Il Palio + Hayes Carll + Magnolia Grill + Music on Shuffle

Don’t miss the monthly CHOP NC (Culinary Historians of Piedmont) meeting tonight, Wed. 11/16!    Randy Fertel, author of the just-published book The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak: A New Orleans Family Memoir. 7:30pm at Flyleaf Books.

One Wednesday in early November. Two extraordinarily talented chefs. Three foodie girls. Equals six eyes-closing-appreciative-deep-moaning-mouthwatering fall menu tasting plates.

Since I was up waaay too late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning after an evening at Cat’s Cradle(more about that adventure later), Wednesday “the day” actually began late morning. The two chefs are Executive Chef Adam Rose and his Chef De Cuisine Isaiah Allen at Il Palio at the Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill, NC. The three lucky girls are me, Susan Reda, and Johanna Kramer, all eager with anticipation. The six small plates are … well, the sort you dream about if you’re like me and dream often about near-orgasmic experiences at table with friends and being fed by two attractive men wielding mad kitchen skills.

Il Palio at The Siena

Marinated Roasted Beet Salad
Dry Roasted Beets, Chevre (Elodie Farms, Rougemont, NC),  Arugula (Ever Laughter Farm, Hillsborough, NC), Orange Supremes, Tarragon, Fried Chickpeas, Aged Red Wine Vinegar

Butternut Squash Ravioli
Hand-rolled Ravioli (Lindley Mills Flour, Graham, NC and Latta Farm Eggs, Hillsborough, NC),  Roasted Butternut Squash, Mascarpone, Chili, Garlic, Balsamic Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Amoretti Cookie Powder, Shiitake Mushrooms (Blue Crown Farm, Rougemont, NC) And Chive

Lobster Fra Diavolo
Maine Lobster, Tagliolini Nero, Fresh Tomato Pomodoro (McAdams Farm, Efland, NC), Garlic, Basil

Pan Seared Scallops
with Pork Belly Pancetta (Cane Creek Farm, Snow Camp, NC), Sweet Potatoes, Onions, Apples, Thyme, Vincotto

Beer Braised Beef Short Ribs
Beef Short Ribs (Coastal Carolina Cattle Company, Ayden, NC), Fullsteam Brewery’s Working Man Ale (Fullsteam Brewery, Durham, NC), Parsnip Purée, Roasted Root Vegetables, Horseradish Gremolata

Poached Stuffed Pear
with Amaretti Cookie Sabayon and Brie (Looking Glass Creamery, Ashville, NC)

Adam and Isaiah were recent guests on SideDish. Take a listen! Aside: Perhaps most impressively, Isaiah remembered during our interview that I mentioned an allergy to horseradish and was careful to make me my own version of gremolata for the short ribs.

Adam Rose & Isaiah Allen


Hayes Carll

Rewind to the night before. Larry says “Hayes Carll is playing at the Cradle I think you’ll like him here’s a YouTube link go listen.” So I go and click. Do I like? Not so much. At first listen, he’s a better songwriter than he is a singer. I’m reluctant, but open though I wrestle with the $10 cover charge on my budget. I even emailed my singer/songwriter friend Bob in Austin to see if he knew him. Bob said “I’ve met Hayes and dig his music.” That’s enough for me.

Man, oh man, am I surprised! Carll, a Texas boy who now calls Austin home, and whose voice I had hated only hours earlier in the day was backed by a very hot, very rockin’ talented band and blew me away. See? I can admit when I’m wrong. Not sure what’s up with the two “l’s” on his last name. Go ask him.

FRIDAY, 11/11
A little lunch at Thai Palace (my neighborhood favorite) with my real cousin, JoAnn, and my adopted cousin, CA. They let me order for the table. That’s what I mean by “power lunch.” Mee Krob, Panang Chicken, and Pad Thai. There is not a noodle left.


Magnolia Grill's Ben & Karen Barker

Ninth Street in Durham. 7pm sharp. I mean, you just can’t be late to Magnolia Grill. Celebrating an upcoming birthday with my sister, Kate, from Vermont. If you know me, you know I can stretch a birthday celebration. I’m good at it.

I’d been hoarding a gift certificate so we could spend the evening at least pretending we can afford to eat like this all the time. Ben and Karen Barker, our own shining culinary stars of the Triangle, are owners of Magnolia Grill where menu changes happen daily and this night was full of fall comfort food. Service was delightful, as always, and Ben even came out to say “hey.” We dined like royalty, me with my Kermit Lynch Côtes du Rhône, Kate with her Tieffenbruner … too full to even consider dessert.

Curried Pumpkin Bisque
with Shrimp, Coconut and Native Ginger Chantilly

Crispy Fried Tidewater Oysters
on Creamy Baby Butterbean and Hominy Succotash with Apple Bacon, Spicy Green Tomato Sauce, and Black Pepper Aioli

Sorghum-Glazed Berkshire Pork Belly
with Warm Purple Hull Pea Salad, Creole Mustard Crema, Watermelon Rind Pickle

Cornmeal-Crusted Carolina Black Grouper
in Lemon-Arugula Pesto Sauce, Pumpkin Orzo “Hoppin John” with Roasted Red Peppers and Swiss Chard

Slow-Cooked Angus Beef Short Ribs
with Creamy Lindley Mills Grits and Southern Greens, Pepper Relish and Blackstrap Jus, Pickled Cubanelle Pepper and Red Mustard Salad

The Barkers have graduated so many high-profile chefs and cooks in their history from La Residence (after Bill Neal left) to Magnolia Grill, that it’s hard to keep track of them. If you missed Andrea Weigl’s Magnolia Grill Family Tree, From Two Chefs, Many check it out.

The Luckiest (Ben Folds)
Tribes (Jim Avett)
Dazzling Blue (Paul Simon)
No Woman, No Cry (Bob Marley & The Wailers)
Unspoken (Brett Harris)

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