Devilish Southern Belle tagged me for a meme today. I have to say I'm not so good at going through with the meme thing lately. (Okay, my readership has dropped and no one tags me anymore. I know, I know.) But I'm supposed to list my top 5 favorite local places to eat and this I find appealing. I love to support local businesses and I do so love to eat. The meme rules are as follows for those I tag below, lifted right from Belle's site verbatim:
1. Link to the name of the person who tagged you.
2. Include the state and country you're in.
3. List your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location (locally).
4. Tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/states) and let them know they've been tagged.
Okay. I'm in Chapel Hill, NC which is stinking with great restaurants. There are just a lot of great cooks and bakers here, even with no cooking school nearby. It's a nice place for a foodie, and if you're not one you're likely to become one in short order. (Ha! Get it?) I don't get out nearly as much as I used to and would like to, but here's my list.
1. The Barbecue Joint is just what the name suggests, but it's more than that, too. It has hands-down the absolute best barbecue I have ever put in my mouth. Ever. They also have fried squash, duck confit salad, house-cured meats of many varieties, and rockin' mac-and-cheese for the 2-and-under crowd. Plus, it's run by one of my old kitchen buddies, Damon Lapas who's cute, funny, and single for all you single Chapel Hill ladies out there.
2. Guglhupf is a great bakery run by a posse of...is it Austrians? I'm not sure and have never actually met them, but they make great coffees and crank out excellent croissants, danishes, and breads. Rumor has it that their bakers show up for their shifts at midnight and work til 8:00 am. Ouch! They've added on a cafe in the last year or 2 and have things like cheese plates and platters of sliced meats and cornichons. I haven't been there for lunch, but when I do I'm havin' a meat and pickle plate. What I usually do is haul Bean there and let her splash in their outdoor fountains while I have a latte and a pastry of some kind. I feel all civilized and shit when I can manage that.
3. Lantern, and no "the" there please. But forget the snooty articleless-ness. They have phenomenal Asian cuisine made with excruciatingly fresh, local produce. Everything I've ever had there is perfect. Plus, they invent and serve their own equally fresh and fabulous cocktails in the best people-watching bar in town! I never take the kids 'cause I usually have to wait a long time to get a table, but it's so worth it.
4. Carrburritos is actually in Carrboro, just a few miles down the road from Chapel Hill. I seldom make it down the road that far these days if I'm hungry for a burrito, but if Husband and I happen to be in Carrboro we go there. They fry their own corn and flour tortilla chips, and you can dip them in truly excellent fresh salsas. My favorite is this smoky chipotle stuff with little black flecks of charred goodness. Great guacamole, great, uncomplicated ceviche, and lots of food for not much money. Oh, and great decor--weird Mexican clay statuary, oilcloth tablecloths, and tin ceiling tiles. The girls love it, too.
5. One of my long-time favorites is Crook's Corner, so charmingly and ably cheffed by Bill Smith. I must confess I used to work there, but I don't continue to like every place I've worked like I do Crook's. It's good Southern food made with good quality ingredients and everything I've had there is well-made and just what I want. Soft shell crabs in season and "cheese pork" are a couple of my favorites. They also make the town's best margarita, or at least they did 9 years ago when I was fresh off Sister's birth and in need of a bender with friends to take my mind of my slack-ass (now Ex-) husband. On a more pleasant reminiscent note, I remember working the line one very slow Monday or Tuesday night with Bill and Damon (yes, from the Barbecue Joint above). There were steamed oysters on the menu. Orders were only trickling in, so Damon and I sampled a few raw oysters. They were so fresh and briny and delicious that we had a few more. Bill wasn't partaking, but he also wasn't protesting about food cost. He stood there with his hands folded above his Buddha belly like he always did, smiling benignly at our very vocal pleasure. Damon and I ate oysters til we were stuffed and must have polished off at least a few dozen each, adding all manner of little flavorful goodies from our prepped line--lemon juice, hot sauce, scallions, vinegar, bacon bits, and I can't even remember what else. It is still one of my favorite memories of both food and work.
Ah, food. I had no idea I'd spend so much time working on this meme, but it's been such a nice diversion. Husband's dealing with a post-bath screaming Bean now, so I guess I should get my ass off the computer and help him. But I still need to tag folks, so how about Suburban Gorgon, Mama D, Lauren over at Dream Kitchen, Joan in Southern Suburbia, and Blind As a Bat Beth.
I'd feel more guilty about tagging if I hadn't enjoyed doing this particular meme myself. Hope you all do, too.