Sunday, December 26, 2010

Make a snow cone with real snow!

Since North Carolina rarely gets snow like this, why don't you take advantage of the weather by eating it too?

Recipe for making homemade snow cones:
1.Combine sugar and Kool-Aid drink powder.
2.Add cold water, stirring to complete dissolve.
3.Combine 2 cups cold water and approximately 2 cups ice cubes in a blender.
4.Run blender on frappe setting, until ice is consistently crushed and slushy.
5.Spoon crushed ice into cups.
6.Pour flavoring mixture over each cup of crushed ice.

Merry Christmas,
Margaret Farley

Friday, December 17, 2010

How Do You Like Your Eggs in the Morning?

Elmo's Diner displays kids' artwork

By Margaret Farley

So it's Saturday morning and you don't feel like breaking out the cereal for the 30th time. Why not go out?

If you don't feel like having a chance of a wait list great places for you to try are:

1. Foster's Market
Durham NC and Chapel Hill NC

While it has a large coffee shop feel, Foster's has a wide variety of options on their menu. Smoothies, milkshakes, pastries and breakfast entrees are available. They have great salads, try checking out the Trio where you can choose from three of their salad options. My favorite aspect to Foster's is their outdoor patio which is perfect for a family brunch and is dog friendly!

2. Whole Foods
Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill NC
While many people view Whole Foods as primarily a grocery store, it has an awesome buffet that is often overlooked. Last week, I was able to get a breakfast of blueberry pancakes, eggs, fruit, and hash browns. I would definitely check it out on a Sunday and get your grocery shopping done for the week right after. Two birds with one stone!

3. Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen
Chapel Hill, NC
If you have never tried a Sunrise cinnamon bun you are truly missing out. You may have seen the line blocking traffic on East Franklin Street a couple times and there's a reason! For the prices, this drive-thru breakfast joint is a great stop if you are in a hurry or just want to pick up something quick. (But just so you know, you can walk in the side door and skip all the traffic. Most people don't know this.)

On the left: Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen

Other notable restaurants to check out:

Elmo's Diner
Carrboro and Durham NC

This is the perfect spot for a family breakfast! Although they can have a little bit of a wait (I've never waited over twenty minutes), they have the perfect setting for kids. They offer coloring sets and even serve chocolate milk. But they also have a wonderful breakfast! Their banana pancakes and Lox-and Bagel Sandwich are must tries!

Crook's Corner
Chapel Hill, NC

Called the "sacred ground for Southern foodies", Crook's has a great brunch. The selections range from buttermilk pancakes all the way to a BBQ sandwich. And the prices aren't too shabby for a sit down breakfast, about $7.50 an entree.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 4: Detox (ramblings from a Gluten Free/Casein Free foodie)

By Christie Hadden

I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, an autoimmune disease where my antibodies attack and destroy my thyroid.  Under doctor’s orders I was mandated to cut gluten and dairy out of my diet for ….the….rest….of….my…………….
life. That’s asking a lot from a food-obsessed gluten. That means I have to put away and retire my favorite “Praise Cheeses” t-shirt and put my GFCF pants on.  I can do this, I can do this, I can do this (self brainwashing begins)

So here I am, Day 4 of 21 in a total detox which means no caffeine, no al-key-hall, no red meat, no eggs, no soy, not even corn on top of the no gluten, no dairy thing. It’s December by the way, so that means I have to do this diet during the holidays. God has a twisted sense of humor.

As the Restaurant Guru, I feel it is my duty to help lead the way for other GFCF souls and navigate not just the restaurant world, but also the home kitchen.

So for my first entry, I will give my thoughts on a couple breakfast items: Turkey bacon and Quinoa Flakes Hot Cereal.

Wellshire Turkey Peppered Bacon, 4 out of 5 stars
Except the fact that its not bacon, not even close to the porky, smoky, chewy, salty perfection that is bacon Mmmm…….bacon…….. tastes good. …………………..

*sigh, sorry my mind wandered off to happy memories in the land of lardo and belly. No joke. It took me 15 minutes to realize where I was in this blog.
OK, focus. Back to Turkey Peppered “bacon”.  Here’s the truth. Although it is nothing like the real deal, turkey bacon is actually pretty tasty and doesn’t give you the greasy mouth. (love bacon, but not the grease that coats the whole clown mouth area). So in this product review, Wellshire Turkey Bacon makes this whole detox diet bearable. It’s a healthier guilty pleasure.

