Top 3 Restaurants To Try This Fall In NC @koan_cary @Il_Palio @DriftwoodRDU

Top 3 Restaurants To Try This Fall In NC | Cary * Chapel Hill * Raleigh

Hello November! ‘Tis the season to indulge in some good eats and treat yourself to memorable dining out experiences. I recently got to try 3 different restaurants and each one while different in cuisine share the same passion of bringing you an array of flavors on their new Fall menus. Take a look and discover where to eat in the Triangle at these TOP 3 RESTAURANTS TO TRY THIS FALL!

kō•än | Cary, NC

Photo Credit | Tabletop Media Group

🆕️ Restaurant Alert! The most exciting place for food right now is kō•än in Cary,NC, which opened November 1, 2019 with great anticipation! I got a chance to experience the restaurant and its menu at a media preview dinner and enjoyed everything from its innovative cocktails to their delicious small/large plates meant for sharing!

The new restaurant, located at 2800 Renaissance Park Pl, Cary, NC 27513, brings Executive Chef Drew Smith’s [ formerly of Raleigh’s bu•ku and so•ca, and winner of 2019’s Cooking for a Classic dining competition] vision of Southeast Asian cuisine in a zen-like atmosphere. Check out my Facebook post>>here for a look at some of the tasty menu.

For more info on kō•än, follow #koancary @koan_cary on Instagram and Twitter or visit www.koancary.com

Il Palio|Chapel Hill

Photo Credit | Tabletop Media Group

Transport your mind, body and tastebuds to Italy when you experience world-class dining at Il Palio, located in The Siena Hotel at 1505 East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, NC. Chef Adam Rose and his team uses the best local and Italian ingredients to prepare fresh, homemade pastas like this signature Butternut Squash Ravioli! *[see here for recipe]

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It's #WorldPastaDay ..and there are so many delicious pasta-bilities on the menu at @il_palio, located in @thesienahotel in Chapel Hill, NC. Chef Adam Rose and his team uses the best local and Italian ingredients to prepare fresh, homemade pastas like this signature Butternut Squash Ravioli! Swipe 🔙 for a look at some of the amazing culinary artisanship and fantastic dishes served at Il Palio! . . . . #IlPalio #TheSienaHotel #ChapelHill #NC #Italiancuisine #Italiancooking #ravioli #pasta #seafood #steak #dessert #nceats #foodtalk #ncfoodfinds #chapelhillrestaurants #diningout #f52grams #SobeSavvy #soNCsavvy #foodblogger #lifestyleblogger #RaleighBlogger #NCBlogger #chapelhillblogger #foodwomenwine #foodiefriday #nomnomnom

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If you enjoy Italian cuisine along with a lovely wine selection, and amazing culinary artisanship, then you will savor the fantastic dishes served in a warm and inviting Tuscan villa atmosphere at Il Palio!

For more information, follow @thesienahotel #TheSienaHotel on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Follow @il_palio #IlPalio on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Driftwood Kitchen & Bar | Raleigh, NC

Photo Credit | Tabletop Media Group

All my lovers of chicken and waffles [….and really good comfort food] make your way to DRIFTWOOD KITCHEN AND BAR (formerly known as Driftwood Southern Kitchen), located in Lafayette Village at 8460 Honeycutt Road, Suite 112, Raleigh, NC 27615 for a taste of the 🆕️ delicious menu revamped by Chef Nunzio which also includes tacos, meatloaf with tasso ham gravy, pulled short ribs, and chicken & biscuits (made from scratch), plus great craft cocktails, like the “Black -Eyed Rye made with Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey.

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Are you #teamsyrup or #gravy on your #chickenandwaffles? 🤷🏽‍♀️ Well at @driftwoodraleigh you can enjoy both, now available on the 🆕️ delicious menu at Driftwood Kitchen & Bar located inside @LafayetteVillage. ———— Chef Nunzio has revamped the previous menu to include exciting new additions like chicken and waffles, tacos, meatloaf with tasso ham gravy, pulled short ribs, and chicken and biscuits. Invited #raleighinfluencers got to experience the new flavors and take a tour of the refreshed restaurant space including a brand new private room for events and parties. ———— Follow #driftwoodraleigh on my #instastories to see some highlights from the #medianight ! Swipe 🔙 to see our tasty experience at Driftwood! . . . #SobeSavvy #soNCsavvy #RaleighBlogger #lifestyleblogger #raleighfood #trianglefoodies #raleighrestaurant #lafayettevillage #visitRaleigh #Raleigheats #NCfood

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Invited Raleigh influencers got to experience the new flavors and take a tour of the refreshed restaurant space including a brand new, communal style private dining room for events and parties. The restaurant’s unique open kitchen concept and scratch made menu showcases the best ingredients from as many regional and local farmers and producers when possible. Feast your eyes on some of the highlights from our media tasting experience on my Facebook page>>here.

