Good riddance to 2019, amiright? I decided to leave most of 2019 behind me but wanted to share my top 20 yummy bites from the previous year with you so that you can ring in the New Year in a delicious way!
20 Yummy Bites to Ring in 2020 in the Triangle and Beyond
Pierogis (and Pastrami) from Perly’s in Richmond, VA
After road-tripping to Richmond and discovering Perly’s Deli, I made it a point to stop over again on my way home from DC. The pierogis were so comforting during a chilly day and their pastrami sandwiches are so dang good.
To read more about our Richmond, VA finds, check out this blog post.
Slurp up these Spicy Spinach Noodles Coated with a Beef Mushroom Sauce
These spicy spinach noodle dish topped with beef mushroom sauce from Sister Liu’s in Durham is one of my favorite noodle dishes in town! I also recommend their dumplings. You can buy them frozen to take home as well as getting them freshly made!
For a more comprehensive list of noodles in the Triangle, read my Noodle Guide to the Triangle.
5504 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd #103, Durham, NC 27707
Our favorite taco truck in the Triangle is in Carrboro
Garnachas Rivera taco food truck in Carrboro has no visible signage when you pull up into the unassuming lot. It’s a modest blue truck, but it’s our taco mecca. Although they’re not very vegetarian-friendly, what they do with their meats is magic. I usually get one lengua, one tripas, and two choriqueso tacos. They’ll ask if you want green or red salsas, but if you want the highest level of spice, like I do, ask them for their orange sauce. It hurts so good.
For a list of my other favorite restaurants in Carrboro, check out my Carrboro restaurant guide.
102 Barnes St, Carrboro, North Carolina 27510
Put the limited Chowda Fries from Cortez on the top of your list!
This steamy cross between poutine and clam chowder gets you this beautiful and most unique fries creation I’ve ever come across. Put this on the top of your list because they will only have this during the cold days of winter and all of January! Don’t forget to indulge in their oyster bar while you’re there.
For more about fries, check out my special and unique fries of the Triangle post!
The Cortez Seafood + Cocktail
413 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27603
Buttery croissants and pastries from Layered
For my favorite croissants in the Triangle, go to Layered Croissanterie. We are so lucky they opened in Raleigh in 2019! If you’re overwhelmed by their selection, get the Popeye for savory, and the kouign amann for something sweet.
911 N West St Suite 107, Raleigh, NC 27603
Seafood Dumplings from Brewery Bhavana
I bring my out-of-town guests to Brewery Bhavana because it’s the nice hostess thing to do, but also because it’s the shelfish thing to do. If I had to pick one favorite restaurant in the area, Brewery Bhavana is it. You can’t beat a flower shop/restaurant/brewery/bookstore combo. We always order the seafood dumplings (top right) and crab fried rice.
You can read my separate post on Brewery Bhavana here.
218 S Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601
Duck Confit Crepe from Rue Cler in Durham
I come to Rue Cler again and again for their duck confit crepes and their beignets. It’s what I ordered the first time I visited, and I haven’t stopped.
401 E Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701
Chirba Chirba with that Juicy Positive Reinforcement
You get a free 🥟 every time you bring your own reusable food container to Chirba Chirba! How awesome is that? You get a free dumpling for being green! We love this food truck so much and always go when they rotate onto UNC’s campus. We always get the juicy buns!
Chirba Chirba Food Truck
Tiger Fork’s Beef Chow Fun with the Plump Noodz (Washington DC)
One of our favorite dishes from this year’s week-long trip to DC was the beef chow fun at Tiger Fork. Beef chow fun is one of my all-time favorite noodle dishes and Tiger Fork’s noodles are SO PLUMP. The plumpest.
For more about Washington’s food scene, check out this list of amazing restaurants.
922 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001
Buttery escargot from The Katharine in Winston-Salem
If you are a fan of escargot and find yourself in Winston-Salem, check out The Katharine’s baked escargot. They are topped with fluffy biscuits and are baked in a buttery and garlicky sauce. I shamelessly soaked my bread in the leftover sauce. If you’ve never had escargot before, The Katharine’s version will be the perfect introduction.
To read more about my experience at The Katarine and stay at The Cardinal, check this post out.
The Cardinal & The Katharine Brasserie
Korean-fried cauliflower from kō•än
I’ve been to ko•an four times, and each time we’ve ordered these crispy cauliflowers. That’s a sign that they should be listed as one of the top 20 yummy bites to ring in 2020! I love ko•an and the people behind their offerings. To see more of their dishes, check out this Instagram slideshow. And if you are looking for a bit of adventure, I recommend their omakase.
ko•an is also listed in my private dining guide to the Triangle.
