Quick Bites: Durham and Hillsborough

Parlour:
Another little “European” charm place (see also Mateo, Toro, …) for Durham.  Irresistibly cute shop with fantastic ice creams.  The also offer indulgent sundae combinations.  I got the malted milk chocolate and it was smooth, rich, creamy – superb!

Return visits to Mateo and Pizzeria Toro:
Intial impressions of greatness confirmed!  Mateo has got to be one of the top restaurants in the Triangle.  And, after visiting Curate in Asheville, I’d say this place is just as good, or even better.  We tried a whole host of different things.  Standouts were the tortilla espanola, a think quiche-like concoction with tender thick-cut potato slices, some very nice meatballs in a tomato sauce, and a chicken/sherry/shallots/lemon/thyme/grits affair that I will be trying in vain to re-create at home.  As for Toro, the mushroom pizza is another winner.  Just the right amount of oil and coarse sea salt on a blistery crust, some fine cheese, flavorful local shrooms, and herbs.  Perfecto!

Hillsborough BBQ Company:
Well they can’t all be winners.  I had been excited to try this place, which cooks over wood.  But the BBQ was pretty lifeless and kind of dry.  The corn pudding on the side was undersalted.  It’s nice that they have three kinds of coleslaw (regular, western, and mustard), but the “regular” was nothing to write home about.  The ribs were better, although I didn’t love the ketchupy sauce.  The best thing was the hushpuppies, little balls of fried goodness.

The Cookery – Front Room Grand Opening

On September 15th, from 12pm – 3pm, The Cookery will be celebrating the grand opening of it’s new event space called The Front Room.  Having had a chance to check out the building – which is directly attached to the Cookery’s kitchen – a couple of months ago (while under construction), I”m sure it’s going to be a lovely space and an awesome addition to the Triangle food scene.

The idea of the Front Room is to host pop-up restaurants, specialty food events, culinary workshops, and private parties, among other things.  It can accommodate up to 200 people, and includes a mezzanine and outdoor patio, as well as a full bar, audio/visual equipment, and, of course, access to the kitchen facility.  This will allows chefs, caterers, and others to create all manner of fantastic food events.

Members of the Cookery who will be at the opening serving up food will include Chirba Chirba, Monuts Donuts, Pie Pushers, Sympathy for the Deli, Triangle Raw Foods, and The Parlour.  There will also be wine and beer tastings, live music, and more.

Best of all, the grand opening is also serving as a fundraiser for the Durham Crisis Response Center’s Emergency Shelter.  Proceeds from food sales at the event will go towards remodeling the shelter’s kitchen.

I hope to see you there!