For more info, follow Driftwood Kitchen & Bar #DriftwoodRaleigh, @driftwoodraleigh on Instagram and Facebook

Thanks for reading! I hope this post has made you hungry and ready to make reservations. Any of these restaurants would make a great dining out date option or a place to meet friends for small bites and cocktails! Cheers!

Have you dined at any of these restaurants? If not, which one are you checking out first?

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Celebrate @FoodNetwork#TheBestThingIEverAte Rugby Crepe at @SimplyCrepes #RaleighNC @LafayetteVil

Disclaimer: Thanks to our friends at Simply Crepes Raleigh for hosting SobeSavvy.com and inviting us to try their Rugby Crepe!

Since moving to Raleigh almost 4 years ago, I have managed to find a few of my favorite restaurants here. One of them is Simply Crepes. Located in the fashionable Lafayette Village, Simply Crepes is a family owned homage to everything crepes. Savory and Sweet rule the day here. I have always told all my friends and family about the place. I am glad to announce they will soon be known to millions more. Simply Crepes will have their own featured segment on the iconic Food Network show called “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on April 8!

Entering it’s 10th season, this show highlights what and where celebrity chefs and hosts of Food Network Programs like to eat on their off time and on their own dime. Chef Fabio Viviani (whom I had the pleasure to meet/interview in Miami in 2015 and dine at his restaurant Siena Tavern Miami), is the breakout star of the reality show Top Chef who now owns various eateries and restaurants nationwide! He stopped by Simply Crepes in NY while on a business trip in the area and was impressed by the food to say the least. There was one crepe in particular that he fell in love with. It is called The Rugby Crepe.

Simply Crepes ‘Rugby Crepe’ Voted “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” by Chef Fabio Viviani to be featured on Food Network in April 2019 | Photo Credit SobeSavvy.com


Simply Crepes calls this their homage to the Big Mac. Shaved Angus Steak , crisp lettuce, cheddar cheese, pickles, sauteed onions on a sesame seed crepe! Chef Fabio Viviani approached the owners to be on the show. They agreed and as they say, the rest is history. I had a chance to try this crepe with the option of adding applewood bacon and agree with Chef. It is amazingly good! The best part was the Russian dressing. I could seriously put that on everything!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuSAoIUn2hQ/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=pphrswzur4nn

Simply Crepes also has some incredible sides to go with this now famous item. Their Brussell Sprouts are something to behold. Crispy, with balsamic and goat cheese crumble.You may also want to try their loaded potatos as tasty side or one of their delicious soups. I recommend the Creamy Potatoe and Bacon Chowder.No matter which starter or side you choose, save room for dessert. The Bananas & Creme Crepe is the perfect sweet ending to your meal.

SobeSavvy Tip: Visit Simply Crepes on Mimosa Monday’s and you get half price mimosa’s and also $20 Mimosa Carafe’s. They offer 4 different flavors for your choosing. It is the perfect way to celebrate with Simply Crêpes!

Make sure you tune into ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate‘ on the Food Network on April 8 to see the Simply Crepes feature. Better yet come through Simply Crepes today and try it for yourself. It may end up the best thing YOU ever ate!
•Have you dined at Simply Crepes before?
•What is the best thing you ever ate?
Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!

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First Look @ORORaleigh ‘s NEW Social Hour Menu Bar Bites + Drink Specials, All Items $5! #DowntownRaleigh

ORO Restaurant & Lounge | Social Hour Menu Review by SobeSavvy.com

Hey Raleigh! Looking for a new, hot spot to grab a glass of wine, cocktail or two and meet friends for a bite to eat after work? Well I have just the place for you. ORO Restaurant & Lounge, located in Downtown Raleigh, offers a fun, brand new Social Hour menu and SobeSavvy.com was invited to check it out. Here is what you need to know before you go and trust me, you will want to go ASAP!

ORO Restaurant & Lounge is chic, and sleek with white/wood modern decor and a mezzanine & a fireplace

SOCIAL HOUR

The new Social Hour menu was rolled out on Monday, January 28, 2019. It is offered in the Bar area only Monday- Thursday from 5pm-7pm. All items are just $5.00! Oh how I love a deal!

• EAT

There are five delicious food items on the menu to choose from. The variety offered allows everyone to find something to eat no matter the dietary restrictions or choices. The portions are enough for one person to enjoy but also shareable. Everything was so good that it is hard to pick a favorite. So my suggestion is order one of each and enjoy them all!

Beef Sliders | blue cheese | carmelized onions

Truffle Fries | parmesan | truffle oil

Lobster & Crab Bites | greens | citrus aioli

Teriyaki Chicken Skewers | green onion

Vegetable Spring Rolls | sweet chili sauce

• DRINK

Also on the Social Hour menu are two wine choices from Century Cellars. Order a glass of Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon to enjoy or if your are in the mood for a cocktail, get The Social Butterfly. It’s made with NC’s own Social House Vodka and your choice of mixer ( I asked for ginger beer and my friend got cranberry juice). It is served with a cute butterfly on the straw! It’s a refreshing and fun way to drink local!

