and unique cooking style techniques. Check them out here.
  • And we have a little bit more information on Zanyu Asian Noodles coming to Lafayette Village in North Raleigh. As of now, they plan on opening the middle of this month. Chef and owner Michael Bongiorno spent 15 years working as an executive chef for Hyatt International in Asia, working in the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Guam, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan. Can’t wait to check this place out!
  • Down in Garner, reader Hugh Autry pointed out that Just Cookin’ opened at the end of September at 231 Timber Drive in Garner. It’s in the former El Dorado space at the Timber Crossings shopping center at Timber and Benson Rd. Check them out here.
  • Also in Garner, Hugh Autry also let us know that Oak City Pizza, a wood-fired pizza spot, has opened at 206 Forest Hills Drive in the Forest Hills shopping center in Garner. Check them out here.
  • Over in Holly Springs we are getting closer to the opening of the latest Famous Toastery in the Holly Springs Towne Center. They are having their invitation-only preview meals the middle of next week, and they typically open a few days after that. Stay tuned and we will let you know as soon as we get the official date. They already have locations in Cary and Morrisville. In the meantime, get familiar with them here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • Just across the Chatham County line from Chapel Hill, Chathamites can now make a run for the border with the opening of the latest Taco Bell located at 48 Knox Way right along 15-501 South. Thanks to ready Delonda Alexander for pointing this out to us. In the event you live under a rock and need to get familiar with Taco Bell, do so here.

Closings

  • At the beginning of this week, Bare Bones, located in downtown Raleigh in the former Zinda spot, announced their immediate closing. They are part of the Eschelon Experiences restaurant group. Thanks to Paul Prause for the heads up on that.

Food Trucks

  • Food Truck Thursdays is back in Knightdale. Every Thursday from September through November, Knightdale hosts a new truck at Knightdale Station Park for lunch and dinner. Just look for it from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm near the amphitheater (rain or shine – shelters are covered). Thanks to Mark Ginsburg for the heads up. Get all the details and a listing of the upcoming trucks here.
  •  Art Sheppard notified me that Chapel Hill is bringing back the Rodeo on Rosemary. It will be held this Sunday, November 5th from 12-4 (also same day as the Durham Rodeo…decisions, decisions). Get all the details on Facebook here.

Thanksgiving Made Easy

  • It is turkey time! Donovan’s Dish is serving up chef prepared Thanksgiving meals to you and your family. Think fresh, made from scratch, locally-sourced and of course delicious; all without you having to spend hours in front of the stove. All this and they’ll deliver it right to your door! Order your Thanksgiving dinner and take the day off to enjoy friends and family. You’ll be THANKFUL you did! Get all the easy details here.
  • If you don’t want to spend your Thanksgiving in the kitchen, we have some information you will be interested in. Raleigh’s Q Shack offers up everything from whole smoked turkeys, to sides, to the entire turkey-day meal! My family has been doing this for several years and it has been fantastic! Order online here.

