Welcome to EAT THIS CITY, your tour of the best restaurants in one of our favorite cities, as chosen by a world-class chef, celebrity, or local hero.
This week, we’re heading to Raleigh, North Carolina. Along with Durham and Chapel Hill, the city makes up the Research Triangle — known for tech and centers of education. But it’s also a foodie destination, and there is no one more qualified to point us toward orgasmic grub than Ashley Christensen. This culinary queen was awarded the James Beard award for Best Chef Southeast in 2014 and is a two-time semi-finalist in the Outstanding Chef category. In addition, she is author of the popular and well reviewed Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner. And, naturally, she is an outstanding restaurateur with six restaurants in Raleigh, including Death & Taxes, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, and Chuck’s.
Chef Christensen is known for seasonal, locally sourced ingredients with a focus on bright, fresh flavors and she is widely revered for it. Death & Taxes — which uses Southern ingredients to celebrate wood-fired cooking — was a 2016 James Beard award finalist for Best Restaurant. Bon Appetit named it one of America’s Best New Restaurants of 2016, as did Food & Wine. One look at the eatery’s food makes it clear Christensen’s popularity with her peers is hard-earned and well-deserved.
If you aren’t hungry yet, you will be after you read about Chef Christensen’s Raleigh faves and look at some of the dishes featured in the pics.
This brand new pizza spot located just outside of downtown is run by Anthony Guerra, whose family has been in the pizza business for years. The simple menu keeps the focus all on the pizza, which has a nicely crispy crust with just enough chew.
Very early in my career, I worked with a line cook named Cesar Gonzalez. Since then, he and his brother have opened this taco truck, which is my favorite in Raleigh. They’re usually open until 3am, which means I can swing by after a late night. I usually order a pastor and a lengua taco, but the clincher is their salsas, which are fresh and delicious.