Triathlon-a-Thon 2: The Fundraisening will be coming to Chapel Hill at the end of the summer. Last year we bounced around Raleigh, had a great time, a great turnout, a great pizza sponsorship from realty expert Matt Szalecki (for all your triangle related real estate needs, check out the links below), and most importantly made a tangible contribution to supporting independent lifestyles of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
For those just tuning check out the full breakdown on the page link to the left, same great cause, awesome new events. More details on specifics to be posted here soon.
So what are we gonna do?! In response to suggestions from last year, this year’s event will be fully walkable and will include: FOOSBALL, SKEEBALL, and PINBALL. Like last year, there will be fabulous prizes in each category, and participants will receive tremendous gifts for their donations in the amount of $20 or more! Details to follow soon, but mark your calendars now for Saturday, September 9 2017! If you want to donate, but can’t make the event, that’s cool too! We will be using Crowdrise again to ensure RSI receives all donations directly, and sending out the thank you gifts to all donors of $20 or more, not just attendees.
Thanks for reading, let’s do some good and have some fun!
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Biscuits and More in Marietta, Georgia. It’s an unassuming place, located in a strip mall, with friendly staff, and you get the sense that there is a real community of regulars. Additionally, beyond the regulars exchanging knowing glances at each other and the staff, there are newspaper articles and local sports memorabilia on the walls (including local high schools), that also give the sense that Biscuits and More is a part of the larger surrounding community as well.
I was accompanied by my grandfather for this visit, it’s his preferred spot, and we were in his neck of the woods. Having heard about it from him for some time, I was really excited, and was not let down. I stuck with what he said was a solid choice: I had a standard bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit with a small black coffee. There of course was more on the menu (it is Biscuits and More – no just capital ‘B’ Biscuits), but I kept it simple.
The biscuit itself was comparable in size to McDonalds, softer in texture, which was a surprise, but I have to say, it had a great buttery flavor, and the bacon was GREAT. Holy crap, that was a long sentence. Back to the bacon – it was crisp, but chewy, which is my preferred form of bacon. The eggs were folded over VERY neatly, and the American cheese was your standard slice. It was a solid, no frills, low-price flavor bomb, and I could’ve destroyed about half a dozen of these things.
There’s something magical about road-trip biscuits that can cause rose-tinted biscuit vision, but this wasn’t a travel-weary overhype, Biscuits and More is a legitimately great locally owned biscuit spot that means a lot to its clientele. The staff knows this, and the clientele in turn mean a lot to them.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written about a biscuit…whoops. So lets bounce back in style with a gourmet one. A biscuit alone, no sandwich, just a biscuit made from flour that was ground by diamonds from gilded grains. A biscuit who’s dough was hand kneaded by the supple hands of michelin rated cherubs, brushed with butter made from a combination of arctic glacial salts, and cream from a local, grass-fed, antibiotic free, free-roaming cow on the open plains of the North Carolina piedmont…why else would it cost four bucks?
Last year I wrote about the bourgeois biscuits of Raleigh’s Fiction Kitchen. It was for the wife’s bday brunch, an annual tradition. This year she chose a brunch Acme in Carrboro, NC. Now full disclosure: I do have an aversion to brunch culture – I think it’s a bit done-up/overly fancy, and that brunch should just be a good breakfast spread eaten later than a normal breakfast. Instead, it’s evolved into something fancy, and boozy, and it’s just not my thing.
So we arrive at Acme, and she takes our kid to the bathroom straight away, leaving me alone at the table. I swear to you, the people sitting next to me were some of the worst stereotype brunchers ever. They were loud, dumb, and actually kind of offensive in the things they were saying. They were also really hard on the server, and I felt awful for him. So the wife rejoins us after the wee one’s wee is clean, and she’s even like “those people are awful…”
The food comes out, it’s excellent, and mine includes a biscuit. It was really good, the bottom reminded me of McDonalds, crispy but buttery. The top was a golden mountain range of flavor bumps, and the middle was light but slightly doughy, it was really, really good. Also, it was big, that’s worth noting. On the side was a strawberry butter…having never had such a thing, I was quite taken with it and ate a lot.