Events

  • The new WRAL.com Voters’ Choice Awards starts this fall with expanded categories and subcategories. You can nominate your favorite businesses through Nov. 8. On Nov. 13, they will unveil the official voting ballot. To nominate a business, click here. And if you are a business interested in sponsoring this year’s awards or getting promotional graphics to help encourage people to nominate your business, click here.
  • Tonight, November 3rd, is the annual Brewer’s Ball, an evening of the finest foods, unique craft beers, and pure North Carolina indulgence in support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  It takes place tonight at Bond Brothers Beer in Cary beginning at 6:30 p.m. Get all the details on their Facebook event page here.
  • November 4th brings us one of my favorite events of the year – the 5th annual Salt & Smoke Festival where chef Kevin Callaghan and his team from Acme capture a perfect autumn day in the South with bluegrass, whole hog barbecue, oysters on the half shell and local drinks – so many rich traditions rolled into one singular and spectacular celebration at Rock Quarry Farm. This is a “don’t miss” event. Get all the details here.
  • Also on November 4th, join Bites of Bull City from 10-12 for a Durham brunch tour. Why go to brunch at just one restaurant when you can try three! Your delicious tour will take you to Piedmont, Pie Pushers and Counting House. You will meet the chefs behind the dishes and get a taste of the unique flavor and styles at each stop. Cost is $45. Use coupon code SAVEFIVE to get $5 off through this Sunday. Get your tickets here.
  • And then on November 5th  is the 27th annual A Tasteful Affair at The Blue Zone at Kenan Stadium where 500 guests will enjoy delicious samples from more than two-dozen of the area’s best restaurants, catering companies, beverage purveyors and food trucks – all to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill. Details and tickets here.
  • On November 11th, the folks over at Mofu Shoppe are holding their inaugural Pho-All Fest at Mofu Shoppe on Blount Street in downtown Raleigh. All proceeds to benefit Neighbors to Neighbors. In addition to their truck, there will be lots of music and fun activities including several eating contests. Come join in the fun! Get all the details on their Facebook event page here.
  • It’s time for the 2017 Triangle Chili Challenge. On Sunday, November 12 in Downtown Cary, restaurateurs and food trucks compete alongside the Cary Police and Fire Departments for the “Best Chili in the Triangle”. The event also features live music, craft beer, art vendors, raffles and cash prizes. The winner will go home with $300 in cash, a trophy and serious bragging rights. Registration is now open. For sponsorship packages, competitor registration and more information, go here.
  • Reap the spoils of competition while top Triangle chefs compete to be named Soup-erior Chef at Urban Ministries of Wake County’s annual Stone Soup Supper on Wednesday, November 15  at NCSU McKimmon Center. Funds raised from the event will be used to feed, shelter, and provide healthcare to low income individuals living within Wake County. Guests receive unlimited bowls of specially crafted soup from more than a dozen chefs. Guests also receive one piece of artisan pottery, hand-crafted by the Triangle Potters Guild. Get all the details here.
  • Mattie Beason of Black Twig Cider House will host TxotxFest on November 18 from noon to 4 pm. TxotxFest returns for a second year, offering award-winning regional and national ciders with North Carolina cuisine, and features the txotx – a traditional Spanish cider barrel. Beason introduced TxotxFest in 2016 as the first event of its kind in the Southeast to celebrate cider, the fastest growing segment in the beverage industry. This year, Beason kicks off TxotxFest November 17th with a $50 five-course cider-paired dinner at Black Twig Cider House featuring Asheville’s chef Steven Goff of Brinehaus Meat & Provisions and ciders from Noble Cider, Urban Orchard, Appalachian Mountain, and James Creek. Get all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • Our friends at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina will be holding a Students Against Hunger food drive from October through December for schools in the area. Participants in the Students Against Hunger campaign collect food and funds from October 2 through December 2. Competing schools must deliver their donations to their warehouse by noon on Saturday, December 2. There are lots of creative ways for your child’s school to participate. Register your school and get all the details here.

Raising a Ruckus

  • Fellow restaurateurs, Ruckus Pizza has created a non-profit organization, Raising a Ruckus (RAR), which works with local guidance counselors to help identify families most in need in our Wake County School system. These are families that without someone stepping in to help, would not have what many of us know as “Christmas.” In the spirit of the season, we would like to reach out to our fellow restaurant owners and see if you would be open to partnering with us for collaboration on this annual project.

    Ruckus

    will take care of the organization of the project, including identifying the families needs, creating marketing materials, putting together all materials your restaurant would need and coordinating the pickup and delivery of the items to these families. What we are asking of you is to consider “adopting” one of these families with us and promoting the giving tree in your location and working to collect all items on the family’s wish list. More often than not, most items are basics like socks, pants, a jacket, a gift card for groceries, a new doll and other basic items.

    With several of us working together, we can partner to help provide for those most in need in our area and allow our customers to get involved in the giving process. This is a brief summary of the program, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us on how to get involved or if you have more questions. We hope you will consider a partnership together during the time of year that can often be one of the most difficult for those in need. For more information contact: [email protected]

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

Retake: Sono Sushi in Raleigh for a Deluxe Japanese Dining Experience

Refreshed dining room at Sono Sushi in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Refreshed dining room at Sono Sushi in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

Over the years, as I’ve grown to appreciate sushi and Japanese food, one Raleigh restaurant has been consistently doing a great job for the cuisine: Sono. From its convenient downtown location, Sono has consistently dished out authentic and tasty Japanese eats since I’ve lived in Raleigh (nine years) and I had a tremendous amount of respect for its original owner-chef Mike Lee. So of course I was a bit concerned when I found out from Chef Mike that he would be moving on from Sono’s operations to focus on his two new concepts in Durham (M Sushi and M Kokko). What would happen to my favorite Japanese restaurant? Would it be in good hands? Well as time would tell, I had nothing to worry about and here’s why!

