Posts Tagged 'nc north carolina'

Custom design pizza by the slice

20121017-104629.jpgOnce again I have my mind and stomach set on a certain type of meal and then end up with something completely different.  Knowing that I was going to be back in Chapel Hill I did some brief research for restaurants serving hamburgers. My intent was to stay in the Franklin Street area and make my final restaurant decision once I arrived. I was fortunate again to find a decent parking space on Franklin Street and began my journey across to locate one of the burger joints I had researched prior. As I was walking down the street checking out local restaurants Artisan Pizza Kitchen caught my eye. A craving for hamburger suddenly change the pizza so I entered the restaurant to take a look at the menu. Among the many pizza options,calzones, sandwiches and burgers.  I noticed that you could build your on slice. Knowing that I really didn’t want to order a whole pizza I chose a couple custom slices with some of my favorite ingredients. I was impressed with how fast my slices are out to the table. These are not your average size pizza slices. They are very large and by the time I finish eating both of them I barely had room for dessert. Maybe I will find a good burger during my next visit to Chapel Hill. I would recommend Artisan Pizza Kitchen for a delicious quick meal when you are in the Chapel Hill area.

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About:

James and Jenkiss met in 1998 when James was running a Manhattan pizza parlor. They quickly became friends and dreamt of one day owning their own business. James and Jenkiss would often concoct their own pizza from the Margherita to the Fresca. One day they began experimenting with alternative pizza sauces: thus the artichoke pizza concept was born.

Jenkiss learned his way around running a business while working with Trains Cafe in Carrboro and Cafe Bazaar at Spice Street. James continued to develop a pizza and sandwich menu for their future business while still living in Manhattan.

In 2008, Jenkiss convinced James that a quaint shop on Franklin Street would be the perfect place to open a pizza parlor. So, James packed everything and moved to Chapel Hill. Thanks to more than 10 years of friendship and a meticulous business plan, James and Jenkiss opened their doors of Artisan Pizza Kitchen in May 2009.

Today, Artisan Pizza Kitchen welcomes thousands of locals and visitors alike to enjoy everything from the signature artichoke basil pizza to our delicious sandwiches made with homemade focaccia bread, salads and fresh grilled burgers.

Dine in, take out or order delivery today! We hope to see you soon at Artisan Pizza Kitchen!

Artisan Pizza Kitchen
153 East Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 929-9119

 www.artisanpizzakitchen.com

 

Enjoyin grits in the “Grits belt”

Grits has always been a favorite dish in the south. There are many different variations of grits including the traditional grits with butter, grits with cheese, and shrimp and grits just to name a few.   I prefer grits mixed lots and lots of butter with pepper sprinkled on top.  I also like grits with breakfast casserole mixed in with cheese sausage and eggs.  This morning I enjoyed a rather large bowl of grits mixed in with just enough butter to change the color.

Movie Name: My Cousin Vinny (1992)
Quote:

Vinny Gambini: [Vinny and Lisa receive their breakfast orders, Vinny
  looks at his skeptically] Whats this over here?
Grits Cook: You never heard of grits?
Vinny Gambini: Sure Ive heard of grits. I just never actually *seen*
  a grit before.

 

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Grits have their origins in Native American corn preparation. Traditionally, the corn for grits was ground by a stone mill. The results are passed through screens, with the finer siftings being grit meal, and the coarser being grits. Many communities in the United States used a gristmill until the mid-20th century, with families bringing their own corn to be ground, and the miller retaining a portion of the corn for his fee. In South Carolina, state law requires grits and corn meal to be enriched, similar to the requirements for flour, unless the grits are ground from corn from which the miller keeps part of the product for his fee.

Three-quarters of grits sold in the U.S. are sold in the South stretching from Texas to Virginia, also known as the “grits belt”. The state of Georgia declared grits its official prepared food in 2002. Similar bills have been introduced in South Carolina, with one declaring:

Whereas, throughout its history, the South has relished its grits, making them a symbol of its diet, its customs, its humor, and its hospitality, and whereas, every community in the State of South Carolina used to be the site of a grits mill and every local economy in the State used to be dependent on its product; and whereas, grits has been a part of the life of every South Carolinian of whatever race, background, gender, and income; and whereas, grits could very well play a vital role in the future of not only this State, but also the world, if as Charleston’s The Post and Courier proclaimed in 1952, “An inexpensive, simple, and thoroughly digestible food, [grits] should be made popular throughout the world. Given enough of it, the inhabitants of planet Earth would have nothing to fight about. A man full of [grits] is a man of peace.

