On the morning of Sunday, June 8th, Rob, Lynn, and I headed over to Cape Hatteras to see that lighthouse they’re famous for. And it didn’t disappoint.
Rob and Lynn CLIMBED that sucker (I waved from the ground), and after we had all enjoyed the view of and around the lighthouse, we thought we’d find a place for lunch. We stopped in one of the tiny towns that make up the Outer Banks, in what I believe was Buxton, North Carolina, at a place called Diamond Shoals (http://www.diamondshoals.net/).
This was an incredibly confusing restaurant - it had the feeling of a downhome, country, fried basket of seafood place, but it was also a sushi bar and seafood market. It must not have bothered us too much if we were willing to give it a try, and Rob started things off by ordering a bowl of their clam chowder, which they claim was the #1 chowder in the Hatteras cookoff. But it was actually really, REALLY good, some of the best I’ve had.
Rob also had their crab cake sandwich with fries. Both were greasy and satisfying - I think I liked Mama Kwon’s crab cake a little better; the meat to filler ratio seemed higher in that big ol’ patty than this one on Rob’s sandwich.
Lynn had fried clams and onion rings, a very golden brown little platter with a touch of vegetation via the coleslaw. No judgment from me though - it looked like it had been perfectly done. She has so much self-control with her diet every other day of the year, I was happy to cheer her on.
For this last meal of vacation, it was go golden brown or go home apparently, because I too ordered some fried seafood (I told you it was that kind of place!). I had fried oysters and sweet potato fries, both of which were just delicious. I’m not sure I’ve ever met an oyster I didn’t love, whether raw, baked, or fried.
If you want a basket of fried seafood, Diamond Shoals is the place for you. Stuffed to the gills, Lynn gracious paid the bill and we sojourned back to Kitty Hawk to get our car from the hotel where we had been staying. We did make one last beach stop on the drive back though, and Lynn was nice enough to send along this picture she took of ol’ Rob and me.
There’s a really good one of her and Rob too, but I get such a kick out of this one that I just have to share. I had one exposure left on my instax, and they were posing so nicely, and then this wave threatened to encroach on their feet. They started running, and I made a decision. An exposure well spent (I’m actually holding it in the above picture).
It was a bit of a drive from Hatteras back to Kitty Hawk, where we would say goodbye to Lynn and head back to Richmond. And it was an even longer drive up north to Virginia. After several hours had elapsed and dinnertime was imminent, we thought we’d made one final stop on our Outer Banks Vacation - Virginia Diner (http://www.vadiner.com/).
I had heard of Virginia Diner lots of times - they’re very famous for their peanuts (peanuts, ham, and tobacco are kind of the big industry in Virginia). When I saw that it was en route to the Outer Banks, I told Rob we should definitely try to stop and eat, or at least buy some peanuts, on the way back. How sweet of him to indulge me.
Not that he didn’t indulge himself too, with this plate of chicken fried chicken covered in white gravy. In keeping with the golden brown theme - plus gravy. Upping the ante.
I wonder how coleslaw became such an obvious pairing with fried food. I guess something super healthful like kale or spinach wouldn’t be the first choice for the type of person who’s ordering chicken fried chicken. Gimme some vegetables…and smother them in mayonnaise. That’s what I want with my crispy noms.
As Rob happily munched on his chicken, fries, and coleslaw, I got to work on my entree. I had never really had “Virginia ham” before, and you know I’m such a “when in Romer.” Even though I’m pretty much always in Virginia, where there’s pretty much always ham. Oh well.
I ordered the Virginia ham biscuit platter, which was three little slider-sized biscuits filled with thinly sliced ham, and some pickles on the side. I had it with a side of “Waldorf salad,” which is usually apples, celery, and walnuts served on top of lettuce. This had apples and celery, but also raisins and a “peanut dressing” that was really a lot like peanut butter, topped with even more chopped peanuts.
It was more like dessert than a sweet and savory side, but I couldn’t complain - both were so good! The ham was moist and flavorful - simple, really requiring nothing more. And I thought the Waldorf salad was actually pretty unique, more of a signature item than even the Virginia ham. But there was one more stop on this peanut train.
PEANUT PIE. I had never had anything like it, but after the gluttonous weekend we’d had, there was no point in yielding at this point. This peanut pie was probably little more than ground up and whole peanuts, eggs, butter, and sugar. It was way more intensely peanutty than a peanut butter pie, and I thought it was delicious.
We rolled out to the car, having our fill of all things Virginia as we ended our weekend getaway. Just when I thought we couldn’t get any more Virginia, Rob humored me by stopping on the side of the road so I could take this award-winning photo of this billboard out in peanut country. Though we would be eating a LOT of lettuce during the next week to compensate for our poor choices, this was such a fun and relaxing weekend. We’re so grateful to Lynn for having us out and for feeding us so well, and we hope to make it back out to the Outer Banks sometime within the next year and maybe even return to a few of these eateries.