Hot!Que & Stew of the Month (& Crappy Brit kitchens, too)

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JRPfeff
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/24 22:58:29 (permalink)
Cajun King - I'm not a potato salad lover, so I defer to Pie Diva. She called the tater salad average at each palce.
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JRPfeff
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/25 13:49:56 (permalink)

 
One last stop to finish off last weekend.
 
Our target on the way back from New Bern was Sunni Sky's Homemade Ice Cream in Angier.  This was another find at the Our State website and they supposedly offer 100 different ice creams.
 
The place didn't look large enough to hold 100 ice creams, but it was packed with ice cream freezers everywhere you looked. They actually had 120 different varieties when we first visited.

 
Sunni Sky's offers a wide variety of unusual flavors, Popcorn and Burnt Sugar are shown below.  We had Creme Brule and Caramel Praline on our first visit, the flavor list is here. Sunni Sky's is more than just the variety and novelty of their flavors. The ice cream is incredibly creamy and absolutely delicious.

 
Neither of us sampled the Cold Sweat Ice Cream.
post edited by JRPfeff - 2013/08/25 14:15:21
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Pancho
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/25 14:06:07 (permalink)
Looks great...Skies or Sky's? I would like that burnt sugar. Haagen Daz had a variety in their lineup a couple of years ago called Brown Sugar, and it tasted almost burnt or at least a hint of molasses. Hey, my neighbor (a school teacher) just moved to Apex! She's teaching in Chapel Hill. You headed to OBX?
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JRPfeff
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/25 14:16:11 (permalink)
Doh! Fixed it.
 
Thanks Pancho!
 
OBX in October for us. That's when off-season rates begin.
 
Jim
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JRPfeff
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/25 14:35:22 (permalink)
Pancho - As much as we liked the Burnt Sugar, we liked the Popcorn flavor better. We passed the two flavors back & forth, and had to wait to get the Popcorn Ice Cream back from each other.
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Pancho
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/25 14:42:50 (permalink)
Funny....I'm still upset you didn't go for the Cold Sweat. Wow, I just now watched that video! No wonder....
post edited by Pancho - 2013/08/25 14:45:40
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/25 15:26:21 (permalink)

 
August 2013 - Country Barbecue, Greensboro
 
We started this weekend's roadtrip with low expectations for our first stop, Country Barbecue.  The review in Our State did a remarkable job of downplaying the barbecue: "Yes, the food is good, but even owner Tony McPherson will tell you that it’s not much different than other Piedmont barbecue places." and "The sign doesn’t promise fancy or new. It offers simplicity and consistency." The restaurant was not found on the BBQ Trail or in any Roadfood reviews, further lowering our expectations.
 
Getting out of the truck there was no smoke in the air and the restaurant's exterior looked more like a chain franchise than a classic barbecue pit. More of the same on the inside, a sterile looking dining room.

 
This was our first stop for Piedmont Style barbecue on our tour and we were not expecting to have to choose our coleslaw style. We went with barbecue coleslaw, which turned out to be our first hint of how much we were going to enjoy Country Barbecue's food.  Pie Diva and I both loved the sweet & sour combination of flavors in the slaw.

 
The pork tasted like pork, with no smokiness, but when combined with the slaw and their sweet & sour vinegar-tomato barbecue sauce it was almost perfect. If their meat had just some of the smoke that we found at our later stops, we could stop our search for barbecue nirvana right here.
 
The hushpuppies had the right amount of sweetness and onion flavor, and were very good, too. Brunswick Stew is a seasonal offering at Country Barbecue, so we did not get a chance to try their version.

 
I was hoping to have the Pork Tenderloin Biscuit with our lunch, but it is only offered for breakfast. Therefore, I had to "settle" for the Pork Tenderloin Sandwich.

 
We both thought that the tenderloin was "ticat" (that's what our notes say anyway). We think that means "very good." (correction) "decent." We finished every bite of it.
 
We finished our meal with a small serving of Strawberry Cobbler, which we both enjoyed.
post edited by JRPfeff - 2013/08/25 15:40:19
#37
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/25 16:04:34 (permalink)

 
Notes from the Road - A couple comments on these reports.
 
When Pie Diva and I were leaving Country Barbecue, I mentioned to her that if I told most people what we were doing on Saturday, driving over 200 miles to eat at 3 barbecue restaurants, they would think we are insane.  By the time we reached our final stop, I had this text message from a Roadfooder waiting on my phone: "How is the bbq hunt going today?"  So apparently we are not as pathetic as I first thought. We are Living the Roadfood Dream!
 
