Rue Cler, Durham

A few weeks ago we headed to Rue Cler for a nice relaxing dinner.  We didn’t have a reservation but managed to get a high bar table right by the window.  Since, the restaurant is on the corner it is a nice place to watch the world go by.  The large space is split into two smaller, more intimate rooms with a nice slat-wood wall.  The tables are simple and fairly closely packed adding to the charming, energetic vibe. 

For dinner, they offer a regularly changing prix fixe menu and a few French bistro classics, such as steak frites and coq au vin, as a la carte options.  What is fantastic about the menu is that all of the dishes on the prix fixe menu can be ordered separately, which allows for endless options. 

I started with a tart from the prix fixe menu.  It was delicious!  The mushroom and leek topping was offset by the acidity of a simple tomato sauce which all sat on a buttery crust.  G actually started with the gratin dauphinois as a starter rather than a side.  It was a decadent version of this dish with layers very thinly sliced potatoes, cheese and cream.  For our entrées we opted with dishes from the a la carte menu, steak frites for me and coq au vin for G.  Both were wonderful versions of these classics.  The steak was perfectly cooked to my requested medium and the frites were cut addictively thin and perfectly seasoned.  The coq au vin too was rich and hearty with nice thick cuts of vegetables.  Finally for dessert we shared the terrine au chocolat which was absolutely indulgent!

The waiter was also very helpful, with an easy going attitude.  We will most certainly be back for delicious a French meal in a warm charming atmosphere. 

Rue Cler
http://www.ruecler-durham.com
401 East Chapel Hill Street
Durham,NC27701
919-682-8844

Part of a community

I often find it difficult to sit down and write a blog post; between work and general laziness, blogging falls by the wayside.  The reason I started the blog, was for myself, as a journal to remember what we ate, where, and if we liked it.  So, it is easy to say, “Why bother!?” and give up.  The Triangle Food Blogger Bake Sale held this past Saturday was a reminder of why I bother.  For me, writing a food blog is not about the number of hits or stats but rather about being part of a community.  It is a community of like-minded people who are concerned about sustainable food production, ending childhood hunger, access to healthy food, sharing recipes, and enjoying delicious food.  Participating in the food blogger bake sale reminded me of exactly this.  It was a hosted by Johanna Kramer of Durhamfoodie Blog and Matt Lardie of Green Eats Blog.  All the funds raised went to benefit ‘Share our Strength’, a national non-profit working to end childhood hunger.   At the Triangle bake sale we raised $650 in just two hours!  Johanna provides a great recap with recipes by each of the goodies sold.  Nationwide the coordinated food blogger bake sale raised over $22,000 for Share Our Strength.  It was wonderful to be part of such a great event and meet some of the members of this community.  I look forward to participating again next year!

Triangle Food Blogger Bake Sale

More than 17 million kids in America struggle with hunger, that’s nearly one in four children.  The national non-profit organization “Share our Strength” works to end childhood hunger in America by connecting children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives.

Johanna Kramer of Durhamfoodie Blog and Matt Lardie of Green Eats Blog will host the Triangle’s first ever food blogger bake sale to benefit ‘Share our Strength’ as part of the Great American Bake Sale.  This event was started in 2010 by Gaby Dalkin of “What’s Gaby Cooking,” food bloggers from across the country will unite to end childhood hunger by holding bake sales in their states.  All money generated will be donated back to Share our Strength.

I am excited to participate in the first Triangle area bake sale.  We have a vibrant food blogger community here and it is great to harness the energy for such an important cause.  Community members can purchase tickets and then exchange those tickets for baked goods. One ticket is $3 or four tickets for $10, with each ticket good for one baked item.  If interested in participating, please email greeneatsblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

Come out, get some treats and support and great cause!

The details:
Who:     Triangle area food bloggers
When:   Saturday, May 14th 10am-12pm
Where:  The Art Market at Vega Metals Gallery
214 Hunt Street, Durham – near the Durham Farmers Market

Crack Pie

Food can be addictive, much like a drug, and in the case of the aptly named Crack Pie it most certainly is!  Crack Pie is the creation of pastry chef Christina Tosi of Momofuku’s Milk Bar fame in New York City.  Following all of the news and reading all of the articles about David Chang’s ventures, I have been dreaming about trying Momofuku on our next trip to NYC.  A few weeks ago our local newspaper, the News & Observer, published an adapted recipe for Crack Pie.  I cut it out thinking that one day I would try to make it.  Well, G noticed the cut out sitting on the dining room table and found out that it could be ordered online and delivered the next day.  So, for my birthday this past weekend, my gift was Crack Pie direct from the source!

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Sugarland Bakery, Chapel Hill

A couple of weeks ago we were entertaining our young friend (she is almost 5 years old!) and decided to try Sugarland Bakery for a treat.  It is a cute shop located right at the heart of the Franklin St.  They have a few tables to sit and enjoy your treats and a counter of treats; half is filled with baked goods and chocolate truffles and the other half is dedicated to gelato.  For the season they had a great miniature village set up in the window complete with moving ice skaters and children sledding down a hill.  This interested the little one for some time!  Then, we each proceeded to select a cupcake.  I tried the seasonal Egg Nog, G tried the red velvet and the she tried the double chocolate.  They were all quite tasty with rich icing.  As usual the each had much too much icing, which seems to be the current style in cupcakes.  The Egg Nog in particular had a spicy, egg-y flavor.  However, all three were a bit dry which was disappointing.  They didn’t have the delicate texture that you would expect from a cupcake that is over $3 each!  Cupcakes are the trendiest thing in baked goods right now but they ought to be melting-in-my-mouth to charge more than $3!!

Sugarland Bakery
http://www.sugarlandchapelhill.com
140 E. Franklin St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919-929-2100

The Mission in San Francisco

During our trip to SF, we had managed to have two lovely dining experiences in the Mission District.  For breakfast one morning we went to Tartine Bakery at the corner of Guerrero St and 18th.  It is a simple bakery space with a few small tables and a larger communal table.  We arrived ‘late’ at 9am and the place was packed!  We got in line and ordered a quiche, a croissant and two hot chocolates.  The quiche was eggy, delicate and light!  Very nice.  The croissant too was delicious, flaky and crispy!!  The main complaint was the crowds!  It was difficult to find a place to enjoy our goodies and once we finally found a counter to stand it was in the traffic of the ordering line.  But, the treats were wonderful and well worth a visit!

One night we met up with an old friend and he took us to Medjool.  It is a great space with a huge bar and space for dancing.  It also has a lounge space on the mezzanine and a great rooftop lounge.  With so much wonderful party space you would assume that the food would be secondary but in this case it isn’t.  It is a delicious Mediterranean tapas bar with dishes from Northern Africa, Southern Europe and the Middle East.  We tried several tapas and all were delicious!!  The menu offers lighter options such as olives, hummus, and pomme frites and heavier options such as braised short rib and hanger steak.  It is a lovely place to meet up with friends and spend the evening enjoying some drinks and noshing!!

Tartine Bakery
http://www.tartinebakery.com
600 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110
415-487-2600

Medjool Restaurant Cafe
http://www.medjoolsf.com
2516 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110-2512
415-550-9055