Thursday, September 28, 2017

SONO - Ramen for Lunch & Dinner plus Tuesday Wine + Sake Socials in Raleigh

Ramen is the perfect cool weather comfort food and now there's a new opportunity to get some delicious Ramen for lunch and dinner in downtown Raleigh! SONO is now offering a variety of ramen on the menu including pork, spicy miso, meat and a vegetarian option.

SONO recruited Chef Hyunwoo Kim and Certified Sake Advisor James Yang (formerly of AN in Cary), to revitalize SONO and provide superior Asian dining. Chef Kim’s new menu at SONO reflects his birthplace in Seoul, South Korea, and consequently, his extensive training in Japanese, Korean, and Thai cuisines over the past few decades.

These delicious ramen dishes expertly showcase Chef Kim’s in-depth knowledge of the ramen tradition, including his Tonkotsu, Shoyu and Spicy Miso, featuring 16-hour, house-made broths.

To complement Kim’s sophisticated Japanese cooking, James Yang – one of the few sake sommeliers in the area – has created one of the regions’ largest sake programs with 38 by the bottle, available in both large and small format. He has also expanded the wine list from 6 to 90 wines, with 15 available by the glass. From sushi to ramen, the wine and sake lists offer an in-depth way to experience SONO’s cuisine.

photo by Felicia Perry Photography
photo by Felicia Perry Photography
This was the first time I've ever had Sake! We got to taste five different Sakes with a range of flavors  and aromas and I really enjoyed the sparkling sake and the more refined Dassai 50. They paired perfectly with sushi appetizers and ramen.

To highlight the enhanced wine and sake programs, SONO welcomes guests to enjoy their new Wine & Sake Social – a delicious and casual educational culinary experience from 5pm to 6:30pm weekly on Tuesday nights. Chef Kim will serve complimentary sushi and Yang and his well-trained team will be on-hand to pour tastings of a wide variety of wines and sakes (5-10) for just $10! This is an awesome opportunity to learn from this talented team as they open bottles of specialty wines and sakes and share their knowledge. Walk-in guests are welcome, as are reservations for this unique weekly Wine & Sake Social.

It's really a great win for Raleigh to have this new Sake and Ramen opportunity in the heart of downtown Raleigh and the talent from An back as well! Be sure to stop in for lunch or dinner for ramen or grab some friends after work and try the Wine and Sake Tuesday Opportunity.

Salmon sashimi with spicy sushi roll
Green tea cake, rice cookie + ice cream for dessert

319 Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, is open weekdays for lunch from 11am to 2pm and dinner nightly at 5pm.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Fiesta de Camotes - Celebrating Sweet Potatoes at Gonza Tacos Y Tequila

One of my favorite North Raleigh places to dine is at Gonza Tacos y Tequila. Gonza Tacos y Tequila creates a twist on the traditional Mexican Restaurant with a rich Colombian influence and eclectic Dia de los Muertos theme. They have several locations throughout the Triangle including North Raleigh, Downtown Raleigh, Wake Forest, Cary and Durham. They also have a food truck that travels all around the Triangle area participating in many local events.

It's Fiesta de Camotes this month and sweet potatoes are being celebrated all September long. Several Triangle participating restaurants have created a signature dish featuring sweet potatoes and will serve it throughout the month. 

Last week I had lunch at Gonza at their North Raleigh restaurant off Leadmine Road in the Greystone Village shopping center. We started off with their Sopa de Tortilla (tortilla soup). It was amazing! I didn't want to stop eating it. Because it was so good, I am going to try making it at home! One of the main ingredients in the soup is the sweet potato which gives it a nice creamy texture. Not only are sweet potatoes delicious they are also healthy! Sweet potatoes are full of Vitamins A and C, fiber, manganese and antioxidants (eating the skin provides even more nutrients). Additional ingredients in the tortilla soup include chicken, bell peppers, onion, chipotle in adobo and cilantro.  Topped with queso fresco and avocado, it's a great comfort food for Fall and Winter. If you are interested in making the soup, the recipe from Gonza is available online.

