Julie and Julia — The Movie

April 30, 2009

OK, this is a first.  I’m talking about a major Hollywood movie that won’t be released until August.  But when I saw this trailer a few minutes ago, I said, “I’ve got to take Ryan to see this.”  Ryan is my 13 year old daughter, and after seeing Meryl Streep doing Julia Child, I want to go.  Geesh, I might as well just forfeit my manhood card now.

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Triangle Restaurant Week Coming

April 29, 2009


The second annual Triangle Restaurant Week will be held across the Triangle on May 11-17.  Restaurant Week has been a fixture in other cities for years, where restaurants offer a three-course menu for a low, fixed price.  For the Triangle event, lunch will cost $15 and dinner will be $25.  Many restaurants typically provide a special “Restaurant Week” menu, but other places allow diners to order off the menu, recognizing that they want their customers to experience the full menu.  As I learn more details, I’ll report back here.

Last year, Restaurant Week only included restaurants in Raleigh, but the event has truly expanded by including a number of Durham and Cary-based establishments.

Some of the restaurants that I would consider checking out include Four Square, 18 Seaboard, Jibarra, Il Palio, Frazier’s, and Sitti.  There are currently 48 places that are participating this year, which is fantastic growth.  Go to the Triangle Restaurant Week website for more information.

Gastronomic Items at a Musical Event

April 27, 2009


As my readers know, this blog is about food, and it is incredibly rare when I post something that isn’t about food.  I also try to avoid the politics of food, because I want my blog to be about fun.  Today’s entry certainly has some food-related aspects about it, but it’s not the primary purpose behind my post.  But I assure you that today’s topic is all about fun.  And doing the right thing.

I’m looking for items to be donated for a silent auction.  I’m looking for experiences to be donated, too.  Here’s the deal:  As I’ve written before, I’m the Vice Chair of the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood, and that has nothing to do with food.  It has everything to do with young children getting help for mental health problems, and with the economy the way it is, more kids need the help and fewer families are able to pay for it.

Band Together is a Triangle-based nonprofit organization that has nothing to do with food, either.  Each year, they choose a local charity and hold a huge, kick-ass concert, with the net proceeds going to the charity.  Last year, the designated charity received $109,000.  This year, the designated charity is the Lucy Daniels Center.  The concert is on June 6 in downtown Raleigh, outside the Lincoln Theatre.  This should be a very fun concert, featuring Rusted Root, the Rosebuds, Chatham County Line, and an indoor after-party with Hobex.   General admission tickets are 20 bucks in advance and 25 at the door.  It might cost you a few more bucks to get into the after-party with Hobex.

Still nothing about food, right?  Well, let me fix that right now.  VIP tickets to the show will cost you $125, but that added cost has some tangible benefits.  For example, you’ll get all the beer and wine you want to drink (within reason, of course), and you’ll get to eat the great food provided by the chefs of the Urban Food Group restaurants.  Yup, Coquette, Vivace, Frazier’s and Porter’swill be providing all that food.  Oh, and you’ll get air conditioned bathrooms, some comfy seats, and elevated viewing area.

But wait, there’s more food information.  There will be a silent auction at the event, and we will have a number of food-related auction items.  How about Fullsteam Brewery making a beer just for you, customized to your personal tastes, and then delivering 5 gallons of it to you with a unique label and 10 t-shirts with that label?  Or an in-home knife skills class by Chad Ward, the author of An Edge in the Kitchen?  Or an in-restaurant cooking class with a well-known local chef?  That’s just the beginning.

And I want more items for the silent auction!!! Please let me know if you would be interested in donating something to our auction.  Gift certificates are welcome, but we’d really love experiences.  I mean, there has to be a chef out there who would let someone work in their kitchen on a slow night?  And if you’re not in the food business, we’re happy to accept other items and experiences (ever wanted to ride on the Zamboni at a Hurricanes’ game?  You can if you’re the winning bidder).

So help me out.  Buy tickets to the Band Together show.  Or better yet, buy VIP tickets. And if your business is looking for a way to give back to the community, consider a sponsorship.  Finally, of course, we’d love for you to donate items to the silent auction.

