Archive for June, 2010

I’ve been to the P.F. Chang’s across from Southpoint a dozen times, mostly with coworkers for lunch.  It’s much easier to get in and out of P.F. Chang’s than some of the restaurants that are actually in the Streets at Southpoint because you don’t have as big of crowds to deal with.

Coconut Curry Vegetables

I’m sorry I didn’t get many nice pictures like I normally try to.  I got my usual favorite, the coconut curry vegetables, my husband got the honey chicken lunch bowl (it’s a smaller portion that comes with soup), and the other guy we were with got General Chang’s chicken.  We all liked our food, but I’ve never been disappointed by P.F. Chang’s.  I just wish they made the coconut curry vegetables in a frozen entree, but I suppose the veggies don’t hold up well after being frozen.  I’ve tried some of the appetizers here before.  The eggdrop soup is decent, not the best I’ve ever had, and the egg rolls are reliable.  I tried the mini desserts once and was kind of disappointed.  I like my desserts to be big portions, but then again we usually split the desserts as well.

My husband has been to Pei Wei, which is the cheaper, faster P.F. Chang’s alternative.  He said the food is just as good there, and cheaper.  I’ll have to check it out sometime soon.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro on Urbanspoon

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SpanishVines.com 2008 Tempranillo

My local Kroger had a few wines out for tasting the other day and this one caught my attention.  I brought home a bottle and I thought I’d try out my first wine review.  I’m still a wine nub yet, but I’ll try to be honest.

I chilled the wine in the fridge for a day, then let it air in the glass 30 minutes at room temperature before drinking.  The color is extremely dark, even for a red wine.  If this wine were a variety of coffee, it’d be an espresso.  It was rich, solid, and dark.  At first you taste something a bit sour and tingly like a light sparkling wine, but then you get hit by some really rich, deep flavors of black cherry, chocolate and coffee.  At first I thought it was just like a pinot noir but the after-flavors really hit you a lot harder.  Honestly I don’t know if I liked it.  I had a hard time trying to think of what it could possibly be matched with.  Certainly not cheese or fruit, not dessert, and far to deep to match most meals.  I suppose the kind of person who likes coffee and cigarettes for breakfast would like the SpanishVines.com Tempranillo for dinner.

I’d like to try some other Tempranillos if I can find them.  The idea that the bottle of wine has a “.com” at the end of the name puts me off a little.

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I went to Azitra for the first time last Saturday evening.  It’s an Indian restaurant in Brier Creek next to Fujisan.  The restaurant is at the end of a strip mall block, so the side is open for seating.  The seating area looked really nice, but unfortunately it’s been in the high 90’s all week so everyone wants to sit inside in the air conditioning. 

The interior was cool and dark, perfect for a hot evening.  The decor was very nice, my son loved the lighting.  We got a rounded booth which was great because the 3 of us could all sit together.

We started with some paneer pakora and assorted naan for appetizers.  The naan also came with some raita which I used once the entrees came out.  The paneer pakora was decent, but I think the sauce was the best part of this dish.  The naan was good too, but I think in the future we’ll just get the garlic naan.  The other 2 weren’t as good.  We also each got a mango lassi.  The mango lassis here are very yogurty in flavor, not very sweet, which I think is good when going with the meal.  I don’t like mango lassis that taste like fruit smoothies loaded up with sugar.

Chicken Tikka Masala

I ordered the chicken tikka masala.  I usually prefer paneer, but they didn’t offer that as a choice with masala sauce.  The chicken was good anyhow.  I had read other reviews indicating the dishes here were disappointingly bland, so I had ordered mine “spicy”.  Well, I wasn’t disappointed.  I drank all my lassi and needed all the raita to keep from burning up, it was great.  I also had more than enough leftovers for my next 2 meals.

My husband got the lamb vindaloo, his favorite dish, also “spicy”.  He was pretty impressed by how much it made him sweat.  He said it had a good flavor and the meat was good quality, but maybe next time he wouldn’t get it quite so spicy.

Lamb Vindaloo

Overall I thought the food here was pretty good.  The service was excellent, I don’t think our water glasses were even allowed to get halfway empty before they were filled back up again.  But since it was a bit pricier than other Indian restaurants in the area, I’m not sure if we’ll be coming back too much.  The cost was $17 for each of the entrees, $9 for the 3 mango lassis, $9 for the naan and $7 for the paneer pakora.  It does have the convenience factor of being right off 540 near RTP and the airport, but if you’ve ever tried getting in and out of Brier Creek during rush hour, you know it’s not so convenient all the time.

Paneer Pakora and Assorted Naan With Raita

Azitra on Urbanspoon

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I went to LoneRider Breweing Company today with some of my old coworkers. The place is in a warehouse-type area near the airport.  The parking lot is gravel, and there’s a small glass door that says “LoneRider Brewing”, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to find the place.  The door actually just leads to the bathrooms, the actual drinking/bar/tasting area is to the side behind one of the large sliding door loading docks.  The one really bad thing about this place is there’s no air conditioning.  It’s been in the high 90’s for days, and the large fans they had set up here didn’t help at all.

LoneRider serves 4 different kinds of beers, and each is $3 per glass.  The PeaceMaker was recommended to me as being a “bitey” beer, very “hoppy”.  Even though it was called a pale ale, it was too dark for my tastes.  It had something of a burnt caramel taste.  I usually like the light, Belgian, girly, fruity beers like lambics.

