There’s really nothing better than pizza and wine.
Actually, there is – gourmet pizza and wine with friends…
These lovely ladies (and the men) and I went to the new Pizzeria Toro for a late birthday celebration. The restaurant is a adorable, but small, and we were told there would be over an hour wait for a table. Luckily, we were seated after only 30 minutes! Our table shared pizzas topped with…
Since our family loooves to celebrate everything with food, we dined at L’Uva for my Dad’s birthday! It’s an Italian restaurant that’s fairly new in Durham and I really haven’t heard much about it. After seeing the seasonal and awesome menu (and the really reasonable prices), I thought it would be a good place for a nice dinner. And now I would definitely recommend it!
But first, we stopped into Pinhook for a beer and conversation!
Like any good Italian restaurant, there was bread + olive oil.
We shared the beer braised mussels to start – they were wonderful, but the bread dipped in the broth was even better.
The description for my dinner entree was simple – sweet potato gnocchi with pork sausage, sage, and basil pesto – but the flavors were oh so complex. This was hands down one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had. The other pastas I sampled were wonderful too.
Then wishes were made, presents were opened, and angel food cake was consumed. My mom just made one of these cakes with whipped cream for my sister, and I’ve been craving a piece ever since – reminds me of my childhood!
All my Dad’s cakes (or pies) have basketball man on top. I’m not sure where he came from, but maybe my mom will share in the comments…
The cake was blue and green – according to my mom the colors represent the Earth and the destruction from Sandy:(
Mmm…what a delicious night. I hope my Dad thought so too!
k bye.Read More
Today didn’t go so well. I felt worse and worse as the day progressed, until I turned white in a 2-hour meeting and excused myself to go home. A fever, two naps, and lots of chills later, I guess I’m sick?
This will be my evening and probably my day tomorrow:(
On a lighter note, my sister is turning 30 tomorrow, so I wanted to at least post to wish her a Happy Birthday!!Read More
Happy happy Monday!
I’m in a good mood because I’m going to the Ingrid Michaelson and Rufus Wainwight concert tonight! I love Ingrid, and know she puts on a good show, so Matt got me tickets for my birthday. He’s never seen her live, so I think he was pretty excited about this gift too! We’ll probably pre-game with autumn beers, and then I’m going to try my best to stay up way past my bedtime to enjoy the show.
I’ve got to tell you about this weekend’s birthday dinner though, because it was one of the best I’ve ever had. Matt and I have been eating our way through Durham for the past year, so this weekend, we decided to try one of Chapel Hill’s famous restaurants – The Lantern. It won a James Beard Award back in 2011 and since it sounded like my dream combination of flavors (Asian fusion with local NC ingredients), I was really excited to give it a try.
There was a 45 minute wait, so we ducked into Milltown in Carrboro for a beer – Love every single Unibroue beer I’ve ever had!
I don’t think Matt realized what we were getting ourselves into because he was totally blown away by the flavors. We tried 3 small plates and split one entree to maximize taste and minimize cost. First up: fresh black mushroom and cabbage dumplings:
Then, caramelized pork belly with picked green tomatoes (maybe the best PB I’ve ever had?),
Vietnamese-style NC crab and local pork spring rolls with fresh mint, lettuce, and chili-lime sauce,
and our entree: the Chapel Hill Creamery pork shoulder wrapped and cooked in a banana leaf – served lettuce-wrap style with rice noodles, lime, basil, cilantro as well as a chili lime sauce and a caramel peanut sauce for dipping!
On top of the great food, our server was enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and attentive. I really hope we can make it back, at least to sit at the bar and try a few more small plates – definitely in my top 3 favorite restaurants in the Triangle area!
On the way home from dinner, we stopped by our friends’ Great Durhamsby party (aka Great Gatsby themed party). I felt a little silly not being dressed up, but the other costumes were fabulous. There were multiple bars set up around this adorable patio and we drank prohibition era cocktails. It made for a nice Saturday night cap.
I feel like I’ve been wining and dining for four days straight (that’s what birthdays are for, right?), but the rest of the week looks pretty uneventful.
Any news out in the blog world?
What a wonderful birthday it was! I felt like such a lucky girl all day long on Thursday! I actually had a crazy day at work with meetings and dealing with a suspension, so the day flew by. After work, I took myself on a jog and then showered for a night of celebrating. My parents came over, and we opened a Sangiovese from the NY Times Wine list (best present ever from Matt’s parents ~ 2 years ago).
The wine was fabulous and a perfect precursor to a tapas dinner.
It started to rain, but we headed to dinner on foot, with umbrellas in hand. Dinner was at Mateo, a new tapas restaurant in Durham that friends have been raving about. The restaurant is in one of the old brick buildings downtown, and for such a small city, the interior felt very cosmopolitan.
Well, Mateo lived up to the hype!! The food was unique and oh-so-flavorful. The four of us shared everything, and I think we loved every dish:
grilled bread with three dips: romesco, green pea/manchengo, and olive,
pork ribs with espellette pepper jelly,
meatballs and chorizo, in local field pea stew,
blood sausage with creamy potato, apple, and hazelnuts,
fideuá with chorizo, clams, calamares, and butter beans ,
fried catfish with piquillo tartare sauce and lemon,
shrimp with olive oil, garlic, chili, lemon, and parsley,
chicken skewer: moorish spices, orange, pine nuts, and salsa verde (my favorite!),
and manila clams with sherry, garlic, boiled peanuts, and ham.
You guys, it was pure heaven! The only thing in the world that could be better than this dinner is the perfect birthday cake!!
And perfect it was. I requested carrot cake this year and it was the best decision ever. This guy was stuffed with cream cheese icing, but still had buttercream on the outer layer. I am really in love with this bakery!
The cake part was so moist, it nearly melted. I had three pieces, and with the help of the others, we made it through half the cake:
It was The Greatest Day! Of course, Matt and I continued the celebration this weekend, but since I’ve already dumped a million pictures on you, I’ll save that for tomorrow:)
Hope you guys enjoyed the fall weekend!Read More