While I am fortunate to go on lots of adventures, I do love my home in downtown Raleigh. I grew up in Cary (what up suburbs) and moved downtown after college. I felt like I was in a whole new world. The only times I went to Raleigh growing up were to see the Nutcracker, to buy new Lilly dresses at Palm Avenue, or for a high school graduation. Beyond that, I stuck to Cary… and all of the chain restaurants and strip malls it had to offer (I promise I really do love Cary!). Now that I’m within walking distance of SO MUCH it can be overwhelming to decide where to go or what to hear! First world problems, I know.
That being said, my family in Cary or friends from out of town are always asking me where to go for birthday dinner, where to take friends for brunch, what to do when your mother-in-law is coming to visit and you have 5 hours to kill… I decided that even though it isn’t traveling for me, a city guide for Raleigh would be fun! Hopefully it encourages some of you to come visit me (I have a comfy couch waiting for you). Instead of picking one favorite for each category, I am going to spread out my Raleigh favorites into multiple posts. Why not start with the morning, breakfast!
Breakfast disclaimer: I hate eggs. They smell. They are weird. The texture is not normal. This make me much more creative than the average person when it comes to breakfast.
I love a good acai bowl. I make them regularly and always try to find a local juice shop for one as I’m traveling. Over a year ago I heard that there was an acai food truck in the Raleigh area and I was determined to find it. Once I did, it became a minor (okay major) addiction. They are the best bowls I have ever had, and I don’t say that lightly. The consistency is phenomenal. I almost feel like I’m eating ice cream its so thick and creamy. The combinations are also to die for. Nutella on a bowl or peanut butter in a bowl. Dreams come true. The coolest part for me is that the whole family loves it. I regularly get texts from my dad who’s out grabbing one for lunch, or the whole family heads to the purple truck after a walk at the park. It is also cool to support a local family business with the whole family!
My order: The island bowl + almond butter
Need donuts for the office? Rise. Need biscuits for a meeting? Rise. Need biscuits and a donut (or two) because you had too many glasses of bubbly last night? Rise. Local and made from scratch, every location has a line out the door on weekends. I kinda thought it was crazy (like when I say people in line at Biscuit Love), then I tried Rise and no longer judged people for waiting. My first Rise experience was when we had a full staff meeting at work… the day after a co-workers wedding… and the wedding was on my birthday. It was the perfect storm that resulted in me not being able to speak to people without wanting to die a little. Someone handed me a biscuit and I felt miraculously healed. At that point anything could have helped me, but I credit the biscuit. Since then, they are my go to stop anytime I need to provide breakfast. Why pick up plain glazed donuts when you can get Cheerwine donuts? Why get a buttered biscuit when you can get a friend chicken biscuit? These really aren’t questions, Rise is the only answer.
My order: Sausage and white cheddar biscuit and a banana-pudding donut (don’t judge me)
When Raleigh Raw first opened I wasn’t big on the concept. Raw food sounds a little gross and I don’t do green juice… so what would I even eat? I had a friend get a part time job there, so I at least agreed to go visit her at work. I started small and got a green tea with honey, super safe order. Slowly but surely I ventured out to the rest of the menu. I was missing out during the months I was scared to try anything else! The whole breakfast menu is easy and quick and delicious. They have a whole fridge with grab and go options (perfect for when I’m running late to work). If you have time, there are also yummy options that are made to order. The coolest part? They stay seasonal and local! Berries some times of the year, watermelon others. What peppers are they using? Whatever peppers they have at the market. The vibe in the cafe is also perfection. My ideal morning is showing up, sitting at the bar, and knocking out an hour of work while I eat breakfast before heading into the office. There is always wifi and a friendly employee to help distract me from emails.
My order: Rolled oatmeal with dark fruit with a tumeric matcha latte… and a be no ego juice to take to work
Tupelo Honey Cafe
My mom is a big fan of going to eat places that have a waiter. Meanwhile, my first choice was a food truck. (Love ya mom!) If I need a great brunch spot, celebratory breakfast, or someone to bring me food after a spin class I head to Tupelo Honey. For starters, they bring you biscuits as soon as you sit down. I don’t care what your opinion of healthy food is, you don’t say no to a biscuit in Raleigh. They come with this melty butter and blueberry jam. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. As for the menu you actually order from, there is really something for everyone! Lighter options with avocado and greens, or heavy options like sweet potato pancakes with friend chicken. I have yet to have anything I didn’t enjoy… including the brunch beverages.
My order: Avocado toast points and a side of apple cider bacon