Taste Carolina Food Tour, Raleigh-Durham, NC

by Andrea Davis

 

It’s no secret that I love Taste Carolina Food Tours. Their culinary tours are a fantastic way to take advantage of the sunny NC weather, get to kn0w the local food scene, and learn your way around town.

Daisy Cakes Durham, NC from http://readeatrepeat.com

 

Tours feature the local flavor of Raleigh, Durham, Carborro, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, etc. The newest tour route features Oakwood and Mordecai. Tour cover approx. 2.5 miles and last about three hours.

My friends and I opted for one of the Durham tours. Our group (9 total) met at the Pinhook at 1:45, and after a quick history lesson of the area, we headed to our first stop, DaisyCakes.Daisy Cakes on Urbanspoon

DaisyCakes cupcake Durham, NC from http://readeatrepeat.com

DaisyCakes served veggie omelets and mini vanilla cupcakes. I was thoroughly impressed with their selection of gluten-free options. I came to learn that the owners of DaisyCakes have developed a 1:1 gluten-free flour substitute called Equal Measure. This allows them to offer raspberry bars and gf raspberry bars side by side in their shop, for example. Equal Measure is also for sale for home use.DaisyCakes gluten free raspberry bars, Durham, NC from http://readeatrepeat.com

 

I learned that besides having the bakery open daily, DaisyCakes offers dessert night! This is a series of more formal events, where customers can enjoy dessert, wine, tea, and coffee, and help raise money for charity (in case we need to justify eating dessert!).

Pompieri Pizza, Durham, NC from http://readeatrepeat.com

 

Stop number 2 was Pompieri Pizza. This concept was developed by the owner of Bull City Burger and Brewing, and just opened in 2014. Pompieri features Neopolitan style thin crust pizzas in one size – 12 inches. This is big enough for one hungry person or perhaps lunch for two when paired with an award-winning Bridge Gateway Golden Ale. We sampled Margherita and veggie pizza varieties.Pompieri Pizza on Urbanspoon

Pompieri Pizza Vegetable Pizza, Durham, NC from http://readeatrepeat.com

The pizzeria in housed in an old firehouse, and the original charm is evident throughout; even two of the firemen poles remain. Focusing on sustainability, Pompieri is currently growing basil fertilized by fish that live in tanks visible from the seating area of the restaurant. They hope to supply thirty percent of their basil needs with what’s grown in-house.

Pompieri Pizza Fish Basil, Durham, NC from http://readeatrepeat.com

From there, we traveled just around the corner to Parrish Street and Bull City Burger and Brewery. BCBB proudly serves pasture-raised beef at a reasonable price ($6.25/burger) in hopes of educating the public on the importance of good health through good food. They also brew their own beer, and the selection changes with the seasons. Their nut brown is the best of the bunch (although not yet in season). The tastiest part of this stop was homemade pickle chips from cucumbers pickled on-location. They really are the best I have had, thin and light, but they are certainly the “best on Parrish St….okay the only fried pickles on Parrish St.,” according to BCBB staff.Bull City Burger and Brewery on Urbanspoon

Old Havana Sandwich Shop, Durham, NC from http://readeatrepeat.com

Onward to Old Havana, where I had the best Cuban sandwich that I can remember (and I have had A LOT of Caribbean food). It was crispy and cheesy, and not too salty. The owners here source their pork locally, and make their own soda (pineapple basil anyone?) .Many in our group asked about the side dish…a maduro. These are ripe plantains that are fried until the natural sugars turn dark and caramelize. These are my favorite food…ever…and I was more than happy to teach my fellow foodies what they were eating.Old Havana Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon

Old Havana Cuban Sandwich, Durham, NC from http://readeatrepeat.com

Old Havana Sandwich Shop owner, Durham, NC from http://readeatrepeat.com

Onto the Parlour, which started as an ice cream truck. Their success led to a Kickstarter campaign, where their fans donated funds to support the brick-and-mortar location. We sampled Earl Grey ice cream, which was tasty, but too much like vanilla to me. In case you want to try this yourself, here’s a recipe. Add a comment so we know how it turns out!The Parlour on Urbanspoon

the Parlour homemade ice cream, Durham, NC from http://readeatrepeat.com

Lastly, the tour headed to the Tobacco District, where Tyler’s Taproom offers dozens of beers on tap, pool tables, and assorted bar munchies. This is a fun place to hang out before a Durham Bulls game and to enjoy the people watching, so I would recommend Tyler’s for that certainly.Tyler's Restaurant & Taproom on Urbanspoon

All in all, we toured for about three hours and covered as many miles. I look forward to the next tour, and my next chance to introduce someone to the culinary wonders of Raleigh-Durham!

 

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