For Sean’s birthday I got him tickets to see Anthony Bourdain. The guy is somewhat of an idol to him so I sprung for the VIP tickets and we got to meet him, take a picture with him, get him to sign something, then have heavy hors d’oeuvres.
We both took a long weekend since the show was in Raleigh, NC and headed down early Friday morning (Nov 12). It was really easy to drive to since there weren’t a bunch of road changes. And most of it was not on an interstate which Sean appreciated. He likes to roam, so I guess it felt like roaming to him. Either way, it was great and I believe we stopped once to grab something to eat. I don’t normally eat fast food anymore (watch Food Inc. and you’ll understand) but we stopped at a Burger King in hopes of a Cinnabon Cheesecake. They don’t have them anymore. Annoyed, I got some fries and we hit the road still hungry.
We arrived in Raleigh and easily found our hotel, Days Inn. We stayed Downtown because I didn’t want to mess with driving around and finding (and paying for) parking. This hotel is on the north end of the downtown area and farther away from most of the stuff we were looking for. But we used the Raleigh Circulator called the R-Line. It’s free and fantastic. We had to walk 3 or 4 blocks to get to a stop, but it’s not bad at all. And for the size of the city, it was really easy to get around. Our first night we went wandering to find a place to eat for dinner. We headed into the heart of Downtown about 6 city blocks away. It’s so nice! That night we ended up in The Oxford. It was decent but had nothing on what we would eat later in our trip.
Saturday we were determined to find some awesome food. After all, this is the south and we want some BBQ! I always research before I go anywhere, mainly about food :). The Pit has been featured on Man vs. Food and the owner did a throwdown with Bobby Flay! We went right when it opened around 11am. There were already a bunch of people seated, this place is popular! I had some BBQ, Mac & Cheese, and BBQ Beans. Sean had Brisket, BBQ Beans and Rice, then we shared a small pan of pumpkin cornbread with maple butter. Oh man. Everything was so good! And the price was really reasonable. Always go to the best restaurants at lunch time, cheaper prices! Worked in Philly and in Raleigh. On our way back to the hotel for a nap before our long evening, we stopped by The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery. I got the Brown Betty (chocolate on chocolate) and neither Sean or I remember what he got since I’m the cupcake fanatic. They were excellent, but we weren’t able to eat them until after the nap since we were super full from lunch!
We couldn’t go to an 8pm show without dinner. So, I thought we’d go somewhere Sean would love, so I found a sushi place. It wasn’t quite what we expected, but the food was good. We were the only people in the Wild Ginger Cafe. Honestly, I don’t remember what I got, maybe beef and broccoli? It had rice, I remember that much. And, of course, Sean got sushi! He could live on that stuff. He said it was really good, but I guess it was the atmosphere that could have used some help. Next time I would go to Buku which is right around the corner. They even had a special menu for foodies going to the Bourdain show. Well, now we know.
There’s going to be a separate post for the Bourdain show since this is going on longer than expected. But check it out here.
The show was great and we were exhausted when we left. I was really hoping to go out afterward, but it just was not going to happen. So, we hopped on the R-Line right outside the Performing Arts Center and rode it back to about 3 blocks from the hotel. Again, super convenient!
Sunday was our day to pack up and go home. Before we did that we wanted to make a few stops. We went to the NC State Farmers Market. This place is fantastic! Meat, cheeses, spices, ice cream, crafts, candles, everything! They even had a seafood restaurant there so we had to try it. It was good but it was fried food like you find anywhere else. We were slightly disappointed about it. After the food, we walked around some more and met and nice couple that made soy candles. I bought 2 and loved them. They were used faster than I expected or I would have bought more.
After lunch, we headed up north to home. That was our trip! It was a wonderful eating trip, that’s for sure! I hope that if you get to go to Raleigh, that you try as many restaurants as you can. There are so many to choose from.