So we day tripped! There is something about just getting in the car and heading to your favorite beach that has a magic all it's own.
Off to Wrightsville Beach. We've been going there since our college days. Two and something hours away depending on whose driving. Great restaurants and a compromise on the beach.
|Almost there, over a drawbridge, and we'll be there. Look at that sky.|
I was shocked when I went to NC beaches for the first time. I went to developed beaches growing up like Fenwick Island, Delaware and Ocean City, Maryland. But spent most of my time on Assateague, the protected beach park near Chincoteague, Virginia, the one with wild ponies. I love wild ponies. I don't like hotels mixed with my sand.
|Honey, is this deserted enough for you?|
|Ahhhhh. Looking out on the islet in the inlet. I love words that end in "let"! No I wasn't run over but it looks that way.|
Talk about a gorgeous day to walk the beach for a couple hours. Plenty of sunscreen in hand. Man O has had skin cancer surgery and it's no joke. The sound of the waves, the wind, the free pedicure for my feet courtesy of all the sand. It was a perfect day.
Yep, I was beach bummed. Why? It's tough being a GAL with allergies and try to have the full beach restaurant culinary experience.
We stopped at The Oceanic, our favorite seafood restaurant, celebrating its new pier after having the whole thing destroyed in the latest bad hurricane. Yep, North Carolina is known for baddies, just like Florida and Texas. Floyd and Fran, Hugo and Hazel, Irene and Isabel. Lots of them hit in September. But this September day was gorgeous. Not a hint of a storm.
It had been a while and the menu had changed. I did my standard check with the waiter to make sure there was no corn in the fried shrimp batter. Wheat I was willing to cheat with. Corn? It makes my throat close up. Not worth the risk.
Our waiter looked like he was straight out of a magazine shoot. Dark hair. Tanned. Aviator sunglasses. ALL the waiters looked like him. I started thinking they were members of the same frat from the local university in nearby Wilmington. And there is nothing more attractive than a man who takes your food allergies seriously. Man O just sat across from me eating the free hush puppies.
Hmm. Let me try again.
Except my waiter promised my shrimp wasn't covered in cornmeal. "98% sure." And that 2% was my downfall. He went back to check and sure enough, the shrimp was now coated in a mix of flour and cornmeal.
Sniff. My shrimp had to be broiled.
I asked for fries. I could live with broiled shrimp if I had the fries.
Man O's meal came out looking like this:
Mine looked like this:
See what's missing? Never mind the gorgeous fresh veggies. Never mind the colorful rice pilaf. No fries. All because they fry them in the same oil as the cornmeal encrusted shrimp, oysters and flounder.
My face fell. I was distraught. "But I don't want to eat healthy! I'm at the beach!"
Then the gorgeous waiter threw a bone: Would you like some of our cole slaw?
Ohhhh, their famous slaw. (See Man O's platter) Cole slaw with granny smith apples added. Of course I did. The stuff is fantastic. It helped put a smile back on my face. The slaw and looking at all the waiters congregating at the back of the pier.
1 package shredded slaw mix or 1 small cabbage head, shredded.
2 large granny smith apples
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup mayo of choice
Milk to thin mayo
Slice apples as thin as you can get them. Toss in lemon juice.
Mix in with slaw mix or plain cabbage.
Blend mayo with enough milk to make it pourable but not runny.
Pour over other ingredients and chill before serving.
Easy, easy, easy. Who knew adding an apple would make such a difference? So good and so much better for you than fries. Sigh.
Even better, you can vary the ingredients, depending on the entree. A sweeter apple in the slaw makes it the perfect accompaniment for pork. Toss in raisins and a bit of cinnamon to make it even more of an autumn dish. Pears and pecans. Pineapple and macadamia nuts. You get the picture.
So, how do you handle allergies on vacation? Are you a beach or mountain person? Do you have a favorite day trip? Or are we going to do battle over Officer and A Gentleman versus Top Gun?