Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Hawthornes Attend A Taste Of The Beach Event. Chef John Romm At Beachside Bistro.

 March 14 - 17 was Outer Banks Taste of the Beach.
Here's their brochure so you can get a feel for the event.
Usually we attend several events and the Grand Finale or whatever they're calling it this year.  My favorite event is always the oyster feast at Lucky 12 Tavern, but Mr. Hawthorne just purchased his fifth bushel of the season and I can't see the logic there.

 Here's the promo on the Taste of the Beach page for Mark's It's All About Oysters!

Saturday, March 16th   TIME: 2:00pm-4:00pm    $40 per person

Join us in the Lucky 12 Tavern kitchen and learn how to shuck 'em, fry 'em, bake 'em, and even grill 'em. (and most of all EAT 'em!) Make a spine tingling cocktail sauce and Lucky 12's own spicy Cajun Remoulade. Wash all those NC salty oysters down with some of the tastiest microbrews and wines made right here in NC. This is one of our most popular events going into it's sixth year! You won't be disappointed in the quality or quantity you get here! Tickets will sell out fast.


Lucky 12 Tavern

3308 S. Virginia Dare Trl (Beach Road), Nags Head, NC 27959

Call 252-255-5825 for information. Limited to 26 people.


I've been to this event at Lucky 12 many times. 
Always love it.
But it's $40, plus the extra that the brown ticket online thingie charges you.  I don't like that.
But we've been averaging $50 for a BUSHEL of oysters.
Compare that to 1984 prices at $20 a bushel.

 We usually go to the dinner at Kelly's - five courses, each paired with a wine or beer.  It's good, but it's been the same for the past few years, so I signed off on that one this year.

Here's Kelly's promo:

A Celebration of Northeast North Carolina

Friday, March 15th   TIME: 6:00pm-9:00pm   $47 per person

Dine on FIVE courses of Chef's selections with distinct ale and wine pairings at each course. 

First Course:

Raw or Steamed Oysters (4) OR Grilled Vegetable Bruschetta accompanied with Duck Rabbit Ale;

Second Course:

Oyster stew or White Bean & Country Ham Chowder OR Oyster Fritter and 3 Topped Oysters (Rockefeller, Casino & Remick)

accompanied with Biltmore Reisling;

Third Course:

Spinach Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette with Seared Scallops

Accompanied with Shelton Chardonnay;

Fourth Course:

Sliced Pork Tenderloin on Mint enhanced Apples OR

Pan seared Rockfish with Dijon Cream and Grilled Shrimp

Both dinners are served with collard greens and sweet potato hash.
Accompanied with Sanctuary Vineyards Coastal Collage;
Fifth Course:

Sweet Potato Crème Brule or Chocolate Pecan Pie

Accompanied with Sanctuary Vineyards Sweet Serenity

A remarkable value and what will surely be a remarkable meal celebrating the seasonal specialties and wines of Northeast NC.


Kelly's Outer Banks Restaurant & Tavern

2316 S. Croatan Hwy., Nags Head, NC 27959

Call 252-441-4116 for more information.

To order tickets in advance

And we're not going to the Big Finale on Sunday.  Mr. Hawthorne really didn't want to go and I wasn't all that enthused about it either.  As a food blogger, I should have gone, but it just didn't happen this year.  The Grand Tasting is $60 per person.  Do you know how much food I can prepare for $120?

Here's their promo:

