Monthly Archives: July 2011

REVIEW: Josephine’s Bistro – Greensboro

Photo Credit: Josephine's Bistro Facebook Page

Josephine’s Bistro, located on Spring Garden Street, has been open in Greensboro for a little over a year now. It is the sister restaurant of Lindley Park Filling Station and both are run by Chef Chris Blackburn and Sarah Keith. The restaurant has a very relaxed atmosphere with local beers and fine wines as well as some cool patio seating. I had been once before and was excited to try their food again. My brother and his wife took me out for my birthday dinner there and we had a fantastic time.

The complimentary bread at Josephine’s is great. They serve it in a little aluminum pail with an olive oil mixture for dipping. The olive oil mixture wasn’t just olive oil and Italian seasoning or cracked pepper blended in like a lot of restaurants tend to serve. Instead, it was a zesty, tomato based olive oil mixture with various spices and a lot of taste.  The bread is freshly baked and soft with a slightly crunchy exterior. We munched through the first basket pretty quickly and our waitress was nice enough to bring another one to our table. That basket got dominated almost as quickly as the first one.

We started out the night with an order of fried green tomatoes ($9) which came with a local peach puree, country ham, Parmesan pimiento cheese and tarragon as well as some sprouts on top. They were fantastic and perfect for our party of three because we each got one. I am a sucker for fried green tomatoes but these are some of the best that I’ve had in a while and the peach puree added a very subtle sweet profile to the richness of the pimiento cheese. The saltiness of the country ham also played a part but didn’t stand out as much to my palate as the peach did.

AK ordered the bistro flatiron steak ($21.80) with homemade green tomato cabbage spice chow chow and a cracked pepper thyme demi glace. The dish came with a side of herb Parmesan potato au gratin but she decided to substitute that for truffle-dusted pomme frites because her favorite word is Pom because of her dog, Lily, who is a Pomapoo (Pomeranian Poodle mix). I had a bite of the steak with the chow chow and it was awesome. Chow chow, not the dog breed, is a Southern relish that consists of a variety of pickled vegetables with mustard. It added a lot of flavor to the steak while not overwhelming it. Here is a recipe if you are interested in making chow chow at home.

My brother, Will, ordered the sauteed flounder ($25) which was served over a bean scallion ponzu cake and covered in a spiced yuzu pineapple basil sauce with sesame, tomato and broccoli. I tried a bite of all of it and I enjoyed it. It had a mixture of flavors varying from the earth taste of the black beans, the sweetness of the pineapple and the funkiness of the scallion. It was an interesting combination that worked well with flounder and I think would do the same with most fish.

Let’s get to my favorite part of the meal: my dish. I ordered the Herbed Pork Milanese ($23.90) which is served with smoked housemade mozzarella, anasazi beans, heirloom tomatoes, sage yuzu brown butter and a corn mixed green salad then it is drizzled with a little balsamic. It is basically a fancified fried pork chop but that doesn’t even begin to describe it. This was one of the best pork dishes that I have ever had and cleaned the plate except for the bone where there was no trace of any meat left on it. This is probably the best dish that I have had so far in 2011 and can’t wait to go back so I can order it again. I just hope it will be on the menu.

We ordered the carrot cake (my choice because it was my birthday) which was absolutely delicious and came with a side of ice cream and was covered in walnuts. It had a bit of an orange spice to it but I hate that I can’t be too descriptive on the dessert because I forgot (read as: too full to) write down any of the dessert descriptions. I thought it was fantastic and would order it again. I love carrot cake.

We also ordered the flourless chocolate chipotle cake. It had a great taste but was pretty damn spicy. The whipped cream was a nice compliment because it helped cut a little bit of the spice from the cake. The white chocolate and raspberry sauces were a delicious addition to the plate giving it nice flavor as well as a psychedelic Grateful Dead-like presentation on the plate.

Josephine’s is open from 5pm to 9pm on Monday and 5pm to 10pm on Tuesday through Saturday. It is closed on Sunday. They offer an early bird special from Monday through Thursday where you can dine for $11 before 6pm and choose between three entries. Click here to check out the rest of their weekly specials ranging from half-priced appetizers to martini Tuesdays.

Josephine’s Bistro is some of the best food that I have found in Greensboro. I definitely recommend it to as you as a nice place to take a date or just a place to go sit down and hang out with some friends. The staff is very friendly and the ambiance is relaxed. I don’t think you will be disappointed and you will more than likely find one of your favorite restaurants in North Carolina here.

