Saturday, August 10, 2013

[One] of the Triangle's best

I've had only good meals at Chapel Hill's [One] restaurant.  Through the several chefs that have led its kitchen, the food has been consistently tasty, the service reasonable, and the atmosphere a pleasant urban feeling, something rare in these parts.  When I saw that the management had changed chefs yet again, I wondered if this would be the time the cuisine suffered.

Until I read about the places this new chef team has worked, a list that includes El Bulli, Alinea, French Laundry, and Per Se. 

Then, I was eager to try their food.

A group of us checked it out earlier tonight, and I'm happy to report that [One] is better than ever in almost every way than its previous incarnations.  (I'll return to the caveat in a bit.)  All the starters and mains we sampled were utterly delicious, as were the several amuses.  All were also beautiful creations, not a single bit out of place.  The chefs beautifully maintained the delicate balance between modernist techniques and local tolerances--in food styles and in budget--to create a lovely, wonderful menu. 

The service has also improved, with wait staff working hard to get all the details right.

I now want to figure out how to arrange to get the chefs to do a no-holds-barred tasting menu.  I would love to see and taste what they could do without any restraints on their creations. 

The reason for the earlier "almost" is that the desserts, always a strong point of [One], were the weakest part of the meal, simply not up to the rest of the menu.  Their descriptions read well, but the flavors were generally muted, the creations just not as inspired as the savories.

Still, [One] is now among the Triangle's elite restaurants, and I look forward to eating there again.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Equal time for Floridian stupidity

Two and a half weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry about Florida Man, a Twitter feed featuring the exploits of some of the finest men from the state in which I grew up.  Kyle had shown me that one, and the other day he pointed me at its companion, Florida Woman.

It makes me proud to be a former Floridian.

Seriously, if you're trying to write stories that feature people doing weird, stupid things, these two feeds are the gifts that keep on giving.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dynamite Warrior

Kyle ran across a mention of this film on a forum.  Now, we don't know how we missed it.

I've already ordered it on DVD and will watch it when Kyle next visits.

The dude rides on rockets and runs across a flying, flaming log.

Oh, hell, yeah.

Check out the trailer.

You know you want to see it, too.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

More on my new ride

Over a month ago, I mentioned in a blog post that I had purchased a new car.  Quite a few correspondents identified it correctly, but quite a few did not.

To help those who still haven't figured out what I bought, here it is.

Click on the photo to see a larger image.

If you still don't know what it is, fear not; over the next week or two, I'll write more about the car and my experiences driving it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

PT is hiring

My company, Principled Technologies, is seeking to hire four different folks, so I thought I'd list the openings here in case any of you know people who are looking for such jobs.  Right now, we're trying to find people to fill four roles:

  • Graphic designer. This person will be working on projects ranging from PowerPoint decks to Web sites to print media, with an initial focus on sales-support materials.
  • Marketing/PR/communications lead. This person will help drive marketing for the company, with a strong initial focus on sales support. 
  • Analyst/white paper writer.  This person must have a strong technical background and be able to communicate very technical concepts to a broad range of audiences.
  • Senior technical staffer. This person should have in-depth IT experience. 
Rather than try to write complete job descriptions here, let me just say that the latter two jobs are very technical indeed, and for the marketing person we're seeking someone with a broad range of skills, as the two slashes in the description imply.

For all the jobs, we're looking for people who are passionate about doing great work. 

If you know anyone who might be interested in these jobs, please have them email me via the form on my Contact page.

Monday, August 5, 2013

PT employees doing good in the world

I've written extensively on this blog about my sabbatical, but I've given short shrift to the Principled Technologies' program that made it possible.  I'm very proud of this program and the good works many PT employees have done while on their sabbaticals, so I thought I'd tell you a bit more about it here.

In your seventh year as a full-time employee at PT, and in each seventh year thereafter, you are eligible for a seven-week paid sabbatical.  (You have to work out the timing with the folks who depend on you, and you can delay the sabbatical to later years, as I did, but you don't lose it.)  You can do anything you want with that time.  If, though, you choose to spend a week of it working with a charity to do some good in the world, then PT will pay five grand either to the charity or to cover your expenses to do the work.  So, if you want to work for a local charity, as I did, PT gives the full $5K to the charity.  If you want to fly to Europe to work on a charity, PT will pay your expenses for the trip--and then pay any money left over from the $5K to the charity.

So far, PT staffers have worked with charities locally, in South America, in Europe, and in Africa.  They've worked for all sorts of charities. 

I'm very proud of all they've done.

At PT, we've long believed that we should do good things for the right reason--because they are good things--rather than for any sort of publicity.  So, we've kept our good works quiet.  As we've grown and learned to see things from the perspectives of the charities and their causes, we've come to believe that sometimes it will do even more good to tell folks about what we're doing.  So, with caution and much thought, we're beginning to do that.

Part of that outreach is coming in the form of videos about what different staffers have done on their sabbaticals.  We're going to put those videos in a PT sabbaticals playlist on our YouTube channel, and we're also going to offer the videos to the charities for their free use.  The first of those videos is now live, so I thought I'd share it with you.  Enjoy.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Fearrington House Restaurant: Back to top-drawer

A couple of decades ago, the Fearrington House Restaurant out near Pittsboro was one of the few places in the Triangle where you could get a top-drawer meal in a lovely setting with great service.  Over the intervening years, though, the rest of the area's restaurant scene improved dramatically, while the Fearrington House stagnated and later worsened.  A few years ago, a group of us gave it another try.  The food was good but not great, and the service was embarrassing.  I felt no need to go back.

What changed my mind is that for some time now I've been hearing a lot of good things about the place and the work of Executive Chef Colin Bedford, enough good things that recently a group of us gave the restaurant another try.  We opted for the tasting menu and placed ourselves at the mercy of the chef.

I'm very happy to report that the result was a superb meal, a top-drawer dinner with excellent service that in my opinion puts the Fearrington House Restaurant firmly in the top handful of restaurants in the area. 

Our server had worked at The Mint when that now-defunct restaurant was great, and he had been good then.  He's better now, and he and his team took excellent care of our large party. 

Every dish we tasted featured a delicious combination of ingredients.  No dish was simple, but none was overly fussy, and all the flavors combined wonderfully. 

For my taste, the star of the evening was the risotto. 

Click on the image to see a larger version.

A warm and wonderful mixture that featured chanterelle mushrooms and Carolina Moon cheese, this delicious dish also included bits of eggplant, fennel, green olive, and green beans--all topped by a "snow" of foie gras that the servers added at the last minute. 

Fearrington is a lovely place in the middle of nowhere, so it's quite a long drive for me.  I now accept, though, that I'll have to make the drive every season to try the new menu. 

I highly recommend the Fearrington House Restaurant.


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