Juicy Tidbits: The Best in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill

It’s the middle of summer, and, as expected, I’ve not had as much time to write about everything that I want to share.   As a result, I thought I would put together little tidbits of what I want to tell you rather than developing full blog posts.  

I like to live life to the fullest by soaking up what my home city has to offer.  

So let’s talk burgers! 

Chuck's in Raleigh, N.C. #OutaboutNC
Yes,beets are on my burger. 
Raleigh has some good burgers, then it has some gourmet, “knock-your-socks-off” burgers. Will and I got a sitter and headed to Chuck’s, a restaurant owned by Ashley Christensen. She’s kind of famous in this town. She’s been on “Iron Chef America,” and she always gets knockout reviews about her restaurant Poole’s, even from celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow. 

But how do her burgers stack up? 

I am dreaming about the burger I had every night. And the fries? We want to know how she makes them taste so good.  So Chuck’s is a Raleigh must.  Save room for a milkshake, too.

On another Saturday, I wanted to transport myself to another country, so Will and I went to Tasca Brava 607, an authentic Spanish Tapas restaurant in downtown Raleigh. 

We had the best meat-and-cheese platter.

Tasca Brava in Raleigh
This plate had the best Spanish almonds

It was fantastic.  The owner/chef is Spanish, and he imports everything from Spain.  I don’t think there is anything he can’t do.  We actually giggled and said that he was in the back of the restaurant “milking a goat” to make our cheese for the platter.  We get a little crazy when we get away from the kids for a night.

If you go, you’ll understand.  He takes a lot of pride in his food and his Spanish heritage.  He not only prepares the food, but he also takes your order.  And if you want coffee, he has developed his own blend and roasts all the beans.  See what I mean!  I don’t think you would expect anything else, but his sangria is homemade, too. 

We did venture out with the kids one night to Café Caturra in Cameron Village.  This is a wine bar restaurant that is actually a small chain. The thing that stood out for us is that they allow kids to make their own pizzas.  Mr. Cool had a great time making his own dough, picking out toppings, and eating his masterpiece.  The chefs were amazed that he put olives and some peppers on his pizza.  Yea! He’s not my picky kid.  It’s a fun experience for kids. I recommend it.

On Skimbaco, I wrote a travel piece on beautiful Beaufort. I highlighted some of my favorite places there, and we enjoyed our mini-vacation a lot.  Visit NC is hosting a sweepstakes until the end of the month for a free trip to Beaufort, the Coolest Small Town in America.  It includes a lot of perks, and you can get the scoop on Skimbaco.

I’m gloating a little bit about my luxury travel choices.  I take pride in the hotels I feature on the Hines-Sight Blog.  I featured the Mast Farm Inn right here on the blog last month, and, of course, we had a fantastic trip.  Well, this month, the famous Martha Stewart has named the inn the best hotel for Southern fare for 2012 in her magazine.  And on top of that, the Mast Farm Inn just won the contest for having the Best Dish in North Carolina.  Hmmm, I think I know how to pick my inns.  Of course, I do, and I congratulate my May sponsor, The Mast Farm Inn, on these accolades.

As a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, I’m very fond of the Carolina Inn. A few months ago, Chef Jimmy Reale shared his great roasted beet salad with readers here from his spring menu. He’s since left the restaurant for another opportunity, and the Inn is excited to have James Clark as the new Executive Chef.  Raised in Elizabeth City, N.C., Clark returns to his North Carolina roots having previously worked at Five-Star, Five-Diamond, Four-Star and Four-Diamond restaurants in various cities.  Clark specializes in sustainable dining serving locally grown “Farm to Table” seafood, meats and vegetables. His individual style is inspired by local, Southern influences infused with modern techniques.  I look forward to trying his new menu.

And last, but certainly not least.  In fact, I may be saving the best for last, but Baby Diva and I had a girl’s morning at Cameron Village.  We shopped at Lilly.  She, of course, announced she wanted a big pink Lilly big-girl bed as soon as she saw it.  Who wouldn’t?

We only hit that one store and then rewarded ourselves with a cupcake from the new bakery called Sugarland.  Best. Cupcake. Ever.  I love a cupcake.  My middle name could be cupcake.  Well, not really, but I’m a cupcake lover, and I know a good cupcake when I have one. 

#OutaboutNC Cameron Village

The icing to cupcake ratio was delicious.  Not too much: I can’t stand when it has icing four inches high.  This was just right.  The center has a nice cream pocket.  I had toasted coconut.  She had strawberry.

But that’s not all.  They have gelato. Great gelato. I tasted the piña colada.  Oh, I’ll be back.  At night, they even add alcohol for some adult treats. 

I think we had the perfect morning.  I even got a new swimsuit on sale for my trip to The Homestead next month.  I’m also glad to have my car back, too.  That story is on Triangle Mom2Mom. 

By the way, July is National Ice Cream month so I think I'll be going back to Sugarland sooner rather than later. If you love ice cream and have a twitter account,  please join me for a twitter party on Wednesday, July 25 from 2-3 p.m. with the Motherhood and The International Dairy Foods Association (@dairyIDFA). Five prize packs will be given away throughout the hour.  Each prize pack will contain all of the fixings for your own ice cream party – bowls, scoops and coupons for lots of free ice cream.  RSVP here so you can be eligible for the cool prizes.  You can also follow Wednesday's conversation by using the hashtag: #icecreammonth

So, that’s living life to the fullest in Raleigh, and I’ll be collecting some juicy tidbits for you around town, but let’s just say I’ll be parking a little more carefully, talking about ice cream, and even packing my bags for a mini-getaway.  

Talk to you next week!

Chuck's on Urbanspoon

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting on the blog. You can always find me on social media and can email me at Leigh@hinessightblog.com

Latest Instagrams

© Hines-Sight Blog. Design by FCD.