6112 Falls of Neuse Rd.
Saint Jacques is not cheap, but it is my favorite fine dining experience in recent memory, by which I mean since winter or so. My memory is that bad, I promise. Regardless, Saint Jacques is an oasis in a North Raleigh strip mall. Cream and dark brown walls work with lovely window dressings to create a beautiful light box effect for the dining room.
The service is white tablecloth. All the “may I thisses” and “may I thats” are a bit much for me, but I do appreciate a filled water glass. Diners maintained a pleasant level of conversation without being loud on this evening. The food is a creative take on French cuisine, starting with the amuse bouche of red pepper and goat cheese mousse.
The garlic and chives in the mousse made it pop.
Three different varieties of bread were offered next. The salted focaccia’s crust had an ideal crunch from its olive oil wash. It was heavy on the egg yolk, giving it a hearty, rich flavor. The rosemary bread was soft, chewy, and had a lot of flavorful semolina on the crust.
Diner #1 had the foie gras two ways for her appetizer. It was pan-seared and “served on a confit tomato and caramelized melted sweet onion tart, finished with our port wine reduction alongside our homemade smooth chilled ‘au torchon’.” She is a huge foie gras fan, never passing up the opportunity to order it, and she loved its sear in this dish.
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Jubala Village Coffee
8450 Honeycutt Road
Lafayette Village, Raleigh
$2.50 — $7.50
I have heard endless praise for Jubala since it opened in the beautiful Lafayette Village in North Raleigh about a year and a half ago. Much of that praise has centered on the coffee artistry of its baristas and on the Belgian waffle technique they use called liege.
First, those waffles. They come at $3.50 for a fairly small waffle with either one item mixed in or one item scooped on top. Additional toppings or mix-ins are $0.50 each. On this day, the choices included cinnamon chocolate chip, candied walnut, banana apple cinnamon, Nutella, Big Spoon peanut butter, and fresh peaches.
I opted for cinnamon chocolate chip and fresh peaches. Now, their posted menu describes a liege waffle as one that uses pearl sugar in the batter that melts to create a caramelized coating for the waffle when cooking. We didn’t notice any caramelization per se, so our expectations were confused, but the waffle was absolutely delicious and extra crunchy all around the edges. The pearl sugar is those tiny white dots you can see that look like coconut or sesame seeds. Basically, it was hardened bits of powdered sugar. With the light chocolate and delicious peaches, my waffle was just the right amount of sweet for me. One of my companions missed maple syrup, but she attributed that to merely considering syrup and waffles a must pairing rather than any deficit on the side of Jubala’s waffles. I think an order of two would be the perfect size for a hearty breakfast; plus, consider all the varieties you could taste!
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