Relay Foods – A Different Kind of Food Truck


Operations.TrucksRelay Foods is an innovative online grocery company with a mission to bring the best in local produce, sustainable foods and everyday groceries directly to their customers. Relay offers about 8,000 products in their catalog; 30% of the catalog is sourced locally to the markets they serve. With simple online ordering and convenient home delivery or free pick up, Relay Foods is changing the way people get their groceries, simplifying the process and raising the standards for local quality. Launched in Charlottesville, VA in 2009, Relay Foods has quickly grown to serve much of Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore metro areas. Now they are growing their market in the Triangle Area with pick-up sites in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Morrisville and Cary.

The Friends discovered Relay Foods at Pop-Up Sunday Market and signed up for their promotional offer. We were very pleased with our first experience and found Relay Foods to be a dynamic online grocery company. First we “shopped” at Relay Foods online from our home computer (you can also use you mobile device). After our cart was filled, our order was hand bagged, making sure of freshness, cleanliness and accuracy. It was then placed on one of the Relay trucks to be delivered at one of the many pick up spots.

Recently Relay Foods has added a new meal planning service that takes the ease of shopping with Relay one step further. With the meal planning, you can shop by meals rather than individual ingredients. There are several different meal plans with 3-4 meals in each plan. You can pick and chose meals from different plans, making menu planning a snap! For now, this service is still in beta mode; that means Relay is giving customers access to it in small groups. Relay Foods reached out to The Friends to see if we would like to participate in the beta testing. We were excited and happy to take part in this.


“The Meal Plan Beta Test”

IMG_2010We planned to do this for one of our Saturday at-home-dinners. Last weekend, Traveler and I tried out one of the meals from “Flavors to Fall in Love With” meal plans. Traveler selected the Simple Strip Steak with Mushroom Bacon Risotto meal. Relay Foods home delivery service brought our order right to the door late Friday afternoon. I could hardly wait to unpack our order see what we had to work with. I unpacked our groceries to take an inventory making sure we had everything called for in the recipes. After verifying we had everything needed, I put it away.

IMG_2027When Traveler arrived Saturday afternoon, we reviewed the recipes from the Relay meal plan and made our game plan for the Simple Strip Steak with Mushroom Bacon Risotto dinner from Relay Foods. Since the steak needed to marinate for at least 2 hours, we made the simple marinade of olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, rubbed it on the steak and set it aside to rest for two hours. Using simple seasonings enhanced the rich pure flavor of this great steak.

IMG_1487According to our game plan, Traveler would take pictures and tweet out our prepping and cooking of the meal. Since the Mushroom Bacon Risotto would take longer, I would prep for and cook the risotto so Traveler would have time to do plenty of tweeting. As I finished up the risotto, Traveler would prepare the Strip Steak. Our planning and timing of meal prep and cooking was spot on. Both the steak and risotto came off at the same time and we plated a very eye-pleasing meal. We found the meal to be as tasty as it looked.

IMG_2034Traveler and I enjoyed our experience with Relay’s Meal Plan. Shopping by meals rather than individual ingredients is very convenient. You don’t have to worry about finding out you have forgotten something when you begin to prepare the meal because Relay’s Meal Planning has taken care of this. We found the recipes easy to follow using simple cooking techniques to complete a delicious meal.   Traveler and I recommend giving Relay Foods Meal Planning a try. It’s great for busy people on the go.



Trial By Fire: Battle – Benjamin vs. Ryan


logo2How it works: Paying guests get to sample each course in a blind tasting alongside a panel of culinary and celebrity judges in a series of 15 dinner competitions hosted in the four regions of the state. Each evening, two restaurants “battle” it out side-by-side in a single elimination format. Guests savor a six-course menu (three dishes from each chef without knowing whose food they’re tasting) created around a “secret” ingredient. For almost all series, the secret ingredient will come from a North Carolina source. The secret ingredient is revealed to the chefs only an hour before they start cooking and it must be used in each of their three courses Diners, alongside culinary and guest judges, will rate each dish and determine who moves to the next round and who goes home. Quarter Final Round – both chefs have competed and won in the first round of competition.

