Taco Trucks & Biscuit Drive-Thrus & Coffee (Lots of Coffee)
While I love a good fancy-pants meal like the one at Lantern, I satisfied my other serious cravings and cheap food trucks, drive-thrus, and coffee shops. My bigger complaints about Roanoke is the lack of good, cheap food (everything is generally either “pricey” a la Local Roots or Lucky or disgusting & cheap a la not worth mentioning), so when I learned of the plethora of taco trucks and a biscuit drive-thru (BISCUIT DRIVE-THRU!), I freaked out, texted G several times with many capital letters and exclamation points, and added places to my must-eat-there list.
First off, Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen. Praise the lord and bless this place. Seriously. Let me give you a sample of every Sunday morning with G & me.
Scene: Sunday morning, sun filtering in through curtains, cats wedged between our bodies. It’s early but late enough that we’re hungry.
G: So, what do you want to eat.
Me: A biscuit.
What’s wrong with this conversation: There is NOWHERE to go in Roanoke on a Sunday morning to buy a decent biscuit. Not that I don’t love buying biscuits, but sometimes you just want to buy one, and Tudor’s is closed on Sundays and Little Chef’s biscuit almost broke my tooth. Not going back there anytime soon.
It’s only on Sundays that I want a biscuit, need a biscuit, must have a damn biscuit. Sunday, the day I can’t have one (or at least not one I don’t make). So enter Sunshine Biscuit Kitchen on a Sunday morning in all it’s drive-thru, friendly cooks, cars lined waaay back on the main road manner. I’m in love with the place.
So funny story: we placed our order after waiting in our car in line for some time (Chicken biscuit & country ham biscuit and egg biscuit for me, chicken biscuit & bacon and egg biscuit for G, two large coffees), pick up the bag at the window, and start to put the car in drive when the cook yells “wait!” and hands us another bag. Hmm. One bag should have done it. We don’t really look in it and drive back to the hotel (it’s nasty chilly & rainy). I open the bags and start pulling out biscuit after biscuit after biscuit–we hit bank (but didn’t have stomachs big enough to handle them all). They gave us someone else’s order by accident. Whoops!
But here’s my order–Chicken Biscuit and Country Ham & Egg Biscuit. Hot damn and hell yes these biscuits hit the spot. Holy nom! The biscuit itself is buttery and flakey and soft, but with a definitive baked feel on top (not hard, but solid the way it should be) and as far as the chicken goes–Chic-fil-a, you got nothing on Sunrise. Even the old Chic-fil-a which was way superior to today’s nasty chicken biscuitness. The country ham was delish too, salty and warm and not tough. God bless this place–Chapel Hill, you have no idea what a gem you have.
But what to do after gorging on biscuits? Go read Chaucer in a way cool coffee shop, of course. Enter the afternoon spent at Open Eye Cafe. Again, a decent coffeehouse is something I sorely miss. I had my faves in Atlanta and in any big town you can find a good one, but the scene here in Roanoke is different. Without a big college (or decent sized one) around, coffeehouses cater to either A) the suburban family, B) homeless people, or C) middle aged women. C is usually the option I choose, but sometimes the middle-aged-woman-breast-cancer-thing gets to me every now and then (I mean, I’m in my mid-twenties, sometimes I just want something younger, more contemporary). I just want a neutral space playing decent indie/alt music with good coffee and people studying and using their computers. I crave it and I miss it.
Since I had to read Chaucer for my class (Chaucer), we scoped out places. Ironically, while you can get a good biscuit on a Sunday, you cannot find a coffeehouse open on a Sunday. 2 out of 3 were closed. Um, Sunday + university town = you ought to be open. Sunday was always my sit in a coffeehouse all day and study day. So maybe that’s why Open Eye was so packed–it’s the only one open–but it also could have been for their deliciously strong coffee, tons of seating, and great natural light. Filled with tons of grad students talking and working, I was in heaven. UNC, I’m totally applying to you for a PhD.
But what to do when the coffee and biscuits wear off? Find a food truck! I missed out on the burgeoning food cart scene in Atlanta, so this was actually my first time to a food truck. And, along with missing good biscuits and good coffee shops, I miss good Mexican food. Luckily, G & I had several options to choose from, Taqueria de Jalisco, the truck closest to The Cat’s Cradle, being the winner. We stopped there for a taco post-Lantern and post-many-whiskey-drinks-at-The-Crunkleton (very much recommend!) and it was rainy, so again, we grabbed the food and went back to the hotel room to eat.
We missed the fact that Taqueria de Jalisco serves papusas (something I will not forget next time!), and ordered only tacos, but that seems like a smart choice for my first food truck experience. I went with one tripe taco and one tongue taco and while both were tasty (after I weeded out the cilantro–I can’t eat the stuff unfortunately), the tongue wins best-of award: tender and flavorful and delish. Wish I would have squirted on some of their condiments though. Missed ‘em in the rain. G concurred that his chorizo taco was fantastic too. After the Mountain Goats tomorrow night, I think I’m going to have to try some more!
All-in-all, street food, drive-thru food, and park your butt in a chair and read coffee is excellent in Chapel Hill. I filled quite a few cravings I’ve been having over the past few months, and I’m stoked to drive back down tomorrow to eat some more and watch another incredible band!
Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen
1305 E Franklin St
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Mon-Sun 6 am – 2 pm
Open Eye Cafe
101 S Greensboro St
Carrboro, NC 27510
Taqueria de Jalisco
E Main St (near Cat’s Cradle)
Tue–Sat 6 pm–1 am