Revolution in Durham dining

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The crazy success of WD-50 in New York — that wild and renowned molecular gastronomy dining destination led by mad scientist and chef Wylie Dufresne — has led to an onslaught of imitators, of which even North Carolina has not been spared. Foams and funky flavors are all the rage and a hot restaurant in Durham, simply called Revolution, has received acclaimed reviews for its ingredient-sourcing and innovative cooking techniques since opening last year.

This we had to check out.

Revolution is on Durham’s desolate, and somewhat depressing, main drag. Step inside the doors and you’re transported into a clean and modern space. There’s a bustling bar area and lots of dark gray and white. Flat screen televisions sit on the walls, broadcasting not a Duke basketball game (thank goodness) but instead the real source of the evening’s actions: the kitchen.

The menu came with a giant paperclip and after investigating our options, we agreed that our best bet to the meal was a tapas-like approach: three from the raw/chilled section and the same number of small plates. After hearing which dishes we were interested in, our waitress suggested the best order in which they should be served. We nodded and told her to bring it on.

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First up was Ahi tuna with wasabi caviar, cucumber and greens. Topped with crispy fried onions and an over-easy egg, this was a spicy and flavorful plate. Charlotte thought the wasabi was overbearing; for me, it was just right though.

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We followed this with cured parma ham with baby arugula, almonds and preserved orange. There were some sliced figs, too, whose sweetness balanced the saltiness of the aged meat. Stuffed in slices of a warm baguette, this was a winner.

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Next was Revolution’s signature dish, haystack shrimp with lemon-basil aioli. It was hard to determine what the haystack itself was made out of — crunchy, thin shavings that covered the shrimp — although the sweet sauce tasted a little funky with the basil.

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Our eyes bulged as two gigantic diver scallops with fava beans, pork belly and mint emulsion were placed in front of us. This was by far the best dish of the night. Buttery scallops, fatty belly and some mint. A bizarre but creative and delicious concoction.

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We were starting to get full as our Asian-inspired Chinese BBQ pork with shrimp & lobster dumplings. The meat was tender and well-seasoned and the dumplings overflowing.

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By the time our last dish arrived — beef tips in sherry & goat cheese with shitake mushrooms and bruschetta – we were reaching capacity. But it took far too much discipline to stop.

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Revolution served up some of the best food that we’ve had in the Triangle. It was refreshing to see chefs here pushing the envelope and stepping outside the Deep Fried and Bacon Southern Comfort Zone. While the flavors were generally quite unique, we would have liked to see more of that creativity in the presentation.

Could this Revolution compete with Wylie’s WD-50? Not a chance.

But here in Carolina, it’s clear why this spot is causing such a stir – and why the name does indeed live up to its high expectations.

36 Hours in the Research Triangle

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

In planning my frequent travels, I’ve come to rely on a variety of resources.

Most importantly, are people — either those who have visited the places that I’m heading, or better yet, live there. After speaking with them, there are the more traditional targets: TripAdvisor for hotel reviews; Kayak for airfares; Lonely Planet for destinations and sights. One of my most frequently referenced guides though is the New York Times, which I’d argue has the best daily paper travel section in the country.

Every week, the Times puts out a recurring feature, “36 Hours” in which it offers up a weekend-long itinerary of a destination around the globe. You can imagine my excitement then when earlier this summer, it focused it sights right here in the Research Triangle. Would its reporter be able to dig up neighborhood Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill spots and point visitors in the right direction?

Over a 36 hour period, appropriately enough, we set out to investigate.

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What they said: Anyone who has visited the Met or the Getty might scoff at the relatively succinct collection at the North Carolina Museum of Art (2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh; 919-839-6262). But the lack of tour bus crowds means unfettered access to the Old Masters and contemporary heavyweights like Anselm Kiefer. The real treat is the adjacent Museum Park, more than 164 acres of open fields and woodlands punctuated by environmental art like Cloud Chamber, a stone hut that acts as a camera obscura, with a small hole in the roof projecting inverted, otherworldly images of slowly swaying trees on the floor and walls.

