Posts Tagged '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/

Warming up at the Hickory Tavern.

After standing outside in cold temps with constant wind watching a soccer game, I needed to have a good sit down meal.  I had several options nearby, but chose to drive a few miles out of the way to visit the nearest Hickory Tavern.  I have a few favorites there and the homemade Tavern Potato Chips are high on the list.  These delicious slices are served with mexi-ranch dressing.  I nearly filled up on the chip and sweet tea.

Fortunately I was still hungry enough to enjoy  a burger.  Another favorite is the Pepper Jack Burger.The Pepper Jack Burger is loaded with,  pepper jack cheese, applewood smoked bacon, jalapenos, lettuce, tomatoes & onions with a side of fries just in case I need more to eat.

Although I was full and finally warm, I still had to order some dessert to go.  The waitress looked surprised when I ordered four Tavern Towers to go.  We had plenty of cake to eat during the following few days.

 

 

 

 

9735 US 15-501 Hwy
Pinehurst, NC 28374

910-235-3850

www.thehickorytavern.com

Hamilton’s B B Q & Fried Chicken in Biscoe, N.C.

Hamilton’s B B Q & Fried Chicken is a small diner located about a mile west of the Walmart shopping center in Biscoe, N.C.   If you’ve found a section of the highway divided by a median, you’ve pasted the small building with aged wooded sides and gravel parking lot.  This a basic diner in an average small town.  The sound from the  small flat screen TV hanging on the wall blends in with the sounds coming from the open kitchen behind the counter.  Nothing fancy there, but the service is good.   The tables are clean and the food is prepared beyond expectations.

I have visited Hamilton’s B B Q & Fried Chicken several times, but have never tried their B B Q & Fried Chicken.   I’ve never had anything but their extra large single pancake and I am always pleased with the results.   The large fluffy pancakes are made from homemade batter and tastes great!  I have never been able to finish a whole pancake ,but enjoy trying.

 

Hamilton’s B B Q And Fried Chicken

(910) 428-9730

1945 Nc Highway 24-27 E

Biscoe, NC 27209

Championship Burger at Pinkys.

I have driven by Pinky’s Westside Grill many times and have thought about stopping in and finally did this week.

Pinky’s opened in November of 2010 in the former home of Triple G Automotive.  The signature red white and blue VW on the roof makes the building stand out at the busy Charlotte intersection. The interior has several original artwork piece for sale and a couple of coin operated games if you have to wait for a table.  There was not a wait time today, but I did return to the KISS pinball machine for a game after lunch.

I had checked out the menu online and today was in the mood for a good burger.  Pinkys offers several burger options with plenty of condiments to choose.  I built a five-ounce beef burger with pepper-jack cheese, chilli and slaw.  The burger had more than enough of the toppings went it arrived.  I had to use a fork to eat most of it, but this wasnt a problem to me.  The burger was very good and I also enjoyed the extra chili that found its way out of the bun.   I ordered a side of waffle fries that were also very delicious.

If you have read previous posts you know that I am a fan of sweet tea.  Pinkys scores a A+ on their tea.  I could have drank a whole pitcher.

View MENU

Pinky’s location is easy to get to from I-77, I-85, I-277, and just about anywhere in Charlotte, NC. At the intersection of Morehead St. and Freedom Dr., Pinky’s is near every major interstate, making it not only a favorite for Charlotte, but an easy yummy trip for the entire metropolitan area. The decor is fun and light, while maintaining a good degree of suave dignity. There is parking in front of, behind, and across the street from the restaurant. Take a look at the maps, it’s closer than you think.

Pinky’s Westside Grill
1600 W Morehead St
Charlotte, NC 28208

(704) 332-0402

AJ’s Tavern at Raleigh/Durham Airport

Prior to flying to nashville in July we had extra waiting time and my stomach was yelling “lunch!”   I took a quick glance or two at Cinnabon before deciding that AJ’s tavern would provide a better selection for lunch prior to the short flight ahead.   AJ’s is located at Terminal 1, Near Gate A25 close to the Southwest Airlines gates.   his was very convenient and didnt require a long walk with a full stomach.

