Monthly Archives: December 2011

REVIEW: Jerry’s Grill – Raleigh

Ever since moving to Raleigh, I have been on the lookout for a little hole-in-the-wall place that serves a good cheeseburger. I have tried what seem to be the two Raleigh favorites, Char-Grill and Snoopy’s, and thought they were okay but not what I was looking for. I was in search of a place similar to a place that served burgers like Corner Grill in High Point is one of my favorites. I finally made it to Jerry’s Grill near the intersection of Whitaker Mill & Wake Forest in Raleigh after several recommendations from friends about one of the best lunches in Raleigh.

I ordered the #6 combo which is a cheeseburger, hot dog, fries & a drink for about $6.75. My combo came with one of the regular red dogs with a steamed bun that are both cooked in their hot dog cooker. The burgers are thick and cooked a flattop grill so they have a nice crispness. The buns are lightly buttered and then toasted on the grill before they add the toppings. I suggest getting both the burgers and dogs all the way (chili, slaw, mustard, onion). The chili doesn’t overpower the taste of the burger and the slaw is soppy but not so much that it makes the bun soggy. The fries are the generic crinkle cut variety so they aren’t anything special but fries are always a great accompaniment to all the way burgers and dogs.

Jerry’s also serves breakfast all day (note: they close early at 2 p.m.) which looks delicious although I haven’t tried it with breakfast items like The Hobo, the Blue Rock Deluxe or their made from scratch biscuits. You can also order fried bologna sandwiches or daily specials like baked spaghetti or corndogs. You can also find a variety of different beverages ranging from Snapple to bottle Cokes but I haven’t tried anything but their sweet tea which is delicious.

The interior of Jerry’s Grill is a little tight especially when it gets busy. There is a small bar with five seats and two community tables plus two tables outside when the weather is nice. I love community tables at restaurants because it gives you the opportunity to talk with new people. If you feel like being reclusive, there will be a few newspapers from that day laying around that you can read.

I have been back to Jerry’s Grill about two or three times since my first visit and have the feeling that I will be turning into a regular there. Lunch at Jerry’s isn’t fast food but you can get in and out of there in about 3o to 35 minutes. I definitely think you should check it out and let us know what you think.

Jerry's Grill on Urbanspoon

Review – The Old Place in Bear Creek

The Old Place in Bear Creek NC

The Old Place is located on a farm in Bear Creek, NC

In the pastoral, rolling hills of western Chatham County is a charming country home that has been converted into a great country restaurant called The Old Place. The first time I ever heard about The Old Place was on UNC-TV when Bob Garner reviewed it many years ago. So, my husband and I went and when we arrived there was a line halfway around the building. We knew it was going to be good.

Since then, we have returned many times and enjoyed the food each time we have eaten there. It’s a place we frequently take out of town guests as we like them to have some Southern cooking while visiting North Carolina.

Paying for our meals at  The Old Place

You pay for your meal, then enter the buffet

When you first enter the building, you’ll be greeting by a friendly staff and will pay for the buffet. Yes, the restaurant is buffet, all you can eat. You will then enter the buffet area and will have a plethora of tempting treats including chicken and dumplings, fried white fish,  country ham and country style steak,  chitterlings, green beans, succotash,  turnip greens, fried okra, yams, pickled beets, mashed potatoes, and much more. I always start off with a piece of either the corn bread of the cracklin’ corn bread. I have to have a piece of the fried chicken, then I then pile on all the veggies I can muster. Of course, I have to come back for dessert.

fried chicken in the buffet line

The fried chicken is one of my favorites.

buffet line at The Old Place in Bear Creek NC

Just a part of the buffet line at The Old Place

That’s because the desserts are wonderful too! From a variety of cobblers, to apple crisps, to banana pudding with a homemade meringue, this is a dessert lover’s delight.