What we thought: Although not scheduled to close until September for a scheduled expansion, the museum currently looks like a construction site. The Museum Park had some interesting pieces — although the Carolina Heat didn’t allow us to enjoy it as much as we would have liked. The aforementioned Cloud Chamber was damp and spooky; not nearly as introspective as we had anticipated. Regardless, we would recommend a visit once the museum reopens next spring.

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What they said: There’s no pigeonholing the eclectic wares in this four-story indie minimall collectively known as Father & Son Antiques (107 West Hargett Street, Raleigh; 919-832-3030), and including Southern Swank and 2nd Floor Vintage. The organizing principle, if there is one, might be high design meets kitschy Americana, as the intermingling of vintage disco dresses ($18), Mexican wrestling masks ($20) and Eames aluminum group chairs ($250 to $500) attests.

What we thought: Located in the downtown Raleigh wasteland, this store had a couple of interesting finds mixed in with heaps of junk. For every cool retro floor lamp, there were old typewriters and busted hair dryers. We didn’t go looking for anything in particular — nor did we walk out with anything. Might be worth checking out. But wouldn’t be a big deal if you didn’t.

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What they said: Memorable meals are easy to come by in the Triangle owing to its high concentration of accomplished, produce-fondling chefs like Ashley Christensen. She left one of the area’s top kitchens to open Poole’s Downtown Diner (426 South McDowell Street, Raleigh; 919-832-4477) in a space that began as a 1940s pie shop. Diners sitting in the bright-red booths dig into Christensen’s low-pretense, high-flavor dishes, like a starter of lovably sloppy fried green tomatoes crowned with local pork smoked over cherry wood ($11), and the Royale ($13), an almost spherical hunk of ground-in-house chuck roll seared in duck fat, topped with cheese and perched on a slice of grilled brioche.

What we thought: The location, on a busy street near the Interstate and across from the prison, wasn’t great. But we escaped into this cool, converted space. The focus here is on made-to-order meals; the menu — up on a large chalkboard which we had to walk over to read — changes daily. Our roasted chicken was moist although the portions were a bit meager for the $18 price tag. Poole’s is an informal spot worth grabbing a meal at if you happen to be in Carolina’s capital city and are in search of something a little bit different.

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What they said: For most bars, a popular politician’s visit would be a game-changing boon. But the Raleigh Times Bar (14 East Hargett Street, Raleigh; 919-833-0999) was packed well before Barack Obama showed up the day of the state’s Democratic primary. The owner, Greg Hatem, painstakingly restored the century-old building that once housed its namesake newspaper and decorated the walls with old newspaper clippings, paperboy bags and other artifacts from the defunct daily. Mr. Obama bought a $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon (and left an $18 tip), but anyone not campaigning might choose one of the more than 100 other beers ($1 to $68), including esoteric Belgians and local brews you won’t find elsewhere.

What we thought: This was a hopping spot on our visit — tables were bustling with activity and the crowd spilled over onto the sidewalk. As former journalists, we were suckers for the décor. The Big Boss Seasonal Ales were $6 bucks a piece and well worth it.

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What they said: One of the Triangle’s charms is that its urban trappings are so easy to escape. A 10-mile drive from downtown Durham brings you to Eno River State Park (6101 Cole Mill Road, Durham; 919-383-1686). Its trails pass through swaying pines and follow the river past patches of delicate purple-and-yellow wildflowers and turtles sunning themselves on low branches in the water.

What we thought: Although we do a fair amount of hiking, we never would have heard about this park otherwise. It was largely empty when we arrived to summit Cox Mountain. The walk, about 4 miles round trip, crossed the Eno River on a suspension foot bridge and continued gradually up a hill that climbed 270 feet in elevation. No great views from the top but a great workout.

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What they said: But for a morning meal on the go that’s equally unforgettable, roll up to the drive-through-only Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen (1305 East Franklin Street; 919-933-1324), where the iced tea is tooth-achingly sweet and the main course is fluffy, buttery and filled with salty country ham ($2.02) or crisp fried chicken ($3.40).

What we thought: We’ve driven by this place for the last year so were excited to finally have an excuse to stop there. Our crisp chicken biscuit was certainly tasty (how could it not be?) but we weren’t sure it competed with that offered at Time Out. And for just biscuits, we think the award goes to Weathervane, the café at Southern Season.

