Tag Archives: Baguettaboutit

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

bigeasy

  • 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

Trick-or-Eat Food Truck Rodeo – Garner, NC

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logoSince the inception of Triangle Street Eats, just this past spring, we have found ourselves busy covering many ‘first annual’ events involving food trucks and breweries, hosted by various communities in the Triangle Area. Food truck rodeos are fast becoming a sort of, ‘coming-out party’ for small communities in the Triangle. I can’t think of a better way for small towns to showcase their revitalization efforts, community pride, as well as economic development, to other surrounding communities.

Garner, North Carolina – a small, quaint town just south of downtown Raleigh, is poised for a dynamic revitalization. Established as the town of Garner in 1883, it was originally developed to give support to the railroad transportation industry. The downtown area, between Highway 70 and Main Street, offers visitors historic, as well as nostalgic glimpses, of Garner’s subtle beginnings. A backdrop of historic building that are the signature piece of many old world towns across North Carolina, provide a welcoming invitation so desired in a neighborhood when we are looking for a place to settle and call home. I am fortunate enough to have a job that requires me to travel throughout the Triangle Area, and discover much of the old world charm and historic presence the area has to offer even a casual observer like myself. I try to take time to appreciate the simple, yet sophisticated vibrancy that is just under the surface. Garner, North Carolina is no exception.

Sunday, October 26th was a beautiful autumn day. The temperature and humidity were agreeable. The trees were starting to show their seasonal foliage most brightly now. The backdrop of downtown Garner gave the swelling after-church crowd a vibrant feeling of a proud, modern community. Food trucks and craft brewery venders had been arranged along Main Street, between Montague Street and Rand Mill Road. Tables and chairs were set up near the middle section, providing a place for participants to eat and mingle.

The Belle and I sampled fare from Gussy’s Greek, a gyro and Sol Taco’s, fresh flounder tacos, two favorites we have both come to enjoy and appreciate. I also sampled a Double D’s Watermelon Lager from Deep River Brewing Company, which I found surprisingly refreshing, while Belle had ice cream from Jam Ice Cream. We also took home a bag of mini doughnuts from Dusty Donuts as well. The event was exceptionally well attended, and most venders had long lines. I would like to thank all the venders; TJ’s Kitchen, Habachi Xpress, Captain Poncos, American Melt Down, CJ’s Street Food, Baguettaboutit, Barone Meatball Company, The Humble Pig and Double Barley Brewing for making the Trick-or-Eat Food Truck Rodeo a success, and for the town of Gardner for hosting this event. Stay hungry my friends – Bad boy.

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Lowdown on Chatham Street Chowdown

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The Chatham Street Chowdown, Cary’s first food truck rodeo, was held in the heart of the downtown. There were 15 food trucks along with craft beers from Fortnight Brewing Company and wine choices from Chatham Hill Winery. Live music was also provided during the rodeo. In addition some of the local merchants opened their stores showing their support for the event. The atmosphere was that of a community block party showcasing Downtown Cary. Although this was a first time event, it was well executed and we could tell there had been a lot of behind the scene planning prior to “going live.” The Friends were very pleased with the ample seating available, recycling bins, and the presence of EMS and police.

The dreary start to the day didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of The Friends as they headed off to the Chatham Street Chowdown. As usual we had done a little pre-rodeo planning and were ready to put our plan in action when we arrived. But too our dismay, the online menus were not what the food trucks were preparing for the day. While there were plenty of food trucks to satisfy our appetites and give us a large variety of delicacies to delight our palates, we had adjust our plans to the actual menus. Perhaps with future events, which is sure to happen based on the turn out, maps of the truck’s locations and a highlight menu will be provided.

mary_sm Traveler

This food rodeo brought back memories of living in Louisiana. I love good boudin, but it is not readily available in North Carolina. For those of you not familiar with this treat, boudin, the king of Cajun food, is my favorite thing in the world to eat. It is a unique food in that it can be breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack, or car food. No two boudins are exactly alike—that’s amazing, considering they all have basically the same ingredients of rice and pork.

While in line for the boudin from Baton Rouge Cuisine, I started talking to the man in line behind me. I asked him where he was from. He told me he was from Alexandria. I started laughing; telling him it was a small world because I too had lived in Alexandria. We talked about great food, favorite restaurants, such as Pre Jeans and the Country Tyme Store in Lake Charles, where to get the best cracklings or boudin. He told me that the LSU Alumni Associate had a yearly Crayfish Boil and it was open to everyone. He said they cooked nearly 400 lbs of crayfish for the event. I have already made a notation on my calendar.

Olio and Aceto made a great truffle macaroni bite. It was made to order, so it was hot and sticky, a delight to the taste buds; a true gastronomical wonder. This is a wonderful comfort food.

debbieSunday was a day to make new friends. Debbie and her husband Ron joined our table and were happy to talk about their food. Ron had selected Jambalaya from the Baton Rouge Food truck. He said it was very good, giving it a 3 out of 4 tires. Debbie had selected the chicken Pita from Gussy’s Greek Street Food, since she liked less spicy food. She loved the tzatziki sauce. Ron had considered ordering the boudin, so I parted with a piece so they could taste it. They loved it, giving it a 4.

