South’s Tastiest Town: Exploring Durham through Food - CLG serise at IHouse

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Triveni Raghavan
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Written by: Triveni Raghavan

When I decide to eat out, I often look for a restaurant that is not too far, clean, with relaxed ambience and friendly service staff. And, for me it should definitely offer vegetarian options. With my limited knowledge of local eateries, I can only come up with three options that I have tried – Chipotle, Dominos and Subway and I mostly do take-out. So, I hardly eat out. Oh! I and my family have had coffee outside. Want to know where? At the nearest gas station of course.

You must be thinking what a bland life I have been living. Not anymore. This Thursday’s workshop hosted by Annette Moore, IHouse has added spice and variety to my life. We were taken on a gastronomic journey covering the various food options in the “region’s new culinary capital”. Most of these restaurants can be reached by the Bull City Connector, “a Fare-Free route from Duke to Golden belt, including Ninth Street and Downtown Durham”. So, don’t worry if you don’t have a car.



In 2013, Durham ranked as the South’s Tastiest Town according to Southern Living magazine. Some of the things that make the Durham food scene unique are:

* Fusion of old with new: Some of the restaurants in Brightleaf Square were originally tobacco warehouses built in 1900’s.
* Seasonal, local organic ingredients
* Variety of options from Fine Dining to Quick Service, to satisfy your palate without emptying your wallet.

After a brief introduction, the participants got a chance to taste samples from local eateries like The Cupcake Bar, Dales Indian Cuisine, Monuts and Pizzeria Toro. Then, we played a game ‘Name that Restaurant’. You guessed it, I got only three answers right. While going over the answers, Annette gave us a brief idea about each restaurant, special foods they serve and also showed us some video clips. She peppered her presentation with snippets of information about the different restaurants. Overall, we had a feeling that we had visited about ten different restaurants (and a Food Truck Rodeo at Durham Central Park) in the course of the evening.

Want to know where Duke gourmets like to go? (Based on an online survey)

* Favorite place for coffee: Cocoa Cinnamon
* Top restaurant / bar / chill-out place: Full Steam
* Best dining place in Durham: Bull City Burger and Brewery

What better way to end the day than eating food and talking about food! From fine dining to food trucks, pizzas to paninis, sandwiches to samosas, gelato to gingerbread waffles, coffee to cupcakes, donuts to dumplings, outdoor seating to golf courses, breakfast to brunch, small plates to large portions, bakery to brewery, gluten-free to vegetarian, vegan – there is a restaurant in the Bull City to cater to every foodie. So go ahead and explore Durham’s celebrated cuisine at these restaurants.
 

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