Thursday, December 30, 2010

BREAKFAST AT CHRISTOPH'S ON THE WATER

In my search for the best breakfast, hubby and I ate at Christoph's, located in the Hilton Hotel, 100 Middle Street, in downtown New Bern.  The above photo was taken at our table and overlooked the Hilton patio area and boats.  The photo of the pool area below is from another window.
Christoph's is a sophisticated restaurant with a classically trained chef, Tom Pristash, but you can come in casual dress.  After all, it is a hotel restaurant and, as such, is used to catering to hotel guests who are dressed casually.  What sets Christoph's apart is their menu and the excellent food that is served here.  Here's a sampling of breakfast menu items:

Two Eggs - Any Style
   Choice of Crisp Bacon, Sausage Links or Griddled Ham
Skillet Potatoes and Choice of Toast   7

Riverfront Omelet
Three Eggs & Cheddar-Jack Cheese folded with Choice or Combination of
Ham, Bacon, Sausage, Mushrooms, Onions, Peppers, Tomato or Spinach
Skillet Potatoes and Choice of Toast   8

Eggs Benedict
Toasted English Muffin, Griddled Country Ham, Poached Eggs
Skillet Potatoes and Classic Hollandaise   9

Southern Breakfast
Apple Bacon & Cheddar Cheese Grits
Topped with Two Eggs Any Style and Choice of Toasted   7

You'll also find French toast, pancakes and waffles along with specialty items such as Florentine Turkey Wrap, Shrimp Eggs and Grits, Crabby Bay Breakfast Melt, Breakfast Croissant and Sweet Brioche French Toast.  And if you don't want to wait to order from the menu, then by all means help yourself to their wonderful breakfast buffet which includes hot and cold food items and beverages for $12.95.  

Hubby Guy ordered two eggs over light with bacon, skillet potatoes and toast and said it was the best breakfast he's had in New Bern.  The bacon was crisp and the eggs were perfectly cooked.  Nothing was greasy, and it came to the table hot.
I ordered my usual, one egg and 1 piece of toast.  Before I could say how I wanted the egg cooked, the server asked me, "Would you like that poached?"  And when she brought the order to the table, it was one egg and one slice of toast, exactly what I ordered.  It's hard to imagine that a poached egg could be anything sublime, but this poached egg was perfect in every way.
There is no kitchen presence at Christoph's -- no banging of trays, no kitchen odors -- the dining area is totally separate and feels special.  There's plenty of room to be comfortable and it's a quiet, relaxed atmosphere.  The food is delicious, the service is good, and there's a view.  What more could you want?

Right now, I'd like to stop my search for the best breakfast place in New Bern and just concentrate on enjoying more breakfasts at Christoph's.  But to be fair to other eateries, I'll keep looking.   Somehow, I think I'll be coming back here.

Visit Christoph's website for photos and a complete list of menu items -- Click here

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

BREAKFAST AT IHOP

IHOP, located on the corner of McCarthy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevards in New Bern, is a popular destination for pancake lovers.  Their breakfast menu is impressive, with a list of pancakes, waffles, omelets, crepes, egg dishes and combos.
Beverages are a bit pricey, but breakfast items are competitively priced.

Hubby Guy ordered the 2x2x2 -- 2 eggs, 2 pancakes, 2 bacon strips.  At $6.59, it was reasonably priced.

Not much of a breakfast eater, I ordered 1 poached egg and 1 slice of toast.  It wasn't on the menu.  In fact the menu didn't mention eggs by themselves, and there was no ala carte mentioned like they do at Cracker Barrel and some other restaurants.  Is IHOP geared to big eaters, or are they just trying to push the bigger items?  Our server was very pleasant and accommodating, and said there would be no trouble with just 1 egg and 1 slice of toast.  We ordered coffee to have something to sip while we waited.  The coffee was just barely warm in the carafe.

