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Ye Olde Trail Tavern

December 19th, 2007 No comments

Our last full day in Yellow Springs, we met up with Ty and Melanie, friends of ours from Carrboro, now living in California. We last saw them at their home in California in the Spring, and would probably not have seen them again for some time, except they were visiting with Ty’s family in Sydney, Ohio for the holidays. We caught up while walking around Yellow Springs, and investigating the shops, including two artists co-operatives (Yellow Springs Pottery and The Village Artisans Gallery), where we made some purchases.

When it came time for lunch, we decided to try someplace new (for us), and decided to eat at Ye Olde Trail Tavern. Selecting the Tavern as someplace “new” proved to be ironic, since the restaurant occupies the oldest building in Yellow Springs (constructed in 1844), and is believed to be the second oldest existing tavern in Ohio. Read more…

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The Winds Cafe

December 18th, 2007 No comments

Family obligations bring us to central Ohio every year or two, and this time finds us in Yellow Springs for a Chasens family reunion of sorts. Yellow Springs is a small, progressive town, though progressive is probably an understatement, as Yellow Springs makes Carrboro look conservative. The town is probably best known for Antioch College, and famous resident Dave Chapelle. Suzanne, her brother Isaac, and I have a new favorite game, spot Dave Chapelle when we are downtown (I won yesterday with two sightings).

When in Yellow Springs, probably the nicest faire can be found at the Winds Cafe. To celebrate Suzanne’s grandmother’s ninetieth birthday, we took everyone out for a nice meal at this town landmark. Read more…

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Two Tastes of the South

October 15th, 2007 No comments

Suzanne’s brother Jamey came to visit this weekend, and one of his requests was to get a chance to sample some local cuisine. We picked to local Chapel Hill eateries that represented different takes on “down home” cooking.

On Saturday, we journeyed to The Barbecue Joint (630 Weaver Dairy Rd, Chapel Hill, NC) in northern Chapel Hill. The restaurant is in an unassuming strip mall, and is fairly small, with very kitschy decorations. I first became aware of the place after a visit by Rachael Ray as part of an episode of her $40 A Day show. While the atmosphere was nothing special, the food was. I ordered the BBQ beef, which was think and juicy. The sides, coleslaw and pickles were amazing, and some of the best I have had. I have to admit I hate coleslaw, but this was different—very crisp and not saturated with mayo, while the cucumbers were ever so slightly pickled.

Sunday night we went to Mama Dip’s Country (kitchen (408 W. Rosemary St., Chapel Hill, NC). While not a huge restaurant, it is much larger than the Barbecue Joint, and more traditionally decorated.  Mildred Council (a.k.a Mama Dip) has been a fixture in Chapel Hill since the sixties. I have been eating at Mama Dip’s Country Kitchen since the late 80’s, before the move to its current location. I have fond memories, of good eating, but the food just doesn’t seem to be as good as I remember. I ordered the sliced BBQ beef, with peas and potatoes, baked apples, and corn bread for the sides. The beef was sliced thin, and was fairly dry, requiring the BBQ to make it edible. The sides were fairly unremarkable, with the baked apples being the best of them.

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Sushi at Sakana

March 26th, 2007 No comments

Gizzard ShadIt was raining this afternoon in San Francisco, so Suzanne and I didn’t want to venture too far on foot from the hotel for lunch. After a false start to a restaurant that was only open for dinner, we went to our backup — Sakana at 639 Post St (Cross Street: Taylor).

While we usually don’t go for sushi while traveling, we thought San Francisco would be the exception, with the proximity to fresh fish, and local Japanese presence, and we did not find ourselves disappointed. We don’t consider ourselves to be experts by any means, this was among some of the best we have had, ostensibly due to the quality of the ingredients available. During our meal, we saw the owner carry in bags of fresh fish on ice, undoubtedly from the local fish market.

Suzanne ordered a lunch special of salmon, and spicy tuna maki, which was very good, but paled compared to the a-la-carte nigiri we sampled: Aji (Horse mackerel), Hamachi (Yellow tail), and Kohada (Gizzard Shad). The flavors of the mackerel and yellow tail were far subtler than I had ever tasted, and the Gizzard Shad was completely new to us. Related to herring and mackerel, it was reminiscent of sardine, but with a more subtle and complex flavor.

The meal, including a large lettuce salad (which we split) set us back about $35, including tip.

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Strolling in Chinatown

March 26th, 2007 No comments

The line in front of the House of NankingAfter I visited a lab at the University of California at San Francisco, we decided to satisfy David’s hankering for Chinese food. We walked up some very steep streets to Grant Avenue where we passed through the Dragon Gate that signifies the beginning of San Francisco’s Chinatown. Apparently, the SF Chinatown is the largest Chinese community outside of China. Grant Avenue is the commercial heart of Chinatown and is lined with shops selling tourist kitsch, restaurants, and bakeries. Surprisingly, we saw the Sabra Glatt Kosher restaurant on Grant right past the Dragon gates.

David had some of his cravings satisfied at the Eastern Bakery (720 Grant Ave.), where we enjoyed yummy and cheap moon cakes and coconut macaroons. Apparently, Eastern Bakery predates WWII and has been visited by luminaries such as former President Clinton. They proudly displayed pictures of Mr. Clinton enjoying some moon cakes while surrounded by the bakery’s workers. We ate dinner at the famous House of Nanking (919 Kearny St), which is apparently quite well known due to visits by Rachael Ray.

After dinner, we walked back to the Union Square Hilton. The Union Square area is quite posh with lots of choices in high fashion shopping: Neiman Marcus, Tiffany’s, Nordstrom’s, etc. We did discover that the Tenderloin district approaches on the south side of the Union Square area and is rather seedy. Indeed, San Francisco has more homeless people asking for money than perhaps any city I’ve ever visited. Like so many big cities in the US, the contrast between rich and poor is strikingly evident in SF.

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