Contestants: Chef Benjamin Harris from the Midtown Grill and Chef Ryan Conklin CEC from Rex Healthcare At stake is a grand prize of $2,500 and a coveted red chef jacket.

Location: Fire in the Triangle takes place in Raleigh, at 1705 Prime, E Millbrook.

Secret Ingredient #1: Chestnut Flour

High Rock Farm is currently the largest chestnut orchard in the mid-Atlantic. With over five hundred chestnut trees High Rock Farm produces about 26,000 pounds a year of chestnuts. Harvesting happens between September and October. This is done by picking up the chestnuts by hand every day.  Once in the barn the chestnuts go through a cleaning and sorting process which removes the unwanted debris from the nuts as well as any weevil eggs. After the nuts are sorted into various sizes the chestnuts are then stored in cold storage before they are shipped off to market. Some of the chestnuts are dried and are sold as kernels. These can be re-hydrated and then used in a wide range of foods and assorted dishes. Many of the nuts are dried and grounded into gluten free flour and sold at market. Since the chestnut is naturally gluten free the flour remains gluten free since it is grounded chestnuts with no additives.

Secret Ingredient #2: Certified Angus Beef

In 1981, Joe and his wife, Robin, began Back Creek in Mt. Ulla, N.C. He says they wanted something they could do together – and the decision to raise Angus cattle is one he’s never regretted.

Angus is everywhere these days. Over the last couple of decades it’s even become a bit of a buzzword. It’s true. Angus beef is good. But the Certified Angus Beef ® brand? It’s on an entirely different level. It defines the standard by which all beef is measured. No shortcuts and with a virtual obsession with flavor and juiciness.

Topo Distillery and the North Carolina Beer Guys supplied drinks. I loved my spicy Bloody Mary again last night. While we were waiting a basket of bread supplied by La Farm Bakery was placed on our table.

Table 4, my favorite table, consisted of Gwynn a psychology professor from Meredith College, her husband Brad a manager at SAS, Alison and Justin psychologists. (It is a small world Justin was from a dairy farm turned cattle ranch from upstate NYC close to where my Father’s came from.) Erin, Matt and Rebecca. These couples have been experimenting with food by hosting a supper club monthly.

Shaluka Perera co-founder of Nicklepoint Brewing; Shaluka also works at IBM. His partner Bruce Corregan, also a former IBM employee was not able to attend. They are pleased with their rapid rise in the microbrewery in the Triangle region, providing Strong Scotch Ale or Nickelpoint English IPA for the nights beer drinking pleasure.

Nickelpoint Brewing Co.® is a craft microbrewery located in Five Points neighborhood north of Raleigh, North Carolina offering classic European style ales. It is a family and dog friendly establishment. It was nice making a new friend. Located at 506 Pershing Road in Raleigh, NC 27608

First Course: Dashi: Black Garlic, Homemade High Rock Farm Chestnut Flour Pasta Braised CertAngusBeef Tri-Tip, Smoked Fennel Kimchi prepared by Chef Harris; receiving a score of 27.21

Second Course: Latin Braised CertAngusBeef Tri-Tip: High Rock Farm Chestnut Flour-Crusted Butternut Squash Guacamole, Perry Lowe Orchards Pink Lady Apple-Fennell-Radish Salad prepared by Chef Conklin; receiving a score of 29.82

Third Course: Carpetbagger: High Rock Farm Chestnut Flour-Fried Virginia Oyster, Grilled Tri-Tip, Benton’s Bacon Emulsion, Goat Lady Dairy Chevre goat cheese Polenta, Foy Farms Radish Sprout and Harissa prepared by Chef Harris; receiving a score of 30.49

