This past summer we decided to take a real vacation – you know, one where you drive away from anyone and everyone you know just to be alone in a new place with no one else to bother you. Our vacation spot of choice: Emerald Isle, North Carolina. Neither of us had ever been there, and it was Matt’s idea to rent out the AirBnB tiny home you see pictured above for the trip – it was one of the best vacation decisions we’ve ever made! Our stay was a dream (and only $75 a night!); the tiny home was a cross between a log cabin and a camper, with a big comfy bed, air conditioning, and free canoes and kayaks sat outside for us to use. It was affordable and located off the grid, in the middle of the Croatan National Forest. It was a 10 minute drive to the beach on Emerald Isle.
Our host Chris was very welcoming! He treated us to drinks one night at a local bar that he works at, The Emerald Club, and after we told him that we weren’t seafood people, he proved us wrong by catching a massive Grouper fish while out on the commercial fishing boat he also works on. He invited us over for dinner, cooked that fish so perfectly, and served it cooked in a white sauce over mashed potatoes. Best fish either of us have ever had!!
The beach nearby was stunning (nevermind the sunflower fields on the way). We were able to find a fishing pier that had free parking. Because our vacation fell on the week before 4th of July, the beach was empty and we had a lot of space to ourselves. We were able to set up our beach tent, nap, swim, and walk the pier every day we were there.
The Dank Burrito
At some point during our vacation we decided we needed quality tacos – the sad tacos we had eaten at a local place that we’ve already forgotten the name of left a bad taste in our mouths, not to mention some uncomfortable trips to the bathroom. Our search for quality tacos doesn’t always have a happy ending, but when we do find the good ones they make it so worth it. After doing some research we decided on a place called The Dank Burrito, which was about a 20 minute drive from the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores where we had spent the day. Here’s us after a long day of walking around the aquarium – so ready for tacos!
As soon as we pulled up we noticed the whole place had a surfer/skateboarder vibe; everything was covered in neon graffiti, including their taco truck (how they started) and one of their restaurant cars.
When we walked in we were greeted by a neon menu and about 100 hot sauces to choose from, as well as a list of rules letting customers know how they “roll” – one of our favorites was “all complaints must be written on a $5 bill and placed in the tip jar” – they also make sure everyone knows they’re not by any means a Mexican restaurant.
Matt’s Review: Plain Jane Grilled Chicken Tacos
When you’re in a new spot, already out of your comfort zone, you look for your go-to’s to make you feel at home (at least I do.) Walking into The Dank Burrito, being overwhelmed with the bold zaniness of both the atmosphere and the menu item names, I decided to play it safe. I went with Plain Jane Chicken Tacos.
But it’s not just about playing it safe. No, it’s about seeing how well a place can carry a standard. That’s why I always get chocolate chip cookies from every bakery I enter. I have to see how the place does making this staple. If they make it well, next time I’ll try something more adventurous. If they blow me away, I’ll buy everything on the menu!
These chicken tacos were superb! The balance of seasoned chicken to the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and sour cream was spot-on. The additional lime was the ideal accent to the overall flavor profile. The flour tortillas held everything together beautifully, making it all much easier to eat than other places where the tortilla falls apart 2 bites in.
The real fun, though, was The Dank Burrito Salsa Bar. The salsa bar provided great options for customization, that turned each bite of these already-delicious tacos into pure joy. The Salsa Verde really enhanced the overall flavor of the taco, while the Spicy Pico gave the taco a nice kick I didn’t even realize I had been missing!
Pairing these tacos with The Dank Burrito’s seasoned tortilla chips was sublime. Dipping the chips into every salsa available was amazing. The Salsa Verde and Spicy Pico were my favorites, although the black beans and corn were a tasty alternative whenever I needed to cool my spicy-hot-mouth down.
Kiana’s Review: Honey Truffle Buffalo Chicken Tacos
These tacos WERE AMAZING! Because The Dank Burrito isn’t your typical get-tacos-spot, I wanted to get something that sounded a bit over the top, and I love buffalo chicken so I went all in. These tacos were filled with rice, chicken, ranch slaw, cilantro, sour cream, cilantro, lime, and of course buffalo chicken. I swear they had a special recipe for their buffalo sauce, because it was extra sweet and spicy. I added fresh made salsa verde and pico de gallo.
First of all, these tacos were served on a bed of fiesta seasoned tortilla chips. They may have even been using Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning – whatever it was it tasted very similar and was so so good on these freshly made chips.
The best part about these tacos was that they had multiple layers of flavor. The perfectly grilled and flavored buffalo chicken was at the bottom with the rice, then the slaw which helped cut the spice, then the lime, cilantro and extra toppings that I added. It was a juicy rainbow of flavors.
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