Monthly Archives: December 2013

Five Brunch Spots in Raleigh

Brunch: That special meal reserved for the weekend, sometime between getting out of bed and actually waking up. Here are my top five choices for brunch in Raleigh, with #1 being my favorite.

#5 State Farmer’s Market Restaurant

After hearing great reviews about this restaurant, I had to try it. The biscuits were phenomenal, home-made from NC ingredients. Breakfast is served everyday until 3 p.m. and it gets rather crowded on the weekend. I ordered pancakes which were tasty, but not the best I’ve ever had. They have a large variety of options ranging from pancakes and french toast to omelets and breakfast sandwiches. Because this restaurant has such good reviews, I would give it another try.

#4 Brigs

I was looking for a casual Sunday brunch spot, and this restaurant seemed to have a lot of good options. I ordered strawberry pancakes and my friend ordered french toast. He finished it all before I could try it – so it must have been good! – and my pancakes were also good. Brigs has a combo deal where you can get pancakes, waffles or french toast with two eggs any style and one of their sides. While this seems like a good way to get something sweet and  salty in one meal, I would not recommend it because the eggs were bland. I suggest going here if you are craving something sweet for breakfast. They have a special Eggnog french toast dish during December.

IMG_1281

IMG_1283

IMG_1284

#3 Buku

This is the place for you if you like to try a little bit, or a lot, of everything. Don’t know what you want? They have something from almost every region to satisfy your omelette craving, taste for hummus or fried chicken needs. They have a brunch buffet with made-to-order omelets and waffles, a meat carving station, pastries and fresh fruit. Brunch is about $20 per person, but luckily I had a Groupon deal that got me two brunches for the price of one. I got a waffle with strawberry syrup, an omelette with smoked salmon and spinach, a biscuit and fruit. Everything was delicious, especially the omelet and the buttery biscuit. The name “Buku” comes from a twist on the French phrase “merci beaucoup,” which means thank you very much.

IMG_2435 IMG_2436

#2 Beasley’s Chicken and Honey

Even if you’re not a fan of chicken and waffles, Beasley’s is worth checking out for Sunday brunch. This hipster-esque restaurant sits on the corner of Wilmington Street and Martin Street. Minimally decorated and maximally delicious, Beasley’s gives simple dishes a makeover – honey drizzled fried chicken, red bean rancheros and creamed collard greens are just a few of the options.

IMG_1317

Of course, I recommend trying the chicken and waffles, but there are many other options. We split an order of the signature dish and we also got an order of “Eggs Beasley,” 2 poached eggs with creamed collard greens and grilled cornbread. The chicken was drizzled with honey, making it deliciously sweet. The flavors in the poached egg dish were quite complementary to one another. The creamed collards had a kick that I was not expecting, but the cornbread helped to soak up that flavor.

IMG_1320

IMG_1321

#1 Irregardless Cafe

This is my top choice for brunch in Raleigh because you can taste the freshness in the ingredients and you can tell that they take pride in every dish. I ordered a smoked salmon dish, and it was very good. My sister ordered crab cake eggs Benedict, which was also tasty! I usually don’t eat hashbrowns, but these were seasoned in such a way that made them addicting. Irregardless Cafe prides itself on using local ingredients, and it is noticeable in their dishes! The restaurant even has a community garden. Not only do they serve delicious brunch, but they also have great options for lunch and dinner. There is a large selection for vegans and vegetarians, but for the carnivores, there are also plenty of meat dishes. The fresh food is complemented by live music performed by local musicians.

