Monday, January 11, 2016

Eatery - The Pit Durham (NC)

The Pit Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

321 W Geer St, Durham, NC 27701
Pricing - $$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Southern, BBQ

Hello North Carolina. Hello BBQ! I have been liking the restaurants that have cropped up in Durham since I left the area after graduation, especially due to the more pronounced attention they have given to NC agriculture. There have also been expansions from surrounding cities' restaurants that seem to be much welcomed. One result of that was The Pit which has a location in Raleigh as well. We had heard about The Pit from several other people and when you throw the phrases whole-hog and pit-cooked around, we are there. Add in the bonus of hogs raised free-range and locally with attention to animal welfare, and you've got yourself a fine place to find yourself sitting, chowing down on some southern BBQ (they do it Eastern North Carolina style here).

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Eatery - Rise Biscuits Donuts (NC)

Rise Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

8200 Renaissance Parkway, Ste 1003, Durham, NC 27713
Pricing - $ | Dining - Casual, To-Go | Cuisine - Southern, Breakfast

"What's good for breakfast around here?"
"You have to go to Rise. It's our favorite place."

Settled. Our Durham-residing friends urged us to get ourselves over to Rise for mouthwatering biscuits and to satisfy any sweet tooth cravings for unique donuts. Good biscuits are so crucial to an excellent North Carolina stay so a visit was in order. Giving them a quick look-over online, I was pleased to see that they make as much as possible from scratch and that their popularity determines supply. Score - time to make an early plan to be one of the lucky early birds who gets a bite! decide whether to do donuts or biscuits first...

Monday, January 4, 2016

Eatery - Backyard BBQ Pit (NC)

Backyard Barbeque Pit Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

5122 NC Hwy 55, Durham, NC 27713
Pricing - $ | Dining - Casual, To-Go | Cuisine - Southern

You can't go to North Carolina without getting some good ol' southern BBQ, specifically Carolina pulled pork. It would be a tragedy really. When we visited Durham back in October, I knew that Duc had to be exposed to Carolina pulled pork so one day while we were driving around neighborhoods, we looked up nearby places that did it well. Backyard BBQ Pit came up, and we were really drawn to its old school cafeteria-like arrangement. Sometimes those holes-in-the-wall are the best places to find the best foods! The verdict? Fantastic.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best Meal of 2015 Goes to....n/naka!

As the year draws to a close, many look back at what they've experienced or accomplished in 2015 and here the two of us think about what amazing things we've eaten and cooked. Sometimes it's difficult to recall what happened when and where all we drove our faces into food but without a doubt, we had the best meal of our lives this past year. As we consume more and more on food adventures and plate after plate of creative dishes, we start to see the pattern and trends emerge among chefs. Occasionally, there are lulls of eating where the food no longer tastes inspired but rather follow a train of thought that was already seen at another restaurant. Innovation, where are you? we ask every once in a while.

That was not the case a the end of July though. No, we had a reservation at n/naka in Los Angeles. I had just come off of a flight from New Orleans where fantastic food is bounteous. Duc picked me up from the airport where I had changed into an appropriate evening dinner dress, and we headed to the notorious restaurant with a friend...and it was mindblowing.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Eatery - Union (CA)

Union Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

37 E Union St, Pasadena, CA 91103
Pricing - $$ | Dining - Casual, Dressy Casual | Cuisine - Italian (Northern)

I had expressed to Duc one day that it had been years since I had ventured to downtown Pasadena so in an effort to re-expose me to the wonder that is the street of Colorado Blvd and its offerings, he set aside a walking plan for us both which included an early dinner stop at a restaurant whose name he didn't want to reveal to me. That restaurant turned out to be Union which is a sweet 50-seat modern take on northern Italian cuisine combined with the power of sourcing ingredients locally and responsibly. The seasonality of the menu reflected the nuances of Californian cuisine and produce as transposed on what would be classically northern Italian food. I for one am a big fan of both styles so was pleasantly surprised not only with the intimate but chic decor inside but also the food and service.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Finding Farmers' Markets - Durham, NC

We love farmers' markets. It's a guaranteed destination for any traveling that we do and originally started off as just research for an ongoing "Finding Farmers' Markets" series for Orange County. These markets have seen a revival due to the increased interest people have in where their food comes from and finding the freshest they can get. Where better than from the source? When we traveled to Durham recently, we just had to schedule time for one and despite the on-and-off rain, the Durham Farmers' Market on Saturday morning was still open. Though small, the essentials were present and the people mightily friendly!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Yard House Celebrates 19th Anniversary with Limited-Release Collaboration Beer

Did you know that Yard House made its debut 19 years ago in Long Beach at the Shoreline Village? Though I knew it was a restaurant chain, I was not aware of its roots so close to Orange County nor how long the company has been slinging brews and food at people. To celebrate its 19th anniversary, the flagship Yard House tapped a limited edition, limited release beer created in collaboration with Rogue Brewery from Oregon - the Spruce Tip IPA. Known for its hundreds of beers on tap and the beer yards they serve, Yard House's step into anniversary collaborations is well-welcomed and just the next step they have taken in providing their communities with as much craft beer as possible. We were invited in to give their newest addition to their beer list a try as well as explore their winter menu available from November 2nd to January 3rd.