27 November 2009


I was just at the gym on the elliptical and I was assaulted by an overwhelming craving for peach cobbler. More specifically my late grandmother's peach cobbler. It was triggered by the episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives I was watching while I worked out. Food cravings are very intriguing to me. They can be triggered by the most random things. I wonder if there is any kind of scientific background to why we get them or why we crave specific things. Well in light of all of this random pondering I figured I would shoot a quick post about food cravings and the random ones I've had lately: peach cobbler, pot roast, hush puppies, mussels marinara, sloppy joes, and probably the most prominent fancy-pants cheeseburgers.

I'm very aware that no one reads this blog, well not yet anyway, but I feel I must pose the question to anyone who might happen by: what have you been craving lately?

On an unrelated note I am currently composing a very large post about the first day of our trip to NYC earlier this month so keep checking back, it should be up soon.

23 November 2009

Eating Bambi

We've had this 6 lb. venison roast in the freezer for over a year. My father-in-law gave it to us last year after he felled a deer. So after getting fed up with it taking up so much valuable freezer space I decided to thaw it out and cook it up. I searched the internet extensively and finally settled on this recipe. After reading the user reviews I made the following changes: I used garlic powder instead of garlic salt, I used reduced sodium soy sauce, and I also only used half the packet of onion soup mix. I also added:

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 mediums onions sliced
6 red potatoes quartered
two handfuls of baby carrots

I sliced the roast in half and threw it in the cooker with everything else. I set it to low and let it go for just over 8 hours. Nikki got home and we made up some salads and then spooned out our venison in bowls topped with freshly cracked black pepper. I don't know how some reviews claimed this dried out the roast, mine had soooo much gravy. It was damn good. Damn good. The changes I made resulted in a perfect level of salt. Yum. I consider my first attempt at venison most certainly a success. The only thing that could've made the meal better is a nice loaf of crusty bread with butter. But Nikki forgot to pick it up on her way home from work. The story of my life...

17 November 2009

OBX in effect Day 3

We went back to First Light for breakfast and this time I had the french toast in my sights. With a side of bacon of course. Booyah:

And here's a shot of the lovely interior:

It was good, but honestly not as good as it looks. If I were to get it again I would've asked it to be extra crispy (I like crispy, alright!?) and I would've asked for the whipped cream on the side as it made the toast soggy. The bacon was very good however. Considering this was their signature item on the menu I was a bit disappointed. The best items I ate there were no question the pancakes and potatoes. The biscuits weren't too shabby however.

Judy and Dave wanted to go look at properties so we had the day to ourselves. Our first stop was the Currituck Lighthouse.

We paid a small fee and climbed the sprial stairs up to the top.

It was windy as hell up there but we took in the marvelous view anyway.

After this we rode around looking for a decent local ice cream place to satiate Nikki's sweet tooth but once she saw Dairy Queen the thought of a Blizzard ended our search. Doubly so when I spotted the sign that they were offering a seasonal pumpkin pie blizzard!

It was friggin delicious. The spice blend they sprinkled on top was definitely more than just nutmeg. It really was a terrific blizzard. I loved the chunks of pie crust. Lovely. Gorgeous.

After DQ we hit up a place called the Corolla Brew Pub which unfortunately I neglected to get a picture of outside. We headed inside and I noticed they had a few local brews on tap. I ordered the brown and was immediately taken aback. This was the best beer I'd had in a long time, if not the best beer I've ever had. Wow. Look how pretty it is:

MMmmmmm. That is all I have to say. If you really want to know how it tastes, you'll make a point of trying it the next time you're in OBX. Nikki ordered a house cabernet and the guy brought it out in one hell of a wine glass. This was probably the biggest glass of wine I've seen served. Monstrous. Here is my lovely wife, attempting to conquer the crimson beast, pinky out of course.

I didn't get any great pics of the interior but here is a pic of the taps and the wall behind the bar, covered in glasses and lovely lovely liquor.

I couldn't leave this post without a picture of me enjoying said amazing brew, could I?

After a few rounds and Nikki's jug o' wine we met up with Judy and Dave for dinner. This time it was my choice so I chose a place we had driven by a few times that looked promising, the Red Sky Cafe.

One trend to this meal was lukewarm. Everything I ate was lukewarm. Let's get right to it. The asiago artichoke dip that was served with bread tasted like pizza in dip form. This would've been totally awesome had it been served hot. Unfortunately it was served room temperature. You will start to notice a trend here...

I also ordered a margarita and Dave promptly told the server (who was a snotty bish) to upgrade it to Patron. I didn't mind at all. While this was a real margarita and I applaud them for that I was kind of in the mood for a sickly sweet synthetic pre-bottled one. So this one didn't hit the mark for me. I may have felt differently had I been in the mood for a traditional margarita.

For my entree I ordered a special that unfortunately isn't on their online menu and this was so long ago I only have my terrible memory and one picture to go off of. It was a lamb and skirt steak dish served over pasta with feta cheese and roasted pine nuts.

