Saturday, January 29, 2011

restaurant review of The Irregardless Cafe

I was driving all over downtown Raleigh one Saturday looking for something to eat and turned on a little street and passed this cottage-turned-into-a-restaurant, The Irregardless Cafe.  When you enter, you will be welcomed with warm honey wood floors and a quiet, gallery like atmosphere.  The huge paintings on the wall are by famous local artist, Kyle Highsmith.  His paintings are vibrant and tropical, many featuring boats and wooden docks and reminiscent of lazy beach days.  I got there pretty late when the kitchen was about to close so they could only offer the small plates menu.  I immediately noticed that the prices are on the higher end.  That however, that could be justified in that they use organic produce and hormone and antibiotic free meats, as well as purchasing many of their products locally, and from organic markets when possible. 

I was completely bowled over when I saw an ENTIRE page of vegetarian and vegan items.  They were innovative yet seemed unpretentious and satisfying.  Because I had to order from the small plates menu, I got the bruschetta.  I wanted it to love it.  I wanted it to burst with flavor from the sweet tomatoes and peppers, but it was awful.  Horrible is more of an accurate term.  The mozzarella was bland and the whole dish was under seasoned and lacking in any real flavor.  The bread was soggy.  The basil had turned black.  I wanted my money back. 

Luckily for the jazz band playing and couples dancing, it turned into a really fun night.  Watching the couples dance was the most enjoyable part of the entire dinner.  I especially am endeared to places where I see older people and younger people enjoying themselves and the food.  The music was playing softly and a couple even did the tango... just like you see in the movies!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Music Voyager

Television has come a long way, but not in any good sense IMHO.  All those reality shows just dumbifying our younger population and targeting them with more nonsense advertising.  To think there is a generation of Snookies right behind us!  Good laaaaaaaawd, help us all.   Although I should come out and just be honest - at that age, I would've died for an opportunity to be famous for just partying. Thank goodness for PBS, Nat Geo and ID (Investigation Discovery). 

I love love love PBS programming and I just found this new show called Music Voyager.  The host, Jacob Edgar travels all the world in search of new sounds.  I caught two episodes, first, where he went to Rajasthan and the second, where he went to Old Delhi and spoke to the trio band East India Company.  Sitting in front of an absolutely gorgeous red wall on the dirt street singing their rustic version of the famous song, 'Dum Mast Qalander' was INCREDIBLE.  The show is beautifully shot and very easy to watch with a laid back host ready to try anything.  In an odd way, he reminds me a little of Under the Sun host, Nathan Leroy whom I just love.  Oooooh, that accent!!! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Top of the Hill and He's Not Here

We were just walking along Franklin Street looking for a place to grab something to eat in time to watch the Patriots game when I was directed to this little spot... too too funny, don't you think?   There were some benches outside in what seemed to be some sort of an ice-house but it was too cold to sit outside.  The name of the place just made me LOL!

So instead, we grabbed a drink and ate at this impressive little rooftop bar called Top of the Hill.  Their lunch menus are so adorable; they're little black & white, sephia-tinted postcards and their dinner menus are like landscape photos.  I was surpised to find the prices were very reasonable given the upscale ambience.  I ordered a lager on tap and a 'Courtney's Cheese Pizza' which was basically a white pizza topped with a basil-cashew pesto and Monterey Jack cheese.  My companion ordered the 'Thumbs & Toes' which were chicken tenders covered in a Thai chile sauce.  The pizza was a little disappointing with a flimsy, soggy crust that tasted like it was made hours earlier, but the view was incredible, so surprisingly, I wasn't bothered a bit by lunch.  Here are a few snaps during game time.