MC and I recently completed a long road trip built around family, old friends, and of course, food. We left KY for Asheville, then to the Charlotte area, then to D.C., Baltimore, Cincinnati, and then home. I wrote a fairly detailed report based on my notes, and our combined memories. I then went in for back surgery, and came home to find my trip report had disappeared into the unknown multiverse. Rather discouraging.
So, following is a somewhat more brief report, though perhaps still a bit long. And, probably missing a few things.
Day 1, 10/17: Asheville
-Started with Creperie Bouchon. We shared a Cochon Crepe, a Crepe Suzette, Escargots and French Onion Soup. All were excellent, especially the Cochon. These were paired with a Wicked Weed draft, a glass of Le Pin Rouge, a glass of Macon-Villages, and of Fournier Sauv. Blanc. Just an excellent way to start our trip.
Day 2, 10/18: Asheville
Began the day at White Duck Taco. We had a fish taco, a Korean Beef Bulgogi taco, a lamb gyro taco, and a Creole taco. Our favorites were the Korean Beef and the lamb gyro. Creole was a bit disappointing, though given that we are originally from LA that should not have surprised us. Two local drafts between us.
Next, Wicked Weed Brewing. Lots of fun. Between the two of us, we had an #8 La Bonte Plum, a Basic White, a Belgian Sting, and a #8 Metatropics.
Nightbells for dinner. Not that hungry but still (-:
Started with Steak Tartar Cones and Hand Pies. Both wonderful. Best tartar we have had since Paris. Next we shared an order of Cajun Prawns, also good. I love that you can get wine by the half glass. We shared half glasses of Cederberg, Avinyo Rose, Casas d Bosque, Tikal, 7 Terroirs, and Pala. Hope I got those right.
Club Foggy Mt. Brew Club for the end of the evening. We were expecting music, but not that evening (perhaps the only incorrect info we had for Asheville). We had a Greenman ESB and a Jade. We also tried a meat taco and a chicken taco. The beers were good, the service good, the tacos not so much. I guess White Duck Taco set too high a bar.
Day 3,10/19 Asheville.
Brunch at All Souls Pizza. We had the special pizza of the day: White sauce, Hen Mushroms, olive oil, garlic, local cheeses, and a parsley salad across the top. Excellent pizza, with a Jade and a Pilsner draft. Finished with pumpkin ice cream and coffee. Great way to wind up our Asheville portion of the trip.
Day 4, 10/19, Charlotte, NC: We met family from NC and FL for food and drinks at Fahrenheit. Our nephew is a Tom Cruise type bartender there. We sat outside on a beautiful night, enjoyed drinks and multiple appetizers, with a wonderful view of Charlotte. Everything was very good. Various family members ordered & shared various appetizers. Also, my brother-in-law insists on splitting bills in cash. So, no receipt to jog my memory . I do remember loving the Kobe Beef Short Rib Steamed Buns. That surprised me, as I'm not a short rib fan. We loved the Chorizo Stuffed Dates, and also enjoyed the Negi Maki Egg Rolls and the Crispy Tempura Rock Shrimp. The Shrimp & Grits were good, but didn't measure up to the the previously mentioned dishes. I know we had other appetizers but just cannot recall the items.
Day 5, 10/20 , Kannapolis, NC: We had breakfast/brunch at the Park Road Soda Shoppe with some of our family. The food was ok, though they delivered MC's order incorrectly. However, the milkshake was wonderfully thick & flavorful.
Day 5-12, 10/20-27, at a lake house, at Lake Wylie, NC: We met family from NC, FL, LA, IN, and KY (us). No restaurants on this section of our trip. Just lots of home cooked meals, competitive grilling, and visiting.
Day 13, 10/27: Roanoke, VA
Who knew that Roanoke was such a happening place. We were there for only one night. We arrived fairly late, and almost didn't go out. However, after finding only chain places in our immediate motel location, we just couldn't stay in. I had done a bit of internet snooping and found several interesting places. Plus, a number were centrally located.
We started at Billy's. We chose to sit outside. Well, it was sort of outside, with walls and no ceiling. One person was serving as both bartender and waiter, and did an admirable job at both. We started with Billy's version of an Old Fashion (called a Scout Fashion). It was excellent. MC's Margarita on Rocks was very good.
We were not yet hungry, so just split a serving of their crab cake. It was good, but not on a par of what we remembered from our years of living in Baltimore.
Day 13 Continued, Roanoke:
Next, on to Awful Arthur's for some live music. The band seemed to be sort of a cover band for Southern Rock music, as in the cords sounded very familiar, but the lyrics may have been original. In any event, it was fun, and it got our blood flowing again. I had a Bent IPA while MC had a Blue Moonish type draft. We decided to to try their Shrimp/Fish Taco and a Pepper Crab Bowl. We wanted to like it, but it was just so-so. We would still go back for the music and beer.
Finally, to our favorite place of the evening--Jack Brown's. This seemed to be such a great neighborhood bar. Again, recalling our days/nights in Fells Point, Baltimore. Great mixture of people, all giving off a friendly vibe of "hey, we all know each other, but you guys are welcome too". The place was packed at some early hour of the morning. I started with a limited release Fullstream 9 Volt draft, while MC had a Flying Dog Bee beer. Although not hungry, we decided to split their Wagu cheese burger. Fortunately, it was quite small. Even more important, it was outstanding. I had a Soaring Ridge BoCo's Finest. MC decided on water.
