When I told people in the Midwest that I was going to visit my sister in Durham, North Carolina the first thing they would say is, “oh, you have to eat biscuits”. This I knew, as North Carolina is known for biscuits upon more biscuits. Within in city of Durham, there are 4 or 5 biscuit places I can count just off the top of my head, and I don’t even live there. So it was my mission to get as many biscuits as I could put in my face for the 5 days that I was in the triangle (Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill). And biscuits were consumed.
I arrived on a Monday, starving. I left Chicago really early in the AM and didn’t get a chance to eat breakfast. Jecca picked me up and we went straight to Rise Biscuits and Donuts. Jecca had never been there, but a friend of mine (Hi Alysia!) who used to live in Durham told us we should check it out. Located in a strip mall next to a nail salon, it is quite unassuming. We went in and the menu was overwhelming with fantastic selections. Jecca is a vegetarian, and Rise has a biscuit sandwich with fried eggplant “bacon”. She got that, and I got a biscuit with fried chicken and bacon. Flaky biscuits, brimming with flavor. Jecca fell in love with the eggplant bacon, I tried it as well: delicious and crisp. My fried chicken biscuit was perfect, juicy chicken and bacon done just right. We also got a couple of donuts to bring home: a blueberry “wonut” with blueberry glaze and a pineapple basil with pineapple glaze filled the basil creme filling and pistachios. What is a wonut you ask? Well I’ll tell you: waffle donut! So cute.
In Summation: The biscuits are out of this world. A must for the biscuit lovers. The donuts were good, but not our favorite in Durham. I want to try the fennel and pink grapefruit donut next time.
Tuesday brought us to Monuts. Now, I love monuts. I have been to their old location twice before, and I have been following their construction and new space on instagram for a while, and was so looking forward to checking it out.
It did not disappoint. Eli (my brother-in-law) and I got 2 donuts: apple cider cake donut and a maple glazed raised. Both were perfect. Jecca then met us for lunch and I had a biscuit and a beautiful salad of arugula, pea shoots, asparagus, a slow poached egg and fresh farmer cheese. They both had bagel sandwiches: the bagels at monuts are fantastic. I also had a crazy coffee: it was a combo of espresso and cane sugar cola. WHOA. BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ.
In Summation: a good biscuit, not spectacular. Probably my fault for not getting anything on it. However, everything else is fantastic here. The donuts are for sure the best in the city, as are the bagels. It’s a great place to hang out, and they now have beer and wine! Bonus!
Wednesday Jecca and her friend Ben and I went to Scratch Bakery for breakfast. I have had the bread from Scratch, they have a booth at the Durham Farmers Market and I knew I was in for some good stuff.
I went with a biscuit with an egg and cheese. Keeping it super simple. It was perfectly lovely. Jecca got a buttermilk donut muffin that was to die for. I also had a fantastic iced vanilla latte, made with one of my favorite Midwestern coffees: Intelligentsia. However, everything we had was overshadowed by the pie. Oh yes, pie for breakfast: and what a pie it was. A perfect strawberry rhubarb. The crust was just the right consistency and the filling bright, sweet and tart.
In Summation: I really want to go back to Scratch for some of the savory offerings: but it’s gonna be really hard when there is that pie staring at me. I mean, their website is piefantasy.com.
Thursday Jecca and I met up with the creator of sheelanumnum.com: Alex, and his kids Viv & Nick. We met at Parker & Otis, a favorite place of mine in Durham. It’s part gift store, part wine shop, part cafe, all awesome (For Twin Cities folks reference: it’s like if Cafe Latte, Patina and Surdyk’s were all one store. With better food). A friend of Jecca’s had told me to get the pimento cheese biscuit there, and of course I had to try that. Sadly, they didn’t have it on this day, so I went with a cheese, egg and bacon biscuit. Totally good, not outstanding. I do love the pimento cheese here, so hopefully next time I am in town they will have that biscuit!
In Summation: I really like hanging out at Parker & Otis. They have great stuff for everyone and I will be hunting down that biscuit!
Friday, my last day in town. Jecca and I venture in to Chapel Hill to a place I had been hearing about forever. Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen is a tiny shack of a place on the main thoroughfare going in to Chapel Hill. It is a drive through place, and there was a line on the bridge as we approached!
The line was 100% worth the wait. Jecca had an egg, cheese and kale biscuit whereas I went for the pork chop. Yup, that’s right. Chicken fried pork chop on a biscuit. This may or may not have been everything I had hoped for and more. Biscuit was soft and pillowy, pork chop beautifully seasoned. It’s a good thing I don’t live anywhere near here as I would be here every day.
In Summation: Run. Stand in line. Eat all the biscuits.
Phew! And that’s just the biscuits! Next up: more Durham goodness.