Josephine's on Urbanspoon

 

UPDATE: Grateful Bread Baking Co. – High Point

UPDATE: 7/26/11 – I have some sad news for North Carolina foodies. The Grateful Bread Baking Company in High Point closed its doors on July 7th, 2011 for what seems like the last time. Its assets were seized by the North Carolina Department of Revenue for failure to pay sales and withholding taxes for over $40,000. It was a sad day for me because Grateful Bread has been one of my family’s favorite places to meet for lunch for the past couple of years. Their food was great and everyone who worked there was great. I hate to see such a great restaurant fail.

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When you step through the door of the Grateful Bread Baking Co. in High Point, you would expect to walk into a place that is plastered with tour posters from the Jerry Garcia-era. However, there isn’t anything even remotely related to the band with the exception of the chill vibe that the restaurant gives off and the idea of . There are paintings and photographs from local artists on the wall in the dining room and the entrance is very homey with vines & potted plants on the exterior. It has a very natural feel to it that makes it a relaxing place to have lunch and hang out with friends.

Known by locals as “The Bread”, it is definitely one of the hot spots for local business lunches as well as just meeting friends for a quick lunch. There are about 12-15 tables varied in size in the main dining room as well as some outdoor two-tops for when the weather is good. The parking lot can get chaotic at times especially when the restaurant is busy. You should try to get there early in the day because they only serve a limited amount of food each day and periodically run out of their daily specials or deli salads.

HOW TO: Make Bacon Wrapped Eggs

We haven’t done many posts involving recipes or cooking at home lately but ran across this video from a friend on Twitter and thought we would share because it looks so damn good. Let us know if you make it and how it turns out!

h/t Mike Adams on Twitter

Review – Beyu Caffé in Durham

 

Beyu Caffee

Beyu Caffeé


The instant you walk into Beyu Caffé in downtown Durham you feel comfortable and welcome. You immediately get the idea that this is a coffee house that also offers great food. Guests choose their own table and the sound of jazz blends into the background. Contemporary artwork adorns the walls. The kitchen pass-through is large enough that you can catch a glimpse or two of the staff in the kitchen.  There is a counter in the front of the restaurant where people can have a cup of coffee or eat while surfing the web or reading the paper. A couple of comfy couches  are also located in the middle of the restaurant, certainly invoking the feel of a coffee house. If I had the time, I’d stay here for hours.

Beyu Caffee interior

I have only been to Beyu Caffeé for lunch and I imagine that the look and feel of the place changes throughout the day. This place is open morning, noon and night. Of course, the center of the business is the great array of coffee, lattes, and other brewed beverages. Many people come here just for the coffee. I have tried the coffee in the past and it was superb, but coffee during the summer just doesn’t appeal in the middle of the day when the heat index is 110.

Salmon Po Boy

Salmon Po' Boy

To me, though, the restaurant is the star of this place. I took a couple of work friends to Beyu Caffé to celebrate my friend’s birthday. It was a good choice! Two of us ordered the fish of the day Po’ Boy. This particular day, the fish was salmon. The salmon was a nice, thick piece, perfectly cooked so that the middle was just a little on the rare side, making the fish very moist and tender.  It was topped with a spicy brown mustard, lettuce and tomato served on a Kaiser roll.  You have the choice of a side salad, a cup of soup or french fries. I decided to have the house salad, which consisted of baby spinach and mixed salad greens, with cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, diced red onion, strips of red and green bell peppers, and walnuts, topped with a sweet vinaigrette sauce. As a woman who is on a never ending diet, I appreciate having the choice of lighter sides to accompany my sandwich.

turkey panini

Turkey Panini

Our other  friend had a turkey Panini with french fries.  The turkey was roasted and thinly sliced and served with goat cheese and pear chutney on whole wheat bread that was grilled in a Panini press.  The fries were a nice golden brown, but not over done.  My friend remarked that it was tremendous. I may have to try this next time I go to the Caffé.

dessert case

Dessert case at Beyu

Since we were celebrating a birthday, this meal would not be complete without trying one of the very tempting desserts that are showcased in a display case as you first enter the building. We chose the sweet potato Frangelica cheese cake served with a drizzling of caramel. The cheese cake was luscious and decadent. It tasted almost like a sweet pumpkin pie. The hints of hazel nut were very subtle. It was topped with a little bit of whipped cream.  The desserts come from some of the local bakeries, including the famous 9th Street Bakery. I always feel like a kid in a candy store when I look at the display of desserts and obsess over what I’m going to get through the whole meal!

cheesecake

Sweet potato and Frangelica cheesecake

The calamari is also an excellent choice if you are looking to start out with an appetizer. I have had this on a previous visit and the calamari were cooked to perfection. The batter was not too thick and was nice and crispy.