Fourth Course: Seared @CertAngusBeef Tri-Tip: High Rock Farm Chestnut Flour & Cocoa Crust, Smokey Red Chimichurri, Scott Farms Sweet Potato-Bacon-Farro Salad, Avocado Purée and Foy Farms Radish Sprouts prepared by Chef Conklin; with a score of 28.18

Fifth Course: Buttermilk Cake: Meringue, Carbonated-Pickled North Carolina Blueberries, Chestnut Flour Crumble and White Chocolate Cream prepared by Chef Harris; with a score of 27.87

Sixth Course: Free Form Cobbler: Perry Lowe Orchards Caemo Apple- Chestnut Flour-Foie Gras Cobbler, White Chocolate Semi Freddo and Butter Pecan Syrup prepared by Chef Conklin; with a score of 29.71

The winner was Chef Ryan Conklin CEC of Rex Healthcare with a score of 29.23 over Chef Benjamin Harris with a score of 28.52. It was a battle to the end, who both chefs preparing an outstanding culinary experience.

The talk at our table was questioning how a Hospital Chef could be competing in Trial by Fire. After learning Chef Conklin had been a chef at the Four Seasons in NYC, we quickly were made aware of Chef Conklin’s abilities and why he is helping to change hospital dining along with the other Blackhat Chefs.

A special mention to Felicia Perry, for all the tweets and retweet. Trish W @tdub_hokie, who I met and enjoyed her tweets, as well as making a new friend. Also, a shout-out to the elusive Triangle Explorer, who I finally had the opportunity to met. Now that we have met, I hope to speak with you at other events.

I have my ticket to attend the battle on Feb. 17 to see Chef Spencer of the Weathervane battle with Chef Brandon Stark of Michael’s Seafood Restaurant.

mary_smUntil next time – The Traveler
























Holly Springs Art Festival


hollyspringstownlogoThe Holly Springs Arts Council celebrated the arts with the 3rd Annual Holly Springs Community Arts Festival February 4-7 held at the Holly Springs Cultural Center. This year’s celebration was center around the theme of “Winter Blues.” During the celebration the Arts Council had planned multiple activities including classes, live auction, Art Vendor show and a gala fundraising evening with a silent auction and featuring a performance from Scott Ainslie, a delta blues musician. The funds raised will support the Holly Springs Arts Council and its efforts to promote the arts in the community.

The Arts Council had planned several activities for Saturday: An Art Vendor Show, Art exhibit, and food trucks. Traveler and Belle decided this would be a nice way to spend the morning, maybe do a little shopping at the Vendor show and then enjoy fare from a food truck we had wanted to try. The Art Vendor Show featured local artists and crafters. There were clay sculptures, photography, quilts, hand dyed silks, handmade jewelry and soaps among the items on display and for sale. After strolling through the vendor show and enjoying the art on exhibit, we headed out to the food trucks.

We found that the lines had already begun to form for the three food trucks in attendance: Dusty Donuts, Olio and Aceto and Kocina. Dusty Donuts has Hot and Fresh Mini Donuts ‘dusted’ with cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar or chocolate sugar. Olio and Aceto was offering several sandwiches including the Southern BLT with fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese. They also had Cinnamon Sugar Zeppole, a deep-fried Italian pastry filled with custard. Kocina food truck features authentic homemade Latin and Spanish cuisine from empanadas to paella. In the past The Friends have enjoyed the fare from both Dusty Donuts and Olio and Aceto and recommend putting them on your list of food trucks to try. Since Kocina was on The Friends list to try, The Traveler headed Kocina’s way to make the selections for lunch we would take back so Bad Boy could also enjoy the experience. Belle also got Zeppole from Olio and Aceto for a sweet finish to our lunch.