I have absolutely nothing negative to say about the food, staff, or ambience of Acme, I think as an upscale dining establishment its great…BUT…that side biscuit was FOUR BUCKS! Not a value, and special occasions only for sure.
First off, let it be known that I love Dunkin Donuts. I drink my coffee from a DD travel mug, I think Munchkins are a fantastic excuse to eat 3 regular donuts worth of donut in bite size form, I believe that the DD chocolate frosted donut is the perfect version of a donut.
I remember the donut guy commercials, I regularly say “time to make the donuts” when I get ready to stuff that has nothing to do with donuts, I even remember DD cereal. They had this sausage English muffin thing a few years ago…awesome. Healthy egg-white snack wrap things? Awesome.
You know I’m not alone in this view either, look here at Super Bowl Champion Joe Flacco, I bet we could bro out over what to pick while waiting in line at DD.
That’s why it saddens and hurts me to say that the chicken breakfast biscuit from DD is not very good.
The biscuit itself is ok, and holds the sole redeeming traits of the experience. It’s buttery, dense, and rich, but feels industrial. Like those weird sandwiches in vending machines, it’s just off.
Where things really go to hell is the chicken they put on this thing. It’s the to a chicken patty from a microwaved Hungry-Man dinner. Weird, chewy, lukewarm, soggy on the outside, and with a funny aftertaste.
Again, I love Dunkin, America RUNS on it if the ads are to be believed, but this is a biscuit better left alone.
See you next time, when I tell the tale of an exploding beer.
PS – We are at 40% of the goal for the Triathlon-a-Thon! Want to make a tangible difference in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by helping their furry friends? Of course you do, jerks don’t read this site! So go to the link below and consider a donation, I’ll send you a shirt to say thanks:
Time-Out is a 24 hour a day / 365 day a year Chapel Hill institution that has been a part of the community for over 35 years. It has been visited repeatedly by sports legends, featured on Man vs. Food (as a community spotlight, not a challenge), and is widely regarded as THE go-to late night spot by UNC students and townies alike. It’s main location on Franklin St. is a new-ish spot for the establishment with its prior location being a little further down the road, but the food has remained unchanged, and the service is still excellent.
The menu is extensive and filled with Southern delights like pork BBQ, okra, mac n’ cheese, greens, delicious pies, and more. A side note on the pies: I have a buddy who while living in the area was known to pick up a slice on the way home from an evening of revelry knowing how good it would be the next morning with coffee. I don’t know why, but this really stuck with me as an amazing idea and I now do it myself. I gloss over their excellent and expansive menu, because while it’s worth mentioning, the main event for me is the chicken and cheddar biscuit.
Rectangular in shape, it’s big (4.5” by 4”), it’s hefty, it’s great. Using once rolled dough (explanation below), the flavor is buttery – but not soggy, a little crispy and light enough that you can eat the whole thing and not feel gross, but substantial enough that it serves as a meal in itself. The freshly fried, seasoned in house chicken, is done just right, and tastes just like homemade. Not too greasy, with a great crispy outside, and never overdone. The use of cheddar cheese over American elevates this biscuit sandwich beyond breakfast item and into the realm of anytime greatness, it’s no wonder Time Out is open 24 hours – I’ve had it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night snack.
For an in depth, behind the scenes look at how they get made (theres a ton of butter and a cool custom tray), check out this video from Man Vs. Food:
I could stop here, but it’s worth noting that Time Out’s long and storied past has involved expansions into Raleigh, a sports bar, and a fleet of roving biscuit-mobiles (you could just call them food trucks, but I like biscuit-mobile), and sponsoring something called The Eno Beach Shag Club with a trailer emblazoned with festive frogs, truly the sun never sets on the Time-Out empire.
