As we end 2023, I get a bit nostalgic as I review all the food and restaurants that came about in the past year. And as NC Triangle Dining hits its 15th year of food blogging, I think about all the work, writing, and photography that makes it happen. But I can assure you that while it’s a lot of work, it’s also a lot of fun, and of course, it’s a lot of calories! So I pulled together some of the best meals and food items I wolfed down over the past year along with one of my best finds during my travels. The featured items below go beyond the Triangle but I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed my first jumbo slice from Jumbo Pizza in Washington, DC (pictured above)!
A simple but delicious starter, featuring delicate spaetzle bathed in light and chewy cheese, topped with caramelized onions.
A fun appetizer, a Southern take on fried clams wrapped up in cool, bibb lettuce leaves.
Strips of perfectly fried, panko encrusted pork belly paired with a spicy, toothsome Thai fried rice and you’ve got something special!
This casual and fun spot from Chef Sean Brock offers up this smash burger surrounded by a beefy lace around the edges. The inside-out grilled buns add more flavor (and butter) for an umami-laden bite! Even the crinkle fries are special here.
Take two light, crispy macarons and place a scoop of soft, rich vanilla ice cream in between and you’ve got heaven in your hands!
This light and fruity dessert features layers of textures and tastes, ranging from a soft custard to granita ice, juicy berries and more.
Two light and flaky pastries (Portuguese custard tarts) with a warm custard filling make for some serious deliciousness, they remind me a bit of Chinese custard tarts!
The pizza at Benchwarmers is top-notch! Light and thick, it’s sort of a mix between Sicilian-pan pizza slice but 100% delicious.
The classic roast pork done Philly-style, Ideal’s loads it up with chopped broccoli di rabe and provolone for an amazing bite. And the baked in-house roll pulls it all together.
This beautiful Southern tomato pie featured a flaky crust, roasted heirloom tomatoes, and creamy burrata cheese on top. Served at their very busy bar in the carriage house made for a great introductory meal on my first trip to Charleston.
On a road trip across the southeast, I stumbled upon Nearest Green Distillery and its restaurant, the Humble Baron! This black-owned business is distilling some great Tennessee whiskey in an amazing facility. Green pasture lands, farm houses and a huge events venue and restaurant with a 518′ long bar. I was in awe at what they’ve built here, just a bit south of Nashville, a must-visit if you’re in the area.
So there you go, some of my best bites for 2023! And I’m still working on my best new restaurants of the Triangle list, some late entries in December have me scrambling to visit them ASAP.
Your food-loving friend at NC Triangle Dining,