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North Carolina Part II: Saturday and Sunday

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Mar. 13th, 2016 | 07:18 pm

Biggest thing since God wore short pants.

In the last entry I taught you about parklets. Today your lesson will be the porron*.

Picking up where I left off, we woke up reasonably early on Saturday, showered, and went out to find food and coffee. Tyler and Luke's is the first home I've encountered in a while where no one drinks coffee! So we attempted to go to Poole's, which was closed, and ended up at Joule, another of the seven restaurants Ashley Christensen owns downtown. She loves the rhyming. Anyhow, that turned out to be a great idea as their food and coffee were so great, and she's successful enough that they have 1,000 different types of cute dishes. And we were seated right in front of the drinks station and got to see how they prep all the coffee/espresso drinks as well as the mimosas. Jolly good entertainment. I very seriously considered popping into the kitchen and asking for a pint of hollandaise to go.

Tyler's apple cinnamon hotcake with whipped cream.
My benedict never had a chance at being photographed before I inhaled it.

From there we wandered a few blocks to shop for one thing I've wanted for a long time: Raleigh Denim jeans. I tried on a few pairs, got some advice from the saleslady on duty, then she marked my favorite pair for hemming and arranged to ship them to me. While it would have been great to have them right away, they came in the mail a couple of days ago and are much better for having been altered slightly.

My hipster iced coffee tray. Over the top but cute.

We then got in the car, went to get Luke and his boyfriend, and returned to Chapel Hill, to have a tour and tasting at the local vodka distillery. Another sign that things have changed quite a bit in NC! The tour guide was very salty but amusing, and we in fact learned a few things about how to distill liquors. Then we tried their vodka, whiskey, and gin, were each handed a shot glass, and mingled with the others on the tour. There was a couple that had studied engineering at Michigan, and they singled me out by my hat. Good times.

From there Tyler and I took a leisurely walk down Franklin St. to get some froyo and see what had changed. Which is certainly a lot! With the impending Duke-UNC game that evening there was a news crew filming students being embarrassing. So we ducked away from that and went on to buy some of the liquors from the ABC store (the guy giving the tour was also selling at the distillery but had a huge line so we skipped out). Finally, we moved on to the Duke campus to have a look around and for me to buy a new hat. The mania was even worse there than on Franklin St. because it was a "home" game for the Blue Devils, but at least the bookstore appeared to be doing gangbusters for the occasion. We made it out of there, enjoyed a quick stroll through West Campus and the Gardens, then left to pick up Xian.

Bike racks for days!

That was a long drive, but we fetched him from north Raleigh, made our introductions, then came back to Durham for the main event of the weekend: the farewell party for Six Plates. I always enjoyed going and introducing new people to it, initially to keep it in business and later just because I liked it. Aside from that, it has pushed the food and beverage scene a little more over 8+ years in Durham, and lots of folks will definitely miss it! The best example I have of that is the use of the porrons. They are better than carafes, easy to share, and one looks like a badass if able to use it correctly. :)

The first porron and apps. Later porrons also appeared, one of which contained gin and tonic.

With Mattie, the owner. He remembered me! Also featuring my new hat!

The next plan for the space is as a cider bar, which definitely sounds intriguing. We chatted a little with Mattie about what to expect, and it should be great. He was actively selling the furniture and the decor, though I hope they keep the kitchen running so I can have bread to soak up the booze on future visits.

We stayed there until after 1, with dinner being my two favorite menu items: pork shank risotto and the Lamby Joes! It was also great to catch up with Josh, Meredith, Chris S., and Ruthan (all of whom either bought a house in the last 2 years or are about to), and talk more with Devin, Matt, Harper, and assorted other characters from the previous night. Chris is one of the leaders of the adjunct instructor union drive, which will be over soon as ballots get counted by March 15th. It was fascinating to hear how that's going and where they are finding support or opposition. Matt also compared notes about his working at Duke with ours; overall it sounds the same as ever. And that institution still loves it some bureaucracy.

My final drink at Six Plates. :: sob ::

On Sunday morning, we picked up Xian again and went off to eat more because I wasn't round enough by this point. :) Originally we had wanted to spend Saturday brunch at Zest, a somewhat hidden space in a north Raleigh strip mall that's also a giant packed art store, but that hadn't worked out. I'm glad we went back and experienced this, because the food was amazing and there were birdhouses above our table. We also tried to coach Xian through the Electoral College, with some success, and talked in detail about politics in a way that stayed pleasant. Xian also adds salt to his lemonade, which turns out to make it way better!

Finally, the Southerners in diaspora are going to throw tomatoes at me for this. But I was already well outside of Raleigh and approaching I-95 to take me home when a sign caused me to suddenly stop in Nashville, NC (Matt Cook's hometown!).

Precious cargo.

There I picked up a special guest to bring back to DC with me, seatbelted in case of sudden braking. These "tailgate" boxes are so large I wasn't certain I would fit out the front door with it (I turned it sideways, life went on). The drive back was a little better than the drive down despite my being alone, and gas is so cheap that it was easily the smallest line item on this trip's budget.

* This trip may or may not have been sponsored by the letter P.

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Comments {4}

Tan Gnat

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from: pundigrion
date: Mar. 14th, 2016 08:22 pm (UTC)

The porron looks super cool (and I love that note on it!)

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(no subject)

from: silverthief2
date: Mar. 15th, 2016 04:43 am (UTC)

I want to become North America's Porron Evangelist. They really are better than carafes and better than individual wine glasses.

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Harry Jessington

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from: brosely
date: Mar. 16th, 2016 01:09 pm (UTC)

So when are you coming to Portland?

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(no subject)

from: silverthief2
date: Mar. 20th, 2016 01:56 am (UTC)

I don't know but when I do I always post travel plans in my LJ!

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