I certainly want to come back some time in the evening. I have heard they have live jazz on Thursday nights. They also have an extensive selection of cocktails that look quite enticing.

Beyu Caffé is located at 335 West Main Street in downtown Durham and is open Monday – Wednesday from 7am to 9pm, Thursday 7am to 11pm, Friday 7am – 12:30am and Sunday from 10am to 3pm for brunch and from 5pm to midnight for dinner.

Beyu Caffe on Urbanspoon

 

Wanderlust: Fullsteam Brewery’s Cherry Imperial Stout – Durham

Fullsteam Brewery is Durham is one of the hippest breweries in North Carolina right now. They are brewing great craft beer and it has been a consistent spot to find the greatest food trucks in the Triangle. The brewery has won multiple national awards for its beer and they continue to be innovators in the craft beer industry while being advocates for the North Carolina craft beer movement. Did I mention that everyone that works there are incredibly nice and welcoming? It is just a great place to hang out with friends and drink good craft beer.

The creativity of the brewers at Fullsteam is one thing that I think sets it apart from other breweries across the state and the country. I was lucky enough to get to taste a one-off adjunct ale that they made a few months ago called G’narlins brewed with red beans & rice while I had lunch at Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria in Asheville. Additionally, I picked up their first bottled release, First Frost, which only had a run of 800 bottles. It was a winter warmer style winter ale brewed with hand picked persimmons from Chatham County, NC. If you can still get your hands on a bottle of this, it is well worth a high price tag. Fullsteam is even working on a way to use kudzu, a non-native, fast-growing, invasive vine that chokes out other native vegetation, which could help contain the outbreak in the southeast United States.

On July 11th, they debuted another one-off brew called Wanderlust which is a cherry imperial stout. It was a special occasion limited release because Fullsteam was selected to represent North Carolina on National Rainier Cherry Day (July 11th) for the Northwest Cherries’ Tree to Table campaign. Fullsteam was one of fifty places across the nation (49 restaurants & one brewery) which “geeked out” the brewers at Fullsteam. Each participating restaurant/brewery was sent 40 pounds of freshly picked Rainier cherries to make whatever they wanted to with them.

The timing of the selection to participate in the Northwest Cherries’ Tree To Table campaign worked out well for Fullsteam because they were in the process of brewing an imperial stout that they were about to barrel age. They set aside four kegs of the imperial stout and then blended the imperial stout with crushed Rainier cherry juice.

Traditionally, Fullsteam focuses on using Southern ingredients for their beer but they just couldn’t pass up this great opportunity to be a part of this selective campaign from Northwest Cherries. That brings us to Wanderlust which “takes us to faraway, amazing lands” like the Pacific Northwest. Wanderlust is an 8.5% ABV Cherry Imperial Stout that they served at Fullsteam starting on July 11th with a keg each day until they ran out which I have the feeling was pretty quick with the great reception that it got from Fullsteam-ers. I know that I didn’t stop with just one glass of Wanderlust.

The first 50 people that attended the debut of Wanderlust on July 11th also received Cherry Bounce hand pies which was created by Fullsteam’s “Chief Executive Optimist” Sean Wilson and local baker Ali Rudel who worked at Four & Twenty Blackbirds, the place in Brooklyn to go for the best pies. The Cherry Bounce hand pies were also made with freshly picked Rainier Cherries and a hint of bourbon. As you know from previous possts, I am not much of a dessert guy but I thought these little guys were fantastic plus the “PIE ME!” ticket was awesome, too! The pie paired very well with the Wanderlust.

I thought that Wanderlust rivaled the very sought-after Sexual Chocolate that is brewed over at Foothills Brewery in Winston-Salem. I hate that I probably won’t be able to get my hands on Wanderlust again but I have the feeling that Fullsteam will brew some equally tasty beer to please craft beer lovers like myself. I am just glad that I was able to experience Wanderlust with a bunch of other beer lovers on July 11th. It was a fun event!

