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Apr 26, 2010 01:07 PM

Help! Where can I get decent food for a pot luck in Chapel Hill/Carrboro?

We've been invited to a pot luck (unfortunately the same day as the Indian outting - I'm so sorry I'll be missing that) and while I would normally go ahead and cook something, the past few weeks have taken a lot out of me, and I'm wanting to go the easy route- using my credit card. We'll take beer, maybe some wine. Easy. But does anyone know a place in Chapel Hill or Carrboro that does a main course type thing, with some good sides? Red meat out. Something like good fried chicken or bbq chicken (I know, soooo not the thing in NC). Or any other inventive ideas? If the BBQ Joint was still around, I'd call them. And no to Med. Deli, which would have been my choice a year or two ago. Knocking my head against a wall here trying to come up with something. Local chowhounds, can you help? Thanks much in advance for any suggestions.

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  1. Why no to Med Deli just out curiosity? We usually bring bread, dessert or cheese which usually means Trader Joe's for us. Whats wrong with any place that does a good rotisserie chicken? Whole foods maybe? How big are take out options at Gourmet Kingdom? :-p Foster's Market? Weaver Street?

    Foster's Market
    2694 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham, NC 27707

    Gourmet Kingdom
    301 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510

    6 Replies
    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

      I'll e you privately or on the other group about Med. Deli. I've been asked to do a main and sides (and, ok everyone, no surprise, beer/wine) so the bread, dessert thing seems to be covered. Does Whole foods do a good rotisserie chicken? Most carry out I've gotten from them has left me sort of eh. And the easier something is to eat (like being already cut into pieces) I think the better. Fosters Market ... now there is one that didnt' occur to me at all. Do they do entree type stuff? Thank you, thank you, BF, for wracking your brain for me. I really do appreciate it.

      1. re: LulusMom

        Inehaw, the new Filipino joint on Franklin St., does rotisserie chicken. At $8.29 for a whole chicken it's comparable in price to Whole Foods but I think it has better flavor since it's roasted over charcoal.

        1. re: bbqme

          Ooooh. Now this is something that I wouldnt have thought of at all, but might be perfect. More interesting than just plain roasted chicken, and cheaper than some of the other options. Wonder if they'd cut it up for me a bit before hand, or if that is even necessary. Do they have sides?

          1. re: LulusMom

            Yes, he will cut it up for you. We bought a whole chicken and he cut it up for us to share. We also has the green papaya and carrot salad and sinigong baboy (sic) soup. The salad had a nice crunchy texture with a sweet (perhaps a bit overly sweet) and sour flavor. The soup's broth was wonderful, you could really taste the tanginess of the tamarind contrast with the sweetness.

            I still think Mami Nora's has the best rotisserie chicken-- anywhere! But it's a bit more expensive at $12.50 and you'd have to shlep over to Durham.

            1. re: bbqme

              The lady is not for schlepping, but will keep Mami Nora's in town for another time.

      2. re: burgeoningfoodie

        What about prepared food from Southern Seasons

      3. I'd imagine most places would be fairly generous about selling you a reasonably large number of entree sized portions in to-go containers or by the pound/tray but I'm guessing it will get pretty expensive pretty fast (I like the food at S. Season take out but it gets expensive really fast). Jeff does this at the Sax. General Store. In a really trying circumstance Crooks helped us out with Shrimp and Grits for four to go.

        In the past I've seen others use taquerias like this with great (and relatively economical) results. I know there are a few in Durham that sell meats/tortillas/condiments by the pound. You could set up a mini (authentic!) taco bar and bring a few pitchers of margaritas. Maybe Don Jose or Tres Amigos in Carrboro could help with this?

        It hurts me a bit to say this but Maggianos in Durham offers something like this with their pastas and I've seen it well received. 1 large order of spaghetti probably feeds 4 anyway.

        I suppose showing up with a bucket or two of Bojangles is bad form?

        Maggiano's - Durham
        8030 Renaissance Parkway, Durham, NC 27713

        Tres Amigos
        109 W Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510

        3 Replies
        1. re: brokegradstudent

          Lauging at the Bojangles - I did sort of consider something of the sort (although I've always heard Popeyes is the way to go on this ... I don't have first hand knowledge). I have to admit that SGS would be the perfect place to get this sort of thing, but kind of our ot the way, as is Durham. I just don't know about Southern Season. As much as I love the store, I haven't been all that impressed with the prepped food. But I only tried it once. Did I just get them on a bad day?
          Love the taco truck idea (even considered renting the crepes truck, but I'm not actually MADE of money). Think I might look into it - there is always that truck at Merritt Mill and Franklin.
          It isn't my party, so I don't want to take over. But given that I've been asked for a main course, I want to make sure I make people happy (since it is a large part of the meal). Thanks so much to everyone.