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What they said: Anyone not on a hunt for serious Mexican food might drive past Taqueria La Vaquita (2700 Chapel Hill Road, Durham; 919-402-0209), an unassuming freestanding structure with a plastic cow on its roof, just five minutes from Duke’s campus. But if you did, you’d miss tacos ($2.19) made with house-made corn tortillas, uncommonly delicate discs topped with exceptional barbacoa de res (slow-cooked beef) or carnitas (braised-then-fried pork) that you eat at one of the picnic tables out front.

What we thought: Looks can be deceiving at this roadside food stand. But the tacos were absolutely perfect. Authentic Mexican food is difficult to come by in this area. There are just so many lousy places — Los Potrillos, La Hacienda, to name a few. It was so welcome to find this little gem with fresh and spicy flavors.

All in all, I’ve got to give the Times credit. Not all of its recommendations were the greatest. But many were. Which means that I’ll keep checking out “36 Hours” each Sunday morning for inspiration and travel advice. Whether that’s halfway around the globe or right outside my door.

Cooking up bibim bap

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

One of my favorite restaurants in D.C. is Mandu, a small Korean place on 18th Street. Their classic dish is dolsot bibim bap, a delicious combination of rice, stir-fry beef and traditional sauteed vegetables (bean sprouts, spinach, cucumbers, carrots) served in a hot stone bowl. Topped with a fried egg and spicy hot sauce, it’s damn near perfection.

On this summer’s trip through Botswana, my South Korean friend Sook brought along a container of gochujang, a traditional condiment. For several occasions, she broke out the hot sauce and we doused it on the meals cooked at our campsite. It was amazing.

Then, a couple weeks back, an international package arrived at my door. Sook had graciously sent along a box of sauces and rice, along with some pointers on how to make my favorite dish.

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So, with Sook’s guidance, we pieced together our own relatively simple bibim bap recipe.

Ingredients (for two servings):
1 pound skirt steak
1/2 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons sesame oil
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 cups white rice
2 eggs
1 cup spinach
1 cup English cucumber
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 cup bean sprouts

Beef marinade:
Combine 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 chopped garlic clove

Vegetable marinade:
Combine 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1.5 tablespoons sesame oil, 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper

Cucumber marinade:
Combine 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, 1/2 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 chopped garlic clove

Cooking directions:

(1) Put steak in freezer for about an hour; remove and slice thinly, placing strips into a bowl, covering with marinade and refrigerating overnight
(2) Cook rice per instructions (or have Korean friend mail you authentic instant rice)
(3) Blanche been sprouts for thirty seconds and cool in ice water bath to stop cooking; do the same for spinach and carrots; lightly coat all three (separate bowls) with the vegetable marinade
(4) Thinly cut cucumber and cover in bowl with marinade
(5) Cook beef in large skillet with a tablespoon of oil on medium heat; fry until brown
(6) Fry egg in same skillet, sprinkle with dash of salt

Now it’s time for an important step: assembling the plate.

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On top of rice, place beef, bean sprouts, spinach and carrots; the fried egg and a squirt of sambal oelek, the spicy Korean hot sauce, complete it.

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This could give Mandu a run for its money.

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway

Asheville, North Carolina

We woke up early this morning and, after checking out of the Inn, made our way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. This 469-mile highway, which originates in Rockfish Gap, Virginia, is the most visited attraction in the United States National Park System. Much of the scenic road hugs the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are part of the Appalachian Mountains.

The weather was perfect so, with windows down and sunroof open, we entered around mile marker 388. Passing scenic overlooks along the narrow road, we made our way to Mt. Pisgah, named after the Biblical mount from which Moses first saw the Promised Land (according to a sign at the base). A steep 1.5 mile trail that gained about 700 feet took us to the summit from which there were panoramic views of western North Carolina.

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Thoroughly sweated up, we happily returned to the car and continued along the scenic parkway. Numerous tunnels brought us through the mountain side and provided appropriate photo opportunities for BMW’s next ad campaign.