ORO Social Hour Menu | DRINK | The Social Butterfly

SobeSavvy Tip: Elevate your drinking experience by ordering from the Specialty Cocktail menu. You’ll be impressed by the taste and presentation of these innovative cocktails! Watch this video and make plans to sip and see for yourself!

Specialty Cocktails | Weird Science | Smoke & Mirrors

ORO is a great place to have lunch [Read about my lunch experience at ORO >>here.], a romantic dinner, meet with co-workers after work, host a celebration event or hang with your girlfriends! Whatever the occasion, ORO will make it special. Cheers!

Lovely Leslie of @SobeSavvy and Meka Harrell of @hwthblog meet up for a fun Mom’s Night Out at ORO Restaurant & Lounge

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ORO Restaurant & Lounge

18 E. Martin Street

Raleigh, NC 27601

www.ororaleigh.com

Where to Dine in #Raleigh for @TriRestWeek Jan 21-27th 2019 | @Seasons52 @shopcrabtree

Seasons 52 Dinner Menu Preview for Triangle Restaurant Week Jan 2019

Foodies get ready! Triangle Restaurant Week is starting Monday (Jan. 21-27) and we get to enjoy menu deals for lunch and dinner at some of our favorite restaurants. This is a good time to make your reservations at places you’ve always wanted to try. Or perhaps return to a restaurant you may have been to before but can now try something new and different from the menu. Since there are so many premier places to choose from, I thought I would help by giving you a preview of the special menu from one of my favorite restaurants, Seasons 52.

THE MENU

Known for their seasonally inspired menu and wine bar, Seasons 52 is all about bringing out the natural flavors of food. You can expect food that is fresh, beautifully prepared and full of flavor. They use rustic cooking techniques, like brick-oven roasting and open-fire grilling over oak and mesquite wood, to give their dishes a fresh grill taste. Triangle Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to experience a better way to eat from Seasons 52 at a great value. For $30 p/p, here is what is offered on their special dinner menu:

•First Course

Although my guest & I had dined at Seasons 52 before, our server Devonte was helpful and ready to answer any questions about the menu. The items being featured on the Triangle Restaurant Week menu are the same from the regular menu. We were happy to see our favorite Garlic Pesto Chicken flatbread as a choice to share in the first course. Their flatbread is the perfect first course as a shareable appetizer because it’s light, and there is great flavor in every bite. I could not believe it was only 460 calories!

GARLIC PESTO CHICKEN | mozzarella, balsamic cipollini onions, roasted red peppers, arugula

Second Course

Salads may seem mundane to some but not here at Seasons 52! I ordered the Romaine and Baby Kale Caesar Salad which came with plenty of shaved parmesan and a light, creamy dressing. It was good but the star salad was the Seasonl Spinach Salad (Spinach and Caramelized Bosc Pear). The combination of pears,spinach, gorgonzola, toasted walnuts and a delightful sherry-walnut vinigrette dressing was amazing!

Third Course

Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon -Crushed Potatoes, Caulilini, Dill-Mustard Sauce

For the third course I ordered the Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon and my guest went for the Wood-Grilled Filet Mignon. You couldn’t go wrong with either one. It just depends on whether you want surf or turf. The salmon was prepared and served on a cedar plank, which gave it a wonderful flavor that only cedar can bring out. The steak was mouth melting with a incredible sauce and mushrooms. It came with yukon mashed potatos and caulilini (not to be confused with brocollini)! It was my first time having that vegetable. It tastes like sweet cauliflower and looks like broccolini. I love discovering something new to enjoy. Thanks Seasons 52 for the introduction.

Dessert

Whatever you do remember the following 4 words: SAVE👏 ROOM👏 FOR👏 DESSERT. Seasons 52 has iconic status when it comes to it’s Mini Indulgence Desserts. They are served in single serving shot glasses filled with all sorts of goodness. Carrot Cake, Key Lime Pie, just to name a few. No need to feel guilty because after 3-4 spoonfuls, it is gone but not forgotten! The perfect sweet ending to an amazing dinner at Seasons 52!

SobeSavvy Tip: Did you know Seasons 52 offers 52 wines by the glass? If you are a wine lover like me, take the opportunity to try some of the wine pairings on the Restaurant Week menu. I recommend the Harvest Sun Chardonnay with the garlic pesto chicken flatbread and the salmon.

Overall our dining experience was a great one! Not only did we enjoy our 3 course meal but left feeling good after eating healthy, full-flavored dishes from Seasons 52!

HAVE YOU DINED AT SEASONS 52 BEFORE? WILL YOU BE DINING OUT FOR TRIANGLE RESTAURANT WEEK?