Bar at Sono Sushi in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Bar at Sono Sushi in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

As Chef Mike was transitioning to his Durham restaurants in 2016, I did notice some interesting changes at Sono. The decor was refreshed and while it still maintained its red and back motif, Sono seemed a bit newer and updated. Little did I known but new Chef Hyunwoo Kim (formerly chef at An) had already taken over the kitchen and was slowly making changes in back. Eventually I did get formal notice from Sono’s PR representative, Jennifer Noble Kelly and made a concerted effort to see what had really changed during this transition and I can tell you that most everything has stayed up to the high standards that Chef Mike had initially delivered along with some new additions!

Salmon crudo at Sono Sushi in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Salmon crudo at Sono Sushi in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com
Tasty gyoza at Sono Sushi in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Tasty gyoza at Sono Sushi in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

Currently, Sono is doing a Sunday and Monday ramen special which I’m a huge fan of. For $20, you can choose any ramen off their menu and it’s paired with a tasty starter such as crudo or gyoza The crudo I tried was a beautiful salmon topped with jalapeno and some sriracha giving the dish a bit of pop. And the pan-fried dumplings-gyoza showed off a wonderfully tender skin along with a tasty minced meat filling, yum!

Ramen selection at Sono Sushi in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Ramen selection at Sono Sushi in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com
Tonkotsu ramen at Sono Sushi in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Tonkotsu ramen at Sono Sushi in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

But oh, it’s time to get excited about ramen, especially now with the weather cooling down! They’ve got five on the menu right now (tonkotsu, shoyu, spicy miso, udon, yaki soba) and the meat-focused ramens come with cha-siu pork, bamboo shoots, wood-ear mushrooms and an egg. Really wonderful bowls that will fill you up, I highly recommend the tonkotsu with its milky-creamy pork broth. The tonkotsu has a wonderful savory depth to its flavor profile that just pulls you into this delicious meal. And the cha-siu at Sono is tender and sliced nicely thin. Overall you can’t go wrong with the ramens here at Sono so enjoy!

Dancing eel and Surf n Turf rolls at Sono Sushi in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Dancing eel and Surf n Turf rolls at Sono Sushi in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

But let’s face it, if you’re talking about Sono and Japanese food, you have to try the sushi! During a recent lunch visit, I tried the Dancing Eel and Surf n Turf rolls for lunch (2 for $20) and they were wonderful. Medium-sized they showed off some excellent rice and construction. I usually enjoy specialty rolls and Sono does a great job here with excellent ingredients that are allowed to shine with a minimum of sauces. The Surf and Turf roll was topped with tenderized beef and stuffed with tasty crab which really pops out on the palate. And the seared eel on the second roll was delicious and generously applied.

Ishiyaki barbeque at Sono Sushi in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Ishiyaki barbeque at Sono Sushi in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com
Wagyu beef over sushi rice at Sono Sushi in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Wagyu beef over sushi rice at Sono Sushi in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

The rest of Sono’s menu is pretty interesting featuring a table-side ishiyaki (grilled beef), Korean fried chicken, hamachi jalapeno and more. During a media visit, I tried out a sublime starter of Wagyu beef atop sushi rice and topped with some jalapeno, a fantastic treatment of high-quality beef. And Sono also offers an omakase (chef’s choice, coursed meal) which I imagine would be a lot of fun.

Sake can at Sono Sushi in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Sake can at Sono Sushi in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

All I can say is that Sono is in good hands with Chef Kim and I’d trust him in same way I trusted Chef Mike Lee, previously. They’re staying true to their ingredients while offering up some twists in the menu to keep things interesting. They’ve also increased the emphasis on their sakes offering over 35+ options in their program along with a Tuesday night, Wine & Sake social for $10 along with some complimentary sushi. How can you go wrong there?! So thank you Chef Kim and GM James Yang for taking care of one of my favorite downtown Raleigh restaurants. I know you’ll keep up the same great standards that Sono has always had and I’m looking forward to my next meal with y’all!

