Visited a friend in the Raleigh-Durham area over the weekend and had the pleasure of feasting along the way.
Fri – Lunch at Murray’s Barbecue in Raleigh. Not to be confused with Don Murray’s. What a gem. One of the last of the wood burners. Hogs are cooked in a building out back. Unassuming place sort of hidden on the outskirts of town. In fact, I spent a year living in Raleigh and never even heard of the place. Chopped plate, slaw, hushpuppies, yam sticks, and lots of sweet tea. The walls are covered in NASCAR photos and you get the idea that they carry a lot of meaning here.
Dinner at Dip's Kitchen in Chapel Hill. Fun place specializing in traditional Southern cooking. Plenty of parking. Very diverse staff and clientele, likely due to the proximity to UNC. Fried chicken, biscuits, greens, squash casserole, fried green tomatoes, cherry cobbler, lots of tea. Later went for beers at two brewpubs pretty much around the corner on Franklin Street: Carolina Brewing Co. and Top of the Hill (preferred).
Sat - Returned to Mama Dips for breakfast. Ms. Council was on-site but didn't come out of the kitchen while we were there. Breakfast menu is extensive. Settled on country ham, blueberry pancakes, biscuits, grits, and fresh fruit (mango, peaches, blueberries).
For lunch, went to Allen & Sons Barbecue in Chapel Hill and it was closed for vacation. Second time in as many tries that I have been shut out at this place. Ended up at Bullock’s in Durham, where I’ve eaten and thoroughly enjoyed the food before. Always packed here and the service is great. I like the way they bring you hushpuppies before you even order. Menu is all over the place but I always stick to a chopped plate with lots of tea. Shared a coconut cream pie and blackberry cobbler for desert.
Saw the Durham Bulls that night. Minor league ball is always so much more fun to watch then the majors. Hesitatingly, tried some barbecue sold at the park by Dillard’s. Threw it away after 2 bites. Probably frozen and then reheated.
Sun – Stopped off at the State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh. All vendors are growers. Sprawling place with several buildings, though I only made it to 1. Sure puts to shame the markets we have in the DC area. Literally loaded the car with produce, which we've been gorging on all week.
Last stop was at the Char-Grill in Raleigh. The steakburgers and fries are good in a drive-in sort of way but I’m always more intrigued by the ordering process, in which you fill out your own order slip and drop it in a slot in the wall, with no contact with the staff until your ready order is announced from a window on the other side of the building. It’s fun to watch newcomers try to figure out the process, which is a strange one even if you’ve been there before.