Quinoa Flakes Hot Cereal, 1 out of 5 stars
This cereal was recommended in the diet. Expecting it to taste like oatmeal is a really bad expectation. I had mixed in brown sugar. Gag reflex. OK so maybe brown sugar and honey. Barf. So brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, touch of nutmeg and dried berries. It was barely edible.

TIP: QUINOA FLAKES TASTE LIKE QUINOA. No matter what add ons you smother on it, it is still quinoa. My recommendation for this cereal is to make it a savory dish. It’s not meant to be sweet.

Thanks for letting me share. I hope to make more posts on various products  and tips in the GFCF world.

Be well!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I think Raleigh is turning Japanese! I really think so.

Sushi Rolls at Mura, North Hills

Raleigh is home to lots of Sushi hot spots and with so many Sushi restaurants coming to town I thought it would be appropriate to write a little segment on the ones foodies are raving about.

1. Sushi Blues Cafe
Glenwood Ave.
Sushi Blues is perfect for a quick meal with affordable prices. What's so unique about Sushi Blues? They have live entertainment! Most performances fall in the Blues or Jazz genre and their late night specials such as "Half-Price Sushi" draw in a large crowd from the local colleges. If you stop by, be sure to try the "Wolfpack Roll" it was a definite favorite of mine!
2. Sono
Fayetteville St.
More for those in a fancy mood, Sono has a very urban, chic atmosphere. They have a full sushi menu as well as a good selection of dinner entrees. I would definitely try it on a Monday, they have a special for a four course meal for 25 bucks! Other cool aspects to Sono? You can go to their website and check out what fresh fish they have this week! I just found out they have Orange Niragi from Hawaii! Cool beans.
3. Haru Sushi
Glenwood Village
Although I've never been here, everyone I know that has gone here has raved that this is the best sushi spot in Raleigh. The News & Observer raved that Haru "offers world class sushi in a warm, romantic setting." Their prices are pretty standard (About $7 a roll) and they have a pretty eclectic menu. It appears to be a great spot for a lunch date, with decent prices and a convenient location. Who wants to to try to park downtown for a quick lunch? I am definitely checking this spot out first chance I get!
4. Mura
North Hills
Another great spot for you fancy pants out there! Mura has a very modern atmosphere with a very sleek sushi bar. Mura also has private rooms if you want to get your sushi-party on. And you can book a table online so you don't have to deal with a single person before you get to the restaurant! Mura offers the fresh fish list online too, so you can check out if they have anything that meets your craving that day. Mura has also received Best Sushi in Raleigh on City Search in 2009 and the Metro Bravo Award for Best Sushi in Raleigh in 2009 and 2010. Even though it's on the pricer side, I would definitely suggest it for a nice dinner or special occasion. They have a neon lights behind their liquor at the bar, so you know this place means business.

I hope this put you in the mood for some sushi! These are just a couple of my suggestions, let us know at if you find any places people need to know about!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving time!

Here's a great pecan pie recipe I use!

1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy, and stir in melted butter. Stir in the brown sugar, white sugar and the flour; mix well. Last add the milk, vanilla and nuts.
Pour into an unbaked 9-in pie shell. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until done.

Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 40 mins
Ready in 1 hr and 5 mins!

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Searching for Wifi

We have found sanity and decent coffee at the Bruegger's Bagel on Wade Ave. It's a great respite close but not tooooo close to NCSU.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Make a chef your friend today

by Christie Hadden,

Friends gather for a memorable feast

If you don’t have a friend who is in the culinary scene, then make it your life mission. 

Writers and Chefs are equivalent to hiring the best tour guide into an edible wonderland. Like a good tour guide they will make those crappy tourist traps fade away into the background and walk you through a willy wonka treasure trove of delectable delights. 