Seasons 52 Raleigh

Crabtree Valley Mall

4325 Glenwood Ave

Raleigh, NC 27612

#FoodieFriday | Family Dining at FIREBIRDS Wood Fired Grill #NorthHills @FirebirdsGrill #Raleigh

Happy Friday! Time for another drool-worthy Foodie Friday Feature. This time I am highlighting Firebirds Wood Fired Grill. Have you ever been? We have three locations here in the Triangle [Durham/Southpoint Mall, Morrisville and Raleigh/North Hills]. I had gone before to enjoy their Happy Hour but I did not know about their amazing Kids Menu! I learned more about the restaurant at the North Hills Block Party event and was interested in dining there with my family. We went there for lunch on Sunday prior to seeing The Nutcracker and The Four Realms and had an enjoyable experience. From the great service to the tastiness of the food and the welcoming atmosphere, I would definitely recommend dining at Firebirds!

Drinks/Appetizer

With a full bar featuring an extensive wine list and creative cocktails, there are so many beverage choices to choose from. Our waiter kindly suggested we try a few of their non-alcoholic craft beverages. I am so glad he did because the Strawberry Basil Cooler and Wild Berry Ginger Craft Soda were both refreshing.

Firebirds partners with an organization called “Alex’s Lemondade Stand“. They contribute a portion of every lemonade sale to this pediatric cancer foundation. So naturally we ordered a lemonade for our daughter!

We had the Lobster Spinach Queso as a shareable appetizer. Chunks of lobster and fresh spinach in delicious high quality queso cheese with bell peppers. Tri-colored tortilla chips came with it. Simply one of the best quesos I have ever had! Three words of advice: ORDER.THIS.APPETIZER.

Recommended: Lobster Spinach Queso

Kids Menu

I was very happy to see that the food offered to little ones are from a KidsLiveWell approved menu. Not many restaurants have this healthy recognition for most of the items on their kids menu, so I am pleased to see this and spread the word to other parents!

The Kids Live Well program verifies that certain kids dishes meets or exceed child nutritional standards. They have 5 entrees and 3 sides that meet this standard. Their kids menu has everything from shrimp tacos and wood grilled mahi to ribs. My daughter wanted the ribs. They came fall- off -the -bone tender with a honey barbeque sauce. She chose fresh fruit and brocolli for healthy sides. Fries came out in error so it was a bonus side for her.

Speaking of bonus, the Kids Menu itself is a mini activity book unlike anothet focusing on important values and interviews from Kid Heros. For more Kids Fun Visit FIREBIRDSKIDS.COM

Entreés

If I had to describe their entrees with one word it would be delicious. Firebirds offers so many yummy options on their menu and what we each ordered was tasty, flavorful, and satisfying!

My husband went with their Filet Mignon which was cooked to a perfect medium at his request. It came tender with a side of mashed potatoes and port mushrooms. Every steak they serve is aged a minimum of 21 days.Top quality and great taste.

Recommended: Filet Mignon is a staple on the menu. Their kitchen is a scratch kitchen and all of their steaks and seafood are hand-cut in house.

I went with the wood grilled salmon. It was basted with key lime butter and veggies. At my waiter’s suggestion, I got it chile rubbed style. In fact he advised that you can request anything on the menu to be chile rubbed. I added a skewer of shrimp and a side of Southwest Au Gratin Potatoes. We all enjoyed the gooey baked goodness of that side dish!

Dessert

Four Words.: SAVE.ROOM.FOR.DESSERT ! Firebirds offers an array of terrific desserts like Warm Chocolate Brownies, Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Cake and a White Chocolate Mousse. But me and my sweet tooth are here to testify that their Creme Brulee Cheesecake will knock your socks off ! Such a fantasic sweet ending to a fantastic meal!

Recommended: Crème Brulee Cheesecake

SobeSavvy Tip: Firebirds offers dishes featuring ingredients for that season. The next seasonal feature is not until their Winter Features which will launch on November 28th. Be sure to mark your calenders and make reservations [on OpenTable] today! Plus, join the Firebirds Inner Circle for updates. Check out more from Firebirds on their website.

Also Firebirds is honoring our Veterans on Monday with this awesome deal⤵️

Firebirds is an excellent choice for a date night, meeting with friends, celebrating a special occassion or simply dining with family in a nice casual setting. Adults and kids can find alot to love about Firebirds. I know we enjoyed everything about our meal and look forward to dining here again!

Thank you to Firebirds for hosting SobeSavvy.com at your Raleigh North Hills location for Lunch. My opinions of the dining experience are 100% my own!

FIREBIRDS Wood Fired Grill

North Hills

4350 Lassiter At NORTH HILLS Ave. Ste 118, Raleigh,NC 27609

919.788.8778

Raleigh.FirebirdsRestaurants.com

#FoodieFriday | Celebrating Harvest Season at @SimplyCrepes in Raleigh,NC

One of my favorite foodie times of the year is Harvest Season and I recently got to celebrate it at Simply Crepes in Raleigh,NC. Located in the picturesque Lafayette Village, Simply Crepes invited me in to try their Autumn Menu.

