Fondue holds a special place in my heart. It’s the quintessential gathering food. The bite-sized morsels keep everyone from wandering too far from the table. It’s a game and dinner all in one!
Needless to say, there’s a local fondue place has been on my list for a while. When a groupon for Sunday brunch at the Little Dipper caught my eye this winter, I snapped it up! Bonus: they do reservations via OpenTable, which makes it so easy to make it happen.
The Little Dipper can be found in Brightleaf Square in downtown Durham. Brightleaf’s relaxed ambiance and twinkle lights screams “date night.” And what’s more romantic than fondue for two? Guess we’ll have to go back some night for a romantic evening out. The restaurant itself is set up with privacy for most tables, creating a sense of intimacy along with the funky lighting and deep reds of the booths.
The Little Dipper has a three course
fondue brunch every Sunday, which is what drew us to our daytime date. The first course was classic: a choice of cheese fondue. There were about five choices, and of course they all sounded mouth-watering. Logan
and I had to narrow down the list one at a time until just had to get the waiter’s opinion. He told us for a stronger flavor to go with Switzerland’s original and thank you Mason, because it was amazing! Nutmeg gave a complexity to the creamy cheese mixture of Gruyere, Parmigiano and Emmenthale, and a surprise twist thrown in at the end with some sort of cherry liquor/cordial. Watching it melt together had our mouths watering!
Our tray of dippable bites had bread, apples, veggies and potatoes. I’d never dipped tomato in cheese (is that just me or is this a Little Dipper original?). Our cheese worked with everything, but my favorite was definitely the bread. Never stray too far from my carbs, especially when they’re from a local bakery!
The second course gave us a choice of soup, salad, or quiche. In the biggest surprise of the day, Logan orders a salad! Shocking. But it was a really good looking romaine/caesar salad, complete with anchovies. I went for a slice of quiche, which was cooked to perfection. Silky, lovely perfection. Didn’t think the quiche would be a highlight of a fondue meal, but there you go. Well played, Little Dipper, well played.
The third course options all offered twists on traditional fondue concepts. Things like make-your-own french toast, shrimp & grits, or biscuits & gravy. We settled on shrimp & grits because who passes up on shrimp & grits, right?
I wasn’t quite sure what would be involved here – what are we dipping?
SHRIMP AND BACON.
There was broccoli too, but let’s be real, the broccoli got ignored in favor of the far superior shrimp and bacon. What more could you want? The grits were buttery and cheesy and cooked well (southern priorities over here), and thick enough to stay on when you’re dipping. This course also felt the most fitting with a mimosa in hand. Also: bottomless mimosas. I”ll have to take advantage next time.
My take: wonderful! Delicious! I knew anything involving cheese would be a winner, but the Little Dipper offers some great twists on traditional fondue and traditional brunch. Plus, they’ve got a sweet ladies night deal on Wednesday nights, so I’ll be sure to grab some girlfriends and head back soon!
all images copyright Teaspoon of Nose