Saturday, October 25, 2008

Taverna Nikos Blogging: Octopus and Cake

I recently went to Taverna Nikos and tried octopus for the first time. A whole tentacle was marinated in a vinaigrette and served with a side salad. It was surprisingly good and very tender. I enjoyed the octopus quite a bit and will definitely order it again. I'd probably had itty bits of octopus in sushi rolls before, but that's just not the same.

Chef Giorgios's mom made a wonderful cake for me, too!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nicholas School Earth Jam

On Tuesday, Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment held its annual Earth Jam in the Bryan Student Center, in conjunction with the annual Majors' fair, which was being held on the floor above it. There were many booths where you could eat bugs, crack open geodes, talk to turtles and talk to NSOE faculty and staff. I even got to finally introduce myself to Jeff Pippen, who has identified several species in my nature photos for me. At the booth for the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science I held a stick bug from Vietnam. Unfortunately, I was not able to convince myself to hold an African millipede, despite Google Earth Evangelist's telling me that she used to have a millepede as a pet. It's something I'll have to work on.

I did, however, have a nice visit with this cute box turtle. His shell was lumpy due to his having an improper diet when he was young. He was quite frisky, though, and was always trying to climb out of his box at every opportunity. He didn't have an official name, but it seems as if J'Kar would be appropriate. He and Kellog the Corn Snake (adorable) were representing the Piedmont Wildlife Center, in Durham, which is a rehabilitation center for injured wildlife. It looks as if it would be a fantastic place to volunteer, too.

At a booth for Snake Conservation Research, I met Pauline, a Northern Pine Snake. She was very friendly and warm from being handled so much that day. Her skin was much less smooth than Kellog's, whose skin was almost slick. Thanks to GEE for taking this photo.

Doesn't she have a loveable face? I'm afraid I'm really rather fond of snakes and turtles.

Monday, October 20, 2008

ACME Blogging: Paella to Rocky Road

ACME Food & Beverage Co. has some wonderful new menu items. Last night I had the seafood paella with calamari, flounder, crabmeat, shrimp, shitake mushrooms, onions, garlic and saffron rice. It was incredibly good and I quickly ate every bite. Unfortunately, that means it's gone and I don't have any leftovers. Sad. One of the things I liked about it was that it wasn't excessively spicy. No macho streak in me kicked in, screaming "I will survive this if it's the last thing I do!" No, it wasn't painful at all, just delicious.

My 2nd Most Faithful Reader had grilled shrimp in the shell with a chile relleno, using a local Marcona pepper, stuffed with corn, rice and queso de oaxaca. Peeling the shrimp was a bit messy, but he seemed to really enjoy it. I don't think I'd actually ever tried chile relleno before, but this had an almost delicate outer layer that was qutie nice.

After her usual fried oyster salad, my MFR ordered the two crusted apple pie. I didn't try it, because I was focusing on my own dessert, but she said it was fairly tart, which sounded great to me.

I had housemade rocky road ice cream, which had large chunks of dark chocolate in it. It was very good, indeed. I didn't notice any marshmallows, but several of my readers would appreciate that. I like marshmallows, though.

It was served with a fudge cookie, which continued my chocolate overload with its crispy, chocolately goodness.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blu Blogging: New Fall Menu

Blu Seafood and Bar has a new fall menu and it has some exciting new entrees. My 2nd Most Faithful Reader and I decided to share two of them. He ordered the Sneads Ferry clams and linguine with cream and parmesan. As you can see, you get several whole clams in their shells and the sauce also contains chopped clams. It was very good and I like clams more than he does, so I was lucky to get most of them. Sometimes cream sauces with pasta can be overwhelmingly rich, but this was just right.

I ordered sautéed shrimp and diver scallops with butternut squash risotto, crispy prosciutto and herb vinaigrette. This dish was simply packed with flavor and was just excellent in every way. I was prepared for the butternut squash risotta to be on the sweet side, but instead it was good and savory. I'm not usually a big fan of risotto, because it can be mushy, but this was great. I don't generally let my pre-existing food prejudices keep me from ordering something at Blu.

My MFR ordered the tuna tartare, as always, and it was even difficult to keep myself from ordering it, because it's just so good. We followed our meal by sharing yet another order of the chocolate bread pudding. Next time I'm going to have to try their new side dish, lump crab "Mac and Cheese" with prosciutto and truffle cream. I think it will be great with one of their salads, don't you? I'm going to miss their watermelon, goat cheese and heirloom tomato salad until it gets warm again, but I'm pleased that their New England clam chowder is back on the menu, because it really hits the spot when it gets chilly in the evenings.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

ConvergeSouth 2008

Yesterday, I went to ConvergeSouth 2008, which was held at NC A&T, in Greensboro. This was the fourth time the conference has been held, but it was my first time attending the event. I got to see and talk to many tweeps (people I know from Twitter) and other bloggers, so I naturally had a good time.