The Cary Food Truck Rodeo was a great success and l hope it becomes a regular event, to bring the community together, as they did at this event.

s_belle_smSouthern Belle:

When we arrived, I headed off to get us a table and The Traveler and Bad Boy each went off in different directions to gather our food selections. I found us the perfect spot in the center of the rodeo, in the shade and close enough to the bandstand to have music for our dining experience. I waited patiently for my friends to return with the goodies. The Traveler dropped off Boudin Balls from Baton Rouge Cuisine before she went on to get the Slaw Plate (barbeque and slaw) from the Humble Pig and Truffled Mac and Cheese bites from Olio and Aceto. When the Bad Boy finally arrived with a selection of paninis and watermelon gazpacho from Deli-icious, we were ready to dig into and sample our selections. My favorite of the day was the pulled pork with the “kick butt sauce”. The meat was very juicy with just the right amount of smoke flavor. I tried each of the panins and “Lucky” was my pick. Olio and Aceto did not disappoint with their Truffled Mac and Cheese bite. It was a lightly breaded bite of gooey goodness, yum. After we had finished off the main course, I headed out under the pretense of “just wanting to look around” but my real mission was ice cream. I found several selections at The Freezing Point and returned with a bowl of salted caramel and a bowl of coffee with chocolate chip. Besides all the great food I also enjoy talking with other rodeo goers. At different times a couple of groups of dinners join us at our table. One particular group had visited Baton Rouge Cuisine and chosen the crawfish etouffee and the shrimpetouffee. Both said the dishes were delicious.

bruce_smBad Boy:

First time organized events, like festivals, can be demanding, as well as awkward for community organizers. There are the variables which they have control over; venue, location, amenities and public safety. Then there are those elements that they have no control over; turnout, no-shows, conflicts/controversy, and weather – being among the least predicable. All of these elements collectively can make-or-break future events of the same venue. Team Triangle Street Eats arrived a bit early for the Chatham Street Chowdown. I like to arrive at any event a little early, to see the layout, and to get a perception of people interaction, as the event unfolds. Also, arriving early helps to avoid the long lines for food, beverage and seating. Arriving early also gives me a good perspective on “crowd-swell,” the phenomenon by which an event or venue can increase/decrease its turnout by any of the above-mentioned elements through social media.

It would be an hour after we arrived that I noticed that the “crowd-swell” was headed in the positive direction, and the likelihood of rain did not deter many who had initially planned to attend. Before long, long lines had formed at all of the trucks and there were still many hours of planned activities.

My highest regards to the Town of Cary, and to all of the people who worked so hard to make the Chatham Street Chowdown a success. It was exceptionally well planed. Since Triangle Street Eats is based in Cary, I know that Team TSE can look forward to reviewing other Cary food truck events in the near future.


 

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Baguettaboutit at Fortnight Brewery

 

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As everyone knows southern belles have an innate knack for planning social events and making sure everything runs smoothly and everyone enjoys themselves. This Southern Belle is true to her heritage. So it would only make sense for Belle to be the one of the Three Friends to keep everything on track for Triangle Street Eats. I realized it was time for us to do another truck review. So after finding out everyone’s schedule for the rest of May, it looked this week end would be best time to get in a review. Remembering how much the Traveler and the Bad Boy wanted to try the Pale Ale POPPERS at the rodeo, I checked to see if Valentino’s would be in our area. We were in luck and I let the Traveler know Valentino’s would be on Hillsboro Street for lunch. The Traveler got right back with me and reminded me we had tickets to see Driving Miss Daisy at 2 pm and it would be a challenge to eat and get to the play on time. So, I went back to the planning stage again and soon found that Baguettaboutit would be at the Fortnight Brewery from 5 – 9 pm. I presented this to everyone and they agreed this would work just fine. The Bad Boy really liked the idea that the Tap Room would be open for a little tasting.

Southern Belle:

s_belle_smSince we arrived at Fortnight Brewery before Baguettaboutit was scheduled to begin serving, we decided to try something from the tap. I choose the Blonde Ale which was light and a little “hoppy” – very nice.   Our early arrival gave me time to look over the menu and I decided on “It’s Greek to me,” a chicken and spinach sausage with tzatriki sauce and pizza. The sandwich did not disappoint me. The baguette roll had a crusty outside and firm inside (just right). The sausage and sauce was a good blend and exemplified the sandwich’s name. The pizza was just OK and was a little difficult to eat. Now, I moved onto my friends’ selections. The U Betcha was exactly as advertised and a good standard for the menu. This left the South of the Border for me to try. Just the description “Habanero Hellfire Sauce” intimidated me. Then I looked over at the Traveler and Bad Boy and they were smacking their lips, wiping sweat off their faces and remarking to each other, “Yeah, that’s got some heat!” As I’ve said before, I am still trying to develop a taste for the hot and spicy but I was afraid this one was going to push my limits. I took a deep breath and forged ahead. The first bite of the South of the Border assaulted me as soon as I put it in my mouth – my lips and mouth felt like they were aflame and the back of my throat was burning.   For me this one was too hot but for those who like heat it should be very satisfying. Sampling the offerings of the Fortnight Brewery and food from Baguettaboutit with my friends was a great ending for the day.

