Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Fun Food Facts - December 17, 2010

Triangle restaurant news...that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

But First...A Note To Our Readers...YOU!

Welcome to the "holiday edition" of Friday Fun Food Facts - my 40th edition and the last for 2010. As you will see, things slow down this time of year...and in my opinion, that is a good thing.

I do have a little bit of restaurant news to share with you (below), but I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and readership of this little newsletter that I put together every week. The response has blown me away and I am amazed at the readership and following that has exploded since launching in February of this year.

So while I've got your attention, I'd like to get on my little soapbox, if only for a minute. Thank you in advance for your patience, but this is important to me.

Being in the "food" business, I see a lot of food every day. And in my line of work, that is a good thing. And I am blessed to be here in one of the most vibrant communities in our country. But that said, our community also has a "food hardship" rating that is nearly double the national average. What does that mean? That means there are people right down the street from us that have to experience a feeling that many of us don't know anything about - hunger. And to put it bluntly, that sucks.

So please take a moment right now to consider helping either of these organizations that are out in those streets every single day combating hunger. Here are links to the websites for The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Thanks to both organizations for all they do.

One last thing - have an amazingly wonderful holiday season and enjoy this time with friends, family and loved ones. That is what matters most. And I'll see you again in what is sure to be an incredible 2011!


aka Triangle Food Guy

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  • How can we not begin this "holiday edition" of Friday Fun Food Facts without first talking about an opportunity to dine with the great St. Nick. That's right, this Sunday you can enjoy breakfast/brunch with Santa at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill. The cost is $25 for adults, and $20 for children (includes a Holiday Beanie Baby). Reservations are required, so call 919.933.2001 or visit their site here.
  • Congratulations to Raleigh's Saint Jacques French Cuisine and Pittsboro's Fearrington House Restaurant for making Open Table's top 50 list of Best Overall Restaurants in America. See the entire list here.
  • O'Charley's is shutting down two of it's four Triangle area locations. The operations in Wake Forest and Garner are closing, but the locations in Cary and Raleigh will remain open. The Cary location is on Ashville Avenue, and the Raleigh location is in Brier Creek.
  • Also in North Raleigh, in the Stonehenge Shopping Center (7432 Creedmoor Road), Orchid Japanese Restaurant is now open.
  • Looking for a spot to "slow down" during the holiday rush? Well, just up the hill from Crabtree Valley Mall, in the Oak Park Shopping Center (across from Peddlers Steakhouse) is a little coffee shop that just started serving sandwiches, salads, soups and more - Loco Lu's Coffeehouse. Check them out while you are "out and about" this holiday season.
  • Speaking of being out and about during the holidays. If you are looking for a place to dine after tearing open all your gifts under the tree on Christmas Day, the News & Observer's Greg Cox has put together a list of Christmas Day dining options available to you. Lest you think you are the only one not interested in cooking on Christmas, reservations are highly encouraged. Here is the list.
  • And I can't wrap up the abbreviated "holiday edition" of Friday Fun Food Facts without at least giving you the opportunity to win a gift. The N&O's Andrea Weigl is passing along two coupons for free sandwiches at downtown Raleigh's newest restaurant addition - Dickey's Barbecue Pit. All you have to do is leave a comment here, and she'll randomly choose the winner on Wednesday, December 22nd. You can't win it if you don't enter! So why not!?!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Fun Food Facts - December 10, 2010

Triangle restaurant news...that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

  • This is huge news for downtown Raleigh! Over in the warehouse district the Italian restaurant Blue has opened in The Depot (327 W Davie St.). Blue is the creation of Maurizio Privilegi, the former long-time chef at Café Luna, and his wife Patricia. If you are looking for truly authentic Italian cuisine from the countryside of Tuscany, this is a must! Here is a link to their website.

  • Also in downtown Raleigh, you've now got a new pizza option. Located on the ground floor, plaza side of the Bank of America Building, ZPizza has opened their third Triangle location. Be sure to stop in and say hello to Steve!

  • Can't afford to go to Europe? Well, the folks over at Lafayette Village in North Raleigh just brought "Europe" a little closer - this place is cool. Located on Falls of the Neuse Road (at the intersection with Honeycutt Road), not far from the 540 Interchange, this European-style shopping village has an amazing list of new "foodie" destinations: Henry's Gelato, Paparazzi Italian Restaurant, Simply Crepes, Antonio's Gourmet Market, Jubala Village Coffee, Upper Crust Bakery, Vinos Finos y Picadadas and Village Grill. Here's a link to the village website. Well worth the visit!

  • Also in North Raleigh, a new sports pub has opened up called Tap City. Dubbed as an American saloon, they feature 32 beers on tap, and another 32 in bottles (that's 64 for those keeping score at home). While the menu is "classic American," they are quickly gaining a reputation for their hand-patted burgers. Visit them at 6675 Falls of Neuse Road or online here.

