Focus on Takeout — Lindley Mills (Graham, NC)

Ciabatta rolls proofing on a couche. Recipe is from Peter Reinhart’s “Bread Baker’s Apprentice”

Like many of us, I’ve been baking a little more than usual. And like many of us, I’ve been frustrated that store shelves remain empty of flour, yeast, and other baking necessities. Apparently, all of America has gone sourdough crazy.

Lindley Mills to the rescue. Lindley Mills is an organic specialty flour mill in Graham, NC, that has been milling flour since 1755. They supply Weaver Street Market, all of Ashley Christensen’s restaurants, and bakeries across North Carolina. When I was working on a book about cooking from scratch I used to call ahead and pick up 25lb sacks of flour from their loading dock, going through one about every six weeks. Now they have a handy online ordering system and home delivery. Like many flour suppliers they’re a bit backordered, so it took two weeks to receive my flour. Twenty five pounds is a lot of flour, but their prices are much more reasonable than ordering from King Arthur or other online sources. Stored in an airtight container (I keep mine in our outside fridge), you flour will stay fresh for quite a while.

An 18qt Cambro container will hold a full 25lb sack of flour

If you don’t need 25 pounds of flour, La Farm bakery in Cary offers online ordering for curbside pickup or delivery by DoorDash. They have 5lb sacks of their bread flour, whole wheat flour, SAF yeast, and their own sourdough starter to get you, well, started.

A Poolish is a wet starter, like a sourdough starter but using a small amount of commercial yeast

— Chad


Focus on Takeout – Rudy’s Pub and Grill (Apex, NC)

My place to go for wings is Rudy’s. Every Tuesday night, they have $0.55 wing night. You can order an number of sauces. I have been going there for years and have never had a bad experience. Chad and I even did a lunch burger review there back in the before times. Great burgers. Great fries. Great wings. Great service, too.

I’ve never had takeout from there, though.

Rudy’s came through in a big way. I ordered twelve Honey Hot wings (my favorite) and tots. My wife ordered a Cobb salad, and the kids got BLT wraps with fries. Their online ordering system is terrific. They use a service called Chow Now. The cool thing about this company is that they charge a monthly fee instead of taking a cut of each individual order. The ordering process was simple. You can even order ahead. I ordered mine at about 1:00 PM to be picked up at 6:30. My food was being put in a bag as I walked in.

OK, let’s get to the important stuff. My family raved about their items. My wings were crisp and tangy as if they just came out of the kitchen. The tots were fluffy and just salty enough. A lot of great flavor without a hint of ketchup needed.

Restaurants are opening up now. However, we’ll still be getting takeout for awhile especially if it’s as good as Rudy’s. I highly recommend checking them out. — MM

Rudy’s Takeout Redux!

Rudy’s is also one of Chad’s favorites. He and his wife got takeout this past week. As mentioned, the ordering system is simple and allows you to customize your items.

Chad’s wife ordered a bacon cheeseburger, no onion, no pickle, and Rudy’s signature fat curly fries. Chad ordered their French dip on ciabatta with tater tots.

The ordering system assigns slots, so there are only so many orders in a given block. Chad arrived early, and the staff was happy to expedite his order so there was only a short wait. The food was excellent, as always. The French dip was rich and beefy, the burger a perfect medium. They were so good that both were half eaten before Chad remembered to take a couple of photos, so some judicious knife work was necessary to get a shot without bites showing.

Double thumbs up for Rudy’s and the skill with which they’ve adapted to the new reality of the restaurant business. — CW

Focus on Takeout – NC Burger (Food Truck)

NC Burger food truck is a one-person, no frills operation that does one thing, and does it extremely well. I genuinely wish this was a full Straight Beef review with Michael, Carolyn, and Don in attendance because this burger was a 4.5 on the Straight Beef scale, and I want see it on our ratings list. Maybe when things get a little closer to normal we can do that.

My neighborhood has continued its series of food trucks scheduled prior to everyone staying at home, with the caveat that the truck has to offer online ordering. NC Burger has joined the many food trucks to use (also available as a very handy app) for online ordering. You can review the menu, order, pay, tip, and schedule your pickup time to minimize the amount to time you are standing around in a parking lot.

The NC Burger menu is simple: double burger with fries, single burger with fries, burger bowl for the low-carb crowd, a veggie burger, and Buffalo bites. That’s it. You can get a side of fries gussied up with cheese curds or bacon and ranch, but fries come with the basic burger option, so we didn’t try the extras. Pricing is more than reasonable, with the double burger with fries at $9 and the single with fries at $7.

