Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Pit, 328 W Davie St, Raleigh

Yeah, this food was good. Hard to go wrong with BBQ. I think I would have liked the lunch menu better but I made due with what I had to work with. I opted for appetizers for my dinner. I got Barbecue Fries and Barbecue Sliders, with a side of okra. I was celebrating. I decided to have the fries brought out as an appetizer for both my husband and me. Wow, am I GLAD that I did that. Those barbecue fries were intense.

Hand-cut fries with melted pimiento cheese, chopped 'cue, and chives, served with BBQ ranch dressing! YOWSER. I think we were done after that but we pushed on.

Barbecue Sliders - a little dry but great once I hooked them up with some BBQ sauce!

Carolina Style Ribs with Mac 'N Cheese and Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Ed Mitchell, the owner, even came out and made his way around the room, talking to EVERY table except ours for some reason. I think I'd rather go for lunch next time but I had a great time!

Website and menu:
Speed: Pretty good - it seemed like it was group servers, so lots of people were checking on us.
Price: $6.99-$10.59 (lunch); $6.99-$23.59 (dinner)
Hours: Mon-Thurs. 1130am-10pm, Fri-Sat. 1130am-11pm, Sun: 1130am-3:00pm, 5pm-9:00pm
Overall: 4/5

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Manchesters Grill, 2121 T.W. Alexander Drive, Morrisville, NC 27560

This restaurant has a pretty good little atmosphere. Small bar area (great happy hour specials on Thurs) and a large restaurant seating area. The kitchen is partially open to the dining area which wasn't really noticeable until someone turned the lights up in the kitchen. We were seated in the center of the dining room in a table and we both agreed that we would like a booth off to the side next time.

I ordered a house salad with grilled chicken and ranch on the side. My lunch buddy ordered a parmesan chicken sandwich with a side of house salad. Just about everyone in the restaurant looked like they ordered the soup of the day which turned out to be clam chowder. I saw a pasta entree and it looked pretty freaking big.

When my buddy's salad came out (with balsamic dressing that smelled delicious), I was a little worried about the size of my salad. Her salad was great for a side salad - large even. But for a meal? I started to reconsider. I didn't really have anything to worry about - the size of my salad was great. There was a LOT of lettuce and not a lot of anything else. Or maybe the lettuce was cut too large. It seemed hard to keep each bite moist and flavorful. I think I would go back and try the greek salad next time or the club sandwich. My buddy said her sandwich was good and she would go back.

Website and menu:
Speed: Pretty good - drinks were filled by everyone, not just the waitress in our area and our waitress checked back with us until we were ready to order.
Price: $4.99-$26.99
Hours: Mon-Fri. 11am-10pm, Sat. 11am-10pm, Sun: 11am-3:00pm, 4pm-9:00pm
Overall: 3/5

Lina's Cafe and Catering, 5400 S Miami Blvd, Durham, NC

I wasn't really a fan of Lina's. It runs like Moe's so you're shouting at someone behind the counter who is moving REALLY fast to throw your food on a tray and move you out of the way. The people in line behind you are pushing past you to get a glimpse of the day's specials so that they are ready to shout their order when it is their turn. Meanwhile, no one working there acknowledges you so you're left wondering what you're actually going to get for lunch.

If you want one of the day's specials, I'd say you are set for this place. The specials look really appetizing and you get a lot for $7.99. But I opted for the healthy grilled chicken over salad with dressing on the side. Not great, not delicious and not filling. Then the place is so crowded, it's hard to maneuver to an open table.

Website and menu:
Speed: Super Fast
Price: $5.99-$7.99
Hours: M-Th 11am-4pm, F 11am-230pm
Overall: 3/5

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Casalinga Ristorante Italiano, Mini City Market Place, 4538 Capital Blvd., Raleigh

Casalinga is my favorite Italian restaurant in Raleigh. Crappy location but amazing food. First off, they bring out the most wonderful bread basket I have ever seen: 2 slices of Focaccia, 2 Garlic Knots and 4 slices of Italian bread. When we asked for more, the waitress even offered to customize it for us and let us pick and choose which breads we got! The "Focaccia" was more like slices of Sicilian pizza without the cheese/toppings. And that's just what you get for free!

We ordered an Antipasta salad without anchovies (prosciutto, soppressata, salami, provolone, artichokes, roasted peppers, tomatoes, olives, and onions) to start. It's definitely a good size to split into 2 small salads. However, we were used to antipastas being served with dressing already on it and we were given the choice of dressing which I think just confused us. Tried the olive oil and balsamic vinegar which wasn't the right choice. It was $13.95 for the salad.

We also ordered a Sicilian square-pan pizza. It is probably their best value. For $14.95 you get a one-size-fits all (and then some) cheese pizza. We added pepperoni to ours for an extra $2.25. You get 16 huge pieces. Well, it's not that they are huge but they are DENSE. Two pieces and you're full. I think we got like 6-7 meals out of this thing. Check out our leftovers:

I don't like Pizza Hut's deep dish pizza because I think it is too greasy, so although this looks greasy, it's really not all that bad. And it tastes amazing. You better check this place out.

