If you have ever found yourself overwhelmed in the cooking section of a bookstore or at Amazon.com, you aren’t alone. There are hundreds and hundreds of cookbooks out there and it is difficult to discern the good from the bad.
One of the best ways to improve your cookbook collection is to look at what cookbooks the great chefs are using. One of the most exposed and interesting selections in the area is at Rise, the biscuit/donut shop in the Southpoint mall complex. It’s a fun look; rewarding to see some of your favorites, but also a great chance to add to your own list or your gift lists.
While it isn’t the home of Eastern North Carolina barbecue, Raleigh is definitely in the territory. The chopped, vinegar-based pork style of barbecue is how we were raised around here and anything else is dog food, right? Well….
Other styles of American “barbecue” have come and gone, with mild to moderate success. Houston-based Luther’s brought a heavily smoky Texas brisket to Raleigh in the mid-80s, however the flavors were just too strong to shake for the rest of the day. Red, Hot, & Blue has only had moderate success, as has Dickeys. City Barbeque, a Columbus, OH based operation is the latest contender on the block, and it just might be good enough to make the impact others are seeking.
Instead of sticking to one style of preparation, City has decided to go with a sampling of styles from across America’s mid-section: Texas-styled brisket and sausage, Alabama-style pulled Chicken, St. Louis Ribs, and Carolinas-Styled pulled pork. With three sauces for the meats, I was able to turn any of these meats into a style I wanted.
The sausage was good, but not quite as good as what I had in my recent trip to Austin. However the brisket is actually more enjoyable. The ribs and pork were both delicious, as well. What made my meal stand out, however, was the feeling I had after eating it. Most of the time barbecue doesn’t agree with me. Either the food is overtly greasy and/or has an intense smoke flavor that I can’t shake for the rest of the day. Not so with City Barbeque. Not only did the food agree with me, but I didn’t even have a greasy sensation on my tongue that afternoon. That’s truly remarkable!
The huge list of sides at City Barbeque are as good as the meats. I was able to sample corn pudding, slaw, potato salad, french fries, Texas-style baked beans, and green beans. They ranged from good to some of the best I’ve ever had. The potato salad was excellent, however the french fries, with the perfect amount of kosher salt, are among the best I’ve ever had (including my meal last week at Flip Burger, Food & Wine’s pick for Best Fries in the U.S.).
The string beans are worth a discussion by themselves. They are cooked in homemade chicken stock along with “bacon” – not the fatty stuff from the grocery store but rather a thin, ham-like version. The result: the best stringed beans I’ve ever had. The texture is perfect, the salt level is perfect, and there is no resulting grease slick!
The restaurant is located in a replacement building in the parking lot of the Trader Joe’s shopping center in Cary. This is an ideal location, as their patrons are likely not going to be people whose palate for BBQ is limited to only Eastern NC style. That shouldn’t deter Raleigh people from making the 20 minute drive, however. It’s worth the drive, for sure. (and when you are done you can swing by the Meat House in the shopping center next door and take something home to cook another night).
City Barbeque will stage their grand opening tomorrow (4/12) with a “rib cutting” ceremony at Noon.
PBS’ new show, Cool Spaces!, delves deep into some of America’s most outstanding new buildings. Episode 2 features 3 great libraries, including the Snøhetta-designed Hunt Library at N.C. State. The episode airs tonight (4/10) on UNC-Explorer (TWC 1277, UVerse 36) at 9pm.
Remember, too, that the library still gives free, guided tours which are fantastic. The tours begin at the BookBot viewing entrance and are given at:
Wednesdays at 9:30 am
Fridays at 3:30 pm
Second Saturday of each month at 10:30 am
Note: No tours will be given during Reading Days or Finals, April 24 – May 6.
Last month the City of Raleigh passed a new sign ordinance, leading to some unexpected results. Under the new law small businesses are forbidden from placing any form of signage in their windows (including lit signs, chalkboards, manikins, or any other means of conveying the what products the business sells), but allows large corporations to place billboards on the tops of their buildings.
