Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Outer Banks Taste Of The Beach. EXPO.

One thing I must point out, is that most all the chefs, to their credit, are using local seafood and local products. According to Beth, at the North Carolina Aquarium, there is more of a consciousness now for restaurants to use locally caught seafood and to use seafood when it's available. For example, if you go to a restaurant in March and order soft shell crab, even if you could get it, it would have been frozen. Soft shells are not available fresh now. There is a greater effort to serve fresh, available seafood. Beth even mentioned putting an icon on the menus so people would know that they were eating fresh seafood from a sustainable harvest. By sustainable, we're talking about a population of fish being managed in a way that provides for today's needs without damaging the ability of the species to reproduce and be available for future generations. North Carolina fisheries are managed for long-term viability. You want to eat what's available in season, preferably local. Check here to see the stock status of NC fisheries. And click here to see a chart of North Carolina Seafood Availability by month.
I'm off my high horse now and back to the EXPO.
Here's the talented GingerSnaps.Girlfriend GingerSnaps, official Taste of the Beach photographer, was all over the place. Dang, she's cute as a button.
This is Kelly's Restaurant's table. Since I'd just had their creme brulee and their oyster stew Friday night, I opted out on this. Must say, their creme brulee is quite good.
This is Outer Banks Port o' Call Restaurant and Gaslight Saloon. These are bacon wrapped scallops in a BBQ sauce. I tried one. Like I said, scallops are delicate. Bacon and BBQ sauce are assertive. No scallop flavor. Heavy handed on the sauce.
They also had a crab dip which I didn't try. You have to understand. I'm just getting started. I go through and kinda wean out stuff and look for something a bit different. Something that grabs my eye. I love a crab meat dip as much as the next guy, but I'm looking for more.
Next stop, Black Pelican. Kahlua Mousse in a Crispy Cinnamon Cone. Pass. Don't want sweets.
Beef Ceviche and Mango Cilantro Mojito. Pass and pass.
Blackened Scallop over Tasso Dirty Rice with Roasted Garlic Corn Coulis.
Next table was Darrell's in Manteo. I love me some Darrell's and when Mr. Hawthorne and I want a fried fix, we hop on over to Darrell's. Good food. Consistent. Wonderful wait staff. And now they cook breakfast. Haven't been there yet for breakfast, but looking forward to it. I know Darrell's fried oysters and shrimp and they're both wonderful, so I skipped that too. Remember, I'm going for different. Things I know what they taste like, I'm skipping. Fried stuff would fill me up too soon.
Darrell's also served their ribs ...
... and their BBQ. Two more passes. Not into BBQ tonight.
Sanderling Inn. Oyster pan roast on toast. Didn't care for this. Oh dang it. I surely thought I took a picture of this one soup. How did I miss that? Ehh. Maybe I blocked it out. That works for me. They had a lovely green soup. I asked what is was. "Chilled green pea soup with Jump Lumbo crab meat ..." I grabbed a cup immediately and downed it. "... with star anise creme fraiche." ACCCCCCKKKKKK!!! Holy Cannoli ! I swear, if Rachael Ray starts saying Holy Cannoli, I'm suing. Apparently, I don't like star anise. There was no pea flavor. No crab flavor. Just the overwhelming taste of cough medicine. Ouch. I guess star anise is another "acquired" flavor.
Here's the Weeping Radish. Homemade sauerkraut and beer bratwurst, regular bratwurst, and apple bratwurst. Not into sausage tonight. Pass.
Next stop, Coastal Provisions. This is grilled rare local tuna with fresh goat cheese, fennel salad, grapefruit, and sea salt on a cuke round. I liked this. Very fresh. I liked the flavors and textures. I'll be making this, with my own tweaks, of course.
This is Jo. I met her at Lucky Twelve's It's All About Oysters on Saturday. She's a hoot.
Outer Banks Brewing Station At this point, the noise is deafening and I'm having a hard time communicating with the chefs and getting accurate descriptions of their dishes. The top right is a sweet potato pie/popcorn/ house-made marshmallow/peanut/ and ? Couldn't read my writing. Pass. Not into sweets. And I apologize to any restaurants and chefs if I screwed up on the descriptions. I'm thinking the middle must've been the rockfish with sriracha. Tried it, but didn't like texture of the cone. Left is Hatteras Yellowfin Tuna Tartar. You know me and raw fish. Ain't a match made in heaven yet. But I'll try. Just not tonight. Take a break. Breathe. At this point, maybe an hour or more into the festivities, Mr. Hawthorne caught up with me. I hadn't seen him since Nathan told him to drop my ass off at the front door and drive down to the mall and take the shuttle bank. Don't worry. No shuttle was involved. He just parked in the back of the Dairy Queen next door. So the Mister and Me start a-chattin' and we're comparing notes, and as it turns out, we both like Lucky Twelve's Shrimp and Coleslaw best. At this point I want to take a break and I want a glass of wine. They'd given us a glass when we checked in and I had just pocketed mine. I want some wine. Now. He tells me it's on the second floor. Oh, God. There's a second floor of this? Yes. More? Yes. I go to the second floor and run into Argyle's Restaurant: I had a Shrimp Danielle from Argyle's. Shrimp topped crab cake with lobster cream sauce. Sounds good. Could've been better. Didn't rock my world. And Indian chicken dumplings with a hoisin based sauce. Mr. Hawthorne and I kinda split this. Shrimp/quasi crab cake/lobster sauce on left. Indian chicken dumpling on right. Pamlico Jack's entrees:
