Tuesday - April 3, 2007

Almost forgot....

One thing I forgot to mention about Wilmington..... If you want some good pizza, check out Slice of Life. It was so good we actually went back a second time. It's a small pub atmosphere, complete with full bar and flat screen TVs. It's also right down the street from Kilwin's if you have the urge for dessert.

Slice of Life Pizzeria & Pub Wilmington North Carolina
Kilwin's Handmade Chocolates, Confections, Handmade Fudge, Truffles, Assorted Gift Chocolates

Posted by jcraven at 5:21 PM

Thursday - March 29, 2007

More Canadian goodness

Previously, I mentioned my obsession with a Canadian candy bar called Coffee Crisp. Well today, Lara and I we browsing the junk food aisle in Target for snacks that would be trip-worthy. Amazingly, she came across a giant shelf full of the lovely goodies. Of course, we didn't even hesitate and picked up two bars (seen below). Sure enough, the wrapper lists "Imported from Nestle Canada". Awesome..... hopefully this isn't a one time shipment, and they will catch on with others down here.

Posted by jcraven at 12:08 PM

Tuesday - February 6, 2007

How long does booze last?

I've often wondered how long hard liquor lasts after the bottle is opened. Here's a great article that explains the situation.


1. Distilled spirits don't go bad; they fade.
2. Cream and fruit and herb liqueurs will spoil.
3. More air = less flavor.

So the good news, distilled spirits like whiskey, vodka, rum, tequila and gin don't spoil. And full-proof spirits (40 proof and higher) can last for decades. The key is keeping them in a cool dark location if possible to minimize any fading.

Posted by jcraven at 4:33 PM

Tuesday - October 3, 2006

Boone Dining

On our trip to Boone, for the most part we stuck to our regular restaurants. But one exception this time was The Library. As you can see, the waitstaff is easy on the eyes and the giant beer 'L-necks' are impressive as well. The food was actually very good, and even the ladies agreed. The Library may likely become one of our new 'regulars'. Two thumbs up.

Posted by jcraven at 11:45 AM

Tuesday - August 29, 2006

Coffee on the go

Most mornings, I eat something small like a granola bar. I'd love to pick up Caribou Coffee on the way to work, but it's not really convenient to do so because of traffic. Well now I have the best of both worlds, with General Mill's new Caribou Coffee Granola Bars. I couldn't find their product page, but here's a very short review. Overall, they're pretty tasty, although I think the sweetness could be dialed back a bit.

Posted by jcraven at 10:18 AM

Monday - March 20, 2006

Why didn't I think of that?

Yesterday, while at the local grocery store, I had an impulse buy. I picked up a box of "Go-Tarts!". As you can see, they have a nice graphic stating that they are NEW!, so I had to give them a try. If you're a fan of the original Pop-Tarts uncooked, these are actually quite good. I tried the Cinnamon variety. I think the name is pretty bad though. I would provide a link to their website, but can't find one. Maybe they're too new.....

UPDATE: I tried the fudge version and they're very rich. They're good, but a little too much for me. I prefer the Cinnamon.

Posted by jcraven at 1:35 PM

Tapas and Martinis

Saturday night, we went to Oliver Twist: Tapas Restaurant & Martini Lounge. I was a little hesitant, but overall I enjoyed the experience. The food was actually very good, although the portions were smaller than I would have preferred for the price. Lara and I ordered the warm flatbread, fried cheese raviolis, and the seared shrimps with garlic. (yes that's their pluralization, not mine).

On the martini side, I wasn't as impressed. Prices ranged from $8-$10. I had the Frappatini, with Starbucks Liquor, and Lara had several different fruity drinks. I think her favorite was the Seduction, aka Grasshopper. With names like Passion, Seduction, Dozen Roses, and Sorority Girl, they're obviously catering towards women, and I think all the women had a great time. Men should only go here if they're taking a date, although they do have a 'regular' bar on one end of the restaurant complete with plasma TVs. I periodically kept up with the NCAA games while I was there.