In downtown Raleigh the new ordinance began an explosion of tower-top billboards. Duke Energy spokesman Maximillian Thompson said,”After Red Hat showed us that a tower-top sign can be tastefully executed, we began discussions with Raleigh City Council members. They unanimously agreed with us about Red Hat’s sign, and agreed that if every business placed a similar sign on their building, there shouldn’t be any problem.”
The results from the new ordinance have been mixed. A local realtor said,”a city councilor said publicly that my sign was tacky? This is an abomination. The new signs downtown are so ugly that it is causing people to not just wreck their cars, the cars are spontaneously bursting into flames. It’s even worse than a snow day around here.”
Only one Raleigh City Council member would speak to gogoraleigh about the issue, only offering,”Hey, it’s not like our mayor was rigging land values to get light rail funds from Washington and taking bribes on multiple occasions. All I got was a free home renovation…. Oh, wait. Aren’t we talking about the Charlotte mayor thing?”
Today the UNC officials announced that it will erect a bronze sculpture to honor the work of its student athletes. The bronze sculpture, name “Statue of Limitations”, will depict a football player embracing his female tutor. The artist said the athlete’s head will be on the left shoulder of the tutor while the tutor’s hands will be busy writing a paper for the athlete. “I think it perfectly depicts the win-win relationship our athletes and academic support staff share,” said one assistant sports information director.
Officials said the statue will replace the university’s historic “Silent Sam” sculpture which depicts a student who has been sent to fight in the Civil War. “We are tired of the racist imagery presented by Silent Sam. The Statue of Limitations is a far more accurate depiction of campus life in the Modern Era. Plus, there is no racism at all with the student athlete experience, so it’s really a win-win”, said one assistant athletic director.
In order to avoid any media coverage of the situation, the statue will be unveiled at 4:45pm on Thursday, July 3.
Today Duke University announced that it will change the name of its historic Wallace Wade Stadium in an effort to offer clarity to visitors. The new name will be “Wallace Wade Outdoor Stadium”. An assistant athletic director told gogoraleigh,”We had a real problem with visitors showing up to the basketball arena, Cameron Indoor Stadium, in their search for our tiny, outdated football stadium.”
The move should be a boon to tourism and visitor dollars for Durham, as the only people who can navigate Duke’s wooded campus safely are Duke’s typical athletic supporters.
Eager to jump aboard the trend of culinary eating taking over Raleigh, the legendary Angus Barn announced today that it will, effective immediately, be known as the Guacangus Barn. The menu will change slightly, as well, to reflect the restaurant’s new direction. In addition to timeless classics on the menu, all dishes will be served with a side of tortilla chips. However the most mouth-watering addition is the restaurant’s new condiment, Guacangus Sauce, an avocado paste made from onion, lime, serrano peppers, and steak and rib drippings. Yum!
Changes are coming upstairs in the restaurant as well. The bar will be converted into the new Pavo Salvaje Cantina, home of the Triangle’s most impressive tequila selection.
Additionally the Barn will introduce a new celebration for diners on their birthday. The restaurant staff will sing the new Angus Nino/Nina song throughout the restaurant, converting the dining room into a rustic fiesta!
So go west, my friends, and enjoy the Triangle’s newest dining experience!
In recent years NC State University has made a concerted effort to bring more public art to its campus. The Talley Arts Center today announced that a donor who prefers to be only known as “W.M.” has donated the funds to commission an artist for a large mural at the PNC Arena. The mural will be placed as a salute to the historic basketball program as a whole, but will specifically salute the 2014 Men’s Basketball Team.
Entitled “Ball in the Ocean”, the mural will depict an NCSU player standing at a makeshift free throw line on a beach scattered with basketballs. “In the image, the player, no matter how hard he tries, cannot throw any of the balls in the ocean”, said the assistant AD. Also depicted in the image will be Navy ships in their search for parts of an airplane presumed to have crashed in the area.
The Carolina Hurricanes will finish the 2014 NHL season missing the playoffs for the 5th straight season. to nobody’s surprise trade rumors are swirling, and the focus of much talk appears to be on Nashville Predators Assistant Captain Mike Fisher. A deal is said to be in the works to trade Hurricanes Captain Eric Staal to the Predators for the 33 year old Fisher.
