Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sneak Peek of the new JB Duke Hotel in Durham at Duke

Recently I was invited to tour the newly opened JB Duke Hotel located in the heart of the Duke campus. The new hotel is conveniently located within walking distance to athletic and academic facilities like Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Duke Medical Center, Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, Duke Chapel, Sarah P. Duke Gardens and much more. The hotel is linked to the Fuqua School of Business. The hotel's recent renovation features contemporary and modern design. It's airy and light-filled spaces connect to the outdoors with landscaped courtyards, terraces and plazas. Nearly a third of the entire building is glass. Floor to ceiling glass windows in the lobby bring in amazing light and stunning views of Duke Forest. The decor and furnishings highlight history, craftsmanship and community of North Carolina. The lobby is stunning with hand crafted furniture and carpet that mirrors the Duke Forest tree shadows.

Located at 230 Science Drive, the hotel offers 198 guest rooms which is great for staying on campus for football, basketball, parent weekends, graduation or other campus events.

There are two bars and a full service restaurant specializing in a la carte and conference dining with plenty of convenient work stations. The hotel is ideal for executive education, conferences, weddings and other social gatherings.

Design inspiration from natural settings extends into the guestrooms where neutral tones of warm grey and gold set a backdrop for the room with accents of deep blue, inspired by Duke University’s colors.

The facility offers a 5,450 square foot ballroom, several multi-purpose spaces, two state-of-the art boardrooms, two fixed-tiered classrooms seating 65 attendees, generous pre-function spaces and a business center. State-of-the-art systems in each room will assist its global and local clientele.

For more information on event packages and facilities, visit

Full Service Restaurant

Outdoor Courtyard


Meeting Rooms

Ball Room

Dining Areas

Team Rooms

Guest Room


Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Concourse, Meeting Rooms, & Outdoor Dining Terrace

Nearby Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Duke University Campus Plaza

Duke Chapel

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

VIDRIO: A Mediterranean Feast for the Senses on Glenwood South

In case you hadn't heard, Vidrio recently opened on Glenwood South in Raleigh! It's exciting to finally see what's been hiding under that big fish mural that decorated the entrance on Glenwood under the Carolina Ale House.

We were lucky to get a sneak peek before the Grand Opening, in January and it was well worth the wait. I have to say it's probably one of the most beautiful and creative restaurant spaces in Raleigh. It's a large open two story space with a bar downstairs and another opening soon upstairs. The main dining room hosts a stunning two story wall with over 350 colorful handblown glass bowls decorating the entire wall. Vidrio means "glass" in Spanish. There are several more dining spaces upstairs as well, all beautifully decorated, and a bar/lounge area featuring an indoor fireplace. The open kitchen on the main level features a wood-fired grill and stone hearth oven. The ceilings are high, the colors are vibrant and the use of rope, wood, leather and glass create quite a feast for the eyes! Hundreds of wooden dowels hang about the bar area downstairs and are visually stunning against the bold colored walls and modern light fixtures. Well done.

The restaurant has 50 wines on tap and another 200 more in bottles (including vermouth and sherry). Vidrio features family-style shared plates with Mediterranean inspiration and influences. The food is fresh and locally sourced and the menu will change almost daily. Vidrio imports its own olive oil directly from the founder’s Greek village and the dishes take inspiration from Spanish, French, Greek, Italian, Turkish, Lebanese, Moroccan, and other Mediterranean flavors. Upon entering you will see the wood fired grill and stone oven, as well as all the fresh seafood that is available for that night's dinner. Fresh is the key ingredient here.

For dinner, we started with fresh baked bread and seasoned olive oil for dipping.  We added a cheese plate, and shared a bowl of roasted cauliflower soup that was very satisfying on a winter evening. We shared roasted fingerling potatoes with thyme and rosemary and a large plate of hanger steak with salsa verde.  A full-bodied glass of red wine complimented the meal perfectly.

Leading Vidrio’s kitchen will be Executive Chef Ian Sullivan, previously with the University Club in Durham, North Carolina, and the Urban Food Group of Raleigh. Chef de Cuisine is Saif Rahman, previously of 21c Museum and Hotel in Durham, and World Central Kitchen organization by Chef Jose Andres.

The downstairs bar and restaurant are currently open for dinner and drinks and the upstairs dining and bar area will open in the coming months. Brunch will start in March. Vidrio offers free valet parking to its guests. Make a reservation for dinner and discover for yourself this unique mediterranean feast for the senses happening in Raleigh!

VIDRIO: 500 Glenwood Ave Suite 100, Raleigh, NC 27603  p: 919.803.6033
Dinner Hours:  Mo - Th: 4:30pm - 11pm,Fri - Sa: 4:30pm - 1am,Su: 5pm -10pm
Brunch: Sunday beginning March 5

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Authentic Italian Pizza + more at Pizza La Stella on Fayetteville Street Raleigh

Last week we had the pleasure of having dinner at the new Pizza La Stella restaurant located in the former Bolt Bistro space on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. The whole place has been completely renovated and changed. Much cozier and warmer. High ceilings with floating wood beams make for a great casual atmosphere. You order upon entering and then you can select where you would like to sit. The first thing you notice if you head to the bar is the view of the two blue brick ovens in the kitchen. Everything is cooked in these custom built Stefano Ferrara ovens that were made and delivered from Italy. These ovens easily reach 900 degrees, cooking Neopolitan style pizzas in under 90 seconds. 

We started with some antipasti dishes, trying out the Fire-Roasted Brussel Sprouts (Bacon bourbon whole grain mustard, rosemary, honey) and Honey Burrata, (Sweet Italian cheese, accented with honey, basil, Focaccia breadcrumbs). Both very good starters. We also ordered a Caprese salad that was delicious with cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Not to be missed are the Wood-Fired Wings! We sampled a mix of the Honey Habanero (VERY HOT), The De La Casa featuring caramelized onion garnish, and the Old-Fashioned with apple cider bourbon, cinnamon and charred orange (my favorite).

Finally the real reason we are here...PIZZA! And yes we will be back for more! The Neopolitan-style pizza cooks fast (like in 90 seconds!) and for sure our teenagers will LOVE it!  Definitely a cool casual place to come back to as a family. We ordered the Margherita pizza (Mozzarella di bufala, San Marzano tomatoes, basil) and the Carnoso (Fontina cheese, San Marzano tomatoes, soppressata, Italian sausage, guanciale (Italian bacon), garlic confit). SO good!

There are several local NC beers on tap to choose from as well as Peroni, red and white wine, and craft cocktails. I had a fantastic Montepluciano that paired nicely with pizza.

While downstairs is cooking up delicious pizza and other tasty offerings from the wood-fire ovens, my personal favorite was exploring the Loft upstairs. This cozy and eclectic space is just perfect for escaping the hustle of Fayetteville street for a while, relaxing and enjoying a craft cocktail. A definite potential Raleigh "hidden gem". Once you discover it you will be back. Live music on Thursdays.

Lastly, Pizza La Stella is a great lunch spot. It's conveniently located to many downtown businesses, the space has lots of seating and you order when you arrive and food arrives quickly, making the most of your lunch hour!

Arrivare rapidamente and try it out for yourself!

Pizza La Stella - The Craft of Pizza and Cocktails

Fire-Roasted Brussel Sprouts

One of two ovens made and sent over from Italy.

Margherita + Carnoso

Honey Burrata

Caprese Salad

Fire-Roasted Wings

The Loft at La Stella