Southern Chat: My Picks for Great Summer Eats and Dine on Firewürst Hot Dogs in July for a Good Cause

I know. I've been away from here for awhile. I went a whole week and a few days without writing one word on the Hines Sight Blog. The vacation to Topsail Beach was great and once I got back to Raleigh I decided to vacation some more at home. I was not on a writing assignment while at Topsail Beach, therefore, I did very little while there in terms of tourism. Some of you may call it boring. I call it relaxing. For dinner one night, I made my Dad's Feta and Shrimp Pasta Salad.

Feta and Shrimp Pasta Salad

This dish is so good and refreshing. You just need 1 cup of cottage cheese, 8 ounces of angel hair pasta, 1 cucumber, 2 tomatoes, 4 green onions,1  tsp of oregano, 1 tsp of pepper, a pound of shrimp, and 1 cup of feta cheese. Yes. It's that easy.

Easy Feta and Shrimp Pasta Salad

This week, Will and I popped over to the Washington Duke Inn to sample some of the items on Executive Chef Jason Cunningham's summer menu. We had a lot of fun at this event. It was on the golf course, and we had a putting contest. Will actually won us dinner in the Fairview Dining Room, and I can't wait to go back. And for the record, Will is a non-golfer, but he did hit up the putt-putt course while at Topsail. Apparently, that practice paid off.

Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club

The heirloom tomatoes are always a hit, and one of the new summer cocktails is called a "Basil Squeeze". It's refreshingly good for a hot day.

Tuna Tartare at Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club

I liked everything I tried, but two dishes really stuck out as the best of the best for me. The Tuna Tartare is an appetizer with N.C. Yellowfin tuna, cilantro quinoa, golden beet carpaccio, avocado ice, lemon mosto oil, and saffron aioli. This was my first time trying avocado ice, and it was refreshingly good. It was like an ice cream. I love beets. I love quinoa. It was an outstanding dish for me, and I should have chased Jason around the course for a second helping.

I was too busy eating it to take a photo, but the fried blueberry hand pies on the dessert menu are amazing. The pies are served with blood orange ice cream. After the tasting, Will and I had a late dinner in the Bull Durham Bar because we have a pact that we do not go home unless all children are in bed. I ordered the summer salad and margarita cheesecake, which are also great new items for summer.

Also, here's a HinesSight Tip for you. From 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., the Fairview Dining Room has the three-course "Dinner at Dusk" menu for $35 per person. It's one of the best bargains in the Triangle for fine dining.  Also, summer is a great time to stay at the Inn with rates the lowest of the season if you are looking for a golf getaway. Rates begin to rise again in August as Duke University gets ready for the fall semester.

Firewurst Stop Summer Hunger Campaign

Also, this week, I had lunch at Firewürst in Cary with the kids. I went to chat with the owners about a new summer initiative that the restaurant will be doing this July at its three locations throughout Cary to help fight hunger for kids over the summer. The "10,000 for 10,000" Summer Hunger campaign will benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

Firewürst has set a goal of serving 10,000 hot dogs and donating $10,000 of its proceeds to support the nonprofit’s Stop Summer Hunger Campaign. This donation will enable the Food Bank to provide 50,000 meals to children this summer. 

This was my first visit to Firewürst. It is a family-owned business with a nod to the family's Romanian heritage of making sausages and dogs. We're talking good stuff here. No artificial ingredients, no fillers, and 100 percent allergen and gluten free for its "Certified Angus Beef" hot dog.

My son said it was one of the best hot dogs he has had in his eight years of life. I tried a lot of different things while there, and was really impressed with all the items. I will go back, and here's another HinesSight Tip for you: KIDS eat FREE on Wednesdays.

July is an important month so help fight hunger by eating a hot dog or two. The stop hunger campaign will be going on for the entire month at all three Firewürst locations.

-        1377 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary, N.C., next to Trader Joe’s
-        1823 N. Harrison Ave., Cary, N.C., next to Bass Pro Shops
-        8531 Brier Creek Parkway, Raleigh, next to Regal Brier Creek Stadium 14

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