Howard’s Pub: Ocracoke, North Carolina

This was the third of the three restaurants that we ate at.

Howard’s Pub North Carolina

200The wife had a crab cake and hush puppies.

201My daughter again surprised me by not ordering chicken tenders and ordered a hot dog and mac & cheese.  My daughter has learned that when the menu says “Macaroni and Cheese”, she needs to check if it’s Kraft mac & cheese.  Kind of a rip off if they serve the Kraft, but this was not Kraft and she said it was very good.  Her lunch was served on a souvenir “Frisbee.”

202I had the fried oysters.  The french fries here were very good.

Of the three places that I had the fried oysters, these were the least best.  This was bar food.  But to say that these were the “least best” of the three is like saying you had to date the second runner up at the Miss Universe pageant!

MJs Raw Bar & Grille: New Bern, North Carolina

MJs Raw Bar & Grille was another restaurant that was in downtown, historic New Bern that we ate at.

MJs Raw Bar & Grille

For all practical purposes, MJs is about the same type/kind of restaurant that  Captain Ratty’s is.  But the caveat is that I only dined at each restaurant once, so a thoroughly detail comparison is not possible.

100Of course dinner starts with a beer.

This time I ordered a Duck Rabbit Brown Ale.  The brown ale was  good, but I prefer the milk stout.

101I don’t normally order soup with my dinner but they had Lobster bisque as the soup du jour and I wanted to give it a try.  I’m glad I did have it, it was very good.

102I ordered the Po Boy.  The fried oysters were very good but they weren’t quite as good as the oysters at Captain Ratty’s.  The portion of cole slaw was a bit small but the taste was adequate.

103WOW !!

My daughter threw me a curve ball and ordered mini cheese burgers !!

104The wife got the lobster wrap and I had a bite of it and it was pretty darn good.

Captain Ratty’s: New Bern, North Carolina

On our recent family vacation to New Bern, North Carolina (http://wp.me/p1QpKD-O8), we only went out to eat three times.  It was not for lack of places to eat, but after most of the daily driving and beach activities, we were usually just to tired to get cleaned up properly to go out to eat.  A couple of days we just had snacks in our room or a couple of days we got a pretty good frozen pizza from the Food Lion that was nearby.

“Captain Ratty’s” was one of the places we dined  at.

http://captainrattys.com/

001Of course the meal had to start with a good beer.  (More on this beer later.)

002Free Cornbread muffins.  There were several more on the plate but before I could get a picture, they were gone. Good muffins.

The word “Free” in the English language is almost as good as the word “Bacon” in that almost anything you add it to makes it exponentially better. (ALMOST)

003A non-free appetizer.

A calamari plate with some pulpo.

004Mmmmmm, extra tentacles.

005The main entree !

I ordered “The Bounty.”

“A selection of fried oysters, shrimp, and scallops (no substitutions)”

This was fantastic !  Very fresh seafood and I hit the jackpot because everything on the plate was fried, but nothing tasted greasy.  You can always tell when they use fresh, clean oil.

006The wife originally was going to order a Ruben sandwich. Seriously?? We could fall off our chairs and land in the Atlantic Ocean and you want to order corned beef??   She wisely ordered the “Seared Scallop Salad.”

“Fresh scallops, orange, avocado, & sliced almonds”

I was considering ordering this before I decided on “The Bounty.”

It was a wise selection my wife said.  Great scallops.

007Shocking !!

My daughter ordered chicken tenders.  She did say that they were almost the best that she’s had.

008Back to the beer.

I ordered a Duck Rabbit “Milk Stout.”  It was great.

Duck Rabbit is a local Micro Brew in North Carolina.

http://www.duckrabbitbrewery.com/

The above picture is a beer store/pub (The Thirsty Bruin) in New Bern where I bought some Duck Rabbit.

009“The Duck Rabbit.”

How long do you have to look at the logo to get it??

Vacation !!

Taking vacation time for me is not completely unusual, but for this vacation, I actually took two consecutive weeks off.  That is something I haven’t done for many, many years.  It’s not that I don’t want to, but I would hate to be gone for two weeks and have the big guys in the corner office notice that the world kept spinning on its axis while I was away. (In my last several yearly reviews, I put down that I was responsible for keeping the world rotating and so far it looks like they bought it.)

