Sunday, August 31, 2008

ACME Blogging: More Pie Please

We were back at ACME Food & Beverage Co. tonight. My 2nd Most Faithful Reader tried the grilled local pork sausage with with heirloom tomatoes, fennel, garlic and sweet pepper sauce over pappardelle pasta. It disappeared quickly.

I had a special duck breast salad with spinach, pears, blueberries and walnuts, with a creamy dressing. Not only did it have tender slices of breast meat on top, but there were pieces of meat throughout the whole salad. It was really good and I'm looking forward to having the rest for lunch tomorrow. I might have been able to eat all of it, but I wanted to save room for dessert.

Due to last Sunday's territorial pie dispute, we each got our own slice of the chocolate bourbon pecan pie so none of us had to share. We usually share a single dessert, or at most two, so this was quite a workout in itself.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thai Cafe

Sometimes when I search my blog posts for a restaurant that I go to regularly, it shocks me to find that I haven't written about it at all in over a year. Thai Cafe is such a restaurant. I go there quite often, because their food is so consistently good. I do, however, tend to order the same things over and over. I get the Thai Cafe Baskets, which are pastry shells filled with shrimp, chicken and corn. They are served with a tangy honey sauce, containing chopped peanuts and cucumbers.

I usually combine them with another appetizer. Tonight I got their fresh basil rolls, which are excellent. I often get their coconut soup with shrimp or pot stickers, which are soft, yet crispy, and served with a spicy-sweet coconut curry sauce. Now and then, I'll choose either pad thai or chicken massaman, which is wonderful and is what my 2nd Most Faithful Reader orders every single time. My Most Faithful Reader always gets the shrimp tempura and I steal at least one piece of broccoli, which she gives up without incident.

One of the reasons I like going there is that you can see most of the restaurant from wherever you sit and can often see if people you know are there. Plus, that makes random people-watching even easier. Tonight it was entertaining when one baby screamed on one side of the restaurant and another baby attempted to duplicate the scream on the other side. Normally I don't find loud baby shrieks entertaining, but this was exceptionally amusing to me.

Friday, August 29, 2008

ACME Blogging: Chocolate Bourbon Pecan PIe

This was the most scrumptious dessert I've had in ages. ACME Food & Beverage Co. has on its current dessert menu this fabulous chocolate bourbon pecan pie, with housemade vanilla ice cream. It was served warm. It was perfect. The only problem (and this was a major problem) was that I didn't order it. My Most Faithful Reader ordered it. She kept violently fighting me off as I kept trying to steal as much as I could. I may have permanent scars from her fork tines.

Go and get some of your own, but it may be safer if you go by yourself.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blu Blogging: Corn and Crab Chowder

FIFO is recovering from minor surgery and my 2nd Most Faithful Reader and I wanted to pick up some Yellowfin tuna tartare for my Most Faithful Reader, who has been looking after him constantly since he came home. Tonight, Blu Seafood and Bar had a superb corn and crab chowder that I hope they will put on their regular menu soon. It was beautiful and delicious.

My 2nd MFR also enjoyed a bowl of the chowder and had the crab cakes. Every Thursday is crab Thursday at Blu, so they have great specials on all their crab appetizers and also have crab legs.
I had my second heirloom tomato, chevre and watermelon salad, with balsamic vinaigrette. I really like this salad. It has such a nice combination of flavors.

This is what the key lime pie looked like tonight.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Close Encounters

I went to a two year old's birthday party on Saturday, which provided the opportunity to create serious sculptures with play-doh. I was pleased that I was able to convince a cute and inquisitive four year old that this was an alien and that aliens had antlers. He didn't seem so sure about the beanie. Those things that look like wings are really hands, but the arms kept getting shorter and shorter, since I was having trouble getting them to stick to the body.

I used to use clay to create these antlered aliens all the time when I was in high school. This is the original.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Six Plates Blogging: From Sorbet to Sunset

Friday night, a friend of mine and I went to Six Plates Wine Bar and enjoyed a lovely meal outside. We ordered the spicy tuna tartar wontons, with cilantro aioli. The wontons were nice and crispy, but not too crispy for me, which was great.

As always, we had to share a cheese plate. The Bleuet was delicious bleu and was served with fresh figs. The Buche Noir was a nice goat cheese. The Irish port cheddar was probably my favorite, despite my fondness for bleu and goat cheeses. It was just gorgeous as well as flavorful and was fantastic paired with the honeycomb.

We started off dessert with French press decaf coffee, which was absolutely delicious. We probably would have had enough with one press for the two of us, but we still drank all of it.

We each had a "flight of gelato". I chose passionfruit sorbet, thai basil gelato and watermelon sorbet. The passionfruit was simply amazing and I would love to get a whole gallon of it. The watermelon was very good and I still love the thai basil. In the photo, you can see the chocolate, which was apparently also excellent.

The outdoor seating area outside Six Plates is also a wonderful place to watch a sunset.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Teeny Little Lizard In Carrboro

I know most of you come here to read about food and I was planning to write about food tonight, but I actually get a lot more excited about random encounters with wildlife. So, when I parked in my usual parking space at ACME Food & Beverage Co. this evening and looked out my driver's side window at the scene above, I immediately exclaimed to my 2nd Most Faithful Reader, "Give me your camera! Quick!"