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After a couple of hours, we exited and made our way back to Asheville, stopping for some lunch in nearby Biltmore Village. We checked into our hotel, the Bohemian Grand, which was located just outside the gate to the Biltmore Estate. It was furnished to resemble a trendy German hunter’s lodge, complete with stuffed animal heads lining the rustic wood-paneled walls.

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Our king room was on the fourth floor, with the decor of the lobby continuing upstairs. Which is to say, lots of wood, leather and stone.

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Showered up, we made our way into downtown Asheville, checking out the Grove Arcade and Woolworth Walk. Along the city’s restored Art Deco buildings, musicians played on street corners and strung out hippies parked their amazing hand-painted vehicles.

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We opted for dinner at the hotel’s Red Stag Grill, enjoying our steaks, brie mac & cheese and truffle french fries. Perhaps most impressive, however, were the back-lit menus — the first time either of us have seen such a thing.

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Finishing up a bottle of German pinot noir, we agreed. There’s a reason that this small city in western North Carolina has been ranked one of the best places to live in the U.S.

And it’s well deserved.

Night at the Biltmore

Asheville, North Carolina

This small funky city in western North Carolina — known for its burgeoning arts scene, outdoor activities, laid-back feel and acclaimed restaurants — has been ranked one of the best places to live in the United States. Rolling Stone has also proclaimed Asheville to be the “New Freak Capital of the U.S.” A freak city with a high quality of life? This we had to see for ourselves.

The landscape slowly became more mountainous along our 3-hour drive from Chapel Hill. We arrived a little after 9 a.m. and made our way directly to Asheville’s star attraction, the Biltmore Estate. This châteauesque style mansion was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1888 and 1895. It was, and continues to be, the largest privately owned home in America.

Our tickets — which we booked in advance online for $47 each — allowed us entry with the first group of the day. After driving up the 3-mile long approach, we parked and took a shuttle bus to the entry. Passing through the gate, it appeared before us. This was one big house.

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The exterior details were quite eclectic — with gargoyles perched from the roof and intricate stone carvings over doorways.

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More than a million visitors tour the Biltmore Estate each year. Luckily, on this early Saturday morning, it was relatively quiet. No cameras were allowed inside the house but we were impressed by its sheer size as well as features, like the bowling alley, 70,000 gallon indoor swimming pool, two-story library and sleeping quarters for 50 servants.

Needless to say, this place made today’s McMansion communities look like Shanty Towns.

Afterward, we walked through the Walled Garden, with its meticulously-maintained plantings and fountains, before making our way to the Winery, apparently the most visited in the U.S.

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The midday heat was becoming oppressive so we opted for an early check-in at the Biltmore Inn, which is located on the property. Having just undergone extensive renovations, it’s a pretty spectacular place with views of the rolling hills and Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.

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Our king room, on the top floor, was quite comfortable — it even had a pillow with Vanderbilt’s “V” insignia monogrammed on it. Baller!

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The rest of the day was spent at the Inn’s infinity pool, which had stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Around sunset, we went for a short hike through the Biltmore Forest.

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We made our way into downtown Asheville for dinner at Mela, a well-reviewed Indian restaurant. The lamb korma — in a rich almond and cashew sauce and topped with nuts and raisins — and chicken tikka masala were both delicious.

But my mouth is still on fire.

Front row seats to Coldplay

Raleigh, North Carolina

We’re big fans of Coldpay but neither of us have seen them in concert. So, we were pretty psyched to score lawn tickets to last night’s show at the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek. With taxes, surcharges and facility fees, they ran $55 a pop.

We didn’t have much interest in the openers and Coldplay wasn’t scheduled to come on until 9 p.m., so we left at 7:15 p.m. thinking that should probably give us an hour or so to tailgate in the parking lot. Our plan was quickly foiled though when we spotted the never-ending line of cars backed up for several miles attempting to exit the highway. Some MacGyver-esque maneuvers on my part cut out some of the delay but it still wasn’t until 8:30 p.m. that we were able to park.

After a couple of beers, we squeezed our way onto the crowded lawn; our view was partially obstructed by the pavilion but it was about the best we could do as the band exploded onto stage with “Violet Hill.” The show itself would soon prove to be a spectacle — with huge yellow balloons floating over the crowd during “Yellow,” confetti cannons exploding with the chorus of “Lovers in Japan,” and Martin leading the crowd in a cell phone “wave.”

