Category Archives: Chronicles

Amigosan at Raleigh Brewing Company

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rbc_logo_small_red1There are few things more rewarding in the Triangle than going to a nearby brewery for a pint, and finding one of the area’s best and creative food trucks is there to satisfy your hunger. This trend is showing up almost everywhere across the Triangle as it turns out. Recently Belle and I made a return visit to Raleigh Brewing Company to enjoy their handcrafted brews, and as fate would have it, Chef Ed Sautro and his wife Nicole of Amigosan food truck, were on-hand to provide the sustenance. We had met Chef Ed earlier last year, and became immediately enthused by his fusion skills. Taking a Mex-Asian approach, Chef Ed provides the diner with a unique experience.

Raleigh Brewing Company is located at 3709 Neil Street, Raleigh, NC. There artisans, called brew masters, labor to create such masterpieces as: Bl@ther$k!tea – Scottish Ale, City of Blokes – a bitter ale, Hell Yes Ma’am – a Belgian style golden, Hidden Pipe – a hearty Porter, House of Clay – a Rye IPA, Moravian Rhapsody – a Czech styled Pilsner and, my favorite, Oak City Coffee Ale – a coffee infused ale. We began our night with primers: for Belle a Moravian Rhapsody, a crisp, hoppy and refreshing Pilsner brewed with traditional Pilsner malt, Saaz hops, and German Lager yeast. For myself, an Oak City Coffee Ale, whose flavor is simultaneously sophisticated and sassy. ‘Priming,’ I should explain, is properly preparing the palate and exciting the stomach for what is to come. A good handcrafted brew is an excellent primer, and can complement the meal as well.

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UH5Cjr3yBelle and I arrived via Uber a little before 6 pm, which gave us a few minutes to talk with Ed before he had to set-up for the evening’s hungry patrons.

“I’ll let the food speak for itself,” he explained with an air of confidence, as he turned his attention to the task of prep work. I had no doubt Belle and I would later be impressed.

After finishing our first round, I went out to place our orders, only to find a crowd had already gathered around Amigosan. I knew that this was an encouraging sign.

Belle and I had ordered a wide-range of choices, though the choices that anyone can make can vary significantly between patrons. The menu choices are; pick your protein – chicken, steak, pork or tofu. Next, pick from which style you want with your flour tortilla:

  • Amigosan – Shredded Kale, Napa and red cabbage slaw, tossed in sesame soy dressing, finished with Cojita cheese and sweet and spicy aioli.
  • Taj Mahal – Curried fresh spinach, cucumber and carrots, spiced chickpeas with Masalia Curry aioli.
  • Sombrero – Shredded Romaine, tossed with southwest Caesar dressing, Mexican corn relish, Jack and Colby cheese, topped with Chipotle lime cream.
  • Thai Thai Again – Napa/Red Cabbage blended with peanut sauce, carrots, toasted coconut, finished with Sriracha Crema.

Belle and I selected; Amigoasn with steak, Thai Thai Again with Chicken, Loaded Tater tots, Amigosan style and Loaded Nachos styled Thai Thai Again, with steak. One of the most delightful things about the food is its presentation, ‘a feast-for-the-eyes’. Wonderful colors and arrangements make each entrée visually appealing. Next is the way it tantalizes the palate with a crunchy texture and a burst of dressing flavor in each bite, none overpowering the other.

shrimpAs we were finishing, Ed appeared at our table with a sampling of his nightly special. Just when I thought we had gotten away with a nearly perfect sampling of Amigosan, Chef Ed raised the bar – Shrimp so delicate, highlighted with Napa cabbage, carrots, cucumber with rice wine vinegar, wasabi aioli and black sesame seed. Now the evening had reached its gastronomic summit! I highly recommend you try Amigosan’s food truck some time soon. You won’t be disappointed.

Belle and I have found going to a local brewery where a food truck is on site with windows up a great way to end the workweek and start the weekend. No fuss, no frills – a great casual outing with good food and brews.

bruce_smStay hungry my friends

 

 

 

Bam Pow Chow at LoneRider Brewery

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bampowBelle and I decided to start the New Year with both; the new and familiar. We were able to do this by a return visit to The Saturday Market at Rebus Works in historic Boylan Heights. Belle wanted to replenish our stores with some meat selections from a local farm, Cooterville Farms. Both of us wanted to try “rookie of the year food truck” nominee, Bam Chow Pow, which just happen to be serving at the market on this Saturday. We wanted to sample their signature tacos, which consist of a half-folded deep fried egg roll wrapper, with a choice of; beef and bacon, cold smoked catfish, pulled pork or mushrooms with arugula and roasted red peppers. We ordered the sampler so we could taste each of the tacos. Our favorite taco was the beef, with the pork coming in second.