IMG_2283

Leos: Classic N.Y.C. Lower east side specialty dish of house cured salmon scrambled with eggs & onions. Served with toasted bagel and apple sauce. $13.00

Crab Cake Eggs Benedict: Fresh crab cake griddled and set on a toasted English muffin with poached eggs, and fresh Hollandaise sauce, served with home fries. $14.75

Crab Cake Eggs Benedict: Fresh crab cake griddled and set on a toasted English muffin with poached eggs, and fresh Hollandaise sauce, served with home fries. $14.75

 

 

State Farmer's Market Restaurant on Urbanspoon Brigs Great Beginnings on Urbanspoon Buku on Urbanspoon Beasley's Chicken & Honey on UrbanspoonIrregardless Cafe & Catering on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Plates Neighborhood Kitchen- Raleigh, NC

“Globally Inspired. Locally Produced.” That is the motto and exactly what you will find at Plates Neighborhood Kitchen, a new restaurant in the Glenwood South neighborhood near downtown Raleigh. Plates opened November 1st and you will need to make reservations if you plan to go during the weekend. The atmosphere is comfortable and welcoming. The food is elegant yet the prices are reasonable. The servers and bartenders are helpful and friendly. What more could I ask for?

IMG_1290

I went with two friends on a Friday night and we did not have reservations but luckily there were three seats open at the bar. The bartenders were very personable and we had a great evening. I started out with a lavender julep which was carefully made and thoroughly enjoyed. For dinner I ordered a smoked salmon and leek salad with a citrus vinaigrette. I would definitely order it again!

IMG_1301

My friend ordered chicken with grits and kale. He especially enjoyed the grits and finished every last bit. For dessert, I saw that Plates had a persimmon creme brûlée. I don’t usually eat creme brûlée but I love persimmons, so I ordered it. I also tried some port with my creme brûlée. It was a perfect dessert.

IMG_1304

IMG_1312

The menu changes often because Plates uses fresh ingredients that they try to source locally whenever possible. You can expect local food with an international inspiration, served by friendly people.

The menu provides just a few options which is nice because you won’t be overwhelmed with choices. Until it comes to dessert… chocolate chess pie, creme brûlée, sticky toffee pudding and cheesecake.

Check out the New Year’s dinner menu at Plates.

I hope you enjoy Plates as much as I did.

-Haley

Plates Neighborhood Kitchen on Urbanspoon

 

REVIEW: Venable – Carrboro, NC

Venable Rotisserie Bistro in Carrboro takes comfort foods like chicken pot pie, ravioli and udon soup and turns them into something fabulous. I lived in Carrboro for two years and I can’t believe I didn’t try this restaurant until now. It is one of my new favorite restaurants in the Triangle. Venable is a fine dining establishment with the attitude (and price!) of a casual Carrboro restaurant. We started our meal with the chèvre salad, “local beets with hazelnuts, goat cheese, mixed greens and a sherry hazelnut dressing.”

Chèvre Salad

This salad was perfect. Creamy goat cheese, sherry vinaigrette and a waffle-cut beet. The presentation was very nice but equally important is the taste, which was phenomenal. It was difficult to pick an entree, given the elaborate choices. Here are some of their options (check out the full menu here):

NORTH CAROLINA FLOUNDER – $22
Bacon-wrapped NC flounder with butternut squash purée, braised red cabbage and roasted sweet potatoes

ROOT VEGETABLE CHICKEN POT PIE – $15
Rotisserie chicken with carrot, parsnip and celery root stew topped with puff pastry crust

GRILLED SALMON – $16
Grilled Atlantic salmon with soy-ginger green beans and skillet-roasted fingerling potatoes

Grilled salmon

Grilled salmon

We went with the grilled salmon, and it ended up being a great choice. The photo above is a half-portion, but with the salad, it was just the right amount of food. We got our salmon cooked medium, as our waiter suggested. It was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. With the description of “fingerling potatoes,” I was expecting a heap of fried potato strings. I was pleasantly surprised with the healthier option of large cuts of sautéed potatoes. I would definitely get this dish again!

Bonus: Venable has a lot of vegetarian and vegan options! And check out their brunch menu…so many delicious options!

I hope I’ve sold you on this wonderful restaurant! It is a great place to eat dinner before checking out a show at DSI Comedy or enjoying a local band at The Station.