Belle and I love and support the endeavors of local artists. An Artist, artisan, artiste are persons having superior skill or ability, or who are capable of producing superior work. Based on this definition a food truck chef is an artist and this definitely describes JP Murcia of the Kocina Food truck who serving patrons at the Art Show in Holly Springs. JP was born in Columbia, South America. He lived in NYC for many years working as a Chef for NYU and other facilities in the New York area before coming to the Triangle to work for the Duke Hospital system. He worked there for seven years before becoming the Chef for IBM. He now is the owner/Chef for the Kocina Food truck.

Triangle Street Eats has wanted to sample the offerings of the Kocina Food truck for nearly a year and we were not disappointed. We selected Beef Empanadas, which are a popular snack in Colombia; basically a fried meat pie. The Kocina Empanada is a tasty treat. The meat is well seasoned – not spicy, and the crust is tender and easy to eat. We would come back for more!

The Arepa, is a delicious grilled cornmeal patties filled with sweet or savory ingredients. The Kocina arepa is filled with Ropa Vieja. Ropa Vieja literally means “old clothes” in Spanish. The name describes the shreds of meat and vegetables, which resemble colorful strips of rags. We found the flavor and texture to be excellent. It was one of the best I have tasted and definitely recommend it!

The Choripan was chorizo sausage link split and served on crusty bread. Chorizo is a variety of heavily seasoned sausage, either cured or fresh, that is common in Spanish and Mexican cuisine. It had the consistency and taste of a Kielbasa sauce, non-spicy.

The final selection was the Parmesan Roasted Corn on a stick. The corn, while hot had a great flavor, which was enhanced by the slight char and the subtle cheese.

We enjoyed the offerings of the Kocina Food Truck and will return. We want to make sure we try the Paella and see Chef JP’s spin on it. Thumbs Up to the Kocina Food Truck and we recommend following them so you can sample their food.

mary_smTill next time – The Traveler

Restaurant Week – The Piedmont, Durham, NC


  • Executive Chef: Ben Adams
  • Location: 401-B2 Foster St. Durham, NC 27701
  • Phone: 919-683-1213

Emblem_Triangle2015v4Piedmont Restaurant in Durham was the last designation for The Friends during their Triangle Restaurant Week adventure. Piedmont is known for using local, organic and sustainable NC products. According to their Facebook page Piedmont states, “Our food is inspired by seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers and purveyors.”

Ben Adams is the chef at Piedmont. By chance earlier in the week, Traveler had attended one of the Trial-by-Fire events in the Triangle NC Competition Dining Events where Chef Adams was one of the competing chefs. In his bio for this event, Chef Adams says, “My cooking style is modern American, refined comfort, seasonally driven and local.” The dishes Chef Adams creates are innovative and exemplify the farm to table concept done right.

logo-smallWe took a few minutes to look over the menu and make our selections. Piedmont’s Restaurant Week menu was varied and large enough to allow us each to select something different and share tastings around the table. During the NC Competition Dining event Traveler met Jennifer Noble Kelly, the publicist for Piedmont Restaurant, and shared that Piedmont was one of our choices for Restaurant Week. Jennifer told Traveler to let her know when we would be dining at Piedmont. Traveler made sure Jennifer knew we were on our way. To our surprise we were treated to additional appetizers Pan-seared scallops and house-made fettuccini with NC blue crab, trout roe with a smokey crème fraiche off the regular menu. The scallops were seared to perfection and locked in the tender juices. The fettuccini had the most delicate sauce that tasted fantastic.

The Traveler choices for the night were fried NC oysters for a starter and Smoked spiced-rubbed Green Buttons Farm’s pork chop accompanied by Shotgun Betty-braised cabbage and pine roasted fingerlings. The pork chop was juicy and flavorful and the cabbage cooked to perfection.

I decided on Lil’ Farm’s organic greens followed by spice-crusted NC flounder with pine-roasted fingerlings and braised fennel with a smokey fumet. The flounder was cooked just right – light and flaky.

Bad Boy selected marinated Heeks Farm beets with house-made ricotta and blackened NC Catfish with Carolina Gold hoppin’ john and braised collards. Bad Boy said the catfish was blackened to his liking and the sides added great flavor to the plate.