During “Lost,” a flurry of movement to our immediate right caught my attention. Five or six members of the crew were quickly building and setting up what looked like a platform. When a mic and guitar were placed on top of the makeshift stage, we quickly moved toward it as a crush of people followed behind us.

As the lights dimmed, Chris Martin and the band hopped off the main stage and made their way to the lawn platform. And suddenly, we had front row seats to a Coldplay concert.

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Watching from just feet away, they jammed out an acoustic set of “Green Eyes” and “Death Will Never Conquer,” with drummer Will Champion taking the lead vocals. Amazingly, from where we stood, there was no need for amplification; we could actually hear them singing.

It wasn’t over yet though as the band covered Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and encouraged the ecstatic crowd to sing along.

With that, Coldplay returned to the main stage and finished up their set. To be honest, the final three songs and encore were a bit anti-climactic. We left as the band closed with Martin promising to return to Raleigh in a couple of years.

But whether or not last night’s performance could ever be topped seems pretty unlikely.

A weekend in Wilmington

Wilmington, North Carolina

With summer officially here in Carolina and temperatures topping 90 degrees, we took the opportunity to beeline to the shore for an inaugural beach weekend in Wilmington. Perhaps best known as the location of Dawson’s Creek, Wilmington is a port town on the Cape Fear Coast, about a two-hour drive from Chapel Hill.

We left yesterday morning and after lunch, settled into the sand of Wrightsville Beach. It was surprisingly uncrowded and the weather perfect. A few brave souls even ventured into the Atlantic.

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With some good sun behind us, we drove to the Taylor House Inn, a small bed & breakfast in the historic district. It was a cozy little place, with lots of charm and a friendly owner who met us with glasses of sweet tea. Our room, “Serenity,” was on the second floor at the back of the house.

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Showered and changed, we made our way into town for some pre-dinner drinks at Level 5, said to be the best rooftop bar in Wilmington. As the sun set, it offered sweeping views of the river and delicious Stella drafts.

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We crossed the street for dinner at Circa 1922, a tapas restaurant that is all the recent rage here. The Firefly Sweet Tea cocktails were a great start; our favorite small plates included a “Trio of Tuna” (spicy tuna roll, miso seared sashimi & tuna tartare) and Curry Mussels (in a green curry and coconut milk broth, with tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, ginger & garlic).

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We finished up with one of Circa’s legendary desserts: the Key Lime pie. And, after a nightcap at Front Street Brewery, we headed back to the inn and into our freshly ironed sheets.

This morning, we had a formal candlelit, sit-down breakfast with the other guests. Scott baked up some muffins and then treated us to homemade french toast, fresh fruit and sausage links. Afterward, we strolled the quiet Riverwalk, which was slowly waking from a late night.

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With the temperature rising, we didn’t last long and instead drove to Carolina Beach, where we lounged away the afternoon, before hopping back in the car for the return to Chapel Hill.

What a solid start to the summer.

Sundaes at S & T Soda Shoppe

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

My culinary adventure to taste the best of the best continues. I’ve been wanting to visit S & T Soda Shoppe since reading about it last year — located in Pittsboro, a quaint town about 20 minutes from here, S & T is said to have the area’s best ice cream sundaes.

When my good buddy Mike drove up from Charlotte today, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give the place a shot. S & T is housed in an old pharmacy that dates back to the early 20th century. The joint reopened about 15 years ago yet manages to maintain an authentic feeling of 1950s Americana. There’s an antique jukebox in the front, old classic memorabilia lines the walls and its wood tables and booths have been rescued from a legit soda fountain.

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We were seated quickly and only a couple of minutes later, were served up heaping sundaes. There are over 30 homemade flavors to choose from — birthday cake and peanut butter cup sounded good to me — and it came topped with whipped cream, hot chocolate syrup, rainbow sprinkles and a cherry. The whole shebang.

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Mike went with the birthday cake and moose track, which we learned is essentially vanilla ice cream with peanut butter cups and fudge. It was so good that he finished the whole dang thing!

