So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31
Rebekah’s birthday treat this year gave me the opportunity to avoid one of the America’s most common spelling errors. I could write about Rebekah’s birthday “dinner” or her “birthday diner” and be correct either way (thanks to Poole’s Diner on McDowell street in downtown Raleigh).
I think I may have discovered a creative ambition for these coming retirement years. Maybe Rebekah and I could incrementally explore Raleigh’s legendary downtown restaurant scene? Of course there is one potential glitch, as we’d have to save all our eating-out budget for three or four months in order to afford the next one on the list!
But Poole’s was absolutely worth it. The eatery came highly recommended and did not disappoint. The kitchen/chef philosophy has to be along the lines of “Let’s create simple, unique, flavorful, unforgettable dishes using only the best quality ingredients and presenting each plate with artistry and flare.”
I may be a bit of a foodie, just not a food snob; but I can say that even food snobs would be blown away by the creations we sampled Sunday evening.
The occasion – Rebekah’s birthday – was certainly equal to the destination. We are old enough now where purchasing “stuff” for each other is not so appealing as enjoying experiences together (recent exceptions include my amazing mandolin and Rebekah’s beautiful ukulele).
Kudos to our server (Alan), too. He did nothing to rush us, he allowed plenty of time between courses, and he was always paying attention when we needed something.
To begin, we shared the heirloom tomatoes with grilled cornbread, buttermilk blue, and white balsamic thyme vinaigrette.
I cannot begin to describe the perfect balance of flavors, the slight crunch of the grilled cornbread, and the subtle interplay between the mild blue and the balsamic thyme. So very good.
For my entree I chose the Fritto Misto with butter bean salad as soon as I heard Alan mention the soft shell crab. Rebekah picked the smoked, tea-brined, master-blend pork chop with field-pea stew and marinated peppers. Her chop was beyond tender.
Our sides were the most amazing macaroni au gratin and North Carolina corn with oyster mushrooms in a sherry sauce.
For dessert – from three very enticing choices – Rebekah and I shared the Key lime tart with toasted coconut meringue and North Carolina Blackberries. Paired, of course, with the most delicious coffee from Counter Culture Coffee over in Durham.
I tell you all of this simply to point out that such deliciousness exists, and to encourage everyone to support these kinds of creative, innovative, cutting-edge culinary enterprises that invest so much imagination and hard work into both my local community and yours.
Also, I’m sharing to make you drool and be envious; that too!
I am so glad that Rebekah came along into this world, just a few months after my debut in 1956. Our life together is a beautiful, rewarding, innovative, surprising, think-on-your-feet, deeply satisfying, faith-infused adventure.
So happy birthday, Rebekah, in every way – DEREK
here are the photos for the evening:
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.