Friday's lunch at Gonza included delicious vegetarian tacos and mahi tacos, guacamole/chips and we even had room for their amazing Talega de Plantano dessert! You can also enjoy outside patio dining at most of their locations which is perfect as we head into cooler Fall weather.

The tortilla soup featuring sweet potatoes will be featured on Gonza Tacos y Tequila's menu throughout September, a month long celebration of sweet potatoes called “Fiesta de Camotes.” Translated to “Celebrating Sweet Potatoes,” Fiesta de Camotes highlights Hispanic restaurants and bakeries throughout North Carolina featuring sweet potatoes in a special dish.

Along with Gonza, several other Triangle area restaurants are featuring sweet potato recipes through the rest of September. Triangle area restaurants include: Gonza Tacos y Tequila, Babalu Tapas and Tacos, Sweet Arielle Bakery, Cortez Seafood & Cocktail and Centro in downtown Raleigh.

“Fiesta de Camotes” is a promotion of the NC SweetPotato Commission and was funded through the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Vegetarian + Fish Tacos with Sweet Potato Tortilla Soup

Talega de Plantano

NORTH RALEIGH GONZA TACOS Y TEQUILA: 7713 Lead Mine Rd. #39 (919) 846-5478

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NEW! Thursday NIGHT BRUNCH only at Cameron Bar + Grill in Cameron Village

Night Brunch Specialty Cocktail - Featured here, Strawberry Rosé Margarita 

Breakfast for dinner! What's not to love about that? When Cameron Bar + Grill in Cameron Village invited me to sample some Night Brunch menu items, I was totally excited to see what the Night Brunch was all about. I LOVED the idea from the start and honestly I had never heard of a Raleigh restaurant offering that up. SO EVERY THURSDAY Night Cameron Bar and Grill will feature Night Brunch from 5-10pm.

Honestly I love this menu. I personally like menus to be creative, easy to read and only one page! The first thing I wanted to try were the baby breakfast tacos. Love the name and honestly we make a version of this at home quite often with two hungry teenagers on the go, I always have eggs, tortillas and cheese! These were delicious, love the crispy bits of bacon, really good sauce and black beans.

Next we sampled the shrimp + crab omelette. Delicious. Crab and shrimp were amazing topped with an old bay queso, which was fantastic. Finally we tried a tasty version of the hash bowl. This is a build your own option so you can choose what cheese, meat and veggies you want mixed in with potatoes and eggs. Fabulous.

And, don't forget the drink specials! Mimosas and bloody marys plus a feature cocktail of the night. We tried the Strawberry Rosé Margarita made with Chateau Julien rosé, tequila, strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and the Coffee Margarita made with Patron XO, Frangelico, triple sec, tequila, and Cameron Village's locally brewed Benelux Coffee, plus a beignet garnish!

A big shout out to Head Chef Scott Schabot for such a creative and delicious brunch menu offering (I have to come back for the Hangover Burger + Bananas Foster French Toast!).

If you are looking for something fun and different, grab some friends and try the Night Brunch at CBG. Enjoy some great outdoor patio dining while the Raleigh Fall weather is delightful.

Check CBG on Instagram and Facebook to see what the feature drink cocktail will be each week for Night Brunch.

It's important to eat local, support the local community and take some time to get to know the amazing folks who put their time, effort and passion into creating cool dining experiences for us here in Raleigh. I highly suggest putting Cameron Bar + Grill on your radar for Fall dining!

HOURS: Monday - Wednesday: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm, Thursday - Saturday: 11:00 am - 12:00 am, Sunday: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm. Night Brunch is Thursday nights, 5-10pm.

LOCATION: 2018 Clark Avenue  Raleigh, NC 27605 (919) 835-9463

Shrimp + Crab Omelette

Baby Breakfast Tacos

Build Your Own Hash Bowl

Coffee Margarita: Patron XO, Frangelico, triple sec, tequila, and locally brewed Benelux Coffee

#CVTRENDREPORT: I'm excited to partner again with Cameron Village to feature some of the great merchants in the Village and highlight some 2017 Fall Trends and great "hidden gems". I love shopping local and it's been an amazing opportunity to get to know these merchants, their stories and their passion for what they do!