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August 2007

Very interesting article in Forbes about how to run a restaurant.

Your humble master of ceremonies here at the Door almost certainly will never run a business, but if I did, a restaurant would probably be the one I'd like to try. How about an All-Hot restaurant--the best spicy-hot dishes from Thai, Mexican, and Chinese cuisine, along with Buffalo chicken wings?

(Update: some of my family members thought this was too narrow; what do people who don't like spicy food do? My first answer was, let 'em eat at another restaurant! But upon reflection, I decided the restaurant could be "Hot and Cold": the spicy foods would be accompanied by famous cool drinks and foods, such as mint juleps and gazpacho and lemon sorbet.)

The New York Times on some of the "trendsetter" foods in restauarnts.

The summer is winding down and the question arises anew: where have the Raleigh Newmarks been eating recently? Brief comments on a dozen new, or almost new, restaurants, and mention of a half dozen older favorites and a few we hope to try soon.

Rey's. A fine meal--I had the "French Quarter Chicken", a house specialty, "Airline breast stuffed with herb cheese, topped with lemon beurre blanc"--made even better by one of those $20-off postcards they mail out frequently.

P. F. Chang's. I had two items from their new Yunnan menu--Yunnan Wontons and Dali Chicken--and enjoyed both.

Red Robin. I haven't had a hamburger there yet, and I should because that's what they specialize in, but I can recommend their "Groovy Smoothie" made of "strawberries, peaches, bananas, wild berries and grenadine blended with apple juice and vanilla cream".

South. Excellent fried pimento cheese beignets and about the best fried chicken I've had anywhere.

La Vie Pan Asian. Satisfying Thai buffet lunch, weekdays, for just $7.47.

Champi Thai and Sushi. Service was slow the one time we were there, but the Crab Rangoons were excellent and so was the Red Curry Beef.

Taste of Thai. Fine Thai coffee, Pad Thai, Chicken Satay, and Red Curry Beef. They will also sell you a jar of their fine peanut-based salad dressing which made my wife very happy.

Jibarra. It specializes in tequilas, which I did not try, and my younger daughter and I went only for Sunday brunch. But we liked said brunch very much. I had Bistec con Chilaquiles, corn chips with poblano sauce and queso fresco along with thin ribeye slices. That, plus a nice fruit plate, a mimosa, and the dessert bar were a bit pricey at $25, but it was a welcome change from usual brunch fare.

Tres Magueyes. One of the busiest restaurants we've been to in Raleigh. They have low prices--made even lower by the zillions of coupons they mail out (if you miss one, the coupons are also online)--quick service, and good quality food. I really like their tortilla chips and their carne asada tacos.

On the Border. A new one just opened in North Raleigh, near the Triangle Towne Center. Once again, excellent tortilla chips and carne asada.

Ferlo's Alimentari. I have a weak spot for family-run restaurants. Ferlo's has opened recently in Plantation Square and is owned and operated by two siblings. Excellent Italian deli meats and sandwiches.

Jack Astor's. I forget what I had to eat--it wasn't bad--but "Jack's Original Lemon Concoction" was quite a refreshing drink on a hot day. ("Shake made with fresh lemon and French Vanilla ice cream.")

We continue to get good value at Tasca Brava, Metro 8 in Durham, Solomon's, EVOO, Carver's Creek, and Biaggi's. Tasca Brava, in particular, should have a lot more patronage than it apparently does. Owned and operated by a husband and wife, two true foodies, it has outstanding tapas and good wine. 

We hope to try soon North Seafood Bistro, Kin, Pollo Rico (Peruvian grilled chicken in Cary), and Falls River Smokehouse (8320 Litchford Road).