When we got to the window to place our order, Belle and I introduced ourselves to Chef Sean and his wife Lauire. Before ordering we discussed the inspiration behind their food truck and selections they offer in addition to how they liked the Triangle Area. Sean took this opportunity to tell us about an event he was eager to serve at LoneRider Brewing Company this upcoming Wednesday night. He was planning a menu to compliment the special cask tapping. When he described the menu, Duck leg confit ravioli with Swiss chard, butternut squash puree, pickled onions, five-spice veal jus and basil foam, we were fascinated. This was the opportunity Belle and I had been waiting for – pairing a visit to ‘The Hideout’ with something as decedent as duck leg confit ravioli seemed serendipitous.

loneriderWednesday was a brisk night for Raleigh but Belle and I ventured out to one of the Triangle Area’s admired breweries, LoneRider Brewing Company. We had put off this visit, but knew full well an opportunity to visit would present itself. As it happened this would be the night. There would be a special cask of ‘Sweet Josie Brown Ale’ infused with raspberries and chipotle, and a special food pairing of duck leg confit ravioli, an amazing presentation from Bam Pow Chow’s Chef Sean to complement this cask.

Since it would be a while before the special cask would be tapped, I started out with a Sweet Josie Brown Ale, a favorite that I had enjoyed on several occasions at area establishments, and took this opportunity to take in the ambiance. Ironically, ‘The Hideout’ reminded me of many of the dive bars dotted all along the Overseas Highway, from one end of the Florida Keys to the other, I had frequented in my youth. With the exception that The Hideout is devoid of boat-drinks and Hemmingway look-alikes. Most of the patrons seemed like regulars, and weren’t hiding under a palm tree, or an assumed name – for that matter. Our bar tender, Christina Osier, seemed professional and popular among her guests.

dishBefore long, the Sweet Josie Brown Ale infused with raspberries and chipotle was tapped and portioned out to eager, thirsty patrons. Next, Lauire came in from the cold, took our orders, and promised to return promptly. While waiting, I sampled the Sweet Josie Brown Ale special. It was rich with subtle tones of raspberries and a slight hint of the chipotle, nothing overpowering. Soon Lauire returned carrying two foil-covered plates. Peeling back the foil, what I found was astonishing; three crispy-fried raviolis, the size of beer coasters, elegantly flanked with butternut squash puree, garnished with pickled cherries, atop a veal jus and basil foam. It was by far the most impressive entrée that I have ever seen from a food truck to date! The ravioli were so plump with duck leg confit, that when I broke them open, seemed to expand two fold. To say that the portion was ample would be an understatement! I found the entrée to be incredibly balanced in every aspect, including texture. This was gourmet by every standard that my limited palate understood it to be, but there was more. No sooner than we had finished the Ravioli, when Lauire returned with dessert. Chef Sean had also prepared a Black Forest Cronut with a dark chocolate mousse, also garnished with brandied cherries. This meal had started splendid, but finished decadent.

The Belle and I left the Hideout, appreciating Chef Sean was a true culinary master in every aspect of the phrase. What is most amazing is the fact that he has chosen the simplest of conduits – a food truck – to convey his appreciation for culinary art to the people of the Triangle Area. I advise everyone to make an effort to sample Chef Sean’s culinary talents for themselves. Check out Bam Pow Chow’s calendar for locations near you. I promise, you will be amazed, even delighted but not disappointed!

bruce_smStay hungry my friends…Badboy

 

Sunday Roast at Fortnight Brewery

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fortnitSunday, traditionally a time to relax and reflect with friends and family can also be a time to replenish – preferably with food and drink – whether at home, or a place of gathering. In the Triangle Area, such locations abound. Belle, Traveler and I often use Sundays to explore new and interesting places that give us opportunities to inform our readers, providing them a variety of options. On occasion, we have gone to extremes, while on other occasions we have found options close to our base-of-operation. The example provided here is of the latter, surprisingly.

