Vic’s: Our Pizza Place

vic's tiramisu

One of the benefits of living in Raleigh is the cuisine around here. This week I wanted to mention our spot for a pizza and more over at Vic’s Ristorante Italiano. During the summer, there are usually some free concerts downtown that we like to check out. Vic is right by one of the popular spots for them, so it’s been a favorite of ours for great food.

Vic’s is located right off of Moore Square by the art museum (which a great place to visit on First Fridays).

The Food

I like lunch menu- besides a break in price I also enjoy relaxing a bit before the crowd comes for the evening. This is a great place for New York style pizza, two slices and a salad and I’m done. We also have been known to split whole pizzas just so we have something for dinner.

I also like their Portobello alla Baggio as an appetizer for dinner. Whenever we have friends in town and they want some Italian food, we often take them here for a casual meal. The price is right and the food is rich. We always have extra to take home when we grab a pasta dish, which I truly tastes even better the next day!

Their tiramisu is incredible. We usually split dessert when we go out, but this is just too good to share! We get our own tiramisu – it’s so light and delicious.

Vic’s Serving Hours vic's tiramisu

If you want to visit Vic’s, here are the hours for their service during the week. They also have special events like Italian wine dinners, so please call to see when they’ll have their next one.

  • Monday – Thursday: 11 am-10 pm
  • Friday & Saturday: 11 am-11 pm
  • Sunday: Closed

Here’s their address if you need directions:

331 Blake St.
Raleigh NC  27601
(919) 829-7090

Thoughts on Vic’s
If you’ve been over to Vic’s, what are some of your favorite dishes and drinks?

Photo Credit: Le ciel azuré

518 West: Fun Italian in Downtown Raleigh

518 west restaurant raleigh

I’m a fan of Raleigh’s variety of restaurants and other places to munch. This week I wanted to mention a favorite spot of ours downtown – 518 West. A friend recommended it to us a few years and not only have we enjoyed it, but we’ve taken other friends there to eat.

If you’re local or in town, please try it out!

The Food518 west restaurant raleigh

What I appreciate about 518 West is that there is a big selection with their menu. Sometimes when you’re out with several friends, it can be difficult to pin down what everyone is in the mood for and you’re trying to find a place that will keep everyone happy. This is the spot- there is something for everybody.

Some of my personal favorites from their menu are:

  • Eggplant Parmesan: Tried and true, this is my comfort food.
  • The Crab: It’s fantastic; I love seafood and the crab meat is NOT skimpy with this dish. If I’m not sure what I want, I go for this dish.
  • Wood Grilled Beef Tenderloin: Delicious – earlier this year I grabbed this while I was pregnant. I was full and very happy.
  • Pizzette: You can’t go wrong with them. My choice is the Sun Dried Tomato.

I absolutely love how big the portions are – I typically take home enough for a second meal later. I also get a small 518 Caesar with my meals.

Besides the great food they offer,  518 West also have some fantastic cocktails to try out.

  • Italian Wedding Cake
  • Sweet Tea-ini
  • The Nutcracker

As you can see I’m a bit biased for sweet drinks. There are also wines you can order, but I haven’t had any.

Their Serving Hours

If you want to visit 518 West, here are the hours for their service:

Lunch:

  • Monday-Friday 11:30am – 4:00pm

Dinner:

  • Monday 5:00pm – 9:30pm
  • Tuesday-Thursday 5:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Friday & Saturday 5:00pm – 10:30pm
  • Sunday 5:00pm – 9:00pm

Brunch:

  • Sunday 10:30am – 2:00pm
When you go, I recommend getting a table upstairs, it’s a bit more private. Downstairs is a pleasant atmosphere for families with younger kids.

 Thoughts on 518 West

If you’ve been over to 518 West, what are some of your favorite dishes and drinks?

Buying a Gas Grill

gas grills

We went ahead and finally picked up a grill. After wanting one for awhile, but never having a space for it, we picked one up last month. I have to say that it’s been great to use with the fresh produce we get along with steak sales we’ve seen recently.

Waiting For a Deal on a Grill 

gas grills
Love to use the gas grill!

We waited until after the summer was over to pick up our grill. We may have missed the most popular time to buy a grill, but we also managed to miss the most expensive time to buy.

Comparing deals at various stores we managed to grab a gas grill over at Wal-Mart that fit our budget and small yard space.

Gas or Charcoal Grill

The age old debate of a gas grill vs charcoal came up with us. Both of us grew up with mainly charcoal cookouts. My father in law is a great with the grill and he’s a charcoal all the way. Charcoal grilling tends to sear the meat quickly and has more flavor.

My mom went with a gas grill for her home and absolutely loves how easy it is to cook and clean with. With her she was looking for something that was easy to maintain.

While we both love the smokey flavor of charcoal, we went ahead and bought a gas grill. We went for a gas based on the convenience factor. It takes a bit of time to get the grill ready with a charcoal and we wanted a quicker option, especially with the baby in the picture.