The atmosphere and decor is interesting. Couches and large pillows line the edge of the restaurant, and various fabrics hang on the walls and ceiling. It has a very Middle Eastern/Moroccan feel. Around 9:30 we were even entertained by a belly dancer. Overall, I'd give it a 3.5 out of 5.

Posted by jcraven at 11:53 AM

Tuesday - December 6, 2005

Worst Cafe Mocha ever

On a whim, I bought a pack of International Coffees Cappuccino mix. Wow is this stuff bad. It has almost zero coffee flavor, and has a weird artificial after-taste. Run away..... run away.....

You would be much better off with whatever sludge happens to be brewing in your breakroom at work.

Posted by jcraven at 11:36 AM

Wednesday - November 16, 2005

Interesting dining

Last night, along with some coworkers, I went to City Beverage in Durham. I had the Rockin' Moroccan Chicken as a meal, and I also recommend the Chips and Salsa and Chile Rellanos as appetizers. Overall the food was very good (especially the Peanut Butter tart for dessert). The restaurant itself is a strange mix of a local bar, along with a more upscale dining establishment. The prices are not cheap, but not as expensive as a high-end steak restaurant. They have a large selection of beer on tap, but my cocktail was pretty weak. Overall, I'd probably recommend the place if you're in the area. Triangle.com has an older review here.

Posted by jcraven at 2:42 PM

Wednesday - November 2, 2005

Halloween Peeps

Looks like they messed up the classic Peep formula by adding chocolate to the Halloween version. Full review here.

Posted by jcraven at 12:25 PM

Wednesday - October 26, 2005

Mmmmmm Canadian goodness

Some of my coworkers from Canada are in town, and brought me a handful of Nestle Coffee Crisp bars on my request. These things are great, and unfortunately not exported to the US, although you can pick them up from Amazon.com now.

Posted by jcraven at 2:17 PM | Comments (2)

Thursday - October 20, 2005

California food rocks

I haven't had a bad meal in San Jose yet, and last night was no exception. We went to E&O Trading Company in downtown San Jose. Even though the menu was fairly small, everything was amazing. I had the Indo Peanut Chicken Satays along with rice and green beans. The Indonesian Corn Fritters and Calamari were also great. For dessert, I had a Banana Spring Roll with gelato that was phenomenal. If you're ever in California or Hawaii, I would highly recommend it.

Posted by jcraven at 12:15 PM

Thursday - September 8, 2005

Shot through the heart

On a whim, yesterday I picked up a 4-pack of Starbucks doubleshot from the grocery store. They're pretty tasty, but a little too pricey IMO. If you want to give it a shot (no pun intended), you can get a free sample from doubleshot.com.

OK, I take it back. Drinking them in the morning is a great way to get a little kick start. I still wish they were cheaper, but I'm going to recommend them regardless.

Posted by jcraven at 7:34 PM

Saturday - September 3, 2005

The other half

Today, we checked into The Fairmont for our single night of luxury. Pictures here. This is one of the most historical hotels in the city, and again it was featured in The Rock. One interesting detail, they had framed copies of their menus and rates from the early 1900's. It was amazing to see the most expensive suite was a mere $28. Everything inside was beautiful, and we thoroughly enjoyed our brief stay. We also walked through Chinatown to the North Beach area to enjoy some authentic Italian cuisine at Figaro Ristorante Italiano.

Posted by jcraven at 8:16 PM

Thursday - August 4, 2005

Carnivore heaven

Last night, a group of coworkers and I went to a restaurant named Chamas in downtown Durham. I had never been there, or to any place quite like it. Chamas is one of several Churrascarias in the area. For the uninitiated, a Churrascaria is a restaurant that specializes in meat.

We started off the meal with a selection of goodies from the 30-item salad bar. Although quite tasty, this is not why you come to Chamas. When you're done with your salad, it's time to bring on the meat. Each diner has a little coaster with a green side and a red side. Flip the card over to green, and Gauchos carrying an assortment of meats will stop by to fill your plate. You can have as much or as little of any variety that you wish. Of course, since I do not eat beef, I stuck to the chicken and pork which were all fantastic. In addition to the the chicken, pork, and various cuts of beef, they also have lamb. But that's not all. They have these fantastic little dinner rolls filled with cheese. Also they include mashed potatoes, and fried bananas to cleanse your palate between the various meats.

