The next design phase for the bombastic Union Station design comes with a public meeting on May 1 at 6pm. The public is invited to attend this meeting at Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum and offer input regarding program elements. There will be conceptual plans on site for review, too.
Raleigh’s Union Station concept aims to use an existing Dillon Supply warehouse as the new passenger rail station for existing AMTRAK trains as well as the federal government’s proposed Higher Speed Rail and the area’s proposed light rail lines. Design challenges exist because of the site’s mix of freight lines, rights of way, and cost constraints. Current designs show a grade level car access with a grade changing pedestrian access. Solving this problem won’t be easy and the city needs our help!
At the end of 2010 I posted 30 of Raleigh’s biggest needs. Items from a tidied CAT bus system and event shuttle buses to fast Indian food and quick downtown taqueria still stand as idle problems. Thankfully we have seen improvements in the non-country concert schedules, better sanitation monitoring of food trucks, and the availability of fresh corn tortillas. However the remaining 27 needs still blow in the wind. A few of these are major projects, however many are simply a matter of will.
What would it take for the City of Raleigh install mileposts along Glenwood Avenue for better wayfinding all the way to the Durham County line? Why must CAT’s buses remain so dirty and why can’t that system tighten up their brand? Why can’t they offer special event shuttle buses from Moore Square to Walnut Creek and Booth Amphitheater? Why can’t we have a DPAC shuttle from downtown Raleigh?
The economy has been sluggish over the past few years, however many of the items on the list are not expensive, speculative ventures. We need an injection of spirit in Raleigh, and it wouldn’t help if that came from our elected leaders. Let’s get moving, Raleigh!
It’s grilling season, and Triangle residents are doing a little spring cleaning and getting their equipment ready. For most, having a good portable propane tank is key. There are several options to consider, however, regarding how one supplies the gas.
The most convenient method for keeping stocked with propane is a tank exchange program. The customer takes their tank to a home improvement or grocery store, and takes home a different, filled tank. If there are any problems with the tank itself, the tank exchange vendor will pull the tank from circulation. The tank refills at Home Depot run in the $22 neighborhood, but the customer doesn’t have to purchase a tank, pay a membership fee, or pay a tank deposit fee.
Another option is refilling an existing tank. Places like U-Haul on Capital Blvd (just beyond Peace Street) and Costco can fill a tank, as long as it is in working condition and hasn’t expired. Tank refills are $10.50 at Costco, and are in the $15 neighborhood at U-Haul. This is a considerably less expensive option thank trading, but there are risks and difficulties.
In order to get propane at Costco, you park near the tire center, and take your tank to the propane island for inspection. (There is a call button if the attendant is not present). Once the tank passes inspection, you go into the store, wait in a cashier line, and tell the cashier that you are buying a 20 pound propane refill. After paying, you present your receipt outside at the propane station, and take your tank home.
Tanks can only be filled if they pass inspection, however. The valve must appear to be in working condition, and the tank should not appear rusty. The handle of the tank has a date imprinted, and this date must not be more than 12 years ago. Any tank that fails the inspection is denied and the customer must find another solution.
That risk doesn’t seem so great, however, when one considers the long term costs. Comparing a season of using an exchange program vs. Costco’s refill program, the Costco program is staggeringly cheaper. I use roughly 3.5 Blue Rhino tanks per year, which ends up costing around $77. Even though the tank is a 20 lb tank, Blue Rhino and RapidXchange only put 15 lb worth of material in the tank. Therefore I have used 53 pounds per year at a cost of $77, or $1.47/lb.
Costco’s refill delivers 20 lb of propane at a price of $10.50, or $0.53/lb. This would cost me $27.83, resulting in an annual savings of about $50. That’s almost enough to buy two brand new unfilled tanks ($27.50 each) inside Costco. Each tank has its own gas gauge and has a 12-year lifespan. Over that 12-year lifespan, a tank exchange program would likely cost me $924 while a pair of Costco tanks with refills would likely cost $389.
The Costco system of selling propane is a hassle, for sure. However the long term costs are so much less, they are worth considering versus a tank exchange program.
Parents on Site Policy – Please remember that anyone under 18 must be with a parent or guardian after 8pm
Parking is always interesting for these events. The decks in North Hills and the surface lots usually fill up and spill across Lassiter Mill into the neighborhood and into the Lassiter. Another option is North Hills East, where there is some surface parking, but also hundreds of deck spaces. Please be patient and careful crossing Six Forks Rd. at the Dartmouth signal.
Summer is just around the corner, and that means another great concert season in Raleigh. From now until the end of September, there is a slew of music and comedy shows guaranteed to ramp up the fun rate in the area. Once again, there are very few dates between now and mid-June that have no event scheduled, so save up, and get out of the house!
There are 100s of good entertainment options coming this summer. The best 85 of the music options (as of today) are assembled below. All of these events appear individually in the gogoraleigh Do-It Calendar with venue information, so you can easily add any event to your personal calendar.
A couple of weeks ago Food Network’s “Chef Wanted” series featured the selection of a chef at Raleigh restaurant Coquette. The show’s framework features four chefs applying for the Executive Chef position at the featured restaurant. The contestants prepare a course, and one is eliminated. The process is repeated, and the two finalists each have the opportunity to run the restaurant’s dinner service to show their mettle. At the end of the show, one contestant gets their “dream job”, and the three losers ride off in the sunset seeking another opportunity elsewhere. It all makes sense, doesn’t it?…But it doesn’t.
