Saturday, June 25, 2016

Wharf Hill Brewery

Today's adventure took us back to the town of Smithfield. We'd heard a lot of good things about a place called Wharf Hill Brewing Company and so, we wanted to add it to our 'out to lunch' adventures.

Wharf Hill has been a main focus of Smithfield since 1752. It sits on the Pagan River and was once a shipping center. During the segregation era it served as the black business district. The building that now houses the Brewery was built in 1906.  

To read more about this fascinating place click on Wharf Hill Brewery.

We were seated in the main dining area where the atmosphere is charming, quaint and conversation-provoking. The three rooms house a bar area, an additional dining area (where we were seated) and an event room. Each is the size of an old 'turn of the century' store with plank floors and beautiful ceilings. 

There was a large dug-out canoe hanging on the wall. It had been discovered in Mill Swamp. 

The wooden pedestal tables are inlaid with German beer coasters. 

Fresh flowers in old bottles decorate the tables. The booths are 1915 oak pews that once stood in a Mission Church in Port Norfolk. 

Shirley's Review:

When you walk in you are greeted by a long beautiful wooden bar. But don't let the 'Brewery' part of it's name throw you off. This is a bonafide restaurant as well. We learned that the Chicken Pot Pie, Meatloaf and Crab Cakes are on the top of the 'to try' list. 

I checked out the menu online the night before and noticed 'Deep Fried Crab Balls' being offered as an appetizer. Ah, come on! Gotta order those! When they arrived, they were amazing. Imagine a wonderful crab cake recipe, lightly breaded and fried! 

My mind was set on their Caesar Salad. But, I spied a delicious platter being served to the table next to us and quickly went over to ask them how it was. The Seafood Combo Platter was huge but I was starving and felt certain that I could handle it. I was wrong!

It came with a large piece of fried halibut, oysters, shrimp and.....a crab cake. (Yay... I get more crab cake!) Ask for their remoulade sauce, too. It is amazing. I subbed the friend green tomatoes for crunchy onion rings which are hand-breaded in-house. Perfect. And, yes, my entire plate was friend and fabulous. The only further request I had was a 'take out' box! There was no way I could finish this!

NO DESSERT! OMG, we could hardly move! Once in the car, we put our 'take home' boxes in the cooler and decided to walk off our lunch by way of a few specialty shops. 

First stop, Relics. This cute little shop sells 're-purposed items'. The shop has a Nantucket feel, all white-washed items, some with shells. 

There were pretty mirrors, benches made of old headboards, lots of unusual things, like the light fixture made of a bait bucket liner. I would love to have something from this shop but, alas, I have no room in my apartment. I did find some fragrant specialty soaps and bought one of those. Shirley purchased a bracelet that she loved. 

We walked next door to a cute novelty shop, Beyond Main, featuring adorable fun clothing and unique jewelry. I immediately spied a red cross-body purse in a bold pattern. I told Shirley 'I have to have that'. Quickly I talked myself out of it and then I reached for it once more. 
Life is just too short. Girls never have too many purses! Shirley suggested I get the tan and black one. She said it would match a lot more things in my wardrobe. She was right. I reached for that one But then, I quickly snatched up that red bag! We too often talk ourselves out of fun things. But, Not Today! That purse was going home with me! 

I think that this out-to-lunch adventure was the best so far. The food was amazing, the weather perfect, the conversations with my daughter wonderful! These outings just seem to get better and better. No telling what all we will get into next. Be sure to check back in so you won't miss a thing. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Surry Seafood Company

Another lunch adventure with my daughter! Whenever we meet to go out we never discuss what we are going to wear, but doggone it... we almost always end up wearing the same color!        
Today we BOTH show up in peach and white! It is crazy!

We head down a country road, through the small town of Surry and on toward the Jamestown Ferry. Soon, Shirley turns left down a little ole bitty road. I am a bit worried. 

 We end up on the banks of Gray's Creek where the The Surry Seafood Company Restaurant has just opened for business. The building looks great and it is right on the edge of the water. It is a beautiful day, blue skies and a soft breeze, just perfect for a mother/daughter lunch.

We arrive early and are seated out on the patio so we can overlook the water. 

Now you know how I love taking pictures. Soon I spot what I thought was some sort of water fowl high up in the sky. I zoom in to take a closer picture and Shirley starts laughing. 
'Mom, that is a buzzard'. 
Yep, she's right. That girl knows her birds!
So, I find other fun things to take photos of and we enjoy the boats trolling by.

