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Acme

Usually, when I write about a restaurant, I’ve eaten at it. Not this one. But Gail and Joel did last Thursday, and now I would like to.

I mentioned yesterday that they had been in North Carolina last week. They spent three nights there, which meant three dinners out. The first night, they went to Mint Indian Cuisine in Chapel Hill. (I see from the website that it’s also in Winston Salem, Greensboro, and Atlanta.) The next night they went to Dos Perros, a Mexican restaurant in Durham. I understand that both were good. But the place I want to try is Acme, in Carrboro, where they ate their final dinner.

Carrboro is just west of Chapel Hill –the commercial center of one runs right into the other. And evidently it prides itself on its food culture. The Carrboro Farmers’ Market bills itself as “locally grown — nationally known.” Gail and Joel didn’t get to see it in operation, but it does sound good. At the website, we learn that

Three very important features make the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Farmers’ Market truly a farmers’ market. The vendors themselves produce all goods sold at the Market. Everything comes from within a 50-mile radius of Carrboro, and you will also be talking to and buying from the growers themselves, as vendors must represent their own products.

I like that third feature.

Anyway, this is the context in which Acme operates. And a look at its dinner menu suggests that it is well worth visiting, as Gail and Joel confirmed. Joel tried the pecan crusted fried chicken with mushroom gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, and southern butter beans. I don’t remember what Gail told me she had, but the cast iron skillet crab cakes with citrus beurre blanc, swiss chard, butternut squash, and sweet corn sounds like an excellent selection. Then again, she always has a hard time passing up scallops or short ribs, so maybe she had the pan-seared scallops with saffron risotto, grilled local fennel, and arugula, or the braised boneless beef shortribs with zephyr squash casserole, and springtime pesto.

Tough choices. To start, I might go with the green garlic and spring greens soup with cheese crouton. And to finish, the housemade strawberry ice cream with little brownies. I suspect one can’t go wrong. Maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to find myself there in the coming year.

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