Blue Corn Café - Dinner Under $20 in Durham

Posted May 16, 2007 4:56 p.m. EDT
Updated May 24, 2007 12:23 p.m. EDT

Of all the cafes on Ninth Street, Blue Corn may be the hardest to pigeonhole, ethnically speaking. One source describes it as “eclectic Nuevo Latino” and I guess that’s as good as any. However you peg it, Blue Corn is one of the most interesting spots in an area of Durham known for exciting dining choices, and there are bargains to be found on its unusual menu.

Part of the Ninth Street experience is browsing and people-watching, so plan on working up an appetite at the Regulator Bookstore next to the Blue Corn. There you can flip through esoteric magazines along with Duke students and dropouts, professors, artists and writers (especially on authors’ reading nights), and other colorful characters.

Then stroll next door to Blue Corn for a Marguerita or a Corona and split a serving of mixed corn tortilla chips ($2.95) or Plantanos Fritos (fried plantains) served with a banana and mango dipping sauce ($5.95).

Nachos, either traditional ($7.50 with chicken or beef ) or “island,” with olives, artichoke hearts, and cheeses ($8.95), are large enough for a meal, but the café is known for its veggie dishes, the best bargains on the menu. Attractive entrees are poblano peppers stuffed with a cheese and potato filling ($10.95), a grilled eggplant and Roma tomato quesadilla ($9.95), and enchiladas filled with corn, zucchini and spinach ($8.95). All are served with your choice of beans and rice or both.

If you need a change of pace and can’t afford a flight to Costa Rica or Belize, just drive to Blue Corn. For under $20, you can indulge your taste buds, at least, with a vacation from everyday flavors.