I saw the cutest, most adorable and teeniest lizard that I'd seen all day and perhaps this year. It was so tiny and I'm lucky that I saw the little guy on this post. I think it was an anole, possibly a brown form of Carolina or green anole, Anolis carolinensis. Hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong, since there are apparently over 400 species of Anolis in the genus.

It hopped over to the fence and my 2nd Most Faithful Reader got a closer look from outside the van. As soon as he hit the button to snap the picture, it was gone.

UPDATE: I asked Jeff Pippen and he confirmed my identification.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pauly Dogs Returns!

Yesterday, the freshmen moved into their dorms on Duke's East Campus. On West Campus, something much more exciting was going on. Pauly Dogs re-opened for the new school year. I have been counting the days ever since they closed at the end of the spring semester. It's been a long summer.

The veggie dogs that I get at the Pauly Dogs kiosk on the Bryan Center walkway have become the staple of my lunchtime diet at Duke. The one above is "the Yankee", which has sauerkraut, spicy mustard and optionally Texas Pete, which I leave off. Pauly has between 12 and 16 combinations that people can order or they can just get the toppings to order. They also have beef and chicken hot dogs, but I haven't tried them.

I'm so happy they're back again!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Squirrel Feasts on Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

As I was leaving work yesterday, I saw this squirrel eating one of the giant oatmeal raisin cookies from the Saladelia in the Pavillion. I thought it was fairly silly looking, so I took some photos through the glass doors and headed toward it for a closer look.

He quickly moved, taking the cookie with him, but I followed in hot pursuit. I love this picture, because you can see his mouth opening wide to take a bite.

Soon he ran off again.

He went pretty far this time. You can see him between the poles, way in the distance.

I caught up with him again.

This time, he dropped part of the cookie when he ran away from me.

It does look good, doesn't it? I'm betting he came back for it. I know some of you think that I'm obsessed enough with food to have taken it for myself, but I assure you that I did not.

I was in too much of a hurry.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Not My Cat Blogging

Early this morning, I looked out the window and saw one of my neighbor's cats, looking quite regal.
The cat looks quite nice with garlic chives, verbena bonariensis and lots of weeds, don't you think?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Taverna Nikos Blogging: Specials and Menu Exploration

I've visited Taverna Nikos several times in the last few weeks. My 2nd Most Faithful Reader had this chicken and shrimp special, which looked delicious and he seemed very happy with it.

I've shown all of you photos of the Niko's Salad before, but this one was particularly marvelous. As you will recall, it's the same as the Village Salad from the original menu. I love the anchovies (optional), cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes and the wonderful vinaigrette dressing. Now I even like the olives, which is bizarre to me.

Over a week ago, I tried their sliced pork loin appetizer. The tender pieces of meat are in a lightly spicy tomato, almost barbecue-like, sauce. I liked it, but the sauce is fairly strong, so it might be good to have a salad with this, if you can each that much.

A couple of weeks ago, they had an excellent salmon special, which my Most Faithful Reader recalls having "some sort of nice sauce". I really should start writing these things down, but she does remember it fondly.

That night, I had a bowl of the avgolemeno soup, which is a lemony chicken soup. Taverna Niko's version is fairly thick and hearty. My MFRs brought some home to me once when I was sick and it had nice restorative powers, indeed. If you like lemon, I'm betting you will like this as much as I do.
I also had their eggplant dip. I don't know if it qualifies as baba ghannoush, since it had cheese and peppers mixed in, and I don't know how much that dish varies, but I enjoyed this quite a bit.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Corn Scones

This morning I decided to finally try making something out of the Moosewood Cooks at Home cookbook, which I purchased many months ago at the recommendation of Why Bee. It contains lots of fairly simple and (pesce)vegetarian recipes that sound really good. I made corn scones, which are basically scones with cornmeal in them. I'd never made ordinary scones either, but I thought I'd give it a try. Here's a link to the corn scones recipe that someone else has graciously posted.
I'm not convinced they turned out right, but they tasted pretty good to me. The recipe said that the brown sugar should be mixed into the milk and then melted butter should be added. It didn't say to stir it, but it also didn't say not to stir it. I'm thinking that stirring was a bad idea, because the melted butter quickly began to solidify in the cold milk, turning my nice liquid into a goopy mess. I decided to just stir it into the dry ingredients anyway, but that resulted in
a comparatively dry-crumbly mess. I also substituted dried cherries for the currants and that turned out to be a great substitution.

I was supposed to form it into an eight inch disk on a floured surface, so I decided to do that on a paper plate. That worked pretty well, but I think it might have ended up being slightly thicker than the 1/2 inch that the recipe recommended.

