Foods & Brews from the East

Recently Mike & I went on a vacation out east. We flew down to Raleigh/Durham, NC, to visit friends & family, then rented a car and drove up the coast to Delaware, to spend some time with even more family. It was a whirlwind vacation, but needless to say, we wanted to make the most of our trip out there and sample the foods, flavors, and beverages of the areas we visited. Here are a few highlights from our trip:

Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC

Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC

Being homebrewers, we can never pass up an opportunity to support local breweries when we travel. We hit up Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, taking the bus from our hotel to get there (which apparently you never do in Durham, but we did, and survived). They had a nice selection of beers, and I know that Mike was very pleased with the quality. The highlight of the visit was splitting a bottle of their First Frost persimmon beer, aged. It was absolutely divine and probably a brew that will be very hard to find in the future, unless we head back down south.

Dane's Chicken & Waffles

Dame’s Chicken & Waffles

In planning for our trip, Mike mentioned to his stepbrother (he & his fiance live in Chapel Hill) that he really wanted to try chicken & waffles. So, he took us to this great place in Durham (Dame’s). It, in short, was awesome. You choose your dish based upon what kind of cut of chicken you want, then choose your waffle and ‘schmear’ (flavored butter. Genius). I chose the classic waffle, with a chicken cutlet and maple-pecan schmear. The flavor combination was so unique – sweet meets savory, but done right. When we head back to RDU next May for their wedding, we may have to drag some of the family back here. Yes, it’s that good.

The next portion of this post may make some people uncomfortable because it involves whole crab. If this is you, scroll down. You’ve been warned! No hate, please! ūüėČ

Mike & I lived in southeastern Pennsylvania for the first 8 months that we were married; the 2008 crash moved us back to Ohio. We lived about an hour north of Baltimore, MD – a great place for fresh seafood. This is where my husband introduced me to the world of¬†blue crab. He would have it when he’d go on vacation growing up – I on the other hand was a bit creeped out by the fact that it was a whole crab in front of you. I took him out to Baltimore for his birthday that year and he taught me how to eat blue crab. We both enjoyed ourselves immensely and remember that evening fondly; thus when we came back to the East Coast this past week, we had to find ourselves some crab. My father-in-law recommended Claws, a seafood place out in Rehoboth Beach.


Please, disregard the carnage.

With blue crab, you eat all the meat in the claws & body; rarely do you get anything out of the rest of the legs because they’re so small. In short, the blue crab are steamed, covered with Old Bay, and dumped onto your table where you get crackin’ with some small wooden mallets & your fingers. The crab is delectable, and for many it takes a while to get all the meat out of the crab. As a person who got ‘turned on’ to seafood after graduating high school, I can say that it’s definitely well-worth the effort. Even if you cut both of your thumbs on the claws and they sting from Old Bay (sorry, Hubs ;-))¬†We had a great ‘date night’ on our vacation at Claws and walked off our crab coma on the beach.

End Whole Crab portion.

The last portion of our trip took us to Baltimore for the Indians vs. Orioles game. We went with Mike’s sister & brother-in-law, and had a fantastic time. Of course, we arrived in Baltimore that evening during a huge thunderstorm, and rush hour. We drove around and ended up at the Rusty Scupper, which happened to be one of the nicer places in town, but had wickedly awesome seafood. I believe really hit the spot for my sister-in-law, who was 8 months pregnant. ūüôā I had the shrimp scampi – a dish I probably could make at home, but really had a taste for since I was still a bit ‘hungover’ from crab.


Shrimp Scampi

We had a wonderful vacation, and I had fun documenting some of the culinary adventures that I had. Maybe I’ll have to document more as we travel in the future!


4 More Days!

I’m starting to bounce off the walls just a little bit, as my husband & I are gearing up for a long weekend mini-vacation. This is the first trip we’ve gone on since our honeymoon that is not for a) a wedding, or b) to visit family. It’s also to a location that we’ve both never been to before (unless, of course, you count the layover my husband had at DEN when traveling for his best friend’s bachelor party in Vegas). We love our friends and our families¬†dearly, and love to visit our favorite destinations, but it’s time for a vacation!

This trip has been brewing, no pun intended, since February. Fall football & fate, even with teaching in two school districts, is permitting me to go on this trip.¬†We’ve been saving extra spending money, and Hubs even requested that his birthday present be the purchase of tickets to¬†the Great American Beer Festival¬†(birthday is in May, tix went on sale in August). ¬†We’ll be attending two evenings at GABF and thus these two homebrewers are stoked!

In case I haven’t mentioned, we homebrew. Or rather, my husband homebrews and I assist. We brew via all-grain style, and keg most of our batches. It is Hubs’ true hobby and he is really,¬†really¬†good at it. Since we’ve started on this adventure together, we’ve become somewhat of a pair of connoisseurs – drinking/brewing for the taste, and not the alcohol (even though you have to admit, some days it’s an added bonus). Thus, our trip to GABF is meant for us to be able to sample and experience some beers that we otherwise would not be exposed to in Ohio & Michigan, let alone the Midwest.

The Weather Channel is forecasting¬†perfect weather¬†for our excursion.¬†My dear old friend Robin will be giving us a tour of Boulder during our trip as well. I’m hope to blog bits and pieces from our trip – especially restaurants and our GABF experience.¬†¬†I have LOTS of lesson planning to do this week, but as of 3:05pm Wednesday, I’ll be off the school grid.

SO – for those of you who read this blog, who have ever been to Denver, or leave near Denver, etc. –¬†what cool things are there to do out there? Any awesome must-sees? Great restaurants? Tourist traps to avoid?