A monthly roundup of ethnic eats, counter service chow and other tasty bargains.
This month, we roll out of bed and set out in search of breakfast. We discover some eye-opening new ways to break out of the bagel-or-Cheerios rut.
16 E. Martin St., Raleigh
Eye opener: Scone of the day (poppyseed, cranberry-and-orange, chocolate chip and peach have all made appearances in recent months). Wash it down with an Irish coffee or boozy latte.
58 Chapelton Court, Chapel Hill
Eye opener: Braised lentil tartine, a fresh take on the classic French open-face sandwich topped with an earthy stew of lentils, dollops of goat cheese, a poached egg and seasonal greens.
Brewerks Cafe & Bakery
701 E. Lane St., Raleigh
Eye opener: Eggs Benedict, elevated. This one raises the ante on the traditional version with maple-glazed pancetta, poached egg and hollandaise on a house-baked English muffin.
19 E. Martin St., Raleigh
Eye opener: House specialty kolaches – Central European pillows of pastry – are offered here with a dozen or so sweet and savory fillings, from egg, cheese and peppers to apple butter and brie.
Note: Carroll’s Kitchen is a nonprofit restaurant dedicated to ending homelessness for women in Raleigh. It’s takeout only, so go ahead and pick up an assortment. (Pro tip: They reheat nicely in a 300 degree oven for about 10 minutes).
50100 Governors Drive, Chapel Hill
Eye opener: Barbecue brisket casserole, a rib-sticking medley of smoked beef brisket, barbecue gravy, parmesan potatoes, aged cheddar and Brussels sprouts, topped with a fried egg. Wear your stretchiest sweat pants.
Full Bloom Coffee Roasters
141 W. Main St., Garner
Eye opener: Pear and bacon grilled cheese, with a schmear of fig jam. House-roasted coffees – Fair Trade and single origin – deliver the essential caffeine kick to get your day off to a good start.
1200 W. Chapel Hill St., Durham
Eye opener: The West End Grit Bowl takes the bowl trend south of the Mason-Dixon line with gratifying results: stone-ground cheddar grits, turkey sausage, roasted red pepper sauce, a sunnyside up egg and a sprinkle of green onions.
Hope Valley Diner
3710 Shannon Road, Durham
Eye opener: The Poor Man’s Club: two thick slices of fried bologna, cheese, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, bacon, mayo and mustard on a Kaiser roll, served with hash browns. The man may be poor, but he sure ain’t hungry.
Nzinga’s Breakfast Cafe
826-110 Fayetteville St., Durham
Eye opener: Classic Southern salmon cake on a biscuit? Or a red hot melt, which piles the spicy sausage with egg on a biscuit and buries the whole thing under a blanket of molten cheddar? Sounds like a dilemma with only one reasonable solution. Bring a friend and share bites.
Oak City Cafe
3909 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh
Eye opener: Waffles, any way you can imagine, from a thick fluffy waffle topped with Nutella and banana slices to a ham, egg and cheese waffle sandwich. Come back for lunch and you can even get a fried chicken and waffle taco.
The Pie Hole
810-130 Ninth St., Durham
Eye opener: Pie for breakfast? Why yes, don’t mind if I do. Make mine a chorizo breakfast hand pie – oh, and since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, think I’ll have a slice of Moe’s Pumpkin Pie for dessert.