I have been quite lucky to have a few food tour guides here in the triangle. And this week it’s hats off to: @durhamfoodie, @andreaweigl, Lil Matt (Strain)

Andrea serving thanksgiving dressing
Ever wonder what happens to that gorgeous spread in the magazines and cookbooks after they have taken the photos? Well, after the dish poses and postures for the camera it gets eaten. Last night I was invited by @durhamfoodie to feast on @andreaweigl’s News & Observer Thanksgiving dinner spread. Not only was it beautifully photographed (I got a sneak peek, N&O issue will come out next week), but the entire dinner was delicious. It was my first taste of a dry cured turkey. This bird stayed 3 days in a salt rub in the fridge and came out sopping moist. Boy, was I a lucky passenger on that joy ride! (Not to mention the company was amazingly familiar; as if I were right at home. Doublely fun!)

The Pho Bar
Periodically, Matt S. of Vin Rouge opens his home to a themed feast. And when I say feast, I mean an all out, wide-open spread. His past dinners have been a whole slow roasted lamb, Boudin Sausage Fest (procured direct from the bayou of Louisiana), Crawfish Boil and this past Monday……. Asian Splendor.  His Pho bar included tendon and his broth was perfectly flavored with beef, rabbit, and chicken bones, star anise, cardamom and more. Also on his menu was stir-fried pork belly w/ long beans, octopus stir-fry, Congee, pork & shrimp shumai, BBQ pork buns, and Gai Yang (Lao BBQ Chicken) and Durian sorbet. *Swooooooon*

These culinary detours are not like any stop to an ordinary roadside stand. These food adventures can only be lead by the most attuned guide. These guides are your password into a secret lair guarded by burly bouncers. Remember to tip them well (alcohol usually works). I am just lucky to have made the right friends.  Thank you Jo, Andrea and Matt for a fantastic food journey.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nose to Tail Dinner a Success!

WHAT DID I JUST EAT?! by Margaret Farley

The Nose to Tail Dinner hosted by Giorgio

and Bar in Cary was a great success Giorgio hosts a family style meal every month in which they choose some type of cuisine to prepare for an intimate group of diners. This month, they thought it only appropriate to cook a cuisine of unusual items not typically found on
a menu. Featured are pictures of items on the menu that evening as well as interior shots of Giorgio! On the right Roasted Bone Marrow served with pickled red onion, parsley salad, sea salt and toast is pictured. And to the bottom is the bar snack of lamb fries and crispy pig ears with Harissa Ketchup. Diners enjoyed the intimate setting and detailed explanation of what they were eating. Be sure to come out to the next family meal!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What's Up With "Nose to Tail" Eating?

What’s the deal with “nose to tail” dining?

It was started by an English chef, Fergus Henderson, who wanted to use the neglected parts of the animal when cutting meat. Although, nose to tail dining is British, the wines that accompany the meal are traditionally French.

The dishes served during a nose to tail meal are called “offal” dishes. Offal, from the Germanic word garbage or “off-fall” means the parts that remain after the meat is butchered.

So you may be thinking at this point…why would someone want to go to a meal like this?

Ferguson’s cuisine received a rave review from Anthony Bourdain, of “No Reservations” in his book Kitchen Confidential, “If I’m ever sentenced to death, I want Fergus Henderson to cook my last meal. The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating is a cult classic from my favorite chef and favorite restaurant in the world.”

Credited as “The World’s Most Influential Chef” in the Men’s Journal, Henderson is known as the offal king and was quoted in The Eater National, ““I like organs; they look like themselves...Kidneys, there’s a magical squeak, when you bite them, and then a give...I believe it’s that squeak that acts as a sort of…Cupid to me." Looks like you’ll have to bring your fangs out if you plan to try this British fad!

Doesn’t it seem appropriate that on Halloween to eat parts of an animal you wouldn’t usually consider to think of as edible? Ever tried lamb brains or roasted bone marrow? Here’s your chance!

“Nose to Tail” eating comes to the Giorgio Restaurant and Bar in Cary!

To celebrate the Fall season and Halloween, Giorgio will be hosting a "Nose to Tail" dinner, Sunday October 31st from 6:30 to 10featuring a variety of offal dishes. Guests will be seated together with the Chef and staff joining them to enjoy a family-style meal celebrating some of their favorite scary foods!

By Margaret Farley

My Restaurant Guru Intern at NC State University

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spice Route Family Meal

Chef Sean McCarthy attended Culinary school
Johnson and Wales in Charlotte.

