Posts Tagged 'state'

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

 

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/

Mexican Hardees.

La Cabana, also know as Mexican Hardees, is my favorite Mexican restaurant to visit.   It’s called Mexican Hardees because it is in a former Hardees fast food location.  The current owners painted the building bright green and orange and you notice is as you approach from either direction of business highway #74 in Rockingham N.C.

The popular restaurant serves a wonderful chicken fajita quesadilla.  I prefer the chunks of chicken over shredded that some restaurants serve.  The chips and hot saulsa with queso cheese dip is also good.

La Cabana Mexican Restaurant was listed in Our State magazine in July 2010.

 

La Cabana Mexican Restaurant
220 West Broad Avenue, Rockingham, N.C. 28379
phone: (910) 410-9775

Godfather’s Returns!

During the early 1980′s my hometown had a delicious pizza joint called Godfather’s.   It was the place to be after high school football games.  I remember playing the table top Pac Man video game while waiting for our pizza to be prepared.   I do not remember when Godfather’s closed and there were enough pizza restaurants in town to satisfy.  However, as time passed we began to miss Godfather’s.  The thick crust, greasy pizza with more cheese than most places allow was nothing but a memory.  On occasion I was able to get a Godfather’s pizza out of town at a ball game or at the beach.  These places were not quiet the same.  Their style was more fast food, pre built pizzas that were basically heated up or nuked to get us moving out of the door with minimal waiting.  This convenience is something I am willing to sacrifice to have a slow baked pie with two times the ingredients.

Godfathers pizza

Recently a new Godfather’s franchise was offered in Rockingham.  The word spread quickly and opening week was crazy.  Talk of long waits and a pricier menu floated around.  These were really not complaints.  The quality of pizza is worth the wait and price.  The pile of toppings is just the way I remembered and a smaller amount of grease that the original was present.   Godfather’s has returned and instantly has become a popular place to meet for great pizza. FYI- The sweet tea is SWEET tea.  just the way I like it.

 

From the Godfather’s website: Who would have ever imagined that a little pizza shop that opened in Omaha, Neb. more than 30 years ago would become the legendary pizza chain that it is today. The secret to our success is a rare combination of a commitment to excellence, an obsession with great-tasting pizza, dedicated people, and a desire to have a little fun.

Our mission: To profitably provide consistently good food and great service. Abiding by this simple mission statement for more than three decades has earned us a reputation that we intend to keep for several more. This commitment to excellence has helped Godfather’s Pizza grow and expand to more than 600 restaurants in more than 40 states.

Our product: Not just an ordinary pizza

A Godfather’s Pizza isn’t like any other pizza you’ve ever had before. We make pizza the way it was meant to be – with an incredible crust, delicious veggies, hearty meats, and a ton of 100% real cheese.

The best part is, at Godfather’s Pizza you’re the boss. First, you choose from our thick, rich, original crust, our buttery, pan-style golden crust, or our light and crispy thin crust. Then you tell us what veggies and meats to pile on, and we’ll take it from there and smother the whole thing with 100% real cheese for a pizza that’s absolutely irresistible.

 

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

Breakfast or sleep? It’s not easy for me to be health conscious.

Breakfast is the first meal of the day, usually consumed in the morning.  The word is a compound of “break” and “fast”, referring to the conclusion of fasting since the previous day’s last meal.  Breakfast meals vary widely in different cultures around the world, but often include a carbohydrate such as cereal or rice, fruit and/or vegetable, protein, sometimes dairy, and beverage.  Breakfast buffets and new fast food breakfast items are very popular in the U.S.

I am not a morning person and breakfast is probably the most skipped meal of the day for me.  When I get the opportunity to have a good breakfast I usually do not pass. I have expressed my love for pancakes in a previous blog, but I also enjoy many other breakfast items.  Until my mid 30′s I would have a large bowl of some of the sweetest cereals that i could find.  Crunch Berries was on the top of the list.  One day, I decided that I preferred the extra sleep over the morning bowl of sugar filled cereal.  I actually lost weight and saved money on groceries. Upon further research of this topic, I have found that skipping the first meal may not be the healthiest thing to do.

