Dishcrawl, based in San Jose, has spread its food-tour wings throughout the US and Canada. Their expansion into the Triangle is new, with the first Dishcrawl being held in Raleigh last February. Durham’s Dishcrawl debuted last week over two separate evenings due to high demand. I attended the first night on a press pass (which is my obligatory disclaimer that this $45 tour was free for me).
There are a few things that set Dishcrawl apart from other local food tours. First, they focus on one neighborhood and the cuisine you can hit within walking distance of that neighborhood. Five Points was the neighborhood this time, though the argument could easily be made that it was more of a downtown Durham jaunt than specifically Five Points. Second, they keep the particular destinations secret up until the moment you enter the next storefront. That means there’s a fair bit of prying to get the Dishcrawl ambassador, the sweet and congenial Hayley Teater in this case, to spill, so knowing how to keep a secret is in the job description.
The first location is revealed by email the day of the event because the group needs to meet somewhere! On this night, Taberna Tapas was the place of origin.
I had never been to Taberna, so I was excited to begin there, and I think it was probably my favorite of the stops. Chris, the owner, explained to us that he had redone the interior of the restaurant himself, using a lot of reclaimed and repurposed wood and fabric. He aimed for a rustic yet chic feel with clean lines, and I think he achieved that in both the décor and his food.
We were served a trio of small bites.
From left to right is a bacon croquette, a smoked salmon crostini with goat cheese and a stuffed olive, and an avocado and Spanish chorizo crostini with shallots. The croquette was well executed, its texture wavering between creamy and toasty with a paprika-infused crust. The salmon tasted nice and smoky, and I still dislike olives, but the saltiness of this one contrasted nicely with the richness of the cheese. The best offering was the simple avocado and chorizo crostini. It’s my ideal comfort food, something I could whip up in my kitchen that gives me the rich avocado I love and the spice of chorizo with it.by