Sunday August 29th, 2010:: Chef Sean at Giorgio Restaurant in Cary hosted my first attended Family Meal (which was actually his second)

The idea of Family Meal stems from the family meal the restaurant staff members have on a regular basis. Where the kitchen prepares food and gathers the staff to swap stories and basically come together as a family unit. Chef Sean has extended this meal to a limited number of guests and creates a meal based on what he would cook for his close friends. So here is the tale of a Sunday night when the restaurant is closed to the public but open for 30 lucky little heathens.

Hubby and I enter the scene quite timidly. It’s obvious that many of the folks know each other and talk and laugh jovially. Belly up to the bar and I over hear this edgy-quasi-Adam Lambert looking bartender explain his love of rose. His words take me away to a vineyard as he describes how the grape was grown, what to expect from rain if the vine is on a slope or in a valley and describes the finish as kissed with citrus. I am in awe as exclaims, “You know, it’s difficult for a single heterosexual in the South to drink pink wine. But I love it.” I get a tingly sensation and officially have a wine crush on my sommelier for his candor.

Chef Sean welcomes the group and explains our dinner. We will experience Spice Route Seafood. The side room double doors open to our long white linen table. First course Kumomoto Oysters. These little buggers look small (about the size of a silver dollar), but they have a wallop of flavor. Plain, these guys are briny salty as if I had swallowed the sea.  Splash a little mignonette of champagne vinegar, local melon, shallot and pickled watermelon rind I’m ready to take my close off. There are 150 of these oysters and I restrain myself not to over-take.

Second course is Salmon Ceviche. It doesn’t sound nor look too exciting. It’s deep red from the Harissa paste Sous Chef Carrie made from reconstituted dry chilis. It’s mixed with walnuts, cilantro and mint. I’m critical. This doesn’t look like the juicy ceviche I’m used to…and made with salmon? But, one bite and I’m convinced. This dish was banging! Definitely my top two ceviche of all time. So, so good and admit it was my favorite course of the meal.   

Hamachi Sashimi was another unusual pairing of fresh local peaches and hot chili oil. This was not a flavor combination I would have mashed together, but it worked. The texture of the yellowtail and the peach swam together harmoniously and the flaky salt set it all off.

The Octopus a la plancha was daring, well at least for me. The thick purple and white tentacles popped on a salad of arugula, pickled red onion and saffron aioli. The texture was delicate and soft. Not chewy whatsoever.

The visually impressive Ethiopian Seafood Stew were huge bowls heaping with prawns that could choke a horse, mussels, calamari rings in a deep red berbere broth, a spice mixture whose ingredients usually include chile peppers, ginger, cloves, coriander, and allspice. Spooned on to our plates the broth quickly took over like the broken levees in Ninth Ward.  White rice was called in for reinforcements. Nobody dared to waste a drop.

And the pièce de résistance was the three (yes, count em THREE) whole black grouper. Each grouper was lovingly massaged with a Moroccan spice and served with an orange fennel relish.  Chef tenderly dressed the fish and saved the cheek for yours truly. I let the sweet, fleshy moist cheek roll in my mouth. I levitated.

I wasn’t the only one levitating. I looked around and noticed the conversation subsided and everyone on my side of the table had a smirkey, cat that ate the canary look plastered across their faces.  I think instead of a family meal, I just embarked on my first decadent food orgy, and I liked it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fleming's Steakhouse::As seen in Wake Living Magazine

FlemingsFleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar opened next to Crabtree Valley Mall in October 2008. The eatery features an extensive wine list and USDA, corn-fed prime beef that’s aged up to four weeks.
photo: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Wine and dine

Fleming’s takes dining experience up a notch

by Christie Hadden

There are flavors that are bold by themselves, but when coupled with another they can turn into something exotic, magical, and wonderful. Take steak and wine, for example. Independently, they are striking and alluring, but bring the two together and you have one tantalizing tango — a blend of flavors that can heighten, balance, and reset your flavor palate.

For such an experience, take your taste buds to Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, which offers contemporary twists on the classic steakhouse.

A memorable feast
The entire dining area at Fleming’s is an open room with a view of the kitchen and a wall of wine consisting of 100 varieties available by the glass. There’s also more than 80 reserve bottles selected especially for the Raleigh eatery, which is located next to Crabtree Valley Mall.

Fleming’s extensive wine list is manageable and approachable, progressively organized by grape from light to full-bodied with denotations for wines that are organic, sustainable, and biodynamic.

At Fleming’s, each associate’s goal is to create a memorable feast for diners.

