More Surf City Cuisine
This week we continue with the restaurants visited during family vacation week and since it covers five places it’s longer that normal. The first was breakfast at Batson’s Galley with my nephew. I selected this place because they have country links sausage which are harder to find than they should be.
The place looks to have been around for awhile and has the appearance of a typical diner when you go in except it has a huge beach mural on one wall and a copy of the 10 commandments hanging behind the register. We got seated as soon as we walked in and drinks provided in a jiffy. I went with a simple breakfast seen in the picture and my nephew went for the chocolate chip pancakes. They were definitely on beach time and it took longer than I thought it should have based on the number of customers and the lack of complexity in our orders. Fortunately the food made up for the wait. The eggs were scrambled firm and not overcooked. The sausage was mildly spicy with a good amount of sage. The potatoes were a surprise hit, lightly crisp outside, evenly distributed seasoning generously applied made them a great accompaniment to the sausage and eggs. Per my nephew the chocolate chip pancakes were outstanding and the chocolate chip quantity and distribution were spot on.
Next up was lunch at Daddy Mac’s Beach Grille with my sister, brother-in-law and niece. Daddy Mac’s is a second floor restaurant so you’re climbing stairs or waiting on an elevator that is slower than taking the stairs from what we observed since we took the stairs and beat the elevator. They have a nice ocean view from inside as well as seating outside on a deck. We decided to sit inside as it was a bit warm even with the breeze.
I got their shrimp and grits which were different from any of the myriad of others I’ve had over the years. As a side note shrimp and grits is one of those dishes that no two places or people seem to make the same and has more variation from place to place than just about any dish I’ve seen. As long as it has the two titular ingredients anything else is fair game and these folks threw me a curve ball with theirs.
When the server placed the bowl in front of me my first thought was, “These are some thin ass grits and what’s with the toast in the middle.” Turns out that wasn’t toast but a grit cake fried or toasted brown with a plentiful helping of shrimp and mushrooms in a savory gravy that was delicious if unexpected. I had a Mother Earth Brewing Endless River Kolsch style ale to wash it down. It was light and paired well with the meal. The other’s enjoyed their meals as well see below for the bonus pics. This was another place on beach time when it came to time between ordering and receiving food.
The following day saw a trip to Surf City BBQ which had great reviews from the nieces & future nephew-in-law. This was one of the rare spots that wasn’t within easy walking distance but still very close to the house so a sister & two brothers-in-law jumped in the car and off we went. The restaurant is in a little strip center and doesn’t look that much like a good BBQ place from the outside but inside the atmosphere is BBQ joint. I got a combo plate with pulled pork and chicken.
One thing to mention is they bring a basket of hush puppies to keep you going until the food arrives and are quality hush puppies. The chicken was tender and tasty but no thrill ride. The pulled pork was eastern NC style vinegar & pepper lightly sauced with more at hand on the table if you needed more. Very enjoyable. The fried cornbread square was different but good. The Brunswick stew was good but Georgia hash is better and the green beans were cooked to perfection, tender but not mushy, with just the right amount of salt. There was a lot of food and no room for the banana pudding the server was pushing hard.
Last breakfast outing was not the best. I was walking to Spudee’s when I passed Beach Bunny Subs and Grill and saw they were serving breakfast and since I hadn’t been there I figured I might as well. I should have kept walking. Not that the food was bad but no busier than they were it took way too long to get my food. I got seated right away but it took a while before the server came over to get my order for coffee. When that got to me I decided to try the Tidal Wave Scrambler.
Then started the epic wait for my breakfast. I don’t know what they were doing besides cooking back there but they must have been squeezing the eggs out of the chickens and milling the wheat for the gravy flour. Anyway I finally got my scrambler which I’ll tell you about since you can’t see much beyond the gravy. Two eggs, sausage, onions, peppers, hashbrowns, corned beef hash, cheese, stray tomato, smothered in sausage gravy. That sounds like a ton of food and it was plenty but the hashbrowns weren’t well represented and in spite of the overly long wait the onions and peppers were essentially raw. This was the worst experience of the week and I couldn’t recommend them at all.
On a happier note lunch was a family event to a restaurant recommended by the owner of the house we rented. The Riverview Cafe in Snead’s Ferry has been around for a bunch of years and is locally known for their fresh seafood and pies. They have a changing roster of specials each day as well as the menu to order from. Just about everyone ordered something from the specials board. I got the tilapia, shrimp & deviled crab and a Dogfish SeaQuench Ale.
The ale came first and it was quite the experience. It is a combination of styles but the prevailing flavors are the lime and sea salt. It’s light and refreshing and a great summer beer to enjoy with your seafood. We also got a couple of baskets of hush puppies here to keep us from getting surly while waiting for the food. When it came the tilapia was lightly breaded, fried and tasty. The deviled crab was on par with those you’d get at a chain. The shrimp though was the star of the trio. It had a light batter that you could see the orange stripes of the perfectly cooked shrimp through. The seasoning in the batter was outstanding and made for the best fried shrimp I’ve had in a long time and maybe ever. The sides of mac & cheese and green limas were both above average. I traded a shrimp for a scallop from another family member and it was a toss up which was better so suffice to say you couldn’t lose with either. I was told the ribs were well worth considering too.
We ordered pies to take home for later; a chocolate, a coconut cream, and a lemon. I don’t have pics because they didn’t travel well and the meringue stuck to the box top on two of them which was ok with me because I find meringue on a pie to be just an obstacle to overcome to get to the good stuff. All three pies were quality, not as good as mama’s pies but pretty good.
Overall the week’s dining experiences were positive and most were enjoyed with various family members so that just made them a bit better. Already looking forward to next year.