Overall I'm still pretty happy with the scones, even though I don't think they rose enough. My two Most Faithful Guinea Pigs will be trying them in the morning, so hopefully they will let me know.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Shade Tree Coffee Has Closed

I am sad to write that this is a picture of the last latte that I had and will ever have at Shade Tree Coffee. They closed today for the last time. It's very sad for me, because I have so many happy memories of drinking coffee and Italian sodas while playing cards, laughing and talking there. Greg and Stephanie Lamm created such a welcoming environment that made it so easy for us to have fun. Many of my friends, who spent time with me there, have moved on to jobs in other parts of the country and now Shade Tree has moved on as well. I know it's important to remember the good times and appreciate that they happened. I'm thankful that we all had such a wonderful place for as long as we did.

Shade Tree now has a farewell message on the Shade Tree Coffee website, so be sure to check that out. Meanwhile, I'll go make some coffee from the last pound of Shade Tree beans that I have and savor every drop.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sushi Love Blogging: The Boat Load

For my second trip to Sushi Love, I went with a bunch of friends and we ended up getting a "boat load" of sushi. I enjoyed it even more than last time, partially due to the increased variety, but also because I think it was actually better than before. In particular, the rainbow roll was far better than last time. The sunset roll was equally wonderful. I got a chance to eat a hand roll (surprisngly) for the first time. It was a salmon skin roll, which was quite good, but I do think the hand roll is a little more challenging to eat gracefully than an ordinary one. We also shared some edamame and crab rangoons (or equivalent) that I thought were excellent. Overall, I was quite pleased.

Monday, August 11, 2008

ACME Blogging : Duck!

Last night, I went to ACME Food & Beverage Co. with the MFRs again. My 2nd Most Faithful Reader ordered the pork with plum-ginger sauce, jasmine rice and bok choy. He seemed to enjoy it a great deal. Note that there's a fresh fig on top of the meat.

I had the duck breast with cornbread, figs and greens. It was so good. I've loved duck for as long as I can remember. Given that I'm already senile, that must mean at least ten years or so. The cornbread wasn't sweet, so that was lovely. The duck was characteristically tender and was delicious combined with the sweet figs. The greens were somewhat salty, making the entire meal very balanced in the range of flavors.

My Most Faithful Reader ordered the banana pudding, which contained Grand Marinier. The whipped cream, while a grand vehicle for the mint leaf, was unnecessary with the meringue. She had ordered the crab cakes for her main meal.

My 2nd MFR and I shared a wonderful trio of sorbets, blackberry, sprite melon and mint. It was served with a pecan cookie. I liked the sprite melon and the blackberry the best. I am always excited when restaurants offer a nice light dessert like this or any dessert that melts, for that matter, making it easier to eat after a heavy meal. Sorbets are comparatively easy to make, so I'm surprised they aren't more common.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Squirrel Blogging: Sloth

This afternoon I saw this squirrel eating seeds on my deck and it was too lazy to even sit up properly. He was just lying in the seeds with his legs dangling on either side of the rail while happily chewing away. When he ran out he would just stretch forward a bit more.

I had a fairly lazy weekend, too, but I felt even more inspired after seeing this.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Refectory Blogging: Linguini with Clam Sauce

Most of my more leisurely lunches this summer have been spent off campus, so I haven't spent as much time at the Refectory recently. This week, however, their weekly newsletter informed me that the special on Friday would be linguini with white clam sauce so I knew I had to pay a visit. I was hoping that the sauce would be a thin broth, rather than something creamy and my hopes were fulfilled. It was an excellent dish with loads of tender, chopped clams and shredded parmesan cheese.
For my dessert, I had fresh peaches and blackberries. I've been craving peaches lately, so I was overjoyed. The blackberries were wonderful, too. It also came with a small salad, but I turned that down, because I knew I wouldn't be able to eat that much. With Duke's classes starting on the 25th, soon the Refectory will be hopping and many incoming freshmen and new graduate students will be delighted by the food they will find there.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Blu Blogging: Maine Lobster Feast

Wednesday night, I went with a bunch of people to Blu Seafood and Bar's Maine Lobster Feast. A 1 1/4 lb. lobster, served with corn on the cob and roasted red potatoes for $25 was not something I could resist. The lobster was cooked perfectly, as was everything else. It was also possible to add 12 oz. of NY strip steak for a total of $45. They offered lobster with shellfish as a dinner for two, for $60. This was the first lobster I'd had since last year's trip to Boston, so it was quite a treat. Thanks to Chef Tim Lyons's well chosen handiwipes, it didn't even seem that messy afterwards.

Afterwards, several of us shared the the chocolate fondue, which is perfect for sharing with people who want portions of various sizes. That night, I was particularly fond of the marshmallows, because I really like marshmallows and they're even better dipped in warm chocolate. The sliced apples and dried papaya were also excellent.

Blu will be having a Las Vegas Wine Dinner on August 13th and a Simply Raw Dinner on August 27th. See Blu's event page for more information.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Kurama Blogging: Tweetup

Tonight I went to Kurama again for a Mini-Tweetup. As you can see, it was a very somber occasion, with absolutely no laughing.

I also wanted to show you another photo of the Wizard Roll, because it looks quite a bit different from the Wizard Roll that I ordered recently, but I think it's because they didn't add roe this time. I think it's better without roe.