Mochi Donuts from Heirloom Brewshop
Heirloom Brewshop, a beautiful coffee and tea shop with excellent drinks, is the only place in the area that I know of with made-to-order mochi donuts. A popular dessert in Asia that is still slowly making its way around the US, these are fried-to-order, and you can choose from unique flavors that they change out seasonally. I particularly liked their strawberry-lime mochi donuts as well as their lavender rendition.
219 S West St, Raleigh, NC 27603
Durham Green Fleamarket Needs to be on your Food Bucket List
One weekend, while the weather is lovely, you should do yourself a solid and peruse the Durham Green Fleamarket for your lunch. They have tacos, mangonadas, and these filled-to-order stuffed churros. I personally love the cream cheese one!
Durham Green Flea Market
1600 E Pettigrew St, Durham, NC 27703
Get amazing pizza next time you’re visiting the beach!
Celebrity NC chef and superstar Vivian Howard opened up Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington and continues to slay. Their cocktails, appetizers, and pizzas are superb. If you love pizza (I mean, who doesn’t?), you have to give Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria a visit.
To read more about Wilmington restaurants and bars, check out my guide here.
Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria
206 Greenfield St, Wilmington, NC 28401
The Peking Duck at Mott 32 is So Ducking Great
I’ve yet to write about my recent weekend in Vegas, but the best Peking Duck goes to Mott 32, located in the Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas. It’s not merely a dish, it’s an experience. They bring a whole duck to your table and carve it for you table tableside. Instead of the traditional baos, they offer their Peking Duck with thin pancakes that allow for the amazing flavor of the duck to come through stronger. They give you a plate of the duck’s crispy skin to enjoy alongside your cuts of succulent meat. You’re also able to pick another dish that they’ll incorporate with the remaining cuts of duck for your table. We chose salt and pepper duck.
3325 S Las Vegas Blvd #206, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Bone Marrow Tater Tots from Sovereign Remedies in Asheville
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I’m obsessed with unique tater tots. The most unique tater tots I’ve had in 2019 were these bone marrow tater tots from Sovereign Remedies. These are stuffed on the inside with bone marrow, which melts as the tots fry. If you’re not into either tots or bone marrow, Sovereign Remedies has earned a reputation for superior craft cocktails and an exceptional food menu. I can’t wait to work my way through their menu during future visits to Asheville. For more about top restaurants in Asheville, check out my Asheville Restaurant Guide.
29 N. Market Street, Asheville, NC 28801
Gan Shan Station’s Okonomiyaki in Asheville
Also in Asheville and located in a repurposed gas station, Gan Shan Station brings a unique Asian flair to their menu that I haven’t seen much of in Asheville. In fact, in my two-plus years in North Carolina, Gan Shan Station’s menu was the first time I’ve seen okonomiyaki offered. Their okonomiyaki may be the only time I’ve found okonomiyaki in all of North Carolina! Theirs is particularly yummy and topped with pork belly and kimchi.
Gan Shan Station
143 Charlotte St, Asheville, NC 28801
Make your trip to Asheville HOLE-some
And my last Asheville mention, for now, goes to HOLE doughnuts. They come highly recommended by both Asheville locals and frequent visitors. I was charmed by the darling cottage, with a low-level bar, giving those who sit there front row seats to the donuts being made to order. The misshapen shapes of these crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside donuts are pleasure pillows.
If you’re based in the Triangle and donuts are your thing, you may want to read my Donut Guide to the Triangle.
168 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
Make your Instagram followers drool with Flower & Cream
This ice cream shop in Houston opened in 2019 and is not only Instagramable, with their balloon wall installation, but they also have the biggest selection of flavored cones I’ve seen. From Matcha and Strawberry cones (pictured) to Lavender and Blue Corn. I’m still dreaming about their honey rose ice cream.
For more Instagrammable desserts in Houston, read this guide!
Flower and Cream
2617B W Holcombe Blvd Suite B, Houston, TX 77030
Eat like a Balla at dipdipdip Tatsu-Ya in Austin
For an upscale hot (pot) date night perfect for an evening in Austin, check out dipdipdip Tatsu-Ya 🥘! If you want to splurge and treat yourself, I recommend getting the Baller Omakase. That wagyu beef just melts in your mouth. Also worth checking out is their attached casual ice cream stand! (See their ice cream in this blog post).
7301 Burnet Rd Ste 101, Austin, TX 78757
So that concludes my list of 20 yummy bites in the Triangle and beyond to try. What’s some of your favorite dishes last year? Leave a comment and tell me! I’d love to know!
Follow my eating adventures and happenings on Instagram. You can also see what is catching my attention in the food world on Twitter and Facebook. I also recently launched a Patreon to share some behind the scenes of running a food and travel blog!
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