“Hospitality is a critical piece of the dining experience,” says Rebecca Blake, who has served as Fleming’s operating partner since it opened in October 2008.

Aiming to please the changing palates of today’s diners, the restaurant offers healthy items and manageable portions. Everything is á la carte, with sides like chipotle macaroni and cheese and Fleming’s potatoes, a house specialty with cream, jalapeños, and cheddar cheese.

The star of the show, though, is the USDA, corn-fed prime beef that’s aged up to four weeks. It is naturally juicy, marbled and prepared to each diner’s specifications.

At Fleming’s Bar, five cocktails, five wines by the glass and five appetizers are available for $6 each until 7 p.m. daily. Appetizers are full-sized portions of items like Carpaccio, ahi tuna and jumbo shrimp cocktail. Its seasonal Prix Fixe dinner includes a choice of signature entrée, appetizer and dessert. For prime-rib lovers, Sunday is the day to head to the restaurant.

“If you’re looking to impress, then order the lobster tempura, chilled seafood tower and lava cake for that ‘wow’ factor,” Blake says.

Private dining is available for up to 70 seated or 120 standing guests, while video conferencing provides a live feed to multiple locations for presentations.

Charity also matters to Fleming’s. Once a month, it partners with area nonprofits to host Wine on Wednesday, where five types of wine are offered at a reduced price; 100 percent of the proceeds go toward a featured charity. 

Christie Hadden is founder of My Restaurant Guru, a Triangle-based Web site that connects people with area restaurants. To learn more, visit

Lump Crab Louis Wraps

(serves five)

For the Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
1/8-teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/8-teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon sun-dried tomato coulis (see recipe below)
Pinch kosher salt
1/2-pinch ground black pepper
2 tablespoons pomace oil

Combine mayonnaise, ketchup, red wine and apple cider vinegars, sweet pickle relish, sun-dried tomato coulis, kosher salt, and black pepper in a food processer. Pulse mixture until smooth; scrape down the sides. With the motor running, slowly add oil until incorporated. Place into a container and refrigerate.

For the Wraps:
5 butter lettuce cups
2 1/2 teaspoons vinaigrette dressing
2 1/2 ounces super lump crab meat
1 avocado, diced to a quarter of an inch
2 1/2 teaspoons bacon, cooked and crumbled
15 grape tomatoes, halved
1 hard-boiled egg, grated
3 stems chives, one-inch bias cut

Remove outer leaves and core from butter lettuce head. Separate inside leaves into lettuce cups, then split in half to about 2 to 2 1/2 inches wide. Wash, drain and keep chilled until needed.

Place one lettuce cup each on five small plates, and spoon 1/2-teaspoon of vinaigrette into the bottom of each lettuce cup. Place 1/2-ounce of super lump crab meat on top of the dressing in each cup.

Place 1/2-teaspoon of diced avocado on top of the crab, then sprinkle with 1/2-teaspoon of bacon bits. Cut grape tomatoes in half lengthwise, and place three on top of each cup.

Grate 1/2-teaspoon of the egg over each cup, and place three to four chives on top of each.

For the Sun-dried Tomato Coulis:
1 ounce roasted red pepper, canned
1/2-ounce sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons Chardonnay
1 1/2 ounces water
1 teaspoon sugar

Drain peppers and place into a saucepan with sun-dried tomatoes, wine, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 2 minutes. Pour into a blender and mix until smooth. 

If you go

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is located at 4325 Glenwood Ave. next to Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh. Hours are 5-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4-9 p.m. Sunday. To learn more, call (919) 571-6200 or visit

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Tastiest Campus Burgers as seen in U the Magazine

By Christie Hadden, My Restaurant Guru
Christie Hadden is a world traveling food fanatic and founder of My Restaurant Guru, a Triangle-based Web site that connects people to the areas best restaurants. To learn more, visit

A tasty burger from Sutton's Pharmacy
When it comes to classic campus burgers the rules are: it’s gotta be cheap and it has got to be good. Armed with my notepad and a camera, I gallivanted all over each of the Triangle’s major campuses for three days eating burger after burger. Twas no easy task as every burger was selected from the most notable restaurants, all of which have won various “best burger” awards. I ate with fervor.

