I'd like to believe that Sir Walter Raleigh was a foodie. It would certainly explain the comfortable (read: stretchy) leggings he wore under the fluffy skirt that cascaded over his waistline, most likely concealing a pot belly. And he would probably have a bone to pick with us modern-day gluttons. Named for an aristocrat, the city of Raleigh often gets overlooked in local foodie circles, even though it has been rolling out some fun, swanky gourmet treats for quite some time. Sir Walter, this column is for you.
The Duck and Dumpling (222 S. Blount St., 838-0085, www.theduckanddumpling.com) introduced new Chef James Yott Boyle last week; local legend Chef David Mao retired after an almost 50-year run in the restaurant business. Trained at Le Cordon Bleu and mentored in the Duck tradition by Mao, Boyle has more than 20 years of culinary experience. He has drawn from his Thai heritage to reinvent the Duck's menu, while keeping the traditional favorites. Among the new additions are the "Satika Joes" appetizer— sloppy, Thai-inspired, do-it-yourself sliders of tangy, tamarind-glazed ground pork with a kick of crunchy Vietnamese slaw—and Boyle's green curry with the catch of the day. Hope for red snapper, the kind of succulent fillet that allows a fork to slither down into a clean cut, no flakes. The green curry boasts uncluttered flavors, with hints of sweet spice and crisp chunks of red bell peppers and asparagus. It dresses and surrounds the fish, rather than smothering it.
Just down Blount, a new kid moves into the Mordecai neighborhood, inviting locavores over for lunch and dinner. The Market Restaurant (938 N. Blount St., 754-0900, www.market-raleigh.com) is slated to open by early March. Its tag line touts "Local Ingredients. West Coast Inspired."
Escazu Chocolates (610 Glenwood Ave., 832-2500, www.escazuchocolates.com) reports on its site that the shop will move from its current Glenwood South location to its factory at 936 N. Blount in the spring, sharing the building with Market.
Frazier's (2418 Hillsborough St., 828-6699, www.fraziersbistro.com) has closed with plans to reopen with a more casual vibe. Urban Food Group owner Kevin Jennings, who established his name with Frazier's, said the remade eatery will be a European-style neighborhood restaurant that focuses on small plates and wine pairings: "More like a cafe, less like a bistro."
On March 7, get all dolled up in your Sunday best for "A Toast to the Triangle" (www.atoasttothetriangle.org) to benefit the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities in Raleigh. This year, Toast celebrates 25 years of fundraising and showcases 24 locally owned fine-dining restaurants. According to Maria Hernandez, the center's spokesperson, the event was a novelty 25 years ago. "We were the first to do this sort of thing, and a driving force behind that was Van Eure, owner of Angus Barn," she says.
Toast attracted more than 1,200 people last year. Tickets are $100 each, and patrons can sample dishes from a variety of restaurants competing, including Azitra, 18 Seaboard, The Mint and Posta Tuscan Grille, as well as from local beverage purveyors and bakeries.
Know about a fun food happening in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at firstname.lastname@example.org.