Grits are usually either yellow or white, depending on the color of corn. Most commonly found are “quick” grits in which the germ and hull have been removed. Whole kernel grits are sometimes called “Speckled.” Grits are prepared by simply boiling the ground kernels into a porridge until enough water is absorbed or vaporized to leave it semi-solid.

Lime & Basil was worth the wait.

20121011-225417.jpgLime and Basil wasn’t the first choice for dinner. The original plan was to grab Chinese for a quick meal before returning home. Lime & Basil seemed to be calling and we made our way across Franklin Street to glance at the menu.  I had never been to a Vietnamese restaurant and was a bit concerned that I would find something on the menu that I would eat.  I skimmed  the menu posted on the window, found the word “chicken” and was satisfied with entering the restaurant to find a table. Plenty of tables were found in this small and popular restaurant.  Many people had beaten us to the tables in the appropriately painted lime green dining area.  We were greeted by a very mellow host who asked if we were on “The List.”   Fortunately to get on “The List” all we had to do was give a name and party size.  We were informed of a 20 minute wait and agreed to be added to “The List.”  The 20 minute wait was extended to 30 as the early patrons were not making plans to exit the building upon completion of their meal. I was curious to know what a gentleman in the corner was doing.  He had an office setup with laptop, cell phone and note pads.   He appeared to be working more than eating.  Finally, the early birds began to wrap up their visit and allow those of us on “The List” to have a chance to eat dinner.

 

After being seated, I didn’t spend much time reading the menu.  I had made up my mind prior to entering. I selected the Classic Lemongrass Stir-Fry with chicken.  Sauteed carrots, onions, and beansprouts with lemon grass and chili in a garlic stir-fry sauce placed over rice.   In addition, I added some Chile sauce to the blend to fire up the meal.  Everything was good.  I could have had a few more pieces of chicken, but that’s normal for me.  By the time I cleaned my plate, there was no room for dessert.   I think that “The List.’ was even longer by the time we finished our meal.  The building was full with more people waiting outside.

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Lime & Basil

200 W. Franklin St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

http://www.limeandbasil.com/

Cajun Burgers in Bryson City N.C.

When I read an article about Jimmy Macs in a previous edition of Our State Magazine, I knew that I had to plan a visit.  The menu offering 20 different variety of hamburger made me want to be there to sample several.

We arrived just before the lunch crowd and the place filled up soon after we took our seats.  I was tempted to try a pasta meal, although I had my mind set on a hamburger.

There were plenty of styles of burgers listed on the menu. The article Our State mentioned a cajun burger that I was certain to order. I did!  It was delicious as expected.  I enjoy spicy foods and could not wait to see how much of a kick the burger would provide.  It was just right.  Not too much to take away from the flavor of the burger.  I think that I made the correct choice.

cajun burger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Mac’s Restaurant

121 Main Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

(828) 488-4700

Offering both lunch and dinner in a casual and inviting atmosphere on Main Street, Jimmy Mac’s features a full menu including soups,salads, appetizers,burgers,steak, seafood and more.

We make EVERY event delicious!

 

36th Street Bakery, Cafe & Catering

I had the pleasure of visiting 36th Street Bakery, Cafe & Catering in Lincolnton, N.C. while driving to the  Blue Ridge Mountains.  As soon as I opened the door the aroma of fresh baked items attacked my senses.  I was immediately drawn to the pastry case.  I checked out every item like I was visiting a museum of sweetness.   It was obvious to me that I was going to enjoy this visit although it wasn’t easy choosing just one item.  There are several items on the menu that I would have enjoyed if it had been lunch time.  This was an early morning visit and the scent of the baked items required me to enjoy something sweet.  I finally decided on a cinnamon twist and enjoyed every bite.    I am rarely in the area and am not sure when I can visit again, but going out of my way on the next trip to western NC would be worth the time.  Linconlton is lucky to have this bakery and cafe in it’s beautiful downtown area.

Besides bakery items and catering, 36th Street also offers Murder Mystery Nights and Wine tastings.

Open Monday-Saturday from 7am until 9pm.