Finally, don't forget to try their house special, a mixed drink called Caipirinha. They're even nice enough to include a recipe here. A couple of these will really get you in trouble.......

For a mere $24.95, you should definitely check this place out next time you're in the area.

Posted by jcraven at 9:03 AM

Where to buy

On a related note, anybody know where to buy a decent bottle of cacha├ža in the US? I'm looking for price of $30 or less if possible.

Posted by jcraven at 9:00 AM | Comments (2)

Wednesday - July 13, 2005

Bring on the Hockey!!!

For anybody that has been asleep all day, the NHL owners and Player's Association have reached a tentative agreement, and it looks like we'll actually get to see some hockey next year. Full article courtesy of nhl.com. I know some people out there are still pissed about the whole thing, but I'll be there to watch the Canes. I do hope the prices of the tickets will come down as a result though.

Posted by jcraven at 9:14 PM

Monday - April 11, 2005

Cake Masters

Yesterday we watched the final round of the Masters on CBS. It was pretty exciting. Yeah I know, golf and exciting in the same paragraph.... hard to believe. It came down to a sudden-death playoff between Tiger Woods and Chris DiMarco. I'm glad to see Tiger end his drought, but I was pulling for the underdog, DiMarco. Sports Illustrated has details here.

Afterwards, Lara felt the need to make a cake. Since she had never made a 'real' layer cake, that's what she wanted to make. We decided to go with Devil's Food cake. Everything went well last night, and we let the cake cool overnight. Then came the hard part, applying the icing. Let's just say we don't plan to use white icing on chocolate cake again anytime soon. Lara did a good job after some initial problems, and she says everyone at work is enjoying the treat. Sorry, no pictures this time around.

Posted by jcraven at 3:33 PM

Wednesday - March 30, 2005


Finally, a way to cure your Peep cravings throughout the year. Wham-o has introduced a Peeps Marshmallow Maker. Details here and product page here.

Posted by jcraven at 9:28 AM

Saturday - January 29, 2005

Bad Luck

Lara and I went to T.G.I. Friday's today for lunch. We had been craving our normal favorites of Orange Shrimp and Garlic Chicken. To our disappointment, they discontinued not one, but BOTH of the entrees approximately 2 weeks ago. We even chatted with the manager, but unfortunately the individual restaurants can't really do much to affect the menu. I'll probably send an email to their customer relatations department, but I don't anticipate anything being done.

This is also on the heels of Quiznos discontinuing several of my favorite subs including the BBQ Chipotle sub last month. To their credit, their owner and staff were more than willing to accommodate us, and try to create a similar sub using their existing ingredients.

Oh well.....

Posted by jcraven at 8:41 PM

Wednesday - January 12, 2005

Diet time once again.....

OK, so I didn't make the gym's goal of gaining <2 pounds over the holidays so I'm out 5 bucks. I went yesterday with a group of folks from work to Maggiano's. Up until then, I was eating pretty well this week. I'm going to stick to it, and start back at the gym hopefully next week.

On an unrelated note, 10 days until Mac mini ships..... :)

Posted by jcraven at 11:42 AM

Tuesday - December 7, 2004

Chocolate Chess pudding

Continuing the health food cook-off, Lara and I attempted to make two Chocolate Chess pies last night. The filling ended up being a lovely consistency somewhere between pudding and soup. I think we're going to try again, but this time use Angus Barn's recipe.

Posted by jcraven at 1:12 PM

Monday - December 6, 2004

Junk food

Over the weekend, we wrapped the majority of our Christmas presents. We still have a couple left to buy, including replacing one that was lost in transit by USPS.

We also made a bunch of Christmas junk food, including Muddy Buddies, Chex Mix, and a new recipe for Chocolate Rum Balls. They all seem to be well received at work, including the unusually strong Rum Balls.

I really need to start going to the gym again.....sigh.

Posted by jcraven at 2:03 PM