Sunday, September 9, 2012

Carrboro & Chapel Hill Charm

Another travel weekend under my belt. This time, to the beautiful Chapel Hill and Carrboro area of North Carolina. A little exploring, a bit of music, more work than I care to admit, and lots of opportunities to try new eateries! Here are a few of my favorites enjoyed over the weekend.
Close to the hotel we stayed at is a mixed live-work complex with the newly opened Elements tucked away on the main pedestrian level. It was open just three weeks by the time we arrived on a lazy Friday night, and I was blown away with how together the place seems to have it for being in its infancy.
I opted for the walnut shrimp, which was to die for! Some of the best I have had in years. We tried a few appetizers including their charcuterie plate, a bottle of vino, and entrees apiece - all winners in my book. Funny side note - I'm fairly sure they thought I was a food critic once I whipped out my camera and started taking notes (easy way to get superior service).
Following a night of um, heavy libation, we were starved for a good brunch scene and found ourselves at Venable Rotissarie Bistro in Carrboro. It's located at the end of the Historic Car Mill (lots of history round these parts) and offers a four hour brunch menu on weekends that is surprisingly tasty. I opted for the huevos rancheros and a side of cheesy gritz, both of which immensely satisfied my state of hangover. It appears they are still learning the fine art of bloody marys as the one I had wasn't quite right, but I have faith in them. The wait staff is entertaining and sassy, my kind of server, and I highly recommend swinging by for a visit.
I have a new catchphrase for the Aloft Hotel in Chapel Hill, and actually for all Aloft Hotels - hotels for hipsters. The vibe in this hotel was very much geared towards the under 30 crowd with pop music blaring out of the speakers in any and every common space area near the lobby and the trendy WXYZ bar bringing young patrons in until late in the evening. The room was comfortable and reasonably affordable for the price, the location was damn near perfect, and having the live-work complex right next door made lazy (fine) dining easy to come by.
Acme in Carrboro deserves an honorable mention as does Nana's in Durham, NC. I tried Acme for a lazy Sunday breakfast (stellar) and tried Nana's for a fancy dinner the evening before. Both were wonderful and on my list to return to for the next time I'm in town. And if anyone visiting the Chapel Hill area needs a good laugh, go check out the frat boy college scene on Franklin Street some weekend night - hilarious!

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