All of us felt the spices were used to arouse the palate but left plenty of room for the natural flavors of the food to come through. Also the chef’s mixings of flavors and textures added interest to each plate.

As Traveler and I were discussing the desserts, Bad Boy made the decision for us. Since there were three desserts and three of us, we would just order one of each:

  • Horchata semifreddo, avocado-coconut sorbet with sweet potato-tamarind sauce
  • Sticky Date Cake, salted caramel ice cream, dulce de leche
  • Coconut cashew cake, salted caramel-chocolate sauce with chocolate cashew ice cream

Each of the deserts was delicious but the Horchata semifreddo was our favorite.

The Piedmont is located in a refurbished 1930s Nash dealership. The environment is hip and urban complimented by a simple décor, high ceilings and soft lights. The ambiance is cozy, intimate and comfy. This can be attributed to General Manager, Crawford Leavoy’s belief in “guest-focused attention.” He wanders throughout greeting and engaging diners. When Crawford stopped by our table, he and Traveler discovered they had something in common – Traveler had worked in the town Crawford was born in Louisiana.

We had amazing service making our meal extremely enjoyable. Alexis, our server, was knowledgeable, friendly and attentive but not hovering. She could easily explain ingredients, techniques used in preparing the dishes as well as the flavorings and paring of the foods.

The Friends rated their meal and evening at Piedmont their best overall experience of Triangle Restaurant week. The fresh meal prepared with attention to detail and severed in a great restaurant environment didn’t disappoint. The three of us left with smiles on our s_belle_smfaces and looking forward to a return visit.


Restaurant Week 2015 – Lunch at The Big Easy, Raleigh, NC


  • Executive Chef: Frank Ferlo
  • Location: 222 Fayetteville St. Raleigh, NC 27601
  • Phone: 1-919-832-6082
  • Date Visited: 1/31/15 at noon

Emblem_Triangle2015v4Initially, the friends had intended to have lunch at the recently opened restaurant, Bolt Bistro. When we arrived, we found it unexpectedly closed for lunch. Befuddled, we were determined to find a nearby location participating in the Triangle Restaurant Week. In dining, as in life, always have a contingency plan. Across the street we saw, The Big Easy, a restaurant that we had originally selected for our list of eatery to try, but only offered dinner samplings for restaurant week.

“Now is as good a time as any,” I remember telling Belle and Traveler, followed by “Laissez les bon temps roulez!”

dragonflymarket_1373571988_140As you could guess, their specialty is Cajun cuisine, indigenous to Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta region of the US. I must warn you, their menu,whether lunch or dinner, is vast and diverse. Since this was lunch, we selected an appetizer of fried oysters and sandwiches: shrimp Po’ Boy for Belle, oyster Po’ Boy for the Traveler and a muffuletta for me. As luck would have it, I have wanted to try a muffuletta for some time. This sandwich is served on muffuletta bread, which is round in fashion, with a hearty crust. It is filled with a variety of meats; mostly consisting of sweet soppressata, mortadella, capicola and provolone cheese, and topped with olive tapenade and giardiniera. Thank God I could order a half-a-sandwich. The size of this portion is almost disturbing to a light luncher. All of the food was well prepared, and the staff was pleasant and knowledgeable. If you enjoy, or have ever been temped to sample Cajon food, I would recommend The Big Easy.

As fate would have it, The Big Easy will be celebrating Mardi Gras in block-party fashion on February 17, from noon till 10 pm. This event will have street performers, music, as well as several food trucks from around the Triangle, including:

For more information, go here.

bruce_smLet the Good Times Roll – Badboy

Trial By Fire: Battle – Spencer vs. Rhett


logo2How it works: Paying guests get to sample each course in a blind tasting alongside a panel of culinary and celebrity judges in a series of 15 dinner competitions hosted in the four regions of the state. Each evening, two restaurants “battle” it out side-by-side in a single elimination format. Guests savor a six-course menu (three dishes from each chef without knowing whose food they’re tasting) created around a “secret” ingredient. For almost all series, the secret ingredient will come from a North Carolina source. The secret ingredient is revealed to the chefs only an hour before they start cooking and it must be used in each of their three courses Diners, alongside culinary and guest judges, will rate each dish and determine who moves to the next round and who goes home.

