The Finger-Lickin’ Ginormous Carolina ‘Q Post

September 6, 2008

carolinapig by you.

Over the summer months in 2008, I’ve spent a lot of time in the Carolinas, in particular, the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area (The Triangle) and also the Columbia, South Carolina area. Two cities which are as different as can be from a cultural and socio-economic perspective, but which do share something in common — Barbecue.

Even if you are trying to shed the pounds like I am, when you travel, maintaining discipline can be extremely difficult, especially when you are surrounded by co-workers who want to go out and have a good time. And when you’re in the South with a bunch of out-of-town males, particularly in the Carolinas, evening entertainment can usually be classified into two distinct areas — ones which involve Pork and ones which do not. I’m not going to get into the details of the ones which do not, because that could get me in trouble with the wife.

Here are all my Carolina Barbecue sins exposed, some of which I am proud of and would repeat again, and some of which I would not.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Read the rest of this entry »


Triangle Dining: Korean Food

May 17, 2008

On cold rainy days away from home, I want a taste of Jersey. For me, that means Korean food.

The Korean community in the Triangle is relatively small, but it is growing steadily, and a  few restaurants have popped up to support the local taste for home style Korean dishes. During my stay in the Raleigh-Durham area I found two that I enjoyed.

Chosun Ok Korean B.B.Q
2105 E Highway 54, Durham NC
(919) 806-1213

Chosun Ok Restaurant

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Read the rest of this entry »


Triangle Dining: Poole’s Downtown Diner

May 16, 2008

Poole’s Downtown Diner
426 S. McDowell Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
919.832.4477

Web Site: http://www.poolesdowntowndiner.com

The Triangle area has such a bounty of wonderful local produce and ingredients. One such place that is focusing on the organic and sustainable is Poole’s, a small funky eatery-cum-wine bar-cum-bistro with a diner theme located near the Convention Center construction zone on the site of a former pie shop. Here the talented Ashley Christensen (formerly of Enoteca Vin) is serving fresh and delicious simple  dishes using the best stuff she can source.

This downtown storefront in Raleigh in the midst of the construction zone is serving some of the best casual local cuisine in the city. Watch yourself while crossing the street, it’s practically a NASCAR track.

Poole’s is no ordinary diner. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Read the rest of this entry »


Podcast #47: Jeremy Clayman and Eric Foster (The Mint)

May 9, 2008

The Mint Restaurant
219 Fayetteville Street Mall (1 Exchange Plaza) Raleigh, NC
(919)821.0011

Web Site: http://www.themintrestaurant.com

Click Here to Listen to The Mint Podcast

Related Post: The Mint is Loaded (VarmintBites)

Related Post: Greg Cox Just Doesn’t Get It (VarmintBites)

Sous Chef/Pastry Chef Eric Foster (left) and Chef de Cuisine Jeremy Clayman

Click on the above photo for a hi-res slide show.

My meal this week at The Mint will go down as one of the most memorable I have ever had in the South, including my many wonderful meals in New Orleans. The Mint is as good as any of the fine restaurants we have in New York City which specialize in local sustainable cuisine — that I compare it to Gramercy Tavern or Blue Hill is not without serious consideration for the level of art and technique that is being practiced at this restaurant, which Raleigh should consider itself extremely lucky to have.


Remembering China 46: “House Special” Spicy Capsicum Saute

May 4, 2008

When a favorite restaurant dies, you undergo a bereavement process as a former patron. You try to replace it with another one, usually failing to do so. Then occasionally, you come across a dish at another place that tastes familiar, but doesn’t -quite- get there. You see glimmerings of the original, enough to make you do a double take, but then you come to your senses and again realize you are someplace else. Its like walking down the street and seeing someone who resembles another person who has been dead for years, or playing with another person’s pet that looks remarkably similar to one of yours which passed away. You tear up a bit, think about the good times, and then move on.

Such as it is with my favorite Chinese restaurant, China 46, which closed down in September of 2007. I haven’t taken this loss particularly well, as there were a lot of dishes that were prepared there that I cannot get at any other Shanghai/Sichuan restaurant I’ve been to, and this includes the very good local newcomers such as Chengdu 1 and Petite Soochow, which I recommend heartily. I thought I had moved on until I had this dish recently at China Palace restaurant, a small authentic Chinese place in Durham, North Carolina:

Spicy Capsicum Pepper Saute with Pressed Tofu, from China Palace restaurant in Durham, NC.

This dish closely resembles another dish at China 46 restaurant, which was called “House Special Saute” and consisted of ground pork with finely chopped Chinese green peppers and pressed tofu, in a spicy Sichuan hot bean sauce. The China Palace version here is excellent, using julienne pressed tofu and shredded pork, but it is not the same — the China 46 one was drier and less saucy and a much finer dice.

Once I had this dish, I was committed to faithfully replicating the China 46 version, at least as close as to it I could recall. I don’t have original photos of the dish I am trying to replicate, so I am just going from memory here.

Spicy Sichuan Capsicum Saute, fondly remembered and re-created from the late China 46 restaurant in Ridgefield Park, NJ.

Re-Create this fantastic Sichuan dish in your own home. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Read the rest of this entry »


Podcast #45: Whole Hog at The Pit with Ed Mitchell

April 30, 2008

The Pit Authentic Barbecue
328 W. Davie Street, Raleigh NC
(919) 890-4500

Web Site: http://thepit-raleigh.com

Click Here to Listen to the Ed Mitchell Whole Hog Podcast

Click Here to see a short video clip of the Whole Hog BBQ Smoking Process

Related Post: VarmintBites — The Pit Is Great, and They’re Open for Lunch!

Related Multimedia: Ed Mitchell A/V Presentation at Raleigh News and Observer

Click Here for a Hi-Res Slide Show of The Pit Restaurant in Raleigh, NC