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The CurEat Brunch Club

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Real talk: brunch is the best meal of the day, and we’re going to take liberties and assume you agree. How could it not be when you can drink coffee for the first half of the meal and switch to bottomless mimosas for the second? Because you’re technically eating two meals at once, there’s no shame at all in eating pancakes drenched in syrup, a cheeseburger with fries, or both. Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet and sugary or something savory and warm, you can always find it on a brunch menu. For all you brunchers out there looking for the perfect spot for a mid-weekend meal, we have the lists.


Visit Raleigh’s “But First Brunch” List

With 28 restaurants to choose from in Raleigh, visitRaleigh’s list has it all. From breweries to diners to cafe’s, there’s something on this list for everyone and for every craving you’ve ever experienced. From CurEater Ashley Christensen’s Poole’s Diner to CurEater Vansana Nolintha’s Brewery Bhavana, this brunch list will be your number one guide to Raleigh brunch. 

Robert Alexander’s “Sunday Brunch” List

Robert Alexander is not only a self-taught baker and a 2016 James Beard semifinalist, but he also worked at a French bakery in a small village in the French Alps. We definitely trust someone who worked at a French bakery when it come to brunch. If you find yourself in this bread master’s neck of the woods this holiday season, check out his “Sunday Brunch” list to see his top Atlanta brunch spots. If we were you, we’d start at West Egg Cafe

Stanfield Gray’s “Rise & Refuel” List

If coffee is your thing (you know it’s ours), this is the list for you. Stanfield’s list offers an amazing selection of some of the best brunch spots in Charleston. In addition to listing some great restaurants with southern dishes like like shrimp and grits or chicken and waffles, it also has restaurants with trendy, unique alternatives like avocado toast, crepes and ham and cheese croissants. Be sure to bookmark this list for your next visit to Charleston. You can thank us later.

French Broad Chocolates’ “Favorite Breakfast” list

Although this list says “breakfast”, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be out of bed before noon. It also happens to be one of our favorites when it comes to eating a mid-morning meal in Asheville. It has it all. Doughnuts? Oh yeah. Eggs? You bet. Cocktails. Heck yes. If you’re in the mood for anything at all, scroll through French Broad Chocolates’ list and find your happy place with your favorite brunch squad.

Ralph Brabham’s “DC Brunch Essentials” List 

When in D.C., you brunch. We couldn’t think of a better place to drink mimiosas and Bloody Marys. If you plan to spend a weekend in D.C., it’s vital that you follow CurEater Ralph Brabham, owner of beau thai, and check out his “DC Brunch Essentials” list. You can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants on his list. If you want a good place to start, head to All-Purpose Pizzeria for their Antipasta Bloody Mary.

 

Meet Asheville CurEater East Fork Pottery

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When we choose our CurEaters, we not only look for great chefs and bartenders, we also look for creatives and artisan craft-makers in a community. Founded by Alex Matisse and Connie Matisse in 2010, East Fork Pottery was one of our first artisan CurEaters. This month they celebrated the one-year anniversary of their brick-and-mortar, so we thought it was hight time we introduce you. *Huge thanks to Connie Matisse for taking the time to give us so much detail!*

What inspired you to create East Fork Pottery?

I moved to Madison County in 2008, after the financial crisis and my first real, big girl breakup sent me packing my bags and heading out of New York City with no plans.  I took a job doing seasonal work on a goat farm and met Alex while I was selling cheese at the Mars Hill Holiday Market in the basement of an antique store.  He’d just bought the little house and property at the end of Ras Grooms Road and had big plans to start a pottery.  I had no idea what “starting a pottery” meant, but I was in love and I didn’t care.

east fork pottery, asheville, visit asheville, north carolina pottery, pottery, matisseHow long has Alex been honing his craft/art?

