Monday, December 26, 2011

Brasstown Possum Drop | A Hillbilly New Years

Somebody ate one too many possums it looks like.
At the same moment New York City’s spectacular illuminated Waterford crystal ball begins its descent in Times Square, residents of Brasstown, N.C.—population 240—will ring in the New Year at the town’s annual possum drop.

Forget NY, in NC we drop our own anti-PETA possum in celebration of the new year. Claiming I'm from the upper-side of the NC tracks does little to deter the obvious image problems such an event presents to the state of NC and our poor wildlife.

Welcome to Beautiful Downtown Brasstown, North Carolina- "Opossum Capital of the World!"...Population 240, Been the same for 100 years or more. Some lady gets pregnant - some guy leaves town. Used to be the "Moonshine Capital of the South", but not anymore, it has gone to pot.

The most exciting thing that we do in Brasstown, besides going to the John C. Campbell Folk School and dance with the pretty Danish girl, is "Lowering the Opossum on New Year's Eve." If New York can drop a "Ball", Georgia can drop a "Peach", then we can lower the Opossum."
"We are now high tech redneck. We have an electronic technician to handle the sound system and the big-screen so that the entire crowd can see and hear the festivity. Electronics included a computer system and a TV screen known as the Possumtron. 
  It's official, the next time I'm abroad and some asks where I'm from... I'll show them this video:

North Carolina prohibits unjustifiable physical abuse to animals, but the law does not say anything about psychological pain. "I don't think any D.A. would touch it with a 10-foot pole," Professor Reppy said.

That frustrates Brenda Overman, president of the Greensboro, N.C., chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "I'm sure the animal is traumatized," Ms. Overman said. "You walk up on a possum in the woods, they freeze; they're terrified.

They're putting it through horror for hours. Instant death would be better." 
 Apparently NC is full of unusual events: I'm fond of Mount Olive's idea quite honestly:

Mount Olive celebrates midnight by Greenwich Mean Time, which is 7 p.m. in North Carolina. Activities include a giant illuminated pickle.

Raleigh will drop its famous acorn, while the Cumberland County town of Eastover will drop a 3-foot-tall, 30-pound flea made of fabric and wood.

A celebration in Kure Beach will include the dropping of a giant lighted beach ball.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Golden Corral | Is a coupon really worth it?

Golden Corral's Fountain of Chocolate Doom.
So we went to Golden Corral last night. You may remember that I say I regret every time I go, but yet I continue to go. Some of it, is that the kid's love it. Especially with their new "Wunder-Fountain." However I discovered a flaw in their dessert gimmick as I caught Chance, my son, make an ice-cream cone last night. Now I must admit, he got the idea from me, to make a chocolate dipped ice-cream cone, but what I failed to realize is that he, having now seen the idea would imitate it. Score two, for bad parenting. Actually I was quite proud of him, till I witnessed his uncontrollable urge to lick the ice-cream cone PRIOR to dipping it in the fountain. The more I thought about it, I realized, he's probably not the first. Have you ever seen kid's and cheese dip? They're oblivious to the double dip rule. After having watched the movie Contagion the night before, I quickly grabbed my son away from the dessert counter, doing that little sweeping head check thing like we just robbed a bank, and to see if anyone noticed our contaminating the entire fountain of liquid chocolate. I know a lot of people love Golden Corral because they're always running discounts and coupons, especially for students and military, and of course it's the one place you can eat till you throw up, but is the coupon really worth, dysentery?

If the answer is still yes, and undoubtedly it probably will, then consider the following information for procuring your own Golden Corral coupon:

My mushroom, is it dead yet?
Golden Corral Couponing Techniques
Method #1 - The Early Bird Coupon 20% Off
Show up ten minutes before 4 PM, as this is when they change their pricing from lunch to dinner and instantly save $2 per person of the $9.99 dinner buffer. By the time you finish your salad, you'll have access to the dinner entrees and meats.
Method #2 - Manger's Button 10% Off Discount
There is indeed a 10% off button on the register, that a manager can press if he deems you worthy. This is most often used as a discount for one of the four categories, and may require some persuasion.
  • Student Discount
  • Military Discount
  • Senior Discount
  • "I flirted with the manager" Discount
I've personally had success, simply by showing my student I.D.

