I arrived Saturday night, and unfortunately learned that spontaneous driving around doesn't work, at least in a place as sprawly as Durham. Lewis Bar-B-Que in Durham just south of I-40 looked great, but I made the mistake of checking into the hotel first and by the time I returned it was closed.
Some of the places I encountered were closed (this was around 9PM) and others deterred me with the bars on their windows. I saw dozens of Applebee's-type spots. Finally I settled on Honey's, which billed itself as a country-cooking place.
It was basically a Southern Denny's. I got the barbecue, which was o.k. but nothing special. The accompanying fries were decent but I would have preferred some more unusual side items.
On Sunday I drove to Dillon, S.C., for B&C Steak & BBQ, a shockingly underrated casual buffet spot. Tipped off by my father, who discovered this on an I-95 excursion, I gave it a whirl, and it was great. I'd like to hear the input from the cynical anti-buffet chowhounds.
I enjoyed the fried chicken, the N.C.-type barbecue and the tangy beef stew, but best of all was the giant fried pork chop. I didn't even get a chance to sample the non-fried chicken. I consumed token amounts of greens and black-eyed peas to offset the five pounds of meat. I quite enjoyed the banana pudding. Quite a deal for $7.99.
Bored of I-95, I veered off at Lumberton and drove through various small agricultural towns. Someday I'd like to return and check the abundant Mexican joints, small diners and even farmstands, but I could not eat anything, as my destination was Goldsboro. Not for the Chowhound-beloved Wilber's, but for McCall's. Yeah, it's tourist-friendly, but I loved it the first time and it turned me on to the unspecified item that may or may not be crowder peas.
This was the Sunday buffet, and was slightly different than the seafood-heavy version I encountered on a previous trip. The fried shrimp was still there, but there was one type of fish instead of two, and I think there were oysters on my first visit. Also missing was the unusual shredded-pork-in-sauce item that I enjoyed the first time. Additions at the recent buffet included some very good turkey and some pretty good pork ribs.
Grounds For Expression, an Internet cafe in Goldsboro, had strong espresso but the computer didn't work.
I went to Smithfield's for the board-recommended chicken, and it was great. I'm glad I got the four-piece. I will never again suffer through Popeye's at the mall (o.k., that's an exaggeration.) The Brunswick stew was standard but that's good enough.
I tried to go to Worrell's Seafood in Wilson. That was closed since it was Monday. Then I went to Moore's Barbecue in Kenly. Closed on Monday. With my flight-time looming, I didn't have any more chances to roam around (I contemplated Dad's Calabash Seafood in Selma but didn't want to miss my flight) so I went to another Smithfield's. I got the shrimp and pork combination.
The shrimp was good preparation of mediocre crustaceans. But the pork was surprisingly good. It didn't need the sauce, but I did enjoy the sauce so I drenched the corn sticks.
Next time perhaps I'll have more than days.
Does anyone have any comments on Worrell's or Lewis?