I haven't had one of those vacations for a very long time, but finally had the opportunity to do so last month when I was visiting family in the US. This was made possible by my second cousin's generous donation of her family's holiday home at Sunset Beach, North Carolina. The house is spacious enough to accommodate three couples--my cousin and her husband, my parents, and Sasha and me. We sat on the beach during the day, then ate delicious food at night. What more could you ask for?
Our first night together helped set the culinary tone for the week. We ate out at the Acme Food and Beverage Co. in Carrboro, a small but interesting suburb of Chapel Hill. I sampled quite a few Carrboro eateries when I briefly lived there during my time as a visiting researcher at UNC and Duke; however, I never managed to make my way to Acme.
The place was pretty packed even at 8 PM on a Wednesday, which I take as a sign that it is a popular destination for local foodies. Luckily, we had reservations, so we were immediately able to get a seat in the (very dimly lit) interior portion of the restaurant. I started off the evening with an insalata caprese that was accompanied, a bit unusually, by some deviled eggs.
|Insalata caprese (made from heirloom tomatoes) with a pepper chutney and deviled eggs|
|Tomato and cucumber gazpacho|
|Grapefruit, jicama, and avocado salad with arugula, red onions, and feta cheese vinaigrette|
My cousin's husband and both I chose the pan-seared Outer Banks scallops, which came with wild mushrooms and a cauliflower puree. [As I have probably noted before, the size difference between UK and US scallops is amazing; the American ones are much bigger, though they tend to be less sweet than the local scallops I frequently order when we go out to eat in Falmouth.] My dish had a lot of competing flavors, but I thought they complemented each other nicely; rather than being an overwhelming jumble of food, it was a rich and interesting concoction--so much so that I continued to nibble at it even after I was full.
|Pan-seared Outer Banks scallops with cauliflower and gruyere puree, Swiss chard, wild mushroom broth, tomato concasse, and truffle oil.|
|Core sound shrimp succotash with sweet corn, butter beans, tomatoes, rice, and basil pesto.|
|The pan-seared tuna--one of the evening's specials|
|Flash-fried NC catfish with boiled peanut and tomato pan sauce, black-eyed peas and rice, and homemade tartar sauce.|
|Butterscotch pudding with chocolate sauce and whipped cream|
Her husband ordered a rich chocolate cake that came in a pool of berry coulis, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top:
Acme is located at 110 East Main Street, Carrboro, North Carolina, 27510. Phone: 919-929-2263.