It didn’t take long before realizing that there are two distinct college genres of burgers: Old Skool and New School. When you break it down Old Skool styled burgers encompass a thin layer of beef on plain white bun cooked on the grill. They are simple, greasy and classic. New School burgers include more options such as whole-wheat buns, turkey or veggie patties and expanded toppings.  Both style of burgers belong in their own category and taste great in their own right. 

Fair is fair, and as much as I wanted to load on the toppings I restrained myself for a real contest of beef and cheese; therefore all judgments are based on the classic cheeseburger. So here it is folks: the list of only the tastiest campus burgers all under five dollars. These burgers are juicy, fresh and so scrumptious you’ll want to lick the foil.


Cloo's is a classic retro joint near NC State
Mission Valley Shopping Center
2233 Avent Ferry Road
Raleigh, NC 27606-2138
(919) 834-3354

Single Cheeseburger: $3.80

The black and white checkered tile is reminiscent of a classic diner. I ran into Coach Tarantini while noshing, so I suspect this is a regular place for NCSU heavy hitters. Be prepared for lines and since everything here is made to order be prepared to wait. But it is definitely worth it!

620 Glenwood Avenue intersection of Peace Street
Raleigh, NC 27603-1224
(919) 832-6799

Single Cheeseburger: $4.49

Perched on the corner of Peace and Glenwood this burger joint is home to the Classic Hall of Fame. If you are mad enough to devour their 1lbs burger your photo will be epitomized on the wall of shame…er I mean fame.  Open late night with $2 burgers after 10pm. If you don’t want beef you can substitute chicken, turkey and veggie burgers for the same price. 

A freshly ground Wimpy's Burger

Corner of Hillsborough & Hicks
Hours: 7am to 2pm M-F closed Sat/Sun

Single Cheeseburger: $3.09

A fair example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Wimpy’s shack is located just west of East Campus and they specialize in old-fashioned burgers that are ground fresh daily. Everything is made to order. Don’t go here if you are in a hurry unless you call ahead first as the lines can get as long as the ladies room cue at a rock concert. And much like tailgating, everything is carryout and there is no place to sit, so many patrons will eat out of their car in the parking lot. CASH ONLY.

Mobile burger truck with newly opened (July) brick and mortar store located at
(919) 724-1622

Single Cheeseburger $4.75

While technically an old skool classic burger, this mobile tin can gets categorized for new school because of its “foodloose” and fancy-free approach to classic dining.  The Only Burger truck posts its location on Twitter and people flood from all points to nosh on fresh ingredients, daily ground beef and hand cut fries. It gets even better when it motors onto Duke because Only Burger accepts Duke Points when on campus.


a view inside Sutton's
159 East Franklin Street
919 942-5161

Single Cheeseburger: $4.39 

Sutton’s is like going back to the future. Serving UNC & Chapel Hill Since 1923 this pharmacy/soda fountain/lunch counter has award winning burgers, hot dogs, fries, & shakes. I recommend the Carolina burger with chili, cheese and slaw; it’s the bomb.  Expect to see UNC royalty if not in person then from overtly displayed photos hanging from the ceilings and walls. And because it’s a pharmacy, you can grab Tums and breath mints on the way out.

A loaded BUNS burger on whole wheat
107 North Columbia Street
(919) 240-4746

Monday to Wednesday, 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thursday to Saturday, 11:00 am - 3:00 am
Sunday, 11:00 am - 9:00 pm

Single Cheeseburger:  $4.99 

Buns is outta control! With 18 no-charge toppings like caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, chipotle mayo, jalapeños and more, one can purchase a gourmet burger for under $5.  Your choice of freshly baked white and wheat buns, hand-pattied 100% Angus beef, turkey and homemade Veggie patties are offered at the same price. In addition to hand-cut french fries, Buns offers sweet potato fries for that additional boost of Vitamin C.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Melt in Your Mouth Miami

Now that's fresh fish!