Their seasonal menu features fresh ingredients and flavors you would associate with harvest time like apple and pumpkin. For a limited time, their new offerings are on their Autumn Menu for you to try.

Cooler temps call for hot drinks to warm you up! Their Hot Apple Cider or Pumpkin Chai Latte will do just that.

Next we tried a beautiful Harvest Salad as a starter. Candied walnuts, blue cheese crumbles and a wonderful vinegrette dressing made this the perfect first course!

Freshly made crepes were served next. We tried three of their savory crepes: OktoberFest, Pommes Brie and Monte Crepe-O.

Oktoberfest was a wonderful take on German inspired cuisine. German sausage and maple sugared sauerkraut topped with a apfel marinier sauce served with potato salad. I am not a sauerkraut fan but their use of maple sugar was quite enjoyable!

Pommes Brie, as the name suggests is a crepe with ham, brie cheese, caramelized onions and bacon jam topped with perfect thin fresh slices apples. All the ingredients paired so well together! The bacon jam, as well as all the sauces and salad dressings, is made in house.

Monte Crepe-O is their take on the iconic namesake sandwich Monte Cristo. Turkey, ham and gruyere cheese stuffed inside a pan fried egg battered crepe. If that is not enough how about it also has a side of raspberry sauce for dippin or just pour it over the whole thing!

Simply Crepes also has two harvest inspired sweet crepes: The Pumpkin Crepe and Cinnamon Apple Crepe. Both were very very good. I suggest to try one of each in petite size and switch plates halfway through with your date! Both served warm with vanilla bean ice cream are simply amazing!

SobeSavvy Tip: Planning on hosting a holiday party? Catering is available at the restaurant or order online and have them come to you! Connect with Simply Crepes on Twitter, IG, Facebook and be sure to check out their weekly specials ⤵️

Huge thanks to Simply Crepes for hosting SobeSavvy.com and Food Diary of A City Girl, who recently featured Simply Crepes on her list of places to enjoy pumpkin dishes.

The next time you are in Raleigh,NC make plans to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner at Simply Crepes for a unique and delicious dining experience! Which savory or sweet crepe would you try first?

Simply Crepes

8470 Honeycutt Road, Suite 110

Lafayette Village

Raleigh, NC 27615

Store & Catering: 919-322-2327

www.simplycrepes.com

Treat Yourself To Oysters for #NationalOysterDay (or any day) in Raleigh & Wake Forest NC!

Sunday,August 5th is one of my favorite food holidays because it is National Oyster Day! The seafoodie in me loves to eat these beauties from the sea. Whether you like them raw on the half shell, roasted, charbroiled, topped off with cheese or fried in a po boy sandwich, there are so many places to enjoy fresh oysters in the Triangle. Here are some of my favorite places to enjoy oysters in Raleigh & Wake Forest!

18 Seaboard

NC oysters from Core Sound topped with pimento cheese and proscuitto

18 Seaboard, the brainchild of Chef Smith and his wife Laura,winner 2018 Best of Downtown restaurant for a business meeting, is best known for its locally sourced seafood dishes. Here is where I made my first stop to celebrate National Oyster Day!

Pair the oysters with a glass of Rosé or 18 Seaboard’s Prosecco cocktail

Chef Jason Smith, who was recently featured in the IndyWeek top 100 dishes, gets his oysters fresh from Locals Seafood and serves Core Sounders topped them with pimento cheese brulee +prosciutto +crystal cane syrup ! They are raw but torched at the end to melt the cheese just a little. You get 5 to an order, but you may want more after tasting the hot sauce sugar syrup. It is literally the icing on the oyster!

Chef-Proprietor Jason Smith was recently featured in Indy Week! 18 Seaboard serves delicious local NC seafood dishes!

18 Seaboard

18 Seaboard Ave
Raleigh, NC 27604

Whiskey Kitchen

Oysters, fried to perfection at Whiskey Kitchen

Whiskey Kitchen..winner of 2018 best of Downtown Bar Food, known for best outside patio and an all around great vibe. I recently was here enjoying a girls night out and the fried oysters were such a memorable bite!

The Drink Menu is extensive at Whiskey Kitchen. No matter the celebration, they have plenty of libations!

During the day, Whiskey Kitchen still has a great atmosphere but it is more kid friendly and even dog friendly on the patio. If you are a fan of day drinking, head to Whiskey Kitchen for the best place to enjoy fried oysters on the patio for and pair is with prosecco, a glass of wine, a Bloody Mary, beer or just ask Johnny to make something special!

Whiskey Kitchen

201 W Martin St
Raleigh, NC 27601

bu*ku Wake Forest

If you read my review of bu•ku Wake Forest, then you know I could never say nada to their

~

….