Michael would quibble with the build. The lettuce and condiments were on the bottom (gasp!), but watching the owner work solo, I can see the rationale. He was able to toast the bottom bun, assemble the base of the burger and have that ready to go as the burger and top bun came off the griddle. It’s efficient if not quite Straight Beef orthodoxy.

We ordered a single with bacon (no pickle or onion) and a double with bacon (no onion, extra pickle), both with fries, for pickup at 5:52. Pickup times are in slots scheduled by Streetfoodfinder, with a limited number of orders per slot. My name was called closer to 6:00, but that was mainly due to walk-up customers who apparently didn’t understand how restaurants (or viruses) work taking up the owner’s time at the window.

The burgers were excellent. I may have actually turned into Jules Winfield for a moment and exclaimed, “My, that is a tasty burger!” The patties are thin, so I’m glad I ordered the double. The buns were well toasted, the burgers had a nice char but were still a proper medium doneness, the bacon was crispy (chopped rather than in big floppy strips – nice!), condiments were plentiful but not overwhelming, and the fries were perfectly seasoned. I would put this burger up against any in the Triangle. If you get a chance — or see it pop up on your newly installed Streetfoodfinder app — definitely try NC Burger. — CW

Focus on Takeout – Beefy Buns (Food Truck)

Chad’s neighborhood has continued its series of food trucks during the stay-at-home period, with the caveat that all of the scheduled food trucks must offer online ordering. During this period, many food trucks have begun using, available on a web browser and as a handy downloadable app. Streetfoodfinder allows for online ordering, payment, tipping, and pickup scheduling.

The latest food truck to come through the neighborhood was Beefy Buns, a sandwich truck offering reubens, cheesesteaks, meatball hoagies and other classic sandwiches.

Chad ordered a reuben, a blackened chicken sandwich, pan fried garlic parm potatoes and pan seared Brussels sprouts. The reuben was a little skimpy on the corned beef, but otherwise a solid, serviceable sandwich on very tasty swirled rye.

The blackened chicken sandwich, though was a bargain at $8, with a huge chicken breast, provolone, garlic aioli and arugula on a nicely toasted ciabatta bun. The Brussels sprouts were quite good.

Online ordering was simple, and Beefy Buns hit the target pickup time perfectly. People in the parking lot were respectful of distances, even with some walkup business. All in all, a very nice change of pace at a reasonable price. — CW

Focus on Takeout – Ruckus Pizza, Pasta, and Spirits (Apex, NC)

We decided to get Ruckus for our weekly takeout dinner. I have eaten here plenty because it is near my office, so I thought, “Slam dunk.” Well…

The Ruckus menu is expansive, and all of it seems to be available for takeout. It is usually the perfect place for us to eat because it has something for everyone. Oddly, we at The Straight Beef have never done an official review here. Something we will rectify once we are allowed to actually each out. I ordered the BBQ Cheddar Burger which has onion rings, Vermont Cheddar, crispy bacon, and BBQ sauce. You can order it “pink” or “no pink”. Online ordering was easy.

Unfortunately, this is where everything derailed.

My order was supposed to be ready by 5:41. I got there a little early and cooled my heels outside as about 90% of the people picking up orders were not wearing masks. When I peeked in, I saw that none of the staff were wearing masks either.

My order was not ready until about 6:00 or a little after. Fine, I wasn’t in a big rush to get it. When I got home 5 minutes later, it became very apparent that my food had been just sitting in the back getting cold. I don’t know what happened, but my burger was well-done and cold. The bun was mush, the onion rings were chewy, the bacon was undercooked and stringy, and the fries were cold and mostly fused together.

I was really disappointed in my experience at Ruckus this time around. I’ll definitely go back when they open back up for table service because I’ve had great food there before. However, I think I’m going to skip the takeout.

Focus on Takeout – Los Tres Magueyes (Apex, NC)

This is one of my daughter’s favorite places to eat. She is a selective (read picky) eater. She likes the way they do their cheese quesadilla and their table-side guacamole. Well, no table-side guac with takeout. But they did put have their guac in a to go container. Los Tres is your pretty standard Tex Mex restaurant. However, they have the best salsa I have had since I lived in Texas. It is chunky and rich with tomatoes with flavorful heat. You can taste the jalapeños instead of just the heat. Great, light chips, too.

They have a selection of ACP dishes which start with your classic ACP and add stuff to it. I got the ACP with chorizo. The chicken was a little dry but the generous helping of chorizo made the meal.