Written by Lacy P. Bailey
We try to travel (and these days with a one year old it aint happenin too often). Like many of you I'm sure, when we do it is all about what fun stuff we can put in our mouths!! The best part of sightseeing is the eating and the drinking for me. I love good food and great drinks so we set out with not a clue about what a tourist does but where the hell you go to eat. We just have to share our latest lust as we bounced around Miami getting wasted. Started in SoBe aroun 10 and made our way to Lincoln Road to check out this shopping thing. Armed with absolutly no money but lots of plastic we barely went in any stores but stopped at 7 places along the way for mojitos, margaritas, beer, and martinis. When the baby is away the mommy & daddy will play! Then we found Sushi Samba. I am a conneseur of the raw fish and fell in love with this nice piece of meat ... now that is fresh fish. 2 orders of a sashimi tiradito - yellowtail with jalapeño and lemongrass (was killer with just enough heat to compliment the buttery fish) and kanpachi with yuzu, black truffle oil, & sea salt (which was I think my favorite) as well as 2 orders of sashimi seviche - yellowtail with ginger, garlic, soy (delish but my least favorite concoction) and tuna with coconut (milk), tomato, serrano, grapefruit, & cilantro (I think this was our fourth but I was pretty drunk by now but it was yummy tangy). I topped it off with a Lemon Samurai cocktail made with Svedka Citron, apple liqueur, peach, & guava. It was a good martini but a little too sweet for my taste ... so of course just order a sidecar extra shot and its less sweet. We took a photo for MRG to share with all that if you are busy shopping in Miami Beach and need to stop somewhere for a quick sushi fix or even just a drink and an app after sunkissing your face on the sand - Sushi Samba is the place. Now we just have to hit up their other locations!!

Lacy is a avid traveler, lover of wine and is a devoted wife and mother. Visit her food profile "Mama Sutra" at

Friday, August 6, 2010

Nyotaimori a.k.a. Naked Sushi

What the heck is Nyotaimori? Well, a simple description is: naked ladies are displayed as platters to have sushi picked off them. And yes the private bits are covered.

Last night I took a few friends to Nyotaimori in Raleigh, NC. I have been wanting to experience this since a visit to Chicago about 4 yrs ago where I got a glimpse into a private event. When I peered into this room I saw this gorgeous girl completely splayed out in this outrageously artful way. She was stoic and serene and the men eating off her looked as if they were consuming not just sushi, but her beauty and youth. . . . as if they were worshiping at the alter of sushi. Since then, I've been looking for an opportunity to experience this myself.

I was not disappointed with the Nyotaimori experience. It was indeed beautiful and surprisingly whimsical. The colors and textures and contrast of cool and warmth/ soft and hard are just a feast for the eyes.

Sushi is a beautiful food in itself, but used as the icing on attractive flesh and viola.... ART!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Restaurant Spotlight: Zayka Indian Cuisine as seen in Wake Living Magazine

Zayka Indian Cuisine

photo: Mithun Oorath 

Zayka Indian Cuisine is located in the Brierdale Shopping Center across from Brier Creek in Raleigh.

A flavor for tradition

Zayka Indian Cuisine spices up northwest Raleigh

by Christie Hadden

In Indian, the word "zayka" means flavor. As you enter Zayka Indian Cuisine in Raleigh, you're greeted with the distinctive aromas of cumin, turmeric, chili, ginger and garlic.

And the instant you meet Harry Burman, who runs the front of the house, you know that a zest for life flows through this restaurant. Burman greets all guests as if they were entering his home. Patrons enter as strangers and leave as members of the Zayka family.

Cultural flavor
Specializing in traditional Northern Indian cuisine, Zayka cooks up regional favorites using traditional practices such as cooking with a tandoori oven and hand-rolling breads and naan. And because it is owned and operated by Indians, the authentic restaurant is able to adapt dishes to the palates of Gujaratis, Bengalis, Punjabis, and other regional tastes. For those new to Indian cuisine, the knowledgeable staff can help cater the spice level to accommodate all tastes.

The restaurant, which opened its doors in November, is centrally located near Brier Creek in the Brierdale Shopping Center. Its main entrance is on Bruckhaus Street, near the center's only traffic circle. There's a rear entrance as well, with plenty of parking. The décor is clean, simple and modern.

Zayka's menu features authentic Indian fare, with vegetarian and meat dishes served with fervid tradition. A side of chutney - ideal with bread or samosas - accompanies each meal. Flavors include red onion chutney, sweet mango chutney, and a green chili chutney made with mint or coriander. Biryani, or flavored rice with vegetables and meats, tastes best when accompanied by raita, a cooling yogurt sauce. Pickled fruits and vegetables are popular accompaniments to meals at Zayka, while a variety of unleavened breads - from naan and roti to paratha - are delicious sides as well. House favorites include Chicken Tikka Masala, Veggie Kebabs, Chicken Malai Kebabs and Chicken Ginger.