-Haley

 

Venable Rotisserie Bistro on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Guglhupf Bakery – Durham, NC

I used to drive past Guglhupf three times a week on my way to an internship. I drove past it for months before trying it because by the time I would get off work, it was closed. Once I finally went there, it became one of my favorite cafes in the Triangle area. The unmistakeable European feel will put you at ease and allow you to make new friends out of strangers. The cafe is spacious, with plenty of outdoor seating and two floors inside. The adjoining bakery emits the delicious smell of freshly baked bread out onto the patio area. If the weather allows, sit outside and enjoy a sandwich or a snack like you have no where else to be.

Guglhupf Bakery in Durham, NC

Guglhupf Bakery in Durham, NC

I visited Guglhupf before Thanksgiving to spend some quality time with my friend Liat. It has become somewhat of a tradition for us after I took her there for the first time last year. I don’t usually stray far from my favorite item on the menu, a turkey, brie and apple chutney sandwich. However, this time I got something a bit different, a turkey, grilled pear and gorgonzola sandwich. The sandwich was heavy on the turkey, but the strong flavors of arugula and gorgonzola cheese complemented the sweet, grilled pear. I still prefer the turkey, brie and apple chutney sandwich, but this one is a close second. Guglhupf also has an assortment of small plates and salads.

House-roasted turkey with a grilled pear, arugula and gorgonzola on rustic house bread

House-roasted turkey with a grilled pear, arugula and gorgonzola on rustic house bread

Liat got what she always gets – the strawberry tart. I have yet to try it because the sandwiches always fill me up. The menu is not large but there is an option for everyone, whether you are craving a hearty soup or something sweet. After, or even before, going into the cafe, check out the bakery. I dare you to walk out without trying anything.

Nutzen den tag!

-Haley
Guglhupf Bakery on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Amelie’s French Bakery – Charlotte, NC

If you have been to Charlotte but not to Amelie’s French Bakery, shame on you. This 24-hour bakery in the NoDa neighborhood of Charlotte is perfect for a lunch date, a late-night macaron craving or Sunday brunch – if you’re willing to wait in line. The pastries and the decor will fight for your attention as you walk in. A chandelier made of pots and pans, a translucent lamp shade, Parisian themed photo montages and the tempting bakery case.

IMG_1248  IMG_1264 - Version 2

You will be tempted to try one of everything, but the prices may steer you away from that – $1.99 per macaron is a steep price for a small delicacy, but it is worth it. Amelie’s prepares their pastries around the clock, ensuring that everything is fresh. I had the salted caramel hot chocolate last weekend and it was one of the best hot chocolates I have had. What can beat a delicious hot chocolate, a reunion with an old friend and all the board games you’ve ever wanted in a coffee shop?

Macaron vs. Macaroon – One is a chewy coconut treat and one is a crispy merengue. The delicacies pictured above are macarons. They have a crisp outer shell with a ganache-like filling.  My favorite flavor is rose, but you cannot go wrong with chocolate. While macarons have more of an almond flavor, macaroons have a coconut flavor. You can read more about the ingredients and find some recipes here.

If you don’t have a bottomless stomach or wallet, order at least one macaron and one salted caramel brownie. Or take some goodies home with you! But stay at Amelie’s long enough to enjoy the creative interior design. You will be hard-pressed to enjoy all the nooks and decorations in just one trip to Amelie’s.

IMG_1275 - Version 2 IMG_1277 IMG_1275 - Version 3

I suppose I should have mentioned the “real food” before dessert. Amelie’s has a selection of sandwiches, salads and soups. My favorite dishes include the spinach asparagus leek soup and the turkey and brie sandwich – roasted turkey, brie and seasonal compote on a baguette. These light dishes are satisfying while still allowing room to try some of the desserts.

I try to make it to Amelie’s whenever I am in Charlotte and no matter if I get the same flavor macaron every time, it is always a different experience. It’s probably a good thing I don’t live in Charlotte, otherwise I’d never leave Amelie’s! It is open 24 hours, after all.

Cheers!

-Haley

Amélie's French Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Related Posts with Thumbnails