Archive for October, 2007


October 29th, 2007 No comments

David and I hosted our 4th Annual Pumpkin Carving party this weekend. Friends came and throughly enjoyed themselves carving their pumpkin masterpieces. It was a very kid friendly party with young guests ranging in age from 4 months to 12 yo. The kids really enjoyed running around our spacious yard. I especially liked our neighbors, Tim and Wendy’s carved turnip faces! As the sun was setting, David fired up the grill and made tasty hot dogs for everyone. Before people left, we lit up the freshly carved jack o’lanterns and admired their festive glow. We can’t wait until Pumpkin Carving Party #5 next year!

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Jamey comes to Carolina!

October 21st, 2007 No comments

Last weekend, we had a super visit with my brother, Jamey. David and I tried our best to show Jamey some of the local color. The fall weather, drought excepting, was gorgeous, so we tried to take advantage of it with some outdoor activities. We took him to the Durham County Wildlife Club where David showed Jamey how to shoot several kinds of pistols and rifles. Jamey, a first time shooter, did admirably well. We also hit Franklin Street, Chapel Hill’s main drag, on Saturday night and got beers at a local bar, Top of the Hill. It was a very lively scene that night since UNC had a home football game against USC that day.

In terms of the local cuisine scene, we managed to cram in visits to two kinds of Carolina BBQ shacks as well as Chinese food. During the day on Sunday, we took Jamey to see the sights at UNC. We walked around Coker Arboretum, which is quite pretty, but not in the same league as Duke Gardens, in my opinion! A stop by my lab completed the UNC tour. I showed off all the fancy science “toys” in the lab including the fluorescent microscope which I used to illuminate slides of fluorescently labeled spinal cord astrocytes, the real “stars” of cellular and molecular neurobiology.

Sunday night, we invited our neighbors, Tim and Wendy, over to relax in front of the firepit and drink beer and make s’mores. Monday morning, I took Jamey back to the airport. Since I don’t have any family on my side in the state, we are always appreciative of friends and family who make the trip out to NC to see us!

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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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