Sunday, May 19, 2013

Blue Sky Dining Rolls

Food trucks are all the rage these days. That said, I’m embarrassed to admit that until last weekend I’d never eaten a meal from a restaurant on wheels. Thankfully, my first encounter was wholly positive, and now I’m totally intrigued by this rolling phenomenon.

What better food truck to test the uncharted waters than Blue Sky Dining, which typically provides on- and offsite catering in the Triangle area? I discovered the mobile kitchen during my favorite period of the day—lunchtime—at a small weekend food truck rodeo in Raleigh. 

Almost immediately, I was intrigued by one of the available chalkboard specials:  Southern stuffed cheeseburger with Vidalia slaw. To the best of my recollection, this seemingly ½-pound concoction was filled with pimento cheese and sweet potato. The verdict? A near-religious experience in which I savored the best—and perhaps messiest—burger I’ve ever put in my mouth. The beef was cooked perfectly with a bit of char and lots of juiciness, and the stuffing was the perfect amalgamation of sweet and savory.  

The righteous Southern stuffed burger

The one drawback was a minor infraction. The can of Diet Pepsi the owner gave me was lukewarm. Perhaps dude forgot to grab ice for his Igloo (or was it a Coleman?) cooler that morning. Whatever the case, all is forgiven because the burger was so righteous.

It’s my understanding that Blue Sky’s signature item is a “world famous” beer-battered grilled cheese with maple syrup inside. That will be my next item to try, but it certainly won’t be my last. In fact, with more than 600 recipes in the repertoire—including everything from sushi and sliders to chicken & waffles—it might take a while, which is fine by me. 

Blue Sky Dining on Urbanspoon 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Genki Still a Work in Progress

Situated in the Stonebridge Village strip mall near the intersection of Ten Ten and Kildaire Farm Roads, Genki Restaurant & Sushi Bar serves Japanese cuisine in an inviting, tranquil setting. Whether you dine at the cozy sushi bar, a booth or a table, you’ll have access to fresh sushi, hibachi entrees, yakisoba and more. 

Among the more than 30 specialty rolls, standouts include the Genki special roll (spicy tuna, chopped shrimp tempura and salmon) and the volcano roll with crab, avocado, and cream cheese with a distinctive lava sauce. Feeling adventurous? Request “Omakase” and let the experienced sushi chefs to prepare a special surprise for you.

New York style selections are also available, such as Madai (imported Japanese pink snapper) and Aoyagi (giant yellow clam), which you don’t find many places around the Triangle area. 

As for entrees, signature dishes like crushed walnut shrimp with spicy honey sauce and mango salsa-topped panko flounder are both on point. At lunchtime, consider a vegetarian- or protein-infused yakisoba meal, which features thin Japanese egg noodles prepared in a soy-ginger soba sauce.

While Genki's cuisine is consistently satisfying, one weakness that’s hard to overlook is a listless level of service. During a recent visit, my waiter was particularly aloof and lacked any gusto whatsoever. If the restaurant wants to attract any regular devotees, the owners need to shore up customer service.   

Genki on Urbanspoon 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Celebrate Cinco de Chubby's

Chubby’s Tacos, the wildly popular fast-casual spot for tacos, burritos and quesadillas, does right by Mexican food.

Whether you choose fish tacos (my favorite), steak fajita burrito or spicy carne asada nachos, satisfaction will always reign supreme. Portion sizes are also impressive, particularly when it comes to the colossal burritos and the pressed-sandwich tortas. Never mind the reasonable prices (tacos are $1.50-3 each; quesadilla grandes just $5.50).


It’s also worth mentioning here that Chubby’s uses certified Angus beef in its menu offerings, and there’s no lard, MSG or trans fats used in any of the food preparation. Flavorful made-in-house sauces and salsas are featured in a back-of-the-house salsa bar. These are bottomless when dining in.

When it comes to d├ęcor, the narrow, rectangular space—wood-paneled walls, unfinished timber floor and mix of booths, high-top tables and bar—somehow evokes a laid-back cantina vibe.  

This coming Friday through Sunday, the restaurant is celebrating “Cinco de Chubby’s,” a weekend-long fiesta and fifth anniversary celebration. Check out food and drink specials (such as $2 Corona/Corona Light and $3.50 margaritas on the rocks) as well as live music. 

SPECIAL LUNCHBOY SAYS OFFER: For a chance win a Chubby’s t-shirt or gift card, email me and in 25 words or less write why you deserve to receive some Chubby’s swag.

 Chubby's Tacos on Urbanspoon