Jun 2, 2010

Eating my way around North Carolina (part two)

Taking an extremely unprofessional step, we went off the eating path and stopped by the North Carolina Museum of Art and Museum Park for a stroll, which wound up being over two miles long. The heat was slightly unbearable, but at least we worked off some of our lunch and made some room for milkshakes! The museum was small in comparison to some of the LA and NYC institutions that we are all used to visiting.
Gyre by Thomas Sayre

Our next stop was a North Carolina fast food chain called Cook Out that has 40 different flavors of milkshakes. This particular location was a combination drive-thru and walk-up with some outdoor seating. Very simple. The four of us shared two selections: peach cobbler and mint chocolate chip. Cook Out's milkshakes are extra thick and straws are rendered useless unless you have the lungs of a banshee. I particularly loved the peach cobbler. It reminded me of a cross between a Dairy Queen Blizzard and a Cold Stone Creamery concoction.   

Cook Out's walk up window
Cook Out's peach cobbler and mint chocolate chip milkshakes

Our afternoon ended back at our hotel in North Hills to get guzzied up for our evening out in Downtown Raleigh.

Dinner turned out to be one of the top two meals of our trip in my opinion. Poole's Downtown Diner is located in an old pie shop turned luncheonette turned yuppie restaurant. The cool and annoying hook of the restaurant is their seasonal menu which changes weekly, if not daily. This apparently means that they can't print menus, although I have been to plenty of places that change their menu daily and still manage to. Their remedy is chalkboard menus, which are hung around the diner. Being dinner time and extremely dark, we had to walk around in order to see them. Some were hung above other diners' tables, so it felt a tad rude to be standing next to someone's table as they are enjoying a night out.
I ordered the fried green tomatoes with deviled eggs and tomato relish. I was extremely disappointed in this dish because both of the other items I got were outstanding. The tomatoes didn't taste like anything and they were difficult to eat plus the whole combination didn't really make sense to me because nothing seemed to complement anything else.

Fried green tomatoes

One of the remarkable items was the macaroni and cheese. This is probably the best restaurant mac and cheese I have ever had. It was creamy, not soupy or dry. The crust was just crunchy enough to add that little bit of extra texture that I am always looking for. Everything was perfect from the pasta to the sauce. Oh my, the sauce! Too bad I had to share it with three other people.

Mac and cheese

For my entree, I chose the roasted chicken mainly because I looked at our neighbor's dish and drooled over it. It just looked like amazingly done comfort food, which is what I came here for. The chicken was juicy and tender. I could cut it easily with my fork and the mashed potatoes were a big scoop of buttery, smooth goodness. I enjoyed every bite of this dish.

Roasted chicken with mashed potatoes

Chaos struck as we discovered that one of us had forgotten her id, so we headed back to the hotel in a sudden downpour and found the hotel basement on fire. By then, it was too much for us to get ourselves back to downtown, so we spent some time getting to know our friendly hotel bartender before prepping to go to Charlotte the next day.

2110 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC 27607-6494

3930 Western Blvd
Raleigh, NC 27606
Poole's Downtown Diner
426 South McDowell St
Raleigh, NC 27601

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