My breakfast arrived, and it contained 1 slice of toast and 2 poached eggs.  The server assured me I would only be charged for 1 egg, but then why were two brought to the table?  Someone has to absorb the loss of one egg and it will show up as higher prices sometime down the road.  My rye toast and egg were good and I was impressed that I could order a poached egg at all -- just try doing that in some of the other breakfast locations.  Guy's pancakes were lukewarm at best, but he loved his eggs and bacon.

IHOP makes great eggs and I love that their food is not greasy.  If they could just get the food to the table hot....  I've heard from others that they consistently serve lukewarm food.

I'm still searching for New Bern's best breakfast place.  In the meantime, I saw my hubby clipping an IHOP coupon out of the newspaper.  I asked him why, since he had been unhappy with his cold pancakes.  "The eggs are good there," was his reply.

IHOP opens Sunday through Thursday at 6AM.  Friday and Saturday they are open 24 hours.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

GUY'S HOT ROAST BEEF SANDWICHES WITH GRAVY AND HORSERADISH CHEESE SPREAD


My non-cooking hubby is at it again.  He was dreaming about a sandwich he used to get many years ago when he commuted to Philly, so he retrieved a recipe from lanascooking.com.  The biggest problem he had was getting the roast beef sliced thick enough.  Since Boars Head roast beef was on sale at Harris Teeter, he decided to go there, but must have gotten a new deli person.  He asked her for one pound of beef, sliced 8 to a pound.  She gave him 1-1/2 lbs. and charged him for all of it.  He didn't know that he didn't have to take 1-1/2 lbs. since he only asked for 1 lb.  I threw out the other 1/2 lb because we just couldn't eat all of it.  This is why men should not go to the grocery store.  Only kidding.  Live and learn.

This recipe is fairly easy since you use deli roast beef.  It's also quite delicious -- just ask our Sunday afternoon armchair quarterbacks who chowed down in double time.  These sandwiches are intended to be served open faced, but one of our qb's cut his in half and folded it over to make a pick-up sandwich.
Instead of making the horseradish cream that is part of this recipe, Guy found a horseradish cheese spread at The Village Butcher.  He spread it on the bread before the beef went on.  It was easy and delicious!  Lots of shortcuts here, but this recipe is long on flavor.

Guy's Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches with Gravy and Horseradish Cheese Spread
Adapted from lanascooking.com
Rating:  10 out of 10
Click for PRINTABLE PAGE
INGREDIENTS:
2 Tbsp. Smart Balance buttery spread
1 large or 2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth

1 lb. thick-sliced deli rare roast beef (approx. 1/8")
1 loaf Italian boule (crusty round loaf), sliced

In large, heavy skillet, melt the Smart Balance over medium-high heat.  Add onions, salt and pepper.  Cook till onions wilt and begin to caramelize, stirring often.  When it looks like onions are getting a little sticky, cover pan, reduce heat to very low, and let the onions continue to cook down and caramelize for about 20 more minutes.  The browner the onions are the browner your gravy will be, so let them really cook down well.  Just be careful not to burn them.  Caramelizing is not burning.

Take cover off when onions are caramelized and add 2 Tbsp. parsley; cook a few minutes longer.  Sprinkle flour over onions and cook a few minutes to brown and cook the flour.  Slowly add broth, whisking constantly till gravy is thickened and bubbling.  Add roast beef to pan and lower heat.  Stir the roast beef to coat it with gravy; cover pan; reduce heat to lowest setting.
In the meantime, place 4 large slices of bread under broiler.  Heat till nicely toasted.  With tongs, lift toast from broiler and place, toasted side down, onto serving plate.  Spread each piece of bread with horseradish cheese spread and top with beef and gravy.  Serve this open faced, or cut in half and serve as a pick-up sandwich.  Yield:  4 generous servings

Sunday, December 12, 2010

JOANN'S CRESCENT ROLL CHRISTMAS TREE APPETIZERS


Our friend, Joann, sent two beautiful appetizers to the Sunday afternoon quarterbacks, and did they ever love them!  These veggie/fruit treats got gobbled up pretty fast.  What's not to love?  Crescent rolls form the base of the tree.  It's spread with Ranch dip, then topped with veggies.  The fruit tree is spread with a mix of cream cheese and fruit-flavored yogurt, then topped with fruit.  A great idea for party fare.

