Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Taste of Tea in the Afternoon

GWG is excited to share our recent visit to The King's Daughters Inn for a house tour and afternoon tea. Located near Duke University's East Campus, the inn was the perfect spot for a warm and tasty treat on a cold February day.

The careful decor and maintenance of the home illustrates the effort and attentiveness that the staff pours into providing a unique experience for each visitor. Teatime began with a selection of thirteen organic loose leaf teas for our enjoyment, from a classic Cream Earl Grey to exotic Passion Fruit. The tea was served in small, easy-to-handle bags and hot water for steeping was served in elegantly adorned teapots of varying colors and styles.

We tried the Black Peach tea which provided a warm peach taste with the rich flavor of a black tea. The light fruitiness was a hint of spring on a cold rainy afternoon and was a welcome break from the workday. All their teas and coffees are fresh, organic, and supplied by the Muddy Dog Roasting Co. in Morrisville. Also on the menu is The King's Daughters Inn house blend of coffee that is brewed fresh weekly.

Accompanying the hot tea was a variety of fresh, homemade pastries--cinnamon pinwheels with an orange glaze, date scones served with a lemon curd, and pumpkin banana bread. All were fresh from the oven and very satisfying--the cinnamon pinwheels were crispy on the outside with gooey cinnamon sugar swirls while the pumpkin banana bread was moist and full of flavor. A traditional teatime treat, the flaky date scones were complemented perfectly by the tart flavor of the lemon curd.

There was plenty of food and hot water for seconds (an offer we were glad to accept!) as we enjoyed chatting in the relaxed atmosphere. We think the British have the right idea with afternoon tea--it's a regal way to take a break from the day for relaxation and sweet treats.

The same care and detail that goes into preparing the food at the Inn extends throughout the home. Built in the 1920's for the King's Daughters, the home was originally a dormitory-style house for single, aging women. However the current owners brought it into the twenty-first century with high-speed Internet, flat-screen TVs, individual climate control and a number of "Green" initiatives while maintaining a beautiful, unique and historic setting.

According to their website there were three wishes that guided the restoration of the home into an Inn: protecting and restoring the historic architecture, respecting the environment, and incorporating the most current technology. All three of these wishes were granted and the home has turned into a warm, inviting environment with kind, helpful, energetic hosts.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The One Pound Takedown (Joe's Diner)

What better way to start a blog about gutsy girls than to devour one pound of meat? We couldn't think of one so when we heard the buzz about Joe's Diner we thought we'd take on the challenge.

The sign outside of Joe's Diner boasts "home of the one-pound hot dog"--the signature dish that drew us in to try this local diner. It is safe to say that we had no idea what we were in for--you have to see this one to believe it. Appropriately named "The Shaq" on the original menu, this all-beef dog requires two large buns and a cafeteria tray to accommodate its size. The selection of toppings allow you to have it your way from traditional add-ons like chili, slaw & cheese to more adventurous options including jalapenos and mango salsa.

We each opted for a different combination--one with chili & cheese, the other with jalapenos & cheese. Once the hot dogs were served up and we got past the initial size-shock (it did seem to take a while to prepare a hot dog of such epic proportions), the best approach for conquering this beefy beast seemed to be cutting it in half and taking it on in two parts. The hot dog meat is very tasty and the toppings give additional flavor that make the first side go down without much effort...it's the second half that starts to be a challenge. When it comes to timing we probably didn't break any records but in just under an hour we had both cleaned our plates. This may not be a challenge for the likes of "Man vs. Food" but it is certainly not for those with a weak stomach or a weak mind. That being said, our work here is done (with documentation to prove it).

Joe's offers additional menu selections typical for a short-order diner--breakfast, burgers, and of course a large variety of more average-sized dogs. The owners have created a friendly and inviting lunch spot in a section of Durham that is under transition, and a place that already seems to have a local crowd. There will definitely be a next time to try out some of their more reasonably portioned meals.