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.


  1. Awww shucks friend, all ends well with good food, good drinks and great company.

    Clearly have food on my mind at most times, just took me three attempts to spell friend....kept typing "fried." =)


  2. HA! That's hilarious Jo! You do have a way with words.