Joann's Crescent Roll Christmas Tree Appetizers
Rating:  10 out of 10

INGREDIENTS:  (for 1 tree)  2 cans of crescent rolls
About 1 cup of Ranch dip (or 1/2 cup cream cheese + 1/2 cup fruit-flavored yogurt)
About 2-3 cups of small veggies (or fruit)
1 square of cheddar cheese cut into star shape for tree top.
Optional:  About 1/3 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese for top of veggie tree

Heat oven to 375F.  If desired, place a sheet of parchment paper onto baking sheet to make removal of tree easier.  Open crescent rolls, but do not separate.  Instead, slice each cylinder into 8 slices (16 slices total from two cans).  

Place slices on baking sheet in form of tree.  (Starting at the top with 1 slice, place the next two slices underneath and touching, and so forth, till you get to five.  Use the remaining slice to form tree base.)  Bake according to package instructions; cool on baking sheet.  (If using parchment, just slide parchment onto wire rack to cool.  The tree can then be transferred onto a serving plate or tray and the parchment reused.)  

Spread tree with desired dip (Ranch for veggies, cream cheese + yogurt for fruit).  Decorate tree with desired veggies or fruit -- be creative!  If desired, sprinkle finely shredded cheddar cheese over veggies.  Top tree with cheddar cheese star.  

The trees can be eaten by cutting or by pulling apart the crescent circles.  Either way, these are delicious!

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    COUNTRY BISCUIT RESTAURANT

    I'm on a quest to find the best breakfast place in New Bern.  Hubby and I started at The Country Biscuit.  They advertise regularly in the Sun Journal and in our neighborhood newspaper, the Greenbrier Gazette.  The building doesn't look like much from the outside, and the location is not the best either.  Inside is no better.  It resembles a makeshift operation.  Okay, so no ambience.  We're after good food and good prices.  The place is packed on a Saturday morning around 9:00, and that seemed like a good sign.

    The menu is quite extensive with lots of offerings, but nothing is really cheap.  So much for prices.  The food must be great then, or so we thought.  Guy ordered the Country Gentleman's Special for $7.50.
    He said everything tasted fine, but the sausage was a very unappetizing sickly grey color, and the plate was just plopped on the table diner style.
    I ordered one scrambled egg with grits and a biscuit.
    The egg was "scrambled" before it was fried and was overcooked.  The grits were instant with no flavor, and   the bacon was just okay, but slightly greasy.
    The biscuit was warm but had been reheated.  It was hard, dried out and inedible.
    I'm not seeing much of anything at Country Biscuit:  no atmosphere, no serving grace, no presentation, no view.  Prices are too high for the quality (or lack of) and food is subpar at best.

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    SNAPPERZ

    Morehead City has a new kid on the block:  Snapperz Grill and Steam Bar3710 Arendell Street.  Their website says that Snapperz is "HOME OF THE STEAMPOT" --  your one stop restaurant for steamed oysters, clams, crab and shrimp, also serving any kind of seafood, steak entrees, salads, big burgers and sandwiches complete with garnish bar, beer, wine and mixed beverages. Recently, hubby and I decided to try it for lunch since we were already in Morehead City.  


    Specials are listed on a chalkboard as you enter.


