Aren't we all loving the sunshine? Been a while.
The return of 'Q Wednesdays begins tonight with BBQ from Pik-n-Pigin Carthage, NC. Maybe it's just me but I think BBQ tastes the best during the cooler months so 'Q Wednesdays will happen every other Wednesday beginning October 2015 and will run through April 2016. I've lined up some new places that we haven't featured along with a couple of old favorites. This run I will venture across state lines to bring back 'Q from Scott's in Hemingway, SC on Oct. 21. Rodney Scott is an old SFA buddy of Bill Smith's and serves up some fine 'Q from what I've heard. Another SC BBQ house I'm headed to on Dec. 30 is Sweatman's in Holly Hill, SC. Sweatman's is known for their mustard based BBQ so we're looking forward to that experience. Check out the schedule now booked through the end of 2015 on our webpage.
In case you missed Bob Garner's television report or Kirk Ross'sIndependent Weekly cover story or the Stasio WUNC radio interview, Bill Smith has a new book out: CRABS & OYSTERS.
Thanks are in tall order for the 100+ who joined in at Shannon Healy's cocktail bar, Alley Twenty Six, for the terrific kick-off hosted by the Alley Twenty Sixers, the UNC Press team and the Durham chef posse that cooked their favorite recipes from the book: Phoebe Lawless of Scratch (Oyster Cobbler), Matt Kelly of Mateo (Grilled Oysters), Amy Tornquist of Watt's Grocery (Crab-Deviled Eggs), Andrea Reusing of Lantern and the Durham Hotel (Crab Aspic), Billy & Kelli Cotter of Dashi and Toast (Louis Osteen's Oyster Stew), and Ricky Moore of the Saltbox (Crab Dip). Thanks to all who joined in the fine party to toast Bill Smith, including Beth Smith who ran the show and Andrea Healy's mother who did the flowers.
Sorry if the above made you sorry you missed! We have copies of the book with all these recipes on the bookshelf behind the bar.
"And these Crabs & Oysters recipes will unfurl on the menu and come and go all season," promises Bill Smith. "I'm especially looking forward to serving Louis Osteen's Oyster Stew (with toasted sesame seeds)...Louis has always done things I think I wish I'd thought of myself."
On this week's Crook's Corner calendar:
Wednesday: Q from Pick-n-Pig in Carthage.
Thursday: Bill Smith is co-hosting an early evening wine-and-seafood pairing class w/ glasses of great wines served by Max Kast at Fearrington -and a copy of Crabs & Oysters. And back at the restaurant, we expect to see the return of Fried Oysters!
Weekend: Bill Smith is on daytime panel at Terra Vita (Chapel Hill's food festival). And back at the restaurant we welcome all those in town for Terra Vita to stop by before or after the events for get-togethers, drinks, dinners and Sunday Brunch.
THE CROOK'S TOP EIGHT.... a.k.a. the foods you might want to consider ordering in October (up to you to decide the order):
1/ Persimmon Pudding (The taste of fall. Bill Neal's recipe. Persimmon's from Mrs. Andrews.)
2/ Braised Pork Shank w/ Mississippi Fried Corn (The dish that wowed the Southern Foodways Alliance last October. Fried Corn adopted after an early SFA trip to Jackson, MS.)
3/ Fried Oysters (Bill Smith's unequaled masterful Maseca dusted, crispy rendition.)
4/ Brussels Sprouts and Blue Cheese Salad. (A fall salad with olive oil, sea salt, onions, walnuts, greens.)
5/ Carolina Fish Fry (Crazy-good-enough to inhale this flounder.)
6/ Spicy Macaroni & Cheese (Made w/ Farmer's Daughter Brand Hot Sauce topped with Sriracha drizzle.)
7/ Carolina Q on Wednesday, October 7 (Pik-n-Pig from Lexington.)
8/ Carolina Q on Wednesday, October 21 (Scott's from Hemingway, SC.)
Bar Notes: Manager Kyle has put together a nice fall Italian wine feature for us with wines that range from the crisp and refreshing Macrina Verdicchio (with notes of fall apple) to the Ma RoatValpolicella which Kyle claims is "The best wine for 'Q Wednesday. It has a nice medium body, so it doesn't wrestle with the pork. It features fine notes of smoke, tobacco and surprisingly, a slatey-coal essence. Really delicious."
On the Walls: Jamie McPhail's encaustic paintings through October.
As always, thank you for your friendship and patronage.