  • There is a new bistro opening next Monday, December 13th in North Hills. It just happens to be in a bowling alley! The Bistro at Sparians is a full-scale restaurant serving American favorites with an upscale twist. Trust me, this isn't your "typical bowling alley food"!

  • We have a quick update on Chapel Hill's newest restaurant addition - Streets Restaurant, Market & Deli. It is looking like a soft opening at some point after December 17th (inspection), with a grand opening likely the first of January. Hang in there! If you want to keep up with them, visit their Facebook page here.

  • The News & Observer's Sue Stock noted this morning a couple of new dining options in Raleigh: Ichiban Grill Buffet opened at 2105 E. Millbrook Road offering a Japanese buffet, sushi and hibachi. And in the Brierdale Shopping Center, Fiasco's restaurant is open at 107 Moncreiffe Road, serving food like sliders, flat breads and salads.

  • And not far down the road in Johnston County, the legendary Holt Lake Bar-B-Que & Seafood re-opened this week after a fire back in April. Let's just say this place will be packed for quite a while so you better get there early!

  • Weathervane, the restaurant at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, is hosting a beer dinner featuring brews from LoneRider Brewing Company on Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 7 pm. The five-course meal with beer pairings costs $45. To make a reservation, call 929-9466.
  • Downtown Carrboro's Acme Restaurant is having a Holiday Wine Dinner on Sunday, December 12th beginning at 6:30 p.m. The dinner will feature wines from France selected by Bruno Arricastres of Wine Without Borders. The price is $55 and reservations can be made by calling 919.929.2263.

  • Kudos to the Angus Barn for being recognized in the latest copy of Our State magazine as one of the state's premier steak houses. There is no doubt about that! Read the article here.

  • Sammi's Pizzeria is now open again for lunch. They held their grand "reopening for lunch" event last Monday. Sammi's is located in the Shoppes at Bedford, at 3607 Falls River Avenue in Raleigh.

  • Shuckers Oyster Bar & Grill in Wake Forest (3309 Rogers Rd) has launched a new menu. The menu now features all of your old favorites with lots of new items that will be sure to please your taste buds! Take a peek here.

  • Guglhupf Bakery (2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd. in Durham) will hold the 2nd Annual German Christmas Market this Saturday (Dec. 11) from 10-5. Do your holiday shopping while you take in live music, great German food and beverages, crafts, art and more. Visit their events' site here.

  • Looking for the perfect gift for the food lover on your list? How about cooking classes? And how about cooking classes at our brand new culinary school - The Chef's Academy. See the full list of classes open to the general public.

  • And if not cooking classes, how about some "foodie" gift ideas unique to North Carolina. Here are some great gift ideas that are unique to North Carolina. This list was put together by the News & Observer's Andrea Weigl and the Charlotte Observer's Kathleen Purvis.

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    And finally, during this season it is especially important to remember those who are struggling in our community. During this season of celebration, we need to remember those that are less fortunate, even in a community as vibrant as the Triangle.

    It was brought to my attention this week by blogger Mary Choe that the Raleigh area food hardship rate is 16.7, almost twice the national average. People are counted as food hardship cases when there have been times during the year that they didn't have enough money to buy enough food for themselves or their family.

    To that end, I'd encourage you to consider some sort of donation this holiday season to two of the hardest working organizations in our community that help those that are simply hungry.

    Please consider a donation to either the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle or the Food Bank of Eastern North Carolina.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Fun Food Facts - December 3, 2010

Triangle restaurant news...that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

