NYer Going to Durham, Suggestions?
Can anyone suggest and good BBQ joints in the Durham area? aside from Dillard's and Bullock's? Any others that you might suggest? Doesn't have to be BBQ, but would prefer something that I can't get in the apple.
How about a good breakfast place...
any fruits particularly good in early January?
This is a hotly debated subject but IMHO you can't go wrong with Allen and Son on 86 north of Chapel Hill. Just take 40 westbound to 86 and head north about a mile, or take 85 west to 86 and head south about 5 miles. It's right by the railroad tracks on the west side of the street.
In general, I don't rank myself among those who love Eastern NC BBQ, but I agree that Allen & Sons is better than either you mentioned.
B-fast? meh. If this tells you anything, we end up at Cracker Barrel as often as anywhere else when we don't make it ourselves.
As for fruit in January, it gets cold here as well. Not a whole lot growing here that time of year.
What you can get here that is way better than anything I remember getting in Manhattan (at least when I lived there in the early 90s) is Mexican. There are some very solid Taquerias to be had. I like Super Taqueria on Roxboro, others have their favorites.
To be honest, as was revealed in the recent post asking what Raleigh was "known for", people coming from the big cities looking to get down with some good ol' southern food may be a tad disappointed.
We're sort caught in the middle as a significant percentage of the local population are transplants. I feel that the high-end owner/operator food is good and typically a hell of a lot cheaper than what you might find in NYC, which is nice. Of course, it's not like you have dozens upon dozens of options.
At the same time, it's not some sleepy little burg with cute little fried chicken joints on what few corners there are.
When my friends from out of the area visit, I'm more inclined to simply take them to the places that serve good food rather than try to find something distinctly "Durham"
A quick list...(in no particular order)
Guglhupf (great German bakery)
Rue Cler (cool new bistro downtown)
Merrit Store (actually in Chapel Hill for a great BLT)
Driade (also in CH world class Cappucino)
Lastly...If you want a tasting menu that would cost you at least double in the big city, give me a call.
there's a place called grayson's cafe, and they serve a good breakfast with more options than most places. it is kinda hidden, but it's worth the search. the chef went to the c.i.a., but the prices aren't overwhelming as one might expect. they only serve b/f on the weekends, though. check it out: www.graysonscafe.com
the other breakfast spot i like is elmo's diner. they have a basic breakfast menu, but some of their specials are great. there's a baked french toast special that's cinnamon-apple and cream cheese stuffed french toast... it sounds terrible, but the cream cheese is baked into the french toast so it's rich, and not heavy as it may sound. it's almost like eating a french toast bread pudding... definitely worth a stop if they're serving this item...
los comales is a taqueria right down from the super taqueria and it is much better. everyone that listened to my suggestion on an earlier post replied with much better reviews than super... super is like the walmart of taquerias, so the food is much more bland than at los comales, which is also on roxboro, but closer to where it crosses i-85.
guglhupf is a definite stop, as detlefchef noted.
and i just need a little favor to ask you... when you come down, do you think you can bring a good chinese cook who wants to make a killing in the triangle? there's a niche here, but nobody to fill the void.
FWIW, I've eaten at both comales and super a number of times and actually prefer Super. From California, I've practically lived on tacos my whole life and have tried nearly every possible meat at nearly every taqueria in Durham. Two trips to comales were both fine enough but at least one of the meats served was somewhat dry and flavorless. On top of that, the service has always been quite slow. Apparently others have had better experiences and I'm not saying the place is bad. However, a stretch of about 6 straight visits to Super where my wife and I looked at each other and said, "Wow, this place is better and better everytime we come here" has done enough to make it my favorite.
I like Super because they're always consistant. I've had single tacos at other places that I prefered but have also been served oddly seasoned, butchered, or cooked crap in a poorly made tortilla that fell apart in my hands. I like to pull for "the little guy" but it's also nice to know that you're going to get something really good every time. When I've got more time to kill, I may go the spot on Club and Roxboro and get a chicharones con nopales taco just in case it's good that day. When I'm hungry and don't want to screw around, I head for Super because they've never let me down.
Due to the recent support for comales, I almost tried to convince my wife that we go there rather than Super this past weekend but was glad I didn't. My beef cheek huarrache (while not as good as their sopes) was outstanding and my wife's al pastor burrito was insanely satisfying and came with a huge chunk of ripe avo on the side. The agua frescas are also quite good. We typically get the horrachata. It's a shame that one of their garnish bars was taken to the other location up the street, but they still have some damned tasty pickles and all the salsas are good.
I should also qualify my support of Guglhupf being mainly for the bakery. I've actually never been thrilled with any b-fast I've had there. Over-cooked omelets, stale bread of all things, and I forget the other thing. Not felony level stuff, mind you, but not on par with the beautiful pastries they serve next door. The stollen (should be coming out anytime now) is freaking amazing!
For breakfast, Guglhupf is great. If you're looking for a southern breakfast, go to Elmo's, not Mama Dip's. the food is pretty bad, and the service could use work, too. I hear Big Ed's in Raleigh serves a good breakfast, but I haven't been there.
I urge you to try Locopops on Hillsborough in Durham--a literal popsicle stand. Not sure how interested you'll be in popsicles in January, but they're really good, and if you're going to be in Durham anyway...
Also, as far as bbq goes, you don't want to trust the opinion of a vegetarian/pescatarian like me, but I like the BBQ Joint in Chapel Hill because they have a pretty diverse, well-executed menu with vegetarian choices. (it's not much for atmosphere, though)
Also, for breakfast, I want to plug Citrus in Chapel Hill again. slightly upscale, elegant room--not your typical greasy spoon breakfast menu.