Search This Blog

Monday, April 30, 2012

A Fork in the Road: State Farmers Market Restaurant, Part II (Raleigh, NC)

The restaurant was filled wall-to-wall with folks last Saturday morning and considering the amount of people in line, you'd think it would be a long wait.  We luckily sat in eight minutes.  Of course, the basket of biscuits and hush puppies arrived, but I tried to not stuff myself given that I'd be eating a carb-loaded breakfast.

Scrambled eggs, grits, NC country ham and toast - the grits were creamy, but needed some salt to balance taste to texture.  I enjoyed the ham, but only a few bites.  Country ham is generally salty, but this was too much (for me). 

Forgot pancake picture

My dad ordered the Hungry Man breakfast - eggs, bacon, ham, gravy, grits, pancakes, toast with roasted apples.  Too. Much. Food., though I really enjoyed the small pancakes served with molasses. 

Grandma's fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green bean standby and it my opinion, 'where it's at'.  The lunch just blows the breakfast away.  I just like that most vegetables and fruit come from the Farmers Market and the fried chicken is damn near perfect! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Fork in the Road: Stringray Cafe (New Bern, NC)

My family headed to North Carolina a month ago for my cousin's wedding in New Bern, NC.  I am not really sure why I was never excited to visit New Bern because I really enjoy coastal towns in North Carolina.  Our hotel was in the marina and my brother an I needed a quick snack (i.e. meal) before the wedding began.  We took a ten minute stroll down the main street in the marina to Stingray Cafe. 

My brother

Let me preface this post by saying, if you do not like fried food, Stingray is not your place.  Although Stingray does offer some grilled food, I'd say your better bet for seafood of the non-fried kind would be next door at Tryon Palace.  We walk in and the place has a cutesy fisherman's boat nautical feel completed with buoys, nets, helms and let's not forget the indoor humidity. 

As I've mentioned before, North Carolina's bread basket is actually a hush puppy basket and these too, were served hot hot hot with a nice crisp crust.  Gotta love the Texas Pete hot sauce on the table!

My fried snapper, oysters and okra with a side of finely chopped cole slaw.  I love this traditional Southern mayo-based, sweet, vinegary cole slaw.  It's my absolute favorite!  The fish batter had a dash of pepper and the oysters were nice and big.

Rod's shrimp, oysters, okra and fries. 

All fried and all good with a side of sweet tea that was sweet enough for dessert.

New Bern is actually the second oldest city in North Carolina with tons of Colonial history that is evident in the town itself.  The architecture of the homes and original hitching posts all around.  New Bern is also the birthplace of Pepsi.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Stone Barns

While my dream is to eat at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, getting to check it out is a close second. Ok, a very, very distant second. 

It was a little chilly out, and no lush produce to see, but I did get to see the most grand of all pigs, the Berkshire pig.  They ranged in size, but I wanted to post the mother of them all.  I've included a photo so you can get perspective of how big these pigs really are.

An excerpt from The American Berkshire Association;

A Berkshire shall be:

1. A black and white animal with erect ears exhibiting Berkshire
2. A Berkshire must have white on all four legs, face and tail (unless
tail is docked).  One of the white leg points may also be
3. Must be ear notched within seven days of birth.( This goes for all
pigs requiring ear notches)
4. A Berkshire must NOT have a solid white or a solid black face from
the ears forward.
5. A Berkshire must NOT have a solid black nose (rim of nose).
6. White is allowed on the ears, but NO solid white may appear on the
7. Occasional splash of white may appear on the body.

Ridin' a vintage tractor

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Fork in the Road: Bedford Post Inn (Bedford, NY)

To keep my sanity, I drove through Westchester one Saturday a few weeks back on a mini-food tour.  The first stop was right outside the town of Bedford, at a bed and breakfast owned by Richard Gere and designed by his wife Carey Lowell.  This lovely B&B sits atop a small hill and offers yoga classes in the morning as well as breakfast, brunch and lunch in The Barn restaurant.  The Barn restaurant is completely enclosed with French windows (that open to the outside) that let light flood in and a large stone fireplace. 

