Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Scrumptious Key Lime Pie at Ruckus

Summer may be over, but that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy some refreshing key lime pie. First-rate slices of this delectable treat are a staple dessert item at Ruckus Pizza, Pasta & Spirits, the popular Caribbean-flared eatery located in Cary's Tryon Village.

So what makes this scrumptious concoction stand apart?

Chef Chris Tucker uses fresh lime juice, homemade whipped cream and a Nilla wafer and butter crust. No doubt he also employs a copious amount of sweetened consensed milk. The result is the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness.

 
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Fredin/S&A Cherokee


Each slice is served with a flavorsome raspberry puree and then topped with a lime wedge for a picture-perfect presentation.

Whole pies are also available. Just call in your order 24 hours ahead of when you need it.


Ruckus Pizza, Pasta, and Spirits on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wasabi Serves Up Legit Sushi

Anytime a restaurant serves up buy-one-get-one-free sushi, I'm usually skeptical. Somehow, though, Wasabi in Cary manages to pull it off.

During a recent visit at lunchtime, I tried several rolls and came away satisfied. Whether you choose the spicy tuna-infused North Carolina roll or the more provocative Victoria Secret roll with salmon, yellow tail and avocado, you won't be disappointed. Then there's the requisite offering of sashimi and nigiri, which I'll have to try soon.



If you're not a sushi fan, consider a lunch special such as the slightly sweet Pad Thai (nearly as good as the gold-standard offering at Sushi-Thai Cary) or ginger chicken. All lunch specials are accompanied with soup and salad as well as soda and iced tea for less than $10.



Service at Wasabi is friendly and efficient. The dining room, while spacious, somehow remains relatively quiet and beckons those who desire a relaxing dining venue. Wasabi has quickly become one of my go-to lunch spots.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF TRIP SMITH

Wasabi Sushi & Thai Food Restaurant Cary on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bravo's Mexican Grill is Fantastico

While it’s not easy to find quality Tex-Mex cuisine in the Triangle, you don’t have to drive far if you know where to go. Discover what others have already found: culinary enchantment at Bravo's Mexican Grill in Cary.

This 28-table outpost serves up first-rate Tex-Mex provisions amid cheery surroundings. A pervasive sun and moon theme adorns the vibrant, multi-hued dining room walls. Stylish pendant lights hang above the cozy bar area, which showcases inlaid photos from various classic Western films. It’s definitely the type of place where you’ll want to linger for a long while.




What sets the restaurant apart from other Tex-Mex establishments is an affordable and diverse menu featuring a variety of seafood, beef, chicken and pork selections. Vegetarians will also find plenty of options, such as the veggie de la casa with bell peppers, beans, mushrooms, squash, onions and cheese or the unpretentious cheese quesadillas.

Appetizers like stuffed jalapeños and Texas dip with shrimp, beef and chicken pack a bold flavor punch. The substantial Bravo’s Sampler features beef nachos, chicken quesadillas and chicken flautas. If you’re in the mood for soup, consider the hearty caldo de pollo, a special broth with chicken breast, rice, pico de gallo, tortilla strips and avocado.

At lunchtime, you’ll find the requisite fajitas, chimichangas and taco salad, while nearly a dozen inexpensive specials also vie for consideration. Hard shell or soft taco options range from ground beef and shredded chicken to shrimp and marinated pork, but the house-favorite fish tacos are an absolute must. Two soft tortillas contain chunks of fried or grilled tilapia, cabbage and fresh pico de gallo.



If you prefer more familiar Mexican fare, the make-your-own combo meals feature beef or chicken enchiladas, burritos and tostadas, among several other choices. All combination dinners are served with rice and beans.

Attractive daily dinner specials provide even more reasons to visit Bravo’s. Whether it’s $2 off fajitas on Mondays, $1.25 hard tacos on Wednesdays or the discounted Bravo’s Sampler on Saturdays, there’s always a good deal to enjoy.

Be sure to save room for dessert. Among the alluring sweet concoctions are sopapillas, burrito banana and authentic flan. Fried ice cream also is a popular staple on the dessert menu.

When it comes to drinks, Bravo’s offers two dozen varieties of beer, including Mexican favorites Modelo Especial, Sol and Corona. The most popular beverages are the paradise drinks, also known as Bravo’s Coladas. Five different flavors — peach, mango, watermelon, piña colada and strawberry — are infused with tequila or rum and then served inside a pineapple shell.



Service at Bravo’s is focused and pleasant. Without question, attention to detail is a factor that makes it worth visiting time and again.
 
PHOTOS COURTESY OF JONATHAN FREDIN/S&A CHEROKEE
Bravo's Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Life Café: Who Says Healthy Isn’t Tasty?

Situated inside Cary’s mega workout facility Life Time Fitness, Life Café features healthy provisions like sandwiches, wraps, salads and smoothies filled with natural ingredients and devoid of artificial additives. There’s much to like about the café: artisan bread made with unbleached flour, all-natural meat and fruit, and made-from-scratch salad dressings and sauces.

My go-to choice after a workout is the satisfying mocha madness smoothie, a 300-calorie delight comprising a boost of java, chocolate, skim milk and whey protein. Other tempting options include strawberry sunrise and very berry blast. You can also build your own smoothie for about $5.


When it comes to sandwiches, a great option is the flavorful turkey avocado served warm on ciabatta bread with pepper mayo, tomato and mixed greens. Sandwiches are served with a side salad and seasonal fruit.

As for wraps, the bacon- and red-pepper-mayo-infused Southwest chicken is a solid pick. Consider avoiding blander wraps like the roast beef and harvest turkey. Quesadillas are also available, but I found them to be just average.

While most selections are healthy (the menu board lists nutrition facts for every item), tasty pizzas like BBQ chicken and pesto chicken approach or exceed 1,000 calories each. Thankfully, a half-serving option is accessible, but it’s unlikely to fill you up.


Self-serve upright coolers hold an assortment of sport drinks, soda and bottled water. Along the interior windows, floor-to-ceiling shelves contain everything from protein bars and organic cookies to athletic socks and racquetball gear.

Life Café offers fast-casual service that’s friendly and efficient. The café is open to gym members and general public alike, although it would be nice if members got a small discount. Daily specials for $4 and $5 provide affordable alternatives to budget-conscious patrons.  

Life Café on Urbanspoon