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Jul 22, 2010 12:07 PM

How to Impress SF Friends visiting the Triangle on Sun/ Mon?

Our friends are visiting from San Francisco later this weekend. They lived in Raleigh for a few years and left in 1993 when the foodie scene was bland and boring. We want to show off how far we've come since then. But... they won't arrive till Sunday afternoon and are leaving Tuesday morning -- the worst possible time to experience what the Triangle foodie scene has to offer.

What's the best way to snow them on these days. Nothing too pricey. Nothing like Asian that SF does way better. Options with a Southern flair would be best. Poole's and Watt's are both closed.

What's hip and delicious and unique and will turn them on?

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  1. Sax General Store and The Federal both fit the good, not too pricey, and open on Sunday criteria.

    General Store Cafe
    39 West St, Pittsboro, NC 27312

    3 Replies
    1. re: bbqme

      Sax General Store is open Sunday but doesn't serve food on Mondays. Parker and Otis might be a nice lunch choice (open Sunday and Monday).

      Could y'all do Watts for dinner Sunday night?

      General Store Cafe
      39 West St, Pittsboro, NC 27312

      1. re: brokegradstudent

        They'll be driving in Sunday from the mountains-- so probably won't feel like traipsing back to Durham in the evening. Drat! I was thinking Sax General Store for Monday.

        Now thinking 18 Seaboard for Sunday eve. Not a fan of J. Betsky's.

        Monday, Federal is a possibility, but maybe a food tour of downtown Durham with Toast, Scratch Bakery, and a swing by Rue Cler to take home one of their sour dough breads -- to my mind the best in the Triangle. They like charcuterie so Piedmont is possible as well. If we had more time, we could swing by one of the Mexican places on Roxboro or Mami Nora's.

        And then in CH/ Carrboro, there's Neal's Deli and Southern Seasons to show off.

        1. re: TerryG

          If you go by Rue Cler for bread make sure it's at least 2 PM. It's not available before then.

          If you're in Carrboro for Neal's Deli, pop over to Carr Mill Mall to Meil Bon Bon for a first class sweet treat.

          Rue Cler Restaurant
          401 E Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701

    2. J. Betski's is open for dinner on Mondays!

      1. Hey Terry, totally agreed on the Asian food since it wouldn't be too impressive. But I run into the same problem when my relatives visit from NYC. I've got a short list of places to bring visitors too and I'd try to keep it local and Southern...

        * Poole's Diner, The Rockford, Raleigh Times, State Farmers Market, Coopers BBQ, The Pit and Foundation in Downtown Raleigh
        * Allen & Sons, Top of the Hill, Southern Season in Chapel Hill
        * Toast, Durham Bulls/DPAC, Whiskey, Watts Groceries in Durham

        Sunday and Monday nights are going to be tough so good luck! Keep it simple and I'm sure they'll enjoy the relaxed NC ambiance. In all honesty, I'd also be just as happy with a Bojangles tailgate special, Char-grill burger and Cook-out milkshake!

        State Farmers Market Restaurant
        1240 Farmers Market Dr, Raleigh, NC 27603

        Raleigh Times Bar
        14 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601

        13 Replies
        1. re: RonboNC

          Oh and as an ex-West Coast resident what I really enjoyed seeing after moving to NC were the crazy thunder/lightning storms and fireflies! I don't think you have to show them anything in particular for NC, it's the smaller and subtle things out here that are special....

          1. re: RonboNC

            So true. My best friend was just visiting from California, and she loved it here. It is so different, and those little things you mentioned are part of what make it so. The slower pace, the locals' accents and politeness also impress.

            That said, my friend was really excited by the farm-to-table thing that is happening around here. Shockingly, she can't get vegetarian pho (how is this possible?) and was excited to be able to find it at Lime and Basil, which I think is a pretty boring place.

            1. re: LulusMom

              Thanks, Some good suggestions. But... our SF visitors this weekend actually high tailed it out of here cause the slow pace made them antsy and they wanted something edgier. What's Foundation like? Website says they are open every day. Membership club.

              1. re: TerryG

                Laughing! I thought the slow pace was going to drive me nuts at first too, I have to admit. Then, I settled down a little. Hard to let go of that urban feeling though.

                1. re: TerryG

                  That is funny! Well hey it ain't for everybody...

                  Foundation is an underground bar on Fayetteville Street, some tables on the sidewalk. They specialize in NC hand-crafted cocktails using house-made ingredients, moonshine, etc. Lovingly made drinks and a bit pricey- $8 to $11. But great stuff to sip on and enjoy. They've gotten a lot of press so this quiet bar has gotten not so quiet...

                  1. re: RonboNC

                    Foundation - and nearby Busy Bee - have some of the best cocktails in town, made with the finest ingredients (some of them made in-house).

                    1. re: cackalackie

                      Sounds promising. Now, if only they serve artisan chocolates and the bartenders work in drag, it would be perfect.

                      1. re: TerryG

                        I think I want to hang out with you and your friends.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          I'll let y'all know the itinerary. But doubt it's appropriate for Lulu.

                          1. re: TerryG

                            Most likely, although she's seen her bit of the world. Hope you have a great time.

                      2. re: cackalackie

                        I gotta second Busy Bee. They were recently voted top 50 beer bars in the US.

                        1. re: carborrocma

                          On our way to 18 Seaboard -- then maybe to Busy Bee and/ or Foundation. Come join us. I'm short & chubby and my husband has wild hair. Our friends are the chic, normal-looking ones.

                          18 Seaboard
                          18 Seaboard, Raleigh, NC 27604

                          The Busy Bee Cafe
                          7719 Highway 25 N, Ware Shoals, SC 29692

                    2. re: TerryG

                      Other upscale cocktail joints to consider are The Crunkleton in Chapel Hill:

                      And Whiskey and The Republic right next to each other in downtown Durham:


              2. Okay. Here's the report. We did hit Busy Bee on Sunday night and it was OK but nothing special. My friends did like the vibe. Screwed up on Monday when we tried to go to Sandwhich in CH for lunch and realized it wasn't open on Mondays. Ended up at Weathervane as a precursor to a tour of Southern Seasons where they loaded up on bresaola and smoked whitefish. Food was better then BB. I liked their yellow tomato soup.

                But the best was today's lunch at Coquette in North Hills. She had the chicken paillard salad and he had the spinach and chevre quiche. My husband enjoyed the roasted trout and I liked the hanger steak sandwich. Everything was delicious and the prices are reasonable. We have taken many out-of-towners there and everyone loves it. My SF friends rated it comparable to a similar brasseries in the Bay Area -- only the prices are way better.

                The Busy Bee Cafe
                7719 Highway 25 N, Ware Shoals, SC 29692

                1 Reply
                1. re: TerryG

                  I get a "mom night" about every month or so, and I often head to North Hills (stay at the Renaissance) and walk over to Coquette for dinner. Totally comfortable and friendly and the food is very good. I've lately been in love with the duck confit crepes. So glad it was a hit for you and the out of town friends.