And they don’t have to be food-related, unlike this blog.


Band Together for the Lucy Daniels Center


June 6, 2009

Featuring Rusted Root, the Rosebuds, Chatham County Line and after-party by Hobex

Downtown Raleigh at the Lincoln Theatre

Sign of the Apocalypse: Domino’s Bread Bowl Pasta

April 24, 2009


In the world of bad ideas made worse, I offer as Exhibit A Domino’s new “Bread Bowl Pasta.”  Holy crap.  I can just imagine the meeting where this idea came up.  “Imagine yourself eating a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs.  What do most people want with that?  No, not wine, BREAD!  We all know that most folks like some bread with their pasta.  And so, why not combine the two?  Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you, the Bread Bowl Pasta!”

If I were in that room, I would have either hurled or uttered a stream of profanities, but not because I was elated over the proposition.  Because I would have been stunned by how desperate Domino’s had become to introduce this ridiculous item.  And it might make me want to dream of the good old days when the grossest thing about Domino’s was the Youtube videos their employees posted.

The Best Recipe Site

April 23, 2009


A Twitter update from Mark Bittman led me to what is likely to be the best website for recipes on the internet: food.com.  Why is this so great?  Because it is an independent search engine that can search all of the main recipe sites, such as Epicurious, the Food Network, CHOW, and Recipezaar.  Because each result can be filtered by source, cuisine, time and more.  Because they have a toolbar that you can add to your browser.  Because you can examine the entire list of ingredients on the results page without leaving the page.

Food.com is a creation of Food Network’s parent company, Scripps, and it has many of the features of another freestanding search site, Project Foodie.  But the interface of food.com is far more user friendly, and the ability to easily examine ingredient lists makes it a lot easier to sort through recipes.

I love food.com, but I’d like to hear your feedback, too.

Fast Food Reality

April 17, 2009

This site cracked me up, simply because it compares photos arranged by the food stylists of the fast food companies versus reality.  Some of the real items don’t look that bad, such as the Subway sandwich or the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish (well, at least it looks like it’s supposed to, not that that means much).  I want to take a poll of which real item looks the least like  the stylized version, where it looks so disgusting that you’d really have to be desperate to eat it (and not hurl).  So look at the pictures and then vote below (and I did limit the choices to what I thought were the most disgusting items)!

Good Causes, Good Food, Good Wine

April 14, 2009

Two worthy organizations are having food-related fund-raisers in the coming days, and I hope you might support them while enjoying some good stuff to eat and drink.

Hidden Voices is a non-profit organization that explores who we are as a society through the voice — whether through stories or oral histories or individual performances.  Over the years, Hidden Voices has explored life in prison, the paths of Latino immigrants, and the pain of domestic violence, among others.  This Friday, Hidden Voices is hosting A Taste of Home, a fundraiser to tell the story of the meal from different perspective — from the homeless person’s park bench to the dining room in a child’s foster  home, or the cafeteria tray in a shelter.  The appetizers and desserts will be provided by 30 or so local chefs, including Karen Barker, Amy Tornquist, Drew Brown, and Mel Melton.  Tickets are $50 for an individual or $75 for two.  Students can get in for $25 each by contacting me for details.

SAFEchild is a Raleigh-based charity focusing on the prevention of child abuse.  Since its founding in 1992, SAFEchild has worked with more than 7,500 parents and has reached some 70,000 children.   On Wednesday, April 22, SAFEchild and the Fresh Market will be hosting their Fine Wine Gala, where over 50 wines from over the world will be paired with prime rib, shrimp, and other  hors d’oeuvres, along with cheeses and desserts.  The event will be held from 7-9 and tickets are $25 per person or $40 per couple.

We all need to eat, and instead of spending 40 or 50 bucks to hit your favorite restaurant, why don’t you go to one of these events instead?  Charities are really hurting right now, at a time when the services they provide are more important than ever.  So please think of attending one or both of these worthy events.


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