  The OBX Bank 2013 Grand Tasting

Sunday, March 17th     $60 per person

TIME: First Session 4:30pm-6:30pm

Second Session 7:00pm-9:00pm 


The OBX Bank Taste of the Beach Grand Tasting, the grand finale event, on Sunday, March 17th is always the hottest ticket in town with over two dozen area restaurants along with the best beverage vendors to give you a culinary experience of a lifetime. Taste your way through The Outer Banks in one location! It’s how this event began over 30 years ago and it is still the event people rave about. The event is split into two sessions to provide a more relaxed and enjoyable setting for each group of guests. First session begins at 4:30 until 6:30, then we take a break, clear out a bit, and open up to second session ticket holders at 7:00 to 9:00. When you purchase your tickets be sure it is for the session you desire as you will not be admitted if you hold tickets to the other session. Along with your favorite restaurants there will be beer and wine booths! Your ticket price includes beer and wine but there is also a cash bar available if you prefer something else. You will receive a gift wine bag with your choice of souvenir wine glass or pint glass (compliments of US Foods and The Beach Book) to use during the event and take home with you. Restaurants will be competing for the 4th Annual TOB’y Awards; Best Booth Presentation, Best In Show, Best Outer Banks Catch, and the two top awards, the Chefs Award and People’s Choice Award. These awards will be announced at the end of the second session, but both session attendees will have the opportunity to cast their votes. Second session voting will be closed at 8:30 in order to tabulate the winners in time for announcement ceremony to begin at 8:50. Food will still be served until the award ceremony begins.
Tickets are limited and specific to sessions! Please order carefully.

This is an adults only event 21+. Please no children or strollers.

Pamlico Jack’s Restaurant
6803 S. Croatan Hwy., Nags Head, NC 27959
Call 252-207-5092 for information.
Strictly limited to 250 people per session. When this event sells out, it is truly sold out. Please do not call for tickets.

SOLD OUT, both sessions. Please do not call.

To order tickets


I only signed Mr. Hawthorne and me up for one event this year - Chef John Romm's cooking class.  I haven't seen Romm around for a while.  He studied at CIA and has worked at 1587 in Manteo, Ocean Boulevard, and Renditions.  I found out he's now Executive Chef at Beachside Bistro in the Sea Ranch Resort, where The Pearl used to be.  

I've always liked Chef Romm.  A few years back, the Hawthornes enjoyed presentations by him at two of our cooking classes at the North Carolina Aquarium:

Cooking class #2 with Chef Romm at the aquarium

The wonderful thing about the cooking classes we take is that I always learn something - whether it's a technique, culinary tip, a recipe, or one of those things that chefs take for granted and decide to impart to us. 

I remember in Chef Romm's first class, we learned to toast paprika in a dry pan, then add in a little oil and heat it up.  We store these in mini-squirt bottles in the fridge and heat up in hot water before using.  Little squiggles of infused oils (The flavors are limitless.) with concentrated flavors can add both excellent flavor and artistic flair to any dish.  I love the paprika-infused oil in a nice chowder.  Basil- and lime-infused oil pairs nicely with scallops.

In Chef Romm's second class, we learned a neat tip.  Squeeze out the brine in bottled horseradish.

The Hawthornes also enjoyed a meal at his restaurant, Renditions, which, sadly, is no longer.

Anyhoos, when I saw Romm was back in the game at Taste of the Beach with a "Creative Local Atlantic Seafood Specialties Cooking Class," I signed us up.  I never went to the Taste of the Beach site to check out the menu.  All I saw was "Creative Local Atlantic Seafood Specialties Cooking Class" and Chef Romm and I was sold.

Last Thursday, March 14, at 11 AM, the Hawthornes were at Beachside Bistro in the Sea Ranch for Chef Romm's Seafood Specialties class.  Thursday was also the day Beachside Bistro was opening for the season, sort of a dry run for them.  The participants in the class enjoyed attentive and flawless service.

We sat down to the crisp white linens and a Sea Ranch folder containing recipes for today's four courses.  I look at the first course and it's Pulled Pork Egg Rolls with Carolina Slaw.  Say wha??!!?? 

Pig is not Fish! 

I flip through the pages and I see a recipe for Fruit Crumble.  Oh my!  

Fruit is not Fish!  

I'm starting to get nervous.  All is not right in Rosie's little world.  I'm starting to get testy and whiny at this turn of events.  These are two fish courses I will not be having.  Plus,  I've been making egg rolls out the wazoo lately.
To wit:

Right when Rosie is about to succumb to the pressure and anxiety of having BBQ egg rolls, a server comes by and pours me a glass of Pinot Grigio. At 11 AM!  This is decadent.  Something totally unexpected. This is the kind of surprise I like! 