Alex has been working with clay since he was six – he’s never bothered messing with any other mediums. East Fork Pottery was something that’d been developing within him for a long, long time, inspired both by his affinity for clay and for his desire to put some distance between himself and the big, tough-to-get-out-from-under shadows cast by Henri Matisse and his legacy.  Now, with Alex, John and I each bringing our own skillsets, personal histories, and interests to the mix, East Fork Pottery has become a dynamic, complicated, ever-morphing organism with a mission of bringing beautiful, lasting dinnerware to the table.

east fork pottery, asheville, visit asheville, north carolina pottery, pottery, matisseWho was your biggest influence?

Definitely can’t narrow this down to one! Alex and John set on this path largely because of the potter’s they trained under: Matt Jones, Mark Hewitt, and Daniel Johnston.  Now, though, we draw influence from everywhere.  Alex has his hand on the pulse of modern luxury e-commerce brands, John’s got his nose deep in finance books, and a lot of my influence comes from the fashion world, growing up in Los Angeles – a big, diverse, global city – and the fact that my own family placed high value on hospitality social justice, and community engagement.

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How does it feel knowing people are eating off East Fork pottery plates at restaurants in Asheville?

It feels amazing! Especially amazing since the restaurants that use our dinnerware are all places that we love, run by people we love.  People come into the store after eating at Cúrate or Gan Shan or Table and say, “We found you because we just couldn’t help but turn over our plates to see who made them.” I just love that.

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Speaking of restaurants, when Steve approached you about CurEat, what were your initial thoughts about CurEat?

I thought CurEat was a genius idea.  I’d actually just had a terrible experience with Yelp, trying to get them to change the East Fork Pottery listing from “Paint Your Own Pottery” to “Home Decor”, so when Steve told me about CurEat, I was grateful for a reason to never have to go on Yelp again. Social Media is such a weird, complicated space, and CurEat makes it so that you can take dining advice from people who’ve already earned your trust.

Out of all your CurEat lists, which list would you say is your favorite?

I most often point people to my “7am to 1am in Asheville” list.  We have so many great places to eat in Asheville, but most of my favorites get very little press coverage.  I love to invite people visiting Asheville to eat where the chefs eat.

How would you describe your palate?

With any meal, I’m always seeking balance: I like rich, fatty red meat cut with bright, light, high-acid red wine and a bitter green salad. Spicy foods tempered with sweetness, like in Thai and Korean cuisines (sweet meats!). And I love really well-executed, classic French and Italian country cooking. 

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Coffee or cocktail?

No offense meant to all my craft cocktail friends out there, but the only cocktails I really mess with are Negronis, Margaritas, and Martinis – classics get classic for a reason! But I’ll drink wine 9.5 out of 10 times.  I start my day with a big mug of Hu-Kwa with milk and honey, a black tea smoked over pine from imported by the Mark T Wendell Company (we sell it at eastforkpottery.com – wink, wink)

As an artist, who do you admire in the food community in Asheville or in general?

I really admire my friend Jacob Sessoms, who opened Table in 2005 and has stuck hard to his commitment to local produce and a seasonal menu before it became trendy. I just had the pleasure of meeting Jana Gravner, a winemaker in Friuli making some of the most interesting experimental wines, all aged in clay amphora.  I think everyone thinking of opening a restaurant – or any business – should eat at Gramercy Tavern and listen to everything Danny Meyer has to say about treating your customers with dignity and graciousness.  And Pete Wells, restaurant critic at the NY Times, is a genius.

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If someone had to choose one restaurant from your Asheville list, which one would you recommend?

Cucina 24.  The chef-owner, Brian Canipelli, is terrible at self-promotion (sorry, Brian. You know it’s true), but his food is just so mature and beautiful.  He’s so good at vegetales. All the pasta is made in house and is always perfectly toothsome, sauced with a considerate hand. The bulk of the produce he uses is grown by our friend and farmer, Evan Chender, who grows the most exquisite food – all sorts of lesser known herbs, almost extinct varieties of radicchio and treviso, etc.  And everything is served on East Fork.

What was your favorite meal growing up?

Most people who know me know that my mom, Terrie Coady, is never not throwing a party.  She’s an incredible cook and can make anything.  But every year on my birthday I asked for the same thing: stuffed manicotti with red sauce and a whole lotta cheese.