    The restaurant is small but has lots of charm.  Booths are all named after fish and have photos and stats on each fish on the inside walls.  
    We sat in Wahoo Alley.
    We got to Snapperz around 11:30 and it was already starting to fill up.  
    I ordered the crabcake appetizer, because I didn't want any bread.
    The crabcake had no flavor and had a good amount of bread filling.  The mango salsa was very forgettable and the coleslaw was just barely okay.  (I stole some of Guy's french fries which were good.)
    Guy ordered the Soft Shell Crab Sandwich on special.  The crab had no flavor and the roll was blah.  The french fries were good.
    By the time we left, the place was packed and everyone looked very happy.  Snapperz is wildly popular, but we don't intend to go back.  Our favorite Morehead City restaurant is still Chefs 105, where there's lots of atmosphere and all the food is cooked to perfection --their crab cakes have no filler and lots of flavor.    

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    GUY'S MUSSELS MARINARA


    My Sicilian hubby loves mussels marinara.  So when Harris Teeter had 3-lb. bags of wild mussels recently, I bought a bag for him.  He made the mussels himself and enjoyed them immensely.  I'm passing on his easy recipe to all mussels lovers.

    Guy's Mussels Marinara
    Rating:  8.5 out of 10
    Click for PRINTABLE PAGE


    INGREDIENTS:  1 (3-lb.) bag of wild mussels
    1 jar of Bertolli marinara sauce (or other marinara sauce of choosing)
    2 baguettes, toasted

    Rinse mussels well in cold water, scrubbing them with a stiff brush and removing any beards.  Discard broken shells.  Place mussels in a large pot and pour the marinara sauce over them.  Cover and heat on medium-high heat till sauce is bubbling and mussels open up.  Discard any mussels that stay closed.  Serve immediately with toasted baguettes.  Yield:  2 dinner-size servings, or 6 appetizer servings



    Friday, November 26, 2010

    NEW BERN'S BEAUTIFUL FALL FOLIAGE


    We've been residents of New Bern since 1993.  Coming from the mountains of New Jersey, where the fall foliage is spectacular year after year, I missed seeing nature's golds and reds in the changing leaves.  Every autumn made me homesick for New Jersey.  The abundance of pine trees, fewer hardwood trees, and warmer temperatures has made New Bern's fall usually lackluster.  Until this year.  The right combination of rainfall, cool daytime temperatures and cool but not freezing nights has produced a color extravaganza.
    Never have I seen such deep hues.  This year, the trees are clothed in fall's splendor as never before.
    The colors are so brilliant, they are impossible to ignore.  Each day, as I gaze out my kitchen window, I marvel again at nature's magnificence.  We're unlikely to have a repeat performance, so I've been drinking in all I can before it's gone.

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    LAWSON'S LANDING RIVERWALK CAFE


    If you like Almond Tree CafĂ©, you’ll love their new breakfast and lunch place in the History Education Center   on Front Street, across from the Farmer's Market.  Almond Tree shut down its Middle Street location to move here.  While the food is not upscale gourmet, it is homemade, ingredients are fresh and most folks find it appealing.

    Sip on your cappuccino, chai tea or hot chocolate as you look out the large windows onto one of the best water views in the city.   Bring your camera because you may be dining with someone from the 18th century.

    Lunch, served 7 days a week, includes wraps or sandwiches that come with chips and homemade black bean hummus as well as your choice of side, and all under $6.50.  Children’s menu, salads, soup, house specials, ice cream by the scoop and desserts are also available.

    Three of us ate lunch there recently.  After we placed our orders, a large basket of multi-grain chips and homemade black bean salsa arrived at our table.

    I had a chicken salad wrap with a side of mac'n cheese, $6.25.  The chicken salad was not in chunks.  It was done in a machine and was ground finely.  The flavor was good, but I did not like the texture.  It also had a lot of mayo.  The mac'n cheese was very tasty, but sparse on the cheese.


    Carole had the Hot Roast Beef sandwich with provolone and onions, served on a roll with dipping sauce, $6.45.  (Should they call this a French dip?)  Carole loved it and said the roll was very fresh and the beef was delicious, and said her side of coleslaw was also very good.  

