I would like to share something with you. No, it is nothing bad! That said, I am embarrassed to say that I had never had meal outside of downtown Elon and Alamance Crossing. Okay, maybe that’s not exactly true, but the only other places I had dined at besides Tangent, Pandora’s Pies, The Root, Red Bowl, and Elon’s Dining Halls, were in Greensboro. I am a creature of habit: I go to the same five restaurants and I get the same meal each time. Why? It’s simple: I know good food and I don’t want to risk the disappointment of a bad meal if I already know something is going to be delicious. That said, sometimes this creature needs to develop new habits and try new things, and that is exactly what I decided to do.
This semester, I decided I really wanted to get out into Alamance County and experience the community for myself. And what better way to experience the community than through food! I made a deal with myself to branch out and go to five different areas within the county and have five completely different meals. It was time to expand my horizons beyond my five favorite restaurants. The first place I tried was Press Coffee+Crepes in Graham. I entered the modern shop and was delighted by the atmosphere and diverse menu. I decided to try one of their seasonal crepes—a fried green tomato, bacon jam, pimento cheese crepe. OH. MY. GOODNESS. The crepe was unbelievably delicious and I dream about it quite often. It’s safe to say, I was pleased with my first experience.
Next, I went to Snow Camp. I had never heard of the town of Snow Camp, but was interested in learning more. Thus, on a rainy Saturday, Elena and I piled into my Suburu and made the thirty minute trek. We dined at the only restaurant open in the area on Saturdays: Ye Old Country Kitchen. To me, the place resembled a smaller scale Cracker Barrel, with a general store in the front and old fashioned toys and collectables on the walls of the dining area. We were seated next to collectable I Love Lucydolls and surrounded by John Deere Tractor toys. I ordered the fried chicken tenders and, again, was not disappointed! They were crispy and delicious. Honestly, they had all the flavor of the best fried chicken you’ve ever tasted, but the convenience of a chicken tender (no bones!). We were lucky enough to need to conduct more research out in Snow Camp, so I treated myself to another round of heavenly fried chicken tenders later on.
The next place I tried was in Mebane. Elena and I decided to try Sake Japanese House in Mebane. We both love Japanese food and discussed the lack of options in Burlington. We decided that since we wanted to further explore our county, and were craving Japanese food, that this was the perfect place. We shared an appetizer of steamed shrimp dumplings and vegetable tempura, and I ordered a variation of a Dragon Roll. Of course, the meal was delicious, and I was excited to find another Asian restaurant in my community besides “Red Bowl.”
During one of our many field research days, Sabrina, Elena, and I traveled to Saxapahaw. After chatting with both visitors and locals, we decided to grab lunch at the Saxapahaw General Store. The store, referred to as “Your local five-star gas station,” has a dense menu, full of meals including Vegetable Lasagna, the pimento cheese sandwich, and made to order burgers. Surprisingly, Sax Gen had a large vegetarian menu as well, and because we visited Saxapahaw during my three week stint as a vegetarian, I decided to try one of their most popular vegetarian sandwich: the Avocadomater. The sandwich, included tomato, avocado, sprouts, cream cheese, mayo, cucumber, and provolone. I ordered mine on focaccia bread and was very content with my decision. The sandwich was creamy, filling, and delicious. In fact, I didn’t even miss meat!
The final meal I had in Alamance County was at Da Vinci’s Table in Burlington. When Elena and I arrived, we were immediately transported to Italy. The interior was quite fancy, with dim lighting, while the patio seating resembled a beautiful wonderland. Since it was a nice day, we decided to sit outside. We were surrounded by potted plants, flowering trees, and hanging lights—we could not believe we were only about 100 feet from Church Street! Our meal was nothing less than delightful. We had fried calamari and side caesar salads to start. For our meals, I ordered Eggplant Parmesan and Elena got the Chicken Parmesan. We had the option of ordering a small or large portion, and both of us decided to order the large, to ensure we had delicious leftovers. If you decide to dine at Da Vinci’s, I must leave you with a very important piece of advice: Don’t forget to ask for the complimentary garlic knots!
Each of the five restaurants offered me delicious food and the opportunity to further explore my community. I was excited to discover that so many hidden gem restaurants exist outside of the Elon Bubble. Not once was I disappointed by the food or the company. I hope to continue to branch out and try new restaurants. But if I don’t, at least I’ve added five new places to my list of restaurants in Alamance County!
Written by: Katherine Evans