          1. re: LulusMom

            I've found SS take-out better than its competition(Weaver Street and Whole Foods). There are some real losers on the cold dish buffet though. In general, if it looks good, it is good. Things that look dry taste dried out. When they have it, their cold fried chicken is very good.

            1. re: brokegradstudent

              Great - this is just what I needed. I must have just chosen badly before. I'll keep my fingers crossed for the cold fried chicken too. Thanks so much.

        2. Ask to taste anything you're going to spend money on at Southern Seasons at the Deli counter. They're very good about sharing, so you are sure you'll be happy with it. I'm particularly fond of their chicken souvlaki.

          I've found the plain salt and pepper rotisserie chicken at Whole Foods to be fine, but then I think how hard is it to drop a whole chicken into a pan and roast it for a couple hours, so I almost never get one.

          And of course, the entrees at Gourmet Kingdom are so large, that a couple of them could feed a crowd, just a thought.

          2 Replies
          1. re: fussycouple

            Yeah, personally I love the idea of a few things from Gourmet Kingdom. But I'm not sure how adventurous some of the other people at this pot lock are. Also, they might be harder to eat than a piece of fried chicken. Very good point about trying whatever I'm thinking of buying.

            I've had things from WFs maybe once, and maybe twice from SS. Both times I felt that there was serious under-seasoning (I'm not talking about salt - at least not necessarily). Something called southwest bean salad from WFs was southwestern because? Maybe the beans and corn? I mean, I can toss a can of beans with some frozen corn and have pretty much the same thing they were selling me for $5.99 a pound. I will, however, defend to the death the marinated tofu on the salad bar at WFs. Gosh, I love that stuff.

            Gourmet Kingdom
            301 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510

            1. re: LulusMom

              What about platters from Neal's Deli?

              On the Foster's Note..


              Neal's Deli
              100 E Main St Ste C, Carrboro, NC 27510

          2. Foster's Market makes a rather righteous herbed chicken breast (we've had them at work for potlucks) but it could get pricey depending on how much you need.

            We also use a small catering place called Marcel's, which makes a fried chicken salad that is *to die for*. Almost certainly chock full of calories, but there's nary a scrap of that salad left afterwards. They also do some other pretty good side stuff, though I don't think their desserts are very good. I can get his info for you if you are interested at all in that.

            12 Replies
            1. re: romansperson

              I loathe the prepared foods at Weaver, WF, SS, Fosters; how about Tom Robinson's? Poached Salmon or some kind of healthful fish dish? crab cakes....

              1. re: Rory

                I really like the Tom Robinson's idea; are we sure they've reopened? The only decent crabcake I've found in the area is at SGS which is a bit too far to drive (this comes from someone who grew up in DC, not far from the Chesapeake, so very snotty about crabcakes).

                1. re: LulusMom

                  Tom Robinson's is still open from 9-6:30, Thursday through Saturday.

              2. re: romansperson

                Definitely worth looking at a website for Marcels, if you happen to have it handy. thanks so much.

                I am slightly concerned about Fosters - looking at their website I see that 5 lbs is the minimum (at least for the few things I noticed before getting nervous). I have no idea how many that feeds, but I'm going to guess 20 (at a half lb. each, IF everyone eats and is very hungry). I think the max at the party is 20, and that includes kids.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  I'd ring them LM to see if they are open. Well I was in Frederick for a dog show & had some fabulous crab, so I concede it may not suit you;-)

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    Marcel's is just a family operation, so no website. I can give you contact info if you'd like though.

                    1. re: romansperson

                      Thanks romansperson. Right now I'm leaning toward the Filipino chicken roasting place on Franklin. For some reason that sounds really good to me right now, and also really easy.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I was going to suggest Inihaw but wasn't sure about them as the only thing I'd heard about was their chicken. You could be different and get a order from Sunrise Biscuit and say breakfast for dinner :-p WOuld probably go great with beer.

                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                          Yeah, except that I don't eat either breakfast or pork, sort of putting them otu of the running. No way you'd know that (especially the breakfast thing!), but you're probably right that it would be a big hit.

                          I'm pretty happy with the Inihaw idea. Gives me a chance to try the chicken!

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            Let us know how it is - I hadn't even heard of this place until this thread!

                            1. re: romansperson

                              Absolutely. I'm looking forward to trying it myself. I've just emailed the hostess to make sure this seems like it will work.

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                LM, i love Filipino food so I'm keen to know. FYI Sandwhich just re-opened so maybe you can get a chicken from them.

                2. Well, grim news on Inihaw. They're not open on Sunday. The owner was incredibly nice, and offered to come in special for me and make them on a Sunday, but it didn't feel right to me to do that to him, especially for only 4-5 chickens. I did, however, promise him that I'd use him the next time I needed some chickens (or even just wanted something easy at home). So I'm afraid I'll be unable to report on the deliciousness factor. I DID love the idea.