 

Sono Sushi

319 Fayetteville Street #101

Raleigh, NC 27601

919.521.5328

 

Location on Google maps

The post Retake: Sono Sushi in Raleigh for a Deluxe Japanese Dining Experience appeared first on NC Triangle Dining.

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First Take: Cafe Meridian and Catering in Durham for Tasty Lunches

Cafe Meridian in Durham - NC Triangle Dining
Cafe Meridian in Durham – NC Triangle Dining

Pros

  • Quick and easy service
  • Large selection of sandwiches, salads
  • Bright and light dining room
Cons

  • Hot entrees from steam trays
  • Discrete location in office park
  • Cafeteria ordering system, paper plates, plastic utensils

I don’t know about you but in my world, I love my work lunches! It’s a quick break and treat during the work day to get out, get some fresh air and grab a quick meal before heading back into the office for the afternoon. So I’m always on the prowl for good lunch spots in RTP near where I work. Checking online reviews, Cafe Meridian and Catering caught my eye! Consistently sporting 4+ stars on Yelp and Google, I was wondering why I hadn’t heard more through word of mouth about this apparent dining gem. Located north off the 55/54 intersection in S. Durham, it had escaped me over the years even though I’m in the area pretty frequently.

Interior of Cafe Meridian in Durham - NC Triangle Dining
Interior of Cafe Meridian in Durham – NC Triangle Dining

Pulling into the Cafe Meridian parking lot, I immediately understand why I never noticed it before. Unlike you’re typical, bright and eye-catching exterior, Cafe Meridian sits in a tidy office park with discrete signage that faces the inside of the park. I hop out of the car and step in and the place is already quite busy at 11:45am with a line of people near the counter area. I’m still scratching my head a bit and spot some menus up front near the cash registers. So, it looks like you order up front, get your food and sandwiches, then grab a drink and pay before eating, a cafeteria style set-up. Ok, I’m game!

Specials menu at Cafe Meridian in Durham - NC Triangle Dining
Specials menu at Cafe Meridian in Durham – NC Triangle Dining

Cafe Meridian offers an array of salads and sandwiches in the $6 to $8 area which are made to order, very affordable. They also have a handful of hot items which are their specials of the day. You’ll have to check their twitter feed to see what they have on the menu for hot items (soup, entrees, sandwiches). I’m not very fond of cold lunches so I go with their garlic parmesan chicken daily special. It comes with 2 sides for $8.79, I go with the mac n cheese along with sauteed veggies, yum! Grab a drink at the counter, pay up and then it’s time to find a seat. Cafe Meridian’s dining room is simple but tastefully decorated with modern art, it feels a bit nicer than what you would expect for a casual grab and go dining scenario.

Garlic parmesan chicken at Cafe Meridian in Durham - NC Triangle Dining
Garlic parmesan chicken at Cafe Meridian in Durham – NC Triangle Dining

The crowd at Cafe Meridian looks like primarily RTP office workers which makes sense given the location. Cafe Meridian is only open for lunch, Monday to Friday from 11 to 2pm so no surprise it gets the working lunch crowd. At the table I’m poking through my lunch and it looks delicious. A chicken breast filet slathered in a light garlic sauce and crowned with shards of parmesan. Very tender and tasty although I would have enjoyed MORE garlic here! The side of squash peppers and broccoli were fine and the mac n cheese is quite good, holding its firmness in the steamer tray and showing off good cheddar flavor.

Overall I was pretty happy with my lunch and it was a good deal. But I have to confess, I’m not a fan of the cafeteria style set-up here at Cafe Meridian. From the steam tray eats to the pay at the cashier to the paper compartment plates and plastic utensils, something inside me dies a little when I eat like that. For me, the work lunch is a chance to take a quick break and reward yourself with some fresh air and decent food. And while Cafe Meridian certainly does a decent job with its food, it misses the mark for me in overall experience but your mileage may vary! If you love salads, sandwiches and basic entrees for a good price, you will enjoy yourself here! But for me, I’d rather pay an extra $1 or $2 and get my food to order at a place like William’s Gourmet Kitchen around the corner. To each his/her own, I guess. But thank you Cafe Meridian, keep up the good cooking!