Seafood etouffee with fried green tomatoes and cilantro, with a gumbo/Creole broth.
And rum cakes.
Salty chocolate cookies. I didn't bite. Not here for sweets. Next up is Peppercorn's. These are fried wontons with a Wasabi coleslaw and sesame marinated shrimp.
Tried it. I think I can improve on this. It just didn't come together for my tastes. Good idea though.
Sorry the picture is blurred. I can barely hear and I certainly can't see in the low light. These are oysters on the half shell with smoked Gouda, Andouille sausage, and scallions. Very good. I was surprised since I thought the oyster was going to be lost in the sausage and the cheese. It wasn't. The oyster held up very well on its own and I'm adding this to my oyster recipes.
Hilton Garden Inn: Lobster salad in filo cup with green olive.
I wrote down: Tapenade Artichoke pesto. Herbed goat cheese. Mushroom duxelles. Tomato, garlic, and basil.
The ubiquitous crab dip with assorted crackers. Ah. I see it now. Bottom right - the mushroom duxelles. Top right - the tomato, garlic, basil. Front left - herbed goat cheese. Back left - artichoke pesto. On to Stripers: Lobster bisque with oyster crackers and scallions. Good flavor. Very creamy. Love their bisque.
Tuna on rice noodles with sweet chili and Wasabi soy.
Sounds like a winner. Pineapple pecan chicken breast stir fry with carrot, red radish salad, anise. Wazzup with the anise tonight? After the chilled pea Lumbo Jump crab shooters with the totally overwhelming star anise I was leery of this. Plus, not into chicken. Grilled Pineapple Romanoff.
Mediterranean stuffed cherry tomatoes with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and white truffle oil.
Awful Arthur's:
Not inspired, but an all-time favorite: shrimp with cocktail sauce on a saltine. Note to everyone: Kick up your cocktail sauce.
Endive with rockfish ceviche and a Thai Curry Tamarind glaze. I have a problem with extremely large crowds of people inhabiting a close area and all the thoughts of bacteria hovering and landing. I can be quite OC at times. So, ceviche and tartar do not pass my lips in these environs. Sorry.
I'd been here for over an hour and I was getting thirsty. I had been twirling that empty wine glass in my pocket. Time to refresh. I ambled up to the bar. The very pleasant lady asked what I'd like. I responded, "Red please, a Cab." "Here's some Merlot." And she poured my one finger level glass of wine from the dregs of the bottle. I asked her if she could squeeze the neck a bit. She didn't respond. I jauntily downed my tablespoon of wine and handed the empty glass over to Mr. Hawthorne, told him I had to finish eating my way around, and to please bring me some wine. After I finally finished tasting, shooting, and noting, I found Mr. H. patiently waiting for me. I asked him for my glass of wine. Apparently, when he went to "refill" my glass, the lady had asked him to go to the end of the line. He saw no line. So he left my wine glass on the counter and asked her to please fill it when she had time. Good grief, Mr Hawthorne. Don't you know somebody coulda slipped me a Micky in that open glass of wine? A Date-Rape drug? What were you thinking? Since I got no glass and no wine, I guess that's a moot point. After eating and shooting all I wanted, I went back to the wine bar and asked the kind lady for a glass of wine. "Where's your glass," she inquired? Well, I had one and my husband left it here for you to fill. "Well, I can't fill one if you don't have a glass." But, you see, you have my glass. Can I just have a glass of wine, please? "No. You have to have your glass. We don't have any glasses." Defeated, I turned away, downtrodden. This weighed heavily on me. I want you to remember this. I am going somewhere with it. There were NO glasses and I could have NO wine unless I produced my own glass which she had.
Ham rolls.
BBQ and ribs.
Best BLT. Organic arugula, tomato marmalade, and pork belly.
Fresh mahi on orzo with shaved fennel.
Sweet corn soup. Oh, remember my wine dilemma? I told you to remember I was going somewhere with it. Here's where I'm going. As I said, it weighed heavily on me - the fact that I couldn't get a glass of wine for the life of me. I had gone back to Mr. Hawthorne to slightly bitch about this unsightly and unseemly turn of events. I mentioned the glasses on the back of the bar. Mr. Hawthorne: "Did you shoot pictures of these alleged glasses?" Oh, goodness, no! I ran back and asked the nice lady at the wine bar if she could "move aside so I could get a pic of the wine glasses on the shelf behind you."
She happily and graciously obliged. Bottom line: Bad taste going in - what with irony of large posters of obese people with a lot of skin showing. I'll tell you right now. I'd have a problem with life-sized posters of any body. I don't want to see exposed BODY, whether it's nice looking or not. I wouldn't want to see a life-sized poster of a Sports Illustrated Cover Model. That does not pair with appetite. It does not go with food. To me, it's inappropriate and unappealing. I won't say I'm offended, although I said that in a previous post. I employ much hyperbole. It was unappetizing and this is a food venue. And I had a bad taste going out. All I wanted was a glass of wine to wet my whistle and I couldn't get a glass of wine. Other than that, I hit pay dirt for blodder. (Blog fodder.) I live and breathe for stuff like this so I thank the Powers That Be. Doesn't get much better than this! Had a wonderful time and will be back next year. Yours truly, Rosie.


