Always Aubrey

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Outer Banks: Eats

No trip recap for me would be complete without some info about the FOOD we ate, right?  I will say this, the Outer Banks in summertime is packed.  There are big lines and crowds at the grocery, and often a wait for restaurants at mealtime.  You can kind of circumvent this by cooking some meals and being on the early bird side of dinner.

We arrived in town at a weird time, so we went to TimBuck II, a nearby shopping and restaurant complex.  We tried to go to North Banks Restaurant and Raw Bar, but they don't serve the full menu in between lunch and dinner times.  So we ended up at Bubbie's, a little divey burger joint.  I actually got to eat two burgers, since a friend and I each gave each other half of a burger.

We ordered the Hawaiian Bubbie, with cheddar, Canadian bacon, pineapple, and BBQ sauce, and the Jalapeno Poppin' Bubs, with cream cheese, pepper jelly, and jalapenos.  (The photo below has them split!)  They were both really tasty.  Our group overall loved the jalapeno burger the most, to the point one of the girls made her own version of it when we got home!  The fries were crispy and excellent too.  Bubbie's has a really great fast food burger, kind of like Five Guys.  The prices are good, and they have milk shakes and other items too.  I grabbed a hot dog at a later occasion, and it was good too.  While the service was a bit slow/inattentive, I really couldn't complain overall.  It was someplace I'd eat every day for a cheap, dependably good bite to eat!

One thing that blew my mind was the BrewThru.  It's a drive-thru where you pull into a sort of car wash/garage type building, filled with coolers and cases of beer, wine, and liquor.  You order it from your window and they put it in your car.  I'm just not used to this sort of thing, and it's awesome!

Probably my favorite eating experience in the Outer Banks was the two trips we made to Duck Donuts.  OMG.  One of the best donut experiences I've had!  First off, the line is out the door.  You may wait an hour.  Bring some water and wear sunscreen, because you have to be dedicated!  You get a form and fill out what you want your donut order to be: Coating, Topping, and if desired, Drizzle!  Yes, every donut is custom ordered.  And the prices are really pretty reasonable too, just over a buck per donut.

Our favorite breakfast/eat-it-warm donut was maple frosting with bacon topping.  I also had strawberry with raspberry drizzle, blueberry with blackberry drizzle, peanut butter with salted caramel drizzle, and vanilla with rainbow sprinkles.  I think that the bacon donut and the fruity-frosting donuts were my favorite overall in the end, but GOSH I would eat a donut from there every day if I could!

One evening, we finally went back to North Banks Restaurant and Raw Bar to give it a fair shot during meal hours.  It's a tiny, dark place, and you have to exit the restaurant to use the public restrooms nearby.  That said, the place was crowded (usually a good sign) and we found a seat at the bar so we wouldn't have to wait.  I ordered a Pineapple Smash cocktail, which was vodka, St. Germain, fresh lime juice, and pineapple chunks.  The price was kind of like Nashville, $10 for a fruity mixed drink, but it was pretty good.  Again, I knew I was in tourist town.

I was really impressed with our bartender.  He lived full-time in the area and knew his stuff.  He helped make recommendation, even tossed an extra crab claw to my friend so she could try it, as it wasn't on the platter we ordered.  The bartenders aren't just bartenders; they really know the menu, and they steam the seafood themselves in a steamer behind the bar.  The portion sizes are large too.  I liked their hush puppies, which were served with a jalapeno butter.

I ordered a crab cake, because I like them a lot.  The remoulade was delicious too; I ate the whole thing.  Really fresh!  It came with really excellent potatoes (seriously!) and succotash.  I don't even like succotash, and this one was good.  I also took a picture of my friend's seafood platter (and she started with oysters, legit), because it's totally impressive.  While some of the reviews were mixed on this place, we felt it was one of the best meals we had in OBX.  You just have to sacrifice a little ambiance and accept that this is one of those little hidden gems.

We did drive further south to Bodie Island, and on the way back we stopped for lunch at Miller's Waterfront Restaurant.  Because of the dunes, I didn't see a ton of waterfront restaurants, so we chose this one to take in the view.  I started with a beachy blackberry lemonade cocktail, which earned me a souvenir plastic cup.  Woohoo!