After reading the menu twice (the waitress was working a large share of tables) I decided to try the Philly Cheesesteak with hope that there was going to be plenty of cheese.  One issue I have at some restaurants serving Philly Cheesesteaks is that they do not load it with cheese.  When the order arrived I immediately check out the amount of cheese melting on the sandwich.   There could have been more, but after eating the meal, I was satisfied.   The confirmation of eating enough lunch was walking past cinnabon again and deciding not to grab a dessert prior to boarding.

AJ’s Tavern
Location: Terminal 1, Near Gate A25
Hours: 5 a.m. – Last Flight

View Menu (1.3 MB PDF).

Hey Ya’ll. I ate a boat load of food from Paula Deen’s Kitchen.

Several years ago during a trip to Savannah, we decided not to stand in line for a chance to eat at Paula Deen’s  “The Lady & Sons” restaurant.   At the time this didn’t seem lie a good idea and we went elsewhere.     I recently had the opportunity to visit “Paula Deen’s Kitchen” and did not pass this time.

“Paula Deen’s Buffet” is located within the Harrah’s Cherokee location that has built an impressive complex in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.   Upon entering the building we found ourselves at the Casino entrance.  I expected to be rushed by security since I had a camera around my neck and two minors tagging along.  Instead, I had to approach  a little lady with a badge to ask for directions.  In true southern style she proceeded to give me very detailed directions and also told me that since it was after 4:00 we would probably need a reservation to get a seat.  Well, this is not what I wanted to hear since I had my mind set on trying out the restaurant.  We turned around and began the journey from the casino to the restaurant.  The directions carried us up to the second floor where we could see the casino area below.  Lots of flashing, lights noise and senior citizens occupied nearly every seat.  I almost forgot about eating.  The attraction below us was very fascinating.   However, I had a mission and soon remembered that I needed to continue my hike through the large building.  We found our way to the front desk and was immediately asked, “Do ya’ll have  a reservation”?  After I said, “No, but I’m looking for a table for four”, the hostess marked a square on her note pad and instructed us to follow the young man with the menus.  I was a bit surprised, but happily stepped forward with a smile.  There were plenty of tables available.  I suppose that it was either because everyone was in the casino or we beat the rush.  Regardless, I was happy to be seated beside the buffet to keep the walking time between plates to a minimum.

As shown in the pic above, the buffet had the usual southern style selection.  I focused on the green items located to the opposite end of the plate to show that I had chosen some collards.  I am not a big veggie fan, but could not resist.  They looked delicious and they were.   I also added mashed potatoes and gravy, mac and cheese and delicious cheesy meatloaf.   This was just the beginning.    We were seated close to the gentleman working the prime rib area and every cut looked to good to resist.  I tried a rare and well done cut.  Both were very good, but I preferred the taste of the rare.  This is also unusually for me since I do not like bloody meat on my plate.  I would eat it again and again because the flavor was wonderful.

The buffet had a good selection and the menu wasn’t lacking either.  I could visit this place at least a dozen times and try something different during each trip.

“Harrah’s Cherokee welcomes Paula Deen’s Kitchen, the first restaurant to be unveiled as part of a more than $630 million expansion.

The “Queen of Southern Cuisine” will launch a full-service, 404-seat restaurant featuring an á la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner, and will be reminiscent of the décor and ambiance of Paula Deen’s home and kitchen in Savannah.

At the entrance to the restaurant shop in the unique 1,800-square-foot Paula Deen retail shop that offers her popular cookbooks, spices and food items, cookware, logo wear and gifts.

Enjoy Paula Deen’s special style of cooking and Southern hospitality, a perfect fit with our guests here in the Great Smoky Mountains!”

Reservations: 1-877-811-0777
Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 7am-10pm
Friday – Saturday: 7am-11pm

We excavated some fabulous items from The Quarry.