trali-logoMany of you are familiar with one of the Triangle’s esteemed breweries called, Fortnight Brewery, located in Cary, where locally handcrafted, English-styled ales are drawn for thirsty patrons to appreciate. The Friends of Triangle Street Eats are themselves, no strangers to this uniquely popular draft house, where regulars can sample English inspired ales while admiring the ‘brew-engines’ through huge, unobstructed glass panes. Most nights, patrons can also enjoy a rotating fare from popular Triangle food trucks. Recently however, Sundays have become somewhat special with a distinct difference. Fortnight has introduced the carvery, from Trali Irish Pub in Brier Creek, which consists of a roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, braised carrots and leeks and two kinds of potatoes – all for $12.50. Prepared by Chef Eamonn Kelly, this carvery luncheon will please the most discerning palate, as well as satisfy a ferocious appetite. The roast beef is served with gravy so delicate, that it lightly clings to the meat, almost like a glaze, providing a medium that enhances the flavor, instead of smothering it. According to Belle the Yorkshire pudding was perfect! Owners of Trali Irish Pub, Martin and Beth Mahon were on hand to talk with patrons, and were very eager to discuss with us other foods and events they have at their Brier Creek, and recently opened location in Morrisville. They also explained they planned on making this a Sunday tradition for the foreseeable future.

If you are looking for something distinctive, as well as unexpected, stop by Fortnight Brewery one Sunday – between 1 and 5 pm. There are sandwiches and children’s portions available as well. Arrive early and you can take Fortnight’s complementary brewery tours at: 2, 3 and 4 pm as well. Bonus!

bruce_smStay Hungry My Friends…Badboy

The Friends Celebrate Christmas: The Cary Theatre and Tupelo Honey Cafe

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The Christmas season and all of its various forms of celebration can be a time of great joy for some, while a sad depressing time for others. I have wonderful memories of the awe and wonder I felt as a child. My sisters and I loved to sing. We knew the words to nearly every Christmas song of the time. We would sing in the car, when we went to look at the Christmas lights. I am certain it drove my father crazy, but he never told us to stop. This could have been due to his being in a band during his younger years called the Hot ‘N’ Tots. He played banjo.

leftmarginBelle, Bad Boy and I looked for some type of Christmas show to go to celebrate our spirit of Christmas and our friendship. I suggested going to see White Christmas. It advertised as a sing-along, which immediately brought back childhood memories. I loved the movie and watched it every Christmas, sometimes more than once. I suggested it to Belle and she agreed. The Bad Boy was dragged kicking and screaming. None of us had thought to get tickets in advance to the refurbished downtown Cary Theatre. We arrived at the door after jockeying for a parking spot, to see a sign stating the performance had been sold out. We were very disappointed and were turning to leave when a woman popped her head out of the door and told us the woman behind the ticket counter wanted to speak with us. We went inside and the woman asked how many tickets we needed. I told her three, she handed me the tickets, said Merry Christmas and there would be no charge. We gave her our heartfelt thanks, and got in line to enter the theatre.

whitechristmasWe were given a bag the contained a booklet with the words to the songs in the movie, jingle bells and a bag of “snow”. We were given both written and verbal instructions of our sing-along duties.

  • Anytime someone said snow, throw a bit of fake snow in the air
  • Anytime someone said Christmas, ring your bell
  • Anytime someone kissed on screen, make an “oooh” sound or wolf whistle
  • Anytime Phil (Danny Kay) touches his arm (war injury) say “awwww”
  • Anytime someone lights a cigarette/pipe, start coughing under your breath
  • Anytime Betty (Rosemary Clooney) makes a sour face, make a hissing sound or loud “Meeeeoooow”
  • Anytime Major Waverly is present put your hands in the air and wave

The theatre was packed so we sat up close and personal on the front row. Excited moviegoers surrounded us. The group had teenagers who were stating they had never seen the movie and did not recognize any of the songs. The Bad Boy admitted he had never seen the movie and Belle stated she had only seen it once, so that made me the seasoned movie viewer. This has to be hands down the best holiday event I have attended. There was full-on audience participation. People sang loudly, oohed and awed, coughed, whistled, hissed or meowed and threw the fake snow. By the end, the audience and the theatre were both covered in snow. People were smiling and laughing as they left the theatre and all had a great time. I heartily recommend this event and plan on going next year. A special thanks to Joy Ennis and her staff for organizing this great Christmas event. Great job! Our next step in our celebration was the Tupelo Honey Café.