The eatery offers a lunch buffet that includes a variety of samplings, in addition to fresh, all-you-can-eat naan; a weekend buffet includes a few more specialties, including shrimp and goat.

Zayka's core business is repeat, loyal customers; some patrons dine there every day. The restaurant also offers a full bar and space for celebrations and meetings, which can accommodate up to 130 people. The room is fully equipped with a high-definition projector, dedicated Ethernet and phone lines, and secured wireless.

It's clear that Zayka Indian Cuisine knows how to bring on the flavor: a flavor for tradition. And for taste buds hankering for Indian flavor, Zayka fits the bill.

Christie Hadden is founder of My Restaurant Guru, a Triangle-based Web site that connects people with area restaurants. To learn more, visit

Chicken Curry

1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons olive, vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 bay leaves
1 inch of a cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1 green cardamom
1 black cardamom
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 tomato, chopped
1/2-teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2-teaspoon cumin powder
1/4- to 1/2-teaspoon red chili powder
Salt to taste
1/2-cup water

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add cumin, bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, and heat for 1 minute on medium heat. Add onion, ginger paste and garlic paste, and mix until brown. Add chopped tomato, and mix for one minute. Add turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder and salt. Add chicken cubes and stir 3 to 4 minutes, then add water and cover for 15 minutes on low heat. Serve with rice or naan.

If you go

Zayka Indian Cuisine is located at 10410 Moncreiffe Road in Raleigh's Brierdale Shopping Center. The restaurant is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and for dinner from 5-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. To learn more, call (919) 361-5370 or visit

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Outside the Triangle: Eating in Hawaii

Hawaii: beautiful beaches and beautiful faces. I always thought folks in the southern US were some of the nicest people in the world, but there is something particularly special about Hawaiians...perhaps the secret is in their passion for food. Due to its location, these tropical islands are influenced by asian cuisine. There is even a good sized Chinatown in Honolulu were you can find all kinds of delicious fresh fruit and fish. 

Some of my favorite food finds are:
Peppa’s Korean BBQ, Honolulu, Oahu- For $8.99 you can get a combination platter that could feed you for days. Platters include your choice of meat (BBQ chicken and beef jun both excellent), 2 scoops of rice, fried dumplings and zucchini Plus FOUR sides. I was amazed at the variety of kimchee (spicy pickled vegetable) there must have been 12 or more sides to choose from.
Kaleo’s Bar and Grill, Pahoa, Hawaii- A surprising find in the sleepy saloon town of Pahoa. The setting of this town looks like something out of an old western. The atmosphere was quaint and romantic and the food was excellent. We dined on tempura fried ahi tuna roll, french onion soup, beef tenderloin, and a roasted vegetable salad with goat cheese croquette. Ooo Whee! I highly recommend every bit of it! 

Chinatown Fruit Smoothie- This ain’t your typical fruit smoothie. Choices include any combination of exotic tropical fruits like Jackfruit, Durian, Lychee and Rambutan. Everything is fresh and made to order. I had the Avocado + Mango smoothie and my DH had the pineapple + lychee. Both were amazing.
Lanikai Juice- A popular storefront in Kailua, Oahu. This family owned juice shop uses local ingredients and also has fruit/granola bowls available that looked especially hardy and delicious. They specialize in Acai juice which is reportedly packed with antioxidants and super nutrients which can aid in weight loss.
What’s Shakin- This popular stand is on the 4 mile scenic drive on the Big Island north of Hilo. Most ingredients come from the What’s Shakin farm. Everything is all natural. I had the Kona Coffee and Chocolate/Banana and my DH had the Papaya Paradise. After paying $6.50 a drink and waiting for over 40mins, the anticipation of this place got the better of me and unfortunately the smoothies didn’t live up to the hype.  I found this smoothie shack a little too thick and rich for my taste. 


In Maui, the locals love fried rice for Breakfast and you know what? I love it too! Here are photos of some of the best fried rice:

The Gazebo Restaurant: bacon, kaiula pork, veggies w/ a scrambled egg

The Sea House Restaurant @ Napili Bay: kailua pork, seaweed flakes, pineapple and an over-easy fried egg