Raleigh's Best Cheap Eats
Chef Ashley Christensen unveils the best places in Raleigh to grab a quick, cheap bite.
Meet Our Raleigh Restaurant Connoisseur
"I taste food all day, so I'm not always hungry at mealtimes," explains Ashley Christensen, a James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist who has appeared on the Iron Chef America television show. "Then it's midnight and I realize I've only eaten a few tablespoons of food all day." On the heels of opening her three newest concepts (Beasley's Chicken & Honey, Chuck's, and Fox Liquor Bar), the chef is no stranger to long stretches in the kitchen. When she emerges, she yearns for good food, loud music, and a connection to her 20-year history in the area. "A conncetion to people is important to me. One of the first cooks I worked with in a mass-production Italian restaurant was the amazing Ceasar Gonzalez. Now, 16 years later, he and his brother own my favorite taco truck."
El Rey Del Taco Food Truck
For a late-night taco fix, Ashley craves the Barbacoa (shredded chuck roast with guajillo salsa), Lengua (beef tongue), and Al Pastor (pork and pineapple) tacos topped with chopped onions, cilantro, and lime juice. "Their salsas are sick!" she says (meaning delicious in chef speak).
Usually parked at 301 Hodges Street, Raleigh; 919/771-4569
The Players' Retreat
105 Oberlin Road, Raleigh; 919/755-9589; playersretreat.net
3930 Western Blvd., Raleigh; 919/821-2926; cookoutnc.com
133 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill; 919/929-2425