Friday, March 12, 2010

It's The Outer Banks Taste Of The Beach. Kelly's Restaurant.

I've been looking forward to this weekend. It's the annual Outer Banks Taste of the Beach. And there are beaucoup events to attend. See the shedyule. For the past three years, we've attended the same three events and have thoroughly enjoyed them. First night, we go to Kelly's Restaurant for their Taste of Northeastern North Carolina 6 course meal with paired wines and beers for each course. All for $37. Next afternoon, we go to Lucky 12 Tavern's It's All About Oysters. This is always my favorite event. Because I love oysters - all different ways - and Mark and BJ deliver. We finish the weekend up on Sunday night with the tiara of events - THE EXPO. Area chefs present their best oeuvre. And we get to wander through and taste whatever. This is the most difficult part for me, as a blogger. For the past two years, I've had a plan. Honest. I have. I was going to start at the "beginning" and shoot pictures, ask questions, and pen Q & A. That's a plan. Right? Well, the plan fizzled. After about the second, third, or was it the first booth? I was trying to write everything down, shoot pictures, describe the food, and ask questions. I was juggling equipment and pen and pad. And I just wanted to eat my way through. For this year, I even asked the otherwise-occupied Xmaskatie to come with me to this and be my sous blogger. She could make notes and back me up. She's really good at that sort of stuff. Alas. It was Outer Banks Taste of the Beach. It's a tough venue for a blogger.
But BLOG I must.
It's about 5 PM, Friday afternoon. March 12, 2010. We're getting ready to embark.
And it's pouring down raining.
The wind is blowing the rain in sheets. My garbage cans on the east side of the house, right next to the garage door, have been blown out twice to the center of the driveway. By South winds. Not usual here.
And in the worst of the weather, we head out to the first of our fun things to do this weekend. I first thought of getting Taxis. It's a six course meal with paired wines and beers. But no. I have children HOME with me. They should drive the Ol' Farts to dinner and back. And one DROVE and another came to PICK UP. That's progress, right? Youngest Hawthorne chauffeured us in a White Avalanche. We had previously contacted our friends, Ian (the one with the Long I) and Jeanette, to please join us for an evening of fun, good food, and greater friendship. Youngest Hawthorne first went to the Broomland's house, we picked them up, then headed to Kelly's. Did I mention pouring down rain? When we were deposited at the front door, I stepped into 1 1/2 inches of rain water in the parking lot.
Upon entering Kelly's, we were taken care of. That's what I love about Kelly's Restaurant and Mike Kelly. The wait staff is impeccable, tres efficient, and, as I noticed tonight, is quite the team. They all work together. They are a well-oiled machine. And Mike Kelly is a work horse. He bussed tables, watered our troughs, and took time to talk with us. He is the consummate host.
Here's our menu:
And I apologize for the following:
I only took one picture of the bread basket, which was immediately brought to us. And it's out of focus. My bad. There were 3 types of breads - a sweet potato bread, a dark bread, and a dinner roll type. Next up, our first course. We were offered 4 raw or steamed oysters, or 1/2 and 1/2 I got 4 raw. Jeanette got 4 steamed. And Mr. Hawthorne and Ian-With-A-Long-I got 2 steamed and 2 raw. Steamed oysters got melted butter. Raw oysters got lemon and a damn good cocktail sauce. Not nasal gouging, but still good.
Here's my raw oyster dish. I'm thinking last year, we had maybe 6 oysters. Pretty sure about that. This year, just four. You know I will go back and check out the numbers. If I'm wrong, you'll never hear from me again. If I'm right, you'll never hear me shut up. Yup. I just went back and checked out last year's post about Kelly's. There were indeed 6 raw or steamed oysters for the first course and 5 of the oysters with toppings. Ah ha! Never let it be said Rosie doesn't know her oysters.
Second course was an oyster bisque. Rich, in a floury kind of way. Two oysters. Mediocre. Points for oysters. Not exceptional. Splash of sherry would've been nice. Maybe some butter swirled in. It was OK. But it just needed something. I'm trying to remember if there was a granular texture. As I recall, it was a tad heavy.
Third course: Four topped oysters. Sorry. I can't tell you the exact toppings. One is kinda Rockefeller. Another was tomatoey. Maybe a Cajuney one? And then ... something else. I'm sorry. But the restaurant is very dark and I forgot to bring my glasses. That's why I couldn't tell the picture of my bread was so out of focus. Sucks getting old. Just found the menu HERE. The menu says this:

3rd Course

Assortment of Topped Oysters including Cajun Grilled, Rockefeller, Casino,

Remick and Julienne

Shelton Vineyards Chardonnay ‘08

I counted 5 oysters in the description.