    Rita ordered the Cranberry and Almond Salad (dried cranberries and almonds served over a bed of lettuce with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and cheddar cheese wedges), $5.95.  There were no sides with this and no bread or crackers.  Rita said it was delicious and she enjoyed it.

    Breakfast is served starting at 8AM, Monday through Saturday.  You can get five kinds of waffles with fruit or meat for under $5, or scrambled egg, bacon and Swiss on a croissant for $3.99, plus other offerings.  They've got you covered in the beverage department -- coffee, latte, cappuccino, chai tea, hot chocolate, and even espresso are all available.

    Hubby and I ate there last week, after we went to the Farmer's Market.  As soon as we entered, we smelled bacon....grease.  Hubby ordered the Belgian Waffle with a sausage patty, $4.25.  We both passed on coffee.
    His waffle came stone cold with cold butter mounded on top.  The sausage was cut into 4 pieces and was dry and overcooked.  The sausage tasted as if it had been cooked in bacon grease.
    I ordered the Egg Croissant (scrambled egg with bacon, tomato and swiss cheese), $3.99.  But they were out of croissants.  I asked for a sweet potato biscuit, and they hadn't made them yet (It was 9:30 AM).  So I had my scrambled eggs on a plate.  The eggs tasted as if they had been cooked in bacon grease, and I got sick after I ate this.
    We complained to the server about the sausage.  Nothing was taken off the bill.  Guess who's not going back?

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    FARMER'S MARKET FINDS AND A NEW FISHMONGER


    Last Saturday we went to the New Bern Farmer's Market to see what was there.  We found beautiful local pecans for $6/lb., blemish-free sweet potatoes for $.75/lb, pesticide-free eggplant ($.99/lb.), sweet bell peppers (4/$5) and red leaf lettuce $1/small head).

    We were thrilled with our finds, and were on our way out when we saw a new concession, Captain Tom's Fresh Seafood.

    Bay scallops, frozen cooked whole lobsters, yellowfin tuna, black grouper and trout were all offered at very reasonable prices.
     Tom Smith (252-474-2418), of The Flying Fishermen Seafood Distributors, advised us that all the fishing is done in the ocean.  The Flying Fishermen is in the process of developing a website, and they are aviation based, giving them access to a broader range of seafood.  He then educated us on wild vs. farm-raised seafood, shocking us with the cold fact that 90% of all fish sold in the US is farm raised, even though some of it may be sold and priced as wild.
    The Flying Fishermen will soon be selling wild Atlantic salmon.  Tom said the salmon migrate as far south as the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the colder months, where Tom and his fishermen will catch them for sale to local restaurants and to the public.  He says the Atlantic salmon will be 100% wild, never spawned in hatcheries and never corralled in fish farms.  (FYI, farm-raised salmon produces more inflammatory Omega 6's than 3's, making them harmful to your body rather than beneficial.)  Tom said they will also be catching
    lobsters as the waters become colder.

    As soon as I got home, I did several hours of research on the internet to corroborate Tom's information.  Sadly, I found he was telling us the truth.  Even "wild" salmon sold by stores like Harris Teeter is not truly wild.  The State of Alaska produces mostly farmed or "ranched" salmon.  The ranched salmon is hatched in a controlled environment where the baby fish are vaccinated against diseases and treated with antibiotics when necessary.  They are fed artificial foods until they are released to the "wild" where they are caught.  Technically, they can be called wild, but they are not 100% wild and therefore do not have the health benefits of wild fish.  They may taste good, but the Omega 3 production that you think you are getting is just not there.  
    While the semi-wild salmon is leaner and better than the farmed, it's still not the quality it should be.  So I'll be going back to the Farmer's Market to get some fish from Captain Tom's.  He'll be there every Saturday, so here's one concession I am happy to endorse -- no fish from the creeks, no fish from farms or hatcheries, just fresh-caught wild fish.  How great is that?

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    BABA GHANOUSH -- A GREAT APPETIZER!