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tupelo-logo


We had been hearing great things about this new eating spot and it truly lived up to its reputation. We were immediately greeted and seated. Our wait staff member, Melanie, immediately made us feel welcome and special. We were pleased with the décor and the atmosphere at the café.

We started the meal with fried green tomatoes and Appalachian egg rolls. Melanie was checking on us, to make sure were enjoying our meal. She asked if we liked the appetizers. When I am asked, I give an honest answer. I told her that we had not like the fried green tomatoes, and Belle had agreed. We loved the egg rolls and felt they could be a meal in themselves. She looked concerned and sent the manager, Reed Tester to our table. He apologized and asked what was wrong. We explained we did a blog and were doing a review on the restaurant. I told him the concerns about the tomatoes; cut too thick, not fully cooked and lacking seasoning. He thanked me for the feedback and offered to get us a different appetizer. We declined, but he did send-over a wonderful dessert after we finished our meal. We were very pleased with his demeanor and the attitude of respecting the customer. A big thumbs up for the Tupelo Honey Café customer service!

chickenThe Bad Boy ordered the Fried Chicken and Biscuit entry. The dish was plated well, the chicken was moist and flavorful enhanced by the crispy ham and basil served over buttermilk biscuits. We give it 4 tires. Bob and Jack were both pleased with their small taste and agreed it was definitely a 4.

Belle ordered the Shrimp and Grits. It consisted of 7 large shrimp served with goat cheese, ground grits with a red pepper sauce. For a mere 45 cents per ingredient, add-ons could be done. Belle chose to add bacon and mushrooms, and to have less spice added. The grits were smooth and velvety, with great flavor, with the shrimp sautéed to perfection. We agree, as did Bob and Jack this was a hit and was unanimously rated a 4.

p-chopI ordered the Grilled Bone-in Pork Chop with Braised Figs. The chop was hand cut, weighing 12 ounces. I was moist and tender, with its taste enhanced by the braised figs. The combination was delightful. I substituted the smashed cauliflower for the sweet potatoes and they were tasty. Once again it was a hit around the table and with my boys Bob and Jack, receiving 4s.

We were served a succulent piece of pecan pie. It was sweet, but not too sweet topped with whipped cream. It was rich and decadent. We enjoyed it so much Bob and Jack did not get to sample it. We just won’t tell them. The Tupelo Honey Café is a definite place to go. We plan on returning soon to enjoy the gastronomical delights and the outstanding customer service. Valet parking is a plus. We drove around Cameron Village enjoying the Christmas lights and decorations.

We arrived back to the house and it was time to exchange gifts. I hope the Bad Boy and the Belle were as pleased with their gifts as I was with mine. It was a wonderful day spent with friends, which hold a very special place in my heart.

mary_smMerry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

Fortnight Beer Dinner at Academy Street Bistro

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With 24-hour news and social media bombarding us all day and night, I decided not to become consumed by it. I limit my news sources to three: MSNBC Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski; The Skimm, a daily email newsletter founded by Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin; and Twitter, all you need to know about what’s happening in the Triangle in a 140 characters.   Both Morning Joe and The Skimm are great for world and national news. As a blogger of Triangle happenings, restaurants and food trucks, I count on Twitter to keep me abreast of Triangle news and events. In the past several months I had noticed tweets about “Beer Dinners.” Now beer, particularly local micro beer, is one of Bad Boy and my favorite beverages; so I needed to check this out.

A Beer Dinner is the process of paring food dishes with beer to enhance the dining experience. This modern art of food and beer parings is a relatively recent phenomenon and doesn’t depend on a “set of rules.” It’s all about local cuisines paired with local craft beers. From the tweets it appeared a local brewery and restaurant would partner to present a 5-7 course beer dinner and you would either have to make reservations or buy tickets for it. Well, it’s food and beer (two of our favorite things) and Bad Boy and I just had to do a Beer Dinner.

bistro_logoWe were in luck, Academy Street Bistro, a restaurant we had on our list to try, and Fortnight Brewery were having a Beer Dinner. This was perfect for us. We arrived via Uber and walked into a cozy, friendly atmosphere. Although small groups had formed, we were warmly accepted into one. As we began munching on appetizers and sipping a porter, we found out this was a first Beer Dinner for everyone in our group. After the reception, we moved into the dinning room for the main event. There were two long tables set up for dining which afforded participants easy conversation and comradely.

