Ever notice that when you get too busy to buy groceries you eat out more?  It’s not the end of the world but it does make you appreciate the home cooked meal.  Things will likely slow down a bit soon but for this weekend we were eating our way across Raleigh.  We went to the Big Easy Friday night, Red Robin Saturday Lunch and Amedeo’s Saturday night.  Not a bad run but one that left with me more than my fair share of heartburn and a touch of indigestion.  I’ll run down the list and give you my impressions of our latest visits to each of these.

Cuse me - is that yer cock?The Big Easy is exactly what you would expect by the name – Cajun food and a New Orleans style atmosphere.  I’ve been to New Orleans once so don’t hold me as an expert but I think they’ve nailed it.  The building in downtown Raleigh on Fayetteville Street looks like something one might expect to find just off Bourbon Street.  We went for Downtown Raleigh’s Restaurant Week which had local restaurants offering a Three-Course Prix Fixe Menu at a set price of either $20 or $30.  Overall I’d say the meal was good and The Big Easy is definitely a place we’ll visit again.  I had the Pork Tenderloin and it was really good – the maple and pecan sauce was a touch sweet at first but my palate quickly adjusted and I really liked it.  The Bananas Foster dessert was excellent but a touch heavy on the rum – you could definitely taste the alcohol and while not terrible it was a bit overpowering.

Despite my overwhelming desire to always eat local sometimes it isn’t what you are in the mood for and the desire for something else takes over or the big chain restaurant is more conveniently located.  Either way – I am 100% behind the eat, shop, buy local concept but I also realize that everyone that works at the chain restaurant lives locally.  Just because the headquarters is in Greenwood Village, CO doesn’t mean everyone that works at that restaurant lives there.  So yes – eat, shop, buy local but remember the waitress at the Waffle House has kids and probably grand kids too (and a dead beat toothless husband but who are we to judge?).

And that short rant brings me to our next destination Red Robin.  Rated #1 by Zagat Awards as the Best Burger in the Full-Service Chain category which means nothing to me personally but I saw it on their wall and again on their website so I thought I would share.  This is a good place for what I would call a “dressed up” burger.  The prices aren’t great and the food is a touch on the greasy side but overall not a bad place for that every now and again burger when the mood strikes.  My suggestions – go ahead and get the burger vs. the chicken, add the garlic parmesan option to the fries ($0.50 it won’t break the bank) and don’t think about the nutritional value of the meal – it sucks.  My Sauted Shroom Burger and garlic parmesan fries cost me a unreal 1548 calories, 91g of fat and 2021mg of sodium.  Yeah…  not the healthiest thing I’ve eaten in a while.

Last night we went to Amedeo’s Italian Restaurant a long time local favorite.  We went partially because the food is great and partially because we ordered this awesome coupon online.  After we used the coupon our meal was $0.44 so a total after tax and before tip of $16.44 for two people to eat dinner (and bring home leftovers).  Not bad.  The food was good as always and the portion sizes are enough to where I needed a box for my seafood lasagna.  Prices aren’t terrible and the NC State shrine inside the restaurant is very cool to see.  This is a restaurant that has a lot of history both with NC State and in the community.  They’ve done a little work cleaning the place up recently but it hasn’t lost any of the “charm” I remember from the first time I went there.

And the man walking the giant chicken?  I avoided chicken this weekend which is usually hard to do so I figured I would find an image to use that had one in it.  Don’t know the source but type “giant chicken” into Google images and it comes up more than once.