Monday, October 12, 2009

In Search of Great Food, Wine, Beer and Spirits

Aren't we all in search of that ultimate meal or drink. The one that transcends time and place and brings a certain sense of euphoria that can only be reached in that moment. The only problem is that for everyone that seems to encompass a different experience. Sometimes its a shared experience, when you are with your friends, family, spouses or lovers. The notion that what you are enjoying right at that moment is so special that you aren't sure it will ever be duplicated. Of course, not every experience has to be on that ethereal level, they can just be really good, or good or excellent. I've always noticed that my food experiences are always better with company, but sometimes bad company can ruin a good meal too. So the purpose of this blog is to hopefully get people excited about new food places to try, wines, beers and spirits. I'll try and throw in a few recipes, hopefully some of the restaurants I highlight will be kind enough to contribute, otherwise they'll be my interpretation of the meal that we have indulged in.

So to start our great quest forward, I've been looking for the perfect Shandy! I'm sure most of you are thinking what the heck is a Shandy? Up until a trip to Caesars Paradise Stream, an adult's only resort, I'd never heard of a Shandy. When it was described to me, a combination of Beer and Lemonade, I thought dear Lord could anything be more disgusting. Turns out yes there are some really gross beer cocktails, but in the case of the Shandy, I saw the light. The first version of the Shandy that I tried was a combination of Yuenling Beer and Lemonade. A slightly greater than 50% lemonade mix seemed best. Its was refreshing like a beer with a lot of the bitterness stripped out and some tart and citrus moved in. So now we were on a quest for Shandy greatness. We tried some local bars and got the once over, "say what" look on several occasions. Then we hit upon a place in the Outer Banks, Kill Devil Hills to be exact. Just by sheer chance we decided to stop at the only wind powered Brewery/Restaurant I have ever heard of, The Outerbanks Brewing Station ( We asked the waitress for a Shandy and she proceeded to ask us which beer we wanted. After looking at the various brews created, we settled on their Olsch. The Olsch was the perfect choice for a Shandy. It was light and fragrant and was a perfect complement to lemonade. I drank a glass of the Olsch on its own and was extremely pleased. It wasn't bitter, which you would expect, and had good thrist quenchinability. I ended up trying a bunch of their brews and found each one quite delicious in their own right. There was one, whose name escapes that was made with coriander that I didn't care for. That had more to do with the fact that I'm not huge coriander fan, and this really captured that flavor. Their stouts were big and strong. Definitely ones to sip and savor as opposed to chugging like you can their lighter fare. As far as the food goes, we were pleasantly surprised by excellent quality of their preparations. I had their steak sandwich with portabella mushrooms that was really just fabulous. My wife had the Yard Bird and that was also very delicious. You can tell they take a lot of care and time with everything they do. Service was very good. Atmosphere during the afternoon was typical vacationer busy, but at night I get the feeling the place really rocks when the live music kicks in. Its definitely a place where you go for the beer and you are really happy you decided to eat. If you find yourself on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, definitely stop in at the Outerbanks Brewing Station. You won't be disappointed.

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