Jujube In Depth

April 27, 2008

Jason Perlow, who is in the Triangle for several months, has a fantastic podcast with Jujube’s Charlie Deal. Give Jason credit, he really takes the time to get the story and is an excellent interviewer. Check out the great photos of Jujube’s food and the great interview with Charlie.

New Raleigh Releases “Palate” — A Raleigh Restaurant Guide

April 24, 2008

New Raleigh is one of the websites I go to daily to catch up on my Raleigh news. They’re really dedicated to promoting great discussion of the politics and culture of our fair city, and they have a lot of good food information, too.

I just learned today that they’ve been working on a new restaurant guide, named “Palate,” which is now live. This is a very clean site that provides a lot of great information. Granted, the site is still in its beta stage of development, so the amount of content is somewhat thin right now, but it’ll only get better. New Raleigh has a lot of young, energetic folks on their staff (and I use the term “staff” loosely, as it’s just a bunch of volunteers who like to write about Raleigh), and they’re not afraid to criticize when it’s appropriate to do so. With this platform, they should be prepared to add a ton of reviews in a hurry.

Palate only lists restaurants that are independent or small, local chains. National chains are not included. Most of the establishments are in the downtown area of Raleigh, but I’m hopeful they’ll include other parts of the city.

Navigation is a breeze, and I particularly like the neighborhood classifications in their guide. Click on one of the neighborhoods, then move your mouse from restaurant to restaurant, and the map automatically moves to the particular restaurant’s location. Very slick.

There’s still a couple of bugs they need to fix, as places like The Pit and The Mint are listed under “T” rather than “P” and “M,” respectively. But I think this could become the definitive guide, if they start focusing on the content. One way they could do this quickly would be to include links to reviews from other sites, so their readers will get a broad sense of peoples’ opinions on a particular restaurant. I’d be honored if they linked to my reviews, all 5 of them!

Buttermilk Pie

April 22, 2008

When strawberry season hits, I first think of strawberry shortcake, then Belgian waffles. But right after that, buttermilk pie comes to mind. Buttermilk pie with fresh strawberries. OH MY GOD!!!!

Most Southerners understand the glory of buttermilk pie, but others would choose any other dessert in the world before this classic dish. It’s really nothing more than a simple custard pie, with a touch of lemon and nutmeg to round out the flavor profile. It’s also very light and is very good with fresh berries or a berry coulis. I last wrote about buttermilk pie several years ago on eGullet, and I’m resurrecting the pictures from that time to show you how simple this dish is. Even if you don’t know how to make pie crust (and you MUST learn), you can always use a store-bought version.

I use Bill Neal’s recipe, which is lighter than a typical version because egg whites are beaten and folded into the custard. The tanginess of the buttermilk and lemon offsets some of the egginess and cuts through the richness, so this is really perfect. I also use really fresh, local buttermilk from Maple View Farm. This stuff is a bit richer than what you typically find in the grocery store.

When you take your first bite of this luscious custard treat, be sure you thank me. Yes, it’s that good. Photos and recipe are after the break.

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Commercial of the Week — Michael Jackson Edition

April 18, 2008

OK, this is a cute little commercial for Alphabits featuring the Jackson 5. Seems innocent enough, right? Well go ahead and watch it.

Now, when Michael says, “I bet I can make you say yes” or “Look at my B”, do you think a little differently now than you might have 30-some years ago? Funny world we live in.

The Mint — Cutting Edge Cooking in Raleigh???

April 17, 2008

I may have to dine on a little crow tonight. When Raleigh’s The Mint first opened in January, I wrote the following: “The Mint appears to be an old-school, protein-heavy restaurant with a contemporary twist.” Of course, my judgment was solely based on the menu on the restaurant’s website. And if you look at that menu, you probably wouldn’t argue with my conclusion.

But then something happened. Andrea Weigl of the N&O told me she was working on a story about molecular gastronomy in the Triangle, and she was going to The Mint. The Mint? Molecular gastronomy??? She then told me about this lobster dish that I had to try — the crustacean is cooked en sous vide, with a miso and caramel sauce (a combination popularized by cutting-edge pastry chef Sam Mason of New York’s WD-50). OK, something was up, and I was clearly NOT in the know. Read the rest of this entry »

Strawberry Shortcake For a Crowd

April 16, 2008

It’s about to be strawberry season, so I have a perfect recipe for you. A single, large strawberry shortcake. It’s a really simple dish, but it’s a showstopper. Every time I bring this out, I get a ton of “oohs and aahs.” It’s really cool, but the thing is, it takes no time at all.

Here’s what you do. Slice up a bunch of strawberries, add some sugar, and let them macerate for an hour or three (you can add some Grand Marnier, orange curacao or the like if you desire, but it’s not necessary). Then make your big-ass shortcake. It’s just self-rising flour, sugar, salt, butter and buttermilk. Whip up some heavy cream with vanilla and sugar, and then serve by cutting that big-ass shortcake in half, putting berries and cream in the middle, and some more on top. Just look at the picture, will ya????

Anyhow, recipe is after the break. And really, it’s incredibly easy, but it’ll dazzle your guests. And man, does it ever taste good!

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Beet Cakes — Mmm, Mmm, Good

April 14, 2008

Last Friday, I thought I came up with a completely novel idea: a fried beet pancake, similar to a potato pancake, but with shredded beet. Of course, after a bit of research, I realized that beet roesti are somewhat common, but every recipe I found was different than my creation. So, here you go!

What I did was peel several beets and then grate them with a food processor. I then grated a red onion and cooked all of this in butter in a large skillet. I added a bit of fresh thyme and some salt. Once the beets were mostly cooked, I remove the mix from the heat and allowed to cool. Read the rest of this entry »


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