These matches are all from restaurants in the Raleigh area which no longer exist. Ragamuffins was located in the former North Hills Mall. It's claim to fame was "beer, cheese and cauliflower soup" and the best bran muffins you have ever eaten. When they announced that they were closing the restaurant, I bought 2 dozen of the muffins, froze them and ate them sparingly over the next year. Too bad I couldn't have done that with the soup. The owner gave the recipe to one of our local radio personalities, and he shared it with his listeners, but I have been convinced that either the recipe was read incorrectly - or I left something out by accident - because I could never get it to taste like it had at Ragamuffins!
Mandarin House was located in Cameron Village, the first "shopping center" in the southeast. They had wonderful Chinese food, but eventually they were overshadowed by larger and newer places.
Vivo was one of a series of five places owned by two guys. I ate there once and was looking forward to going back for another panini and tomato-basil soup, but they closed, and soon after they opened a tapas restaurant in the same location.
The black one on the right is from the Triangle Dinner Theater, located in the Governor's Inn in Research Triangle Park. They also had a restaurant called Galeria, which also featured dancing to a big band orchestra. We went there once with a group of neighbors.
The Soong Room Lounge was located within Jung's Far East, Cantonese Cuisine at Eastgate Shopping Center. Best known for their egg foo yung (at least by me), they were the second Asian place to open in Raleigh, and lasted at leat 20 years before closing.
Crossroads was located in a private home on a hill overlooking Crabtree Valley Mall. It was a great place for a steak, with ambiance and a view of the mall and highways below.
The next row holds 2 different matches from Flamingo's, which was located on Glenwood Avenue near downtown. I had my first and last softshell crabs here (not my cup of tea).
This place was also in a home; an old cottage refitted as a restaurant, with quaint dining in each room.
Hardback Cafe and Bookstore was located in Chapel Hill, near the campus of the University of North Carolina. When my children were students there, we used to take every opportunity to visit and treat ourselves to lunch at Spanky's or the Hardback, which had the best pizza, which they called a boboli. I don't know what the difference between pizza and boboli is - but theirs was exceptionally good.
Man Chun House snuck in there - as it is not in the Raleigh area, but in Atlantic Beach, NC. I don't remember eating there, but in general, Asian restaurants found in small NC beach towns are not the best places to dine.
I will be working for the next three days and I may not get to post anything new for a while. Here's hoping that all of you will have a happy and safe New Year's Eve and a wonderful year in 2006. As I have told you before, all of you have enriched my life this year and I am profoundly thankful.