Weekly Entree Specials are W, Th, F, Sat from 5pm until 9pm.
E-mail us if you want to be included on the list (rick@36thstreetbakery.com)

web – www.36thstreetbakery.com

view a pdf file of their menu here

 

 

Good food, television, live music, games….oh my!!

I’ve recently found a new favorite restaurant.  I have many.   The Hickory Tavern located in Pinehurst N.C. has a great menu of items to choose from.    I usually have one, maybe two favorites at the locations where I like to dine, but after 3 trips to Hickory Tavern, I want to try new items.  The  Hickory Tavern has a great atmosphere and is large enough to handle the lunch and dinner rush.  Imagine a sport bars without the smoke, dozens of television screens,  game room for the kids, outdoor patio areas, special events including Karaoke and live music.  All of this with delicious food served!!!     This could be heaven!!

Below are a few of the items I have had the pleasure of eating:

  • Tavern Potato Chips – Homemade chips served with Mexi-Ranch dressing
  • Pepper Jack Chicken Sandwich – Grilled Chicken Breast, Pepper Jack Cheese, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Jalapenos, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions
  • 12 oz Rybeye!! YUM!!!!
  • Smothered Chicken Chicken breast topped with mushrooms & onions sautéed with white wine garlic butter, Jack cheese & two sides
  • Tavern Tower!  (Shown below)  The is not just a piece of cake.  It’s a ultra, large, mega serving built for 4-6 people.

From their website:

 

About The Hickory Tavern

The saying goes . . .

. . .that you can’t be all things to all people. Well, we’re not so sure that’s the case. Hickory Tavern is the perfect place for a business lunch – or – lunch with the girls. It’s perfect for dinner after the kids’ baseball game – or – date night with that special someone. If you’re looking to celebrate the day’s victories at Happy Hour then Hickory Tavern is right up your alley. And look no further than Hickory Tavern if you’re in the mood for an all-out party night. Did we mention game day? If you want to watch the game, any game, then you can’t beat Hickory Tavern.

9735 US 15-501 Hwy
Pinehurst, NC 28374

910-235-3850

www.thehickorytavern.com

Once again, I have been playing with my food.

During the month of  January 2011, we had some unusual weather that kept many in my neck of the woods at home.  Snow is not a common sight in the Sandhills area of North Carolina.  When the forecasts call for accumulation of the white stuff we crowd the grocery stores for milk and bread.  I have not researched why these two items are important and it becomes the topic of several jokes during the winter storm events.   If you have read my previous blogs you’ll not be surprised that milk and pancakes are the two items I prefer to have with or without snow outside.   During the most recent winter weather I decided that I needed to make some pancakes, but I wanted to have some fun making them.  I contemplated with the idea of making snowflakes.  After I got the hand of dribbling the batter on the griddle, I was able to produce some snowflake-like pancakes. Although they looked unusual, they must have been cooked correctly, because they were devoured immediately after I shot a few pics.  I also put together a snowman without any issues and remembered that I was hungry and quickly made some traditional round pancakes.   Inspired by the snow and enjoyed inside the warmth of my house.  Very much worth the effort!

I am including more photos than usual for this posting.  Consider it a special centerfold edition!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am thankful for the turkey on Thanksgiving day.

Rotisserie cooked turkey

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I look forward to turkey and football during a nice day off.  I also enjoy turkey sandwiches on the days following thanksgiving.

This thanksgiving season provided the opportunity for me to have lots and lots of turkey.   Of course, I had the conventional oven roasted prepared bird.  I also sampled a grilled and a rotisserie cooked turkeys this week.  Although all forms were very delicious without any complaints, the grilled turkey was my favorite.  The grilled turkey was slow cooked and injected during the cooking process.  The meat was very moist and has the best flavor that I have tasted in a turkey.

Besides not being dried out and having a delicious taste of smoke flavor, the biggest advantage of grilling a turkey is it frees up your oven for all those other side dishes so important for your Thanksgiving meal.

Grilled turkey

An advantage to rotisserie cooking is the juices remain in the bird and basting or injecting is not necessary.   Although rotisserie grilling is very similar to oven roasting, the process does not heat the interior of the turkey as quickly as oven roasting.   A longer cooking time is needed to make sure that turkey is cooked thoroughly.

Another popular method is deep frying.  This is a quicker and more dangerous way to prepare your turkey.  The required oil may cost as much as the turkey, but the flavor is excellent.  Deep-frying makes the turkey crispy on the outside and very juicy on the inside.