I hate posting about things that you (the reader) may not be able to try but I felt that this was definitely post-worthy. If you are in Durham, you should stop into Fullsteam for a beer and dinner from whatever food truck is parked outside. Follow Fullsteam on Facebook and Twitter or check out their website to find out on what’s on tap as well as what one-off brews they have planned for the future so you don’t miss them.

 

Review – Dos Perros in Durham

exterior of Dos Perros

Dos Perros is in downtown Durham

This week has been unbearably hot so all I can think about is Mexican food again! My financial adviser, Kent Thompson, invited me to lunch, so we decided to try Dos Perros in downtown Durham. If you haven’t been to downtown Durham recently, you may not recognize it. The streets are lined with new restaurants, many which are quickly earning outstanding reputations as chefs make a name for themselves. Dos Perros  and its executive chef, Charlie Deal, certainly falls in this category. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that I needed to try their food.

The outside is a bright sunny yellow with the logo showing two dogs (Dos Perros) and immediately looks inviting. Another great advantage to Dos Perros even before you open the door is the convenient parking. There is a large public parking lot just across the street. Parking is certainly a premium especially at lunchtime in downtown Durham.

The bar area

The bar at Dos Perros

When you first enter the door, you are greeted by the bar, which looks like somewhere a person could enjoy a few margaritas in the evening. The interior is modern and comfortable. Big Mexican blankets  and contemporary artwork line the walls. The kitchen is open, so you can see the chefs working on the food.

Dos Perros interior

Dos Perros boasts that most of the ingredients they buy are from local farmers, so I am eager to try a sampling of their fare. Our very friendly waiter gave us fresh tortilla chips with a tomatillo and jalapeño salsa to whet our appetite. We ordered the guacamole as an appetizer and it did not disappoint. It was creamy and chunky. It had nice sized pieces of avocado, onion, cilantro and fresh tomatoes. It was thick enough that a couple of times my tortilla broke while dipping it in the guacamole.

guacamole

A thick but very tasty guacamole

Kent and I decided to do a sampler of tacos and split them, so we ordered one of the beef brisket, one with chicken, one with slow roasted pork and one with fried shrimp.

The tacos come with soft tortillas, that are homemade tortillas. The taste of roasted corn is quite prominent in the tortillas. The fillings were enough for one person, but truly was not enough for more than one taco, even though they came with two tortillas a piece. However, once you add the side ingredients which included shredded cabbage, chopped onions with cilantro and the chopped tomatoes with onion and cilantro, it was enough to get by.  The tacos came with a trio of salsas. The green salsa with jalapenos had a good kick to it. The red sauce was the most to my liking. It was fairly mild with a little spice to it. I was afraid to try the orange sauce which our waiter described as being smoking hot. It is made with habaneros. Sorry I do not go past the jalapeño phase!

tacos

Sampling of the lunch tacos at Dos Perros

Kent liked the shrimp the most. It had nice size pieces of fried shrimp. The breading was just the right amount. It also came with slices of cucumber and a chipotle flavored mayonnaise.  I’m not the biggest fan of shrimp, but I did enjoy this taco.

My favorite was the shredded chicken. It was moist and packed with flavor. It is spiced with cilantro and lime.  I also enjoyed the beef brisket, which was braised in a tomato sauce. The pork taco was good as well. It was slow roasted and cooked twice with chipotle and tomatillos.

The waiter did his best to entice us with dessert, but we did not have time to try it out. While the staff was pretty quick to get our order out, it seemed that the lunch hour flew by and we both needed to get back to work. I would most certainly like to go back to Dos Perros for dinner, especially because the menu is much bigger with really interesting descriptions, such as pan-roasted cod with a green chile, potato, chorizo, and mussel chowder or Marinated lamb carne asada with mole.

board

Mondays are taco nights at Dos Perros.

Dos Perros is located at 200 North Mangum Street and is open Monday – Friday for lunch and all days of the week for dinner.

Review – Thai House at Tower Place in Pineville

Thai House exterior

We traveled to the Charlotte area this weekend to see some friends and while we were out and about we decided to go out for dinner. We decided to try out the Thai House in Tower Place. There are also two more locations, one near the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and one in Gastonia.

