Monday, October 08, 2007

Dining out in the Triangle

We're just back from spending the weekend in Cary, NC visiting Darlene's sister Kristen and her husband Ryan. They just moved there and it was great to go visit since we lived in Raleigh for several years. In fact we met and got married in Raleigh and Kristen and Ryan are now living in the same apartment complex that Darlene lived in when we first met. Déjà vu. Though we mostly stuck to places we've been before, we did have some great food there. Unfortunately I didn't take many food pics - only one in fact, which was from dinner at the Hard Times café. The Hard Times is a small chain with several other locations in Virginia and Maryland and there's not much for vegans as it's mostly bar food and chili, but they do have veggie chili and at the Raleigh location they offer veggie hot dogs. So it's becoming a tradition for us to go there whenever we're in Raleigh for some veggie junk food.

We also had lunch at Thai Villa, which has a few good veg. options. We've always liked this place and other folks must like it too because it's really in a lousy location but it's been there for at least 10 years. Every time we're back in the area we wonder if it'll still be there but as of this weekend it most certainly is. We ended up at Thai Villa after a disappointing first choice. We tried the Blue Moon Bakery in Cary first because their menu on-line lists several vegetarian wraps and sandwiches, at least a couple of which appear to be vegan or easily made vegan. But when we got there they only had three or four lunch options written on a white-board and the only vegetarian option was a veggie burger that wasn't vegan. Don't you hate it when that happens?

Another favorite for lunch is Udupi Café, which is an all vegetarian South Indian restaurant. We love the dosas, sambhar, idly, etc. but almost every time we go there's at least one item on the buffet that we haven't had before. This time it was the fried cauliflower in a spicy tomato-based sauce. I was already stuffed but I had to go back for seconds on that.

And on our second night there we had dinner at the Spotted Dog in Carrboro. It's nice to go to a place where they know what the word vegan means. We had decent veggie BBQ sandwiches there (with tabouleh on the side) and their veggie Buffalo wings were really fun and tasty. All told, I think we spent our dine-out budget for about the next 3 months but we did get lots of scrumptious food.


Rural Vegan said...

Thanks for the review. Raleigh is one of the places I'm considering moving to and I'm always eager to hear how vegan friendly a possible new home is, or isn't.

bazu said...

How fun! Thank you for all the places and reviews- I'd love to visit NC one day... I thought about going to grad. school there!

elizabeth m said...

for those of you thinking of moving here (my favorites below):

In Chapel Hill
(all veg, very vegan friendly)

downtown Raleigh
(vegan soyBQ and chicken salad)

Lily's Pizza:
5 points Raleigh
(old stand by, they use veganrella, and many things next door at coffee shop, Third Place)

Udupi, Azitra and Tower:
All vegetarian Indian

Cool Breeze:
Veg Indian take out

North Raleigh
(they are really good about leaving out egg/fish sauce)

Zely & Ritz:
(best hummus ever! ask for heather, she knows all the vegan tapas on menu if they aren't marked, local and organic too!)

elizabeth m said...

ok, also, I forgot,
the Vegetarian Society does a thanksgiving dinner that is AMAZING. I'm serious.
Carnivores LOVE it. And for $24 you can't beat it.

And there are good vegan options in Durham, esp on 9th street.

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

god i love chili dawgs

Chris said...

Thanks for all the tips Elizabeth! We'll have to check out some of those places next time we're there.

We always like to do our own Thanksgiving meal but I've heard good things about the TVS dinner and have been tempted to go check it out.

VeggieGirl said...

It certainly sounds like you did indeed enjoy some scrumptious food while on your trip! great descriptions/reviews!

Miss Diagnosed said...

I visited Carrboro in April, and the Spotted Dog was the highlight of my trip. The veggie bbq was amazing!

Pink Theory said...

aww! I went to NC state for school and your post brought back memories since I went to every restaurant you mentioned! I loved the dosas from Udupi and Hard Times was an easy place to go with my omni friends.

Chris said...

hi pink theory! Darlene and I both went to nc state too! Though neither Udupi nor the hard times were there back in our day. Lots more veggie options there now I think.

Dilip said...

Come on down, one and all! We actually have one family house hunting here - they were so impressed with our Thanksgiving 2 years ago and our veg. society that they're seriously thinking of moving here from the Philadelphia area.

We have a resources page listed at with information about vegetarianism in the area. We have a lot of great veg. options! --Dilip