As each plate was served Derek Garman, head brewer and Colin Spark, account manager from Fortnight Brewery, told us about our beer/ale selection and Chef Brian Fitzgerald, a CIA trained chef, expanded on our course and how flavors of the beer and food played off and complimented each other. Our courses and beer pairings are shown below:

menu

My favorite plates for the night were the Diver Sea Scallops and Roasted stuffed Pork Loin. Bad Boy agreed with me about the Scallops, but the Pastrami Spiced Venison Medallions was his other favorite. Before dessert was served, Colin explained how the special cask were made and Derek gave us a demonstration on how to infuse beer using a French Press. We ended our beer dinner with a wonderful dessert paired with a Chocolate-Cherry Stout-Special Cask.

brianAfter the dinner we had the opportunity to meet Chef Brian and his sister-in-law MaryLynn. They shared the story behind Academy Street Bistro, how MaryLynn convinced Chef Brian to re-locate and open a farm to table restaurant in downtown Cary. Thanks to both Chef Brian and MaryLynn for making great food available to the residents of Cary. Bad Boy and I will definitely be returning, maybe for Sunday Brunch.

Our first Beer Dinner was a great experience and when things calm down after the Holidays we will be checking Twitter for other Beer Dinners to attend. We highly recommend you make reservations for a beer dinner to enjoy all of the culinary delights and local beer the Triangle has to offer.

s_belle_smCheers to Triangle breweries and restaurants – Belle

Cockadoodlemoo at Foodie Fest – Waverley Place, Cary, NC

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Waverly Place in Cary, NC hosts many family oriented events throughout the year. On Saturday, November 8th, between 11am – 2pm, the Local Foodie Fest was held in front of the Whole Foods Market, who hosted the event. Billed as a local lunch, several food trucks, as well as one new addition to the growing food truck fleet in the Triangle, Cockadoodlemoo, and two favorites among food truck enthusiast, Olio and Aceto and Halal Brothers attended the event. Also on hand were Patrick Jane’s Pizza, located in the Shoppes of Kildare and Humdinger Juice.

mooThe friends took the opportunity to review the new addition to the food truck fleet, Cockadoodlemoo, and introduce ourselves to the proprietors, Doug and Jolie Rollins, as well as give a review of the fare. Cockadoodlemoo had been following us on twitter for several months before this, and we felt that we were already acquainted. The food offered by Cockadoodlemoo consisted of many North Carolina favorites, including; pulled-pork, pork rinds and beef brisket. The menu also included; chicken and waffles, French fries, chili cheese fries and turkey and black-bean chili. It was apparent immediately that Cockadoodlemoo was following a ‘farm-to-table’ approach to their cuisine, which is fast becoming popular among food truck venders, as well as patrons in the food truck culture. Their ‘Raven’ used beef brisket from Mills Family Farm, while the ‘State Divided’ pulled-pork sandwich offered pork from Seven Springs Farm. The ‘Foghorn’ and the ‘Ro-Ro’ offered chicken from Walk Ahead Farms.

We each ordered an entrée from the menu and sampled it. I had always been fascinated by the nation-wide phenomenon of chicken-and-waffles, but had yet to have the opportunity of trying it for myself, so I ordered the Ro-Ro. A delicately buttermilk fried chicken breast, served with a waffle, with spicy/sweet molasses butter. The Traveler ordered the State Divided, which featured Seven Springs Farms pork, apple wood/hickory smoked, served with a crispy slaw. It can be dressed with either a vinegar style BBQ sauce, or a tomato/molasses BBQ sauce, hence the name, ‘State Divided’, depending on which part of North Carolina you hail from. Belle ordered, The Raven, which is made from a smoked Angus chuck from Mills Family Farm, and served on a grilled ciabatta bun with apple-horseradish slaw on top. We also ordered the fresh, sweet-and-spicy pork rinds, French fries and a chocolate chunk cookie. Below are our critiques of each dish.

beefThe Raven – Moist and delicious, made from Mills Family Farm smoked Angus chuck, toped with an apple-horseradish slaw, between as grilled ciabatta roll, served with quick-pickles. This sandwich is hearty and satisfying. We gave it high-marks across the board, including Jack and Bob.

