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Jul 5, 2010 03:38 PM

hello all. SF transplant. here for gradschool at UNC. need help.


As the title says, I'm from SF, and am now here.

There's a few things I'll miss, that I hope you guys can help me with.

1. Noodle soup. Ramen, Taiwan Beef Noodle, Pho, hand pulled chinese etc. anything like that around. I'll take any and all types. Heading out to gourmet kingdom in carrbarro for dinner tonight. read good things from you guys already.

2. mexican. tacos. burritos. something please. (went to chubby tacos the other day... UGH)

3. Mediterranean.

4. and anything else i should try while i'm here. i'm here for the next couple years (maybe more) and would love to get off on a good start with the food.

please remember i'm on a zero income budget, so nicer places are welcome recommendations, but that will be eaten few and far between. i'm willing to drive somewhat, and if its extra special, maybe on the weekend i'll take that 40 minute trek for THE spot.


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  1. um, you're going to have to tell us WHICH UNC. :)

    1. Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Asheville, Wilmington or where. There are 16 locations I think. You probably mean Chapel Hill but we don't know.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Littleman

        chapel hill.

        thank you. let the recommendations flow :)

      2. Obviously, he is going to Carolina in Chapel Hill. Seriously, THAT is "UNC" whereas all the others are known as UNC plus their town's name. Y'all must be wuffies or dookies that are complaining.

        Now, as to your questions.

        1. Not really an expert on that.
        2. Carrburritos. You will love it.
        3. Mediterranean Deli on West Franklin St.
        4. La Fiesta Grill in White Cross, IP3 (Italian Pizzeria III), Maple View Farms for ice cream, Sandwich (though more expensive sandwiches), Merritt's Store for a BLT

        I'll refrain from suggesting more expensive, upscale restaurants given your budget.

        711 Rosemary St, Carrboro, NC

        Mediterranean Deli
        410 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

        La Fiesta Grill
        30553 Highway 441 S, Commerce, GA 30529

        1. 1. You will have to really lower your expectations here. I'd say Gourmet Kingdom for the Chinese versions of these dishes and Saigon Grill in Durham for Vietnamese versions. There is Lime & Basil in Chapel Hill near UNC campus but I have not tried it. My friends who have gave it a lukewarm recommendation.

          2. Need to head to Roxboro Rd. in Durham. Seek out Los Comales , Mami Nora's, and Super Taqueria.

          3. I second Med Deli.

          4. Allen & Son barbeque, Neal's Deli, The Federal, and the area Farmers Markets are a good start.

          Super Taqueria
          2842 N Roxboro Rd, Durham, NC 27704

          Los Comales
          2103 N Roxboro St, Durham, NC 27704

          Lime & Basil
          200 W Franklin St Ste 130, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

          Gourmet Kingdom
          301 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510

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

          Saigon Grill
          2929 N Roxboro St, Durham, NC 27704

          1. Is spork for the restaurant in the mission district?

            1. You'll be pretty out of luck in CH. Lime and Basil is ok but I wouldn't go out of my way for it. Gourmet Kingdom is very good.

            2. Fiesta Grill (mentioned above), La Vaquita in Durham, spend a Saturday afternoon on Roxboro Rd. in Durham and you'll probably find something you like.

            3. Mediterranean Deli is decent and can be done for cheap. You'll see their food all over campus but it's terrible. Go to the store on W. Franklin.

            4. Get off of Franklin St., esp the part near campus. If you go through grad school never eating between Kenan and Henderson Streets you'll do better than I have. 3 Cups, Open Eye, and Driade fight for the best coffee in the area. For my money, 3 Cups wins. NC style barbeque can make for a cheap, great meal with lots of leftovers. Embrace the farmer's markets and cook yourself. 5-star meals at a fraction of the cost (and you should have plenty of leisure time, as a grad student).

            Welcome to the fold.

            Mediterranean Deli
            410 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

            Gourmet Kingdom
            301 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510

            Open Eye Cafe
            101 S Greensboro St, Carrboro, NC 27510

            3 Replies
            1. re: brokegradstudent

              The Triangle will be a good spot for you to decompress. It's better than a lot of metropolitan areas, but not as good as SF, NYC, Chicago, Portland, etc. If food is important to you, the next few years will be the time to decide where to live next. Are you willing to take that job in Omaha or will you take a less interesting job back to the Bay Area and subsist on less money but be happy? I'm writing this overlooking many food carts in downtown Portland wishing I could move here, knowing I need to stay in the Triangle because it's best for my family.

              What we do well around here, we do quite well. Barbeque in NC means pork, either whole hog or shoulder, made into small piece through chopping or pulling and then sauced one of two ways. If you look, there are some good meat and threes around where you can get a glimpse into Southern cooking.

              I love the Mexican/Latin American food in this area, especially from taco trucks. While many decry the presence of people from south of the border, I believe they enrich our society in many ways through their food, their work ethic, and their presence.

              Overall, I'd advise you that now's is a great time to cook. There's a lot of excellent, local,produce to be had at either the Carrboro or Durham Farmer's Markets. Make the most of it. Learn to make your own ramen (from frozen noodles). Learn to bake bread. Make your own dumplings. Learn to make beer or wine.

              There's good food to be had in the Triangle, but it's not where you from.

              1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                I disagree with the main thesis of this statement that the food and variety in the Triangle does not live up to Bay Area muster. I lived in the Bay Area previous to my time in the Triangle, and live in the Bay Area now. and honestly, I'm going through foodie withdrawal being back in the SF area. For any given genre of food, the Triangle might not have the sheer volume of selection, but the offerings represent what in the Bay Area would be in the top 5% of each genre. Plus, you get representations of food that the Bay Area just doesn't have, like flavorful farm-to-table food (through the indulgent Southern lens) and BBQ. Everything you can find in the Bay Area, you can find in the Triangle, but the Triangle has a lot that the Bay Area doesn't. And it's 1/3 the price. I break it down blow-by-blow below.

              2. re: brokegradstudent

                Run to Grand Asia Market, I know it's not nearby but you can eat there & shop really cheaply.
                Twisted Noodle in Eastgate is homey Thai with noodles, big soups. It's nearby I love it and it is in your price range. Red Lotus; expensive but if you get the Shanghai menu & order the big bowl of soup with etc..then it's a very good deal; maybe $11.00 ? can't remember but check it out. [avoid the american menu at all cost
                ] Mediterranean Deli has some good things; their weekend lamb shank is great and so are their desserts, also their grilled meats. Sitting there on Franklin St is fun people watching too.
                I love Gourmet Kingdom too. Lime and Basil is bad; make your own soup, you can buy all the fixings here.
                I also think Weaver St. Market has cheaper coffee, it's good and their hot and cold bar used to be good value. But the food isn't what it was. Cold bar is still good; hummus, salad etc..
                Taco trucks in Carborro good value and you can eat outdoors.I love Carburritos
                really fresh and good and cheap. My tip is to order everything as sides, not everything rolled into a burrito.
                I'd second cooking. The produce here is so fresh. With this heat you can also grow a bunch of plants: herbs, chilis that you can take indoors in winter.

                Grand Asia Market
                1253 Buck Jones Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606

                Twisted Noodles
                4201 University Dr Ste 112, Durham, NC 27707

                Mediterranean Deli
                410 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

                Gourmet Kingdom
                301 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510