Of the 16 days I was off, (including weekend days), 10 of them were spent on the road.  We left the Chicago-land area on a Friday evening to do most of the fifteen hour (980 mile) drive overnight to miss most of the traffic. (A word to you clueless drivers out there, USE YOUR CRUISE CONTROL!!!!)

Our destination was New Bern, North Carolina.  My parents let us use their time share points and that’s what we ended up with.  Historic downtown New Bern is a fantastic place but we were there to go to the BEACH !!!!!

It was about an hour drive everyday to get to the beach, but it was a very pleasant drive and it was well worth it.

2015_New_Bern_003What an incredible beach !!! And there was miles and miles and miles of this beach !!

2015_New_Bern_011Here we have Camp Bacon base camp setup on the beach.  I felt like a pack mule lugging most of this gear to the beach.

2015_New_Bern_021Here is the bacon offspring working on one of the many sand castles we built.

2015_New_Bern_183Another one…………

2015_New_Bern_210Endless digging in the sand opportunities.

2015_New_Bern_195One the best days, there were almost 5-6 foot waves.  Totally cool !!

Here I am with my daughter (I’m not the one on the red one piece)

She was a little apprehensive at first about going out into the waves, but she got over that pretty quick and she really liked jumping the waves.  We brought a small “boogie board” from home with us but it wasn’t big enough for me to ride but my daughter had a good time riding the waves in.

2015_New_Bern_224The surf conditions.  No “Sharknado” warning.

2015_New_Bern_296Now, these next bunch of photos may bore some of you to death, but there was an absolutely great state park that had a fort.

Fort Macon

Above is a model of the fort that someone had made.  I have included a number of photos because it is hard to get the scope of the fort with just one picture.

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The weather was FANTASTIC !!! Everyday was 100 degrees and 100 % humidity.  Yes, to me that is perfect weather.

Here comes the big BUT……………

The one day we made plans to travel to Ocracoke Island, it rained.  Above is a photo of the ferry we took to the island and the coming storm.

Because of the logistics of driving and ferry rides and the ferry schedule, we already knew that we were pushing it to get there and back.

2 hour drive to get the 10 am ferry

2 hour ferry ride to Ocracoke

X2 getting back

Now, we had the choice of taking the 4 pm ferry back to the mainland or the only other choice was the 9 pm ferry. Taking the 9 pm would mean not getting back to our room until about 1 am.  We didn’t really like that option.  So we decided on the 4 pm ferry meaning we were on a really tight schedule.  Another factor in this is that you need to have reservations for the ferry times, otherwise, taking the “standby” option would not guarantee a spot on the ferry.  I do have to say though, the ferry operators did a great job of loading the ferry to get everyone on.

Of course it started to rain just as we got to the island.  Being noonish, we stopped for lunch (post on food in the future).  After eating we drove a few miles to a beach.  Ocracoke is basically one ginormous beach (on the ocean side) and you can’t throw a dead cat without hitting a beach.  It was only drizzling at that time.  We walked a bit on that beach, my wife and daughter  were very intent on finding “sea glass” along with their other shells.  Still drizzling, we left after about 20 minutes.  Looking at the radar on the phone, it looked like it might clear up after a couple of hours, so we made the decision to try to “ride it out” and get the 9 pm ferry home.

Long story short (yeah, too late for that), it didn’t stop raining until about 7:30.  It was a loooooooong day of driving and being in the car for little reward.

OBXWay too much car time !!

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But HEY !!!

The next day was back to being fantastic !!

2015_New_Bern_487I would not get tired of this !!

FOOD:

We only ate out three times. (Food posts to follow soon I hope)

Email to Senator Kirk, Illinois

Text of email sent to the less than honorable Senator Kirk of the People’s Republic of Illinoisitan:

Senator,

I am appalled, disgusted and revolted at the fact that you voted for passage of legislation (TPA) that not a single one of your constituents was able to either review or discuss with you before you voted for it. Having a lawless president conspire with Congress to ram through secretive and unknown legislation is not how our representative republic works.

There is no acceptable excuse or reason for you to have voted for this legislation.

If you continue your public service by seeking re-election, I can guarantee that I will never vote for you again. I can’t trust you to do the right thing anymore.

Matthew W.

Illinois resident

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Just one vote, but it’s mine