Restaurant Review: NOFO @ the Pig

Yes, you read it correctly – that is the name of the restaurant my family and I ate at this weekend.  I was looking for a great place to eat in Raleigh and I chose this place squarely on the name. It was a unique find in the city.  The owners transformed an old piggly wiggly into a quirky southern restaurant and shopping venue filled with beautifully made items and pigs.

 
The upstairs was a quaint pig themed shop and the downstairs restaurant featured many cute pigs as well. It was a very visually inviting place.

 

We each had a really good meal.  I had the filet minion, my husband had the pork chops and the kids had shrimp.  All of the meals were good but my husband’s pork chops were to die for.  The pork chops were extremely moist and came with collards and macaroni and cheese.  I liked the shape of the macaroni and cheese.  It looked like they baked it in a muffin pan.  I may try that!!!

My other favorite thing about this restaurant were the kids drinks.  My daughter ordered a drink called Zombie Brain Juice from “Always Ask for Avery’s” line of totally gross sodas.  Even though the name sounded gross, the drink was a really good old fashioned soda.

After dinner we browsed the shop.  I couldn’t fully enjoy the shop because I had to keep an eye out for my kids touching breakables.  Browsing gave us some good laughs and even a few purchases. We bought some after dinner deserts that were fabulous.  I would definitely recommend this place if you are in Raleigh and love PIGS.

Dinner Review: It’s A Southern Thing Kitchen and Bar, Durham, NC

I love cooking and creating fast, kid-friendly meals during the week.  On the weekends, however, I like to eat out and try different things.  I get a lot of inspiration from local restaurants.  I always try to order something new and different but every once in a while I gravitate toward staples.  This particular evening, my family and I ended up at “It’s a Southern Thing” in Durham.  I love eating in Durham because there are so many great restaurants and this was no exception.

menu

There were so many things that stood out on the menu.  I decided to get the Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings, which was a terrific choice.  My husband got the Smoked Pork Chops.  I wasn’t sure how much the kids were going to eat or how big the portions were, so I ordered a kids burger with fries and let the kids split it.  That actually worked out.  The split portions were just enough for two kids.  The kids will probably talk about me later in life for never letting them have their own meals.

For my meal, they did a great job on my chicken and dumplings.  It was very flavorful.  I must say, that they nailed it.  I sampled my husband’s meal and it was very good and nicely presented.

One of my favorite things was the décor.  The sign coming in was a bit cheesy but it added to the charm.  There was also a nice, relaxed vibe.  The place was full of booths, cushions and wood.  We ate in the overflow room which had a lot of space and was kid-friendly. The service was excellent too! We got tons of check-ins, drink refills, and attention.

I’ll definitely be back – so many temping things on the menu to try next time!  This was definitely an interesting take on southern comfort food.  If you are ever in the Triangle, I highly recommend checking this place out.

Dinner Review: Husband’s Simple Oven Baked Catfish

I’m giggling to myself as I post this because my husband isn’t expecting a review on his dinner skills. On Sunday my husband volunteered to cook dinner and I took him up on the offer. I will admit he has become quite the cook since we meet in 2008. Let’s just say he’s come a long way. He can cook almost anything without a recipe and he shines when he is cooking New Orleans specialties (his home town). Immediately after volunteering to cook he went to Fresh Market and picked up some catfish to bake. We already had a sweet potato and salad ingredients to go with the fish.

We “oven cook” meals a lot. I also read the term “sheet cooked dinner” on someone else’s blog. It’s basically a protein and veggie dredged in oil, salt and pepper and cooked on a foil-lined sheet at 425 degrees. It’s super-easy, super-convenient and super easy to clean. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can get everything on one pan (if they have the same cook times). This was not our scenario. My husband put the chicken and sweet potatoes in the oven at different times. Obviously the sweet potato went in 40 minutes before the fish since fish bakes quickly.

Overall, and since he is my husband, I give his finished product an A++++. See the recipe below for this simple, easy dinner meal. Thanks for reading.

Ingredients:

1 -1 1⁄2 lb  catfish

4  tbs melted butter

1 lemon (optional)

3 minced garlic cloves (or more if you like garlic like I do)

1  tsp sugar

1⁄2 tsp salt and pepper

1⁄2 tsp thyme

1⁄3 cup  breadcrumbs

Directions:

1 Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease or spray a baking dish.

2 Rinse fish filets and pat dry. Lay them flat on a foil-lined baking dish.

3 In a small bowl, combine melted butter, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper and thyme. Stir and Pour over fish.

4 Sprinkle breadcrumbs generously over the fish.

5 Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes or until filets are cooked through.

6 Squeeze the lemon over the fish (optional).

Watch this easy video:

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar Review

I’ve been really good about sticking to my dinner strategies for the last couple of weeks. I planned out my meals, bought my groceries in bulk and made great food with little waste (I still have some cilantro I need to do something with though). After working hard in the kitchen I decided to eat out and have a fun family meal. Eating out, after all, is one of my top dinner strategies.

There are a ton of restaurants in my area and I was really wanting a burger. I was hungry. I had a TOUGH Pure-Barre workout earlier and then I took the kiddos to gymnastics. I worked up an appetite.

I know what you are thinking. All those calories burned are going down the drain with the burger. That’s ok – I’ll work harder next week to count calories.

Since I wanted a burger, my options were limited because we don’t really have many local burger joints. I’m a foodie and generally try to avoid chains but I made an exception because I had no choice. I decided to eat at Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar. I haven’t wanted burgers in forever so I was a first-time diner. I must admit, the food was good and so was the service. I had a mozzarella burger. It was perfectly cooked and the toppings were great.

The kids had sliders and hotdogs. Their meals were perfect for kids and were brought out fast. I appreciated that because kids can only go so long without food.

All in all, this restaurant satisfied my burger craving. There was a good family friendly vibe and the menu had tons of non-beef and a couple vegetarian options. The food was great, kids were happy and we all got out of the house. If I have any future burger cravings, I’d definitely go back.