Friday, June 17, 2011

Tastes Like a Winner to Me

 2011 Top Chef Master Floyd Cardoz
Having unplugged the television a couple years ago, the only TV I watch these days is through HULU. This leaves a void in my life for shows like ‘No Reservations’ and reality shows like 'Top Chef Masters' where America’s greatest chefs compete in a head to head competition.  This week Floyd Cardoz, formerly of Tabla in NYC, received the coveted honor of Top Chef Master 2011.

I am lucky enough to have eaten at Tabla and also befriend two mentees of Chef Cardoz who currently reside at ONE restaurant in Chapel Hill. Next week, in honor of their esteemed mentor, Chefs Sean and Carrie will deliver a triumphant meal, which we are all invited to taste. And speaking of invitations...ONE Restaurant has invited Floyd as their honored guest. How cool is that? With his new celebrity status and back-to-back bookings, let's just hope he'll be able to join.   Tabla closed late last year, so this is the only place where you can taste a sampling of Chef Cardoz’s legacy.

Make your reservations by calling (919) 537-8207 be sure to tell them My Restaurant Guru sent you. Seating will be overlooking the arena style kitchen and is limited to fifteen people per night.

**Menu is subject to change 

A Taste of Tabla @ [ONE]
In celebration of Top Chef Master Floyd Cardoz’
New Indian Cuisine
June 21-25
4 courses $55, $25 wine pairing supplement

Chef’s Amuse
roasted tomato, coconut and celery rasam
Brulee of Diver Scallop
shaved green apple, green chili cilantro emulsion,
pickled green mango
 Coconut and Black Kokum Upma
semolina, fricassee of wild mushrooms, fava beans, dana dahl
Rice Flake Crusted Black Grouper
Watermelon curry, watercress, cilantro lime relish
Vanilla Bean Kulfi
telicherry pepper chocolate sauce

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Meet your Meat

Coon Rock Farm /Hillsborough, NC

The notion of respecting your food is equivalent to respecting your body; you really are what you eat. And when you ingest something, you should know where it comes from and understand what effort it took to get into your mouth. It’s not a new concept. Just read Omnivore’s Dilemma, or watch Food, Inc.

I’m gonna take it one step further for carnivores: if you eat meat, you should to be able to kill it, gut it and prepare it. If you can’t stomach the thought, then you shouldn’t stomach meat.  Period. I realize not everyone can or has the ability to watch their meat get slaughtered, but shouldn’t you think about it? I mean really take a moment and think about how the meat that you are about to eat lived….and how it died for the nourishment of your body. 

I’m all about free enterprise but the commercialization of big Ag has gotten a little crazy. When I visit small enterprise farms I see happy chickens and happy cows.  They live like a farm animal should: respected. Contrast that to crammed, smelly, defecated enclosed spaces: that is the total opposite of happy.

Don’t be a meathead. Think about it.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


By Christie Hadden

It’s now been four consecutive days of goodness! Hallelujah! It has been 10 weeks of considerable lows and for the first time in over a year I feel clear headed and light as if the thickest, heaviest weighted blanket has been lifted from my entire body. No more brain fog, no more uncomfortable bellyaches, Nope; those have been replaced with a clear mind, an extra spring in my step and radiant energy.

I guess this witch doctery crap really works:  a detox, an introduction of the right foods, a truckload of vitamins and both mental and physical exercise.

My sleep cycle is all whack. Taking early evening naps and waking up at 4 or 5am is kinda insane. But if this is the downside of finding myself I am cool with that.

I have tried a few more GFCF products that I would like to talk about. Since the theme is awakening I’m going share my thoughts on foods all relating to breakfast.

Udi’s Plain Bagels:
5 out of 5 stars

More like a roll with a donut hole than a bagel, this bread is good. What a sigh of relief! I like toasting mine and making a sandwich: like w lox, red onion, capers, pea shoots and course mustard.  The outer skin is thin and offers a crunch when toasted and the inside is surprisingly light and totally unlike the dense GF breads out there. Udi’s are a definite brand to stock in the freezer

Van’s Waffles with berries:
4 out of 5 stars

This one has got me sayin “Leggo my eggo, man”. When I’m not feelin like cooking my typical egg for breakfast and need a quick breakfast to go, my Van Waffles are the ticket. I also love them as mid day snack covered with almond butter.

Eden Organic Brown Rice Flakes
5 out of 5 stars

These cook in a jiffy and are the best of the hot porridges. It’s kinda like eating rice pudding for breakfast. I take mine with soy milk, mixed dried berries, cinnamon and maple syrup. It’s so comforting on a cold winter morning and will stick with you. My family usually eats Irish Oats, but have found that Rice Flakes cook faster are just as good (actually better tasting). You and your family will love it.


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!