Friday, November 14, 2008

A Day at the Creek

Nick and I attended Homecoming at Campbell University on November 2nd. It’s hard to believe that thirty years ago we were freshmen (Nick at Campbell and me at Carolina). Nick enjoyed seeing all the changes that have been made since he last visited campus about fifteen years ago. The new football program has everyone, current students and alumni alike, excited. Right now the field and bleachers look a lot like a high school stadium, but the field house is impressive. It’s definitely a work in progress. What is not a work in progress is the new beautiful convocation center. We’re already checking the calendar for a date with the basketball team. While these sports programs are not as elaborate or established as some of the larger universities in the area, the spirit of the fans cannot be matched.

After the game, we went to the Brass Lantern in Dunn for dinner. The décor of this restaurant reminds me of the type of fancy adult restaurant I saw as a teenager. My childhood restaurant experiences consisted of Big Daddy’s Seafood in Kure Beach and Hardee’s. Unlike modern families, we seldom ate away from home. When I was fourteen, I went to Florida with my brother’s family and we ate at an Italian restaurant in Daytona Beach. This place has tablecloths, cloth napkins, and even served cocktails, something that was unheard of and illegal in North Carolina. The Brass Lantern reminds me of this kind of classy restaurant: subdued background music, low lighting, and cloth linens. There are no televisions, loud music, garish props, or theme dressed wait staff. Food and relaxation are the focus. Even though the atmosphere is fairly formal, casual attire is acceptable.

Nick had baby back ribs and I had prime rib. Both came with salad bar, baked potato, and fresh bread. The salad bar consists of very basic items; however, the quality and freshness of the ingredients elevate it to a higher level. I especially enjoyed the watermelon pickles. The ribs were tender and sweet. The only disappointment to me was the prime rib. I could tell this was cooked under the broiler. I feel this compromised the taste. I prefer grilled meat. The prices were typical for this type of “Saturday Night” restaurant. My prime rib was $17.95. Nick’s ribs were on special for $11.95 for a full rack, but he had to pay an extra $3.79 for the salad bar. Overall, I highly recommend the Brass Lantern for a good meal at a fair price in a pleasant environment.