From the moment we stepped into the restaurant we knew we made a good choice. The decor immediately transports you to Thailand. There are lots of intricate wood carvings all over the restaurant and the bar area. The waiters and waitresses are dressed in beautiful Thai silks. There is a feeling of opulence in the air.

Interior of Thai House

wait staff at Thai House

The friendly wait staff at Thai House

Our friend ordered the Tom Yum soup to start out. The broth has a hint of sourness to it from the lemon grass and the lime juice. It had nice big pieces of chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes and red pepper in it as well. It was a comforting soup that was not too filling.

Green papaya salad called Tom Sum

Tom Sum salad

We had the Som Tum salad. This is a typical Thai green papaya salad. It had julienned pieces of green papaya and carrots with raw green beans, tomato and a splash of fish sauce, lime juice and a hint of thai peppers. Chopped peanuts were sprinkled over the top.  It is a very refreshing summer salad. Perfect for the hot days ahead!

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Both of our husbands ordered the Pad Thai, which was made with nice thick rice noodles stir fried in a bit of Thai fish sauce, tamarind sauce and red chilli peppers. One person ordered it with seafood and the other ordered it with chicken. It also had crispy bean sprouts, onions, eggs, nice pieces of green onion and chopped peanuts. It  had a nice tangy taste to it, which is most likely the tamarind sauce.

Goong Rad Prig

Goong Rad Prig

My friend had the Goong Rad Prig, which was a shrimp dish with bamboo shoots, green bell peppers, green beans and crushed Thai basil leaves  in a thin red curry sauce that had a nice kick to it making your mouth hum for awhile. The pieces of shrimp were large and very generous. It was served with a side of white jasmine rice.

penang duck dish

Crispy duck penang

I ordered the crispy duck penang dish. I love penang. It is a creamy curry sauce that is made with the thick part of coconut cream and is much thicker than a traditional red curry. It is also much sweeter than a traditional red curry. The duck was fried in little balls with duck meat, but I quickly found out you have to look out for bones. I had two little bones in my dish and was lucky I didn’t choke on them. However, it was very delicious. The dish was served in a duck bowl, which was quite delightful. It had snow peas, broccoli, tomatoes and had the fragrant smell of kaffir lime leaves. It was topped off with chopped peanuts. This dish also came with a side of jasmine rice.

For those of you unfamiliar with kaffir lime leaves, it is an ingredient used in many southeast Asian countries, but particularly in Thailand. My husband and I have a kaffir lime tree that was given to us by a Thai friend of ours. We love to crush the leaves and put them into curry dishes and into chicken broth. It is the aroma of these leaves that make many Thai dishes so special.

After such a big meal and two glasses of chardonnay, we just did not have any room left for dessert, but the restaurant offered some enticing choices such as coconut ice cream, and a mango flavored rice dish.

One more puzzle about this restaurant was the large flat screen television that was on the wall. It was clearly out of place in such a fancy restaurant. No one was watching it and the only reason to have it there would be for the wait staff, so my recommendation is to move it to the kitchen or into the bar area.

Thai House at Tower Place is located at 8652 Pineville Matthews Rd.

Thai House at Tower Place on Urbanspoon

 

REVIEW: Jack’s Corner Mediterranean Deli – Greensboro

Jack’s Corner is one of the local spots in Greensboro that you shouldn’t miss. It is adjacent to the entrance of the campus of UNC-Greensboro near a lot of student housing so a lot of the clientele consists of college students. When school is in session, try to time your stop at Jack’s Corner while the students are still in class because it can get pretty hectic over there in between classes.

The one issue with Jack’s Corner is the parking. They have a very odd shaped lot in front of the restaurant and the shape makes it a little hard to maneuver into a parking spot especially if there are a few cars in there. They is another lot off of Aycock Street behind the restaurant for an additional parking in case you can’t get into the lot up front. The city also added a median in front of the Spring Garden entrance limiting the number of directions that you can enter the restaurant.

Once you get over the parking problem at Jack’s Corner and get inside the restaurant, everything is smooth sailing from there. They have a couple of the menu items pictured on the wall like the gyro platter and the steak & cheese combo. They also have a giant menu printed and posted on the wall so you can figure out what you want without ever flipping through an actual paper menu. Place your order, pay for it and then sit down & wait for your name to be called and they will bring it out to your table.

