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Raleigh – Busy Bee Cafe Open On Sundays!

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Whenever I travel, it’s an opportunity to eat somewhere new. So I research. What’s wrong with that? I had planned on eating at Lantern in Chapel Hill. But it was closed. It’s closed on sundays. So I decided to go to Poole’s instead. It’s closed too. Fins? Closed. Second Empire? Closed. Foundation? Closed. Bloomsbury Bistro? Closed. ARGH. I’d never really experienced this restaurant being closed on sundays phenomenon before. It was so alien to me. It literally took me a few hours to find a place open. And no, I refused to go to fast food or a chain. But finally, I ended up at Busy Bee Cafe.

What a friggin cool place.  First off, it gets kudos for being open every day, including sunday! It’s in downtown Raleigh too, which is also quite cool. There was nothing much going around in the neighborhood, but the busy bee was still kickin. The place is adorable. Exposed brick, exposed joists, exposed ductwork, cool flooring, cool art, just cool everything. Did I mention that they were actually open? When you first come in, it looks a bit like a coffee shop. Then there’s a big bar with a dizzying number of booze bottles and an impressive beer selection. There’s a bunch of tables in the bar area. Then there’s a surprise upstairs dining area. Who knew?
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So I didn’t plan on getting grits again. Really, I swear I didn’t. But I couldn’t help myself. I asked the tattoo sleeved and well ear gauged server too and he said they were really good. So yeah, I got the shrimp and grits. C’mon, look at this thing! Cheesy grits with big ass shrimps, andouille sausage, and bell pepper. Savory and zesty, with the juicy crunch of shrimp and sausage, and the soft mush of grits. It was so good, I could not help myself! I’ll probably never have many chances to eat grits again, so I’m just trying to satisfy my grits tooth while I’m here.

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There’s kind of a mix of items on the menu, including sandwiches, burgers, some taco type stuff, salads, and a few entrees. Something that I particularly liked was that all sandwiches and burgers came with your choice of sides. And this even included mac & cheese. I saw someone else order this so I had to order a side of it. It was made with penne, which is different, and it was very cheesy. It was good, but not great. The penne was a bit too al dente. Al dente is fine when it’s in a pasta dish, but it’s a bit too hard when it’s mac & cheese. I think it would have also been better if it had been baked. It was clearly not baked at all, and instead was just pasta drenched in a thick cheesy sauce. It was a high quality cheese sauce, but mac & cheese, especially in a restaurant, should be baked!

Good food, very affordable, and friendly service. And open every day of the week. These are all wins in my book! And man alive, could the male restaurant staff be easier on the eyes? Ladies, and some gents, take heed! When in Raleigh and in need of good drink and good food and some good visuals, to boot, look no further than Busy Bee Cafe! On sundays or any day!

Busy Bee Cafe on Urbanspoon

Brunch In Durham – Watts Grocery

wattsmenusI’m in North Carolina again! After flying into Raleigh, I drove around a cold, rainy, and dreary Triangle to see what was up. After checking out some cute little stores in Durham, I hopped over to Watts Grocery for some brunch. This place is super cool. It’s in a groovy art deco style type of building. The inside is bright, clean, and inviting. I got a seat at the bar. My section of the bar was special because it also served as a display case. I’m not sure what it was exactly, but it had copies of menus and recipes and mementos… perhaps of items the chef/owner has collected. Regardless of what it was, I found it to be a novel idea. Look how cute their menus are. They kill me!

wattsgritsI had done a bit of research on this place and had read good things about the eggs benedict and the huevos rancheros. But I’m definitely a person that takes recommendations from the servers and also looks around to see what everyone else is getting. This is how I ended up with the grits bowl. I wasn’t thinking about getting grits at all (I’ve eaten it maybe twice in all my life), but I saw the lady next to me order this strange concoction and I had to try it myself. It’s a big bowl of cheesy grits, with 4 items of your choice heaped on top. So what did I get? Well, a fried egg, bacon hunks, avocado, and fresh pico de gallo salsa. It sounds strange, doesn’t it? But dudes, it’s delicious! And man, it was a huge ass portion and I could not even come close to finishing. Everything just worked so well together. This place prides itself in using local ingredients and you can tell. And this OJ that I got? Expensive, but worth every penny. Every sip was amazing!

Grits. It’s such an odd thing, don’t you think? I mean really. Who invented grits? Or moreover, who invented hominy? How does that come to be? It was probably an accident, as many inventions were. Since I am a yankee, I am not too familiar with grits. I certainly did not grow up with them. In fact, my first introduction to grits was our high school band trips south and our stops at the cracker barrel. They would always ask us if we wanted some grits. We had no idea what they were talking about. And from that day onward, we would keep saying “do you want some grits?” to each other. Little did I know that I would learn to love them, and eat a little too much of them. Since it’s not something I can get that readily back home, I’m going to get my fill!

Watts Grocery on Urbanspoon

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