For this week’s Triangle Bucket List adventure, Logan and I headed out on Friday to a Durham Bulls game! But better than sitting in the stands, we met some friends at Tobacco Road Sports Cafe in Durham.
They have a pretty sweet setup: get better food and drinks, and still watch the game from the outfield.
Tobacco Road has several locations, but we were (of course) at the Durham one, which I think is also their original location. Inside, they’ve got a good sports bar setup where nearly every seat can see a TV, and outside they have a huge patio. The evening we were there, I counted at least 3 private groups in separate rooms or in sectioned-off parts of the patio.
Unsurprisingly, on a beautiful (and surprisingly non-humid) Friday night, there were a bunch of people out on the patio. They don’t take reservations for groups of less than eight, but Lindsay called ahead and got us on the waiting list for an outdoor table. Meanwhile, we were able to grab seats at the outdoor bar! In true double-date fashion, the first half hour was spent in our gendered pairs. But luckily, the waiting was fueled by good beer, catching up, and the biggest pile of nachos I have ever seen. Not kidding. They were delicious, and with some guacamole to with them, we were pretty happy. My only complaint here was that you couldn’t order from their full beer menu at this bar – they kept two beers on tap and several of the domestic bottles, but that’s only a small selection of their drinks. For most everything else, you had to go inside or wait for a table. Not a big deal, but worth knowing.
Our table was called before we even finished the nachos! In our defense, a stack that big was going to take some serious time. But we were up to the challenge. So we moved over to our table where we had a great waitress who was super funny and told lots of stories with great hand motions. Overall, the service was great – our waitress was fun and knowledgeable and the bartenders were quick and helpful.
For those who aren’t local, Tobacco Road
is the term for several ACC schools close-ish together. Tobacco used to be (and still is, to a lesser degree) a major agriculture product in North Carolina, and the major road that connects Wake Forest, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, and NC State Universities is referred to as Tobacco Road. (I know I’ll get some flak for this, but I mostly think of it as referring to UNC and Duke.) So there menu has several team-themed food names, like the Tar Heel Ram Wrap or the Wake Forest Grinder.
I’ve been there several times and haven’t had something mediocre yet. But tonight (especially after those nachos), I was in the mood for something smaller for dinner. Before I tell you what I ordered, I think I need to preface with my internal process when choosing foods at a restaurant.
Now, I’m not a picky eater. I like just about EVERYTHING. That means that usually when I go out to eat, especially to a place that has a variety of types of dishes (read: not just burgers, or not just salads), I usually see three or four things that really appeal to me. Typically one is clearly healthier, and another is definitely not but I really want it anyway, and the third is a wild card. I then ask everyone else what they’re eating. I’m not the type to try to eat half of Logan’s entrée, but if I know I can get one bite of something, that factors in. But the reality is, I usually haven’t actually narrowed it down to one thing by the time the waiter get to me, and I just blurt out one of them. So sometimes I surprise myself with which one I end up picking. 🙂
All of that to say, tonight was one of those nights where I was between a bunch of good options. So when it was my turn, I decided to go with the crab bisque. Honestly, I think I was realizing that those nachos filled me up and I didn’t have room for a full meal after that! I tacked on a side of sweet potato chips just in case.
I was so surprised when my bowl of soup turned out to be the size of a dinner plate!! Biggest bowl of soup I’ve ever had. I couldn’t finish it and ended up taking some of it home. It was delicious though – creamy and tasted like crab, with some slivers of crab
meat in there too. The sweet potato chips were alright. I really love sweet potatoes, so my hopes were high. These weren’t super flavorful, but still alright. I didn’t like the dipping sauce though – it was too sweet for my taste, with a strong cinnamon taste. I love cinnamon on my sweet potatoes, but the sweet and creamy and cinnamon was a big too much for my taste.
Logan got the bison burger, which was delicious. Bison has a slightly different texture than beef: I’m not quite sure how to describe it. It’s a big more hefty. John had the burger special, and Lindsay got the entrée special, which was a beautiful piece of salmon with good-looking veggies and a grilled peach. How much more summer-y can you get?!
By the time we finished our meal, the game was only in the 7th inning, so we walked over to the fence and watched the game from there. I almost liked this angle better! While you’re not quite as close as the stadium seats, you can see the batter as he makes contact, which I liked a lot.
From our angle we could actually tell when the pitcher was throwing well or not.
The game went long that night – Bulls won, but in the 14th inning! I’ll confess that I’m not that big a fan of baseball, so we didn’t tough it out all the way to the end. But we had a great time, and my new favorite way to watch a baseball game is from the Tobacco Road patio!
nacho image from Tobacco Road Sports Cafe website, all other images property of Teaspoon of Nose