It’s a tough job, but someone had to visit eateries and try sandwiches, empanadas, ice cream and more for The Dish column in each issue of Chapel Hill Magazine. Here, a look back at my favorites from 2015.
I could only finish half of my mammoth grilled pimento cheese sandwich with maple-pepper bacon that was perfectly smoky and oozing with cheese at Olio & Aceto.
LaPlace also has a menu that could comfort homesick Louisianans with boudin balls, étouffée and the aforementioned po’boys (my version was made from ground pork and shrimp and topped with okra, tomato and andouille chips).
For many, this pecan-crusted chicken with herbs and tomatoes would pass for a hearty supper. All I know is that Acme consistently cooks up some of the best fried chicken in town morning, noon and night.
Accompanied by a little glass of sangrita, an acidic, spicy palate cleanser, I was ready for flaky empanadas like the Piggly Wiggly, their ode to Carolina-style pulled pork, and my favorite, the Havana Jerk with mango salsa at Calavera Empanada & Tequila Bar.
After a few bites of the incredibly creamy pickled peach ice cream at Crook’s Corner, chef Bill Smith warns, “You might get a little heat – a pleasant heat I think.”
For their pork tamales, [Roots Bakery Bistro & Bar] slow cooks the meat beloved by both cultures and nestle it in a scoop of masa, a dough made from ground corn.
Made with imported bucatini, a local duck egg and a salty pork that’s cured for months, the duck egg carbonara at Il Palio is a creamy indulgence that owes its almost spicy flavor to plenty of black pepper.
[The shrimp and grits] is a modern spin on a beloved favorite that also reflects Crossroads Chapel Hill’s recent transformation.