Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mimi's Cafe

Someone commented to me yesterday that this restaurant is a typical “ladies who lunch” kind of place. While I must say that this is a great locale for that very thing, men enjoy eating here just as much. We went last week and Nick got his favorite, the patty melt. There is nothing ladylike about this sandwich. The beef patty is really thick and piled high with grilled onions and served on grilled rye bread. I had one of my favorites, quiche Lorraine which comes with salad, fruit, and a muffin the size of a Mini Cooper. The salad dressing, blue cheese, was freshly made and delicious. I chose the seasonal muffin which was lemon (not just lemon flavored, but glazed with a fresh lemon sauce, MMMM). October’s muffin will be pumpkin and according to our waitress is a big seller. Nick and I love their drinks. I always get the strawberry lemonade, just sweet enough, and Nick likes the Arnold Palmer. My frugal nature appreciates the fact that refills on these special drinks are free. I can’t have just one glass. Another one of my regular dishes here is the stuffed French toast. Brunch at Mimi’s Café is a production, so if you’re able this is a great meal to try for the first time visit. You may run into some of the lunching ladies, but chances are, you’ll run into all types of diners who appreciate good food and a festive French Quarter atmosphere.
BTW: Mimi's is at Plantation Square on Capital Blvd or Cary Towne Center Mall

Crab Nachos at Joe's Crab Shack

This could have been a disaster when I ordered this as my meal the other night. Was I ever relieved with the first delectable bite! If you like the traditional crab dip baked with cream cheese, try this. First you have a bed of the multicolored nacho chips, then you have a generous layer of crab dip as well as corn and black bean salsa and cheese. The chips are crispy and freshly fried and the Mexican overtures of the salsa don’t overpower the delicate rich flavor of the crab. Nick was only able to get a couple of bites because I was scooping this up so quickly. I would definitely have this again, however, this does fall into the category of “special”, so who knows how long Joe’s will keep this on the menu!

Monday, September 15, 2008

King's BBQ in Kinston

My favorite pastime is eating out of town. Yesterday (August 30th) we had to go to Kinston, so I searched the web and found King’s BBQ. Their pork barbeque got very good reviews so we gave it a try. Saturday night is seafood buffet night. Of course, they also served fried chicken and pulled pork. This was traditional Eastern North Carolina pork, so the only sauce available was the peppered vinegar. I have very specific guidelines concerning eating barbequed pork. First of all, I don’t like chopped pork. I want my pork sliced or pulled, and if at all possible I want to see the pig on the cooker. I want to pay my respects to the little oinker sacrificed for my dining pleasure. I also don’t want my pork drowned in sauce. The meat should be well seasoned and then mopped frequently with some liquid to keep it moist, but I want to add my own sauce at the table. Even though I grew up eating chopped Eastern North Carolina barbeque, I prefer a tomato based sauce. My personal favorite is the recipe Nick makes. We call it Big Daddy Nick’s Soppin’ Sauce, but unfortunately, unless you are a personal friend, you will probably never taste this pork nectar. Back to King’s, their pork was moist and flavorful. My only complaint would have to be the lack of a sweet sauce in which to dip it. This disappointment, however, was completely erased when I saw the slab of meat lying in crispy skin on the buffet. I was able to pull a portion from the slab and while this is not quite the same as adoring the pig on the cooker, it comes in a close second. I also ate popcorn shrimp, deviled crab, and fried chicken. All were very good, although the chicken was a little greasy. The butter beans tasted like they just came out of Granny’s kitchen and the hush puppies were homemade. Lemon, pecan, and chocolate pie as well as banana pudding were the dessert selections. Washed down with good, syrupy sweet tea, this was pleasant southern country cooking. The buffet was $10.99 per person and was a bargain considering the available bounty. Y’all southerners will be right at home in the ladder back chairs and wooden tables covered in vinyl tablecloths. The décor like the food was not fancy, but I would not hesitate to eat here again.

The Grill Master

We love to grill. We grill on gas and charcoal. We have a grill pan for inside cooking. We grill almost year ‘round. We watch TV shows about grilling. The other night Nick was grilling a whole chicken on a roastin’ post on his charcoal Weber. He put a spice rub on the outside of the chicken and then injected it with a marinade. We were sitting on the deck, Nick was reading and I was playing my new favorite computer game, Mahjong Titans. The smoke smelled incredible. That’s when we heard it! Thunder! Oh no, where did this come from? I ran inside with my laptop and just as the rain began, Nick hurriedly moved our deck umbrella into the yard over the grill. Our supper was saved. For the next hour, the rain poured down, but the chicken continued to roast. Here’s a picture of our set up (taken the next day). A little rain is not going to stop the GRILL MASTER!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


One of our favorite events is this weekend, the 18th annual Greek Festival. Nick and I went today for lunch. Everything was great as usual. We had souvlaki (pork tenderloin in pita), pastichio (Greek lasagna), dalmathes (stuffed grape leaves), and brought home a sampling of pastries. We love Greek food and try to make the festival every year. This used to be held at the Charlie Rose Center, but moved back to the church grounds a few years ago. This first time that we went to the Rose Center, Nick sent in one direction to get drinks and I went in another direction to get the food. I found a seat, but he didn't see me, so I am calling out, "Nick, Nick!".
At least fifty guys turned their heads to look at me! Finally, my Nick heard me and came to our table! We, of course, go for the food, but there is music and dancing and merchandise booths as well as the blood mobile from Cape Fear Valley. This is the closest most of us can get to being from a big Greek family, so join in on the fun and food.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Table for Three?

(thanks to my good friend Hubert for helping me sort this one out!)

Recently a couple of people stopped at Wilbur’s BBQ in Goldsboro for lunch on a Saturday. Most of the patrons were dressed in shorts or jeans and tee shirts. Margaret and Bob were dressed in very conservative dark suits. They entered the restaurant and seated themselves. They waited a few minutes and no one came to take their order. Bob noticed a stack of menus with a sign over then that said, “Do not take your own menu.” They waited a few more minutes with no attention given to them. Bob finally walked back to the front counter and grabbed two menus. Margaret quickly decided on a BBQ plate, as did Bob. Several waitresses had passed when Bob was able to stop one of them.
“Excuse me, could you tell me who our waitress is?” he asked politely.
She looked at the table where the menus lay, “you got your own menus didn’t you? You’re not supposed to do that. I’ll send someone over.”
Margaret and Bob were surprised at the rude attitude of the waitress, but decided it was just the Saturday lunch rush that had her in a foul mood. They continued to wait with no response.
“If we don’t get our food ordered soon we are not going to make our appointment,” commented Bob, looking at his watch.
Margaret nodded in agreement, “Look there’s the take out counter, I think we’d better get our lunch to go.”
At the counter they were able to place their order without incident until Margaret asked for artificial sweetener for her tea.
“I told you I would give you some, if you’ll just wait”, snapped the man at the cash register.
With plates in hand, Margaret and Bob return to the parking lot to eat in the car before heading on to Kinston for their appointment.
A young waitress named Kelly pressed her face to the window.
“Are they gone yet?”
“Who, those undertakers? They’re eating in the car.” replied the cashier.
The car was a black hearse carrying the remains of a dear saint to his interment. Poor Margaret and Bob have no clue as to why they were given such poor service at Wilbur’s