Shirley's Food Review:

Scanning over the menu, I was amazed at just how many items were listed for under $15. There were over 30. (Yes, I counted them!) Everything from Wraps, Salads, Burgers, Subs to Seafood. In addition they have a great selection of enticing entrees.

Since it was a beautiful day, I was in the mood for something light and refreshing so I ordered their Seafood Salad (lightly seared scallops, shrimp and crumbled crabmeat served on a bed of spring greens. It was amazing. 

Mom ordered the Crab Cake Supreme plate with hand-cut fries and steamed broccoli. It was equally amazing. Of course, we both had sweet tea! 

Our food arrives and we act like two little kids (oh, I meant to say blogger/photographer) moving our plates to first this table, then another, in search of the best lighting for our photo shoot.

Other guests are now being seated nearby and we girls settle down and act like grown-ups, eating our lunch all proper and such. Shirley, however, quickly gets into a friendly conversation with the people at the table next to us. She has 'NEVER' met a stranger. That girl loves to talk. She gets that from her daddy!

We are so pleasantly stuffed from the wonderful meal and I am thinking 'time to head home, time for a nap'. But, that doesn't happen.The best place to pick fresh strawberries is at College Run Farms, just down the road. 

'Girl,' I say, 'you have on white pants. You'll get them all stained'. She heads for the patch anyway. That girl never did listen to me!! She comes back with a plastic container filled with luscious red berries to take home. (and not ONE stain is on her! Me ... I would have had it all over me, from head to toe!!)

At College Run Farms, one of their specialties is home made strawberry ice cream. Remember now, we are still comfortably stuffed from our wonderful lunch but those cones were just too tempting to turn down. So, we each get one and sit on a nearby bench, laughing as we slurp up the sweetness that threatens to drip all over us.

Life couldn't be better!

written by Shirley Dietz and Willie Latane Barton - - -food commentary by Shirley Dietz.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Smithfield Inn Restaurant

I was so excited when daughter Shirley called me. "Get all dressed up, Mom", she said. "We are going out to lunch."

"Where are we going", I ask.

"It's a surpise,"  she says. Well, someone must know where we are going for we soon arrive at the Smithfield Inn Restaurant 

and were seated at a table in the garden area. We were surrounded by tall white columns and southern charm. Flowers were blooming and their sweet scent filled the air. The atmosphere just screamed for sweet ice tea, you all. 

We both were so happy with what we had ordered. After we had finished, we were offered the dessert menu. We were thinking, 'no, better not' and then something just took hold of me and out of my mouth came "I think I will have the lemon sorbet". Oh how refreshing. 

I was surprised when Shirley turned down dessert and had a cup of hot tea instead. Our waiter, John, brought out this wooden box filled with an assortment of tea bags. So, the conversation turns to 'what do you call a 'box filled with tea bags'? You should have heard all the things we were calling that innocent little box. We googled it, not much there. Finally we decided it was just a tea chest, you know, like a treasure chest, only filled with tea, not gold and trinkets. 

Shirley is an excellent cook so naturally she critiqued our food... 

Fried Green Tomatoes are difficult to get right, but The Smithfield Inn certainly has the correct recipe! Their BLT is brimming with crunchy Smithfield bacon, lettuce and a fried green tomato. Then, as if this was not scrumptious enough, they top it all off with pimento cheese, all on a soft roll. If you were not talking with a Southern accent at your first bite, you certainly will be by the time you finish!

Oh, and be sure to order the Sweet Potato Fries. If you are going Southern, do it right! These fries are crunchy on the exterior and light on the inside and served with Caramel Aioli.  
(What kind of chef decides that Caramel and Mayo- with a few secret spices- would go together well?) But, it's amazing and is perfect with the fries. Our only problem was trying to make sure we had enough aioli in the dish as we grabbed up our last fry!

This had been so much fun. Just a spur of the moment thing, not planned or anything. Shirley says, 'Let's do this more often and I think we ought to blog about it but I don't know how'.

'Well, honey', I tell her, 'just give me a minute. I may be 82 years old but I am not dumb. We'll have our blog. You just wait and see what Mama comes up with'. 

Shirley is sitting there with her mouth agape... and I laugh and laugh at her. Don't ever underestimate what your Mama can do, Girl!! 

To learn more about the restaurants, be sure to click on the RESTAURANT tab at the top of the page

posted by Shirley Barton Dietz and Willie Latane Barton