Oh hell, what's another egg roll?

Braised pork egg rolls served with a sweet Carolina dipping sauce with cider vinegar, sugar, mayo, honey mustard, and celery seeds.  The squiggly brown BBQ sauce was not enough to taste.

I made notes about Chef Romm's preparation of the Boston Butt and I will try this method next time.  He left the layer of fat on top, so it would render as it cooked.  This is similar to the method I use when I make carnitas.  Traditionally, carnitas are fried in lard, but if you render the pork fat out, you pretty much have the same thing.  For the braising mixture, Chef Romm used Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, red chile flakes, garlic pepper, and apple cider vinegar.  Bake at 275° for 7 hours.  Cool in cooking liquid.  Pull meat, discarding any fat.

At this point, one of the participants asked a question.  "Why is it called butt if it's from the shoulder?"  Chef Romm didn't know the answer, but Rosie did.  In Colonial America, cheaper pork cuts were packed into casks or barrels, also known as butts, for storage and shipment. Boston butchers would cut the shoulders a certain way and this way became the common way to cut up a hog shoulder.  "Boston Butt" refers not only to this method, but "butt" also refers to the container, not the physical source of the cut.

I'm sure everybody loved this.  I didn't because I do not want barbecue in an egg roll. Barbecue is not a favorite of mine.   Shoot, I never think, "Gee, I want some BBQ."  And when I fix an egg roll, I want a light Asian egg roll.

Chef Romm commented that he chose BBQ because he figured that people coming down here for Taste of the Beach would want a taste of North Carolina, which would include NC BBQ.  I can understand his reasoning, but I never order barbecue.  Anywhere.  If we want BBQ, we'll make our own.  What I want is a taste of North Carolina SEAFOOD.

 I didn't care for this.  But that's me.  My tastes.  It's too heavy for me.  Plus, it's got that barbecue thing going on.

Now, if you'd lightly battered and fried some cubes of fish and tucked them inside a taco, added some shredded cabbage or lettuce, chopped red onion, cilantro, sesame seeds, and lime zest and squirted on a pineapple/mango/habanero salsa, I'd be all over that like Sandra Lee on a cocktail.  Just sayin'.

Rosie is taking copious notes.
Uh oh.  My glass is getting low.

It's 11:38 and I just switched wine glasses with Mr. Hawthorne.
I've decided I will be the Designated Drinker today.  
It's before noon and I feel a little naughty.
I am giddy.

Next up is a mixed greens salad napped with a Dijon Mustard and Bacon Vinaigrette and topped with delicately fried sea scallops.  I'll be making this vinaigrette - red onion, egg yolks, garlic, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, bacon, brown sugar, cider vinegar, olive oil, and Tabasco.

I love scallops in any form.
These did not disappoint.

Here's Chef Romm with Maria Neves of Sweet Maria's BakeryNeves' bakery is located in Kitty Hawk between Argyle's and Napa.  Maria is making the Fruit Crumble.

It's 11:52 and our server has refilled "Mr. Hawthorne's" glass.

I snagged our server,  Lisa, my new BFF.
I wanted to see what the wine was.
Normally, I'm not a white wine drinker.
I drink Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Shiraz.
But today, I'm drinking the white.
At 11 in the morning.

This was a delightful, refreshing, crisp Pinot Grigio.
I asked Lisa if she could show me the bottle so I could see what the alcoholic content of the wine was. "Yeah.  13.5%.  I thought so.  Thanks, Leese." 

Next up is Blackened Mahi Mahi and a Sweet Pea Grit Cake with Mango Chutney and asparagus.  The mahi mahi was liberally seasoned with a Cajun blend.  Too liberally for my tastes.  Mine was overly spiced, too heavily seasoned, masking the mahi flavor.  Let the fish shine!  My mahi was a tad overcooked and dry.