The Hammy-Cheesy-Eggy Croissant: thin country ham, gruyere and fluffy eggs on a buttery croissant.  Check.  Definitely can see why my waiter said, 'You made the right choice'.

Poached eggs with polenta and mushrooms:  absolutely love the yolk running onto the creamy polenta!  The wild mushrooms gave it an earthy undertone perfect for this cool, crisp day. 

Chicken apple sausage links:  sweet and tasty, but not as plump as I would have liked.

Bedford Post Inn is freaking adorable and I suggest treating yourself to a breakfast after a yoga session in the loft!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hangover Cure

Just a $2.75 quick breakfast sandwich in the East Village at Sunny & Annie's Deli.

Eggs, American, Bacon and hashbrowns.  Good except the hashbrowns were a little on the oily side.

The special sandwiches (Pho roast beef) I will be trying, especially for $6.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Fork in the Road: State Farmers Market Restaurant (Raleigh, NC)

Right past downtown Raleigh is the Raleigh's Farmers Market and compared to ones in New York,  Hudson Valley, Colorado this one was ginormous!  Not only was there a building full of jams, jellies, jerky, there was an outdoor building for vegetables/produce/plants, as well as a separate drive-thru outdoor building for fruit.  Unfortunately, it wasn't prime fruit season, so you could just literally drive through the building. 

Overalls as the touch!

In addition to the actual market, there is an entire store dedicated to gardeners and all of their needs.  The grounds house three restaurants, The Market Grill, The Seafood Restaurant and State Farmers Market Restaurant.  Late on a Saturday morning, my grandma and I pulled up to State Farmers market Restaurant.  As I looked around at the food and diners, I thought, 'this place seems pretty legit'.  It wasn't til much later on my walk through the produce building, that I understood how fresh these vegetables were.

Isn't she the cutest?  

When asked if she was going to get breakfast or lunch, my grandma said, 'I'm not getting anything I can make at home.'  Ha!  That meant no breakfast.  So, against my better judgment, I got lunch as well.  (I heard from my cousin that I really missed out, but not to fear, I will be back in a couple weeks) 

I ordered a half a barbecue chicken with collard greens and pickled beets.  I was skeptical ordering this chicken knowing it had a thick sauce (more like Tennessee barbecue), but lawdy, it was good.  Finger-licking good to be exact!  It had some peppery kick that paired nicely with the collards that I doused in vinegar sauce. 

Grandma ordered none other than a real Southern meal.  Fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy and green beans.  The fry is not the only secret to fried chicken, but the amount of salt and this was perfect.  It must have been fantastic because a 97 year old woman ate most everything! 

Complimentary banana pudding.  The best homemade banana pudding.  None of the boxed pudding involved in making this; just straight up milk, egg, flour and sugar.  Not too much sugar....just the perfect amount of sweetness.

We has started with one of my grandmas favorites: Fried Green Tomatoes
Perhaps I like cornmeal or tempura fried better.  These were oily and you could really taste the batter which I am not a fan of.

Don't 'cha just love the South?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Let's get Supper

There's always a larger-than-life-sigh when anyone says they want to dine at any of the Frank dynasty restaurants. Why? They are all loud and crowded. Alas, the food has pretty much stayed consistent through the years. We arrive at 9:30pm on Thursday and no wait, however, we did head next door to Supper's bar, Sugo, for a quick glass of wine ($9 glass or $10 half carafe). 
I absolutely love Sugo! It reminds me of what 'old New York' might have been like. Dark, cool interior mostly lit with chandeliers and candles. Sugo also serves appetizers as well as minimal entree options. There is no denying the blaring music once you walk in the front door of Supper; and unfortunate for us, the large group of gals drunkenly celebrating a birthday in the back.

My first debate is whether to try the Black Kale Panzanella or the Burrata. The waiter tells me the burrata had been flown in from Italy that morning. No Brainer! Others around the table see the burrata and order. When the waiter tells you it is flown in from Italy (true or not), you have to try. The hard mozzarella shell encapsulates the magical salty, creamy mozzarella inside. The night prior, at San Pietro's sister restaurant, Caravaggio, I also ordered burrata with beets and I must say, Supper's was FAR superior! It was served cool with tomatoes, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was a meal unto itself.