I highly recommend hitting up Los Tres Magueyes if you have a hankering for some Mexican food. Pro tip: please remember (a) your order number which the give you after you order and/or (b) what you ordered. The person in six feet in front of me had no idea about either. Plus, they wanted to add something to the order. Sheesh! The gentleman trying to check her out was exceptionally polite throughout the whole thing. He was very accommodating to them and was very appreciative for the business. — MM

Focus on Takeout – Daniel’s Restaurant (Apex, NC)

Daniel’s has also transitioned to curbside pickup. Of particular note is the Monday Madness special. Every Monday between 5:00 and 6:00 you can order up to four 12″, two-topping pizzas. The price you pay is the time you call plus $1. Chad brought home a spinach and garlic pizza and a pepperoni and mushroom pizza for $13 plus a tip.

You text the restaurant when you arrive at the pickup area on the side and they bring the pizzas to your car. Daniel’s has excellent pizza, and this is an amazing deal. Be sure to ask for the pizza’s “well done.” They leave them in the oven a bit longer so the crust is still crispy when you get them home. — Chad

Focus on Takeout – Baldwin Farms (Yanceyville, NC)

As we started quarantine and businesses closed, we made it a goal to support local business as much as we could. Instead of eating out, I decided to order some beef from Baldwin Farms in Yanceyville, NC. I have ordered from them before, but I tried something new this time: brisket.

The cut I received was about 5.5 pounds, and it cost $45. (I also ordered some ground beef and two NY Strip steaks to make the shipping worth it.) It looked wonderful. Most of the fat had been cut off, so I didn’t have to do much to prepare the meat before cooking. It also meant that the weight was meat and not a lot of inedible fat.

I prepared it using a sweet and sour recipe from NY Times Cooking. It was amazing. You can see the small amount of fat that I trimmed off after cooking. It had a rich flavor that wasn’t necessarily from the sauce I cooked it in. With supermarkets often being sold out of meat. I strongly suggest ordering from Baldwin Farms. — Michael

P.S. One thing about ordering online from them. They have a weird thing in their system that makes them need to call you afterwards to get your 3-digit code from the back of your credit card. So, if you get a call after your order from a 336-Yanceyville area code, it is legit. — MM

Focus on Takeout – Falafel and Co. (Raleigh, NC)

1000 Brookside Dr. Raleigh, NC

A man can not live on Burgers alone, and there is a time when this man needs a chicken pita. It is actually pretty often, and lucky for me, there is Falafel and Co. down the street. They have a lot of great Middle Eastern Food including as their name suggests Falafel. They have a build your own pita sandwich, salad bowl or rice bowl, where you pick your filling, chicken, beef, falafel, or steak and then your toppings.

The chicken is delicious, especially combined with Tzatziki sauce, onions, tomato, and feta. Splash a little hot sauce and you have a very fine meal. The ingredients are fresh, they are fast making it, and the Zatar Fries are amazing. Yes, you read that correctly, I love their fries. If you follow our previous reviews, I usually avoid the fries at almost all restaurants, but these are the best. The seasoning is addictive. You can order over the phone and they will have it ready or go in and build your meal. It is delicious and they are wonderful people. Give them a try and you’ll be back, I promise. — Don

Focus on Takeout – Corbett’s Burger & Soda Bar (Cary, NC)

Corbett’s, a perennial Straight Beef favorite, has come through for us again. Early in the stay-at-home period many grocery stores were short of basic supplies. Corbett Shope, owner of Corbett’s, opened his pantry and walk-in cooler to the general public. In addition to takeout burgers and hot dogs, Corbett’s offered toilet paper, chicken breasts, hamburger patties, buns, eggs and other staples. Chad was able to score 2 lbs of chicken breasts, a stack of hamburger patties, buns, a flat of 30 eggs and eight rolls of toilet paper for neighbors who were running low. Check Corbett’s Facebook page for daily availability. Corbett’s 1/3 lb Hereford beef hamburger patties were amazing grilled at home.

As Takeout Monday became a regular part of the rotation in the Ward household, Chad once again turned to Corbetts, this time for a Hot Dog Burger and a basic bacon cheeseburger, waffle fries and a giant pickle. Place your order and pay online. Contactless curbside delivery or pickup keep everybody safe. The burgers steamed a bit in their wrappers on the trip home, but otherwise were the same great burgers we have come to know and love. It’s wonderful that Corbett’s is able to make takeout work for them and keep their staff employed when so many restaurants are shutting down and laying people off. Just another reason to love Corbett’s.

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