 

Cafe Meridian and Catering

2500 Meridian Pkwy #13o

Durham, NC 27713

919.361.9333

 

Location on Google maps

The post First Take: Cafe Meridian and Catering in Durham for Tasty Lunches appeared first on NC Triangle Dining.

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Friday Fun Food Facts – October 27, 2017

Triangle Restaurant News

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

Featured Restaurant News

  • WRAL reported this week that Phoebe Lawless has returned to her roots with the opening of the second location of her award-winning bakery Scratch (lovingly called Baby Scratch). It opened next to her first full-scale restaurant The Lakewood at 2022 Chapel Hill Road. Lawless said her downtown Durham bakery, which opened in 2010, has become more of a cafe, doing most of its business in coffee, breakfast and lunch. The new Lakewood bakery will get back to the breads and pies on which Scratch was founded. Check out Scratch here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • North Hills announced this week that bartaco, a hip eatery specializing in tacos and rice bowls, will be opening in the Main District at North Hills. Located next door to Mura, the restaurant is expected to open in the summer of 2018. They recently opened a location at University Place in Chapel HIll. This comes on the heels of the news that Viva Chicken, a Peruvian rotisserie joint specializing in Pollo a la Brasa, will fill the former McAlister’s Deli space at North Hills. Get familiar with bartaco here.
  • Over in Lafayette Village, Zanyu Asian Noodles will fill the void left by the recent closure of JoCa’s Gourmet Dawgs N’ Shakes. From what we understand, he will be doing various noodle dishes from multiple Asian countries. At this point we are not able to locate an online presence nor an opening date. We will update you as we know more.
  • Who doesn’t love fresh bagels? The News & Observer reported that this month Pizzeria Faulisi in downtown Cary has turned Saturday mornings into a two-hour breakfast pop-up called the Booya Bagel Shop. The bagels are cooked in the pizzeria’s wood-fire oven and come in plain, sesame or with everything. The bagels are accompanied by biscuits and “B’doughnuts,” which are doughnuts baked in the oven. The shop is 10 a.m. to noon, or until everything is sold out. Get more information on their Instagram page here.
  • Also in Cary, the News & Observer reported that former Little Hen chef Regan Stachler has resigned from his short-lived post as executive chef at Cary’s Mayton Inn. We will keep an eye on who replaces him at the Inn, as well as where Regan’s talents pop-up next.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • Over in Durham, we learned from the Durham Chamber that Big C Waffles has opened in the former Dog House location near the intersection of Hwy. 54 and Hwy. 55 (2110 Allendown Dr) near Kokyu BBQ. I love their tag line, “Changing lives one waffle at a time.” Bring on the waffles! Check them out here.
  • The News & Observer reported this week that a new coffee shop has opened in Durham in the former Respite Cafe spot on Duke Street, not far from Brightleaf Square. Kaffeinate is the creation of Diana Lee and features an espresso bar, drip coffee and cold brew, along with a chai latte and selection of hot teas. Beyond the beverages, Kaffeinate has a waffle menu, ranging from traditional Belgian to waffles topped with Nutella, fresh berries, cinnamon sugar or bananas and chocolate drizzle. Check them out here.
  • On a recent outing, the beautiful and talented Lori Bowers-Lennard noticed that Blaze Pizza is coming to Patterson Place in Durham (5318 McFarland Drive to be exact). No word on a timeline, but they have locations in Morrisville, Holly Springs and Garner. Check them out here.

Closings

  • Got an email from a long-time reader Tracey (sorry I couldn’t find your last name!) that JoCa’s Gourmet Dawgs N’ Shakes in Lafayette Village has closed. That’s the bad news. The good news is there is a new restaurant coming into that space (see above under Wake County).

