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  1. I tried to find a thread for the Research Triangle, but when I clicked on it I got a message saying, 'Sorry, we could not locate the item you are trying to view." If there is a viable thread, please move this post there. Thanks. Anyway, we're going to be spending a week in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill during the second week of January. I'd love to get some recommendations of places to eat: breakfast, lunch and dinner, with focus on Durham. In addition to eateries, would appreciate ideas for any food markets or non-food places that are worth a visit. Thanks and Happy New Year!
  2. Here is the link. I agree with the firing of the server. I agree that the server should contact Mr. Manning and apologize. But ... Can you blame the server for being positive giddy and wanting to share this news? I believe that if Mr. Manning accepts the apology, and the server asks for his or her job back, they should be rehired. Mr. Manning only looks like an extremely generous person from this receipt having been leaked, so certainly no harm done there. I've been to The Angus Barn twice (it used to have one of the greatest wine lists in America), and these are not snotty servers; they're nice people. This person was probably just thrilled having met a superstar, and I hope they get their job back.
  3. [posted on eGullet 2003-2004] Enoteca Vin, Raleigh, Most Important Restaurant South of NYC? Did I say that? Yes, I did. Chef Ashley Christensen is my idea of a chef's chef. A hard-working craftsman producing world-class dishes without running up against the rampant egos that are the downfall of otherwise talented cooks trying to make a name for themselves in this competitive, cold hard world. How many restaurants have you dined in lately that have the following: 1) a chef who is sweating bullets on the line in the kitchen 2) true, fresh, seasonal local ingredients 3) recipes that are elegant, ethereal, transparent and clean 4) depth of flavor that relies on the essence of the fresh ingredients, rather than some odd juxtaposition of flavors that should never have come into contact with each other. There can be nothing "better" than this without much costlier ingredients and way more hours spent preparing the meal. This is as good as it gets in terms of food, cuisine, wine and fine dining, less the formality of a multi-starred restaurant. And it's in a bistro setting. Oh, and here's a minor detail: if you consider selection and pricing, they have the best wine list in the United States of America. Yes, that's right, I just said that: if you consider selection and pricing, they have the best wine list in the country. Furthermore, my guess is that they have the single greatest Burgundy list in the entire world outside of Burgundy, with the possible exception of some Michelin-starred restaurants in France (but not many). Yes, I just said that too. And this is a bistro in Raleigh, North Carolina. The prices for the wines? About what you'd pay at retail, or about half what most other restaurants charge (assuming they had these wines on their lists, which they don't). When I was last there I enjoyed a perfectly stored 1978 Margaux with my dinner for $195. Think about this: when a restaurant offers expensive wines such as this at-or-near retail, they're taking the risk that the wine is somehow bad or defective, not you. However, this wine, like all other wines I've bought from them, was in perfect condition. There's a lot of good inexpensive stuff, too, and about thirty interesting wines by the glass! Enoteca Vin is a connoisseur's place to dine, and will not remain a secret much longer. The food is simple, elegant, and brilliant. The chef is an artist, but not a tortured, angry artist; merely a talented artist performing her craft with humility to the best of her abilities. Too good to be true? Maybe, but I'm telling you to heed my words before the October issue of Food and Wine Magazine comes out. You heard that little secret here first, my friends. It is a privilege to dine at Enoteca Vin. You should go now, before it catches on, because I promise you, dear reader, that it will catch on sooner rather than later. Listen to what I say here, Rocks. --- Hi Dean, It's precisely that lack of complexity that makes the dishes so magical to me. Nothing is tortured, nothing is busy, nothing is muddled. A bite of corn or tomato will taste like the purity and innocence of the farm, without any of the flavors being challenged or lost. On their dinner menu on the web, they have a dish called Day Boat scallops with local butter beans, white corn, and yellow Tomato-vidalia relish. In this dish, every single kernel of corn shines through, not as a drowned-out drumbeat in a loud song, but as the purest kernel of corn you could imagine. And each butter bean has its own place in the dish. This is a string quartet where each instrument can be enjoyed individually if you wish to hear them, but the entire ensemble works together to offer a testament to the season. Here in Washington DC, we have an all-organic restaurant called Nora whose ingredients "read" of a certain purity, but the execution renders them dried out and boring. We have star chefs who pride themselves on playing with food, pairing this-and-that item with whatever clever ingredients they dreamed up the night before, and then making the dish look like something it's not. The results can be interesting and even quite good, but it's more about the chef than what went into the dish. No chef in the world is more important than a good tomato. And then, of course, there are the cowboys, the race drivers, feeling the need to throw as many items into a dish as possible. But Ashley is young and self-trained, has an uncorrupted aspect to her cooking, and an exceedingly rare ability to let the ingredients speak without feeling the need to put a strong personal imprint on them. She realizes, rightly so, that no human intervention can improve upon the freshest seasonal ingredients. However, she also has the ability to put together plates that amplify and heighten those flavors, without setting them in competition with each other or overwhelming them with external noise. If you go on a night that's not busy, ask if she'll arrange a special tasting menu for you. She truly appreciates customers who put their faith in her to assemble and present a multi-course meal. All this, coupled with one of the best wine lists in the world. Cheers! Rocks. P.S. Did I mention that they have a good wine list? ---
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