Monday, October 24, 2011

On the Road Eats: North Carolina

Thanks to Chowhound, my dining companions and I discovered a little place called Cúrate in Asheville. It was relatively new, having opened in March of this year. And we scored the last available reservation for that evening on OpenTable. Despite the late time of 9:45, we still had a short wait when we arrived, perhaps attesting to the popularity of this elegant tapas bar. The hostesses were quite congenial though and while we waited, we were able to observe the fast-paced action in the open kitchen, including the preparation of some of the dishes we ended up ordering.

Once seated, we settled on a broad cross-section of the menu.

Pan con tomate with Manchego cheese was a nice portion size and the large chunks of bread were good to have with some of the other dishes we ordered too.

From the list of cured meats, we chose one of the more expensive and, according to the menu, more flavorful options, the jamon Ibérico de Bellota Fermín. It's a cured ham from the black-footed pigs of Spain but ones that feed only on acorns. The result was a smooth piece of meat with a slightly nutty taste. 

Tortilla Española is the dish by which I judge a tapas restaurant; this was an incredible iteration that really spoke to our overall experience. This was no ordinary tortilla — once you sliced through the small round, the inside had a uniquely liquidy center, like an over easy egg. It was heavenly. The small mound of salt mixed in made for a perfectly flavored tortilla.

Monday, October 17, 2011

On the Road Eats: North Carolina

The South is full of rich, fatty, stick-to-your-bones food. No matter what you eat — biscuits, fried chicken, barbecue — it seems like it's not likely to be the healthiest, but there is a lot that's tasty. I had a good sampling of it recently.

I started at The Pit in Raleigh. I had heard of The Pit because of its famed pitmaster, Ed Mitchell, who has been a part of New York's annual Big Apple Barbecue festival. Although he recently left the restaurant, I figured it was still a place worth a try.

Pumpkin skillet cornbread with maple butter was much larger than I expected. It was delicious, though I wouldn't have minded if  the pumpkin flavor had been a tad stronger. The melting maple butter was irresistible.

The fried green tomatoes with buttermilk lime dressing and basil were also a great choice for an appetizer. They were light and the basil was a nice touch.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Shake Shack October Flavors

The new flavors for October are:

Monday: Shackenstein
Tuesday: Coconut Caramel
Wednesday: Ginger Pear
Friday: Pumpkin Pie
Saturday: S'mores
Sunday: Apple Spice Cake

Shacktoberfest, with special menu items, returns from October 7 to October 16. And until October 21, you can also enjoy the food stands at Madison Square Eats.