The environment is always upbeat and I’ve had many magical Time-Out late night adventures, but one of note stands out. This past winter I was in line with some friends, having just come from a show at Local 506, reveling in the glow of cheap domestics, a traveling Australian man came in behind us and proceeded to ask what the fuss was about. We informed him of the biscuit, and proceeded to have an hour long conversation about individuals who don’t wear shoes to the shopping mall (bogans), controversial politicians, sports, computers, individuals who engage in questionable activities with sheep (New Zealanders – per the Aussie), bars, and Paul Hogan (a national treasure – again, per the Aussie). Basically Time-Out’s chicken cheddar biscuits facilitated a diplomatic exchange between two nations that served to strengthen international bonds, heavy stuff man.
I vividly remember my first Bojangle’s experience. It was in an airport many years ago where I first learned that Bojangles serves breakfast all day (this was long before McDonalds started), and although tempted to have some chicken with a biscuit side, I was stalwart in my devotion to breakfast biscuits. This was a strong choice at the time, and ingratiated me to Bo-time as I recall it being excellent.
Fast forward to the not so-distant past and many visits over the years later; I’m outside of Atlanta, I am hungry, I see a Bojangles, I again crumble to my predisposition for eggs and bacon on a biscuit, I am pleased, I think “I should really get these more often…”
Leap with me again to the present, I am late to work and hungry, for I have skipped breakfast. A foolish maneuver. I see a Bojangle’s, I recall the Atlanta visit, I seek respite.
Upon ordering I am presented with an exceptionally salty, slightly crumbly biscuit. There is a slight buttery crispness to the exterior. Within the sandwichy enclosure is completely unremarkable eggs and bacon (not bad, just not worth noting. It’s at this time that I have a stunning revelation.
BOJANGLE’S BISCUITS ARE BETTER AS A COMPLIMENT TO THEIR CHICKEN.
They’re good, just not strong enough to carry a meal on their own, and I truly believe that while their breakfast all day is an awesome idea, stick to the chicken and biscuits.
Once bitten, twice shy. The last fast food biscuit write up was the atrocious Hardees experience, which you can catch up on here if you like. Because of this, I approached this one with great trepidation. The locale was a somewhat isolated Burger King, which contributed to my concerns. Despite having received a recent facelift, this location sits in the parking lot of a real bummer of a shitty shopping center.
Another reason I’m suspicious is that me and the King have a tumultuous relationship (rodeo burger aside, that was my jam in 1999). The roots of my doubt are tied to the fact that in 1989, in the height of turtle-mania, at a Burger King that still stands in Raleigh NC, I sold all future rights to happy-meal toys for a single shot at a TMNT kid’s meal. Coming fresh off of their Alf puppet run (I had “Cookin’ with Alf”, he came with a 45 you could play an awful song off of), I believed that the BK Kids Club was where it was at, and their TMNT line would be amazing.
My father was an ardent non-believer in kid’s meals. They’re a rip-off you see, wasteful and overpriced, (spoken like a real life Burgermeister Meisterburger). He made me promise that if he got me this one BK TMNT kid’s meal that I would no longer be allowed to get a kid’s meal…ever again. You would think this was a just ruse to get a kid to shut up….NOPE.
I traded my BK Kids club membership in for a Raphael toothbrush holder, and my world was never the same again. It was sooooo lame. I feigned excitement all the way home, put it in the bathroom, and immediately realized the error of what I had done. Surely, he would forget and I could get back on the kid’s meal wagon some day…NOPE. NEVER AGAIN. I even recall being out with my grandmother, and little brother later, and she would ask if I wanted a happy meal here or there, and out of the knowledge that the big man meant business, the response was always “I’m not allowed”. I was so afraid of breaking this rule, that I adhered to it for the rest of my childhood – full disclosure, I had a pretty great childhood, and was not wanting for toys, only kid’s meals…and I am aware of how ridiculous it is to lament such an experience.
…but I digress…
On THIS morning, I went with the standard bacon egg and cheese biscuit, presented by a man so courteous, professional, and enthused I thought he may be a lord or at least knight in the court of the Burger King. Turns out he was just a normal dude, working the drive through, but I was given my breakfast with such aplomb that I knew, this would not be a repeat of the Hardees incident. At about 2” tall by 3” wide, the breakfast delight appeared of average stature. Of note was its golden (not unlike the Burger King’s crown) buttery exterior, and yellow viscously melty cheese running forth over healthy cuts of bacon that appeared as that of the homemade variety (the eggs just kind of looked like eggs). It was a site to behold.
