Home Sweet Home

Raleigh-drink it in, it always goes down smooth. It’s a fact, it’s the greatest city in the history of mankind. I’m Ron Burgundy? Anyway, I know I talk about my love for Raleigh a lot on The Well Red Chef, I can’t help it. Born and raised here, I have seen it transform over the years to what it is today, a great city to call home. So I thought I would compose a biased list of my favorite things to eat and drink around town. Just scrolling through my Instagram helps me remember them all. You know you do the same thing.

Crispy rice lettuce wraps, green papaya salad, pork belly soup and Piña Coladas at Bida Manda. It’s like my fleece vest in the winter, always warm and comforting. Craving them all now.

The Bernie Burger at The Player’s Retreat. Best burger in Raleigh hands down. Added bonus they have a High Life waiting for me on the bar when I walk in. You can find me and AB holding up the bar frequently.

Stuffed clams and chicken saltimbocca at Café Tiramisu in North Raleigh. Yes, it’s OTB, but worth the trip to see Paul, RD, and Richard for amazing Italian food. Plus Tammi makes a great Manhattan.

Cocktails at Gallo Pelón for their always interesting take on mezcal as well as Fox Liquor Bar for anything bitter made by John Parra. #staybitter

I may be a little biased now since I work there, but the pork rice bowl as well as the lamb sausage at Garland is fantastic. Check it out. Do it.

Thursday’s at Kimbap. Three courses and a bottle of wine for $49! Pork belly nori tacos and Korean pancakes are a must have.

Dessert and bubbles at Bittersweet. S’mores and 4 am pancake are always perfect. It’s what downtown Raleigh has always needed, a place to go for something sweet after dinner, or even before.

Kale Caesar at Gravy. The food can be hit or miss, but the Caesar is not. Full of spicy garlic, vampires will definitely stay away from you.

The trinity as I call it at Calavera…Tecate, Espolón, and spicy sangrita. The Three Amigos of alcohol.

Although I didn’t really appreciate it while I worked there, but the crispy top of the mac n cheese at Poole’s is outstanding. One or two bites and that’s all I need. Not sure how people can eat an entire mac and still function. I’d be a zombie.

Day drinking at Paddy O’ Beers…staff is always super friendly and knowledgeable. It’s just a great place to chill and read the Independent on a lazy day, or after a long shift in the kitchen. And great hipster watching.

All of this writing has gotten me hungry and thirsty. I’m sure I forgot some places, please forgive me. Boxcar, Stanbury, Raleigh Brewing, etc. But get out and explore Raleigh and all it has. If you haven’t been to any of these places, check ’em out. Cheers foodies!

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On the Road Again

Being in the service industry is not very conducive for traveling. I don’t know how many 4th of July’s I have missed at Nags Head because I have been sweating away on the line. I pretty much spent my whole childhood on the Outer Banks with my family. Well, this summer I have gotten out on the road finally and made it to Nags Head and Carolina Beach, two of my favorite places in North Carolina. Life is too short to spend it at work; take advantage of your time and spend it your friends and family. Get out and experience The Carolinas, there is so much hidden beauty out there. If you haven’t been to Carolina Beach, you definitely need to make the short trip down Highway 40. It’s a little redneck, kind of a miniature Myrtle Beach. Everything was a short walk from our hotel, parked the car on Friday and didn’t move it until we left Sunday. The Boardwalk is full of dive bars, shitty beach shops, and amazing people watching. Loretta’s or The Surfside Bar as it’s also known is quaint, friendly, and trashy. Cash only but the High Life and Natural Light are dirt cheap. Karaoke on a Saturday night is better than any reality tv out there. I felt like I was sitting back at The PR next to Alan Brown. A definite stop, we went twice while we were in town. A short walk away is another landmark, The Fat Pelican. Come on, who doesn’t love a bar where you can go in the walk-in cooler and pick your own beer out? Then go outside to the patio and your feet in the sand and enjoy a beautiful night. And we might have gone there twice in the span of two days as well. When in Rome as they say. The Shuckin’ Shack was worth waiting for the oysters. So as we were getting ready to order our server said they were still waiting on their seafood guy to deliver their oysters. An oyster bar with no oysters? Guess I’ll have to order another Bloody Mary then; which was delicious by the way. As we were getting ready to walk out the door and eat somewhere else the seafood guy arrived with his bounty. There is a God. A dozen oysters, peel and eat shrimp, and another beer or two and we were happy campers. Being a pale ginger, the beach is not always my friend. Small doses and lots of 100 SPF make it bearable. Is there anything better than spending a lazy afternoon on the beach and the pool with no plans for the rest of the day? I think not. Add in a bottle of rosé and piña coladas and it gets even better. Made it to Surf House for dinner, but it was a little fuzzy. A combination of day drinkin’ and being on vacation; it happens to the best of us.  Probably the coolest part of the whole weekend was at the Aquarium at Fort Fisher. They have a new exhibit where you can feed lorikeets. So I walk in with my little cup of food and all of a sudden I have five birds all over me. My hat, my shoulders, chest, even my beard; they were everywhere. Felt like I was watching The Birds. They either really liked me or they were just hungry. Maybe it was a little of both. But like most things, my weekend was too short and seemed like it ended before it even started. It’s back to my own little world in the kitchen; time to plan another getaway then. Suggestions? Cheers foodies!