Anonymous said...

Poor Rosie. Those wine bitch Nazis

Obxsunshn said...

Rosie... I gotta say... I love reading your blog! I apologize for the "wine issue", I can assure you that won't happen again. Would you consider being a judge at the OBX Grand Tasting in 2011? Yes, that is the NEW name for the EXPO. I'm happy to hear that your overall experience was a good one!

dle said...

Loved all the reviews and pictures (except of Ed and Heba)...Please pass on the judgeship...because then you couldn't say what you really think!!!

Marilyn said...

I think you should consider it, Rosie. You have a very well defined palate and you would be honest about your thoughts.

That being said, I do think you should first find out exactly what rules you would be expected to follow and if it would impact your blogging abilities.

Anonymous said...

Rosie: America's Next TOTB Blog Bitch. Don't sell out for the freebies!!!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Thank you all.

And Obxsunshn, I'll consider your offer. I thank you.

dle, Do not worry. I always say what I think. And think what I say.

Mar, Be assured nothing will impact my blogging abilities.

Xmaskatie, I will not sell my soul.
And, as always, I love you more.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

And Obxsunshn, please don't apologize.
I couldn't make this shit up!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Xmaskatie, I don't think I have to worry about getting any freebies.
I couldn't get a freakin' glass of wine.

Mr. P said...

Rosie, I enjoyed the posts of the expo. The food looked delicious.