 

 

Looking for a Good Coffee Shop? Our CurEaters Have You Covered.

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If you’re looking for a good coffee shop to shake up your morning routine, quench your caffeine thirst or take an overhead shot of your hand and a latte, we’ve got you covered. We scrolled through our CurEaters’ lists to profile some exceptional coffee and drink experts. With the holiday season upon us, we know how chaotic life can be. That’s why these 5 CurEaters will guide you to caffeine this weekend. 

Jenny Bonchak

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Founder and CEO of Raleigh based cold brew coffee company, SlingShot Coffee, Jenny Bonchak knows a thing or two when it comes to a good coffee shop. Jenny, an award-winning barista, realized the iced coffees that were available at coffee bars were nothing more than subpar, so she did something about it. She started brewing her own coffee from her house and found it to be far superior than anything store bought. Naturally, each one of her CurEat lists highlight her favorite coffee shops. So if you are in NYC, Raleigh, Charleston or Atlanta this weekend, check out Jenny’s lists.

Sean Lilly Wilson

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Image via Triangle Business Journal

Sean Lilly Wilson is the owner and Chief Executive Optimist at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC. Sean was a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist in both 2012 and 2013 in the category of “Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional”. We think it’s pretty safe to assume Sean knows his drinks, coffee included. Although he’s a beverage expert in North Carolina, his “Coffee Snob” list isn’t limited to just one state.

Tim Hussey

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Image via Charleston City Paper

Contemporary painter from Charleston, Tim Hussey, obviously has an eye when it comes to the “least pretentious restaurants with the best lighting”. If you don’t believe us, check out is CurEat bio. Tim has lived in Paris, New York, LA and Santa Fe, so we trust Tim to help us find the coolest spots that just so happen to have the best coffee. “His Worthy Coffee Shops” list is not only about the coffee, but also about the aesthetic (because we all know they’re equally important).

Katie Button

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Image via Mountain Xpress

Spending some time in Asheville, NC this weekend? CurEater and Chef Katie Button, owner of Cúrate Tapas Bar and Nightbell Restaurant, has a “Waking Up in Asheville” list. If we were there, we would stop by High Five Coffee for our first cup of coffee then head over to Vortex Doughnuts for one of their seasonal doughnuts and our second cup of coffee. When in the mountains, you have to visit a good coffee shop, right?

Johnny Belflower

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Image via Mountain Xpress

Johnny Belflower opened up Tasty Beverage Company in Raleigh in 2011 and stocked it full with about 1,200 packaged beers from across the country and the world. In addition to the store being stocked with thousands of American craft and Belgian beer, there’s also a small bar in the back. Who doesn’t like to shop for beer while drinking beer? Johnny Belflower is a go-to when it comes to, you guessed it, tasty beverages, so check out his “Raleigh Coffee” list and his “Asheville Coffee” list if you’re looking for something tasty this weekend.

CurEat a Vegan or Vegetarian Night Out

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With November being National Vegan Month, we figured we’d peruse our CurEaters’ lists for some restaurants that serve up some vegan and vegetarian dishes. For those of you interested in ditching the meat for at least one night, we compiled a list of five restaurants from five CurEaters that will fulfill your vegan or vegetarian dreams. Whether you’re down for some vegan or vegetarian dishes, or want to try something new, our CurEaters have you covered.

Taïm Restaurant in NYC

If you’re looking for somewhere fast and casual in NYC, CurEater Sam Ross recommends Taïm. The menu at Taïm is strictly vegetarian and mostly vegan, not to mention gluten free and fried to order. They have everything from sandwiches to salads to platters and mezzes. There’s also a smoothie bar and baklava for dessert. We see why Taïm is on Sam’s “NYC Favorite Foods” list.