I am a huge fan of hors d’oeuvre especially the kind that are served in triangles at parties. Growing up, I didn’t really know what I was eating when I was filling up my plate with the flaky triangle pastries filled with spinach, onions and feta that I found out later in life were known as spanakopita. I didn’t realize that the traditional form of spanakopita actually came in the pan instead of in those little delectable triangle parcels. Jack’s Corner gives you a little bit of both worlds with their spanakopita because they cook it in the pan but cut it into triangles and then serve it.

While I enjoyed their spanakopita, I don’t know if I would drop $2.09 on it again. It was decent sized and crispy just the way that I liked it when I was little but it just didn’t blow me away. I will probably get the falafels or grape leaves next time I am in there and feeling an appetizer. I am no expert on spanakopita so give it a try and let me know what you think.

I ordered the chicken gyro platter ($6.99) which comes with fries and a Greek salad. The chicken gyro has lettuce, tomato and cucumber sauce which is wrapped in a grilled pita. The warm, homemade pita and the fresh lettuce and tomato are great fillers for this hefty gyro but the spiced chicken strips were what give it so much taste. The chicken strips are very thin and grilled tender. They are covered in some “old world aromatic spices” which give them a salty and tangy flavor with a bit of kick. The strips are about the length of the pita so you taste a little bit in every bite.

I was glad that I ordered the platter instead of the combo because it came with the Greek salad. It was anything huge but the greens were fresh and the tomato was juicy making it a great side salad. The sprinkled feta crumbles and heavy oil & vinegar dressing made it pretty strong but I still dug it. The French fries were absolutely on point: crispy, hot and seasoned. It may sound a little sketchy but dipping them in the cucumber sauce turned out to be better to me than dipping than in ketchup.

One thing you may notice about Jack’s Corner is that they serve everything on paper plates. They are the strong Hefty type that hold up under moisture so you don’t have to worry about them folding under the pressure of whatever you are eating. It probably isn’t the best thing for the environment but I guess it works better for them in the kitchen as they are probably spending more money washing dishes.

There were a few complaints on Yelp about the cost of the meal compared to the portion size but I have never walked out of Jack’s Corner still hungry and irritated that I spent too much. I don’t understand it because most of the combos or plates are only about one dollar more than a combo at McDonald’s. Adding hummus or baba ghanouj ($3.99 for a plate & pita bread for either) to your meal will definitely tack on some money but that is just the nature of the restaurant industry.

Jack’s Corner Mediterranean Deli is one of Greensboro’s best kept secrets. You can be in and out of there fairly quickly with a great meal in your stomach plus you will supporting a family owned and operated restaurant. I suggest getting the gyros because they are fantastic but everything I have heard says to get some falafels whether it be in a basket or in a wrap. If you dig good Greek food, I think you will love Jack’s Corner.

Jack's Corner Mediterranean on Urbanspoon

Review: Screaming Coyote in Durham

UPDATE: After a few folks contacted us asking if the restaurant was still open, we dropped by and saw that, indeed, Screaming Coyote has bit the dust. Apparently, the owners didn’t pay their rent. Too bad, this was a great place. Here the review I wrote the beginning of July.

 

I guess summer means eating Mexican food for me, as I seem to be on a roll reviewing a lot of Mexican joints lately. I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about Screaming Coyote, another great little lunch place near RTP.

Screaming Coyote opened last year and it has quickly become a popular spot for the RTP crowd. It is owned by the same people who own Capistrano’s, a Mexican restaurant that is located in Cary near Morrisville and one in Raleigh. I actually made the mistake of trying to meet someone there after work one night recently as I had seen a table tent that mentioned margaritas and I thought it’d be nice to have a drink and catch up with this person before I went home. That’s when we found out that Screaming Coyote is only open for lunch, as are all of the restaurants in that same strip mall. We ended up having a bite at the KFC down the road. So, take note, don’t go to Screaming Coyote after work. The table tent card, by the way, was for Capistrano’s (they were cross promoting).

While RTP has many Mexican choices available these days, Screaming Coyote is the only Californian-style Mexican nearby. The dishes are made with fresh ingredients, making Mexican a little lighter than the usual fare. And just like Chubby’s, Screaming Coyote is affordable. They usually offer about three or four lunch specials for $4.50.

