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Friday, June 27, 2008

I got nothin'

I went away for a week to the Raleigh-Durham area and suffered one of my periodic restaurant burnouts. There were dozens of terrific restaurants waiting for me just 20 minutes up I-40 in Raleigh but I just didn't have the energy. Maybe it was the pressure of choosing.

Some of the places on my list were:

The Irregardless Cafe - An irreverent long-time Raleigh classic using fresh local organic ingredients.

ShabaShabu - A trendy Thai/Japanese place that serves Shabu Shabu-style meat and veggies.

An Cuisines - An upscale Vietnamese place infused with European traditions.

Jibarra - A trendy Mexican place that serves ceviche, duck tostadas, rabbit taquitos and Mexican-influenced terrine of foie gras among other delicious things. I probably regret not going here the most.

Dalat - A Vietnamese place with more menu items than animals on the Ark.

Tuesday and Thursday nights I just went next door to the Food Lion and bought stuff like baby spinach and prosciutto and fresh mozzarella with grape tomatoes (leave it to a grocery chain in the south to put parsley in their caprese salad instead of basil) and made dinner in my hotel room.

I did however have the third best burger I've had all year after the Led Zeppelin at Kuma's Corner and the Christian's Bisro Kobe burger with bacon and swiss at the Cleveland Draft House, a sport bar-type place in Garner, NC, with an amazing selection of microbrews I've never heard of on tap.

I walked from my hotel to the Draft House on Wednesday night since all pints were $2.50, even the $5 stuff. After an IPA (Foothills) from Winston-Salem and an amber ale (Red Oak) from Greensboro I ordered the Hurricane burger. Whether it was named after the local hockey team or the annual weather systems that sometimes strike North Carolina doesn't matter. This was an 8 oz. burger topped with American cheese, chili and pickles. Delicious but nothing special, right?

The thing that made this burger outstanding was that it was actually served to me medium rare, just like I ordered. That is exceedingly rare. Even Kuma's overcooked my burger to medium. When a restaurant pays this much attention to its burger cookery, it has something going for it.


Anonymous meatball said...

Any experience/recommendations in Greensboro? I'm heading there in a couple of weeks.

RE: burger doneness. Couldn't agree more. Went to Granite City with the wife Saturday night. I ordered the burger medium. It actually was pink in the middle. I was shocked. How sad.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Swoof said...

No clue on Greensboro, meatball. I'm guessing it's a little less cosmopolitan than the Research Triangle area with its three major universities and lots of tech companies. I'd recommend putting your Greensboro address in google maps and then searching nearby for restaurants. That's what I always do.

When I was a server I got plenty of complaints from people who thought medium meant "no pink." Meat ordering and meat cookery could both use some work.

7:19 PM  

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