  • If you are a big fan of Amedeo's Italian Restaurant on Western Boulevard, we have some big news to share. Rick DeAngelis, son of original owner Dick DeAngelis, is back! As some of you know, Rick opened Amedeo's North on Falls of the Neuse Road in North Raleigh, but has "come home" to manage the original store. Stop by and visit Rick!
  • Listen up downtown Raleigh. Z Pizza will officially open their third location on the ground floor of the Bank of America building this weekend. Z Pizza will participate in Raleigh's Winterfest Celebration this Saturday, and will "officially" open their doors on Sunday. Congratulations to Steve Drotts on his third store. Interestingly enough, Steve and his wife recently gave birth to their third child! They say things happen in threes...
  • Things are "a changing" in downtown Raleigh's City Market. Angelo's Restaurant owner Evangelos Liatos is retiring, and therefore closing. But plans to transition the space into a New Orleans-style eatery are already underway. Brian Battistella will be moving his Battistella's New Orleans Kitchen - which has been located over in the Crabtree Inn near Crabtree Valley Mall - into the space. Look for a January opening.
  • Raleigh is landing North Carolina's first location of Gigi's Cupcakes. Gigi's announced that it will be opening its newest location a little later this month in The Shops of Oberlin Court, near the intersection of Oberlin Road and Wade Avenue. Find out more about Gigi's here.
  • Sheilagh Duncan, owner of Pie Bird, has found a permanent location (or nest as she puts it). Pie Bird, which serves pies, soups and salads, will eventually be located at 618 N. Person Street in downtown Raleigh. More information here.
  • Brier Creek in Raleigh is experiencing some big changes. First, Noodles & Company opened this week in the former Camille's Sidewalk Café location. This marks the 5th Triangle location of Noodles & Company.
  • And the other news from Brier Creek is that Qdoba Mexican Grill is "coming soon" to the former Salsarita's location. This will mark the 7th Triangle location of Qdoba. No news yet on an open date.
  • Gregory Papadopoulos, formerly of Gregory's in Cary, has just opened up his latest venture. He has brought his talent over to Raleigh and opened Wade Park Café, which is in the Wade Park office development directly across from the RBC Center and next to Cardinal Gibbons High School. The café features salads, croissants, wraps, panninis and soups.
  • Sweet Spoons frozen yogurt has opened in Raleigh at on Wakefield Commons Drive near the Marquee Cinemas in the Wakefield Development. More information here.
  • Over in Durham, Seth Gross announced this week that he has sold his interest in Wine Authorities (2501 University Drive) to his business partner so that he can focus on his new venture, Bull City Burger and Brewery, which is scheduled to open at 107 E. Parrish Street in February. Get more information here.
  • Also in Durham, Cuban Revolution Restaurant just announced the launching of Cuba Joe - an 8 am - 11 am fare offering local roasted coffee, pastries, muffins, fresh fruit and made-to-order tacos. They are offering coupons on their Facebook page for free items!
  • Carolina Ale House is getting closer to opening its 9th Triangle area location. The newest one, which is on schedule to open next year, will be in the Glenwood South District in Raleigh at the corner of Glenwood and Tucker Streets - that's across from Sullivan's and Armadillo Grill. Check out the artist rendering here.
  • Chapel Hill's newest restaurant addition - Streets Restaurant, Market & Deli - is just days away from opening. The last official "announcement" from the owners had hoped for an opening the first week in December. Which means any day now. If you want to keep up with them, visit their Facebook page here.
  • If you're looking for a big cup of mocha while shopping this holiday season at The Streets at Southpoint, your options are a bit more limited. LaVita Dolce has closed up shop. That's the bad news. The good news is that Nordstrom has a pretty good little coffee shop at their first floor entrance. The other good news is that the Chapel Hill location of LaVita Dolce (in Southern Village) remains open.
  • My "Cary food correspondent" Tim Moore shared some sad news this week for DQ fans. The Dairy Queen on Walnut Street has gone out of business (I know, take a moment to gather yourself). All of their equipment was auctioned off yesterday. To make matters worse, I was unable to secure a Blizzard machine for my home.
  • If lights turned out and a disconnected phone number are any indication, Pittsburgh Pizza & Wing Factory at 13200 News Falls of the Neuse Road in Raleigh has closed.
  • Can't get enough "foodie" news? Then tune in to WPTF radio (680 AM) this Saturday at 11 am as Greg Cox of the News & Observer debuts his new radio show - "Dining Out with Greg Cox." You can even get the show online at
  • Looking for gift ideas for the "foodie" on your list? Here are some great gift ideas that are unique to North Carolina. This list was put together by the News & Observer's Andrea Weigl and the Charlotte Observer's Kathleen Purvis.
  • Alright food truck lovers. Looks like there is a convergence of food trucks at Durham's Rock n' Shop from noon until 6 pm tomorrow. Rock n' Shop is a unique event that features over 50 designers as well as lots of musical entertainment. Word is there will be at least 4 of the area's food trucks on site. Tickets are $5. More information here.
  • Tribeca Tavern, located in Stone Creek Village at the corner of Highhouse Road and Davis Drive in Cary, announced this week that they have a new menu. They've added new burgers, cheeses, sandwiches, and entrees. Check them out here.
  • Downtown Carrboro's Acme Restaurant is having a Holiday Wine Dinner on Sunday, December 12th beginning at 6:30 p.m. The dinner will feature wines from France selected by Bruno Arricastres of Wine Without Borders. The price is $55 and reservations can be made by calling 919.929.2263.

    And we close with a couple of tidbits that will surely add some padding for the winter.
  • Krispy Kreme is now serving up some of their old and new holiday favorites: The Snowman Doughnut, The Wreath Doughnut, The Chocolate Iced Glazed Doughnut, The Chocolate Peppermint Bark Doughnut, and the Peppermint Krispy Kreme Chiller! Perfect treats for the holidays.
  • And finally, Burger King is now offering a buy-one, get-one free on their original chicken sandwiches. They are promoting it on their website and I saw an ad on TV last night. Not sure the length of the promotion, so if this is your thing, you better get into the BK Lounge now!