Dining room at The Old Place in Bear Creek NC

The dining room is large, yet cozy

The dining area is comfy and yet large enough to accommodate the folks to come each weekend. Many people know each other, because, after all, you are in the country. Even those of us who are from outside the immediate area, though, are treated like old friends

While on our annual trip to Southern Supreme, my friend and I stopped by The Old Place for Sunday brunch. It was my friend’s first trip there and she loved it. I had a plate full of all my favorites: fried chicken, green beans, yams, turnip greens, macaroni and cheese, a berry cobbler and other goodies as well. I had to have a glass of sweet tea to wash it all down. This is like getting a big Southern hug.  Their chicken breasts are big and meaty, most likely coming from one of the many chicken farmers nearby. The crust is flaky and perfectly browned with just the right amount of seasoning. The beans have the saltiness of the fatback that they were cooked in, but they are not too soggy, as some green beans tend to get at some other southern food restaurants. The succotash is made with tender littler butter beans and kernels of corn. The macaroni and cheese is soft and creamy, and is covered with lots of cheese.  The yams are roasted in some butter and I’m guessing some brown sugar.  I had a big ole’ serving of the berry cobbler, which is warm and has a gold, flaky crust on it. The only thing missing is a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but even without that, it is great.   Good thing we had planned to walk around Siler City for awhile, because I knew I would have to walk off some of all this great food!

my plate of Southern food at The Old Place in Bear Creek NC

Here's my plate of food

One thing is for sure — you won’t leave hungry! I always leave this place stuffed to the gills because it’s so hard to pass up all the great country goodies.

The Moore Family

The Moore Family (Photo courtesy of The Old Place Facebook Page)

The Moore family, who owns The Old Place, know how to cook up a great meal. The interesting thing about this restaurant is that is it only open Friday through Sunday.  Lu Anne and Laura Moore are in charge of the culinary team and do a fantastic job serving  a soul-satisfying meal.

The Old Place is located at 289 Elmer Moore Road  Bear Creek, NC south off Siler City, just off of Highway 421. They are open Friday and Saturday from 4pm- 9pm and Sunday from 11am-6pm. 919-837-5131.

Southern Supreme A Real Treat Near Siler City

Southern Supreme sign featuring fruitcake

Enjoy a beautiful trip in the country while traveling to Southern Supreme

Every year I look forward to the day when my friends and I take our annual trek to Southern Supreme in Bear Creek, just south of Siler City. I call it our “over the river and through the woods” trip. Southern Supreme is out in the country, so the trip to their store is half the fun. We usually travel from Pittsboro to Route 902, which is a twisty, windy road that goes past lots of farms with cows and horses. It is a really pretty ride.  After crossing over Rt. 421, I start to wonder, “Where in the heck is this place?” By the time we pass a few more roads, I always think, maybe I’ve gone too far and have driven past the turn off, but no, after I cross one more road and get to Harper’s Crossing, I see the sign for Southern Supreme and the fruitcakes and know we are close. Just one more pretty ride down Hoyt Scott Road (named after the owner of Southern Supreme).

wall display of fruitcakes

These fruitcakes are the best I've ever eaten

Did I say fruitcakes? Yes, that is what Southern Supreme is most famous for. Now, I have to explain that this is not that God awful fruitcake that was passed from family member to family member and was hard as a rock and tasted sickly sweet. No, Southern Supreme’s fruitcake should be more aptly named a nut cake. It is filled with lots of nuts and is not as sweet as some of those other fruitcakes. The fruitcake is famous and has been mentioned on the Food Network, and several magazines in the past. I swear to you, it is the best fruitcake I’ve ever had, and that’s one reason I don’t mind making this trip each year.

Southern Supreme chocolate turtles

Even the packaging is special at this store!

But, there is much more in this store than just the fruitcakes. You can find all kinds of southern goodies, such as pralines, cinnamon flavored pecans, truffles, fruitcake cookies, jams, jellies, brandied peaches, mustards, relishes, other kinds of cookies, flavored coffees and lots of little trinkets.

inside the store at Southern Supreme

We got here the minute the store opened so you can see the showroom

Of course, the store is jam packed with people the closer you get to Christmas, but it’s also the most fun time to come. I love seeing all the ladies wearing their Christmas sweaters, so, of course, I also have to wear mine when I go there!

The Scott family started this business in Bear Creek many years ago in the family garage. Word quickly spread and before they knew it, they had a thriving business on their hands. A few years ago, the county was able to get county water hooked up to their facility, allowing Southern Supreme to grow even more.