It is not as easy to plan a barbecue roadtrip through North Carolina as it may seem.  I've got close to 50 pits on my list and am trying to mix them up, while also limiting the number of stops to an edible number on each trip.  I pick a direction and will start adding stops to get a good route. On Saturday's trip we passed 3 other restaurants that are on my list, with the thought that we'd save them for another trip. I had an entirely different trip planned in the opposite direction, but changed my mind on Saturday morning.
 
You may have noticed my camera problems. My one camera has some dust in the lens that I cannot get out, so I stopped using it. I went back to an older camera that I stopped using because the flash does not properly synch with the shutter. I used this camera in the flash-off mode, relying on natural light. Results were mixed. Probably time to buy another new camera. There seem to be some good deals on some of the big lens point & shoots. Is that the way to go for a good foodie camera?
#38
mayor al
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/25 16:53:25 (permalink)
CK- Sundancer caught it before I could get there. AL
#39
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/26 02:27:18 (permalink)
Why not contact Wandering Jew and find out what camera he uses?
When he was out here, he had a neat, compact one that took excellent pictures but I don't remember what brand it was.
I'm enjoying your reports!
#40
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/26 08:39:36 (permalink)
I would have ventured into Country Barbecue with the same trepidation, but glad it came out to be a winner.  Obviously you made the right call with the bbq slaw.  As side dishes go, I can take or leave hushpuppies, but love bbq slaw.  That is a great looking plate of food!
 
And that Sunni Sky's looks terrific, too!
 
Very much looking forward to the report on Short Sugar's and hearing about the rest of the weekend. 
#41
ScreamingChicken
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/26 08:43:02 (permalink)
I'm hoping you visit at least a couple of vegan barbecue joints, Jim.
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MetroplexJim
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/26 09:30:25 (permalink)
It's all about the meat! 
Wilber Shirley rules that world.
 
 
 

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JRPfeff
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/26 20:22:10 (permalink)

 
August 2013 - The Pit, Raleigh
 
This review is slightly out of order. We dined at The Pit on Sunday, but still have two other reviews from Saturday to write.
 
We knew we were in for something different when we pulled up to a valet parking station at The Pit. This is another choice from Our State, and definitely not a Roadfood type establishment. It is more like barbecue fine dining than anything else we’ve tried. The Pit has been featured on TV, including Throwdown! with Bobby Flay.
 
The scent of smoke was stunningly strong when we first stepped into The Pit. The restaurant was set up in a manner that approximates many modern restaurants – Reservations accepted; a centrally located hostess station; electronic buzzers for those having to wait for a table; and a team waitstaff sharing service for each table. The Pit also offers nearly every style of barbecue: Eastern and Western NC styles; KC ribs; and Texas brisket.

 
We chose The Pit because it was part of Downtown Raleigh Dining Week and offered a special discounted three course meal. The deal included appetizers (barbecue pork nachos for me, smoked mozzarella salad for Pie Diva) which were a diversion from our usual barbecue choices and were really too filling considering the plate of barbecue that was coming.
 
The hush puppies were on the sweet side, but I noticed a fishy flavor on my first bite, possibly from common use of the fryers for catfish. That was a turn-off for me. Pie Diva didn’t notice the fishy taste. The biscuits and honey butter were a tasty start.

 
The Brunswick Stew was a bit soupy, but we both liked it. There was just enough tomato, but not enough to overwhelm the other flavors. I’m beginning to learn that Brunswick Stew styles vary greatly, and everyone has their personal favorite style.

 
We each ordered the 3-way pork special. It included chopped dark meat, pulled white meat (the menu said shoulder), and a pair of Kansas City style spare ribs. The Pit’s website says they cook their pork whole-hog, which may account for pork tasting only lightly smoked. They offer both Eastern-style and Piedmont-style sauces. I preferred the chopped pork with Eastern sauce, while Pie Diva loved the pulled-pork, both with and without the Piedmont sauce.

 
The ribs had good flavor, but we each marked them down on texture. The ribs truly were “falling off the bone” and mushy, which is a no-no for good barbecue. Anytime I am served ribs like that, I suspect some shortcuts were taken during preparation (maybe even the dreaded B-word!). The fat had not fully rendered, so parts of the ribs were not entirely edible. I tried warning them up again tonight and tossed them out. The texture of these ribs was disgusting.
 
The coleslaw was creamy and coarsely chopped, unlike anything we’ve been served at a classic BBQ joint yet. I guess I'd call it "Yankee-style." The Pit’s mac & cheese was particularly good, it had cheesy sauce with more cheese on top.
 
Our Peach & Raspberry Cobblers were good, nothing exceptional. The ice cream seemed house-made, but was grainy.

 
Bottom line - The Pit is a good introduction to NC barbecue for Raleigh hipsters who don't have the courage to leave the city. For those of us willing to drive past the suburbs and out into the wilds of rural North Carolina, there are better choices available.
 
