Thursday morning we went into Chapel Hill. We grabbed a biscuit and coffee (the dude tried grits, which he liked better with butter and salt. Duh.) and had a wander about town. We ambled around campus until lunchtime. We were so excited to be heading to Allen and Sons! Our GPS told us we had arrived, but...we were in the middle of nowhere. No buildings at all. So we drove up and down the street. Nothing. Finally, we asked humans. Who told us that Allen and Sons was closed. We went over to the building to see what we could learn, but nothing. (Later internet research turned up that they close twice a year. Apparently a sign in the door or a message on the machine is too much work; everyone who needs to know knows.)
What would we do for lunch? A friend had told me to try Momma Dip's. We started with hush puppies and fried green tomatoes. I loved the hush puppies, but they were light and fluffy and not very hush puppy-ish. The tomatoes, however, were out of this world. The dude had fried chicken, collards, squash casserole, and biscuits; and I ordered chopped pork, collards, mac and cheese, and biscuits. I was served ribs. Because chopped pork sounds just like ribs. I was tired and hungry and already disappointed so I just ate the ribs. They were fine. The dude loved his whole meal. I have concluded that no southern mac and cheese will ever be as good as my mothers, so I should stop ordering it. I loved my collard greens. Then we went and toured campus and spent some time in the archives display. They have a lot of Raleigh stuff. Fun fact: Sir Walter Raleigh spelled his name something like seventy different ways--including three different ways in one document--but never Raleigh. The dude's favorite was Rawleyghe but Raleigh himself preferred Ralegh.
After our barbecue tour of Kansas City a few years ago, we made the rule that we could only eat barbecue once a day, and not two days in a row. Since we planned to hit Goldsboro on Friday, we went to Vietnamese on Thursday night. We can recommend Lime and Basil.
Friday morning dawned and we hit Sunrise Biscuit early, so we'd be ready by lunchtime. Goldsboro was a bit of a hike from our base in Chapel Hill; we hit the road around 10:30. Things started badly when our GPS wouldn't accept the address we had for Wilber's. So we just punched in Goldsboro, thinking how big can the place be? As it turns out, 24 square miles. Anyway we arrive on US Highway 70 East and start driving. We can't still be in Goldsboro, can we? So we turn around and drive on US Highway 70 West, which Wilber's is not on. Then we see US Business Highway 70. It sounds so much more right, so we drive around there for a while. At that point, I need to pee. So we turn into the sketchiest garage in the sketchiest neighborhood. Since I have to pee, I get to ask for directions too. I can't used the bathroom: "it's outside and someone messed it up." And no one seems to know Wilber's until I ask incredulously, "Wilber's BBQ?" A young girls tells me it's "out by the mall." I stare blankly, "are you not from around here?" She then launches into the kind of directions I hate. "Take a left at the mall and then another left after the jewelry store." The shop owner clarifies by giving me the names of the streets and a vague idea of distances. When I leave I am propositioned by a man with fewer prospects than I have. We start driving and successfully take our first left. We continue driving but cannot find a jewelry store. I burst out, "I don't care if I eat. I need to pee." So we pull into a Hardees. While I take care of business the dude has a word with the GPS. When I come out, it seems to recognize the address we want to visit.
When we arrived at Wilber's, you could smell the smoke. You could see the smoke. We both got the chopped pork plate with potato salad, cole slaw, and hush puppies (the normal dense cornmeal type). It arrived lickety split. And you could taste the smoke. But our meat was lukewarm. All that driving, an hour of searching...and it was only okay. So disappointing. I am sure if you get your meal hot, it would be covered with awesomesauce. Man, North Carolina was being a little disappointing. (Don't forget I'm sick on top of everything else.)
We drove to Raleigh to visit the North Carolina Museum of History. The dude and I always go to state museums. It helps you get the lay of the land, and you can find out some pretty interesting facts about the places you visit. And, you can find samplers! I've tried to find out more about this sampler but the online material only describes it, not the maker: Frances Ann Harrison, Prospect Hill Seminary, Caswell County, 1833. She was 14. Very pretty colors; damage in the center where it was folded.
(For dinner that night, we went to the Carolina Brewhouse. I can recommend the oatmeal porter. We started with collard green and chopped pork spring rolls (awesome!) and had burgers with Cackalacky sauce. Yum!)
We left North Carolina but not before we stopped at The Pit in Raleigh. Well, at last! It had all the right parts in all the right places: it was open and the food was hot! You could even taste smoke too. (You couldn't smell it, but I think that was probably a city regulation.) We started with the fried green tomatoes. And both had the chopped pork. The dude had it with black-eyed peas and cole slaw; I had collards and potato salad. They kept asking me if I wanted vinegar with my greens. As I was taking a bite, I inhaled--vinegar--and started coughing. I don't know how anyone would need more vinegar on that. I'm pretty sure that between the vinegar on the greens and the vinegar in the BBQ sauce, the people of North Carolina are being pickled from the inside out! But they're still good on the outside. ;)
We drove home happy. I stitched this, the sixth of my Crazy January starts.