The wrapper was surprisingly greasy compared to the biscuit itself, I suspect that this was a product of the bacon, and not a big deal…because this was a good biscuit. I will say that the consistency was a liiiittle doughy, so as far as fast food biscuits, McDonald’s has it beat, but compared to Hardees, it’s amazing.
Truly, this was fit for a king, or at least a nobleman, or a guy running late to work who didn’t eat breakfast before leaving.
The institutional dining scene isn’t generally what comes to mind when searching for killer biscuits. I recently found myself on a few 24 hour cycles at Duke Regional Hospital (formerly Durham Regional), and came to find that their lower level cafeteria, in addition to an impressively diverse collection of vending machines (anyone who knows me, know I love coffee vending machines in particular), they also happened to have a breakfast buffet featuring biscuits!
After going two nights with no sleep, and riding an emotional rollercoaster, this breakfast/biscuit combo looked magical.
As the aromas wafted up from the tray, and I took my first bite, I thought: crusty but soft outside, a bready inside? Wait a second! This is a roll masquerading as a biscuit!
Whatever, it hit the spot…moving on, the bacon was the least soggy institutional bacon I’ve ever had, crisp, flavorful and not greasy. The eggs were a little watery, and it may be the lack of sleep (its definitely the lack of sleep) but this crusty biscuit/roll thing really complimented the other parts, and may be the best biscuit I’ve ever had (ok, not really, but blissful delirium that comes with new parenthood has that effect).
A big thank you to Duke Regional for offering some thoughtful iterations of comfort food in an environment where people need comfort!
Weaver Street Market is a community owned grocery store (co-op) with locations in Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, and Carrboro North Carolina. They offer a wide selection of the types of foods one would expect to find at such a business, lots of healthy, earth-friendly, general hippy wares and goods. They have a vibrant community of supporters, and do a lot of good in the area in the form of food donations for those in need, supporting local farms, and hosting outdoor events. Their community of supporters is really what sets them apart in my opinion. There’s always a colorful cast of characters lounging about in the shared space of the Carrboro location, sharing wine, laughing, dancing, and doing general hippy stuff (I saw a hacky-sack once, and I thought those were all but extinct). One character is particularly interesting, the wife and I have named him “The Bun: Mayor of Weaver”. This is on account of the fact that he is not only always there, but always engaged socially with others, generally holding court whilst wearing fancy clothes, and also his hair is kept in a bun.
Do not take this jovial description as implying that The Bun: Mayor of Weaver is a soft man, only capable of merriment, no no no, he is a strong ruler. One time I bore witness to his wrath in the adjacent Bank of America parking lot where someone was not watching where they were going, and almost struck him. He let fly with words so powerfully delivered, that fear was deeply instilled in the offender, who fled in shame, with nary an apology. I just stood there and gave The Bun: Mayor of Weaver a knowing nod, this was his turf, and he would suffer no foolishness.
I don’t really shop at Weaver St. except to grab food from their ready-made section and sit outside in their common area, but it’s nice place, and they also do an amazing breakfast buffet, where they happen to make their own biscuits! You can see where this is headed…
On this trip I was privy to a golden brown buttermilk biscuit that was big, yet perfectly shaped…unnervingly symmetrical. I thought it might be a bit burnt, but nope, still flaky on the outside, a little dry and crumbly on the inside (but it is a buffet, so c’mon now), LOADED with high-quality/thick bacon, really good flavorful cheddar, not a ton of egg, but that’s ok, this is a strong choice for only $2.99.
I forgot a measuring device, but take a look at this thing next to a quarter…it’s no behemoth, but it’s no slouch. I’d go as far to say it represents one of the best bang for your buck biscuits in the triangle region.
Bonus points for great coffee, and the fact that their breakfast buffet has migas. So there it is, Weaver Street Market – great place all around.