Random stuff I discovered and wrote down in 2015 Part 3

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been relating excerpts of a food log that I kept throughout 2015.  This week will conclude with September through December.

September 14th– The Kid and I braved rush hour traffic and drove over to Cary this afternoon, and finally visited La Farm Bakery (4248 NW Cary Pkwy).

The reason we made the journey is because I really love to go by their stand and grab a loaf of sourdough at the “Got to be NC” festival in the spring.

Boy, am I glad we went.  It’s always nice when something lives of to the hype, and La Farm did not disappoint.  It’s a very French looking space in a generic strip mall.  Not only a bakery, they are a café, and coffee shop.  Everything’s fresh and fragrant.  One of the sides they offer for their menu of hand-crafted sandwiches are house made potato chips.  It was almost worth the trip just for that, but they also have various flavors of French macarons.

October 25th– It’s the fair!

This year I got to go twice, and got in free both times.  At the request of Lisa Prince from the NC Agricultural Department, I judged a couple specialty cooking contests.  It was a crazy amount of fun, and totally new for me.

Lisa Prince and friend.

Even though the novel holds much appeal, I’m delighted that some things never change.

Al’s French Fries: Without a doubt, the best fries at the fair.  Yeah, yeah, your fancy frites and duck fat fries are great, but there’s nothing better than stumbling through the midway, burning your tongue because those salty, crispy pieces of heaven are just too darn good to wait.fair-fudgeAll-American Fudge:  Located in the same spot every year at the end of the hobby and craft building, smiling faces will greet you and weigh out piles of fudge in old-timey cast iron scales.  Whether your first stop on the way in or your last on the way out, nobody anywhere does fudge like these guys.  I’m just grateful they only come around once a year.

Every couple of years the names changes, but the wooden barrels and the delicious root beer doesn’t.  Regardless whether they come as Pappy’s, Max’s, or your great-aunt Helen, those aluminum tankards of icy root beer are always as good as you remember.

November 16th– When I worked at Bosco’s bookstore at Woodcroft Shopping Center back when The Kid was elementary school, I grabbed dinner there every few weeks.  But it’s been years since I enjoyed the food at Hong Kong Restaurant (4711 Hope Valley Rd).  Recently though, after a doctor’s visit Petey and I went in for take-out.

I was hoping that my favorite dish, chicken mei fun was still on the menu.  In another win for stability, they had it.  It’s a sort of fried rice dish, made with veggies and scrambled eggs, only instead of regular rice grains, it’s made with rice noodles.  And although other restaurants will say they have it on the menu, many use regular wheat noodles instead of rice; which is just all kinds of wrong.

Actually, this is beef mei fun…still yummy, though.

Hong Kong makes is right.  It’s really yummy, and you get a take-out box so full it almost won’t close for about six bucks.  It’s enough food for three very filling meals for me.

December 17th– Went up to Greensboro for my mom’s annual Christmas cookie decoration party.  As always, we had lunch at their favorite G’bo eatery, Monterrey Mexican #29 (3724 Battleground Ave, Greensboro).

The first time I ordered tacos there I was very disappointed to get the hard u-shaped grocery store taco shells.  But I was ordering the wrong item.

This time I ordered tacos Mexico style.  Was rewarded with three fresh corn tortillas stuffed with the absolute best carnitas I’ve ever had the pleasure to devour.  The meat was as silky as a prom dress.  I’ve recently decided it will be my final meal.  It’s that good.

December 30th– Tomorrow night make some fun inconsequential resolutions so that it doesn’t matter when you break them.  And try to enjoy 2016.


Thanks for your time.

Random stuff I discovered and wrote down in 2015 Part 2


Last week I shared the beginning of my 2015 food diary.  This is part 2, May through August.

May 23rd- After a few false starts, we finally synched up everyone’s schedule, and had The Kid’s birthday lunch.

The choice was Melting Pot (7011 Fayetteville Rd).  It was my first visit to the famous fondue eatery.  I don’t think it’s for me.

Don’t get me wrong—the food was very good, and the service was excellent.

First, the ordering is a little complicated. When I’m hungry I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed.  That’s why I like to check out menus online before I go to a restaurant; so that I don’t have to think too hard while I’m sitting there with and empty stomach.

And secondly, you get the food raw and cook it at the table.  I love to cook, but I am way too impatient to sit and wait while my chicken goes from deadly to delicious in a bubbling pot of stock.

It’s actually a thing–they call it “Pot the question”.

I do think it would make an amazing spot for a leisurely, romantic date though.

June 21st– Ran into a Target with a grocery department for something quick and easy to eat right away.  They have quite a selection of ready-to-eat items like salads and wraps.  Surprisingly, they don’t have nutrition information on the items.  Eating pre-made food is a minefield of calories, fat and sodium; that’s why I usually don’t partake.  Despite some intriguing offerings, I left empty-handed and hungry.

Just ask. B&N will provide values for everything they offer.

June 30th– Was in Barnes and Noble, and went into the café for a coffee.  It was lunch time, and I thought I might grab some grub, but since it’s just a stand in a bookstore figured they wouldn’t have nutrition info available.  I was wrong.

Each location has a notebook listing all the info for all the current choices.

When will every chain get with the program and make the numbers public?  I feel very strongly that customers have an absolute right to know, and a duty to find out.

July 11th– After a trip to the flea market at the State Fairgrounds, went over to Boulted Bread (614 W South St, Raleigh).

As the mother of a classically trained baker, I can attest to the fact that their pastries and breads are authentic.

Levain is a traditional French country loaf.  It’s perfect for toast and sandwiches.  Boulted makes their crusty, tangy version with organic grains milled in-house with a genuine stone mill.

This, my friend, is a bialy.

One of my favorite breakfast breads are bialys.  They kind of look like a bagel, but they aren’t boiled before baking, so they emerge from the oven crispy rather than chewy, and the hole is only a depression which is usually filled with caramelized onions and poppy seeds.  The only place I can find them is Southern Season, in Chapel Hill.  Boulted had them.

And The Kid said their cold-pressed iced coffee is the best.

August 24th– Such sad news; Daisycakes bakery on Foster St is closing.  From my very first visit to their silver Airstream cupcake truck, ‘Sugar’ to my final visit, Daisycakes was my favorite bakery in Durham.  Not only is quality their number one goal, Tanya and the crew always make me feel like I’m their most important customer and are happy to have me stop by, no matter how many dumb questions I ask.

Their whoopee pie is the best whoopee pie that has ever passed my lips.

The cookie/cake part is crispy and chewy that’s not too sweet.  The buttercream is light, delicious, with ever changing variety.  My favorite is the salted caramel.  The first time I ever had one, I almost cried.

Next week I’ll recount my food adventures from September through December.

Allow me to use this remaining space to wish each and every Durham resident a wonderful holiday.  Please be careful if you’re traveling.  And make sure to slow down and be mentally present in each moment of the celebrations.  Nobody will remember or care if everything isn’t perfect; so just enjoy.

To me, this column is my ongoing gift from the Bull City, which I constantly, hugely appreciate.

Thanks for your time.