I did some online research before heading toward Brevard, N.C. during a recent family trip and noticed The Quarry Restaurant & Piano Bar on several websites.  Food wasn’t on the top of my list during  the brief visit to the busy mountain town, but we just happened to be hungry for a good lunch when we arrived.   I had forgotten about the restaurant until I saw the sign while we were driving around deciding where to eat.  The available parking across the street made it a no brainer for us to choose The Quarry.

As I walked into the dining area I suddenly mellowed and felt very relaxed.  The atmosphere was very nice and inviting.  This was a great location to settle for a while after a long drive.

The decor and murals by a local artist kept my eyes occupied as we  made our way to a table.   Fortunately there was the same amount of thought put into the menu and food preparation as with the restaurant.

Grilled Chicken Quesadilla

 

The lunch menu offered an attractive selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps and a few additional items.  Being a big fan of just about anything with chicken I chose to try the Grilled Chicken Quesadilla.  The flavor was satisfying and the quantity was just enough.  I really enjoyed the cheese blend and salsa with the chicken.  All of the dishes were very well prepared and were enjoyed by all.

 

From their website:

“With enough swank to make Miles feel at home, The Quarry brings casual fine dining and elegance to Brevard. With a menu comprised of American cuisine, with a flare, from the kitchen of Executive Chef Craig Gosnell, the stage is set for you to enjoy the sound of local musicians massaging the keys of the baby grand piano. The wine list and after dinner drink menu speak for themselves, so for those of you who enjoy sipping on the rich flavor of a cognac, accompanied by the smooth sounds of live music, sit back and relax because The Quarry is the place to be.”

14 S. Gaston Street. Brevard, NC 28712
Reservations: Are recommended, not required

In Season April thru October

Lunch

Monday, Wednesday thru Saturday 11:00-4:00

Dinner

Sunday thru Thursday 4:00-9:00

Friday & Saturday 4:00-10:00

Tapas & Bar Menu (at Bar Only)

5:00-6:30 &9:00-10:00

Piano Music

Daily starting @ 6pm

Off Season: October thru April

Lunch

Closed

Dinner

Monday thru Thursday 5:00-9:00

Friday & Saturday 5:00-10:00

Tapas & Bar Menu

5:00-9:00

Piano Music

Thursday thru Saturday starting @ 6pm

www.thequarryrestaurant.com

 

 

 

A Kool Kake!

I am a big fan of Bambi Provenzano’s art work and business called Kool Kakes.   I’ve seen photos of cakes in the form of guitars, beer coolers, disney characters and farm animals.  I would feel confident in saying that there is not a theme that Bambi cannot produce in cake form.  I recently ordered a cupcake cake for my wife’s birthday and was surprised at the size of the final product.  It weighed atleast 15 lbs and one could probably gain 30lb if they were able to eat all of it.  The most difficult part of the order was deciding on the flavors.  A partial list provided include the following:

Vanilla
Chocolate
Funfetti
Strawberry
Red velvet
Vanilla rainbow
Carrot
Brownie
Peanut butter cheesecake brownie
Raspberry filled brownie
Jalapeno
Chocolate coffee stout
Campfire kakes (s’mores)
Vanilla peppermint
Chocolate mint
Red hot red velvet
Bailey’s and cream
Mountain Dew
Chocolate covered strawberry
Root beer float
Key lime
Italian butter cookie
Banana walnut
Butterscotch schnapps
Strawberry shortcake
Pina colada
Coffee
Butter pecan
Lemon

 

 

 

Bambi also make other goodies.  A favorite of mine is the Lollicake that is a brownie on a stick with various decorations on top.  This is a great treat!

From the website:

Hours
Mon – Sun: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
About
Kool Kakes is a home based business that I started over four years ago. I love making kids 3-D cakes, but also enjoy making wedding cakes! My fondant is handmade, fresh for every cake. Each cake is made to order, every detail is up to you!
Email
koolkakes@gmail.com
Phone
910-461-243