I decided to meet a friend for lunch there the other day and ordered the El Jefe Jr. with vegetables. This is quite a generous burrito made with caramelized onions, steamed green peppers, large slices of mushrooms and a mixture of black beans and rice. The flour tortilla was topped with a drizzle of a cumin-flavored sour cream sauce. I didn’t intend to eat the whole thing, but I just couldn’t stop! Screaming Coyote also makes its own tortilla chips, which are in paper bags that you pick up as you order. They have a variety of salsas to choose from. I tried the mild red sauce. It had a few chunks of tomato, onion and cilantro in it.

El Jefe Jr

This is the El Jefe Jr. with vegetables

My friend ordered the taco salad with shredded beef. He said it was really wonderful and he was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food. It was enough food that he couldn’t finish it all and took some home.

Mexican Salad

Mexican Salad with shredded beef

I have also tried the fish tacos which were good, and the price was again quite reasonable.  Screaming Coyote is located at 2945 South Miami Boulevard in Durham, at the intersection of T.W. Alexander Drive and Miami Boulevard. It is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Screaming Coyote Cafe on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Lexington Barbecue #1 (a.k.a. Monk’s) – Lexington

Photo Credit: John B. on Yelp

Lexington, North Carolina is what many people consider to be the capital of barbecue in North Carolina. The city boasts twenty barbecue joints which I think gives it the most barbecue restaurants per square mile of any other city or town in North Carolina and maybe the nation. I read on Wikipedia that, as of 2003, Lexington had one barbecue restaurant for every thousand residents which is pretty freakin’ incredible.

Lexington Barbecue #1 (or Monk’s as my dad calls it which is the last name of the owner) is where I learned to eat barbecue growing up. My family would take the occasional 25 minute trip down to Lexington from High Point to get lunch. It was more than just driving somewhere for food. It became more of an event than just eating lunch. We shared lots of great conversation growing up over some of of Wayne Monk’s ‘cue.

When you sit down, a waitress gets your drink order and sets down a basket of fresh hush puppies. The hush puppies meet all my requirements for a good hush puppy. They have a crispy exterior and soft inside. They aren’t very greasy so I will dip the occasional hush puppy into a bit of margarine. Most of the regulars already know what they want when they sit down so the waitress might try to get your order out of you right away if you are ready.

 

I drove to Lexington with Alex and Jackie for one of our occasional Friday lunches that we have been doing over the past few months. They both ordered the chopped barbecue which is the more traditional Lexington-style barbecue. I grew up eating this (in a sandwich with a side of fries) as a child and have a dear place in my heart for it. Each fork full is soft and tender making one of those little cardboard trays never enough to fill my desire even though it will still fill me up.

The picture above is of the chopped barbecue tray and the picture below is of the large coarse chopped barbecue tray. The quantity of barbecue gets a little confusing and difficult to figure out when you look at the menu. According to a note on Lexington Barbecue #1’s menu, the large barbecue trays have more barbecue than the plates but the plate come with French fries. I recommend going with a large tray because you probably will regret getting anything smaller because it is so damn good.

I ordered what I remember my dad ordering ever since we started going to Lexington Barbecue #1 back in the day. I ordered a large tray of the coarse chopped brown ($9.90) which is a lightly chopped portion of the outside of the shoulder. The outside of the shoulder has all of the char from the direct heat on the cooker so it is a bit crunchy but you have to request the “brown” to the waitress to get this part. It also has a a little fat throughout and a strong smokey flavor to boot which I really dig. I recommend ordering this because it gives you a little more bang for your buck and it is something that a lot of restaurants don’t tend to serve to their customers.

 

Nothing goes better with a huge plate of barbecue than a sweet dessert especially when it is peach cobbler. Lexington Barbecue #1’s peach cobbler dish is massive and comes in a paper bowl. The cobbler is made fresh daily on site and one of the best cobblers that I have had i the past few years. The ice cream may seem a little iffy at first because it comes out as a perfect rectangle. I am used to scoops so I was thrown for a loop when it came out but the ice cream tasted very good.

You have probably heard that Lexington Barbecue #1 or Monk’s or Honey Monk’s (all three names for the same place) is one of the must-try barbecue joints in North Carolina and there is no denying that. This isn’t just hype. It is the real deal. Wayne Monk has turned his restaurant into a place that people make pilgrimages to in search of the ultimate barbecue plate. If you are thinking about heading down here, let me tell you that it is worth the trip. You won’t be disappointed.

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