Bull Durham

You would think Durham was in a different country. Yet it’s only 25 freakin’ miles away. Why haven’t I been going there more often? I’ve really been missing out. So a few weeks back, on a Sunday obviously, Sara and I ventured out to Durham for a day trip/birthday celebration. After a cheap $20 Uber ride, we started the day off at Pizzeria Toro. OMG. The antithesis of Pequod’s in Chicago. But so delicious. Wood fired crust, charred and crispy with just the right amount of sauce and toppings. Come on Raleigh, someone do this please. And the ricotta dumplings were superb, light and fluffy, definitely not dense as some gnocchi can be. Just call me a gnocchi snob since I have spent many an hour rolling them out. Next up, a short walk to Fullsteam Brewery for a paw paw tripel and a gose or two. On top of it I met a dog named Raleigh there, although not a Japanese chin, that was adorable and took a liking to me. Plus it’s owner was super cool and friendly. Craft beer drinkers, gotta love them. Speaking of craft beer, after a short walk we checked out Durty Bull Brewing Co. A small tap room with picnic tables outside, it produces a handful of beers, and serves a few local ones as well. Definitely try the blonde sour ale, great patio drinking beer. It was a glorious day outside, not a cloud in the sky, so the rooftop of The Durham Hotel seemed like a logical next destination.  The view of the city was worth the trip, plus the oysters were briney and cold, and the beverages were flowing like wine. And some great people watching to boot. Thanks again Paddycakes for the dranks and the laughs. The tour of Durham contined to Alley 26 for some pre-dinner cocktails. I opted for The Kill Devil Leasure Suit, with flavors of coconut and coffee. One and done. Some quality day drinkin’ in The Bull City I tell ya. But the jewel of the day without question was Mothers and Sons. I’ve been to Mateo, but have been dying to check out their Italian spot. And it did not disappoint. Probably one of the best meals I have had in my entire life. Thanks to Cheetie, they kept sending out more food. Plate after plate of deliciousness. It felt like the scene in National Lampoon’s European Vacation when Audrey cannot stop eating. Just look it up on YouTube. Anyway, we felt like we ate the menu. Carne crudo, bruschetta, artichoke salad, escarole Caesar, gnocchi, rabbit saltimbocca, and a whole mess of pasta. And dessert. A perfect meal. A perfect day. Downtown Raleigh really needs a decent Italian place, Gravy doesn’t cut it. Despite being a short drive from Raleigh, Durham definitely has a different vibe and feel to it. It’s cool and hip, quaint and funky, and you can walk to everything. I love my Raleigh, but Durham, I’ve got my eye on you. This time it won’t be so long for my return trip. So instead of going the same places on your next day off, make the short drive to Durham, explore downtown, and eat and drink all that it has to offer, you will not be disappointed. Cheers foodies!

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Sundaze

I used to absolutely hate Sundays. After working two doubles on the busiest days in the restaurant industry, I would have to wake up early and cook brunch, on top of working another double. 9 AM comes real early after being out on a Saturday night after work. Setting up the line half asleep/hungover is not my ideal morning. All the coffee and doughnuts in the world didn’t help. Well, maybe the doughnuts did. Anyway, not to mention having to come up with specials, place orders, babysit the kitchen, blah blah. You get the point. To make matters worse, I worked in an open kitchen and saw everyone enjoying their Bloody Marys and bottomless mimosas. It’s like they wanted me to suffer. Even when I didn’t have to cook brunch anymore, I would still have to work another insanely busy shift on Sunday. Scrolling through Facebook and Instagram I would see everyone else having a great Sunday Funday. I wanna play too! You suck Sunday. You and your eggs, waffles, bacon, benny’s, and cheap champagne can stick it where the sun don’t shine. Can you say bitter much? Yeah, that was me until a few months ago. It seemed like I was destined to work every stinkin’ Sunday. Not anymore foodies! Due to my recent change of employment, I have every Sunday off now, and it is glorious. Now I get to be one of those jerks who get to enjoy brunch. Bloody Mary bar and eggs? Why yes, I think I will. $2 double mimosa at Boxcar? Great idea. Tall boys and sausage? Sounds perfect to me. Having every Sunday off really has made a difference. Knowing you just have to make it through Friday and Saturday, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Plus I get to watch NFL again and actually use the NFL RedZone. Plus it’s a great day to actually be off. Unlike a Tuesday where there is nothing going on, there is usually something fun to do on a Sunday. And it’s a perfect day to fire up the charcoal grill, listen to Spotify, and have a cold one or two.  It’s the little things right? I feel like an actual normal person again, well sort of. The hours are long still, buy hey, there it at least the end of the week looming. We can be friends again Sunday, I take back all the mean things I said. Cheers foodies!

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