Contestants: Chef Spencer Carter from the Weathervane in Chapel Hill and Chef Rhett Morris from Rhett’s in Southern Pines. At stake is a grand prize of $2,500 and a coveted red chef jacket.

Location: Fire in the Triangle, takes place in Raleigh at 1705 Prime.

Secret Ingredient: Videri Chocolate Roasted Cocoa Nibs

Videri-Chocolate-FactoryThe Videri Chocolate Factory began as the shared dream of three chocolate lovers: Sam, Starr, and Chris. From the moment Sam first sunk his hands into a bag of cocoa beans, he knew he had a love for making delicious gourmet chocolate, and the talent to match. His mission was to turn his passion for handcrafted bean-to-bar chocolate into his profession. Sam’s wife, Starr, and his longtime friend, Chris, came on board to head up the business side of the company, and the three have been having a blast ever since.

Topo Distillery and the North Carolina Beer Guys supplied drinks. I loved my spicy Bloody Mary again last night. While we were waiting a basket of bread supplied by LaFarm Bakery was placed on our table.

Table 4, my favorite table consisted of Belle my counterpart from Triangle Street Eats, Ryan Conklin, Chef from Rex Health, Collin Jennings and Steve Pexton, members of the Rex Healthcare team, Paul Amburn from Pate Dawson Southern Foods, Adam Moore representing Libbey,Inc. and Muffy and me (Mary Morehouse). We had a great table. Wonderful conversation, sharing of opinions and critiquing of the gastronomical creations served.   It was nice having Linda Barnes aka the Belle from our Blog Triangle Street Eats sharing the Competition Dining experience.

First Course: Videri Cocoa Nib-Cured Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork Belly, Brown Butter Logan Turnpike Grits, Goodnight Brothers Country Ham- “Nib” Gravy, Coddled Egg, House Made Cocoa Nib Croutons. Prepared by Chef Spencer Carter, with a score of 25.55

Second Course: Videri Cocoa Nib Ravioli, Confit of Heritage Farm Pork Cheeks, Looking Glass Creamery “Chocolate Lab cheese”, Arugula, Cocoa Nib Pesto and Romesco Sauce. Prepared by Chef Rhett Morris with a score of 21.75

Third Course: Chili-Videri Cocoa Nib-Crusted Certified Angus Beef registered brand “Bistro” Steak, “Nib” Braised Cippolini Onions, Scott Farms Sweet Potato-Horseradish Puree, Cocoa Nib-Current Steak Sauce, Horseradish Chips. Prepared by Chef Spencer Carter with a score of 27.49

Fourth Course: Fortnight Brewery ESB-Braised Venison Osso Bucco, Videri Cocoa Nib-Rosemary Logan Turnpike Grits Cake, Roasted Kalette and Caramelized Fennel. Prepared by Chef Rhett Morris with a score of 22.57

Fifth Course: Triple Layer Videri Cocoa Nib Blondie, Cocoa Nib-Coffee Whipped Cream, Chocolate Mousse, Maple-Nut-Cherry Compote. Prepared by Spencer Carter with a score of 33.75

Sixth Course: Videri Cocoa Nib Southern Tiramisu, Cocoa Nib Cookies, Coffee, Kahlua, Sweet Marscarpone, Charred Cocoa Nib Fluff, Candied Blood Orange, Chocolate-Caramel Sauce.   Prepared by Chef Rhett Morris with a score of 24.11.