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And at just about $4 a pop, these sundaes weren’t just delicious — they were a steal.

I’ve got a feeling I’ll be back.

A birthday at Magnolia

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Last night, as a belated birthday present, Charlotte took me for dinner at Magnolia Grill. This critically acclaimed spot in Durham has won a laundry list of accolades: the 11th best restaurant in America (Gourmet), best chef in the Southeast (the James Beard Foundation) and best pastry chef (Bon Appétit).

Our reservation was for 9:15 p.m., but when we arrived about a half hour early, the hostess promptly seated us. The interior has a nice Southern bistro feel to it — the peach walls are offset by dark wood floors and a comfy red banquette. A pig sculpture sits in a window.

While looking over the menu, we had a strong whiskey apertif and some warm, freshly baked bread. What makes Magnolia so delicious is the seasonality of its dishes — this is not a menu that changes weekly or monthly. In fact, chefs Ben and Karen Baker change it daily.

First up were our appetizers. Mine was a trout salad with roasted macadamia nuts, slivers of Granny Smith apple, chopped parsley and dried currants. It was topped with a light horseradish cream sauce that contrasted with the smokiness of the fish and sweetness of the fruits. Charlotte opted for the sweet potato bisque with Carolina shrimp and a ginger-Meyer Rum Chantilly. “Creamy, sweet with a hint of spice,” she said. “Amazing.”

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Next were our entrees. My grilled Berkshire pork rib chop was cooked perfectly. It sat on a bed of southern greens (with hunks of ham) in a creole mustard jus. Charlotte’s cornmeal-crusted Snead’s flounder in Meyer lemon-olive oil sauce with toasted pistachios, fingerling potatoes with escarole & pickled sultanas was “delicious.”

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For dessert, we split a piece of chocolate angel food cake with a chocolate ganache, freshly whipped cream and a crystallized citrus glaze.

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We’ve had dinner at some of the most highly reviewed restaurants in this area — including Elaine’s, Crook’s Corner and Lantern. Magnolia Grill, however, really takes it to the next level. The food was delicious yet unlike at some other spots, didn’t make us feel like we needed to be rolled out of the restaurant in a wheelbarrow.

The service was prompt and professional. Our waitress “saved” Charlotte the last piece of flounder and even helped us figure out where in D.C. we could score a bottle of her favorite wine.

Needless to say, we’ll be back.

Of hikes and hotdogs

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Although there was a slight bite in the air, we didn’t have a cloud in the sky this morning. After so much rain here recently, we had to get outside and take advantage of the weather.

But, where to go?

A Google search helped me find a comprehensive listing of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill hikes on Trails.com. It was in alphabetical order — and the first, the American Tobacco Trail, caught my interest. The ATT is a “rails to trails” project, in which old railroad tracks are converted to relatively flat hiking, biking and equestrian paths.

It was about a 25-minute drive through the rolling countryside, but we found the entrance in Apex, parked and then hit the trail, passing swamps, forests, cantering horses and, this being North Carolina, the occasional driving range (“Watch for golf balls next 300 yards,” read a sign).

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With the sun bearing down, we pushed on and triumphantly reached the 3-mile marker. On our return, we passed a timid turtle that seemed to have lost its way.

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To celebrate our achievement and negate any positive health benefits associated with the 6-mile trek, we drove to downtown Raleigh for a visit to the Roast Grill. This tiny joint was recently featured on Man vs. Food, as host Adam Richman set a new record by wolfing down 17 of their classic hotdogs smothered in chili.

The line snaking onto the street was our first indicator that this dinky, simple place that has been around since 1940 — and today is run by George Poniros, the original owner’s grandson — knew what it was doing. The Grill has just one item on the menu: its hotdogs, which are charbroiled on a burner and then covered with onions, some mustard, a simple slaw and top-secret chili.

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The dogs were burned nicely on the outside, plump and juicy on the inside. Buns were steamed warm. The chili was the perfect consistency and texture, onions added an additional bite while the slaw cooled it all down.

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The real beauty, however, might have been the simplicity of it all. There’s no ketchup available here. Nor fries or onion rings.

Just simple, and delicious, hot dogs.

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