Food Trucks

  •  Food Truck Thursdays is back in Knightdale. Every Thursday from September through November, Knightdale hosts a new truck at Knightdale Station Park for lunch and dinner. Just look for it from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm near the amphitheater (rain or shine – shelters are covered). Thanks to Mark Ginsburg for the heads up. Get all the details and a listing of the upcoming trucks here.
  • Got word that the Wake Forest Food Truck Rodeo returns this Sunday, October 29th, from 12-4 at 405 S. Brooks Street in historic downtown Wake Forest. Just about everything and anything that is served from the back of a truck will be featured from savory food and dessert vendors. And a beer tent will be provided by Brooks Street Bowl. Get all the details on their Facebook page here.
  • Friend David McCreary notified me that downtown Fuquay-Varina is hosting a food truck rodeo on Sunday, October 29 from 1-4. The rodeo will feature Chirba Chirba Dumplings, Dusty Donuts, JAM Ice Cream and Morfa Empanadas. And beer vendors Aviator Brewing Co., Fainting Goat Brewing and Mason Jar Lager. Visit their Facebook event page here.
  • Art Sheppard notified me that Chapel Hill is bringing back the Rodeo on Rosemary. It will be held on November 5th from 12-4 (also same day as the Durham Rodeo…decisions, decisions). Get all the details on Facebook here.
  • And the last food truck rodeo for the year  in Durham is fast approaching –  November 5th. Get all the details here.

Events

  • The new WRAL.com Voters’ Choice Awards starts this fall with expanded categories and subcategories. You can nominate your favorite businesses through Nov. 8. On Nov. 13, they will unveil the official voting ballot. To nominate a business, click here. And if you are a business interested in sponsoring this year’s awards or getting promotional graphics to help encourage people to nominate your business, click here.
  • Today is the last day to participate in the Hayes Barton Restaurant Week (Oct. 23-27). Restaurants, cafes and bars from Five Points, Oberlin Village and Glenwood Village are teaming up to fight hunger by donating 10% of sales to the Interfaith Food Shuttle. Participating establishments include: Bloomsbury Bistro, Crafty Beer Shop, Glenwood Grill, Hayes Barton Cafe, Hungry Howie’s, Lilly’s Pizza, Mandolin, NOFO @ the Pig, The Point, Proof at Five Points and Third Place. For more information visit their Facebook page here.
  • The folks over at Blu Seafood and Bar and Fullsteam Brewery are hosting an Oyster Roast on Saturday, October 28th to raise money for Habitat for Humanity Disaster Relief at Blue Seafood and Bar at 2022 Hillsborough Road from 12-4 p.m.  In addition to the roast, Lower 9th Street is having a block party and World Market is having a fair trade tasting at the same time. Get more details and see the flyer on their Facebook page here.
  • Is your kid(s) chomping at the bit to wear their Halloween costume (and not crazy that Halloween is on a school night this year). Well, might as well get some free food, amiright? Penn Station East Coast Subs is giving away free kids meals for Halloween Oct. 29-31 to any kid in a costume. Each dressed kid will receive a free kid meal with an adult sub purchase. Kids meals include any four-inch sandwich, a kids-sized fresh-cut fry, a drink in a special kids’ cup and a sucker. Find your closest Penn Station here.
  • November 4th brings us one of my favorite events of the year – the 5th annual Salt & Smoke Festival where chef Kevin Callaghan and his team from Acme capture a perfect autumn day in the South with bluegrass, whole hog barbecue, oysters on the half shell and local drinks – so many rich traditions rolled into one singular and spectacular celebration at Rock Quarry Farm. This is a “don’t miss” event. Get all the details here.
  • Also on November 4th, join Bites of Bull City from 10-12 for a Durham brunch tour. Why go to brunch at just one restaurant when you can try three! Your delicious tour will take you to Piedmont, Pie Pushers and Counting House. You will meet the chefs behind the dishes and get a taste of the unique flavor and styles at each stop. Cost is $45. Use coupon code SAVEFIVE to get $5 off through this Sunday. Get your tickets here.
  • And then on November 5th  is the 27th annual A Tasteful Affair at The Blue Zone at Kenan Stadium where 500 guests will enjoy delicious samples from more than two-dozen of the area’s best restaurants, catering companies, beverage purveyors and food trucks – all to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill. Details and tickets here.
  • It’s time for the 2017 Triangle Chili Challenge. On Sunday, November 12 in Downtown Cary, restaurateurs and food trucks compete alongside the Cary Police and Fire Departments for the “Best Chili in the Triangle”. The event also features live music, craft beer, art vendors, raffles and cash prizes. The winner will go home with $300 in cash, a trophy and serious bragging rights. Registration is now open. For sponsorship packages, competitor registration and more information, go here.
  • Reap the spoils of competition while top Triangle chefs compete to be named Soup-erior Chef at Urban Ministries of Wake County’s annual Stone Soup Supper on Wednesday, November 15  at NCSU McKimmon Center. Funds raised from the event will be used to feed, shelter, and provide healthcare to low income individuals living within Wake County. Guests receive unlimited bowls of specially crafted soup from more than a dozen chefs. Guests also receive one piece of artisan pottery, hand-crafted by the Triangle Potters Guild. Get all the details here.
  • Mattie Beason of Black Twig Cider House will host TxotxFest on November 18 from noon to 4 pm. TxotxFest returns for a second year, offering award-winning regional and national ciders with North Carolina cuisine, and features the txotx – a traditional Spanish cider barrel. Beason introduced TxotxFest in 2016 as the first event of its kind in the Southeast to celebrate cider, the fastest growing segment in the beverage industry. This year, Beason kicks off TxotxFest November 17th with a $50 five-course cider-paired dinner at Black Twig Cider House featuring Asheville’s chef Steven Goff of Brinehaus Meat & Provisions and ciders from Noble Cider, Urban Orchard, Appalachian Mountain, and James Creek. Get all the details here 

