Coquette Brasserie - Brunch
If Coquette had a sweet spot on Fayetteville Street or a nice building in the Warehouse District, the hype train surrounding the restaurant would probably go off the rails. Not to say it does poorly at its North Hills location, but it always seems to be forgotten off the endless lists of the best places to eat in the Triangle.
Coquette embodies what is maybe the greatest strength of the Triangle culinary scene - accessibility. French food has often been thought of as high brow, complicated, and overpriced. But Coquette puts all of those notions to bed.
After a few days of a swollen face from my wisdom teeth extraction, I was ready to have real food again, and just in time for brunch. My first choice was soft biscuits from the State Farmer’s Market Restaurant, but pulled up to a line out the door.
Our journey for soft, buttery carbs lead us to North Hills. Croissants and scones were one of the first words out of my mouth. The sweet pastries came out warm and along side whipped maple butter, which melted slowly into the crevices of the bread. I powered through the ache in my jaw to enjoy each bite of the crackling goodness of the croissant.
LeCount’s Catering Food Truck
With food trucks nowadays plastered with vivid graphics and featuring niche cuisine, there’s something endearing about a food truck that just serves food.
Every Saturday afternoon, while driving home from the gym I’d pass by a handmade “Hot Fish” sign pointing to the LeCount’s Catering Truck.
There’s nothing remarkable about the truck, just meager signs covering the sides with prices penned with permanent marker. Just a few miles down from LeCount’s catering building, the truck sits in the parking lot of a car wash. It feels worlds away from Downtown Food Truck Rodeos that happen just a few blocks away.
The food, however, is just as good. Plentiful and mostly fried, the LeCount’s hot fish dinner seems to be meant to fill you up for both lunch and dinner.
One of the first trips Sara and I took together was to Charleston, and the trip remains one of our favorite memories. While strolling around Market St. one night after dinner, we craved something sweet. Kaminsky’s pastry counter called to us, and while digging into the late night sweets I longed for something similar in Raleigh. After few dessert-less years in Downtown, Bittersweet opened.
Supplying cupcakes and sweets to places like Helio’s (under the banner of Bittycakes), Kim Hammer finally found her own storefront for her baked sweets on East Martin Street.
Cup O Jane
This may come as a disappointment to many of you, but I didn’t take any pictures of the baristas.
Raleigh isn’t a stranger to the breastaurant concept. From the blatant to the more subtle, the Oak City is cluttered with establishments relying on more than their servers’ charm to bring in customers. But these places have always been limited to the ultra macho bars and sports bars, so my curiosity peaked when I read about Cup O Jane.
It’s easy to look at Firewurst’s decor and branding, clean and precise, and think it’s just another start-up franchise. It’s easy to think that it’s another entry into the already bloated fast casual market, hell bent on food domination. But Sara and I learned a different story when Firewurst Co-founder Chas Morgenstern invited us to dinner at the restaurant.
Cafe de los Muertos
I remember when the Hue was empty. Condos, storefronts, everything — empty. The complex went up during the recession and not one unit was sold. Even White Rabbit Books, open for 22 years before becoming the Hue’s only tenent, eventually closed.
Filipino Cuisine @ Bitter Melon
While Filipino food is gaining popularity in other parts of the U.S., it’s only a blip on the Triangle’s culinary radar. There’s the Oriental Store in Raleigh with takeout window, and then a few Filipino dishes on some restaurant menus, but no place has given Filipino food the pedestal that the cuisine deserves.
Gringo A Go-Go
One hundred North Person Street has had a tough go of it. Before I moved to Raleigh, it was Biscuit Station, then Ruben’s Downtown, and after that a convenience store. When the concept carousel stopped at Gringo, something felt different. Much-needed renovations gutted the interior and led to a tranquil wooden patio. The biggest buzz, however, came from the new restaurant’s owner, founding chef of the beloved Lilly’s Pizza, Ben Sheldon.
SALO Project - Filipino PopUp Dinner
Pop-up dining is one of the hottest culinary trends in the country. The Triangle has hosted its fair share of these fleeting dining experiences, featuring everything from celebrity chefs to cuisine absent from the area.
Trophy Brewing & Pizza Company
Years ago while driving down Morgan Street, I would glance over to the Burger Hut and think to myself, “I need to try that place out one day.” But growing cities don’t stay the same. Many fringe places like the Burger Hut get swept up by a city charging forward.