    It's hard to imagine now, that at my age I had heard of, but never eaten, Baba Ghanoush.   I knew it was a famous Greek dish, but wasn't sure what was in it.  It surely didn't sound like anything I'd be interested in, and it wasn't high on my priority list of things to try.

    All that changed when we ate at Chef Pia's Washington restaurant recently.  Pia had a plate of Greek specialties brought to our table, and Baba Ghanoush was on the plate.  "What is it?" I asked her.  She told me it was eggplant, cooked and mashed, then mixed with tahini, garlic and lemon.  Okay, I thought, I like all those ingredients, I'll give it a try.  And just like that I became a devotee of Baba Ghanoush.  I'm buying eggplant all the time now and eating this wonderful dip with whole grain crackers, though at Chef Pia's it was served with crispy pita sticks.  Of course, I'm wondering why I wasted so many years that could have been spent enjoying eggplant in this new way.

    One thing I must mention:  eggplant is hard for me to digest because of the seemingly millions of tiny seeds.  I think there are more seeds in eggplant than flesh.  But after I roasted my eggplant, it was easy to separate the seeds and pull them out.  This produced a Baba Ghanoush that was easy to digest and so enjoyable.  It will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks, at least mine did with no trouble.  And now I'm  off to roast another eggplant.

    Baba Ghanoush
    Adapted from allrecipes.com
    Rating:  10 out of 10
    Click for Printable Page

    INGREDIENTS:
    1 eggplant, medium-large
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1/3 cup tahini (toasted ground sesame seeds)
    2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    salt and pepper to taste
    1-1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

    Heat oven or gas grill to 400F.  If using oven, place parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Pierce eggplant all around with fork, then place on baking sheet or onto grill over unlit burner.  Cook 30-40 minutes,or till soft, turning occasionally.  Remove from heat and place into large bowl of cold water.  Transfer to cutting board and peel skin off.  Cut eggplant into sections and remove as many of the seeds as you can.  They should peel off in strips.

    In work bowl of food processor, combine eggplant pulp, lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds, and garlic.  Pulse till  smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle with olive oil and pulse again till combined.  Transfer to bowl; refrigerate 3 hours before serving.  Serve with toasted pita bread strips, whole grain crackers or veggies.

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    GRILLED SPICY CORVINA WITH CHIPOTLE RANCH SAUCE

    Sometimes I love living in a small town and sometimes I don't.  The don't is when I go to shop.  How I'd love to be able to shop at Whole Foods, Fresh Market or Trader Joe's on a weekly basis.  New Bern's only salvation is Harris Teeter.  Without Harris Teeter, I'd be totally miserable and wanting to move.  I can find most of what I need there, with only occasional trips to Greenville or Wilmington for certain hard-to-find items.

    Take, for instance, Harris Teeter's seafood department.  I can always get decent salmon, or other fish, there.  When it's frozen, Harris Teeter thaws it daily and sells so much of it that you always get a freshly thawed piece.  When it's fresh, the fish moves quickly because of the volume of customers, so it's usually good tasting.  Recently, they had fresh Corvina, from Suriname (a small country bordering the Atlantic Ocean in northern South America).  I had never heard of Corvina, let alone tasted it, but decided to be adventurous.

    Corvina, it turns out, is a mild, firm white fish similar to sea bass.  A spicy marinade and sauce gave the fish some flavor, and I found it so enjoyable I actually went to bed thinking about it, how I wanted more of it.
    It was quick and easy to prepare -- I just grilled it after a brief marinade.

    If you come across Corvina, be sure to try this recipe.  But, if Corvina doesn't show up on your radar screen, you can use any mild white fish  (cod, grouper, tilapia....).  This recipe will not make the fish so hot that your throat will burn.  It will just give you some nice mouth heat, sufficient to wake up the flavors.