Breakfast from Burgess B&B

Studies show that children who eat breakfast do better in school.  It doesn’t take much further thought to realize adults will feel better and perform better at work as well.  Whether you work at home, on the farm, at the office, at school, or on the road, it is not a good idea to skip breakfast.  Eating a good breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Most people give a variety of reasons for not eating breakfast. A common reason is that they are not hungry in the morning, which is a result of eating a full meal late in the evening or late snacking. When they go to bed, the body is still busy digesting all that food. Digestion then goes into a slower gear during the hours of sleep and there is still food in the stomach in the morning. The stomach needs a rest too. A tired stomach does not feel like digesting a big breakfast. When you get up in the morning, your glucose or blood sugar level is at its lowest point in the day. Glucose is the basic fuel for the brain and central nervous system. A good breakfast will keep you from being tired and irritable by mid-morning.

Maybe I can, one day, take this advice and wake up an extra 30 minutes to participate in the most important meal of the day.  Until then, I feel pretty good knowing that I had that extra time in bed.

Source – Wikipedia, About.com, beyondthebend.com

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.

I trust the locals more than I do online reviews.

When I travel I like to search the internet for local eating establishments.  If I get the chance, I also like to get recommendations form the locals.    During a trip to Fort Wayne Indiana some locals suggested Don Halls Old Gas House for dinner.   Not being familiar with the area, I searched the Old Gas House on the internet and found several negative reviews.  I was hesitant to take the advise of the locals, but I have never been steered wrong in the past.  This place has been in business for more than 50 years and they must be doing something right to remain in business that long.   Don’s Old Gas House building houses two restaurants.  Don Hall’s Takaoka of Japan is located on the second floor and Don Halls Old Gas House is on the first.  The Japanese food is very noticeable when you walk into the building.  I didn’t venture upstairs but I could tell that a large amount of fish was being served up there.  Once seated the fish aroma left me and I was able to enjoy the music from the jazz guitarist playing in the far corner.   Service was one of the complaints that I read about online and I was prepared to run out of tea and possibly wait awhile before placing an order.  This wasn’t a big concern since I didn’t have any plans after dinner and wasn’t in a hurry.  To my surprise, two waitresses kept my tea glass filled and the food was ordered and delivered promptly.  I wondered if I had read reviews for the wrong restaurant.  This place was great!!!  Live music, fast service and a good selection on the menu, but how good is the food?  Bland was a word to describe the food on a few online reviews.  So far the reviews were incorrect, but I was still thinking about what I had read earlier.  Instead of ordering a steak as planned, I chose the Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken and a Caesar salad.  The salad arrived with less dressing than I prefer, but it was a good salad.  So far so good.  Not bland.  Next, arrives the Fettuccine with beautiful pieces of chicken on top. They know how to make a presentation on the plate, but will it have the taste to match?  The answer is “Oh yes!”  To date, Don Halls Old Gas House has the best alfredo sauce that I have ever eaten. Nothing bland at all about this meal.  I hope to eat there again in the future.  Unfortunately for me, it takes approximately 7 hours or more depending on weather to fly to Fort Wayne, so I will not get to visit there often.

Don Hall's Old Gas House Restaurant

Don Hall's Old Gas House Restaurant

Don Hall’s Old Gas House Restaurant   (260) 426-3411
Conveniently located in the heart of historic Fort Wayne, the Gas House is the place for downtown business people and office workers at lunch hour. The Gas House’s casual atmosphere and friendly service also makes it the perfect destination for a leisurely afternoon lunch with friends.

Since 1957, The Gas House has been serving Fort Wayne exceptional food and drinks in a friendly, casual atmosphere, and from steaks and lobster to sandwiches and salads, the Gas House has an option for any taste or appetite. Enjoy your visit in our family dinning areas or come down and relax in the warm, neighborhood atmosphere of the famous Gas House Saloon. Just blocks from uptown attractions, a visit to the Gas House makes a complete evening with a concert or performance at any of Fort Wayne’s uptown theaters.

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)

Garnish: Jewelery for food.

A Garnish is an item or substance used as a decoration or embellishment on a prepared food dish or drink. In some cases, it may give added or contrasting flavor, but a typical garnish is selected first to augment the visual impact of the plate, not necessarily to affect the flavor. This is in contrast to a condiment which is primarily a flavor added to another food item.

Do I want to be dazzled or excited by garnish?  Not really.  Although the garnish makes a dish look “pretty”, I’d prefer to have more of the item that I am going to eat.  Give me some more rice or extra sauce and I am happy.   I will agree that garnishing is, indeed, an art form.  Some of the additions that i have seen before appear to have taken longer to produce than it did to prepare the meal underneath.

garnish

garnish

Check out the TLC Cooking website, if you are interested in more details about garnishing.  There are a lot of cool ideas there.