Website and menu:
Speed: Quite fast. We had just finished our salad when the pizza was coming out and our service was amazing - our drinks never ran low.
Price: $7.95-$23.95/plate
Hours: Mon—Thurs: 4:30pm—9pm; Fri/Sat: 4:30pm—10pm, 5pm-10pm; Sun: 5pm-9pm
Overall: 5/5

Georgina's Pizzeria & Restaurant, 3536 Davis Drive, Morrisville

Georgina's wasn't too bad. They brought a basket of garlic knots to the table that were happily swimming in oil. I've had better but I was starving so they tasted pretty awesome.

I asked the waitress for a recommendation and I think she took the easy way out and recommended what the other person in my party got - a stromboli. It was $6.95 and I needed comfort food so I went with it. Their strombolis have pepperoni, salami and mozzarella. But they are less like a stromboli and more like a roll. Didn't really change the taste and it was nice to be able to see what I was eating instead of something hidden behind dough. The stromboli, like the garlic knots, was swimming in oil which was unfortunate. But for $6.95, I think I could give them another go.

Website and menu:

Speed: A little while longer than I would have liked but the menu warns that stromboli's take some time since they make them fresh.
Price: $6.95-$20.95/plate
Hours: Mon—Thurs: 11am—9pm; Fri/Sat: 11am—10pm; Sun: 12pm-9pm
Overall: 3.5/5

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fratello's Italian Restaurant, 8531 Brier Creek Pkwy - Suite 109, Raleigh

Knowing full-well that I'm not a fan of Italian, I opted to go to Fratello's lunch buffet today. I couldn't resist the $7.95 price tag. The sign advertised spaghetti, meatballs, salad, pizza, sausage and peppers, eggplant parmigiana and baked ziti. They also had garlic knots.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that although the buffet was TINY, the salad portion was relatively large. Fratello's offered Romaine and mixed greens, tomatoes, red onions, Kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers, feta cheese, parmesan cheese, Caesar dressing and Italian dressing. It wasn't very pretty but it worked. I got a plate full of salad, some ziti and garlic knots. The ziti had an olive flavor to it but it didn't bother me. My first plate was a success. The garlic knots were VERY yummy.

I went back to treat myself to a slice of pizza and a couple more garlic knots. My first bite of pizza I spit out because it was COLD. Two important factors here. #1 - I do not spit out food. That's how undesirable it was. #2 - I considered it a fluke of the buffet and tried again. However, when I returned with my new slice of pizza, I took a bite and again had to spit it out. The pizza tasted disgusting. Not fresh at all. And I only had a slice of cheese pizza - I can't imagine what other toppings would do.

So, to end my meal, I ate my final garlic knot and dubbed the salad the best part of the buffet. Additionally, I made the mistake of ordering a soda and my glass was dry for a considerable amount of time. I asked for a to-go menu to browse and the lunch buffet is cheaper than any single item on the lunch menu except for a side salad. So sad. Despite my poor experience with my second plate, the price was good for my first plate of food.

Website and menu:
Speed: Slow considering everyone got the buffet and the waitress just had to stay on top of drinks
Price: $7.95-$10.95/plate (lunch); $14.95-$23.95 (dinner)
Hours: Mon—Thurs: 11:30am—2pm, 5pm-9pm; Fri: 11:30am—2pm, 5pm-10pm; Sat: 5pm—10pm; Sun: 5pm-9pm
Overall: 2/5

Baby Moon Cafe, 100 Jerusalem Drive, Ste 106, Morrisville

I'll admit up front that my opinion of Baby Moon is a bit skewed. I would say that the majority of the menu is Italian and I'm not a big fan of Italian food. So I expect an Italian Restaurant to pack a mean salad. I ordered the Baby Moon salad - Herb crusted chicken, roasted peppers, zucchini, olives, mixed greens, tomatoes, and Spicy ranch dressing. Unfortunately, I expected the chicken to be blackened with herbs rather than pan-fried with herbed breading that it really was. Additionally, I believe that the olives may have been racid because they did not taste appetizing at all and I love olives. Also, something was strange about the zucchini and roasted peppers. Too slimey for my salad preferences. The salad was also served with bread that may have been good had there been olive oil on the table to dip it in. As it was, it was just bread too dry to eat.

The service was adequate. I never went without a drink. Our waiter wasn't very friendly and he wasn't the only thing cold about Baby Moon. I would have been warmer if I was dining in Antarctica (I even brought my jacket).

This is the second salad I've had at Baby Moon and I'm going to have to go out on a limb and say that they just don't do salads well. Everyone seems to enjoy their Chicken Pesto sandwich and pasta salad. Next time I'm forced to go to Baby Moon, I'll get that.

Website and menu:
Speed: Not bad
Price: $6.95-$23.95/plate
Hours: Mon—Fri: 11am—10pm; Sat: 4pm—10pm
Overall: 2/5