I got 4.

Not that I'm complaining.

They were all delish.

Just sayin'.

Unless Remick and Julienne

are one.

Then that would count

for the fourth, but not the fifth oyster.

So's the fours of us are sittin' and drinkin' and nibblin' and noshin' and talkin' and I NOTICE something:
There's a row of framed prints on the opposite wall. I notice that the very first frame is askew. Oh. By the way, that crew over there? Ian-With-A-Long-I and Jeanette heard a bus driver coming in and saying he had a party for THIRTY. And Jeanette and I just looked at each other and thought, "In 5-10 years. That's us. We'll be pulling into Branson, Missouri, and looking for Wayne Newton. Or an Elvis Impersonator."
I totally fucked with Mr. Hawthorne when I told him about the skewed picture. He hates stuff like that. He hates askew. Drives him crazy. And I know that. And it gives me a certain power. So tonight, at dinner at Kelly's, I directed his attention to the limping frame. And, SERPRIZE,SERPRIZE he couldn't keep his eyes off it. Mission done. He told me to go over and fix it. We brought it to the attention of our wonderful, everywhereatonce waitress, Caroline. She said that kind of stuff drove her crazy too. So I went to pee, and my table called out to me to fix the damn frame. So when I walked by, I went outta my way to go over and push the right side farther up. Just to piss him off. Thirty and twenty years ago I owned an Oldsmobile Cutlass and a Buick Century. They both had hood ornaments. Whenever we'd go on a trip out in those cars, I'd always get out there first and twist the hood ornament just a quarter inch off. He'd get 1/2 mile into the ride. Maybe 60 miles. And he'd catch it. Would.Drive.Him. Crazy. And I learned today I still have that power. Just by pointing out a skewed picture. Caroline, our waitress, fixed it. Too early for my tastes.
Fourth course. Spinach salad with "vinaigrette." I got no vinaigrette. I did not like the salad at all. I love the cornmeal fried oyster part. Cornmeal fried ersters er delish. But I must comment about the salad. I expected a bacon vinaigrette. I know it's supposed to be hot and wilt the spinach. But I got something else all together. I dug into the spinach and got a hot, gooey mess. Sorry. I did find bacon. But I would've like some vinaigrette. Maybe some Balsamic Vinegar. The texture on my spinach salad was like a gravy. The light is darkened. I forgot my glasses. I can't see what this is. I think it might have been some Parmesan melting because the bacon joos had been poured on. I have no idea. Then I get a taste of Bleu. Jeanette seconded that Bleu. No. The salad was not good.
At this point, I've had all I can eat. And we're served another course. The main course. I taste test and it's a lovely pork tenderloin, nicely done, pink, with a mustard cream sauce, and a veggie saute and grits. This pork tenderloin is grades above last year's. Last year's was overcooked. I asked Caroline to box it for me. I'm saving room for dessert.
Mr. Hawthorne's platter. Did I mention there were Oyster Fritters on the Entree?
Creme brulees for Jeanette and Rosie.
Pecan/Chocolate Pies for Ian-With-A-Long-I and Mr. Hawthorne.
Mike Kelly and Kelly's Restaurant have never disappointed. Mr. Kelly is forever Hands On. And it's a beautiful thing to watch. His wait staff is disciplined and exacting. A true pleasure. Thank you, Mr. Kelly, for yet another wonderful, friendly, and satisfying dining experience. It's always a pleasure at your establishment.


Obxsunshn said...

It's always a pleasure to read your take on the Taste of The Beach. I am the organizer of the weekend. Hope you and your friends enjoy the rest of your "Tasting Journey"!

Anonymous said...

Glad you had a memorable time, sorry we had to miss it.

Marilyn said...

That food did look good and I also love a good bacon vinnygarret. Too bad you didn't get one this time.

Mr. P said...

I should send my wife to stay the weekend with you. I think she would like the full deal of "Taste of the Beach". I can't wait to see your next post.