Judging by his daring attitude toward fusion cuisine, head chef Michael Schiffer probably tried to fry the rule book before throwing it out the window. He founded Maximillian's Grill in 1991 with humble aspirations: it would be a 32-seat pizza restaurant where guests could enjoy quiet meals. In four months, however, he had amassed magazine awards and a clientele that would line up outside the restaurant for an hour before he opened the doors. They were there, waiting patiently, to see what delicious fusion food would sail out of the kitchen that night?Michael hand wrote a new menu every day and often invented new dishes on the spot, fusing Italian flavors with creole and Asian influences.
Unfortunately, in 1998, a fire closed Max?s for good. Though he and his wife Gayle later opened a gourmet deli, it wasn?t until 2001 that they opened Max?s once again, this time in a roomier location with high ceilings, soft light, and tinted windows. The new joint even has a wine bar in the back separated from the dining room by a partition.
In the kitchen, Michael devises fresh takes on fusion cuisine while holding onto many of the dishes that made Max?s famous, classics as the grilled caesar salad?prepped by grilling the actual lettuce?and the peppercorn-encrusted Voodoo tuna. Michael has also archived his old menus on the restaurant's webpage, viewing them as a timeline for his culinary evolution and a way to remember how to spell "bouillabaisse."
At The Great Mongolian Grill, patrons are free to assemble their own plates of Mongolian fusion fare at buffet-style counters, a process that earned the grill favorable mention in Cary Living magazine. Protected by vaulted glass, a long counter hosts bins of noodles, fresh veggies, and meats waiting to be assembled into novel combinations. After filling their bowl, diners snag a colored stick denoting their sauce of choice, then watch the chefs fire up their meal on the grill or at a nearby Olympic torch. While the selection of meats, veggies, and sauces is ever-changing, the Cary Living feature highlights the crabmeat, mushrooms, sprouts, shrimp, and honey-citrus pepper sauce. Patrons can also relinquish the burden of dish-building responsibility with special entrees on the menu, such as galbi—Korean barbecue beef ribs served with a ginger salad or boneless beef short rib steak. In the eatery’s dining room, sleek modern lines and neutral tones are illuminated by wide cylindrical lamps hanging above tables.:
The chefs at Yagg Si Tenn Catering hail from Senegal—a West African country where vendors peddle tropical fruits in bustling marketplaces and fishermen pluck fresh fish from the bountiful sea. When they arrived on North Carolina soil, the chefs brought with them a wealth of traditional African recipes as well as a deep appreciation for good food and family. Today, they distribute housemade dishes from Senegal and other African countries throughout North Carolina.
Deep in the Yagg Si Tenn kitchen, the chefs fold fresh ingredients and authentic spices into complex dishes—from spicy grilled chicken yassa to flavorful jollof rice. They also bottle their recipes in the form of housemade traditional sauces, such as the fresh roasted-habanero Kani spread and the garlic-and-lemon vinaigrette. The culinary crew has served these freshly made African specialties at weddings, large parties, and odd incidences when everyone in town is inexplicably drawn to the same abandoned factory in the middle of the night.
After more than a decade in Berkeley, California, the minds behind Thai Spices & Sushi Restaurant headed east to showcase their classic Asian flavors for North Carolinians. Locals and food reviewers, in turn, have showered plenty of praise upon the restaurant, where customized heat levels range from hot to hotter than a supermodel wrapped in an electric blanket.
The chefs' adjust the spiciness while crafting everything from tofu saut?ed with cashew nuts and snow peas to medleys of eggplant and deep-fried tilapia simmering in green curry sauce. Sushi chefs, meanwhile, assemble raw fixings into 19 specialty rolls, including a California roll topped with baked seafood and the Neptune, a union of eel and cream cheese crowned with crab-stick salad. In addition to nightly dinners, the eatery hosts lunches every weekday with everything from pan-fried salmon teriyaki to Bento boxes chockfull of veggie curries and gyoza.
A science lab calls to mind test tubes, bubbling flasks of chemicals, maniacally laughing men in white coats—but rarely ice cream. But that's exactly where Curt Jones, chairman and founder of Dippin' Dots, came upon the inspiration for the tiny flash-frozen beads of ice cream. A microbiologist, Jones spearheaded the flash-freezing process of cryogenic encapsulation, a method capable of trapping flavor and freshness.
Beginning as a retail shop in Lexington, Kentucky, the ice cream quickly began to quell the tantrums of Fortune 500 CEOs all over the country. Having won numerous awards since he created a new way to enjoy an old treat, Jones stays true to Dippin' Dots’ roots, making the ice cream at the company headquarters in Paducah, Kentucky. New additions to the Dippin' Dots family include Dots ‘n Cream, a treat similar to traditional ice cream.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.