As any normal person would, I expected this dish to be served HOT. But it was also served lukewarm. Room temperature. Meat served room temperature. Was the oven on a smoke break or something? I will give the place credit though, on second perusal of the menu it did say served over pasta salad so I guess it was my fault for not reading the menu correctly. But can you blame me? I was two beers and a margarita in, and I'm a skinny white boy with no tolerance. I picked at the dish for a minute or two and pushed it away. I had a very bad experience at this restaurant. On the other hand Nikki and Judy ordered the Herb Encrusted Chicken and I ate most of Nikki's and it was actually very tasty. Probably because it was HOT. Also Dave said his sweet and spicy duck was very good. I would've ordered that but I'm not huge on citrus glazes. I work at a citrus flavor and fragrance plant, can you blame me?

After dinner we headed over to the Swann Bar & Lounge for drinks and dessert. We headed up the stairs to a quaint little lounge area with a small bar and fireplace, at least I think there was a fireplace... The specialty drink menu was pretty damn impressive and had me salivating after my disappointing dinner. I ordered a cinnamon apple spice martini thing. The presentation was very pleasant:

Unfortunately it had too much Jack in it. It was a bit too strong. But martinis are supposed to be strong, right? I guess I just didn't know what I wanted to drink that night because it seems I wasn't pleased with anything. Anyway after perusing their dessert menu I ordered the apple pie a la mode. Another fantastic presentation:

Now this tasted wonderful. One quip I had was the massive amount of raisins I encountered in every bite. I wasn't expecting any raisins, let alone a 1:1 ratio (at least) of apples to raisins. Dave explained to me that this was a southern thing. I didn't mind it, I do love raisins, but I ordered apple pie, not raisin pie. See for yourself.

But like I said, it was good nonetheless. I end this post with a few pictures of our tipsy crew, I hope you've enjoyed this enthralling tale of my first experience of OBX. Which come to find out is a pretty damn boring place out-of-season and with nasty weather.

10 November 2009

OBX in effect Day 2

The second day in OBX they already knew where to take us for breakfast since they had been there once before we arrived. This place was called First Light Breakfast & Burgers and was definitely one of the culinary finds of the trip.

I ordered the breakfast sandwich with bacon which also included a side of breakfast potatoes.

The sandwich was good, their biscuits are abnormally large, like any decent breakfast joint should have, but the real star of the dish was the side of potatoes. Red skinned potatoes cooked just right and sauteed with onions in butter, the flavor profile was fantastic. This is what breakfast potatoes should be. Here's a shot of Judy's side of pancakes which are also friggin huge. There are only two pancakes on that plate, that's how thick they are:

I couldn't believe they offered a stack of four on the menu. Even with my reknowned ability to eat an inhuman amount of food I don't think even I could finish four of those. A woman at the table next to us ordered the house special french toast and when it was brought out I knew exactly what I was having for breakfast the next day.

Our first full day in OBX was spent seeing all of the touristy stuff. We went to the Wright Brothers National Memorial and after that we went down to Roanoke Island to see the replica of Elizabeth II and the Lost Colony exhibits. Here are a few pictures from throughout the day:

While on Roanoke Island we spied an interesting restaurant to grab a quick lunch so we headed into The Magnolia Grille.

I asked the waitress what types of beers they had on tap and apparently they had their own draft house so I ordered the stout (don't remember the name and google isn't yielding any results). I remember really liking it. Judy ordered the shrimp and grits which came with a side of hush puppies. Since I wasn't quite hungry after the large breakfast I ordered a side of hush puppies for myself since it is one of the things I randomly get huge cravings for. The shrimp and grits came out and was unlike any plate of shrimp and grits any of us had ever seen:

Judy tried her hardest to finish the entire plate, which speaks volumes for how good it was considering her typically fickle eating habits. What a gorgeous plate of food. Here's a pic of my hush puppies. I like mine extra crunchy, but they were very good nonetheless:

After dinner we walked around a bit more and then headed back to the house. We skipped dinner that night and opted for the liquid diet. Nikki and I watched a lot of Dexter on dvd and relaxed. Here's a picture from the backyard just after the sun went down:

01 November 2009

2009 National Film Challenge

A bunch of co-workers and I participated in the 2009 National Film Challenge last weekend and finally got the video up on youtube. We were given the choice of mockumentary or comedy so we chose to do a mockumentary about professional chess players addicted to ginko biloba, hence the name 'Ginked'. We were also given a character we had to include which was an unemployed man by the name of Mark Shapiro, and a prop we had to include which was a pack of matches. We also had to include the line of dialogue "this is deja vu all over again". Go check it out if you want to see my first attempt at acting. I thought I sucked but apparently everyone else thinks I'm a pretty decent actor. Go judge for yourself. I play the lead role of Art Stephens. It's pretty bad but I guess I'd say I'm proud of it. Doing this film gave me an all new respect for actors that's for sure. Enjoy.