I’ve got yet another eating extravaganza to tell you about. My third outing with Triangle Food Tour, and another in a string of great times.
So far I’ve walked and eaten my way with them through downtown Durham, downtown Cary and the East 54/Glen Lennox area of Chapel Hill. And each of them has had a completely different character.
The East 54/Glen Lennox tour is the newest of their offerings, and it explores one of the new “urban villages” that are becoming so trendy (East 54) and, right across the street, an old, 1950s community (Glen Lennox).
On both the Durham and Cary tours we really hoofed it between several of the restaurants. But this tour was comprised of a smaller area and was therefore a more leisurely stroll.
I’ve already written about two of the places we visited so I won’t digress here. Instead I’ll share just a few of the other highlights.
Streets Deli, Restaurant and Market, open just five weeks, bills itself as a “big city deli,” not wanting to restrict itself to just New York or any other northern U.S. metropolis. Except for specialty items like prosciutto and Genoa salami — which are imported from said “big cities” — everything is homemade, from the applesauce and baked beans to the mustard and roasted turkey breast.
The sandwiches looked obscenely huge. I mean really, really enormous. The largest on the menu are called “Mile High,” an apt moniker. The deli is a carnivore’s nirvana, but there’s plenty for non-meat-lovers to enjoy, too, like knishes, veggie wraps, salads and soups. Clever names abound: Fowl Play Turkey Reuben, Brisket a Basket, Turkey in the Slaw and, my favorite, Cry Me a Liver. Breakfasts, especially the Sunday brunch, sounds pretty fantastic, so I’d like to return to try that.
Our tasting sample was, you guessed it, humongous. We had a cup of Stracciatella (Roman egg drop) soup and mini corned beef, roast beef, turkey and chicken liver sandwiches. Oh, and half sour and full sour pickles (nuances I am not familiar with), which were gorgeous but I refrained from tasting, seeing as Streets was our first stop on the tour.
My last Triangle Food Tour jaunt included a chocolatier, so I had my fingers crossed this version would, too, and I wasn’t disappointed. The smell when we walked into Chocolaterie Stam nearly made me woozy, and and the chocolates were glossy and artistically beautiful. The Dutch company has seven shops in the Netherlands and 10 in the U.S. All the American stores are in the Midwest except for Chapel Hill — interesting.
I can’t tell you about all the different varieties of chocolate, but I can say there are enough to keep me tasting for weeks. And I can use inadequate adjectives like rich and silky and luscious to try to describe the dark chocolate butter truffle I savored very, very slowly.
So as not to go on and on, I’ll fast forward to the very last stop on our calorie-fueled constitutional, the wxyz bar in the aloft hotel. The aloft is a division of the W brand of hotels, and feels young, brash and contemporary, if the bar is any indication of the rest of the property.
I was mesmerized by the bartop dotted with tiny lights that continually changed color. I think my tasty little Fizzy Pop drink looks pretty on top of it, don’t you? (Fizzy Pop = IZZE Sparkling Grapefruit + gold tequila + lime.) I also had a refreshing Snook-Tea (haha), made of sweet tea vodka, pom cordial and lemonade. And of course there was the wine we’d had at Saffron, the Caipirinha at Piola and the sparkling Lambrusco (so different and delicious!) from Studio 91. I’m not complaining, but thank goodness they were all just small tastes.
I returned home completely sated and ready for a quiet Saturday night on the sofa. But that’s the good thing about these mid-afternoon food tours — if you’re so inclined, and much younger and hardier than me, there’s still plenty of time to go out for the evening.