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Feb 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to Carpe Durham


Congratulations to Carpe Durham on their first birthday!  At tonight's celebration at Pinhook, it was great to meet many of their contributors -- who are younger, slimmer, and better looking than you might have guessed for people who write so well and eat as much as they do.

In a September 2008 interview with Claire Cusick at the Independent, Carpe's Andrew Prins said:

"People in Durham seem to spend a lot of time discussing how we can build a closer community, yet often what it seems like they need to do is stop thinking about it and actually just live in it like a community. There are so many fantastic places and parts of Durham that most residents have probably never seen, and that we certainly wouldn't have seen without the blog."

Right said, Andrew.  The saddest thing about Carpe Durham is that their writers are graduating from Duke Law in May and will move on to far flung places for federal clerkships and more.  One writer said that friends may take on the mantle after May -- but I will not dare hope until I see it.  For now, I'll just be glad we've got the original team for as long as we do.

Above is the Sabor Latino truck they got to park outside Pinhook for their birthday party.  When the west-stretching queue reached around twenty people long, the MarVell Club folks next door politely asked if we could shift the line's direction so it wouldn't block their entrance.  But soon enough, the line grew beyond thirty and started threatening the entrance to Revolution several doors to the east.

The truck people looked pretty happy with the 3 tacos for $5 crowd, despite occasional struggles with language* and despite the early so-many-customers-we're-out-of-cheese (or some other important ingredient) crisis.  Still, downtown Durham has never smelled so good.  And that's counting the weekdays when Ninth Street Bakery is cooking up the cinnamon rolls, and the olden days when Liggett and Myers was processing their sweetest of leaves.  Carpe's SPL interviewed many diners on video.  All had greasy smiles and talked with their mouths full; some expressed their joy via dance.  I burned my fingers on food and did not care.


*near as I can tell from the line: one person in seven spoke Spanish but one person in five had trouble placing an order.  Everybody pitched in.

Photo yoinked from Carpe Durham, of course.  If you're very very clever, you can recognize the boxes of Premium Saltine Crackers on the front dash.  My fellow blogging Carpe-fans did not know what recipe those go into.  Do you?

12:08 AM in Destination Durham, Food, Links of Note | Permalink


Happy Birthday to Carpe Durham

Posted by: monique | Feb 16, 2009 10:18:26 PM

Did you ever find out what the boxes of Saltines were for?

It was too bad that Sabor Latino wasn't offering the range of meaty goodness in the menu painted on the side of the truck (visible in your photo). Maybe they felt like reducing the options to asada, pollo y pastor would make it easier to deal with the onslaught of people who weren't used to ordering from a taco truck. (and considering a couple of the encounters we witnessed, I think it was smart of them to simplify the menu.) I'm still bummed that by the time we got to the head of the line they were out of pastor (my favorite! sob).

Posted by: Sarah | Feb 21, 2009 7:06:56 PM

3,000! Sarah's comment, above, is the 3,000th at the Archer Pelican. I'd been wondering who/what it would be and was charmed it was Sarah writing about writing about tacos. In other round numbers, I'm two or three blogs away from post number 1,000. And I'm about two weeks away from page view 300,000. Funny how these numbers add up.

No, I never found out about the Saltines. In other joyful/confusing things -- I visited a taco truck for lamb-or-is-it-goat tacos tonight. At the corner of Dixon/University/ChapelHill Streets in Durham, in the parking lot of the old Red and White butcher shop.

My friend Rob (who lives nearby) had tipped me off to the birria (goat) and he said that there was also lamb (borrego) on the menu. Sure enough there were two line items. BBQ borrego and Birria de something. So I asked for four tacos -- two of borrego and two of birria. Confused look. Woman tells me "they're the same" (in Spanish). Consults with the driver. Comes back and says "si - lo mismo. 'birria de borrego' (or maybe 'borrego de birria'). Huhn? Goat of lamb? (or lamb of goat?). Maybe it's a mix. I asked for three. Definitely tasted like goat. So I have no idea. Next time I'm bringing a notepad and/or some pictures of the two animals. Or I'm dragging her out of the truck to point at the two items on the painted menu.

Posted by: ArcherPelican | Feb 22, 2009 1:38:14 AM

OK -- so apparently we had this:

Birria de Borrego (Spiced Roasted Lamb)

You will love this one! While this Mexican delight takes nearly three hours to make, it will serve six to eight people, depending on their appetites.

2 pound lamb roast, boned
6 dried ancho chiles
3 chiles negros
3 Guajillo chiles
1 cup water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp ground cinammon
1 teaspoon ground oregano
2 bay leaves
ΒΌ tsp thyme
2 tsp cider or wine vinegar
3/4 tbsp water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Salsa Verde

In Dutch oven, place lamb and cover with one (or a bit more) cups of water. Add garlic, pepper, cinnamon, oregano, bay leaves and vinegar. Bring to boil and let simmer for two hours, or until meat comes easily off the bone. Remove from heat. Cut into bite-sized chunks, or shred. Add salt to taste.

In medium saucepan, bring water to boil. Remove stems and most of seeds from the chiles. Put into water and boil for about two minutes, or until slightly tender. Drain and set aside. Mix chiles into lamb. Heat until warm and serve with piping hot tortillas and plenty of salsa verde.

Posted by: ArcherPelican | Feb 22, 2009 2:41:12 AM