Food Bank Corner

  • Our friends at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina will be holding a Students Against Hunger food drive from October through December for schools in the area. Participants in the Students Against Hunger campaign collect food and funds from October 2 through December 2. Competing schools must deliver their donations to their warehouse by noon on Saturday, December 2. There are lots of creative ways for your child’s school to participate. Register your school and get all the details here.
...[READ MORE]   Source: Triangle Food Blog

First Take: William & Company for Aromatic and Fruit-Forward Cocktails

Bar at William & Company in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Bar at William & Company in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

When you talk about bars and cocktails, speak-easy type bars are usually what comes to my mind. From Foundation to C. Grace, Greenlight Bar and Watts & Ward. Dark, dim and hidden for some serious cocktail drinking. But every now and then you get a different interpretation of a classic cocktail bar and William & Company in Raleigh fits that bill. Located in the increasingly popular Oakwood neighborhood, it’s been quietly making some great adult bevvies for several years (opened in April of 2015). And it continues to get better over time!

Lounge and couches at William & Company in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Lounge and couches at William & Company in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

Inside William & Company you’ll find yourself in a classic and comfortable setting. L-shaped bar to the right, comfortable stuffed couches and chairs to the left for lounging. The large plate glass windows up front give you a great view to the action outside on Person Street. The crowd at William & Co reflects the neighborhood and is comfortably hip and younger. It’s definitely a spot for locals to gather for dates and conversation. The cocktails at William & Co are usually more of a spin off classics. You’ll find margaritas, old fashioneds, daiquiris and more but usually with a twist. Aromatics, fruit juice and additional flavors are brought into the mix to bring in a unique and seasonal perspective. A chalkboard next to the bar displays some special beers, drinks and cocktails for the evening, don’t miss it.

Example cocktail menu at William & Company in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Example cocktail menu at William & Company in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

I’ve been here four or five times (at least) and they shake up a quality cocktail here. Fresh juices and herbs-aromatics are used often to bring an unusual flavor profile to the drinks here. And while I’m sure they can do your classic cocktails, I usually explore a bit with their seasonal offerings. And once you get your cocktail, you can hang out at the bar, grab a comfy seat in the lounge area or take it outside on their sidewalk patio for some fresh air. Just beware, the fluorescent signs at Krispy Kreme may pull you in! And I have to confess, the cocktails at William & Co go pretty well with hot-glazed donuts… 🙂

Blueberry pisco sour at William & Company in Raleigh - nctriangledining.com
Blueberry pisco sour at William & Company in Raleigh – nctriangledining.com

All in all I’ve been pretty pleased with my visits to William & Co since it does some great drinks but in more of a lounge setting. And while it’s got a neighborhood feel, the bartenders here are professionals know how to take care of their regulars and newbies. (Very important) So rock on, William & Company! Perfect for pre-drinks before dinner next door at Crawford and Son, perfect for a evening night-cap, or perfect for a quiet date night. You’re doing a lot of things right for Raleigh’s cocktail culture….

 

William & Company

616 N Person Street

Raleigh, NC 27604

919.335.3165

 

Location on Google maps

The post First Take: William & Company for Aromatic and Fruit-Forward Cocktails appeared first on NC Triangle Dining.

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