A work assignment and some plans with friends (and their adorable corgi) led us to Raleigh for the day while we were down in North Carolina, and the time we spent exploring the city was easily one of the highlights of our week away. Raleigh today is not the Raleigh we knew back in college, when we were living thirty minutes down the road in Chapel Hill. A lot is happening in the city, both downtown and in the surrounding area. New restaurants, shops, and places to explore, and we feel as though we only scratched the surface of some of Raleigh’s best offerings.
When we were planning how we’d spend our time down in North Carolina, I moved visiting the Weston Farms booth at the State Farmer’s Market to the very top of our list. For the past few holiday seasons, I’ve kept up with their great press, and this year, I was determined to return to Maine, magnolia wreath in hand. Selecting our own style from their gorgeous line was no easy feat, especially for people as indecisive as we are, but we couldn’t be happier with our large, classic magnolia wreath, as it fits our minimal aesthetic and the magnolia leaves will certainly be unique enough for Christmas in Maine.
I’m not entirely sure how Bida Manda came across my radar in the first place, but I’m certainly thankful it did. I woke up last Tuesday morning craving Asian cuisine, and Bida Manda’s Laotian menu seemed to fit the bill. Per our waiter’s advice, we ordered the Crispy Rice Lettuce Wraps (amazing, truly!) and the Crispy Pork Belly Soup, as well as the Stir-Fry Cashew Ginger Chicken. We left, incredibly happy and already planning another trip down to Raleigh so that we’d have an opportunity to sample the Bida Manda dinner menu.
We popped into Joule for a couple of warm drinks to go, but I promise you we could have stayed in this beautiful coffee shop and cafe for hours. The architectural details of the space (the copper ceiling, the two storefront window seating areas, etc.) were delightful, and the Counter Culture Coffee was delicious. We’ve definitely visited quite a few fantastic coffee shops on our travels, but Joule has to be one of the most visually inspiring.
I was thrilled to finally introduce Michael to one of my favorite shops, Furbish. I’ve done some work for Furbish in the past and have more than once returned to Maine from a trip to NC with Furbish goodies in tow, but have never had the chance to browse their stylish, bold, and colorful collection of gifts and accessories alongside Michael. We picked up a framed holiday donkey and the new holiday mixer from White Whale, earmarked a few items for Christmas, and spent some time catching up with my friend who works there, Jessica. For those of you that can’t make it to their studio, the Furbish online shop is definitely worth checking out.
Back when I was just starting out as a photographer, and they were only in the neckwear business, I did a shoot with Lumina Clothing Co., and have been delighted to see their business grow and expand in the years since. On this trip, we were happy to have a chance to stop in their gorgeous brand new shop, chat with Barton, and check out their own collection of shirts and jeans, and other American made goods for men. Their tasteful casual aesthetic shows through in both their own products and the ones they curate, and since returning, I’ve caught Michael browsing their site more than a few times. These guys seem to have some pretty exciting plans for the future and we’re looking forward to watching them continue to grow.
I’d read about Yellow Dog Bread Co. on the Fresh Exchange blog a few weeks ago and couldn’t get the images of their fantastic branding out of my head, so even though we were stuffed from lunch, when Barton at Lumina insisted we stop inside the bakery next door to their shop, we simply couldn’t resist. It was a fantastic decision, as in our experience, there’s always room for an afternoon cookie, and the spinach and feta stuffed baguette we picked up was a tasty addition to our evening drinks with friends.
We loved each of the businesses we visited at Raleigh’s Person Street Plaza where using the phrase “in good company” couldn’t be more fitting. Each shop (Yellow Dog Bread Co., Lumina Clothing Co., Edge of Urge, and Wine Authorities) recommended that we visit their neighbors, and each storefront brought something unique to the total scene. This certainly held true for Wine Authorities, a comfortable neighborhood wine shop with a very knowledgeable staff and a great selection of estate wines based on an even greater concept – every bottle in the store is less than $50, because “wine should be enjoyed, not collected”. With a mission like that, it was a given that we’d return to Maine with a few new bottles to try.
Long before Ashley Christensen won her James Beard award and her restaurants started redefining the Raleigh food scene, our friends Rachel and John told me about their favorite neighborhood restaurant, Poole’s. Since launching Map & Menu in 2012, Poole’s Diner has appeared on our list of “Hopeful Reservations” in the sidebar, and we were finally able to cross that off last week. We’d heard (from a vegan, nonetheless!) that the Macaroni au Gratin was essential for any trip to Poole’s, and along with the spectacular braised short rib and a seasonal mustard greens salad, we couldn’t have been happier about our dinner here. I’m certain that we’ll be trying the recipe above for that oh-so-amazing macaroni many times in the chilly months ahead.
We know this certainly won’t be our last trip to Raleigh anytime soon. Next time, we’re hoping to try Capital Club 16, but we’ve also heard really great things about The Stanbury. Do you know of any other Raleigh must-visits for us to keep in mind? View past Raleigh posts here.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu & Furbish Studio.