The State Divided – An extravagant sandwich, made with a porkhearty portion of Seven Springs apple wood/hickory smoked pork, with crispy slaw on top. Moist, tender and delicious, the friends all gave this entrée high-marks, and praise. Jack and Bob also enjoyed a few morsels of this, and found it pleasing to their pallet.

The Ro-Ro – What could be better, a hearty chicken breast, with a wafflesspicy-sweet molasses glazing drizzled over, between two crispy, delicate waffles! Even the quick-pickles seemed to complement the entrée. Call me an official fan of the chicken-and-waffles craze. However, the same could not be said for my cohorts. They both gave this dish low marks, leaving me to wander if chicken-and-waffles is a ‘guy-thing’. It seems that more research will be needed to determine if this, in fact, is the case. Among the two cats, they too were divided, and only Jack found it delicious.

rinesSweet-and-spicy Pork Rinds – These were truly the biggest surprise. Light, delicate and flavorful, the pork rinds were not typical of others we had tried anywhere. We all gave this side high-marks. The cats were again divided in their review, and only Jack found the rinds to his liking.

After eating, we mingled with a few other people who had attended and asked them of what they thought of the small, informal event. It seemed that most people had enjoyed their selection, regardless of which truck they had patronized. We also had an opportunity to talk with one of the organizers of the event, Ken Weeks, with Farm Brands Food Distributers. Ken told us that he works hard to bring local grocer, like Whole Foods, to bruce_smappreciate – and support – local farms like those mentioned above. We at Triangle Street Eats applaud your effort Ken, and hope that your passion to bring local NC brands to retail grocery stores is a success. I’ve learned that, if you follow your passion, you’ll live fewer days disappointed with your choice of occupation. – Bad boy

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Brunch at First Watch Café

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first-watch-logoThe Friends decided to check out the First Watch Café in Raleigh. We knew it must be good because when we arrived the parking lot was full and we snagged a spot as someone was leaving. Once inside there was line to get a table. We were willing to wait. We grabbed a menu and started planning our brunch/breakfast. After a short wait of approximately 10 minutes, we were taken to a booth that was a snug fit. We continued to pour over the menu to make our selections.

The Belle chose the Swisshroom; consisting ham, house-roasted Crimini mushrooms and onions with fresh herbs and Swiss. She had coffee and an English muffin. She was happy with her choice. The Bad Boy selected the pumpkin pancakes, with eggs over easy and chicken sausage. He thought his pancakes were great, giving the complement to the Chef by cleaning his entire plate. The Traveler chose The Market Hash consisting of two eggs any style atop a hash of fresh, seasoned potatoes, house-roasted Crimini mushrooms, zucchini, onions and red peppers with spinach, melted mozzarella and herbed goat cheese. The portion could have easily been shared with another.   I was pleased with my meal.

youfirstThe ambiance of First Watch was pleasant. It was artfully decorated. The wait staff was warm and friendly, readily offering suggestions and refilling drinks. I feel they follow their mission statement. The Friends agreed First Watch was definitely a place to return to. We gave it rating 4 out of 5.

-Travelermary_sm

The Faire Experience – Only Fair at Best

Belle and I had originally planned to go to the Western Wake Farmer’s Market and Craft Fair, but due to the cold, rainy weather we decided we would start our day of adventure later. I needed to run some errands and arrived to Belle’s around 1 pm. We contacted Uber, since parking can be difficult and there were other events going on downtown.   We like the fact that Uber drops us off at the Duke Energy Center.

men-womenThe Belle and I attended a wonderful comedy, called Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus. Neither of us had known what to expect, but were familiar with the book written by John Gray. When the lights came on, we were delighted by the comedy of Peter Story, who had ironically debuted the original play in February 2013 in Raleigh. Peter Story covered everything from dating and marriage to the bedroom in a hilarious manner. The laughter from the audience never stopped. I was not familiar with this energetic, talented standup comedian so I looked him up to see what else he had starred in. I found that Story had appeared on CSI, Without a Trace, Ugly Betty and recurring roles on The Tonight Show and Rob Lowe’s The Lyon’s Den.

faire-logoThe Friends were excited about the opening of another restaurant by the Eschelon Hospitality Group called Faire, located at Cameron Village in Raleigh. Faire boasted an unprecedented dining experience, stating their “land and sea” menu was anything but standard; taking classic American favorites, and giving them an updated, locally inspired spin.   It was indeed an unprecedented dining experience; one that the Friends will not repeat.

