Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I had two Thanksgivings, which was awesome. Not sure if I have twice as much to be thankful for or what, but it certainly left me with no time to blog about either.
If any of the rest of you need food ideas for Second Thanksgiving, Xmas, Festivus, or what have you, perhaps you should try the newest edition of the Ron Paul Family Cookbook:
On the one tentacle, there's still time to get your Deep Fried on at the N.C. State Fair. I suggest finding some deep fried Oreos; if you want something more like real food, I suggest an ear of corn, as they're delicious.
On the other tentacle, Sean Wilson of Fullsteam points out that while the North Carolina State Fair awards three hundred forty-three — 343 — medals to North Carolina wines, there are none — 0 — for North Carolina beers. That's right: One of the most active food and drink scenes in the state and its newly active — dare I say fermenting? — and growing industry gets absolutely no recognition. Zero. Zilch. Nada. To wit:
Gary Kueber at Endangered Durham is going to be doing a sort of treasure hunt of historic restaurants. He'll be posting clues on his Facebook and Twitter sites, as well as on the ED post above. I won't be able to attend the dénouement/tour due to prior ditch digging commitments, but I think I'd really enjoy it. Gary is also giving away small prizes as part of the treasure hunt.
By the way, this activity is in part to publicize Open Durham, Gary's new project to re-work ED while adding a bunch of neat stuff.
Nanataco, Scott Howell's latest venture, is open across from University Green behind the Q-Shack. It's casual Mexican-American, with a large helping of outdoor seating, and delicious extras like pork belly and duck confit to go in your creation. They also have inexpensive beer :) and "traditional" things like chips and salsa. The "'fondito'" with house-made chorizo was yummy, and had so much meat in it that it was more like eating chili than cheezy dip. The "Big Daddy's" burrito will turn you into a big daddy in about 3 seconds: without being messy, it was like eating a delicious meat stew in a flour tortilla. The main offering seems to be 3 tacos for $6, with your choice of 5 meats or roasted veggies. 4 more "dirty meats" are an extra $2: hog jowl, lamb cheeks, duck confit, and crispy pork belly. Lunch: yes -- 11 am to 3 pm; lunch special. Vegetarian options: yes. Fish tacos: yes. Margaritas & mojitos: yes. :-D Hours: 11 am → 9 pm, Sunday→ Thursday, 11 am → 10 pm Friday & Saturday.
Joe E. says check it out.
Was that a review? Wow. :)
Wine Authorities had their 4th birthday party last week. Some of us weekend ditch-diggers missed it, and also miss their regular Saturday free tastings.
So we're happy to learn they've started a series of free Tuesday tastings. They start at 5 pm until they close at 6:30. The wines so far have been different from the wines on the Saturday tastings, so you can double-dip if you like and, um, not be harmed. :) I certainly wasn't harmed when I stopped in one night after some, um, canal work, and actually managed to buy something delicious. So enjoy that.
Happy China Sushi and Bar, formerly known as "Red Zen," formerly known as "Kimono," formerly known as "Pao Lim," is open. I've read that the owners after this last transition are different, but I don't really know. Nor have I tried it. I imagine they'll have a hard row to hoe going against Thai Cafe in University Green (which I think is OK, not great, but most of my friends love [but this isn't the Chinese restaturant post ;-} ] ).
What the article doesn't state is whether any of those big beer companies are actually suffering from declining sales or profits. Many of them have merged or bought other companies to the point that they're hardly recognizable. They're also, arguably, no longer American companies, although I imagine their brews are still made in the United States. I also imagine it's not cheap to ship fluids stably and in drink-sized containers. :)
So you should dine with the astronauts today and have some grilled chicken, barbecued brisket, baked beans and "southwestern corn." I imagine your version will be better than their pre-cooked one, but I hope everyone enjoys their dinner, no matter how or where it's prepared. Sic itur ad astra. :-D
The Reliable Cheese Company has a sign up on the door of their new digs at 405 East Chapel Hill Street, saying they'll be open for business tomorrow, 16 June 2011. Their space is just down from Rue Cler. I guess that means you can soon pick up a loaf at Rue Cler, get cheese just down the street, and scarf them together. :)
I actually dislike the term fine dining, but for lack of a better term.... Or to expand it a bit, who's open where I'd like to eat? ;) More reasonably, I guess not everyone is out grilling burgers with family. That includes me: I'm digging ditches today. But where might I eat tonight? Enquiring Joes want to know. ;)
For those of you in the service or with family members who've served (and perhaps died), thank you for your service and your support of your serving family members. For those of you with your meals and freedom already secured for this holiday, Happy Memorial Day, and enjoy your time off.