 

Butcher & Bee in Charleston, SC

Charleston CurEater and co-founder of the Charleston Art Festival, Terry Fox, has Butcher & Bee on his “Best Locals…” list. With locations in Charleston and Nashville, each menu differs based on seasonal ingredients in the area and offers at least one vegan option every day. If you find yourself in either city and are vegan or vegetarian, swing by this trendy, little shop for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.  

Fern, Flavors from the Garden in Charlotte

CurEater and The Charlotte Observer  Food Editor, Kathleen Purvis,  has great taste when it comes to Charlotte restaurants. Taking a look at her “Charlotte” list, we found Fern, Flavors From the Garden. Fern’s chef, Matt Martin, reinvents classic dishes to cater to vegan or vegetarian taste buds.

 

Perly’s in Richmond, VA

Perly’s is a Jewish delicatessen located in downtown Richmond that serves up traditional Jewish fare with a modern spin. According to Refinery 29, Perly’s is one of the best brunch places in the U.S. Most importantly, you’ll find Perly’s on Richmond CurEater Brittanny Anderson’s “Lunch Spots RVA” list.  After your meal at Perly’s, stop by Brittanny’s Metzgar for a Larry David cocktail.

The Fiction Kitchen in Raleigh, NC

Raleigh CurEater and Founder & Board President of the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, Nation Hahn, has The Fiction Kitchen on his “JKHF Supporters” list. Want the classic, Southern chicken and waffles experience without the bird? The Fiction Kitchen will take care of you. Nation recommends the restaurant’s Eastern NC BBQ Pulled “Pork” because you can’t come to the South without the taste of BBQ.  

You can use CurEat to find restaurants with the best vegetarian and vegan options in any city. Whether you find a restaurant on one of our CurEaters’ lists or a friend’s lists, let CurEat guide you. If you don’t see a list or two strictly dedicated to vegans or vegetarians, then create one and share!

National Sandwich Day Called and We Answered

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If you’re anything like us, you’ll find any excuse to go out for your favorite sandwich. Because let’s be real, sandwiches are always in season. With that being said, today is National Sandwich Day, so we perused our CurEaters’ lists to highlight five spots for sandwiches across the U.S. If you’re lucky enough to live near the restaurants our CurEaters recommend, then we highly suggest you skip over for a sandwich. Whether you’re in the mood for a pastrami on rye or pimento cheese on a warm croissant, we found a place for you.

La Farm Bakery in Cary, NC

North Carolina CurEater and master baker Lionel Vatinet is your guy when it comes to bakery recommendations, which is why you should take his advice when it comes to sandwiches. We looked through his “NC Bakeries to Know” list to find his very own La Farm Bakery. If you happen to find yourself in Cary today, stop by and snag a signature grilled cheese to celebrate National Sandwich Day because you’re never too old. Tell Lionel “bonjour” for us!

Victory Sandwich Bar in Atlanta, GA

With a name like Victory Sandwich Bar, you’d be crazy not try it. Atlanta CurEater Steven Satterfield has this winning sandwich shop on his “My Hometown Atlanta” list, and we can see why. From beets to kimchi, Victory uses some of the best ingredients to make some pretty unique sandwiches. Oh, and not to mention they have quite the cocktail menu, too.

Turkey and The Wolf in New Orleans, LA

Although New York CurEater and sommelier André Mack has a passion for wine, he also knows what’s up when it comes to sandwiches and traveling. We found Turkey and The Wolf on André’s “New Orleans Favorites” list, and we’re really into it. In addition to sandwiches, this restaurant also has tacos, deviled eggs, and pot pie. Count us in.

Huckleberry Café in Los Angeles, CA

No matter what you’re craving, this café is likely to have it.  Huckleberry Café locally sources their ingredients and most are exclusively organic. The café’s all-day breakfast menu, warm meatball sandwiches and crispy bahn mi’s, are just a few reasons why you should add it to your list of places to try when you are in La-La Land. With a full kids menu, coffees teas and cocktails, this place has something for the whole family. Check out CurEater Tom Gray’s “Los Angeles” list for more of his LA favorites.