We do reviews of various eating experiences to promote locally owned business, because we feel it was important to support businesses in our community. We do it because of our unique backgrounds and our love of food. We give an honest critique of eating establishments and take no pleasure when we give a bad review, which is based on our dining experience. We did discuss problems with the manager, since we realized the restaurant had only been open for two-weeks, but we felt like our issues were not taken seriously.

The Faire Experience:

diningroomWe called for a reservation for 6:30 and were told there were no reservations available, but we could come at 5 or 5:30. We drove to the restaurant and looked for parking since there was no valet parking available. We drove around the block twice and finally parked in the bank parking lot across the street. The parking for the restaurant was not well marked. The atmosphere in Faire is best described as aloof. The waitress would engage if spoken to, but otherwise was non-conversant. She gave good service otherwise.

demurWe decided to get two appetizers to share, the pork belly and Fruits de Mer: which consisted of chilled oysters, shrimp, jumbo lump crab, smoked mussels, lemon, horseradish and spicy carrot “ketchup”. Though the pork belly was good, the ‘Fruits de Mer’ was a different story. The oyster lacked any liquor in the half shell, the shrimp were medium sized, the mussels were okay, but the crabmeat was bad. It should have never been served. There was no way the person preparing the Fruits de Mer didn’t know that the crabmeat had passed-its-prime. It smelled and tasted fishy.

Wbuffloe told the waitress and the manager, Jamie Greaves, who came to our table and inquired what was wrong. We told him the crab was bad. He argued, stating the crab was fresh. The bad crab was removed and replaced with three oysters at our request. Next came our entries. Belle ordered the rib eye steak, medium well with the truffle fries. Bad Boy had the swordfish with Brussel sprouts. I selected the bison steak with Au Poivre cracked black pepper crust, brandy, Dijon gravy and mashed potatoes. The side dishes were large enough to share with the entire table. The waitress should have made this clear. The food was lukewarm when it arrived to our table and cooled off quickly.

swordfishThe Bad Boy was satisfied with his swordfish and Brussel sprouts. Belle felt her rib eye was not a high-end quality cut and her truffle fries were cold and limp, lacking in the truffle taste. My entrée, the bison was over cooked and tough. The mashed potatoes were average along with the gravy. Overall we rated the entries as 5 out of 10 and the appetizers 1 out of 10. The best offering for the day was the Amuse consisting of duck confit with beet oil and micro-greens

We were still hungry so ordered dessert from the very limited menu. We selected the Peanut Butter Mousse Cake. The cake was good; the ice cream crumbled which indicated it was over frozen and the spicy peanuts did not belong on the dish.

We came to the restaurant with high expectations and left deflated. We had taken the time after eating to speak with the manager about our concerns. He seemed indifferent to any of them and suggested we return in three months time to evaluate the restaurant again. A restaurant with the provenance of one affiliated with Eschelon Experiences shouldn’t take three months, let alone three days, to work out minor kinks in staffing and suppliers. Dining should not be a dress rehearsal for staff on unsuspecting customers! It was obvious that the customer is not valued. Additionally at the front station, the wait staff would congregate and talk. We found this to be very disturbing. We did discuss this with the manager, but what could he say, since he was just as guilty of congregating in this location as the wait staff.

We asked the table next to us if they had enjoyed their meal and they had readily said yes. They had the swordfish. However based on our experience, we will not be returning or recommending others go to Faire, unless they order the Swordfish. – Traveler

mary_sm

Full Moon Oyster Bar

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the-full-moon-2On Friday nights Belle and Bad Boy usually close the work week with a casual meal out and then a little grocery shopping for the week ahead. Last Friday was just cool enough to start thinking about oysters. I had read about the Full Moon Oyster Bar, a small North Carolina chain with locations in Clemmons and Southern Pines, opening on Monday in Morrisville. Bad Boy was all in at the suggestion to check out the Full Moon Oyster Bar.

