Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Holt Lake … barbecued

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Nearly four years ago, I posted about Holt Lake Bar-Be-Que, a BBQ place near Smithfield, NC.  Pretty good food.

Early this week,though, Holt Lake BBQ burned.

The restaurant was not open when the fire started at about 6 p.m. Sunday. The fire was contained to the kitchen, Smithfield Fire Department Chief Patrick Harris said.

Investigators said they believe the fire started when some fluorescent lights shorted out.

Hope they’ll be back soon…

Baby got back

Friday, August 28th, 2009

This blog occasionally features Friday pictures of some of our favorite animals.  This time, though, we’d like to show you something different.  A real tomato, if you will.

Baby got back!  (800x600 JPG, click to enlarge - if you're the kind of person who wants to do that sort of thing)Should this picture have come with a “not safe for work” warning?

Barbecue and the beach

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

Eric said

we’re headed down to myrtle on saturday. the arcadian shores there. i always love the tackiness and the excitement. where might i get some good vinegar based along the highway?

That’s actually a very good question, and it reminds me that I have been meaning to write about the local BBQ joints for some time. Unfortunately, I seem to forget my camera wvery time I go somewhere close! If you’re near Florence, you can stop by any of the local BBQ joints – Cain’s, Jakie’s (both on Pamplico Highway), or the more popular Roger’s (on Second Loop Road).

But if you’re heading down to Myrtle Beach and make it past Florence, you probably won’t be stopping at any places to eat along the way.

A holiday shrimp and grits recipe

Sunday, December 24th, 2006

Since quite a few people land on this blog while searching for a recipe for shrimp and grits, here’s a repost from Patty’s family cookbook – just in time for Christmas dinner!

[Shrimp and grits]
Shrimp and grits

Do first

Make enough for how many people are eating. Add salt to taste (use water to cook grits, not milk).

Add 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese to grits while cooking so it will melt

Do second


In a frying pan, mix:

  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 TB Tabasco
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 2 TB butter
  • 1/2 to 1 lb peeled raw shrimp

Cook 5-10 minutes, but don’t overcook the shrimp.

Stir in with shrimp before serving:

  • 1/3 cup milk or cream
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup diced ham (not luncheon meat)
  • sprinkle of parsley or chopped green onion

Do last

Eat and enjoy!

North Carolina BBQ – Troutman’s Bar-B-Q in Concord

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

[Troutman's sign]

This post will be a little different than some of my previous southern BBQ features. It’s based solely on getting BBQ as a take-out rather than eating inside the restaurant. I’ll have to apologize in advance to y’all if you were wanting to see the inside of Troutman’s.

Troutman’s in Concord is a favorite BBQ spot for my wife and mother-in-law, and we managed to stop by there long enough to get a take-out order of BBQ, sauce, and slaw.

Speaking of slaw, you have a choice of two kinds at Troutman’s. You can get a more traditional white slaw, which looks like this.

[Troutman's white slaw]

You can also get a red slaw, which looks like this.

[Troutman's red slaw]

It’s the red slaw that seems to be unique to Troutman’s. The red slaw is similar to the white slaw, but with added sweet peppers and hot sauce. (What, you thought slaw was for cooling your mouth?) I’m told that the red slaw goes well on a BBQ sandwich.

Update! For those who aren’t reading the comments, Rev. BigDumbChimp points out that the red slaw is fairly common around Winston-Salem, although the exact ingredients are variable. (Sounds a lot like “Charleston” red rice, actually…)

Thanks, Rev. BDC!

Now we come to the BBQ itself. Troutman’s BBQ is served chopped and dry. No sauce is cooked in with the meat.

[Troutman's BBQ on a bun]

Having trouble seeing the meat? Click this link and download this 1024×768 JPG image to use as your backdrop! [173K]

The meat at Troutman’s is a little bland, without much detectable smoke flavor. Sauce is provided – a pepper sauce that tastes a lot like Texas Pete with extra vinegar. I was skeptical of the sauce at first, but I have to admit that when added to the meat it makes a pretty darned good BBQ sandwich.

If you’re passing through Concord, give Troutman’s a try. Just make sure you have plenty of sweet tea handy!

North Carolina BBQ – Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

Fayetteville, North Carolina is a military town. Because of that, there are quite a lot of restaurants to choose from. Since I’m a BBQ fan, I got Patty to take me to a BBQ place while we were visiting the in-laws: Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken.

[Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken]
Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken sign

As you can see, this place is more or less a local joint. If you go to Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken, you will go for pork BBQ, not to admire the decor.

[Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken]
The view inside Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken

Prices are reasonable. A small BBQ plate – which comes with hush puppies and two sides – is $5.29. With drinks, our bill was less than $15.

[Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken]
BBQ plates. These are the small BBQ plates. I hadn’t had any breakfast and one of these plates was more than enough for me.

The usual North Carolina sides are available: baked beans, Brunswick stew, slaw, potato salad, etc. The BBQ style is light vinegar – very much like the Village Inn in Lumberton.

Here’s a shot where you can see the BBQ.

[Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken]
BBQ plate close-up

So how was the BBQ? I have to again admit that vinegar BBQ is not my preferred taste, but Cape Fear BBQ serves up a respectable BBQ plate. I should also mention the hush puppies – not as good as Village Inn’s hush puppies, but definitely above average.

