Hardware

Had the occasion to take the wife out for her 50th birthday and we went to a “new” restaurant in our area.  I say new because we haven’t been there.  I think the place has been open for a couple of years.

Hardware:

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I of course started my dinner off with a beer flight.  4 different 4oz beers for $10. Surprisingly the Black IPA was my favorite.

 

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The wife ordered Poutine for an appetizer.  Everything with a fried egg on it is good.

One of the drinks of the night was the Mojito.  The wife got one and instead of rum, it was made with whiskey

 

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Several good items on the menu that I wanted to try but I went with the “Sticky Chicken.”  Fried thighs with a whiskey based glaze.  This was really,really good !!!

 

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The wife ordered the “Pork Belly Korean Fried Rice.”  Again, with a fried egg on it, how could it not be good??

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??

Easy Oyster Stew

Oyster stew is one of my favorite dishes. Way back when, 25-30 years ago, one of my guilty pleasures (of the food variety of pleasures) was buying Campbell’s Oyster Stew  at the grocery store.  At that time, most of the soup was probably 75 to 85 cents a can and the oyster stew was about $1.25 so there was quite a difference in price for it.  I wouldn’t buy it every week or even every month so I can’t be sure when I stopped being able to buy it.  I can’t remember the last time I saw it on a shelf in a grocery store.  The funny thing is, searching on the Internet, I get conflicting stories as to the current status of the product:

This store/website says that they can sell the product:

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But when I go to the official Campbell’s Soup website and use their search feature:

Soup_001I don’t know how Campbell’s can say the soup is discontinued and there be a website that sells it???

All I know is that I can’t buy it, so I will have to “improvise, adapt and overcome.”

Lady Luck was good to me one day while browsing the meat counter at the grocery store as I saw the below containers of shucked oysters that were on sale for $3.99 and they were usually $8.99.

I looked at the oysters for a few moments and even I had to think about the downside of marked down seafood !!! The lady fish monger that I usually talk to there saw me looking at the  oysters and came over. She said that they had ordered one case of the product and they shipped twelve so they had to go straight to markdown.  She also said that they would freeze just fine.

Oyster_001 So I bought a couple of containers and put them in the freezer.Oyster_002 About a month later I decided to make some oyster stew.  Most of the recipes I found had very similar directions and ingredients.Oyster_003 In the sauce pan wet the stick (yes a whole stick) of butter with the onions and the celery.   The previous photo shows shallots, but I found some white onion in the fridge that I thought I would use.Oyster_004 All of the recipes called for putting the oyster liquid  in the stew and I wanted to rinse the oysters to make sure all of the grit was removed.  What I found out was that tit was less of a liquid as it was a gel.  I was NOT able to strain the oysters to rinse them.Oyster_005 Oysters and the oyster juices go into the butter after the celery and onions softened.

Oyster_006 It doesn’t take long to cook the oysters.

When they pucker up and curl, they are done enough to simmer .

Oyster_007 Stir a bit as it simmers after adding the whipping cream.

Oyster_008 Big hit of black pepper

Oyster_009And Yummos !!!

Boy was this good.  Boy was it rich too.

I will definitely make this again but next time I will only use a 1/4 stick of butter and probably just use the skim milk that we keep at home.

Backyard Fire Pit

NOTE:

This is from 06/2014

Just for fun I thought I would add a little “fire feature” to the backyard.

At the thrift store I found this metal pot for $2.00 and thought it would make a good fire pit.  What I really wanted to find was the bottom half of an old Weber kettle grill but could not find one.  Sometimes they get left on the curb on garbage day but they get scooped up rather quickly by the people that go around and collect recycling metal.
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A small hole was dug and the pot placed in it.

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Dressing it up a bit with some stones.

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I have plenty of small branches and project wood bits to use in the pit.

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Quite the ingenious roasting stick if I may say so my self.

A couple stainless steel skewers and a couple of hose clamps.

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Best part is it’s plenty long.

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Two wieners at a time.

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Picnic in the backyard.

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This is on anther day that I think we had the in-laws over and needed to make many dogs at a time.

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Letting my daughter have a turn at rotating the dogs.

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I live in a city and legally we can’t have a “bonfire” so any fire needs to be contained.  There’s an almost unlimited way to make a fire pit they way that I did.  I’ve already had a couple of ideas to improve it but am limited by the size of my backyard and garden.