These oysters are on their menu everyday so I can celebrate my love for oysters anytime and so can you!

bu*ku Wake Forest

1228 Heritage Links Dr suite 100 Wake Forest, NC 27587

National Oyster Day may be coming to an end but lucky for us we have quite a few restaurants here in Raleigh that serve up these delicacies from the sea. Hummingbird features Chef Coleen Speaks’ oyster dishes (she does an amazing oyster po’boy, along with smoked marinated oysters and charbroiled oysters), as well as Mandolin, who offers delicious local NC oysters on the half shell with Chef Sean Fowler’s house-made sauces. Another restaurant in Wake Forest that I have enjoyed is Shuckers. Remember, The World Is Your Oyster, go out there and enjoy!

Photo Courtesy of Mandolin

Do you like oysters? Did you celebrate National Oyster Day? If so, leave your favorite oyster spot below!

#FoodieFriday Feature| Dinner For Two Review @bukuwakeforest! Eat Global,Support Local and Celebrate Grand Opening 6/28 in Wake Forest, NC

Recently, SobeSavvy.com was invited to a hosted dinner at the new bu•ku Wake Forest, a restaurant that is recognized for its global street food menu thanks to its flagship establishment in downtown Raleigh,NC. Their website states they are inspired by the pushcarts of street vendors from all over the world. I was excited to taste what they offered and hoped it would remind me of my experiences abroad as well as introduce me to something I’ve never had before.

If you are asking yourself… what is global street food?..It is basically no frills food native to the area it originates from. It tastes exactly like they would make these dishes in their home for their families. My introduction to street food was sudden and unexpectedly delightful. The year was 2006 in Phuket Island, Thailand. My friend who lived there at the time was taking my husband and I around and showing us the sights. We were hungry and he said “Let’s go by noodle stand #5”. Not quite sure what that was so we went along with it. We pulled up to a side street where an elderly woman had set up a plastic table on the back of her bike with a steaming contraption alongside. To our western sensibilities this was strange. We had one of the best meals of our lives right there in the alley. That unique dining experience shaped my willingness to try different foods and made me ready to enjoy dinner for 2 at bu•ku.

RESTAURANT VIBES

Since this locally owned and operated restaurant is celebrating global street food in an elevated way, you will not find plastic tables here. The decor is modern and the ambiance is inviting yet intimate. You have the option to dine inside or outside on the patio but as soon as I walked thru the doors at bu•ku Wake Forest, I knew I would enjoy dining in the serene, beautifully designed dining space. I had an early dinner reservation at 6p but soon the restaurant was bustling with quite a few large dinner party celebrations as well as friends casually meeting for drinks after work at the bar. There were even families with children enjoying dinner and couples enjoying a dinner date night. No matter how busy it got, service was welcoming and attentive throughout the evening.

COCKTAILS ANYONE?

If you are one that enjoys a good drink before, during or after your meal, then you will be quite satisfied with the wine list, beer and cocktail menu at bu•ku Wake Forest. Whether you choose to enjoy on their patio, at the bar or with your dinner, I do suggest this restaurant for their interesting selection of wines, beers and craft cocktails. Here are two drinks that you must try on your next visit to bu•ku:

Sangria Roja at bu•ku is the perfect Summertime Sip!

My new favorite bubbly cocktail: The Secret Garden at bu•ku

DINNER MENU

Per bu•ku Wake Forest, their Global Street Food menu is ..”a new type of dining, designed for the type of mix & matched tasting and plate-sharing that sparks conversation.” If you’ve ever been to the Raleigh location owned by culinary visionaries Sean Degnan and Tony Hopkins, you will notice some menu differences. The team partnered with longtime friend, Todd Ohle, owner of the second bu•ku Wake Forest, and each restaurant has its own Chef that develops their own creations while still supporting menus and programs for the entire restaurant group. Just like the Raleigh location ( which is moving to Cary in 2019), bu•ku offers gluten free, vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu. Feast your eyes on the small plates, large plates and big bowls we enjoyed for dinner:

Small Plates | Chinese Steamed Buns at bu•ku | 2 per order- Braised Pork, hoison sauce, pickles and scallions. Served on a perfectly warm “steamed” bun. Perfection in it’s simplicity yet complex in it’s flavors. Yum!

Small Plates | Edamame + Ostras Asadas at bu•ku | Edamame has a bit of a kick thanks to the addition of peppercorn. The grilled local oysters are some of the best I have had in the Triangle because of the flavorful toppings!

Large Plates | NC Catch at bu•ku | Local Seafood meets Global Flavors on a plate! The flounder was perfectly cooked and served on a bed of cauliflower,rutabaga mash, pistachio and topped with fennel-shallot confit. My favorite part was pouring the parmesean beurre on top!

Big Bowls | Vietnamese Phô at bu•ku | The seared filet mignon was so tender and my favorite part about this dish. I wanted more flavor from the broth and plan to do some spice additions to my leftovers at home!

