To get away, in the midst of the mid-winter doldrums, we went to the North Carolina coast for the weekend.
Since the journey eastward takes us through barbecue country, a stop at one of the many hereforeto unvisited eateries of the region was in order. Last time it was McCall's in Goldsboro. This time, it was their across-the-street neighbor, Wilber's.
The inside was exactly what you'd expect a barbecue place to be, and that's cool. The barbecue was respectable, but not mind-blowing. The prices were reasonable, and the service was friendly. Our hunt for the best barbecue in North Carolina is still underway.
We got to Alliance, and fired up the kerosene heater in the spare bedroom in the not-yet-heated house of Laura (Jennifer's mom) and Graham. After some ice cream, it was time to call it a night.
Saturday morning, after a leisurely breakfast, Jennifer and I headed to Beaufort, aka "Fudgetown." The kids would be staying with Laura and Graham while Jennifer and I had the day to be regular people.
We took the Cherry Point/Minesott Beach free ferry. Although the ferry doesn't really save us any time, we enjoy the occasional free boat ride. . . at least I do. It was a nice day for a boat ride, and it gave me the chance to take more pictures.
We putzed around Fudgetown at a leisurely pace, spending more time looking at stuff than we normally get to. We decided on a restaurant for lunch: Front Street Grill at Bluewater. It was pretty good, and with seating right on the water, the view was tremendous. My fish and chips and Jennifer's shrimp salad sandwich were very nice.
We checked in to our Bed and Biscuit, "Captains Quarters" at 315 Ann street and met the Captain, who is a really cool guy. A Naval Aviator during WWII, and former 747 captain for United, this guy was sharp as a tack, and really friendly. We "Toasted the Sunset" with the other couple who were staying there. Two glasses of wine was enough to get our faces flushed, but not enough to get a buzz on. Wine is evil like that.
After some preliminary research, we decided on a restaurant for dinner. Aqua, a tapas restaurant was only a five-minute walk away. This was a non-holiday weekend in mid-winter, but still the place ended up getting really crowded. We got their early enough that we were seated in a booth immediately.
Now onto the food pictures, because I have them. For those not in the know, tapas (at least the American rendition) are appetizer-sized portions of a very eclectic variety of foods, none of them Spanish, as far as we could tell. The theory is you order several (or many) different dishes, and share them. The concept is great because you get to try a lot of different things in one trip, without getting totally stuffed on one American-sized portion of one delicious thing.
Jennifer started with the Jumbo lump crabmeat gratinee with Asiago cream and scallions served with grilled pita points.
I had the "Japanese bento box with sesame seared yellowfin tuna, spring rolls, seaweed salad, fried dim sum and traditional accompaniments." Irrespective of the fact that "dim sum" is Chinese, and so are spring rolls, since they were delicious, I didn't protest their inclusion in my alleged Japanese dish.
Jennifer's next dish was "Seared Maple Leaf Farms duck breast over ginger mashed sweet potatoes with a warm apple-bacon vinaigrette." Once again, the mashed sweet potatoes stole the show.
And my next dish was "Warm seafood soft taco with chunky fire-roasted tomato salsa and chipotle sour cream." I can't resist when I see fish tacos on a menu, usually to my eventual disappointment, but this was pretty good.
By this point we were getting closer to full, so it was time for dessert. There were four on the menu, or you could buy a sampler (for two people) of any three of the desserts. That seemed to best stay in the Tapas spirit, so we went with the sampler "Huge crème brulee, cranberry and white chocolate bread pudding with cinnamon crème fraiche, Bananas Foster." We're thinking Aqua doesn't have a pastry chef, as these were all pretty standard fare. We couldn't finish them.
We finished the meal with some coffee, and waddled back to the B&B, to enjoy the first "B".
Sunday morning, we enjoyed the second "B". There were a couple of pastries, fresh fruit with cream, Melita coffee, and soft-boiled eggs. The star of the meal were "Ms Ruby's Riz Biscuits". Ms. Ruby is the Captain's wife, and just as charming as the Captain. We guess "riz" means risen, because the biscuits looked like they came from a yeast dough, as opposed to a traditional southern baking powder chemically leavened dough. They were hot, held the butter, and tasted great all the same. The four of us polished off several basket's worth. We highly recommend Captains' Quarters in Beaufort (Fudgetown) North Carolina, and the riz biscuits.
We leisurely packed up, settled up, and left, making our way back to the ferry, and back to Alliance and the kids. After a big lunch and a birthday sour cream pound cake for Zoe's pre-birthday, we made the three hour drive back to Mebane.
We'll be back in May, when it's warm enough to swim in the ocean, or maybe in April, when it's not warm enough to swim, though the kids will anyway.
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