Eat at your own risk.

How to Buffet Like a Boss with Golden Corral's Secret Menu:

So in one of the fleeting moments as an American I took my family to the Golden Trough, otherwise known as Golden Corral.It's one of those places you always regret going, but always end up going again. Shan confesses it's the only restaurant that requires a crap in the middle of dinner. There is a sort of secret menu, as way of "bossing" your way to better foods at the Corral though. Often G.C. moves ingredients far and away from each other, leading you to dishes that they want you to eat, but if you're wise and smart you to can Golden Corral like a boss.

The secret is the melted Velveeta Nacho cheese. Golden Corral puts it by the tortilla chips, figuring you'll make nachos. Nachos are nice, but Deluxe taco chili cheese fries are awesome. If you're not a fan of the concoction below, stick to just cheese and fries, and fall in love!

Deluxe Chili Cheese Fries:
1. Get french fries
2. Cover in taco meat
3. Cover in Nacho Cheese
4. Cover in Pico De Gallo 
5. Add sour Cream

Next is the Macaroni Cheese. We step it up a bit by adding extra cheese.

Three Cheese Macaroni
1. Get macaroni.
2. Near the Mac, is the pizza- there will be parmesan in a shaker, add that.
3. Add shredded.cheddar cheese by the baked potatoes.
4. Add additional nacho cheese (by the tacos)

*** Optional, add blue cheese, or other cheeses.

Next is the Velveeta Burger. 

Velveeta Burger. 

1. Get slider burger.
2. Add nacho cheese.
3. Add lettuce from the Mexican area.
4. Add tomatoes from the salad bar.
5. Top with ketchup from the tomato.
6. Threaten soda waitress for a bottle of mustard.

Now I'm going quietly into the toilet, locking the door, and purging for the next half hour.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

T.J.'s Deli | The only Reason I drive to Winston Salem

And then there was just one location left. 
Best restaurant in Winston Salem?

Some time ago, I wrote about how much I wished T.J.'s Deli would come back to the Greensboro area. (What did we do to upset them?) Someone eventually commented that it would, but I'm still waiting. Not only that, but it doesn't appear they're doing so well in Winston, as the location I used to go to, on Silas Creek Parkway is now defunct. There now is only one, (cue the Highlander theme song) and yes it's still in Winston. (Can we not get a incentive package to bring them back?) Fortunately I was car shopping in the area, so I decided to stop by and pick up a #60 Sicilian. My most favourite of all deli sandwiches.

Here's the thing I can't figure out, TJ's Deli does everything right, It's probably one of best restaurants in the state, so what is it about good food in North Carolina finding itself un-preferable? Do we love self-injury so much we'd rather have a mushy Stamey's BBQ than a quality artisan, New York style deli sandwich dripping in divinity?
The Hot Sicilian:
 Ham, pepperoni, grilled onion, banana peppers,
thousand island dressing, tomato sauce,
provolone cheese, lettuce and tomato.

Almost everything they make at TJ's is amazing. Their Reubens, and pastramis are piled a mile high and are made in the European fashion. When TJ's did exist in Greensboro, I tried almost everything on their menu, from the French Dip, to the Sicilian which I finally decided upon as the perfect sandwich. When I went away to college in California, I was forced by geography to make my own Sicilian Sandwich. (You can too if you're too lazy to go buy one.)

