Eating Out

When you’re going out to eat in Chapel Hill or anywhere else, you’re looking for good food and good atmosphere. Whether Chapel Hill offers much of a choice of either depends on your own expectations. If you’ve come here from New York City or San Francisco, you’re likely to be disappointed. Although there are more than 75 restaurants in Chapel Hill, many of them are burger joints, fast-food places and restaurants of no distinction: they offer little, and charge a little more. There are some places where eating is a pleasure. How costly they are is, again, a relative question. There are inexpensive items on the menus of all but the most elegant restaurants, but if you’re living on a shoestring budget, eating out remains a luxury. In the next few months we’ll be printing capsule reviews of those restaurants which either are, or attempt to be, good places to eat.

Foreign Restaurants (There are six foreign restaurants in town — three Chinese restaurants, two Mexican restaurants, and one Greek restaurant.)

PEKING GARDEN, 1404 E. Franklin Street, 942-1613, Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Sat. and Sun. 12 - 2:30, 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Generally acknowledged to be the best Chinese restaurant in town. The food is good, with most dinner entrees between $4 and $5. An extensive menu with four regional styles of Chinese cooking represented. The portions are ample and there’s a wide assortment of soups and appetizers. Handsome decor, with a colorful mural depicting scenes from Chinese life. We highly recommend it.

MOON PALACE, Kroger Shopping Plaza, 942-3839, 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Sundays, noon until 9:30 p.m.

Though not as well known as Peking Garden, the Moon Palace is almost as good. It’s handicapped by its poor location and the reputation left over by the Mongolian Barbecue, which occupied the building until a year ago. Dinner entrees average $5. For theatrics, try the flaming Pu-Pu tray as an appetizer. For $1.95 per person, you get fried fantail shrimp, fried crabmeat wonton, spare ribs, a chicken ball and shrimp toast served on a flaming hibachi tray. The dining area is more spacious than at Peking Garden, and just as handsome. If you haven’t tried the Moon Palace, do.

CHINA NITE RESTAURANT, Highway 15-501 South, 933-1060, 4:30 - 9:00 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 2:00 - 9:00 p.m. Sun.

The food is ordinary and so is the decor. Prices are about the same as Peking Garden and Moon Palace, but there’s no reason to go here with two other much superior Chinese restaurants in town.

PAPAGAYO, NCNB Plaza, 967-7145, Mon. - Fri. 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 a.m., Sat. 4 p.m. - 1 a.m., Sun. 4 p.m. - 1 a.m.

Chapel Hill’s newest restaurant, sleek and sophisticated, designed with care and at great expense. If you like the uptown feel, this is the place to eat good Mexican food at prices somewhat higher than Tijuana Fats, the other Mexican restaurant in town. A wider variety here than at Fats: less heaping on of rice and beans and more emphasis on special dishes. Interesting appetizers, too, like the Sopaipillas, a pastry-like bread served with honey butter (.95 for two). Dinner entrees from $3.25 to $6.75. There’s a bar and cocktail lounge, and an outdoor cafe opening in April.

TIJUANA FATS, 403 West Rosemary Street, 967-1466, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 a.m. seven days a week.

“Fats” sounds crowded, and is crowded. There’s a breeziness to Fats, an informality that comes with being established, and popular, that students and bar hoppers like. The place has a mildly rowdy atmosphere that somehow feels more Mexican than Papagayo’s cooly fashionable self-image. The menu is less varied than Papagayo’s, but the food is good, portions are ample, and the prices a little cheaper. They serve basic Mexican dishes like taco and enchilada dinners, chiles rellenos, burritos, and combination plates, in prices ranging from $3.95 to $4.95.

KRISSA Restaurant, 3008 W. Rosemary Street, 942-5194. Open for lunch from 11:30 - 2:30. Open for dinner from 5-11 p.m. every day.

Krissa is a basement restaurant behind PTA Transit Authority with enjoyable, authentic Greek food. Lunch menu prices range from $1.95 to $2.18. The evening menu has sandwiches for under $2.00 and dinners for $3.45 to $4.75. If prices seem reasonable, it may be because portions are small. The hot pita bread is homemade and good. So is the Baklava dessert, a nutty pastry pie. Enjoy Greek music and the bas relief murals of Greek landscapes while you’re there, and avoid the Greek coffee, which tastes like coffee grind soup. Watch belly dancers as you eat on Thursday or Sunday nights from 9 - 10 p.m.

Reaping What We Sow

It took Cary Fowler of Chapel Hill two years to track down 46 sources of traditional varieties of berries, nuts, fruits and vegetables. He has listed them in The Graham Center Seed Directory, available for one dollar from Frank Porter Graham Center, Route 3, Box 95, Wadesboro, N.C. 28170.