The keynote, by Chris Rabb, launched the conference by focusing on the upcoming election and how far we've come from the standpoint of race and technology compared to previous elections. There were two engaging panels, which featured Anil Dash, Pam Spaulding, Mathew Gross, Robert Scoble and were moderated by Ed Cone. There were also loads of sessions that sounded interesting and I wanted to be in several places at the same time, but unfortunately it wasn't possible. I went to two individual sessions, one on video broadcasting by Robert Scoble and one on the ramifications of commenting on Science blogs led by Bora Zivkovic.

Tweets tagged with #convergesouth.
Photos on flickr tagged with convergesouth.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Anotherthyme Blogging: Salad, Salmon and More

Google Earth Evangelist and I visited Anotherthyme last week and had an excellent dinner. We started off with the French Green salad, partially so we could have the lemon tamari dressing, which was one of three dressing options. It also had avocado, hard-boiled eggs, lettuce, red onion and cashews. GEE remarked upon the fine quality of the avocado. Warm bread with a nice crisp, but not too crisp, crust was served.

Salmon Almandine was my favorite of the non-dessert dishes. It was lemon baked salmon with sliced almonds and haricot vert, with a tarragon mayonnaise. The four ounces of salmon were cooked perfectly. Overall, it was delicious.

The crabmeat and Monterey Jack quesadilla with salsa verde and chipotle pepper yogurt was much cheesier than crabby, but I enjoyed it.

Finally, we each had a raspberry cocotte, which remains my favorite dessert of all time. Its caramelized crust, cheese and raspberries marinated in Chambord did not disappoint. It was so good. I finally ate an entire serving by myself without any rescue efforts at the end. There wasn't even much need to clean the plate afterwards. I want another one. Too bad they closed an hour and a half ago.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sushi Price Wars

I went to Sushi Love Thursday night and they told me that they have a new special. They still have the Buy One Get One Free special, but on Tuesdays and Thursday nights, after 8pm, everything is half off. This is perfect if you like both rolls and nigiri.

Last week, I learned about Mount Fuji's new specials.

Are there other local sushi restaurants that are actively competing with each other in this way? Are you aware of any other eating establishments that are having similar competitions or is this unique to sushi, since it's so easy to make comparisons?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Multi-grain Muffins

Yesterday, I tried out the multi-grain muffin recipe in the Moosewood Cooks at Home cookbook. I was extremely pleased. They actually rose! They taste really good, too. They only have a 1/3 of a cup of brown sugar, so they aren't terribly sweet, which means they should be good any time of day and I'm less likely to get sick of them. This was also the first time I'd baked anything with buttermilk. Buttermilk smells terrible and I'm amazed that anyone can drink it straight, but my 2nd MFR actually likes it.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Wedding Tenting

Tenting is common at Duke. Students wait in line for days, weeks or even months, in order to guarantee that they will be able to claim their spot on the bleachers for basketball games. That means that tents don't look out of place on campus. So what were these tents doing next to the chapel, so far from Krzyzewskiville?

Earlier this week, the tents' owners, who were reading in the shade nearby, were actually waiting in line to claim their spots on the schedule so they could have their weddings in the chapel a year from now. The enthusiastic young lady I talked to, a Duke staff member, was hoping to have her wedding there on October 10th, 2009 and she'd been camping out for several days. This isn't unusual and I've known alums who have done this, too.

Duke Chapel is absolutely beautiful. I have such fond memories of my MFR's showing it to me for the first time, when I was just a toddler. The stained glass the the gothic architecture are gorgeous and I've been to several wonderful concerts there. I've also been to several weddings there and I'm afraid I don't quite understand its popularity for them. It's huge, so even if you have a large wedding, the chapel will be almost completely empty. It's comparatively dark, too. The schedule is very strict, so you have to get in and out of the place promptly. I wouldn't recommend leaving the groom waiting long, so the bride should be pretty sure that he's the right one, at least two or three days in advance.

That said, it's nice to see people who have such dedication and a clear idea of what they want. If they put the same effort into their marriage as they have into their wedding planning, I imagine they will go far, indeed. Best wishes to the happy campers!

More information on scheduling your wedding in Duke Chapel.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Mount Fuji Blogging: Buy 1 Get 1 Free Special

Likely due to the competition from Sushi Love, Mount Fuji now has a similar buy one get one free deal on their sushi. From left to right, we got a shrimp tempura roll, a wasabi roll, a caterpillar roll and a rainbow roll.

UPDATE: Mount Fuji now has a Buy One Get One Free special every day and night, except for Thursday night. Thursday nights, all sushi is half price.