If you’re passing through Fayetteville and are looking for some BBQ, Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken is worth a stop. You’ll find them at 523 Grove Street.

Old Europe Mediterranean Grill

Thursday, October 12th, 2006

Although Myrtle Beach has lots of restaurants, you might find yourself getting hungry before you get there. Why? If you’re going to the beach during the summer, traffic’s going to be backed up for miles. If you’re in that situation, you might be forced to stop off in Florence, SC for a bite to eat. Let me recommend that you avoid the plastic food substitute served at places like Ruby Tuesday and try one of the real local restaurants.


Old Europe Mediterranean Grill is a former pizza joint (Pizza Chef, or Pizza Inn or something like that) that has been granted a new life – as a place with good food and excellent service.

While the decor doesn’t quite match the spectacle of some of Myrtle Beach’s expensive places, the food more than holds its own.

If you do prefer some flash with your dinner, visit Old Europe on Thursday or Saturday evenings – when they have live bellydancing. (You’ll have to go yourself to see that, since I don’t have a picture of the bellydancer!)

The menu at Old Europe is quite varied, and I haven’t had the opportunity to try even half of the stuff they offer – despite eating there at least once a week. I keep coming back to the gyros, served with Greek potatoes.

[We need another gyro!]
I pulled this one apart a bit before taking the picture.

You can order several kinds of bread with your meal. One of our favorites is the Damascus bread – which is dough baked in Old Europe’s brick oven and served with oil for dipping.

[Old Europe]
Here, Patty voraciously devours the Damascus bread as I try to take a picture

Some of our other favorites on the menu are the cheese ravioli, the lasagna, and the brick-oven pizza – which I’ll eventually get some pictures of.

The prices are quite reasonable. Our bill usually runs about twenty dollars or so for two people including tip and an order of bread.

If you’re in Florence and you’d like to try Old Europe out, you can find it at 944 S Irby Street in Florence, next to the Julia theater.

North Carolina BBQ – Village Inn in Lumberton

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

My never-ending quest to eat pork barbecue has recently taken me to Lumberton, NC. If you’re headed through Lumberton around dinnertime, you might want to stop and have a bite at the Village Inn Bar-B-Que and Seafood. Here’s what you can expect at the Village Inn

First, don’t expect fancy signs.

They don’t go for fancy neon signs at the Village Inn

Don’t expect a fancy building.

They don’t go for fancy buildings, either.

Do expect excellent hush puppies

[Hush puppies]
Share these with the other folks at your table!

Do expect a good-sized portion of North Carolina light vinegar barbecue, served with slaw and fries.

[BBQ plate]
This is the medium barbecue plate, which cost just under $6.

Don’t expect hash, since you’re in North Carolina.

Village Inn reminds me a little of the barbecue places I would eat at when I was a kid. Shabby cinderblock buildings, decidedly non-fancy decorations and menus, but good food.

[From the table]
No-frills eatin’

You can also get containers of hot or cold barbecue for take-out – just in case you need a shot of pork barbecue for the road, and it’s about as cheap as you’ll find anywhere. At Village Inn, you can get a few pounds of BBQ for what Maurice would charge you for a single Big Joe sandwich in SC.

If you want to try the Village Inn, you’ll find it at 3345 Martin Luther King Jr Drive in Lumberton. If, like me, you’re not from around there, exit I-95 onto highway 74, then follow 74 until you get to highway 21 (which is Martin Luther King Jr Drive). It’s just past the fairgrounds.

The Oreo of DOOM

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

Bow down before the sugary goodness of the Octuple Stuffed Oreo of DOOM.

[Oreo of DOOM]

Coming, deep fried, to a fairground near you.

Nutrition facts
– Contains 1000% of the recommended daily allowance of sugary cream filling.
– Contains no other nutrients

A public service announcement

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

If you’re ever passing through Florence, SC on your way to Myrtle Beach (lots of Ohio folks do this), here’s a bit of advice. You might drive past a restaurant called International Buffet. An inviting sign like this may lure you in to eat.

[International Buffet]
Snow!! Crab Legg’s
(What … you mean you didn’t want to eat pantyhose for dinner?)

Whatever you do, do not stop! Drive on, and eat somewhere far away. You have been warned.

Should you decide to ignore my warning, you will come face-to-face with strange foods like “Cheese Cnabmeaf” which actually taste worse than they sound. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

[International Buffet]
Cheese Cnabmeaf

For my money, there’s nothing like a good Chinese buffet. Unfortunately, International Buffet is nothing like a good Chinese buffet. The little card I picked up advertises “over 300 items” on the buffet. You might get to 300 if you count each piece of cnabmeaf as a separate item. Otherwise, you’ll fall about 225 items short. To be fair to International Buffet, this might be because they’re obviously a new restaurant.

Newness might excuse a lack of variety, but it does not excuse lousy food. We went at dinnertime – when you’d expect for there to be piping hot food on the buffet. International Buffet’s food had apparently sat on the bar for hours and was only lukewarm. By the time I managed to get back to my table with a plate of food, it had cooled to only slightly above room temperature. Politeness prevented me from doing this, but I briefly considered asking the waitress for a microwave. Cold Tso chicken is not very good. Cold cnabmeaf in melted-then-resolidified cheese is inedible.

International Buffet is located at 260 West Palmetto Street in Florence, SC. I advise planning your dining well clear of this address.