Dessert | Tres Helados at bu•ku | You get a trio of chefs selection of gluten free sorbet and ice creams, toasted coconut flakes, and fresh berries. It was my first time having avocado ice cream and I loved it!

SobeSavvy Tip: EVENT ALERT A celebration for the new bu•ku Wake Forest will take place Thursday, June 28th with a cocktail hour and ribbon cutting for media and city officials on Thursday, June 28th. Dinner service will begin at 5pm and feature live music from Joe O’Keefe’s “3 Second Rule” band (who owns neighboring Wine 101), as well as complimentary sangria for all guests. As founding members of A Place at the Table, Degnan and Hopkins will donate a portion of proceeds from this evening to this charitable cause!

Thanks for reading and I hope you are inspired to make dinner reservations for 2 at the new bu•ku!

bu•ku Wake Forest

1228 Heritage Links Dr suite 100, Wake Forest, NC 27587

Hey #Raleigh, If you seek Authentic Greek, head to @TavernaAgora during @TriRestweek and #TakeBackLunch

Leslie, Founder of SobeSavvy.com visits Taverna Agora to #TakeBackLunch during Triangle Restaurant Week

Greece is known for many things. The Acropolis and inventing the modern Olympic games just to name a few. Something else Greece is known for… healthy and delicious food! Whether it’s how they cook their lamb or use feta cheese in different dishes, Greek cuisine is adored worldwide. Although Greece is 5,000 miles away and eating there for lunch or dinner tomorrow is impossible for most, I have some great news. Greece is right here in the City of Oaks in the form of Taverna Agora Restaurant!

Taverna Agora is a bi-level restaurant serving authentic Greek cuisine in the heart of downtown Raleigh

Located in downtown Raleigh,NC, Taverna Agora offers old world flavors and rustic roots “reminiscent of gathering places found in Greece.” As soon as you walk in you get a feeling of traditional mixed with modern. The atmosphere is quite charming and I loved the decor both inside and on the covered rooftop patio.

At Taverna Agora, get ready to Eat, Drink,OPA!

SobeSavvy.com was invited there for lunch during the special Triangle Restaurant Week that runs from June 4 thru June 10. For a fixed price, you get to try dishes from the regular menu at a discount. Lunch at Taverna Agora during this special is $15 per person (plus tax/gratuity) for 3 COURSES! THAT is such a great deal don’t you think?!

Taverna Agora’s TRW Lunch Menu

Drinks are not included with TRW Lunch menu but I shared on my instastories two cocktails identified as “Village Favorites”. Both the Greek Mule and Greek Lemonade were refreshing!

We started with a couple of great cocktails and got down to the business of food. Our waiter welcomed me back (since I dined there before) and gave a warm welcome to my guest who was there for the first time. We ordered an appetizer, entrée and dessert from the special Triangle Restaurant Week menu as follows:

1ST COURSE

Greek Village Salad at Taverna Agora

Options were Lemon Chicken soup or a choice of two different salads. Both the Greek Village Salad and the Watermelon and Feta Salad were fresh and flavorful. I also was pleased to see that the portions were big enough to share with each other. Thanks to the quality of the balsamic vinegar combined with watermelon and feta, I have found a new fave summer salad!

Watermelon and Feta Salad at Taverna Agora

2ND COURSE & 3RD COURSE

It’s Lunchtime at Taverna Agora!

For entrees we went with the Chicken Penne and a Gyro Pita. Each of these were quite good and we were impressed again by the quality of the ingredients used. I have leftovers of the pasta that I can’t wait to enjoy! We both finished with their signature Greek dessert of Baklava.

Save room for Taverna Agora’s dessert…the 3rd course was amazing!

SobeSavvy Tip: Make some time and join Taverna Agora during your lunchtime to #TakeBackLunch. Studies show you’ll be happier and more productive when you back away from your desk, leave the screen and take time for lunch. You could even win a midday meal for 10! Enter >>>>here.

#TakeBackLunch on June 15th National Take Back The Lunch Break Day at Taverna Agora!

Triangle Restaurant Week ends Sunday but there’s still time to experience multiple dishes and flavors and immerse yourself in the tastes of Greece. You can still get those amazing dishes on their regular menu but don’t miss this chance to try the TRW Menu at this great price! Plus service was attentive and professional and I loved the setting. For all of those reasons combined with delicious food, hurry down to Taverna Agora!

TAVERNA AGORA

326 Hillsborough St.

Raleigh, NC 27603

Thanks Taverna Agora for hosting SobeSavvy.com! I really enjoyed my dining experience and looking forward to next time!

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#FoodieFriday Feature | What’s New at Red Monkey Tavern in #Raleigh @ShopCrabtree #dineCrabtree

On a recent visit to Crabtree Valley Mall, lunch and libations were on my agenda. I am excited to share my #dineCrabtree experience at Red Monkey Tavern, who recently switched over ownership and have so many awesome things going on! They have a NEW menu, NEW concept, NEW management and a NEW fan in me!

