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Dec 11, 2006 02:45 PM

Weekend in Chapel Hill, NC

I just spent this past weekend in Chapel Hill visiting a recently relocated friend.

Meals included:
Margaret's Cantina: Pretty crappy tex-mex. I had the special of chile rellenos which were greasy, filled with cream cheese, and topped with marinara sauce. The Mexican lasagna looked a little better, but sadly, the pumpkin cheesecake was probably the hit of the night. Cute little place, though.

HillTop Bagels: Despite the scary parmesan spinach and chocolate chip bagels present, I had an excellent Russian pumpernickel with caraway seeds. It was small and chewy and topped with decent cream cheese and nova. Evidently the couple relocated from Brooklyn and it shows.

Allan & Sons: Delicious $8 bbq plate, copious amounts of sweet tea and excellent home made pecan pie. A great example of Eastern NC ‘que.

Carolina Inn: Yes, we went here for Sunday Brunch. My god, there's a lot of food here for $20. It's a buffet, but a better one than some other brunch buffets. The only think that looked revolting was the turkey dressing. Otherwise there was everything from cold salads to an omelet station and steamer trays.

It was a really great trip to the South. Thanks for the hospitality.

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  1. Glad you enjoyed Chapel Hill! Next time you visit your friend and are on the lookout for a fine dining place, definitely try Lantern -- the best Asian fusion in the South (check the Gourmet magazine write up). Owner/chef Andrea Reusing is amazing, and committed to locally produced food. My husband I love it. Also, if you're ever in town during warm weather, I highly recommend the Carolina Inn's bluegrass on the front porch -- Friday afternoons. Can't beat it for Southern charm. Come back soon!

    1. I am sorry you had to endure Margaret's when there are some fantastic authentic tacos to be had in the area. I have lived spitting distance from Margaret's for 2.5 years, and after two early visits (no recent returns)it blows my mind that people keep going there.

      To both you and SHONEYCU I say, as much as I enjoy Lantern, Jujube is serving killer Asian-inspired cuisine! Maybe you should try them both when you come back.

      1. second CW's opinion... and no offense intended to Lantern at all. Jujube is killing it, though... and if you sit at the kitchen bar, it's an environment that's a lot more fun for people who love watching people cook.
        also agree w/ CW on Margaret's, and his recommended alternative. basically i'm just chiming in, but hey, that's what this board is for sometimes, right? i'm just sad that you had to eat there.

        8 Replies
        1. re: HeelsSoxHound

          I was sad I had to eat there too. The margaritas didn't even help.

          It looks like I will be making many more trips to Chapel Hill. Most interesting right now is Wilbur's for hog and Jujube (thanks for the tip!).

          1. re: HeelsSoxHound

            you guys like carburritos? i've been only once and it was awesome, and i've got some friends who frequent it, but their tastes aren't as discerning as mine... just wondering what other hounds think...

            1. re: MOOKIECOOKIE

              Carburritos is good but "awesome" doesn't come to mind. What I like is that it is honest and satisfying. I mean, burritos are tasty by nature and they do use quality ingredients. I vastly prefer it to Cosmic. My wife works down the street and thinks it's rather boring tasting.

              1. re: detlefchef

                i must have hit the jackpot when i was there, from the reactions you all have shown. my meat was a special... i think it's called stewed chicken (the mexicans i used to work with made it the same way where they simmered the chicken in onions, tomatoes, green peppers and jalapenos until the chicken falls off the bone), and it definitely wasn't boring tasting... but it was a special and i didn't really try anything off the regular menu except for a bite of a pork burrito, which wasn't nearly as good as my chix. they had an intriguing menu, since a lot of stuff isn't available at most burrito joints around here, but it's not like i tried all the items, so i might just avoid the place so i don't ruin my mystical memories.

                1. re: MOOKIECOOKIE

                  Well that would be a shame. If you liked your meal that much, I think you owe it to them to go back. It's not like anyone is saying it is bad and for the money, it's not like I expect backflips or anything.

              2. re: MOOKIECOOKIE

                I agree with detlechef - good but not quite awesome. They DO have a really good tomatillo salsa, which adds a lot of flavor. And I like the various options (I haven't found many places that do fish tacos/burritos around here).

                1. re: LulusMom

                  i like carrburritos quite a lot, and i agree with charlie. they're not trying to be a taqueria--they're doing 'mission style' burritos, and they do use nice fresh ingredients. and the salsas are, acrosst the board, pretty darn good. you can get a patron margarita for 7 bucks, too--not bad.
                  and hey--sometimes you're just in the mood for flour tortillas and grilled chicken!
                  i can't say that their fish tacos are a reason for going there, though. i've had them a couple of times and learned to stay away from them. they're grilled, not fried, and what they generally grill to well done and dry is tuna. not my fave combo.

                  1. re: HeelsSoxHound

                    Agreed - well done, dry tuna is NOT what I would want. But I don't mind grilled - both grilled and fried fish can be awesome in tacos. And I like how fresh everything is. I'll have to try some of the other salsas (although I LOVE the tomatillo one).

            2. So many good things down here actually. Best non-veg Indian I've had in the U.S. (much better than any non-veg in NYC), good Singaporean, wonderful but erratic Southern sides and bbq at BBQ Joint, real Mexican take-out like Don Jose...and good bars like Milltown in Carrboro. And I've only been here a few months. Next time ask us based on what you're in the mood for.
              I'm personally not a fan of the shredded pork,, but the food standards here in general are high.

              1. fara, where is the best indian food? i've tried many in the area, and i like most of them, but specifically which indian restaurant were you referring to? i've had some great indian in alphabet city a few years back, but i'm definitely interested in some good, if not great indian food.

                5 Replies
                1. re: MOOKIECOOKIE

                  i loved spice and curry at the 54/55 intersection. the korean place in the same plaza was good too. i have tried a couple other non-veg indian that i didn't like (sitar indian palace i think) but have yet to try udipi, which gets great reviews on this board.

                  1. re: fara

                    Fara - you might want to give Sitar another go. It's really not bad at all. Try one of their dosas.

                  2. re: MOOKIECOOKIE

                    I'm not fara but I am Indian and for my money I'd say the three best Indian joints in the Triangle that I have tried are:
                    1. Saffron in RTP
                    2. Sitar India Palace (in Durham, they have one in Raleigh as well but I haven't tried that one)
                    3. Royal India Cuisine in Raleigh

                    1. re: bbqme

                      really? have you tried spice and curry,w hat was your reaction?

                      1. re: fara

                        No, I haven't tried them yet. I have heard mixed reports from fellow hounds so I haven't been chomping at the bit to try it. I also need to try Suchi in Cary. I've heard they have some good Hyderabadi dishes.

                        And I should mention that although it's not a restaurant per se one of my favorite Indian joints is Cool Breeze in Cary. They have really awesome Indian street foods. And Mithai has authentic Bengali sweets. Both of these are in Cary's Chatham Square.