The most interesting aspect of the negotiations, however, comes in an offer from the Town of Cary, which has offered to change its spelling to “Carrie” in order to make the trade more attractive to Mike Fisher. Fisher, the husband of 2005 American Idol winner Carrie Underwood, could not be reached for comment.
Following the new trend of shunning thru-traffic, neighbors of Raleigh’s Saint Mary’s Street/Lassiter Mill Road have petitioned the City of Raleigh requesting installation of speed mitigation items. Naturally the city’s transportation engineers have elected speed bumps for the 4-mile residential street.
The street, which has carried a 35 mph speed limit since the automobile was invented, will now carry a 25 mph speed limit and will feature speed bumps placed every 300 feet along the entire 4 miles of road. As per city regulations, the speed bumps will carry signage indicating safe travel at 20 mph, however will be constructed to pop tires, ruin alignments, and scrape bottoms of cars in an effort to surprise drivers if they dare cross going faster than 15 mph.
Drivers of Raleigh’s CAT bus Route 8 have requested transfers to Durham’s bus service, citing they’d rather be around a bunch of gun-toting pre-criminals in East Durham than deal with Raleigh’s ridiculous speed bump initiative. Because they will need to wait an extra 5 minutes in emergencies, residents along the route have been advised by the Raleigh police and fire departments to by automatic electronic defibrillators for their own use.
An anonymous transportation planner said about the project,”Our goal is to remove traffic from all neighborhoods and put it on overloaded arteries. That’s what Atlanta did, and it worked really well for them. Our next target will be putting 20mph speed bumps on Glenwood and Wade Avenues, too, as they contain large residential stretches.
Want to cook like these people in your own back yard? You can!
Komado cooking dates back over 3000 years ago in China. The egg-shaped ceramic cookers cook meats evenly without drying out the meat. Because of their design, temperatures in these cookers can be controlled quite well, allowing for low-and-slow cooking.
Tomorrow the Town and Country store in Wake Forest will be hosting a Big Green Egg demo. The event will feature free samples including pizza, stuffed mushrooms, cookies, shrimp poppers, and smoked pork butt. Expoerts will be on hand to answer questions about the different products available, and will offer a 10% discount on eggs.
On Tuesday and Wednesday the latest Cirque du Soleil production, “Michael Jackson The IMMORTAL”, comes to PNC Arena. The production is a rock concert format, and combines the legendary Cirque du Soleil theatrics with and a big dose of dance. If the production is as good as last year’s mind-blowing Quidam, Raleigh is in for a treat.
Tickets are available thru Ticketmaster, with special pricing for groups of 12 or more. The arena club restaurant will be open each night serving a buffet.
Visiting Raleigh for NCAA Tournament action on Sunday and looking for good food? You came to the right place. While some of Raleigh’s best options for tournament-centric eats are not open, there are still a ton of great locally-owned places.
The PNC Arena is in West Raleigh, however all of these places are within 15 minutes of the arena traffic plume. (more on that at the bottom. Depending on your route in, some places are better choices than others if timing is tight)
An – One of the best Asian restaurants in NC (off 40 near arena).
Heron’s – (Brunch only) One of the finest restaurants in one of the finest hotels in the country (off 40 near arena). – (off 40 near arena)
DT = Downtown NR = North Raleigh WR = West Raleigh ("Off 40" – these locations are found on the way to the arena from Charlottesville).
Parking for the main lots at the arena will have traffic spilling out to Edwards Mill Road and Wade Ave/I-40 East (between the airport and the arena) causing significant delays. My recommendation is to skirt these areas and see what you can do to get to the intersection of Hillsborough St. and Youth Center Drive in Raleigh. YCD ends at the NCSU football stadium entrance, where there is ample parking with better traffic flow than the main lots. In a sense, you are approaching the complex from the South instead of from the Northwest. map it
PNC Arena Parking Fee: $20
Game Times: Tennessee-Mercer, 6:10 , Virginia/Memphis, ~8:40