Forgive me?

Includes: Battistella’s, Cafe Helios and Mura, in Raleigh, NC; and JJJ Food Truck in Granville County

If I promise, promise, promise to start blogging with some regularity again, will you forgive me for my recent slackness?

I seem to be somewhat stuck in laid-back Tico time, still moving according to the rhythms of the rainforest  …

But I have to admit that even though the food at Luna Lodge was fabulous, I’m always thankful for the good eats back here at home. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, so here goes.

How lucky am I to have Whole Foods just a few miles away, where I can take advantage of their fantastic hot and cold food bars whenever I don’t feel like cooking — such as when I’ve returned from a Costa Rican vacation.

The plate you see here consisted of: raw kale salad with garlicky dressing (don’t pass this one up if you’re a garlic fan), lemon beets with chives and blue cheese, heritage bean stew, fried chicken tofu (a favorite), garlic sauteed zucchini, barley energy salad (sounds plain, but it’s very tasty) and multi-grain tabouli.


Oh, and I neglected to share yet another great Battistella’s dinner — this one the night before leaving for vacation. My friends and I started with an order of pimiento cheese fritters and then I had an overflowing fried shrimp po’ boy with slaw. To tell the truth, it was a better version of the sandwich than any I’ve had in New Orleans.

Missing the Luna Lodge breakfasts, when I saw what Cafe Helios was offering up for brunch last weekend I hastened downtown. I didn’t miss the chorizo in the breakfast tostada since it was chockfull of other goodness like scrambled eggs, black beans, avocado, radishes, roasted peppers and a great red sauce.

Despite the fact that I don’t do much Easter celebrating, I got to enjoy two Easter dinners. The first was a traditional and satisfying repast of lamb, roasted asparagus and okra, mashed potatoes and congealed salad dished up by my friend John George and our other dining companions. (I’m embarrassed to report that I contributed a terrible lemon loaf cake — overbaked and tough as hell. The very nice guests politely commented on its good flavor. We are in the South, after all.)

The second Easter dinner was at Cyndi’s, whose culinary skills I’ve praised in this space before.

And what fun! Indian food on Easter Sunday. Biryani, a lovely cauliflower dish, a nice-and-spicy veg medley, slow-cooked chicken (my least favorite, never-craved meat) so good that I had seconds, and all the right condiments: raita, chutney, etc.

And Peeps, of course, which were especially popular with the second and third generations. (I’ve never been a fan, but have to include a snapshot of their surreal colors.)

A few nights later I enjoyed an Italian-themed dinner with our women-only healthy supper club. Sorry to say that while I took a photo of my dish when it came out of the oven, I forgot to take any the others because we were having such a good time. Nonetheless, you might want to make note of this recipe for Baked Beans with Cheese (or, in the much more romantic Italian, Fagioli col Formaggio, in Forno), which elevates the lowly white bean to a fragrant, flavorful dish worthy of entree status.

Others of this week’s meals continued in the ethnic vein. I had a fantastic non-sushi lunch at Mura. The new Black Sesame Otsu dish included soba noodles, tofu, broccoli, red peppers and onions in a sesame paste.

And finally, today’s lunch was an authentic torta from Granville County’s JJJ Food Truck: beans, pickled jalapenos, lettuce, tomato, onion and cheese served inside a crusty bolillo. (No website for the food truck. But I got the distinct impression that it makes regular visits to Cedar Creek Galleries, where we found it today.

It won’t be so long ‘til I write again.

About atarheeltastes

I'm a passionate foodie who started this "temporary" blog during a gustatory tour of Tuscany. I decided to continue, since I love to dream about, plan for, prepare, eat and write about food!
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