I have never had a job in marketing, but if was being paid to write slogans for “Summer 2020 vacation,” a few come to mind:
- “When you’re only out of town for a couple of days you should at the very least eat well.”
- “Put that airline refund to good use and spend the money at your favorite restaurant!”
- “If it’s too hot to walk off dinner you might want to consider a slice of pie instead.”
- “Is COVID-19 keeping you off the cruise? The floating buffet may be off limits but Uber Eats can help you cruise through five meals a day from the safety of your own home.”
I could keep this up for hours; but – mercifully – I won’t. Instead I’ll share a little of what proved to be a couple of days of really good eating. The downside, it goes without saying, is that when it is too hot to exercise then the extra calories that come with extra good food are extra hard to deal with.
Right away (and I had this on my mind from the moment we headed toward the coast) I was determined to find some local seafood that was fresh and delicious. I am partial – although my stomach and my esophagus have strong opinions to the contrary – to delicacies such as fried oysters, fried scallops, and fried shrimp. Captain Ratty’s came through for me with an entrée they called (appropriately) “The Bounty”. That’s right, all three on one plate. So good.
Next came lunch out at the beach. Our friend Kathy came through – keeping up with the seafood theme – with shrimp tacos. Nicely done, Kathy, you hit a home run.
Then, back in New Bern, Rebekah and I decided to go for traditional all-American burgers for our last night away. Beer Army Burger Company, however (right there in downtown New Bern), did everything but provide us with a sense that they were taking customers’ health seriously, and we moved on immediately.
The problem – and understand that we’re not unreasonable when it comes to masks and social distancing – was that not one single person was wearing a mask. Not the patrons, not the bar-tender, not the wait staff, not the hostess… nobody. We felt uncomfortable enough that we looked around the town center for another option.
Serendipity always seems to come through and we found The Chelsea (“An Upscale Bistro in Downtown New Bern”). Not only did the place conform to appropriate standards, it offered an amazing variety of gourmet foods. I’d recommend The Chelsea in a heartbeat.
Rebekah ordered a sophisticated version of “Chicken and Waffles” and I was very happy with the restaurant’s delicious “Paella Risotto.”
Not to be outdone, our Bed and Breakfast – Meadows Inn – came through with a remarkable breakfast the morning we left. Essentially it was an Eggs Benedict. In more detailed terms – and I’m going to have to try to prepare this one day – it was a salmon benedict with fresh fruit, tomatoes, and poppy seed muffins.
The benedict involved smoked salmon, avocado, poached eggs, homemade bread, heirloom tomatoes grown in their own kitchen garden, and a sauce I would guess to be a version of lemon-pesto. I give the chef five stars both for content and presentation.
So there you go. We are very disappointed (“gutted”, the English would say) that our plans for New York, Pittsburg, Miami, and Dresden (and especially our children and grandchildren) were all thwarted by COVID. But we have done our best to enjoy some alternate experiences, and this week has been a good one.
Here’s another slogan: “When all else fails, Great Food is always a plan.”
I probably enjoy food too much – it’s one of my weaknesses. At the same time, what could be better compensation for vacations lost?
Have an amazing Thursday. And Good Eating to you – DEREK