Monday, February 09, 2009

From the Ridiculously the Sublimely Ridiculous

Yesterday was truly a study in extremes. It started out with a beautiful early afternoon drive up to the mountains followed by a pleasant stroll through Blowing Rock. We popped into a few shops. Tried on a dress (didn't buy). Found the perfect wedding gift for friends we are seeing in a few weeks (we did buy). Stopped at Six Pence - the British Pub - for a pint. Debated with the the bartender on what exactly is half Guinness, half cider (I think it's a Snakebite. There they call it a Black Velvet. Which I have heard before. But then what is Guinness and champagne because I thought that was a Black Velvet.)?

Left the pub and walked down the street to The Best Cellar, one of Blowing Rock's oldest fine dining establishments (since 1975) and located in the oh-so-charming Inn at Ragged Gardens. Being a Sunday during off-season, it was pretty quiet. But the ambiance was lovely...fires in the fireplaces, dark wood, view of the quiet, wintry garden with it's little garden trolls and the perfectly placed orange tabby...

Our waitress was excellent. A professional who took her job seriously and seemed to delight in our happiness. And we were happy - very happy - because decor and service weren't all that stood out. The food was delicious - including the warm, pillowy rolls which came out right away (is there ANYTHING better than warm bread with melted butter?). We started with a seafood platter (I know - so unlike me - right?). Marty had 3 huge Oysters Rockefeller and a mini crab cake. I munched on shrimp cocktail. We both enjoyed the fried calamari. Then came salads. I opted for creamy horseradish dressing which may sound nasty but was surprisingly mellow and quite tasty. For entrees Marty had fresh caught mountain trout with some kind of divine tomato/goat cheese sauce while I had the house special, Yellow Fin tuna with a simple marinade of olive oil, soy and lemon. We skipped dessert - although the banana cream pie sounded to die for. All in all, it was a wonderful dinner and I would highly recommend it for anyone who finds themselves in or near Blowing Rock.

So that was the ridiculously sublime. Obviously. Now onto the sublimely ridiculous...

It's been a while since I have been to a biker bar or any truly blog-worthy dive. But last night on the way home Marty decided he wanted to stop off at Gaslight, a biker bar in Hickory that he used to go to some 20 years ago. It was pretty quiet and it all started innocently enough. Marty and I sat at the bar with our Miller Lite bottles, making polite small talk with the bartender (who was very sweet). But then she and I TOTALLY bonded over our shared love of NASCAR. And then some bikers came in and started playing pool. And then they joined in on the racing talk. And then when I got up to go to the bathroom, one of the bikers complimented me on my Kate Spade Mary Janes. Seriously. And we became insta-best-friends.

The capper to the whole evening (and the whole burly biker complimenting me on my stylie shoes was pretty amazing) was Marty noticed that they served food at Gaslight (not that we were remotely hungry) and the bartender proudly told us that all of their food was prepared in a microwave since there is no kitchen. Microwave pizza. Microwave cheeseburgers. Microwave pork rinds. Yes. Pork rinds.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...