Camera note - I went with the cellphone camera last night with poor results.
post edited by JRPfeff - 2013/08/26 20:59:29
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/08/27 08:10:11 (permalink)
I tried to eat at The Pit a few years ago and was shocked to see the valet parking.  When the young man told me it would be over an hour wait for a table, we saw no reason to stick around.  Since then, original pitmaster Ed Mitchell left, so I took it off of the list of places that need visited.  After reading this report, my mind hasn't changed.  Thanks JRPfeff
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/15 20:06:10 (permalink)
 
 
October 2013 - Bum's Restaurant, Ayden

Although Bum's Restaurant is on none of my lists, we stopped there based on QueperMan's Roadfood review and recommendations from a patron at the Skylight Inn.   

 
Being our third stop of the day we were starting to slow down. We ordered one vegetable plate - collards, cabbage and green beans - and one pork plate - with slaw and potato salad - to split four ways.  We rated the pork as #4 of the 4 stops of the day. It had no smoke flavor and was not well picked. I think it may be Ayden-style to leave gristle, fat and skin in with the chopped meat.
 
The flat corn sticks are also typical of the area and are not very good. No sweetness and with a hard, greasy texture.  I don't remember anything about the vegetables. 

 
After stopping at Bum's, we thought we were done with barbecue for the day.
post edited by JRPfeff - 2013/10/15 20:24:10
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JRPfeff
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/15 20:17:52 (permalink)

 
You've got to love the convenience they offer in North Carolina.
#47
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/15 20:53:57 (permalink)

 
October 2013 - Skylight Inn BBQ, Ayden

The Skylight Inn is renowned for their Eastern Carolina barbecue. They made all three of my source lists - Roadfood, NCBS Historic Barbecue Trail, and Our State. This was our second stop of the day and we had great expectations, starting with the understated architecture.

 
This is how they serve the Pork Platter at Skylight Inn. Decent barbecue, but I marked it down for the poor job of picking out fat and gristle from the mix. I call it Ayden-style. The slaw was unremarkable and the corn slab was pretty nasty, hard with no sweetness and a rancid oil flavor.

 
Skylight was the consensus #3 pick out of the 4 barbecue stops we made on our trip. Although one member of our group rated Skylight tops.
post edited by JRPfeff - 2013/10/15 21:24:43
#48
ann peeples
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/16 03:28:02 (permalink)
I will have to resource Bobs cousin, who lives in Raleigh, as to which restaurant we visited for que, along with THE Best fried chicken. Again, I am not a fan of eastern style que, but this was good. And I fell in love with Texas Pete hot sauce which was served on the table.
#49
MetroplexJim
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/16 08:24:49 (permalink)
I absolutelythis thread.
 
Thank you so very much.
#50
JRPfeff
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/16 09:36:55 (permalink)
MetroJim,

Thanks for the feedback. it encourages me to get my tardy reports done.

Jim
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ScreamingChicken
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/16 10:27:54 (permalink)
Is there anything other than cabbage in Skylight Inn's slaw?
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/16 10:36:25 (permalink)
If JRPfeff doesn't mind, I will be adding a few photos when I get back from the Roadfood bus tour. I am still bummed that Bum's was out of rutabagas!
#53
JRPfeff
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/16 10:49:45 (permalink)
Damn Cliff, you just ruined all my cheesy jokes about the clientele I saw at these joints.
#54
JRPfeff
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/16 10:51:38 (permalink)
Brad, veggie-wise no, but there was some dressing on it.
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Michael Hoffman
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/16 13:47:18 (permalink)
Keep it coming. Wonderful stuff.
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Davebassman
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/16 14:59:16 (permalink)
MetroplexJim

I absolutelythis thread.

Thank you so very much.

I'm with MetroplexJim!
I grew up in Tidewater Va. and started my college education in Eastern NC. (Chowan College in Murfreesboro). Grew up with a taste for eastern NC barbeque. Don't have much occasion to get down to NC these days, so it's great to read about all of these barbeque "jonts"!
Thanks!
#57
JRPfeff
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/16 18:38:07 (permalink)
Driving back to Raleigh after finishing our 3 scheduled BBQ lunches, we are stopped by a traffic light at this road.
 
What do we do next?
 
(HINT: buffetbuster was driving.)
 

#58
JRPfeff
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/16 18:46:00 (permalink)
What a bum!

 
A note on my report on our October 5 Barbecue Jont. I am posting my reviews in order of least-to-most favorite barbecue. So the chronological aspect of the trip is completely confusing.
#59
JRPfeff
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Re:Que & Stew of the Month 2013/10/16 18:48:02 (permalink)
Take the last train to Farmville!

 
I'm a believer!

post edited by JRPfeff - 2013/10/17 09:03:52
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