That'd be unfortunate, especially after leasing the space. I'm wondering what the hell "lease" even means when you can't put a hot dog cart on the leased spot. I'm also wondering if it's typical for ordinary citizens to be asked to pay for the cost of changing a local ordinance.
Edit: The "supply customers with bathroom" thing is particularly ridiculous: my understanding is that a brick & mortar food business only has to supply bathrooms if they have seating. That's why all the places like Wimpy's had to get rid of their picnic tables outside. Why would a mobile cart be forced to have a bathroom when a building doesn't?
There's no report of illness from this California company's ground beef recall, but some of the product was apparently shipped to North Carolina, so I'm posting it as of possible local interest. The USDA doesn't have a list of retail outlets yet.
The first link above -- the USDA one -- should eventually yield a list of retail outlets. The second link contains images of package labels and date stamps that should let you tell immediately whether you have suspect food.
Edit: a current retailer list is out. Harris Teeter looks like the only local casualty; Costco is affected, but not stores in North Carolina. You're still advices to use the labels show in the second link above, as the list may have errors of both omission and commission.
For quite some time, I've used Halloween as an excuse to sit on my front porch or moral equivalent, make hot cocoa, provide spiking for it if desired, invite friends — especially friends with kids — and quietly celebrate Halloween. I'm not into scaring folks, getting drunk and partying, or generating pre-Election-Day propaganda. But I tried to have fun. I might get a small buzz on, but not so much that anyone would be scared to bring their kids to my house or the like. Halloween to me is about letting kids go to strange houses and get candy for free for no reason. It rocks. Halloween Haters be Damned. :) I've missed a couple Halloweens because of brain injuries, penury, or the like. But I usually try, and I usually shovel the candy out: maybe 15 or 20 bags or more. And I don't buy crap: I buy stuff I like or that seems Halloween-ish.
Didn't do it this year. Not much traffic at the new house anyway. And apparently there are a few Halloween Haters in the new 'Hood. Didn't even make any cocoa. :( And have you priced a box of Droste cocoa lately? (You might want Google Translate for that last link.) Between the US$ going in the toilet, food price increases, the price of oil, and — well, $deity knows why, but it was on sale for $13, IIRC. Oh, and the penury.
Butsnow. Started where I was between 1:30 and 2 this afternoon. What an excellent reason. Winter in general is a good reason, so why not snow? It's not winter, unless you practice that the cross-quarter days are the beginnings of the seasons instead of their midpoints. (Ever wondered why A Midsummer Night's Dream takes place on May Day? There's your answer.) So some people would say it's winter now. And it's snowing. And it's awfully close to the date of latest sunrise, which can seem pretty wintry.
So — hot chocolate. Go. Use whatever you have. Throw in some marshmallows if you like. Spike it. (I used hazelnut liqueur this time, which was unexpectedly delicious. I usually use Vandermint, which is not easily obtainable at the NCABC stores.) Drink it. Fall asleep looking at the snow. The Xmas rush isn't full bore yet. You deserve it. :)
I used to homebrew, and have considered getting back into it. But I gave away all my home brewing equipment, and as we know have a couple breweries within spitting distance, with more to come.... OTOH, can you ever really have too much beer? ;)
If you haven't been to the NC State Fair yet and had your favorite deep-fried nastiness, your last chance to go is this weekend: the fair closes down for 2010 on the night of 24 October. My "chicken on a stick" was actually very good, but I spent hours looking for maple sugar cotton candy, and never found any. If anyone who knows me personally finds some, buy me a couple bags, and I'll pay you — seriously. Or maybe it's only found at El Dorado: after all, what I thought I saw was kind of golden colored. ;)