When we stepped in the door, I wanted to shout “woo-hoo!” Here was a true oyster bar – no tables, just a long bar running around the inside with shuckers serving up raw and steamed oysters from behind the bar. Just like the oyster bars from my younger days, the Full Moon Oyster Bar makes you feel like you are at one of your favorite hangouts. As Randy Russell, the owner, says, “Come as a stranger, leave as a friend.” Everyone is extremely friendly with a “hello, can I help you, or have you tried.” The staff is not only friendly but very knowledgeable about the menu and the many varieties of oysters available. At Full Moon you can choose oysters from the waters of the Gulf and Atlantic Shores. Just ask Jonas Glascoe, manager, about the different varieties. His descriptions of the different oysters are so good that you can almost taste them.

During our visit we had the opportunity to meet and talk with Randy and his wife. In just a few minutes, we saw how passionate Randy is about The Full Moon Oyster Bar from the quality of food to the quality of service. Randy also explained, “Fresh oysters are best prepared using hot steam to preserve the salty goodness.” He took the time to tell us the history behind the Full Moon Oyster Bar as well as talk about the menu. He enthusiastically pointed out a couple of items he thought we should try such as the Quarter Moon appetizer and a slice of one of the home made cakes for dessert.

It took just a minute for us to make our selections. We decided to start with the stuffed mushrooms followed by a steamed combination of oysters and shrimp. Taking Randy’s suggestion into consideration, Bad Boy decided to also try the Quarter Moon. Now, the Quarter Moon is a house specialty featuring a raw oyster on a saltine cracker with jalapeno, horseradish, black pepper and hot sauce. If you eat four of these you can say “you shot the full moon.” This feat also earns you a tee shirt. As we were ordering Jonas, the manager, stopped by and after hearing Bad Boy had ordered a Quarter Moon, he offered a couple of pointers on how to eat it. Jonas also pointed out the nice selection of craft beers they have on tap and offered some suggestions once he found out our taste in beer.

We definitely enjoyed the “Full Moon Experience.” The atmosphere and service was great, the staff friendly and knowledgeable, and the food was prepared “just right”. Thanks to Randy and Carol, Jonas, Ashley, Chelsea and Terri Lynn for a great experience. We will return!

By the way Bad Boy reports that the Quarter Moon is HOT! He has challenged The Traveler (who is always saying, “It’s not hot enough for me”) to “shoot the full moon.” I believe she has accepted the challenge. For “shoot the full moon” challenge updates follow us on Twitter @TriStreetEats. – Belle

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“Just-for-the-Fair” Food Truck

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Just-for-the-Fair Food Truck is one of the food trucks you’ll find at the NC State Fair this year. This food truck is the brain child of American Culinary Federation North Carolina Chapter (ACF of NC). The ACFofNC Just-for-the-Fair Food Truck is run by numerous chef volunteers and students during the fair and a significant amount of the proceeds will go towards a scholarship program to help inspiring chefs to succeed. They developed a menu just for the State Fair based on local favorites. Here is a sample of the Just-for-the-Fair Menu:

BBQ Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Hush Puppy, batter fried and served

w/Still There Shine BBQ Sauce

Cajun Seared Catfish PoBoy with Creamy Cole Slaw and Remoulade Sauce

Carolina Breaded Chicken Tenders with Sweet Potato Fries and Siracha Ranch Sauce

Sweet Potato Waffle Fries

Le Bleu Bottled Water

Cheerwine

Still There Shine Sauce

edandcrewThe bright yellow Just-for-the-Fair food truck caught our eye when we came out of the Scott Building and we went over to check it out. We were greeted by two very enthusiastic chef volunteers, Chris and Jeff. They were happy to share the concept of the ACF of NC project. But first they wanted us to meet the other volunteers, Ed, Karl and LJ, working on the truck this night. To our surprise Ed was our friend, Ed Sautro, owner of Amigosan who was donating the use of the Amigosan truck for the fair. While Jeff was taking orders and Karl and LJ were busy cooking them, Chris and Ed gave us the details of the project from the menu selection to the scholarship program. We ended our night at the Fair with a great meal of the BBQ Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Hush Puppies and Cajun Seared Catfish PoBoy with some Sweet Potato fries.

The ACF of NC Just-for-the-Fair Food Truck is located between the Midway and the Scott Building, along the easternmost side of the Fair, near Gate 11. Please stop by and enjoy some locally inspired food. S. Belle.

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