Category: Raleigh

Oh hey guys, I saw PRINCE

I cannot believe that I forgot to tell y’all about this, but back in March, I think the date was March 19th to be exact, I saw PRINCE.

Oh my lord guys Prince.

And look, someone made this time-stamped photo montage of “Purple Rain” from Purple Rain complete with the sunglasses-sad-face nod.  Yessss.

What is there to say about Prince that has not been said?  It is all true, he really is that good. he really does put on that fantastic of a show, in high heels, at age fifty-something, it is amazing.  He makes the panties come off, I am really surprised that all the women in the RBC center did not hurl their panties at Prince.  I was positive the lady behind me was going to have a heart attack; she kept screaming and whirling her handkerchief and screaming and, lordy.

I put on my best duds: purple shirt, raspberry beret (yes I legit own a raspberry beret, I might actually own two or three), purple scarf, etc.  I screamed and I sang along.  I was super-jealous of the folks in the expensive seats near the stage, because they got to go onstage and DANCE WITH PRINCE and cluster around his PURPLE PIANO oh, my heart.

That’s the stage, as you can see.  It is in the Prince shape.  And it has lights.  The lights turned purple for “Purple Rain” (duh) which was like a religious experience y’all.  Prince could have just played “Purple Rain” on repeat the whole night.  Oh, victory.

Yep.  Oh, by the way, Chaka Khan opened.  She was pretty fly too. But Prince, he’s the best, he still has it, if you have the opportunity to see him DO IT.  He’s one of the last great performers, and you won’t ever see showmanship quite like this.

State Farmer’s Market and Restaurant

On Sunday my friend Annah and I went to the State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh, a year-round market that runs every day, regardless of the season.  Since we are in high summertime there was a lot of fresh produce, and the open-air produce areas were packed.  Annah came away with quite a haul: the last of the in-season strawberries, blueberries, okra, tiny red-skinned potatoes, white peaches, some pattypan squash and a lovely gardenia bush.  I came back with a smaller haul of sugar snap peas, a jar of honey, and a small rosemary plant which is now sitting next to its basil siblings on the back patio.  I know I should be shopping at more farmers markets but the general hubbub and mass of vendors and farmers and choices is extremely overwhelming.  I am glad I went with Annah, as she’s a farmer’s market veteran.  One of my goals is to eat more produce, and local is the way to go (fresher, cheaper, better for the environment etc.) so I guess I should make it my mission to get to more farmer’s markets!

After doing a bit of shopping we went to lunch at the nearby State Farmer’s Market restaurant, which has the atmosphere of an upscale Cracker Barrel.  The menu is primarily Southern soul food so I decided to go ahead and get the fried chicken, which comes with two sides.  Annah got the side sampler platter.  The meals also came with a basket of biscuit and hushpuppies (both very good), because lord knows we didn’t order enough food.

My fried chicken was fantastic: a huge portion, juicy and tasty and crunchy.  I ordered a side of sweet potato casserole (on the sweeter, gloopier end of the spectrum, if you like that sort of thing) and string beans (soggy and pork-water logged).  Annah seemed pleased with her side sampler, which included macaroni salad, fried okra (although she said this wasn’t her favorite), a picked cucumber dish, and a corn and bean dish with which she was very happy.

Both our meals came with dessert: banana pudding, also on the sweeter, gloopier end of the banana pudding spectrum.  Needless to say neither of us finished our meals and we both left the restaurant extremely full.

We spent a bit more time wandering the Farmer’s Market.  There is an indoor, air-conditioned area selling sweets, baked goods, dried goods, meats, dairy, and out of season/out of state produce.  There is also a seafood restaurant that mostly does fried seafood combos.  After a bit more wandering we were quite hot (and sleepy from our enormous meals) so we headed back to the car.

We also took a detour to the Grand Asia Market in Cary, where we looked but didn’t buy.  It wasn’t as big as the new Li Meng’s Global Market in Durham, and I am no judge on Asian markets but I think they’re comparable, although Li Meng’s might have more in the way of standard grocery store fare.  However, Grand Asia Market has DURIAN which is amazing because I haven’t seen it anywhere but on the Travel Channel.  Both markets have a wide variety of fish…but the fish smells a little fishy, so I’m not sure I’d buy it either way.  I mostly love looking at the varieties of produce, and also the prepared food sections up front (whole roasted duck!).  Grand Asia Market had two gentleman behind glass making dumplings and pork buns, all of which looked yummy.  I’m sure you could get a decent lunch in the prepared food sections of either market, but I’m betting Grand Asia Market’s prepared food section is a bit better, just by the look of it.

So that was our very foodie Sunday!

30 Americans and Anthony Goicolea at the NCMA

This weekend I was down at the RBC Center to attend Jon’s sister’s graduation from North Carolina State University (mazel tov Holly!).  After the three hour ceremony Jon and I decided to take advantage of our proximity to the NCMA and see the 30 Americans and Anthony Goicolea shows.

First, though, we had to eat, and we decided to try the NCMA’s restaurant, Iris.  I’ve had some good meals at the NCMA pre-renovation, during my internship.  The new restaurant space is like much of the new building: a mix of elegance and industrial in its spareness, bright, open, clean, and white.  I had an omelet with some sweet potato fries, Jon had a burger that he seemed to enjoy.  The sweet potato fries were actually crispy.  I love sweet potato fries in general but I often find them soggy.  Somehow Iris has managed to fix that problem.  Regardless, if you need a bite at the NCMA Iris is a good, classy, moderately priced option.

