Olivia Dish

Archive for the ‘North Carolina’ Category

Chef & the Farmer

In North Carolina, Restaurant on April 5, 2011 at 10:21 pm
Chef & The Farmer

Even the tulips were from a local farm.

“No reservation? We don’t have a table open until 9:30.”

Not what I expected to hear in Kinston, North Carolina, a place where people wait in line for barbecue but only make reservations at the country club for the Mother’s Day buffet.

That’s when I realized that Chef & the Farmer is like that quirky guy you’re crazy about: you’re shocked to find out that everyone else thinks he’s hot too.

Ever since I heard about it three or so years ago, I’d been reading more about Chef & the Farmer with each month that went by. I’d finally made it in. And now, really, no table?

“We do have open seats at the counter overlooking the kitchen.”

I didn’t even consult my companions.  “Yes, that will be great,” I said.

Like so many restaurants these days, Chef & the Farmer is (no surprise) all about the fancy farm to table thing. But this isn’t Chapel Hill, Raleigh or even Wilmington. This is a small town in eastern North Carolina where you expect to find tobacco auctions, not fine dining.  And I appreciate it even more because this is where I grew up eating farm to table every meal, every day–all the while wishing my godforsaken family could just drive into town and have dinner at Pizza Inn. Read the rest of this entry »

Mapping the Barbecue World-Wilber’s

In Barbecue, North Carolina, Restaurant on December 29, 2009 at 9:21 pm
Wilber's Barbecue Goldsboro NC

On Highway 70 in Goldsboro, NC

If you’re interested in eastern North Carolina barbecue, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Wilber’s.

It was 13 miles down the road from our farm, so of course I’d heard of it.  Wilber’s was the source of Saturday lunches and tailgating food for N.C. State games, the place the rich kids stopped off on their way to Camp Sea Gull.  I didn’t realize how famous it was until I left home.

Wilber’s had been, for many years, my prime destination every time I came back. I didn’t want to unload my suitcase. I wanted to head over to Highway 70 for a barbecue sandwich.  I knew I’d smell the wood fire when I drove up. If I was lucky, fighter jets from the nearby air force base might skim over the parking lot on their way to landing.  Did it get any better?

Then, one fine Saturday, my mother introduced me to Grady’s and a lifetime of devotion took a detour to Sleepy Creek Road. (Sorry Wilber.)

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Mapping the Barbecue World-Fuller’s

In Barbecue, North Carolina, Restaurant on October 31, 2009 at 4:02 pm
Fullers bbq

Off I-95 in Lumberton, NC

I’ve been driving past the Fuller’s Barbecue exit on I-95 in Lumberton for twenty-some years.  Today I finally stopped.

fullers bbq exterior

Front porch at Fuller's

Why now? Well, first, I was hungry.  And second, I’d read a brief write-up about it in John T. Edge’s book Southern Belly.  If the cute, clever Mr. Edge liked it, then why wouldn’t I like it too?

Maybe John T. had better luck, better timing, or was even hungrier than I was.  I knew something was off when I didn’t smell any evidence of a wood fire on the premises.

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Mapping the Barbecue World-Grady’s

In Barbecue, North Carolina, Restaurant on May 13, 2009 at 1:30 pm
Grady's Bar-B-Q

Grady's Barbecue

I have yet to find barbecue I like more than Grady’s…. a name pronounced in this part of eastern North Carolina like Daddy’s lunch not Brady Bunch. I’ll get to the story on that pronunciation in a moment.  First the important stuff.

You can smell the goodness when you step out of your car.  The barbecue is slow cooked over a wood fire and dressed with a simple, spicy vinegar sauce (more like a marinade or a splash I’ve always thought, but say that out loud and wait for the locals to hoot with laughter).  Then, the very best part–little bits of crispy skin are chopped into the pork.

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