Melinda Gale

Real Life In Raleigh

Los Angeles Substitutions in Raleigh

Everyday, someone asks me how my move has been and everyday I say "Ommm..it's okay??". The follow up question is always "Do you miss LA?". I don't. But I do. I was in Los Angeles for 7 years and it's hard to let go of it as I feel like so much of my identity was shaped there. However, it's good to be home. 

Since day 1 in NC, I have tried to figure out my new "go to" spots so I figured I would share some of my LA substitutions in Raleigh as well as my weird bootleg rating system. 


  • sweetgreen has been replaced with Happy+Hale -- H+H gets 5 stars as they not only have amazing, healthy salads BUT you can always get kombucha on tap, great juices and the best smoothies ever. 
    • Honorable mention: Raleigh Raw. I've only been once for their version of a Bulletproof Coffee but I hear great things about their bowls and juices! 
  • Any good taco place has been replaced with Virgil's Tacos -- everything is a la cart, even the chips are separate from the salsa. Any time I have gone, the service has been lackluster but they serve traditional street tacos that are decision so they get 4 stars. Also, the decor is great so go to at least get a photo with the foliage wall.
  • Go to brunches are now held at Tupelo Honey, NoFo @ The Pig, or Morning Times -- these places all get packed so make sure you call ahead.
    • Breakfast tacos have been replaced with chicken and cheddar biscuits from Rise
  • Instead of having my nails done at Bellacures in Larchmont, I now frequent Paintbase (previously known as Paintbar) -- nicest staff around, the salon is beautiful, and they give you free wine so... it's worth the price! All the stars.
  • I now eat pho at Pho Pho Pho instead of getting $4 pho from the whole in the wall pho place on my street (how many more times can I say pho?) -- their pho is great and they have awesome cocktail specials so what more could you ask for? 5 pho stars, even if going to Glenwood South is the actual worst.
  • Healthy groceries are now bought at Harmony Farms or The Fresh Market instead of Lassens -- nothing will ever replace Lassens in my heart but Harmony Farms combined with The Fresh Market as adequate substitutions. 3 stars for both because neither has everything I need so I usually have to go to both. It's still better than Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck). 
  • Last minute dinners with friends are now held at Beasley's, The Raleigh Times, Capital Club 16, or Whiskey Kitchen. -- 5 stars for all because they all have amazing food + drinks. 
  • No longer do I get great hikes with elevation but Umstead Park and the NC Museum of Art Park have some nice trials. -- 4 stars because I really miss elevation. I need my buns to burn, alright? 

Are you a former Angeleno turned Raleighite? (Is that what they even call them? What am I now? WHO AM I NOW?!) Let me know some of your favorite subsitutions!