A final note on Roanoak. It was our first Uber experience. I gave the driver a list of the places we wanted to go. He drove us around to each place before we stopped at one, and gave us his opinion (generally positive) on each. He did comment at each that the crowd was going to be different from us. We were not offended but responded that since we are each age 73, any place interesting is going to have a different crowd.
Day 14, 10/28-31: Washington DC: Another location where we onced lived. We spent our time primarily visiting old friends. We did go out for one memorable meal. Our friends suggested going to a suburb of Baltimore to have crab cakes. Easy to agree to.
Oh my goodness. That meal at G & M's was even better than we remembered for the Baltimore area. The crab cakes were large, thick, and stuffed with back fin. Our dear, dear friends suggested we order the two crab cakes dish (very reasonable discount). Their reasoning was that we could take one home and have it for breakfast the next morning. Their suggestion worked. What a perfect way to start the day. I would say the only problem with our visit to G & M's is that we ordered MD Crab Soup & Cream of Crab Soup as appetizers --good but too filling.
Day 15, 10/31, Baltimore: We visited old friends that evening, and had a wonderful meal at their house.
Day 16, 11/1, Baltimore: Met more old friends at Barrett's Grill in Hunt Valley. Once again, we shared various appetizers and entrees, split costs and somehow didn't get a receipt. I know we loved the place.
Day 17, 11/2, Ellicot City, MD: And, again, old friends meeting at a restaurant--Stella Notte. We generally don't select Italian restaurants, but this one was quite enjoyable. MC had Sophia’s Eggplant and I had Calves’ Liver Leonardo. She liked both, and I liked mine (just not an eggplant fan).
Day 18, 11/2-3, New Freedom, MD: Had a good visit with old friends/former neighbors. However, the meal at Seven Sports Bar & Grill was a bit disappointing. They were recommended for crab cakes, and we had them. Not bad, just not in the same league as G & M's .
Day 19, 11/4, Wheeling, WV: Wheeling Brewing Company. We shared Pierogies for appetizers, and the Executive Angus brisket sandwich. Both were good, but I should know better than to order a sandwich with blue cheese. I love it in other dishes, but I find that blue cheese overpowers the beef. Regarding their beers, MC started with a Weelunk Blond, while I had a Suspension Saison. I finished with an EZ Oat Pale. We both shared an ice cream scoop.
Day 20, 11/5, Cincinnati: Visiting our family. They chose the Wildflower Cafe for dinner. I had the Butternut Squash Ravioli (good). MC had the Ragu Bolognese, as did one grandson (very good). Our son had the 6 oz filet, while our daughter-in-law had the Smoked Grassfed Ribeye (they both enjoyed). The other grandson had Chicken/Waffle. While we enjoyed our meals, we didn't think the quality justified the price. Still, we had a good time with our son, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons.
Day 21, 11/6, Cincinnati: They picked, notice my bias here (-: brunch for the family at Hawthorn Grill. We started with Mimosas's and Sangria. The kids had something like a Shirley Temple. Entrees included Crab Benedict, Spaghetti & Meatballs, Corned Beef Hash, Stuffed French Toast, Blueberry Pancakes, and a Portobello Platter. All were decent. We had started with Fritters as appetizers. Very good.
Day 22, 11/7: As the grandkids were in school, and the older ones at work, MC and I had lunch at Bagger Daves. We were disappointed that we could not get a medium rare cheeseburger. However, the burger was very, very good. The service was great, and the sweet potato side excellent. Plus, interesting beers. We had a Rhinegeist Truth, a Bells 2 Hearted, and 50 West Doom Pedal. We would return.
Day 23, 11/8: Took the grandkids to the movie and to Graeter's for ice cream. Excellent.
Day 24, 11/9: Left for home. Car broke down in the midst of heavy traffic on bridge leaving Cincinnati for KY. Made it to a dealer, and they suggested a place for lunch. The Cock & Bull in Covington, KY. Surprisingly good (I'm sorry, just didn't expect much with that old, tired name). We had fish tacos, and a reuben, with sweet potato fires. Beers were a Mad Tree Psychopat and a Jackie O's Mystic.
Day 24, 11/9: Back to son's home, as car was still puzzling dealer. Went to Jungle Jim's and bought lobsters & wine. MC prepares them better than do restaurants.
Day 25, 1/10: Back to dealer, car not ready. Found an excellent pizza place with a great selection of drafts in Liberty Township, MD. So, a Cuban pizza--just wonderful. Also, had T15 Weihenstephan Hefe Weissbier (MC), T10 Sierra Nevada Karaoke Fall (moi), and a T29 Fat Heads Head Hunter (me). I appreciated the fact that they didn't charge us for samples of several other beers. We always try new beers, and always tip well. One of the places we visited earlier charged for samples. No big deal as far as the budget goes, just saying.
Day 26, 11/11: Car still not fixed, went home in a loaner (great dealer). Stopped in Louisville for lunch. We have always loved Ghyslain on Market, for their croissants and french press coffee. We also thought their lunches were good. Somehow, it did not measure up this time.