Side salad

I chose the Lasagna alla Bolognese served in a piping hot dish.  I'd say the lasagna was average due to tasting only meat and tomato sauce, although I certainly did not need to consume more cheese.

Off the menu Gnocchi with garlic cream sauce was off the charts.  The mild garlicky cream sauce was poured over the large amount of gnocchi.  I can't remember a time in recent history I've had a better potato dumpling dish. So good I forgot to snap a photo!

The fettuccini with mint was refreshingly light, but the mint needed to be finely chopped and not sprigs that must be chewed separately. 

Priest Stranglers as described on the menu as Stoooopid Good!  Long and soft tubes tossed with marinara topped with ricotta.  This is a must!!!!  Why?  Cause they really are stooooopid good.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

SHUTTERED A Fork in the Road: The Burger Guys (Houston, TX)

On a drive from Fulshear, wayyy on the West side of Westheimer, in a not-so-present strip mall, is The Burger Guys. 

I popped in on a weekday and couldn't believe this place wasn't packed!  On arrival, you walk in the door and there is a separate 'stall' in which you order before taking your seat at either the counter or booth.

Naturally, I went with the Houston: onion bacon jam, Shiner Bock!!! mustard, bread & butter jalapeno, and cheddar cheese.  Not only am I excited for the jam and beer mustard, but this burger is on a grilled, sweet challah roll.  Oh Daddy!

This burger was the bomb!  The beef was so incredibly juicy and well-cooked with cheddar oozing off all sides.  I wasn't super stoked to see an entire jalapeno on the top, but ended up accepting this move in lieu of sliced jalapenos (ala everywhere else).  The only topping lost was the onion bacon jam.  I couldn't get even the slightest hint of onion and definitely no bacon. 

These fries....these fries....on the menu as Brussels.  Handcut!  Twice-cooked in DUCKFAT!  Sprinkled with flecks of salt.  Amazaballs!  And a million calories.  These perhaps were the best handcut fries I have ever consumed.    All the sauces, including the ketchup, are homemade.  With some fries I had the cilantro jalapeno and chipotle aoili, but the burger and fries are so damn good, you don't need any sauces.  I stopped dipping 5 fries in. 

For most Houstonians, going this far out Westheimer seems like a trek for a burger, but I assure you it is worth every bite!

12225 Westheimer Rd.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Came as a suggestion from a Malaysian co-worker, Winnie.  I asked her if she has an idea where I could get authentic Malaysian in either New Jersey or New York.  As she mentioned Nyonya, in NYC's Chinatown, my jaw dropped.  I couldn't believe she said there was an authentic restaurant in Chinatown. 

The olfactory mess that is Chinatown, also provides me much happiness.  Anyone who knows me, knows I have a love affair with Chinatown, especially during summer months.  I just love watching the men and women slinging slimey fish, eel or any other disgusting ocean creature they can get their hands on, while strolling and sipping on bubble tea from Quickly.  Depending on which vendor, the fruit stands can have fruit just as fresh as something you could pick up at Citarella. 

I was told to go a group and that is exactly what I did.  Winnie had given a list of five items and I knew I couldn't get away with ordering all of them, but three out of five ain't bad!

The chicken satay, while not always my favorite, is a crowd pleaser.  It was good with a fatty texture rather than lean (this satay was dark meat!).

Roti Telur - a traditional, thin Indian pancake filled with egg and onion. This crepe-like dish was served with a light chicken curry dipping sauce.

Beef Rendang simmered with cinnamon, cloves & lemongrass in coconut milk (note the spicy oil) was the  overall winner!  I ate this complex meat stew with coconut rice.  It gave the perfect hint of sweetness to offset the spiciness of the dish.

Garlic chicken suggested by the waiter was half a chicken fried with super crispy skin and a soy dipping sauce.  Both the white & dark meat were tender and succulent (and mostly enjoyed by me).

Less successful was the Chow Kueh Teow, a stir-fried flat rice noodles with shrimp, chive, squid, bean sprouts, eggs, soy sauce and chili paste.  While the dish had a variety of seafood, it was bland with the noodles dry and tasteless.

All this for $55.  Get there!

199 Grand between Mott & Mulberry