This weekend was planned to celebrate my best friend Jason’s birthday in Raleigh, North Carolina. The original plan was to spend the weekend in Greenville, North Carolina watching the ECU Pirates play football and go see Dueling Pianos that night, but things fell through so we decided to spend the weekend in Raleigh instead, where Jason now lives.
Friday morning, I get to work only to find out that our internet has gone out so I take that as a sign that I should go ahead and make my way to Raleigh to avoid traffic. I am able to meet Tricia early enough to be able to spend some time shopping in Cameron Village before we have to get ready to meet Jason and his roommate Cam for dinner. Tricia made a reservation for us on Open Table at St. Roch, one of the oyster bars in downtown Raleigh. This restaurant has some of the best oysters I have ever had in my life. We try a few different kinds that their menu had to offer. At first I was a little hesitant because I usually just like pretty plain food, but one of the options has pimento cheese on it and they are so good that we have to order a second round of them. We also enjoy some of the raw oysters as well as the BBQ ones and every single one is incredible! I also order some of the hushpuppies which are extremely delicious as well. Once we finish up our meal, we head down the street to Foundation to enjoy some drinks. Foundation is a very chill whiskey bar that is in a basement and while I don’t drink whiskey, Tricia and Jason enjoyed some very delicious Old Fashions that they recommend to everyone who comes up to the bar around us to order. After just one drink, since Cam and I both don’t drink whiskey, we walk a little further down the road to Coglin’s, which is a super fun 80’s and 90’s bar. Coglin’s plays some of the best music, and they also serve Jell-O shots, which Cam buys for all of us to celebrate Jason’s birthday. We don’t stay here too long either because Tricia and I have about a 45 minute drive to her house, which is just outside of Raleigh, and we have to be ready to wake up in the morning and tailgate the NC State football game.
Saturday morning we wake up nice and rested, get ready for the day, pack our bags and head back into Raleigh to go to Jason and Cam’s apartment. Jason goes to the store to pick up alcohol to pack the cooler with while Tricia, Cam and I shop for some game day red. Since we are all pirates, that isn’t part of our wardrobe. Our friend Michael meets us back at Jason and Cam’s and thankfully picked up breakfast for all of us on his way over. Once we get the cooler packet and ear our biscuits, we hop in an Uber and head to the NC State practice facility to meet up with Tricia’s cousin, who has a tailgate spot with some of his friends. Things are a little awkward at first since we don’t know anyone and the atmosphere is definitely more calm than the usual ECU tailgates that we are all used to, so we decide to start playing some drinking games so we get more comfortable with the people we are around. Eventually some more people we know show up so we all decide to venture across the road and walk through the fraternity lots which are so much fun! We hang around one of the fraternities who has a band playing and everyone we are surrounded by is having a blast. We don’t stay too long because Jason wants to go back across the street to meet up with some of his work friends. We get to their tailgate and still have the energy from the frat lot and are ready to party. Thankfully a lot of his coworkers actually went to ECU so we end up finally being in our element complete with dancing on coolers with the music blasting. Once the game starts, the parking lots start to thin out so we decide to take our party to a bar. While we are figuring out where to go, we start to wander to other tailgates nearby and one of them catches us because they are playing Dixieland Delight. While we all sing along with some complete strangers, all of the sudden we notice a guy holding a chicken! Apparently they bring this chicken, Rambo, to every game and he is the star of the tailgate. So many people want to hold him and dance with him. Finally we decide to head to The Milk Bar so we all pile in Ubers and head to Glenwood Ave. This bar is very cool with lots of games to play like air hockey and skee ball, and they have doors that open up an entire side of the bar to let the fresh air in. They also have some delicious frozen drinks and I enjoy a frosé even though I’ve been cold all day. It is totally worth it! It doesn’t take long for us to all start feeling the alcohol we’ve had all day and lack of food so after a while we decide that is is time to go back to the apartment to get ready for the night and grab food. Tricia, Jason and I hop on some of the Lime Scooters. Tricia has a bit of an accident on our way back and decides that she is going to go back home for the night instead of going out. Jason and I are still determined to make it back out but we know we need food first. We make another reservation on Open Table, this time for Gravy, a very tasty Italian restaurant. We figure carbs are the best thing for us. This restaurant is another great one, and not just because they bring out lots of delicious garlic knots while you wait for your food. Once we get our food I unfortunately hit my wall and the day catches up to me hard so instead of our original plan of going to a bar after dinner, we go back to Jason’s apartment and fall asleep by 9:30pm.
Sunday morning is pretty rough for me and we also have a lovely wake up call of the Raleigh Marathon going on outside. Apparently they have a big party area in Cameron Village for the runners, which can be heard from Jason and Cam’s apartment complex. When I finally get to feeling better, we decide to make moves for food. We go to pick up Michael and head to Crabtree Valley Mall to enjoy some hibachi from Kanki.
The rest of the day is spent watching football followed by a miserable drive back home to Charlotte.
Until next time, Raleigh.
And happy birthday Jason!