Recently we had a chance to go to Casey’s alma mater, Carolina, to root for the Tar Heels against Miami. Carolina won the game (yay!), but we won’t belabor that point since some of you reading this might not be Tar Heel fans…. Aside from the great basketball game, what was particularly memorable about our outing was the dinner we enjoyed at Lantern, where James Beard award-winning chef Andrea Reusing works her magic. We can attest – the award is well-deserved.
We started with their local pasture-raised pork and chive dumplings. Fantastic! Think pot-stickers taken to new and sophisticated heights. Casey has actually made this recipe a number of times and we always love it, but having it made by the ‘creator’ herself was a real treat. Along with the dumplings, we enjoyed the duck and cracklings spring rolls. These were equally delightful and a perfect opener to our main courses. As an aperitif, we sipped a half-bottle of Guy Larmandier, Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru á Cramant Brut, which was scrumptious.
For the main event, Casey had the lemongrass-grilled local pork chop with fried farm egg. A truly stunning dish, the meaty and flavorful chop was well balanced with acidity and freshness from the salad, while that gorgeous egg provided the perfect, unctuous finish. A pinot blanc or lighter pinot noir would complement this dish wonderfully. Mark’s Korean-style braised short rib with local Napa cabbage kimchi had a great balance of richness and complexity, and he thought the kimchi was divine. The dish paired beautifully with an aged Bordeaux we brought from our personal stash (a 1994 Pontet-Canet from Pauillac, for your Bordeaux apprecianados).
If you find yourself anywhere near the Triangle area, we highly recommend you make the trek to Lantern. You’ll be rewarded with a thoughtfully curated menu that beautifully marries Asian flavors with local ingredients. Each dish is very well executed and artfully presented in a warm yet modern setting. We know we’ll be back the next time we venture up that way!
Bon Appétit and Santé,
Casey + Mark