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Restaurants & Bars 2

Thanks for the help--Asheville and beyond

rlc | Oct 20, 200201:53 PM

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: antipasti—grilled 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 course—Pan 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 don’t generally have access to fresh, well-prepared fish. I was tempted to try the pasta dishes, but was informed they don’t 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 lunch—Actually, 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 trout—can’t 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 night—We 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 don’t know NC bar-b-cue well, so I can’t 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 didn’t get back out till we drove to the shore.

On our day trip to the ocean, we stopped for lunch at Bull’s 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 outstanding—very 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 interesting—much 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 don’t 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 Home—Tuesday night--Zambra’s 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 more—except for dessert---rice pudding and almond creme brulee). They were both decent, but not exceptional. We also tried the homemade sangria—enjoyable, bit more fragrant than I expected.

After Zambra’s we walked down to Jack of the Woods for live music. Unfortunately, it was Tuesday, and the music didn’t start till Wednesday. Good beer, friendly bartender. We’ll return.

BTW, great local radio station (I think 88.7) in Asheville.

Wednesday lunch—stopped at Burr’s Bar-B-Cue, about 1 mile north of I-40, exit 232. This is the route we take to bypass Nashville. Had “meat and two”—one 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 interesting—it looked soupy, but was full of flavor. Again, I don’t know bar-b-cue well, but am more than willing to learn.

Again, thanks for the help.

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