Mr. Hawthorne and I both loved the grit cakes and now I have a Mango Chutney recipe.
The grit cake had shrimp, Parmesan, and sweet peas.
The mahi had a Mango Chutney - mango, toasted chile flakes, diced red onion, minced ginger, diced red pepper, pineapple juice, cider vinegar, brown sugar, curry powder, Kosher salt, and golden raisins.

Maria works on her Fruit Crumble.

It's 12:09.
Rosie is pacing herself.

My BFF, Lisa, came and asked a distracted Mr. Hawthorne if he wanted more wine.  Mr. Hawthorne didn't respond, so I jumped in and took over.  "Yes, Lisa, please and thank you.  He'd love another glass." When Lisa was pouring Mr. H.'s glass, he sensed a disturbance in the cosmos, and turned around to look at the problem.  He saw Lisa pouring, looked at me, and I smiled and told him not to worry, I had his back.

Uh oh.
 I find this in my notes.
It's three minutes later.
Apparently, I am not pacing myself.
Obviously, this cannot be correct.

See?  In front of me, Red is knockin' it back, too.

I look down the tables.
Lots of wine.

Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.

 Now, Maria's Fruit Crumble comes out.
Cranberries, pears, apples, oats, almonds, flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla extract with whipped cream. Oh yes.

Class is over.
And so is Rosie.

This is why Rosie doesn't drink white wine.

My whole day is certifiably over.
And it's not even 12:30!

Mr. Hawthorne piled Rosie into the truck and we left the Sea Ranch.

Oh wait!

There's a FIRE ENGINE!

And there's a FIREMAN on the fourth floor of the Sea Ranch.
Rosie fans herself.

Never did find out what was going on.

On the way home, I tell Mr. Hawthorne to swing by Food Lion.  We're dangerously low on toilet paper.  He deems it wise that I stay in the truck while he goes in and I'm agreeable to that.  I check my phone. I am so important. I see everything and everyone that wants my attention, but I ignore it all.

I snap off a shot of the Wright Brothers Monument on Kill Devil Hill
as we cruise down Colington Road.

I shoot a picture of the water I so love. The inclusion of the black plastic window thingie in the truck on the right in this picture was, of course, intentional.

And that's the end of Rosie's day.


Lori K said...

Loved your notes...4 1/2 glasses!!!
Looks like you had fun

SweetPhyl said...

nothing like wine to make the day go smoother...good thing the bbq was the first course or you woulda raved about that too! LOL! Glad ya had fun, Rosie...missed ya at the Grand Tasting...they had oysters there, too. Course, I didn't get to taste ANYTHING as I literally knocked myself out before I could get around to taste anything. Ended up in the ER getting stitches, blast it all! We truly enjoyed Chef Donnie's Carolina Fare dinner at Ocean Blvd. and the Chowder Cookoff is a STEAL for $20--you should come next year! See ya round the hood...

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Lori, I had too much fun!

SweetPhyl, I heard about your accident. Hope your noggin is OK.

Curious. Did they shave your head to do the stitches? Because that would be an awesome look for you!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

And by the way, SweetPhyl, I hope to be at the Grand Tasting next year. But I want to be the Grand PooBah at the Grand Tasting. I want to be the Grand Marshall of sorts and lead all the chefs in. I'll be carrying the torch and wearing the toque.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Oh, Lori. According to Mr. Hawthorne, he tipped our server, Lisa, and she came back and poured more wine for me. For some reason, I didn't remember that part.

SweetPhyl said...


Alas, the stitches didn't come with a free haircut, but, you're right, I would totally rock the shaved head thingy! And, you show up wearing a toque next year to the GRAND TASTING, and I'll personally introduce you as the Grand Tasting Grand PooBah. Gotta get working on your sash and I imagine we'll use a whisk as your scepter!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

SweetPhyl, I want to be carried in on a litter held aloft by young bronzed and oiled Adonises wearing very little clothing. You think you can pull that off?

DH said...

Thank you mami I am now inspired to get my wine on in the MORNING next time :) yayyyyy

Rosie Hawthorne said...

DH, I don't recommend that at all.