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Mura North Hills

When we lived in Durham, we had the luxury of living 5 minutes down the road from Sushi Love.  It quickly became our “go to” dinner place thanks to their daily “buy one, get one free” special.  Since we’ve moved to Raleigh, I’ve been looking for a place that could serve as a stand-in on days we don’t want to drive to Durham for sushi.  I had heard good things about Mura, so we decided to check it out.

As soon as we walked in, I felt underdressed.  The inside of the restaurant is quite stylish and…in a word… sexy. I can see it being a great date night kind of place.

We started out with soup as our appetizers.  Ian had the cream of mushroom soup and I had the miso soup.  My miso was nothing to “write home about,” but then again, I can’t remember the last time I had one that blew me away.  It was good and it was warm – that’s really all I wanted.

Next up were the sushi rolls!  On the left – a TNT Crunch and a Screaming O roll.  On the right – a Lobster Salad and a HardRock roll.

I enjoyed both of my rolls (the ones pictured on the left) and Ian seemed to enjoy his as well.  I stole a piece of his Lobster Salad roll and was not terribly impressed.

Finally, there was this beautiful dessert…

This beauty is called a Tempura Ice Cream and it was the best part of the meal.  The crunchy exterior complimented the vanilla ice cream beautifully.  It was big enough to easily split between three people!

Overall, the restaurant was good.  The best parts were the ambiance and the dessert.  The sushi rolls were good, but not exceptional.  We visited Mura on a Tuesday because that’s the day when they have their “buy one, get one 50% off” special.  I’ll go back on a Tuesday again, but I don’t think the rolls were delicious enough to pay full price.  Next time, I’ll try the non sushi menu and see if it is more noteworthy than the rolls.

Finally, I wanted to point out two things about this restaurant.  First, the bar area is spiffy.  I can see it being a cool place to grab a martini.  Second, the restaurant has Tatami rooms for larger groups.  I haven’t been to another Japanese restaurant in the area (yet!  not to say that they don’t exist!) that had these pretty rooms available.  It would be a fun room to reserve for a dinner party with friends.

Grand Asia Market – Part 1

This has to be a two-part review.  The Grand Asia grocery store has so much to offer, and I didn’t even get to explore it all!  Next time, I’m going to plan on eating at their in-store restaurant, the Joy Luck Club, and I will take a camera.

In preparation for a meal that is on the menu for this week, I went in search of a good Asian grocery store.  After reading a few local threads, I decided to visit the Grand Asia Market.  I was not disappointed.  The store was large!  Compared to the place I use to visit on 15-501 business, this store was palatial.  I wandered the aisles in awe of the selection and the variety of products (some labeled in English, others not).  I can’t wait to experiment and explore the different items this place has to offer.

As for today’s visit, I just came home with a few of my favorite things.  From left to right:

  • Genmaicha – green tea with brown rice
  • Fava beans – so that I can attempt the appetizer we had in Boston,
  • Shrimp Shumai – I love these dumplings!,
  • Kimchee – a.k.a. kimchi – my favorite cabbage side dish,
  • Red pepper paste – to add to the recipe I’m going to attempt this week,
  • Shiitake and Enoki mushrooms – I couldn’t get over how cheap these were, so I had to pick them up.

The Cupcake Shoppe

Ian came home with a pretty white box the other day.  Its contents were small, sweet, and delicious.

The box contained an assortment of beautiful little cupcakes.

I prefer salts to sweets (odd…I know), so in order to recommend a dessert it has to be really good.

These cupcakes were the perfect size.  They weren’t monstrously large with a foot of icing on top.  They were easy to bite into and the icing did not overpower the actual cupcake.  Included in the assortment was the red velvet cupcake, the chocolate cupcake, the lemon cupcake, and lastly the vanilla cupcake.  The red velvet was my favorite.  After scanning their online  menu, we’ll definitely go back to try the cinnamon cupcake and the carrot cupcake.

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