Well, the time has come for use to make another move. This time we are moving to the Chicago area. With the addition of the peanut, it was time to be closer to my family. We have absolutely loved our time here in the Triangle and especially the food scene. In the four years we have lived here were have developed many favorite places and we have been trying to visit as many as we can before we head out. The spots we are making a priority to get back to are (in no particular order):
Yamazushi is located in the Woodcroft Shopping center in Durham. When you step into the restaurant you are immediately transported to restaurant in Japan. As we learnt on our trip to Japan, in traditional eateries the dining area is separated from the entry. When you walk into Yamazushi there is a narrow walkway created by a screen on your left which hides the dining area behind it. At the end of the narrow walk is a small welcoming water fountain.
As we entered, we were greeted warmly by Mayumi, the wife in the husband and wife team that run the restaurant. She immediately knew who we were as they stagger the reservations so that every guest can be welcomed and seated with personal attention. She seated us and explained the kaiseki menu. Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese muticourse dining experience which is rooted in the Buddhist culture.
Mexican-Asian fusion is not something I’ve seen before but is the concept behind Lucha Tigre. It is a new-ish place, in the old Flying Burrito space next to Flyleaf Books and Foster’s Market in Chapel Hill. The space is nice with gray walls decorated with black, white and red Lucha Libre wrestling posters. We went early, since we have the little one, and the atmosphere was causal and comfortable. We started with the Lucha Mojito which were a twist on the traditional mojito and included ginger. It was fresh and bright! I loved that it was served with a piece of sugar cane which I had to chew down!
Donuts seem to be all the rage right now; two new donut shops have opened up in Durham and are getting a lot of buzz. Monuts Donuts, which already had a loyal following from their food bike, has opened up a brick and mortar store in downtown Durham. Rise Biscuits and Donuts has opened up in the Southpoint area.
Ok, I must admit, it is more difficult than I anticipated finding time to blog with a newborn and a full time job but I’m trying. Needless to say it is more appealing to spend the limited down time trying out new places than it is to sit down and write about them! We have been able to try a few places so the posts will roll out slowly but surely.
A few weekends ago when the weather was nice we took the opportunity to take a walk in Duke Forest and try Bull City Burger and Brewery (BCBB). This is a cool burger joint right in downtown Durham. It is a casual, comfortable space with communal wooden picnic benches and floor to ceiling glass windows allowing visitors a glimpse into the brewery. They also have a nice covered outdoor space behind the restaurant for warmer days. Though casual in feel they are serious about their product. They use North Carolina pasture-raised beef, bake their own buns and make their own condiments. They also offer a nice choice of atypical beverages; in addition to their own beers, they have a self-serve wine dispenser, and a Boylan fountain soda machine.
One of our new favorite places is Vin Rouge in Durham. I know, as usual, it took us awhile to ‘discover’ it even after all the wonderful press and reviews. But, recently we have been there for dinner three times which is quite frequent for us to re-visit a place. Our first experience with Vin Rouge was brunch a little over a year ago. While our bunch meals were good, we weren’t wowed and weren’t feeling compelled to go back for dinner. But, with all of the great great buzz on the place we finally tried it again for dinner in February and had a wonderful experience and have been back a few times since!
To celebrate our anniversary G and I decided to finally check out The Umstead Hotel in Cary. We made an entire afternoon of it with massages and an afternoon at the spa and then dinner at the nationally recognized Herons. The entire hotel has a modern, elegant style with muted neutral tones and warm lighting. This elegance is carried on into the restaurant, Herons. The walls are covered in a warm wood paneling. The space is divided into smaller rooms with alcoves holding beautiful large artful pieces which set off the well-designed space. The large table are well spaced to allow guests to have intimate conversations. The kitchen is viewable from the dining area for those who would like to see the action.