First, thanks for the suggestions from this board. My wife and I just traveled from Owensboro, KY to Kinston, NC and enjoyed our eating as follows:
Tuesday night: Had a wonderful meal at Savoy. They were recommended by several folks on this site. However, I was still surprised that the restaurant was so crowded on a Tuesday night. We had: antipastigrilled scallops and caesar salad. We both loved the scallops (oven roasted tomatoes with fresh eggplant and marinated crimini mushrooms and lemon truffle oil). The salad was okay, just nothing special.
Main coursePan roasted grouper (red chard, prosciutto & pumpkin ravioli) and grilled rainbow runner (crispy parmesan capellini cake w/sauteed spinach and calamari salsa).
Both were excellent. We dont generally have access to fresh, well-prepared fish. I was tempted to try the pasta dishes, but was informed they dont make their own. I should have pursued the subject to discover the pasta source, but was already having a hard time deciding between the fish and the pasta.
Wednesday lunchActually, we were not hungry, and were just walking around downtown Asheville before continuing our trip. We started talking to the owner of the Uptown Cafe (I may be incorrect on the name, but I neglected to ask for a sample menu). I had a lovely grilled troutcant remember the sauce. Good veggies too. My more moderate partner made do with a french onion soup. Both were delightful, rather inexpensive, and we really enjoyed talking to the owner.
Wednesday nightWe then went to the Raleigh airport to pick up family from Louisiana. Several people on the board had provided suggestions for a meal in Raleigh. However, the plane was late, so we decided to just travel on and stop for a sandwich on the road.
We stopped for a pork bar-b-cue sandwich on the east side of Goldsboro at Wilburs. I dont know NC bar-b-cue well, so I cant really compare our experience. I enjoyed it, as did my wife and brother-in-law. However, my sister-in-law could not deal with the lack of a red sauce. The rest of us found the vinegar based sauce to be very interesting and quite tasty. Lots of meat in the sandwich, but the fries could have been hotter.
The week spent in Kinston involved very little eating out. We had brought venison (roast and sausage), cheese, wine and KY bourbon. My Louisiana family brought crayfish, boudin, and sausage. So, we didnt get back out till we drove to the shore.
On our day trip to the ocean, we stopped for lunch at Bulls Place in Swansboro. Great place. We were the only customers, and really enjoyed our conversation with our waitress/waitperson/delightful young woman. We were in the mood for inexpensive but good tasting fried seafood and they delivered. We had fried oysters, fried shrimp, oyster stew, clam chowder, hushpuppies, slaw, and peach pie.
The shrimp were outstandingvery lightly battered. So light that I thought at first they were sauteed. Slight peppery taste. The oysters were good, but a bit too mild. I think they could have used a bit less batter. Hushpuppies were good, even though different. They were sweeter than I expected. Slaw was really interestingmuch more vinegar than I am use to, but very fresh tasting. I have always found oyster stew to be too rich, but others at the table liked it. The clam chowder was very interesting. I had never heard of water based clam chowder. It was watery but full flavored. I dont know how you do that, but I liked it. Finally, the peach cobbler ---almost as good as the one my wife makes and almost as good as the fried pies my mother makes. Truly, truly homemade.
Trip HomeTuesday night--Zambras in Asheville---Wow. So much food to taste, so little room. But, we did our best: a special of wild mushrooms, smoky eggplant caviar, scallops (with chilies and blue cheese buerre blanc), and lamb with sweet pea/mint potatoes, cinnamon and cardamom. All were outstanding. I really wanted to try the duck, the tuna, and the shrimp. But, just could not eat moreexcept for dessert---rice pudding and almond creme brulee). They were both decent, but not exceptional. We also tried the homemade sangriaenjoyable, bit more fragrant than I expected.
After Zambras we walked down to Jack of the Woods for live music. Unfortunately, it was Tuesday, and the music didnt start till Wednesday. Good beer, friendly bartender. Well return.
BTW, great local radio station (I think 88.7) in Asheville.
Wednesday lunchstopped at Burrs Bar-B-Cue, about 1 mile north of I-40, exit 232. This is the route we take to bypass Nashville. Had meat and twoone pork sandwich, one brisket, with slaw and beans. Good sandwich, meat a little less chopped than at Wilburs. Could have used a bit more meat, but the price was very, very low. Slaw was good, but not exceptional. Beans were interestingit looked soupy, but was full of flavor. Again, I dont know bar-b-cue well, but am more than willing to learn.
Again, thanks for the help.