Thoughts on Grills

I’d love to get your thoughts on grilling at home. Which kind of grill do you use at home – gas or charcoal? How did you decide on which kind you wanted? Do you have any tricks for the gas grill to give it a smoky flavor?

Photo Credit: D’Arcy Norman

Domino’s Pizza – My Go To Pizza for Delivery

dominos pizza

Last night my husband was celebrating with coworkers on a project, so I ordered a pizza for my dinner. When he got home, my husband laughed and asked if Domino’s was now my favorite pizza.

For the last few times, I’ve used them to order for delivery instead of my usual pizza shop. I realized then that I did make a switch and I wanted to share why I did.

Pizza Is Cardboard

I used to eat Dominio’s a bit. They were quick, cheap, and decent. Then I started noticing that their pizza pies were so bland and there were better options. Papa John’s tasted better and Little Caesar was cheaper.

By the time I got to college I either went with the Hot N Ready special or I splurged on Papa John’s when I ordered pizza for a delivery.

It’s one thing to be the cheap option, but they didn’t have pizzas good enough to eat. I stopped ordering Domino’s.

then last year I saw their campaign on how they turned around. It seems like it finally hit them that their pizza was no longer good. The commercials and documentary claimed that they redid their recipe from the crust up.

I still wasn’t convince so we passed on trying it out.

dominos pizza
We tried the new Domino's pizza and like it.

Why Don’t We Just Try It Out

After seeing yet another ad on how Domino’s was improving and shopping at Old Navy where they had a coupon, we were willing to try it. We decided to just go ahead and order a pizza to see if they really changed their recipes. We went online and ordered the 2-medium 2-topping pizzas for $5.99 each deal.

It was a solid price and I was curious to see if the open transparency with the pizza tracker really worked if it was just a stunt.

I admit it was kind of fun to see the progress of how my pizza order was processed, being prepared, and when it went out for delivery.

Within 30 minutes our pizzas were at our door.

Surprisingly Good Pizza

My husband chose a hand tossed pizza with pepperoni and Italian sausage. My pick is a thin crust pizza with pepperoni on the entire pie with 1/2 philly steak and half bacon. I figured you can’t go wrong with bacon, right?

Well I have to say it was good. The crust and sauce were better than before – it was a solid pizza. I don’t think it’ll win against a homemade pizza pie from a solid local shop, but for chain restaurants, it’s a nice choice.

Thoughts on Domino’s

We’re getting the football league together at our place for some games and I’ll call Domino’s for the group to snack on. While I wouldn’t call Domino’s Pizza the greatest pizza of all time, it is certainly an affordable and tasty choice.

What about you? Have you tried their pizzas recently? What did you think?

The Produce Box Review

One of our goals this year is to shave a little off our grocery bill and improve the quality of the food we’re getting. We decided to looking to getting more fresh produce in our meals, but the prices seemed discouraging. After some thought, we started looking at Local Harvest to see what some options were.

We discovered The Produce Box and felt like it would help us achieve our goals. I thought it would be appropriate for our first review to be them since we’re trying them this season.

The Produce Box- What is It?

The Produce Box offers locally grown, farm-fresh produce delivery service to members in the Wake County area. The cost for the program we’re looking at is $22/week plus a yearly $15 membership fee.

Compared to what we were seeing, the cost seemed very reasonable so we went ahead and signed up for it this season. They’ve recently expanded to the Wilmington, NC area in case anyone is interested.  the produce box of NC

What You Get with The Produce Box

What’s included in a typical small box? While it varies according to what’s in season, I found a listing of last season’s packages. A great option with this CSA is that for most week, there are alternate boxes you can sign up for and adds on like more fruit. Having some choice on what we get was very appealing to us.

  • 10 Ears Of Corn, Cucumbers, Blueberries, Field Tomatoes, Peaches, and 1 Surprise Item From The Farm
  • 10-12 peaches,1 personal seedless watermelon ,6-8 ears of corn ,1 pint blueberries,Tomatoes , 2 sprite melons
  • Field or Roma Tomatoes, Bell pepper, Peaches, Potatoes, Butternut squash, Sprite melon, Cherry or Grape tomatoes

Besides having a variety of choices each week, the portions seem reasonable for the two of us. There have been times where we buy more to get a discount, but we’ve had to dump a portion of it because we didn’t use it in time. If we start having more than we can eat or store with this program, we can simply out of the following week’s delivery.

Thoughts on The Produce Box and CSA

We have received a few deliveries this season and so far it’s been great. The only hard part of ordering is deciding which box to pick out. We’ve tried purple sweet potatoes for the first time and the strawberries from Lewis Farms has been fantastic. My husband and I have also have to adjust to the slightly different appearance of the fresh produce. The baby spinach doesn’t seem so baby as it is in the store and the Lewis Farm strawberries are bigger than we’re used to eating.

I’d like to get your take on community supported agriculture and how it affects you. How many of you have participated with a CSA? What have been some fo the pros and cons of joining? Have you been able to save money on groceries?