The Traveler:

mary_smThe Belle, has taken on role of our social director for our food truck adventures. We had tickets to see Driving Miss Daisy at the Fletcher Theatre at the Duke Energy Center. The play was very good, but could not compare to the movie version starring the late Jessica Tandy and the award winning Morgan Freeman. We utilized the services of Uber to avoid the post-graduation and Mother’s Day traffic to and from the play, then on to our Food Truck destination.

We met up with the Bad Boy to go to the Fortnight Brewery on Northeast Maynard to sample some of their microbrews while dining on the gastronomical delights of Baguettaboutit. I am typically not a beer fan, but found the English Ale palatable.

I ordered The South of the Border sandwich, with a habanero sauce and the Schez Slaw. Typically in the North Carolina region when a food item is listed as hot and spicy, it means it will be on the bland side; however Baguettaboutit delivered exactly what they promised. The Habanero sauce was delightfully hot. I felt a tingling on the lips followed by a sensation of heat on my tongue that slowly increased in intensity as I ate. I loved it! The Schez Slaw was a disappointment. It lacked salt.

I sampled the Belle’s “It’s Greek To Me” and enjoyed the Chicken sausage with a good Tzatziki Sauce. It was a nice contrast to the heat of the habanero sauce. She also tried the Pizza sausage, which was an open face sandwich with sauce, sausage and lots of cheese.   It was okay, but lacked pizzazz and was very messy to eat. The Bad Boy’s U Betcha was ok, but could have used spicier mustard.

We had the opportunity to speak with the owners of the Fortnight Brewery and they were very nice. We wish them well and hope they have continued success. It would have been a regular in my college years and may return again to relive some of the experiences.

Bad Boy:

bruce_smThe decision to visit a local brewery, Fortnight Brewery, and sample some handcrafted English style ales, as well as Baguettaboutit’s brats and whatnots, seemed the perfect late Saturday afternoon diversion. Unfortunately, I have yet to develop an appreciation for finely crafted beer and ale, but looking at the brewery through the observation glass, as I sampled a mildly flavored blond, I could appreciate the effort it took to develop the entire selection of libations they offered patrons. If you have developed an affinity for this style of brew, please visit Fortnight Brewery in Cary for an unforgettable pint.

As I had observed previously, there exists a symbiotic relationship between small businesses throughout the Triangle Area. I have noticed microbreweries, and food trucks seem to complement one another, and why not? The expense and time of developing a single, unique product is a labor of love, as well as risky, doesn’t leave much room for diversification – say in operating a restaurant – as well. This is where food trucks can fill in a much needed gap, in providing these establishments’ patrons with sustenance, while they sample a fine product.

Baguettaboutit provided food for hungry patrons this particular afternoon. Using freshly baked French baguettes to complement locally made bratwursts and Italian sausage, the food was an excellent complement of the beverage. I had chosen the “U Betcha” for myself, in keeping with the theme of “beer and brats.” The U Betcha has a warm, crusty baguette, infused with a full-flavored bratwurst and spicy mustard. I found it complemented my blond ale perfectly. I sampled the Belle’s “It’s Greek To Me” which utilized the same crusty baguette, except with Chicken sausage and a Tzatziki Sauce. I found it a little bland for my pallet. It would be the Traveler’s choice, The “South of the Border” sandwich that took all of us by surprise! Hot Italian sausage with Baguettaboutit’s “Habanero Hellfire Sauce” gave the sandwich some real heat. If you get this, be ready to sweat. We shared a Baguettaboutit Pizza, which resembled an open-faced sausage sandwich with mozzarella cheese. It wasn’t bad, but wasn’t memorable either. Their available side of “Schez slaw” missed its mark.

Bob the Cat:

bobcat_smI was not in the traveling mood, so I remained home. The Traveler failed to tell me about the Fortnight Microbrewery.   I was upset because I did not get to sample the unique beers from the Brewery. I saw a dog in one of the photos, so pets were allowed.

I love hot, so I loved the spiciness of the hot Italian sausage and habanero sauce. I cooled my mouth by drinking a small bowl of cream. I wanted more, but had to make do with other pieces of baguettes filled with sausage. I detest cabbage so I had no intent of sampling the slaw and it’s dressing, which had a brown color that I did not find appealing. I liked the chicken sausage sandwich, with bread bathed in a creamy sauce; the meat had a small amount of heat. The U Betcha sandwich was spoiled due to the mustard. It was sour and unappealing to me; the taste made the sausage unenjoyable. The open-faced sandwich was okay, but difficult for me to get my mouth around due to the shape of the container.   I did enjoy the melted cheese.

I am looking forward to sampling new food from other food trucks. You never know when I may decide to pay a visit to the trucks. I may need to take a break from my new brother Jack after he arrives.

 

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