Next I tried the Shotgun Betty.  This was more of my kind of beer.  It’s a Hefeweizen, very light in color, and oddly opaque.  It looked almost like banana juice.  It did have a banana flavor as well.  I wonder if perhaps it was added?  It doesn’t seem like a natural flavor for beer to have.

One of my coworkers got the DeadEye Jack.  It was very dark.  He said it tasted like coffee.  He didn’t like it much.

I’ll probably stick to my girly beers in the future but I think it’s good to have local breweries out there.  Also at $3 a glass it’s a pretty decent place to spend some time and socialize.  The address is 8816 Gulf Ct. Suite 100 in Raleigh.  Off of 70 you’ll take Westgate Rd. east, Gulf Ct. will be the second left, and the place is on the right side of the road.

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We went to Klara’s for Father’s Day, my husband’s choice.  I ordered my beloved fried brie, got some cabbage and kielbasa soup, and tried the potato dumplings with ham and bacon inside.  I ate so much and I still had leftovers for the next day.  Great food though, those dumplings were just amazing.  I couldn’t believe someone would think to to put bacon in a dumpling.  My husband got the pork schnitzel, and as usual the potato salad was great too.  I love the potato salad here, it’s like nothing I’ve had elsewhere.   I just wanted to make another post about this restaurant to show off the beautiful food.

Fried Brie with Cranberries

Pork Schnitzel with Potato Salad

Stuffed Potato Dumplings

The Insides - Bacon and Ham!

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We went to IHOP in Apex on Friday night.  It was my son’s pick, he’s 4 and it’s his favorite restaurant.  It’s one of the few restaurants where he’ll order off the menu and actually eat the food he gets.  It’s located just off 64 in the Beaver Creek Commons, across from Target.

I’ve been to IHOPs across the US before, and they’re all pretty standard.  This was actually my favorite restaurant when I was a kid too.  I loved getting pancakes for dinner.  I still like the place well enough, and every once in a while it’s nice to have breakfast food without having to make it yourself.

Create Your Own Face Pancake

My son always gets the Create Your Own Face pancake.  It comes with 2 strawberries for eyes, some whipped cream for a nose, and banana slices for a mouth.  It also has some “Go-Gurt” yogurt, for which to add hair and other things with.  My son doesn’t actually decorate the pancake with the yogurt, he eats it last.  He’s got his own ritual with this thing, first he eats the nose, then the eyes, then the mouth.  Then he has me cut it all up and add syrup.  Then he eats the pancake, as much as he can.  This evening he didn’t eat much of it, but he had cake earlier.  Then he eats the yogurt last, sucking it up like a freezy pop.

Club Sandwich

My husband got the club sandwich with fries.  Typical club sandwich with turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomato, and some decent fries.  Not much to say about this one.

I got the new “New York Cheesecake Pancakes” of the “regular” variety, that comes with 2 pancakes with cheesecake stuff in between then, plus 2 eggs, hashbrowns, and a choice of bacon or sausage.  I chose the scrambled eggs and bacon.  I had previously liked IHOP’s stuffed french toast, which has the same kind of cream cheese type filling in it, so I figured I would like this as well.

New York Cheesecake Pancakes "Regular"

The strawberries and strawberry sauce were awesome.  There’s extra strawberry sauce at the table for adding to this.  The filling was as I expected, very cream cheesy in flavor, rich and delicious.  The hashbrowns were good too.  I don’t generally eat bacon strips on their own, I prefer them with food, so this isn’t my ideal serving style for the bacon.  The scrambled eggs weren’t that good and I didn’t finish them.  I think if your meal has 2 plates you’ve probably ordered too much.  In the future, I’m going to probably just order the 4 pancakes with cream cheese in between instead of the “regular” sampling, it was just way too much food.

Cheesecake Pancake Insides

I lifted up the side of the pancake so you can see inside it.  The cheesecake filling is kind of like frosting, they just tube some on and put the next pancake on top of it.  It’s good though, a very rich flavor that’s very much like real cheesecake.

The service on this particular night was pretty slow.  It took us an hour to get in and out, which is unusually slow for an IHOP.  I’ll give this place another chance though, I think they were having a busy night with a birthday party going on in the back.
IHOP on Urbanspoon

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2nd City Bacon Cheeseburger

I went to 2nd City Grill last Monday with a couple of my co-workers.  It’s right down the street from where I work so it’s very easy to get there and back within my lunch hour.

The restaurant is cafeteria style.  When we got there at about 1pm there was a line, so I imagine at noon it might be quite a wait.  They serve breakfast from 7am-10am, and traditional American food after that.  They have pizza, burgers, sandwiches, salads and hot dogs.  I ordered the 2nd City bacon cheeseburger.  It was a good burger, good fries, and at about $7 the price was reasonable.

Turkey Kaiser Special

One of my coworkers got the turkey kaiser special with a side salad.  The other one got a Greek salad with no olives.  They both said the food was good.  They had both been to the 2nd City Grill many times before though.   All the food here looked decent, and most everything is priced at about $7.

Greek Salad (no olives)

When I go out to eat I usually try for more exotic things like Thai, sushi or Indian, that would be difficult for me to make at home.  Generally if I want a sandwich or hot dog I’ll make it myself.  But the food was decent and sometimes you just have to go out to spend time with other people, not just to try new foods.  Overall it was a good place though, good food at a good price.
2nd City Grill on Urbanspoon

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