Perhaps the best Reuben in North Carolina
So here's the thing, I really did believe I was going to buy a car, but now that I'm self analyzing myself, I must admit the possibility that I was just resolving  my addiction for a dripping, delicious sandwich from TJ's deli. Sure it cost me $1500, but it was worth every dime. In fact, perhaps the only reason to go to Winston Salem is to go to TJ's Deli. The good news is I might find a reason again, since Tanglewood Festival of Lights is going on in Clemmons.

Take my advise, get in the car right now, go to TJ's and order a #60 with some fries, and prepare yourself for the possibility you may begin contemplating moving to Winston Salem. Everything is fresh, hand-made, insanely flavorful and dripping with gooey hot goodness. The only complaint you will have, that I still do, is that there isn't one in Greensboro. It's a tragedy.

I think this location is a depositary for all the memorabilia from the other locations.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sweet and Savory Restaurant | Wrightsville Beach

Good Eats in Wilmington
So I've been looking for a car. To be more precise, either a Geo Metro, a Ford Aspire or something small, gas efficient, and most of all affordable. I thought I had found one down in Wilmington: an Aspire with 50,000 miles on it posted on Craigslist. (That's my first mistake, almost anyone who uses Craigslist is criminally insane, I've discovered.) So we drove down to buy it, and when we got there we found a shaking, backwoods man trying to pass off a high mileage car with a altered speedometer. Quickly we walked away, a bit dismayed, but somewhat relieved we weren't taken advantage of. So we drove down to Wrightsville beach, and since Shan had to go pee, but the city decided to lock all the public toilets, she found a wonderful outdoor changing room to alleviate the issues of the crashing waves within her body. Once free of the eroding tides within, we made our way to the beach and walked along the strand. Shan poked a few dead jelly fish, and collected something she referred to as a "brain", before we finally headed off to Sweet and Savory Cafe and Bakery.

Here's the thing, we didn't know where the best place to eat was, so we Googled it, and sure enough Sweet and Savory was the one listing on Trip Adviser that everyone was recommending. The name didn't sound all that interesting, but when we got there, the parking lot was packed. Even more interesting is that the facade of the "steak-house" styling of the building doesn't match the light and carefree bohemian attitude of the restaurant within its walls. Then there's the name: Sweet N Savory? Why not "Pasty and Gooey?" The truth is, I even joked, "they didn't put much effort into the name did they?" Yet I was wrong. It fits it perfect once you taste the purposed sweet, and savory foods. It's a genre they serve up so well, your pre-emptive name calling serves as the sweet irony of hypocrisy as you realize exactly how good the Sweet and Savory restaurant is at what they do: blending flavors. It's like laughing at the fat kid in elementary school only to realize he can run a mile in six minutes, slam dunk a basketball, and already has a book deal at age 12. Sweet and savory, is more than food, it's revenge on the mediocrity of your typical beach dining.
The Ultimate Grilled Cheese is to die for.

More to the point, the food was amazing. In fact this restaurant, this hybrid Euro-American cafe, is definitely within my top five North Carolina restaurants. That in itself should tell you how good this place is. It's up there with La Farm, in Cary or even Johnson's in Siler City. The food is absolutely Amazing.

My favorite dish, the one you have to get when you go to Sweet and Savory is their Ultimate Grilled Cheese. I've had, and made many grilled cheeses, but this one took the cake. The UGC is made on their own fresh baked grilled white bread, they put cheddar, Havarti, bacon and tomato with a side of home-made potato chips, and  a side of ranch to dip. This is heaven.

But don't stop there, split one of those with your date and then divide up a Scrumdelicious Brisket. It's a gorgeous petite baguette filled with slow braised beef brisket, cheddar cheese, bacon, fried onions, and special sauce. I've never had anything quite like it, and it was amazing.

There are restaurants that are good, some that are great, and then there are a few that just get every nuance right, and Sweet and Savory restaurant in Wrightsville Beach is one them that is dead on. It's a tad French, a bit southern, yet it's cheap, affordable, and you'll want to go back next time your at the beach. To be bluntly honest, I've got a completely new reason to car shop on the coast.