 Lucky’s Delicatessen in Durham, NC

When a CurEater has a list called “The authoritative list for the Durham’s best sandwiches”, then you know they mean business. Durham CurEater John May clearly loves a solid sandwich and has mapped out his Durham favorites for us. We are pretty big fans of each restaurant on his list, especially Lucky’s Delicatessen. We aren’t lying when we say that Lucky’s is always packed and their meatball sandwich is the one.

 

These 5 CurEaters List and Share the Best Cocktail Bars

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The great thing about being an adult is that you not only get to enjoy the extra Halloween candy your co-workers bring to the office, but you can indulge in Halloween cocktails. It truly is a win-win. For  those of you who are looking for a good place to enjoy a solid, festive cocktail this weekend, we’ve rounded up 5 CurEaters (cocktail experts, mixologists and sommeliers) who have lists of the best cocktail bars.  We even took the time to choose a bar from each list and the cocktail we would drink for Halloween weekend. Cheers!

Sam Ross, NYC 

CurEater and owner of  NYC bar Attaboy, Sam Ross, is a cocktail genius, so it’s obvious that he is going to have CurEat lists of the best cocktail bars. Since he is one of our NYC CurEaters, we chose his “NYC Cocktails!” list to highlight. What would we choose from his list and what cocktail would we drink?

Bar: Dirty Precious

Cocktail: The Cathedral

Kevin Barrett, Raleigh, NC 

Raleigh CurEater and owner of whiskey bar, Dram & Draught, is one of the coolest mixologists in Raleigh and mixes up some of the city’s best cocktails. Along with Dram & Draught from his “Raleigh Bars” list, we would choose:

Bar: Bittersweet

Cocktail: Pumpkin Pie Cocktail

Bob Peters, Charlotte, NC 

It goes without saying that if you are looking for the best cocktail bars in Charlotte, NC, Bob Peters, the head mixologist at The Ritz-Carlton’s The Punch Room, is the CurEater to follow. If you’ve ever tried one of his cocktails, you would agree. From Bob’s “Charlotte Cocktails” list, we would visit:

Bar: Soul Gastrolounge

Cocktail: Smoke and Mirrors

Cocktail Bandits, Charleston, SC 

CurEaters Johnny and Taneka, of the Cocktail Bandits, are our craft cocktail advocates. These curly ladies, as they like to call themselves, share their favorite spots for the best cocktails from Kentucky to New Orleans. After perusing their CurEat lists, we decided to land on their “ATL 100” list.

Bar: White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails

Cocktail: Mint’s Mule

Hai Tran, Philadelphia, PA 

We always trust a sommelier when it comes to adult beverages. CurEater Hai Tran, beverage director for The Rittenhouse Hotel, has a hearty line up of CurEat lists. Seeing that Hai Tran is our resident Philadelphia CurEater, we thought it appropriate to choose his “Philadelphia, PA” list.

Bar: The Franklin Bar

Cocktail: The Death of the Duke

Download CurEat (available on iTunes and Google Play) and follow Sam Ross, Kevin Barrett, Bob Peters, the Cocktail Bandits and Hai Tran to see their full lists. While you’re in the app, check out CurEaters like Ryan Casey, beverage director at The Dewberry, and André Mack, sommelier-at-large, for their lists of the best cocktail bars.

For the Best Places to Eat, Follow These 6 CurEaters

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From Boulder to New Orleans or from Nashville to San Francisco, at least one or two of our CurEaters will have a list of the best places to eat in each city. We’ve rounded up the 6 CurEaters who have the most lists on CurEat and who you should 120% follow. Immediately.

Hungry Asian

Roanoke, VA CurEater Hungry Asian, also known as John Park, comes in at number one with 47 lists. The guy LOVES to eat. It says it on his CurEat profile, so we aren’t making it up. Among his 47 lists are his “Korean Restaurants” list and “Ramen” list that we are particularly excited about.

Robert Donovan

Charleston, SC CurEater Robert Donovan is not far behind Hungry Asian with 34 lists on his CurEat profile of the best places to eat. Robert is our resident hot dog expert and has 3 lists dedicated solely to the classic all-American food. One of our favorite things about Robert is his Instagram bio. Check it out. But first, follow him on CurEat to see where this man likes to eat and drink.

