it's okay to play with your food

Monday, July 6, 2009

Durham Farmer's Market

Final part in a three-part series on eating in The Triangle of North Carolina

I am finally concluding my series on a long weekend spent eating around the North Carolina Triangle (Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh). In town for the wedding of friends, I enjoyed some traditional (and some unexpected) North Carolina cuisine.

After a day that included my first coffee cupping, bbq and paletas, the wedding was upon us. With just a few free hours available in the morning, it was a perfect opportunity to visit one of the many farmer's markets in the area.

Farmer's markets comprise an important part of life in the Triangle. As good farmer's markets should, they function as places for selling/buying locally grown and produced food, and also community gathering. The two larger ones are those in Durham and Carrboro. With only one morning available, a choice needed to be made, and Sarah and I opted to visit the one in Durham.

Beneath an open-air roof, many of the standard farmer's market stalls were present, selling baked goods, vegetables, plants, meat, arts and crafts, etc. A highlight? The 7 layer cookies from one local baker, packed with butterscotch chips, chocolate chips and coconut.

An unexpected surprise was the Only Burger hamburger truck. True to its name, it sells primarily burgers, along with fries and a basic drink selection. The burger was just what I needed that morning, a bit more well-done than I like, but topped with gooey melted cheddar and fresh onions, lettuce and tomato within a toasted bun. Sarah, the vegetarian, opted for a potato and mock ham pasty-type thing from one of the other vendors.

Then it was off to the wedding, where beef brisket and mac and cheese helped make up the Southern themed dinner menu. Not surprisingly, I was pleased!

Our trip ended the next day after a lovely family brunch. One place I didn't make it to is Crooks Corner. Nicknamed the Chez Panisse of the South, it is credited with taking traditional southern cooking and elevating it to a finer type of cuisine. With quite a few friends either from the Triangle or having studied there for grad school, I bet I'll be making a return trip.

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