Even now that the business has grown, I always see members of the Scott family in the showroom. I saw Hoyt, the father of the Scott family, moving boxes of products into the showroom and said hello to him, even though he doesn’t know who I am. He is as friendly as can be. All of the Scott family and their employees will treat you well and shower you with their Southern hospitality.

display of gift baskets

You can purchase a premade gift basket...

personalized gift basket under the Christmas tree

Or, you can have a personalized basket made from items you have chosen.

I was also really happy to have some of the ladies help me gather some products together and they created a beautiful gift basket for my in-laws. I watched as one of the ladies handmade the bow to go on the basket. Now that’s customer service!

If driving to Bear Creek doesn’t appeal to you, you can still order all of their goods online. But, you will miss half the fun and no one will see your Christmas sweater at home!

Southern Supreme is located at 1699 Hoyt Scott Rd in Bear Creek, North Carolina. Check the website for store hours.

Review – Williams Gourmet Kitchen in Durham

restaurant packed with people

This is a typical lunch crowd at Williams Gourmet Kitchen

Sometimes you just get a hankering for a nice sized burger and that’s exactly what happened to me the other day. I needed beef, and I knew that one of the best places to go near RTP is William’s Gourmet Kitchen.

My friend and I got there close to noon, which was prime time for this place and it was packed! When you enter the door, you get in line and order at the counter, much like you would at a fast food restaurant. I got the bacon cheeseburger with all the fixings. My friend ordered the chicken wrap.

checking out at the counter

Food is ordered at the counter and brought out to your table

We had to wait for a few minutes to find a table, because every seat was taken when we first arrived. We finally lucked out and put our order number on the table. A waitress comes by to deliver your food. The burger was just what I was wishing for. It was big, juicy, and covered with a sharp cheddar cheese and a couple of nice slices of bacon, along with tomato, lettuce and onion. Of course, I had to order the sweet potato fries to go with the burger. The one problem I had with the fries was they had done them waffle style and were a bit too greasy for me. I think the waffling masked the flavor of the sweet potato because there was more surface area that was fried than they would have been if they were the more traditional stick style. Just my opinion though.

burger and sweet potato fries

Cheeseburger and sweet potato fries

My friend loved his chicken wrap and said he would certainly order it again. It looked great, so I, of course, took a photo so you could see it for yourself.

chicken wrap

Chicken wrap at Williams Gourmet Kitchen

I came back to William’s Gourmet Kitchen just two days later with another friend and this time I was in the mood for a salad, partly because I was feeling guilty about eating a big hamburger right in the middle of the holiday season when we are tempted with so many treats and goodies. So I ordered the strawberry salad and asked them to hold the blue cheese (not a fan – I know, I’m crazy, right?). I was shocked to see how large the salad was. It was filled with fresh baby greens, including a lot of baby spinach, pecans, red onions and was topped with thin slices of strawberries and drizzled with a raspberry vinaigrette. This salad was divine and again was just what I needed that day.

salad covered with fresh strawberries

Now that's a biggie salad!

Williams Gourmet Kitchen is also open for breakfast and dinner so you can drop by almost any time of the day and enjoy a great, inexpensive meal.

Williams Gourmet Kitchen is located at 2114 East Highway 54 in Durham, near Highway 55 and Research Triangle Park.
William's Gourmet Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Review – The Fearrington Granary in Pittsboro

Outside the Fearrington Granary

Fearrington Granary is located in the charming Fearrington Village in Chatham County

My husband and I wanted to celebrate our anniversary and immediately said, “let’s go to the Granary.”  We live just two miles from Fearrington and frequently walk our dog around the village.  The Granary has had some ups and downs in the past, sometimes opening for dinner, other times it was open only for lunch and brunch. Earlier this year, the restaurant closed, but then reopened a couple of months ago with a new menu, revamped décor and it is now open for dinner, which is fantastic! The Fearrington Granary fills a much needed niche in Chatham County, because we have many casual dining places and fast food restaurants, but hardly any fine dining places, and many of us cannot always afford the prices at the Fearrington House Restaurant (though I highly recommend going there for special occasions). OK, so the chefs at Fearrington may call this restaurant casual and the atmosphere is somewhat casual, but the food to me is fine dining.