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

We are endlessly grateful to CurEater Atlanta Food & Wine Festival for their 25 lists. You know when you go to a food or drink fest and you get a pamphlet with a list of all the chefs, etc. participating? By the end of the weekend (or first day), you’ve either left it in your Lyft on the way to a tasting tent or in your hotel room. We’ve been there. Thanks to CurEater Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, you can find all the festival participants in one place!

Chana Lynn

Raleigh, NC CurEater Chana Lynn is the voice behind the RALEIGHWHATSUP blog. She may be an expert when it comes to the best places to eat and drink in Raleigh, but she doesn’t limit her 23 lists to the Triangle. Follow Chana to see what’s up in Asheville, Brooklyn and Key West.

Kenny Gilbert

Jacksonville, FL CurEater and Chef Kenny Gilbert, of Underground Kitchen and Gilbert’s Social, has a solid line up of 21 lists, from Jacksonville to NYC and Los Angeles to Maui. Want to eat bbq in Sea Island, GA? Chef Kenny has a list for that, too. Follow Chef Kenny on CurEat and see if your favorite restaurant and bars match up with his. 

Mattie Beason

Durham CurEater and Cider King Mattie Beason, of Black Twig Cider House, tied with Chef Kenny with 21 lists. If you want to know where to drink the best cider, Mattie B. has a “Cider Centric” list. If you happen to find yourself in Boulder, CO, check out his “Boulder Stops” list for the best places to eat and drink. Mattie B. is someone who we would want to join us for a road trip, and now he can. Follow him on CurEat and take Mattie B. along with you on your next trip around the country.   

Meet CurEater Jenny Bonchak, Founder of Slingshot Coffee Co.

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It’s #NationalCoffeeDay, and we know what you’re  thinking. Shouldn’t everyday be National Coffee Day? Just like food, good coffee is always the starting point of a new relationship. They even have coffee ceremonies everyday in Ethiopia, so clearly the little bean is significant. In honor of this very caffeinated day (we’ve had about 3 cups each in the office already), we want to introduce you to one of our newest CurEaters, Jenny Bonchak, founder of Slingshot Coffee Co. in Raleigh, NC.

Jenny has been in the Specialty Coffee industry since 2006 and has carved her way in an industry dominated by men. She has won some pretty notable awards, including:

  • 2016 Southern Living Entrepreneur of the Year (Food & Drink)
  • 2016 U.S. Eastern Conf. Champion
  • 2015 U.S. Brewers Cup National Runner Up
  • 2012-2014 U.S. & Southeast Regional Brewers Cup Coach

We can’t forget to mention that Slingshot has been noted for a quality and taste that is second-to-none, and featured in the New York Times, Imbibe, Real Simple, Southern Living, Paste, Monocle, Bust, Sprudge and more. It was also named Best in the U.S. by Huffington Post and Boston Globe. It is really some of the best cold brew coffee we’ve had. 

If you haven’t already guessed, Jenny is basically our resident expert of specialty coffee and you better believe she has some solid lists on CurEat of the best coffee shops around the U.S. If you are in NYC and need a place to open your laptop and sip some liquid gold, she has a list for you. Atlanta? Yep, she’s got you. Follow Jenny on CurEat and never be left in the dark for where to find specialty coffee, especially on #NationalCoffeeDay.

CurEat Will Help You Find Great Food & Drink on Your Summer Vacation

Memorial Day and the start of summer is less than 2 weeks away—that means summer vacation and road trips. If you are hitting the beach or the mountains or planning any trip for that matter, CurEat is the perfect resource for discovering those hidden gems along the way or at your destination.

Not sure where to start? Download CurEat on the app store and follow new CurEaters: Dean Neff of Pinpoint and Justin Amick of The Painted Pin. Check out their lists for Wilmington, NC, Edisto, SC and Nantucket!