We then crossed into the old building, where the museum now holds their temporary exhibitions.  Two in particular are fantastic: 30 Americans and Alter Ego: A Decade of Work by Anthony Goicolea.

Kehinde Wiley, Equestrian Portrait of the Count Duke Olivares

(more…)

New Year, Same Old

Hi Intrepid Readers!

Woo...

I know y’all, it is 2011 (what) I haven’t posted since BEFORE DRAGON*CON which is totally tragic, but I’ve been in a bit of a “funk” regarding life and that whole not being able to find a museum job thing.*  However I realize that moping around about the nonexistent state of my career isn’t accomplishing anything, so I’m attempting to be more proactive in other areas of my life.  I have accomplished this in one aspect by getting back to the gym five-six times a week for the past few weeks.  I have found this class that I love/that kicks my flabby ass.  It is called BODY COMBAT which is basically a fancy name for “cardio kickbox” but without the Legally Blonde associations of cardio kickboxing and with more focus on martial arts terms and techniques.  Also, the instructor has a penchant for playing a techno version of the Braveheart theme and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  Nothing whatsoever.

So since I am flexing my muscles by getting back to the gym I figured I should flex my mind by getting back to the blogging.  I’m looking for themes again, because I like themes, but for the time being you might see a mish-mosh of food and culture and my general musings.  I’m thinking of starting a spin-off culture blog with an awesome name but that is for the future.  We’ll see.

So today I continued on my quest to be more of a person by finally getting myself down to the North Carolina Museum of Art to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit.  I’ll be honest: Rockwell’s not really my cup of tea.  His work is quaint and has its place in history and Americana and kitsch but it just doesn’t do it for me.  And because the museum was a zoo (the exhibit closes in a week and I suppose everyone is realizing that now because ALL OF THE TRIANGLE WAS THERE) and parking was a disaster and there were lines for tickets and lines to get into the exhibit and the exhibit was a crowd of people, well…crowded museums aren’t really my thing either, people.  I could tell that the curators of the exhibit were having a bit of trouble balancing their need to present a larger message with the sheer simplicity and kitschy-ness of the works.  Yes, Rockwell is an amazing draftsman and painter and his work is technically interesting and clearly he has a sense of a humor and, as we see later on in the exhibition, a sense of social purpose and a need for social justice (in his job as illustrator of covers for The Saturday Evening Post he was not allowed to present African Americans in any role except for a servile one–something he railed against in his later, personal depictions of injustice toward African Americans and the Civil Rights movement), but I just can’t sustain a lot of interest for him.  The exhibit was really too crowded for me to get a sense of the layout or the theme or how well it was done/not done, so I can’t really speak for that either.  I mean, I would have felt guilty not going, but still, not my favorite.

I did, however, get some great photo opportunities with the Thanksgiving turkey:

Anyways, the moral of this story is that I am going to endeavor to post a bit more often nowadays.  So, expect more food blogs and more cultural commentary and more me etc.

*I mean, that’s enough to fill another blog, y’all.

The Pit, Raleigh

So I finally got myself to Ed Mitchell’s The Pit in Raleigh this weekend.  All the food blogs and magazines rave about it, so I figured it was about time I go.

The Pit is in downtown Raleigh, in the warehouse area.  You can make reservations (if you do so ages in advance, only half the restaurant is given to reservations), but since I didn’t call two weeks ahead of time we decided to chance it.  Four of us arrived at the restaurant at 6:45 on a Saturday night and found a wait of about an hour.  Luckily we were able to snag seats at the bar and order drinks (sangria!) and appetizers.  Seen below.

Sweet potato skillet corn bread with maple butter

I’m not the biggest fan of cornbread, but this cornbread had a nice sweet-potato flavor and the maple butter on top was unbelievable.  I’d smear that butter on everything, including my first born child.

Fried green tomatoes with basil and lime aioli

I looooove fried green tomatoes.  These were not “overly” fried, meaning you could still taste the tomatoes.  The lime aioli was subtle but the basil was an ingenious choice, a great play on the Italian tomato basil pairing but with a Southern spin.  Wonderful.

Exactly one hour later (very timely!  The service, btw, was quick and efficient, friendly but not overly so) we were sitting at our table, preparing to order dinner.  But first we had to eat a basket of complimentary biscuits and hush puppies.  Well, okay Ed, if you say so.

Wait you want us to eat more food? With more butter? Okay.

We ordered, and our food was brought quite quickly.  I had a plate of some of the best, most tender brisket of my life, smokey and quite excellent with the tomato-based sauce provided on the table.  The mac and cheese and cole slaw on the side were excellent as well.

Brisket with sides of macaroni and cheese and cole slaw

Jon ordered pulled pork with the same sides as I did (he was happy with his pulled pork, vinegar-sauce style in what some might call authentic North Carolina fashion), and another one of our table mates ordered a triple combo (in his case brisket, pulled pork, and chopped pork) with a side of fried okra and macaroni and cheese.  Our other table mate ordered pulled pork and had a side of cheesy bacon grits.  We should have ordered a vat of those grits for the table.

Jon's pulled pork with macaroni and cheese and cole slaw.
Triple combo with fried okra and macaroni and cheese.

So the men were felled by meat overload but, being a lady, I have an entire second stomach for dessert.  So I ordered a banana pudding, which was a little too sweet for me, but the marshmallow fluff topping was great.  I barely made a dent in the pudding but whatever, I had to have the full experience.

Banana pudding, untouched
Banana pudding, interior shot

And, of course, there were leftovers.  And since the leftovers were our food babies, we had to treat them carefully on their way back to the refrigerator.

Wear a seatbelt or die

So that was my The Pit experience.  More, please?