People at the bar at the Granary

People enjoying the bar at the Granary

The new restaurant is filled with clean, white wooden tables, a few simple paintings on the wall and a nice bar with a couple of flat screen televisions giving the place a warm, laid back atmosphere. It fits nicely with the modern American cuisine. The menu is a mix of salads, sandwiches, main plates and meats cooked on the grill. The menu was created by executive chef Colin Bedford, who is one of the best chefs in the Triangle region. An aside must be made here to say that I sincerely hope Chef Bedford will one day try out for “Top Chef” because I think he would be a shoe in for the show and would also bring a lot of publicity to Fearrington and to the Research Triangle region.

The wines and other beverages were selected by Wine Director Max Kast, also from the Fearrington House staff. This man is a true expert of wines and every time we have dined in the Fearrington House, we have discovered new treasures thanks to him. This particular evening I was not able to have wine though, so we will have to come back on one of the nights that they have a wine and dinner pairing.

Watercress Soup

The watercress soup was smooth and satisfying

Our waitress, Kelly, greeted us with a smile and was very helpful to us in picking out items on the menu. We started the meal with one of the appetizer specials, which was a watercress soup. It was made with pureed potatoes, leeks and the watercress. The soup’s bright green color reminded me of spring, when the landscape is filled with vibrant shades of green.  The soup was silky smooth and soul satisfying. It went really well with the wheat bread. I could have eaten just the soup and bread and been satisfied.

Goat cheese souffle over a salad with beets

Goat cheese souffle

For the main dish, I had a twice baked goat cheese soufflé which was served with watercress, spinach, mixed greens, more goat cheese, two kinds of roasted beats (the traditional red ones and some beautiful yellow beets) that were pickled and cooked in a sherry vinaigrette and topped with some candied pecans. The soufflé was creamy and light with a mild flavored goat cheese. The sweetness of the beets married well with the sourness of the goat cheese. The presentation of the dish looked like a piece of artwork. You can really tell the chefs are at the top of their game. I really enjoyed this dish and will be sure to order it again!

grilled meatloaf with red wine sauce, asparagus and potatoes gratin

This is not your mother's meatloaf!

My husband decided to order off of the grill menu. Kelly suggested he have the meatloaf. This sure was not your mother’s meatloaf! It was made with top of the line cuts of beef and grilled into little patties. The tomato and onion really complimented the ground meats. It was served with a choice of sauces and sides. Scott asked Kelly to tell the chef to pick a sauce for him and the chef gave him the red wine sauce. It was a perfect choice for this dish. Scott also chose the garlic and Parmesan cheese potatoes gratin. The potatoes were sliced very thin and made into a casserole and were so delicious we both wished we could have taken some home!  He also had the grilled asparagus. The asparagus were nice thick pieces, but tender and the grilling gave them a nice nutty flavor.  The whole dish was very comforting and delicious. My husband kept remarking how great this dish was.

Lemon Posset with Berries

This dessert had a bit of Southern charm to it.

To end the dinner, we ordered dessert. We had the lemon and berry posset with a shortbread cookie.  It was served in a mason jar, which was really cute and was a great reminder of the South. The lemon curd on the top was sweet and tart and the posset was nice and creamy. The berries on the bottom were blueberries and so good, I was scraping out every bit that I could get from the jar.

There is no doubt that it is worth the trip to Fearrington Village to come eat at the Granary. While you are there you can also go visit some of the shops in the village and see the famous belted Galloway cows and the goats. It is a great place to relax and spend an afternoon or evening.

The Granary is also open for lunch and on Sundays serves up a wonderful Sunday brunch. We haven’t eaten there for brunch since the re-launch, but have heard from others it is really great. The Granary also has a really nice patio dining area, so when the weather is nice you can sit outside and enjoy the beautiful little village grounds with its English style gardens.

The Granary is located in Fearrington Village, off of 15-501 in Chatham County, south of Chapel Hill and north of Pittsboro. They are open  for lunch: Mon-Sat, 11:30am-2pm, brunch: Sunday, 10am-2pm, dinner: Mon-Sat, 5pm-9pm and the bar is open: Mon-Sat, 11:30am-9pm.
The Fearrington Granary Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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