    Grilled Spicy Corvina with Chipotle Ranch Sauce
    Bear Rating:  10 out of 10

    CLICK FOR PRINTABLE PAGE

    MARINADE:
    4 Tbsp. mild olive or vegetable oil
    4 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
    1-1/2 tsp. chili powder (I used McCormick Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder)
    1/4 tsp. ground cumin
    1/4 tsp. ground coriander
    1 garlic clove, minced or grated (about 1/2 tsp.)
    1/4 tsp. sea salt

    FISH:  1 lb. mild, firm white fish (Corvina, cod, grouper, tilapia.....)


    SAUCE:
    1/4 cup bottled ranch dressing
    1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    2 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
    1/2 tsp. minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce

    In plastic resealable bag, combine all marinade ingredients; seal bag; massage to mix.  Add fish; marinate 1/2 hour or up to 1 hour.  While fish is marinating, prepare sauce.  Combine sauce ingredients in small bowl; refrigerate.

    Heat gas grill to medium-hot (about 400F).  Clean grates with brush; oil well with folded paper towel soaked in vegetable oil.  Grill fish 3-4 minutes per side, or till fish flakes easily with fork.  Serve with sauce.

    Yield:  2-3 servings  (Note:  Leftovers are delicious cold on a salad or alone, and can also be reheated gently in a small pan.)

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    PERSIMMONS WATERFRONT RESTAURANT


    There is a growing movement throughout the country towards sustainable farming, and East Carolina has been infiltrated.  Rainbow Meadow Farms and Nooherooka Natural, both in Snow Hill, raise grass-fed, antibiotic- and hormone-free livestock.  Besides selling to the public at our local farmer’s market, both farms supply some area restaurants.  One of these restaurants is Persimmons, 100 Pollock Street.  Persimmons also uses local produce when available and wild-caught Alaskan salmon, instead of the farm-raised salmon served in other restaurants.  
    What I particularly like about this newcomer is the relaxed boating atmosphere.  Dress to the nines for a special night out or “come as you are.”  Sit outside in the open air, or stay inside.  The menu is reflective of that same casual eclectic philosophy.  Order from the deckside  menu or flip the page and order from the dinner menu.  In other words, have a sandwich or small plate or go for the whole tamale.  And if you’re really not too hungry, you can even order a half salad, which is plenty big.  

    The food has an edge.  You’ll start off with a basket of warm rustic rolls served with Pulagra (European) butter.  Tired of the same old salad dressing?  Try Chef Fong’s roasted tomato dressing.  I had a half salad ($3) with salmon ($5.95) and ordered black bean salsa on the side ($3).  The salmon was crunchy, flavorful and cooked perfectly.  
    The salsa was served warm and was the best I’ve had anywhere. 
    Hubby had Carolina fish and chips ($9.95).


    Don’t ignore the burgers here – they’re thick, juicy and flavorful with some new topping combos that will make you sit up and take notice.  On another visit, I had the Bear Burger, topped with Abbyvale cheddar cheese, fried green tomatoes and charred red onions ($8.95).  I chose a house salad for my side, and it was a good size.  Non-adventurous hubby asked for a plain cheeseburger with Yukon Gold fries.  Persimmons didn't have any white American cheese, so hubby settled for the Abbyvale cheddar.  I foresee more return trips to try the crab cake sandwich, beef satay, glazed chicken kabobs….heck, this deckside menu has so many interesting and reasonably priced items, we may never get to the dinner menu.  


    Chef Fong, the owner, admits there are some issues to be worked out.  For instance, our burger buns were cold, and Guy’s fried flounder was overcooked and dry.  He’s appreciative of customer feedback, though, and is working to fix his problems.  Prices are very reasonable for the quality of the food, ambiance and view here.  If you eat inside, the restaurant is a bit on the dark side, but there are lots of windows with views of the Neuse.  


    For best seating, you should reserve.  Do it online at www.persimmonsrestaurant.com or by phone, 
    (252)514-0033.  Persimmons is open for lunch Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00am - 2:30pm.  
    Dinner is served Wednesday – Sunday starting at 5:30pm.