The winner was Chef Spencer Carter from the Weathervane with a score of 28.61 beating out Chef Rhett Morris with a score of 22.82.

The cocoa nib was a difficult ingredient to use do to its strong flavor. The evening was filled with interesting preparations; some hits, some misses, but the hard work of the cooking teams and the production done by Jimmie Crippen and his crew are greatly appreciated. Triangle Street Eats is happy to be able to attend and promote these events.

A special mention to Ashley Korizis, otherwise known as, The Olive The Sea. It is always nice putting a face to the name. Good luck with your upcoming move to Charlotte. It is wonderful that Twitter, Facebook and the internet will allow us to continue following what we are doing. Hope you win tickets to come again to Competition Dining.

Please check out Chef Ryan Conklin’s blog: ‘New School’ Hospital Food – Raleigh, NC. It is very well written and an interesting read.

I have my ticket to attend the battle on Feb. 9: Chef Benjamin Harris from the Midtown Grill and Chef Ryan Conklin from Rex Healthcare. I loved what Chef Harris made at the first competition and am excited to experience what Chef Conklin has to offer. I am certain it will be a great battle of interesting gastronomical delights.

mary_smUntil Next Time – The Traveler.





Restaurant Week 2015 – Revolution, Durham, NC


  • Executive Chef and Proprietor: Jim Anile
  • Location: 107 West Main St. Durham, North Carolina
  • Phone: 919-956-9999

Emblem_Triangle2015v4On Friday, January 30th Belle and I were going to DPAC to see 50 Shades the Musical, a parody of the Fifty Shades of Gray series by E. L. James at DPAC. Since it was Restaurant Week, we chose to go to Revolution. We were seated promptly and the two-top table had ample room, with lovely place settings instead of the usual cramped table. The bar was large and very busy. The manager, John Ray, greeted us and I let him know we would be blogging about the restaurant. Our waiter arrived to our table with an unpleasant attitude. Belle cannot eat raw meat, so had a question about the Chicken Fried New York Strip, asking about the doneness of the meat. His response was it was done when the breading was done and there was no way to adjust the cooking of the steak. It was delivered in an “I am better than you” attitude.

After this encounter our orders were taken. I chose the Charred Octopus Salad served with shaved onion, red peppers, smoked paprika and shiso gastrique. The octopus was expertly cooked and married well with the other ingredients. I loved the dish. Belle ordered the Haystack Shrimp, spicy shrimp with a nice aioli. The dish was great; the shrimp was cooked well and the other ingredients complemented and enhanced the flavor of the shrimp. I sampled the ample portion and agreed with Belle that it was a hit. I also ordered the Clams & Pork Belly with coconut in a spicy red curry sauce from the regular menu. The clams were filled with sand and the pork belly was difficult to find.

When our waiter brought our entrées he appeared to have done a 360 turn and his attitude became pleasant. Perhaps it was because we were tweeting out complementary statements regarding the food. We both chose Chicken Fried New York Strip: creamed corn succotash, smashed Yukon potatoes with onion gravy. My steak was perfect with a slight hint of pink. The breading was seasoned well with salt and pepper. I loved the mashed potatoes and gravy. I am usually not a fan of succotash, but found this to be better than the usually succotash, providing a textural element to the dish. Belle enjoyed her steak as well but felt the succotash could have been omitted. We both agreed that the entrée was large enough to be shared by two. We ended the meal by ordering a Chocolate Mousse Cake with a hazelnut almond crust, orange coulis and caramel sauce. I am not a dark chocolate fan, so after one bite I was done. Belle loved the cake and since were going to DPAC, after taking her bite, boxed up both pieces to enjoy at a later time.

Service at a restaurant definitely influences patron/customer’s impression of the meal. The food can be outstanding but if the service is bad, I probably will not return. Perhaps our waiter was having a bad evening, but his attitude did change and the food was outstanding so Belle and I would definitely return.

mary_smUntil Next Time – The Traveler