VIEWS + VIBE

This was my first time dining at Red Monkey and I honestly did not know what to expect. In fact because of my love-hate relationship with monkeys, I just never thought to do anything except take out of town guests to the infamous monkey bench that sits outside the restaurant and let them take funny photos! Do you remember the time when Michael Jackson had a pet monkey named Bubbles? I think this bench lets people have their wish of getting up close and personal with a monkey. You will almost always see someone sitting beside it. LOL!

I am so glad I was invited to step inside and dine at this cozy, casual restaurant. The decor has a bit of a tropical feel to it and in my opinion one to many plush monkeys. However after receiving a warm welcome from the host followed by a friendly greeting from the waitress, I felt comfortable at the Red Monkey. Salsa music and Latin Jazz tunes were playing and I immediately liked the vibe. We were seated at a cozy booth across from the bar but they also have some intimate tables for two

as well as outside patio seating

and a lower level lounge area, which can be reserved for private events!

DRINKS

Before ordering food, I took a look at their “Monkey Drinks” menu, which consisted of beer, wine and craft cocktails. I ordered one of their “Monkey Mules” called a Redneck Mule, which is made with Jack Daniels Honey and ginger beer. I love moscow mules and was impressed with their unique, refreshing twist on a classic drink! My hubby ordered a top shelf L.I.T. Monkey, which stands for Long Island Iced Tea.

After meeting Marcella and learning that she was from Miami, she encouraged me to try a Mojito and I am so glad I did! After living in Miami myself for almost 19 years, I can say Red Monkey will be my go to place when I want a real Mojito without getting on a plane to South Florida. And guess what…on Mondays you can enjoy a Mojito for just $5.00! Yes, I’ll drink to that!

THE MENU

At first glance of the menu, you will see American faves and tavern food like wings, nachos and burgers. I also saw some dishes that reminded me of my favorite foods from traveling in the Caribbean like yellow rice, plantains, jerk chicken and ceviche. The cuisine is Latin Fusion and I learned from talking to the owners/management that many of the new dishes are inspired by family recipes. If you taste sofrito in a dish, you have Randy’s Abuela to thank for that!

Appetizers

When I asked our waitress what was her favorites on the menu, she advised everything is good but she loved the steak! So that’s where we started with an order of the steak nachos plus the Maryland style crab cakes. Considering my husband and I were both born in Maryland, we are a bit of crab cake snobs. ‘Not bad’ we thought but we also shared with the owner they may not want to call it Maryland style. Perhaps simply crab cakes. It did have a nice flavor and I enjoyed the cilantro cream that it is served with.

If you love nachos, definitely order the “Monkey Nachos”! They come in a huge bowl and are gluten free. It is served with chipotle queso, bacon, Pico de Gallo, roasted jalepenos cilantro crema and you can add on chicken or steak for extra yumminess!

Entreés

The menu offers a delicious variety of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and house favorites to chose from. Our eyes were drawn to two classic dishes we enjoyed while living in Miami around so many cultures. Check out the description of the Cuban Sandwich:

As described, I felt like I was on a mini vacation enjoying a sandwich I learned to love in Miami. The bread, the pork, ham, cheese,pickles… everything was just right! However,I could not finish my food due to the constant visits my fork took to my husband’s entreé. He ordered the Skirt Steak Churrassco and as soon as I saw it and smelled the aroma, I knew I wanted to taste his dish. The quality, tenderness and flavor of his steak along with the yellow rice & pigeon peas, black beans and sweet plantains made me secretly wish I had ordered his instead. The chimichurri sauce served with the steak was also very good!

Desserts

Red Monkey has a Happy Hour dessert special from 5-7pm offering $5 specials different days of the week. The food portions were so big I almost did not have room for dessert but trust me you will want to either save room, make room or get dessert to go! The Tres Leche de Coquito was amazing! It’s a moist sponge cake topped with coquito, which some people refer to as Puerto Rican egg nog. There is enough to share but it is so good, you may not want to. Like their Mojito, this dessert is authentic and delish!

SobeSavvy Tip: Save the date for these Upcoming Events!

This upcoming week Red Monkey has a Trivia Night coming up on April 24th along with their weekly Salsa Classes on Wednesdays: https://www.facebook.com/events/145767506137467/

Also on Mother’s Day they are offering an All You Can Eat Buffet Brunch!

The lesson in my dining experience here is to not judge a book by its cover. I let the name of a place and past reviews discourage me from ever stepping in to the restaurant. The staff, service, sips and steak were all satisfying and I know I will be going back! I encourage you to stop in and see what’s new at the Red Monkey Tavern. Follow on Instagram @RedMonkeyRaleigh & @ShopCrabtree.