You know how it is when you get food event emails. You have to move FAST before the good ones are sold out! And when I see something like the charity dinner “Toro Dreams of the Chupacabra”, I literally ordered the tickets in my car. And yeah, I was driving, shhhh… Anyhow, Pizzeria Toro was teaming up with the Cookery for a dinner event to raise money for for the Urban Ministries of Durham and I was in! Given a fire at Pizzeria Toro, I’m guessing they felt they should do something with their down-time. I’ve been dying to check out the Cookery and respect the pies at Pizzeria Toro so how could I resist?
You know I don’t get out to the burbs that much so even though I hear of decent spots in Wake Forest, I rarely get there. But on a recent trip in the area, I got to stop in and try out the well-acclaimed Tropical Picken Chicken! Loves me some Latin-American food, beans and rice. Located in a small, strip plaza, Tropical Picken Chicken is total casual cafe. Inside there’s a large menu on a side-wall and then you order at the counter. A small selection of beer in addition to soda and other beverages, the menu is reasonably broad and holds a lot of classics that your abuelita (spanish for grandmother) would make. I go with a mixed-meat plate to get a taste of everything and grab a Presidente cerveza to tide me over.
I’m not sure what I was thinking when I got my Costco membership. I mean, what’s a single guy going to do with a 72 pack of toilet paper or a 10 pack of Brita filters? But you would be surprised, my friend! Once I learned the in’s and out’s of being a Costco member and navigating the parking lot, you realize there is definitely some value for even a single person with a membership. Especially if you’re into food and cooking, go figure. And the more times I visit Costco, the more I find to enjoy and eat. Let’s go for a quick tour!
When you talk about celebrity chefs in the area, it’s hard to not think of Ashley Christensen. Over the past 6 years she’s aggressively expanded from local chef to national celebrity with a chain of hip, tasty eateries left in her wake. I remember when she worked at Enoteca Vin as a chef and since then she’s spun off Poole’s, Beasley’s, Chucks, Fox’s Bar and now, Joule. So we’re talking Southern nouveau, fried chicken, burgers, cocktails and now coffee. Her overall theme is higher-end, comfort food with high quality ingredients and hipster style. She knows how to do premium and cool while still appealing to the core Raleigh food audience which is not quite as eclectic as say, Durham. So how does Joule play out as the latest jewel in the AC food chain? Come on in and find out!
Over in Cary Town Plaza is a quiet little Thai restaurant called, Tom Yum Thai. I had been here years ago when it opened and thought it was decent but it literally took over five years before I came back for a re-visit! Cary Town Center is just not a spot I get to that frequently but I’m glad I did get back to try Tom Yum Thai again. From the outside the restaurant looks pretty humble. Most likely a conversion of a fast-food restaurant, the drab exterior opens up to a large, high-ceiling dining room full of dark woods and pendant lighting, quite nice! We grab a table in the corner, there’s plenty of sunlight to keep the place bright for lunch time. Tom Yum Thai does a bunch of lunch specials for $8 which includes drink, soup or salad and entree.
A long time back I had written about the quirky Hot Point Café, a quirky little sandwich spot on Buck Jones that not everyone would even notice. Located in what looked like an older fast food joint, the subtle exterior hid tasty eats inside. And over the years even though I knew they dished out good food, I’d still forget about Hot Point! Thankfully the restaurant still did fine and recently upgraded by moving over to Walnut Street across from the Cook Out. Funny but the new location is probably a converted fast food place (Burger King?) and located in front of the Waffle House. I finally decided it was time for a revisit and while most of the good has stayed, Hot Point has upgraded itself in other ways.
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