(spoiler alert) As with every episode of “Chef Wanted”, both Coquette finalists find themselves “in the weeds”, lagging behind in the dinner service. Customers waited inordinately long for items as simple as salad. Contestant Michael Bryant is challenged by the show’s host, Chef Anne Burrell, because he is dying in the salad and soup course. The show’s typical storminess reaches a record high, however, with the other finalist, Pippa Calland. Her success begins to waver with the creation her duck-heavy menu. Not only does Pippa lag behind in the show’s typical fashion, one of her dishes becomes a jar of duck fat mixed with a scant amount of duck meat by the time it is served. The show portrays the service to be such a disaster that owners Stacey and Kevin Jennings cancel the service and disqualify the finalist.
As it turns out, the winning chef for this episode filmed in January was unable to relocate to Raleigh and did not take the job at Coquette. According to the restaurant’s website, the Executive Chef remains Beth LittleJohn. Too, Andrea Weigl’s column in the News and Observer says that the restaurant was never intending to move Chef LittleJohn and place the show’s winner at Coquette, but rather place him somewhere in their Urban Food Group restaurant family.
Curious, as well, is the reaction of the embattled contestants on this show. Kitchen staff members, the show host, and the restaurant owners literally scream and belittle the contestants, creating an embarrassing situation. Yet the contestants, especially the embattled Pippa, show a disturbing amount of poise not only during the service, but also in the exit interviews (that were presumably filmed after the belittling display). Many in Raleigh know about the contrived confrontation that was portrayed on the Ludo Bites episode filmed in Raleigh, and the behavior of everyone on “Chef Wanted” makes me even more suspicious about the honesty of this show, too.
It’s all entertainment, right? Obviously we don’t patronize expensive restaurants for sustenance alone, so the dining experience in America has always been a form of entertainment. Food Network’s mission of high brow instruction seems ever-distant as the network has opted for drama instead. It isn’t enough to show a straightforward interview process, we apparently have to have fireworks in every episode.
Some say the show is good advertising for the restaurant, right? Who doesn’t get excited to see a beautiful production on national TV from a setting we know and love just a few blocks away, right? I’m not so sure. Were Todd English’s sneers at the imbeciles applying to work for him good for Olives? Is it good for Urban Food Group when Raleigh residents see one of the owners pounding her fist on a countertop, screaming at the top of her lungs like a 4 year old? Is the image of the restaurant’s presumed chef smoking in the service area the image that will bring in more business?
I’ve been to dental school and I’ve spent enough time around culinary education to know that the education process in many institutions is the antithesis of “collegial”. Tempers may flare in the real world, too, however I have a hard time believing that interviewers act this way with mere applicants. If anything, this is the phase where the interviewers display an artificial amount of respect to their potential employees.
It isn’t entertaining to watch “reality” shows like that seem so scripted and send a bevy of unfortunate messages to the viewer. The intellectual dishonesty of shows like “Chef Wanted” aren’t improving the state of American cooking and are putting a once-loved cable channel into the weeds.
Today city officials and developers joined together to announce the new plan for Charter Square. The 11-story project will contain 225,000 square feet of commercial space in a single glass tower. Currently 35,000 of the space is committed. Some of that space will be another ground floor restaurant by Echelon Hospitality. Construction is set to begin this fall, with a 1-year construction window.
The newest chapter in Charter Square is led by developer Dominion Realty Partners and architect JDavis. The site occupies the east half of the footprint of the former Raleigh Civic Center and was once referred to as “Site One”. The project vision was for a two-tower mixed use development with one tower containing residential and the other commercial. As part of the development of the Convention Center and Marriott hotel, the City of Raleigh moved forward with the underground parking garage construction for the Charter Square plan.
Then 2009 happened, and the economy hit developers in every city hard. The new project will still be built on top of that investment. Thankfully the climate is such that progress on this site can move forward once and for all.
Good news, Durhamites! Southern Living concluded its voting for the Tastiest Towns contest, and you won! Author Paula Disbrowe describes the city as “A scrappy scene of artisans devoted to coffee beans, brews, and the craft of humble foods.” Congratulations!
Now that basketball season is over, it’s time for some Durham Bulls baseball! The Bulls’ home opener begins at 7pm tonight against Gwinnett. Now you can follow their home schedule as a Google Calendar or download it to your device. All you do is point your device to the Calendar tab at the top of this page, scroll down to the Durham Bulls calendar, and follow the link/instructions there. Go Bulls!
Wake County School System has compiled their official calendars for the 2013-2014 school years in PDF format. In fine fashion gogoraleigh has converted all of these calendars into numerous downloadable formats. Now readers can easily import their favorite school calendars into Android phones, iPhones, Outlook, and more. The set includes calendars for the Traditional, Track 1, Track 2, Track 3, Track 4, and Modified schools. Even better, if you already subscribe to any of these calendars, then all of the new dates have been automatically added for you. For more information (and of course, the 2012-2013 WCPSS calendars) see the Calendars tab at gogoraleigh.
On Tonight’s episode of Chef Wanted, CIA grad Anne Burrell will help Kevin and Stacy Jennings hire a chef for Coquette. Act One of the show features four applicants making dishes in the same time until two applicants are successively eliminated.
Act Two features each of the two finalists running the kitchen for a night. That’s where the show get’s hairy. Applicants commonly appear to get overwhelmed by the service, have expectations changed at the last minute, and usually end up screaming at people, especially when prodded by the host. It’s sometimes difficult to tell how much of the anxiety is real or just trumped up theater (like we saw on the Raleigh episode of Ludo Bites).
Chef Wanted airs on Food Network at 10pm tonight (Thursday).