Not Dr. Pepper. Just pepper.

Bell peppers, hot peppers, jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, I’m a pepper, your a pepper….I sometimes get carried away.   I am not a fan of many veggies, but I do love a good selection of peppers.  The jalapeno is probably my favorite that I enjoy on burgers, salads, and subs.  In the past I have enjoyed throwing some peppers on the grill to brown them slightly.

The sweet varieties of peppers, especially the bells, traditionally have been by far the most popular in the United States.   Hot pepper varieties have also enjoyed a rebirth of popularity recently, mainly due to various ethnic cuisines that use their unique flavors and heat creatively. I like a small amount of “kick” that a hot pepper provides when added to a variety of dishes.

red peppers

red peppers

Shape
A= Pasilla: Pod length is 6-12″ long and 1-2″ wide. Fruit color is dark green, turning brown at maturity. Usually dried before use in moles and salsas.
B= Cayenne: Mature red fruit are 5-10″ long and wrinkled. Irregular in shape, highly pungent, often used as dried, ground powder. Also used fresh in salads, sauces and dishes.
C= Long Green: (Hatch – New Mexican – Anaheim) chili. Fruit are from 4 – 12″ long & 2″ wide, green to red at maturity, but also may be yellow, orange to brown. Many different varieties abound. Range from sweet to hot. Used green as fresh, canned or frozen. Mature are usually dried and ground into chili powder or paprika if sweet. Also used in salsas.
D= Wax: Yellow when immature, orange-red at maturity. Can be pungent or non-pungent. Vary from 2-8″ long and about 2″ wide. Used pickled or fresh in salads and relishes.
E=Jalapeno: Fruit are thick walled, conical shaped, dark green when immature turning red at maturity and most cultivars are highly pungent. Fruit may show cracking or corkiness, which is a desirable trait in Mexico. Length varies widely. Used canned, pickled, salsas or fresh. When dried by smoking they are called chipotle.
F= Ancho: (Poblano) The fruit are heart shaped, pointed, thin walled with an indented stem attachment. Immature fruit are dark green with mature fruit being either red or brown. Fruit are 3-4″ long and about 2″ wide and are mildly pungent. The pepper of choice to make chili rellenos.
G= Cherry. Like the name suggests, round or slightly flattened, green to red, hot or sweet. Similar use to wax pepper.
H= Chinense: (Habanero. Scotch Bonnet Bahamian- Jamaican) In this species, diversity is enormous. Popular in Jamaica, Yucatan and Brazil. Very, very hot and persistent, but aromatic. Fruit are 1-2.5″ long and 1-2″ wide. Green to variable mature colors of yellow, orange, red or white. Used dried as a spice, fresh or processed. Plant starts slower than most other pepper types.
I=Serrano: Fruit are 112″ wide and 2-3″ long. Medium walls and shaped similar to Jalepeno and is the pepper of choice in Salsa Verde and other southwestern relishes.
J= Red Chili: 1/2″ wide by 2.5″ long fruit are green when immature to red at maturity. Fruit have thin walls, taper to a point. and are used for drying, processing and sauce. Hot!
K=Thai Hot: Green fruit to red at maturity, very hot, tiny 3/8″ wide by 1″ long fruit. Popular in oriental markets.
O= Ornamentals: Peppers classified, as ornamentals do not carry a characteristic that makes them in edible. They are individuals from the many groups previously listed that happen to have leaves and fruit that are particularly attractive and give them ornamental value.

Quick tip to surviving the hot pepper – Counteract the hot taste of a chile pepper by consuming milk, bread, or rice to absorb the intensity of the capsaicin.

For more detailed information about peppers and cooking preparations visit www.recipetips.com

(Source – backyardgardener.com, recipetips.com)

Cooookiiiieeee!!!

One of our family traditions when visiting any mall is to find the cookie shop.  Great American Cookie Co, Mrs. Rich’s Bakery or  Mrs. Fields Cookies.   Most of these locations have a nice selection of cookies as well as cakes, ice-cream and drinks. Be prepared to stand in line at most of the cookie shops.  I do not mind waiting.  A line of customers is sometimes good sign that the food is worth the wait.

We like a variety of cookies from the basic sugar to the Double Doozie cookie sandwich.  The cookies are great snacks for the trip back home after a few hours of walking and shopping.

mall cookies

Double Doozie