The seed directory was funded by the Rural Advancement Fund’s Frank Porter Graham Demonstration Farm and Training Center in Wadesboro, where Cary is co-director of the Resource Center.

In the introduction to Graham Center Seed Directory, Cary writes:

“The Directory is meant to be a tool to help you locate sources of old, traditional varieties of fruit, nut and vegetable seeds. What is ‘old, traditional variety’? We’re not sure. There is no hard and fast definition. We think of them as being varieties whose seed you can save and replant, unlike modern hybrids. They haven’t been recently ‘invented’ by a seed company like a new car model. These are varieties that could have been around a while and have fallen out of use, often because they lacked characteristics necessary for large-scale production, shipping, storage or modern processing. Often these old varieties have qualities — taste, nutrition, adaptability to local environments — that make them desirable, even famous. Nevertheless, many are threatened with extinction . . .”

The Seed Directory lists sources from Redwood City, California to Winchester, England. Many of them are small, family-operated businesses, or one-person, non-profit services. Two of them are in North Carolina.

Alston Seed Growers (Littleton, N.C. 27850) sell oldtime field corn; white, red, yellow, purple and mixed varieties.

Garden of Eden Nursery (Rt. 2, Box 1086, Spruce Pine, N.C. 28777) specialize in the world’s oldest fruit trees, according to their letterhead.

The only Virginia source is Waynesboro Nurseries (P.O. Box 987, Waynesboro, Va. 22980), which sells fruit and nut trees, and berries. They have the Rambo apple, Johnny Appleseed’s favorite variety, and are also the only commercial source of American Chestnut trees Cary’s group could find.

The handsome 16-page directory includes a chart which tells you how long saved seed is good, for 32 crops.

Also included is an article by Cary, “Reaping What We Sow.”

Cary is co-author with Frances Moore Lappé and Joseph Collins of Food First: Beyond the Myth of Scarcity (Houghton Mifflin, 1977), one of the most provocative and well-informed studies of why people go hungry and what can be done about it. THE SUN has published several related articles by Cary.

Health Center

Last fall, we reported on the Healing Arts Festival, which was organized by a group of people who would like to see a Wholistic Health Center with a building and staff open in Chapel Hill.

More than 600 people turned out for the Festival last November, which indicates the interest in such a center is here. With that in mind, a series of workshops have been planned for the spring, listed below.

A meeting of Community Wholistic Health Center members and interested persons will be held on April 8, at 7:30 p.m. Write P.O. Box 1348, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514 to find out where the meeting will be held, and for more information on workshops.

Stress Management — Saturday, March 31 ($20) Recognizing and managing stress. Led by Sandy Dick, who is a doctoral candidate in organizational psychology and has extensive training in group process, consultation skills and educational design; Anne Mandetta, BSN, MPJ, who is on the faculty of the Duke School of Nursing and teaches “Non-Pharmacological Management of Pain and Stress”; and Val Staples, a certified physicians’ assistant, former assistant director of the Physicians’ Associate Program at Duke; with three years of experience in rural health clinics.

Discovering the Treasures of the Dream Universe — March 31, April 1 ($15) Learning to help yourself and others through dreams. Led by Dusty Staub, who has training in Senoi dream work, and is an experienced workshop leader.

Support Groups for Well Being — April 7-8, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. ($25) Learn how to be a more effective listener/responder; practice sharing plans, feelings, and concerns. Led by Dave Kiel, an accredited Trainer for Group Development by the International Association of Applied Social Scientists; he holds a Doctorate in Public Health from UNC in Mental Health.

Women’s Health — April 21 ($5) Exploring fertility, contraception, vaginal infections, personal hygiene, diet, and menstrual discomfort, with a wholistic approach. Led by Lil Royal and Mary Chambers, who are both BSRN’s.

Wild Plants for Food and Health — April 14, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. or April 22, 12-4 p.m. ($10) An introduction to the edible and medicinal plants in this area. Includes field trip, teas, snacks, and an illustrated pamphlet. Led by Leaf Diamant who has taught courses at the N.C. Botanical Gardens and Durham Community Education Center.

Ollistic Body Work — April 28-29, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ($30) An integrated system of Eastern and Western healing techniques emphasizing deep muscle massage to bring about emotional release and deep relaxation. Led by Farra Allen who has trained extensively in Lomi body work and has led workshops throughout the Southeast for several years.

Medical Self-Care — May 5th and 6th ($25) Information on common health problems and basic techniques to physical assessment, emphasizing practical skills. Discussions on when and why medical consultation is helpful. Led by Val Staples, a certified physicians’ assistant with five years of clinical experience; she is interested in integrating Western medical perspectives with healing practices from other cultures.

(20% of all workshop income goes to the Community Wholistic Health Center.)