Monthly Archives: February 2014

REVIEW: Kipos – Chapel Hill, NC

A few weeks ago, my friend Liat had her birthday celebration at Kipos Greek Taverna in Chapel Hill. Owner Giorgios Bakatsias also operates Bin 54 and City Kitchen but Kipos is different from Bakatsias’ other restaurants because it reflects his family’s traditions. Kipos means “garden” in Greek and the restaurant feels like just that – a lovely indoor garden. I was equally awed by the decor as I was by the food. 

I was tempted to order two or three appetizers for dinner (grape leaves and vegetable fritters with yogurt sauce, anyone?), but I went for the whole grilled fish, which was served with rice pilaf. The fish was deliciously seasoned and tender. I would definitely recommend it.

PSAROTAVERNA: Whole grilled fish, lemon oil, spanish rice pilaf, vegetables

PSAROTAVERNA: Whole grilled fish, lemon oil, spanish rice pilaf, vegetables

Javier ordered lamb chops, which were presented in a bowl with roasted potatoes. He liked the lamb more than the potatoes, but since these dishes are meant for sharing, others pitched in to help him finish.

The food at Kipos was authentically Greek – Bakatsias’ sister is even the pastry chef. The environment is comfortable, casual and welcoming but the food remains top notch.

PAIDAKIA: Charcoal grilled lamb chops, oregano, potatoes, seasonal vegetables 28.00

PAIDAKIA: Charcoal grilled lamb chops, oregano, potatoes, seasonal vegetables 28.00

As my friend Victoria wrote in IndyWeek, “Most non-Greek palates experience Greece’s food in the form of a pita wrap stuffed with meat and heavy-handed notes of yogurt, dill and garlic. In North Carolina, it’s especially tough to find the subdued nuances of real Greek food, including vegetarian and seafood specialties. With a focus on seasonal, high quality and basic ingredients, Kipos is a welcome exception.”

Victoria is a true connoisseur of Greek food so I recommend reading her full review here.

Kipos has a large selection for vegetarians and vegans as well. The menu is reminiscent of Bakatsias’ Greek culture and includes a variety of options. I enjoyed going with a large group so I could see what everyone’s dish looked like. A few people ordered the moussaka, a traditional Greek soufflé with beef and eggplant. The dessert selection was also tempting and I will definitely be back to try the baklava.

Happy eating!

-Haley

Kipos Greek Taverna on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Trophy Brewing Company – Raleigh, NC

Looking for a trophy wife or a mail-order bride? You can find both at Trophy Brewing, a small, cozy brewery and pizzeria in downtown Raleigh. According to the website, the trophy wife  is “light and approachable; this beauty shows off a bright and a clean finish.” Okay, now get your mind out of the gutter. Those are beers I am talking about! I chose the Best in Show, which is an easy drinking beer with citrus undertones.

This small brewery was started by the owners of Busy Bee Cafe, who teamed up with brewer Les Stewart, to create small-batch craft beers. Trophy also offers a selection of artisan pizzas made with local ingredients. I ordered the Farmer’s Market pizza, which was full of root vegetables and goat cheese. The pizza does not normally come with goat cheese, but I highly recommend adding it. Ben ordered the Most Loyal, a pizza with roasted chicken and pesto. His also had the slightest hint of honey, which tasted surprisingly good with the pizza.

Farmer’s Market: basil pesto, roma tomato, swiss chard, vegetable medley, red onions

Farmer’s Market:
basil pesto, roma tomato, swiss chard, vegetable medley, red onions

Most Loyal: basil pesto, herb roasted chicken breast, mozzarella blend, roma tomato, and honey

Most Loyal:
basil pesto, herb roasted chicken breast, mozzarella blend, roma tomato, and honey

 

 

Trophy Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Bida Manda – Raleigh, NC

For a land-locked country surrounded by much larger countries, Laos has its own flavors. Bida Manda serves authentic Laotian food and is one of few Laotian restaurants in the U.S. Bida Manda is the Sanskrit term for father and mother; and in the spirit of family, siblings Vansana and Vanvisa Nolintha created this restaurant to honor their heritage and culture. The food takes you to another place, but the atmosphere is created from locally sourced items, such as the wooden sticks from Western North Carolina that decorates the walls.

Laotian food uses some of the same ingredients as the more familiar Thai and Vietnamese cuisines, but with more subtle flavors. Laotian food also lends itself to its French history with items such as the baguette used for sandwiches in Laos. For a more in-depth analysis of the differences between Laotian and Thai food, head over to Victoria’s Food Secrets.

Green Papaya Salad: Tomato, peanuts, spicy lime sauce, sticky rice, and your choice of: Grilled Flatiron Steak Grilled Duck Breast Grilled Ginger and Garlic Pork Neck Grilled Lemongrass Chicken Grilled Vegetables

Green Papaya Salad:
Tomato, peanuts, spicy lime sauce, sticky rice, and your choice of meat, fish or vegetables

I ordered the green papaya salad, one of the restaurant’s specialities. It comes with your choice of meat, fish or vegetables. I got fresh caught N.C. flounder, which was seasoned with salt, pepper and aromatic herbs. The salad tasted fresh and had some of the same ingredients as pad thai sauce, but it was lighter and the taste was more subtle.

“Differences are often subtle to the non-native palate, but generally speaking, Laotian flavors tend to be a little earthier, a little less bright than those of their neighbors,” writes Greg Fox for News & Observer.

Javier ordered the pumpkin curry, which had a variety of root vegetables. It is served with rice, which helps with the spiciness. However, we both liked my dish better. I recommend the green papaya salad for your first time at Bida Manda.

Pumpkin Curry: With root vegetables and jasmine rice

Pumpkin Curry:
With root vegetables and jasmine rice

Bon Appetite!

-Haley 

 

Enjoy these recipes from Bida Manda, provided by Walter Magazine:

Crispy Rice Lettuce Wrap

2 cups cooked jasmine rice

1 teaspoon curry spice

1/2 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1/3 cup chopped mint

1/3 cup chopped green onion

1 tablespoon crispy fried garlic

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 cup crushed peanuts

Lettuce leaves

Mix jasmine rice, curry, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Mold the mixture into thick patties. Fry the patties until golden brown. In another bowl, break the patties into small pieces, and add cilantro, mint, green onion, fried garlic, peanuts, and lime juice. Toss until fully mixed. Wrap the mixture with fresh lettuce leaves.

Serves 4

 

Caramelized Ginger Ribs

1/2 rack pork ribs, sliced into individual rib pieces

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup black soy sauce

1 cup sliced fresh ginger

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 shelled hard boiled eggs

Firmly rub the the ribs with soy sauce, black soy sauce, ginger, and brown sugar, and let the ribs marinate overnight. At medium heat, braise the ribs for three hours. Once done, strain the sauce from the ribs, add shelled, whole hard boiled eggs to the sauce, and reduce the sauce in a pan over low heat until it thickens. Add the ribs back to the sauce, remove and slice eggs, and serve together.

Serves 2

 

Bida Manda on Urbanspoon

 

 

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