Although we are happily entrenched in the Triangle, there are certain things we miss that remain unique to NYC. Durham’s gourmet ice cream truck suddenly seems less exciting when your copy of New York magazine (which we still subscribe to, because apparently we like feeling nostalgic and sad) includes a pictorial spread of no less than a dozen delicious sounding ice cream trucks and stores, and you know that they’ve had to narrow it to just that dozen that are especially unique and spectacular, but there are probably many more. So, NYC is still the place where the streets are paved with gold and ginger-infused hibiscus gelato.
However, in recent years, The City’s most venerable news institution (the Times, which, yes, we also still subscribe to, because, duh, it’s the best paper in the world), has taken quite a shine to this part of North Carolina. There have been articles highlighting weekend itineraries, farming, hipsters, local food, Jewish delis, and its status as a top global destination. And, every single one basically says the same thing, which is something like, “Wow, when I first visited this place ten years ago it was kind of…not so developed. And now there are fancy sandwiches and artisan beer!” This is really a nice way of saying some of the less sparkling parts of Durham have since been adopted by people with a fondness for farmer’s markets and ironic glasses. Which is still a nice way of saying, “Wow, this place had a certain gritty charm that gentrification has been able to capitalize on.” Which is still a nice way of – well, let’s stop here and admit that we think that this is mostly a good thing. After all, we certainly wouldn’t have wanted to return to the Triangle and discover that it had gone into decline.
The latest Times article was written by someone with a similar history with Durham, who pointed out a few great culinary attractions that we’ve been meaning to try. Here’s some suggestions for places to check out that have been generating a good amount of buzz:
- Scratch: A new bakery focused on local ingredients. Nom, nom, nom.
- Toast: Want the ricotta & honey crostini right now. The only problem is that they close after lunch Saturday night and don’t open again until Monday, which limits our ability to go over the weekend.
- KoKyu BBQ Truck: The pork “takos” sound fairly delectable. I’ve also heard raves about the tater tots. Although you can follow them on Twitter to find their location, they are outside Motorco Music Hall in Durham most Sundays.
- Reliable Cheese Company: Yep. It’s official. Gentrification is here in full force. From a former staff at Murray’s, a beloved NYC institution!
- The Meat House – A new Chapel Hill butcher shop that provides a pipeline to local farms. We tried out their marinated steak tips on the grill today. See the results in the photo above!
- Streets Deli – This place opened up within the new retail development on East 54 – and some investigation on Facebook reveals that after a bunch of cranky old ladies complained that the rye bread wasn’t authentic enough, they decided to import it from New York – of course!
- Drag Bingo: And, for something non-food oriented – this monthly event has actually been going on for quite a while, held as a major fundraiser for the local Alliance of AIDS Services. The concept is pretty simple – bingo games and prizes interspersed with performances. It’s seemed like a good time ever since I saw some pics from a documentary project. I’m pretty disappointed that we just missed their Gaga-themed night.