We had hush puppies and hot crab dip to start.  These hush puppies were even better than the other ones we'd had before.  Wow.  And the crab dip was delicious and cheesy too.

I wasn't that hungry after that, so I decided to get a popcorn shrimp basket.  I'm used to these "basket" type meals being on the smaller size.  HOLY COW.  This basket was enormous!  I could not physically finish it.  But it was delicious, and everything was perfectly, well, fried.  Tiny little shrimps looking so cute too.  NOMS.

As you can see, my bikini bod was well fed during my time in the Outer Banks.

Have you been to the Outer Banks?
What's your favorite vacation food?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Outer Banks: Beach Wedding Vacay

I had a quick getaway to the Outer Banks recently for my friend's wedding.  Since Dan couldn't go with me, I traveled with a couple of friends of the bride!  We stayed in a condo in Corolla, North Carolina... what a cute place!  I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a beach bum... sand isn't my fav.  But the sunsets on these beaches were amazing, and we made good use of the pool at the bride's vacation home!

There was a good deal of pool time... but I avoided sunburn by staying in the shade and wearing sunscreen!  The bride, my friend V, had the genius idea of renting a big vacation home for the wedding, but staying in it all week and having friends over to hang out and party.  Unlike most weddings, where you barely get to spend time with the happy couple, this one was one long pre-party leading up to the big night!

Since one of V's friends was an OBX aficionado, we also did a drive of the coast down to Nagshead.  We saw dunes, and even a lighthouse.  We also ate seafood and shopped at beachy boutiques.

As for the wedding itself?  Perfection.  Sunset on the beach, barefoot, then a big party!  So much fun, and so laid back too.  Everyone had so much fun that half the guests ended up in the pool, no joke.  Tons of dancing too, all in celebration of two really great people and families coming together.

My roomies, a.k.a. new friends!

First dance, the groom had already changed back into shorts! OBX style

For someone who isn't into beaches, I sure had a lot of fun for the three short days I spend in OBX.  I told Dan I'd love to go back... maybe someday!

My thoughts on an OBX vacation...

  • Nagshead/Duck/Kitty Hawk/Corolla are only about a 2 hour drive form Norfolk Airport, so I was able to fly Southwest (with a connection) for a decent price.  Woohoo!
  • Rental cars seem to be a must, and the grocery stores are ALWAYS packed.  So if you're road-tripping, pack some food to bring with you!
  • Most people rent beautiful houses (some with pools and private beach access) for a week, so you can relax and do activities at your leisure.  And having a tent to put over part of the pool for some shade?  Money.
  • The ocean is cold.  I've been spoiled by my relatives in Hawaii into thinking that ocean water can/should be clear and warmer.  But that doesn't mean it isn't worth getting your feet wet!
  • Things I wish I could have done: Wild horse tour/viewing, paddleboarding on the Sound side (fewer waves), seeing the Dunes park, more beach time, more Duck Donuts!  (Don't worry... I'll be covering the food later!)

What's your favorite beach?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Lately: Planning, Loving, Reading, Wishing, Feeling.

It's Sunday morning, I'm sitting in the living room while Dan sleeps, and I'm watching Botched by Nature in the background as I type this.  I'd love to be able to blog more ahead of time, but it just hasn't worked out lately!  There's so much to do.  But I figure, there's no better time to get back into it than the present, right?

I'm planning my upcoming weekends!  There are some festivals and events, we don't have Labor Day weekend plans, and we have our Canada vacation coming up too.  My friend came over with her Happy Planner and we had a little planning party, so I'm enjoying that still.  I'm also meal planning, as we're trying Marley Spoon for a couple of weeks to see how we like it compared to Plated.  But I still love Plated...  it pushes me to try new things, like making my own ricotta cheese!

I'm loving looking back at the photos of my whirlwind trip to the Outer Banks.  I went out there for three quick nights for a friend's wedding, and I'll be blogging about it soon!  But for now, the pretty pictures on my phone make me smile.

I just finished (truthfully, in ONE DAY), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  I loved it.  Even though I thought it was a bit weird to read the play script, I shouldn't have been worried.  I was transported back to how I felt during the original book releases.  I remember going to a midnight release party for the fifth book, reading the last book during Army training... it was magic. And I really loved getting back into that world!  I'll probably add the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to my queue too, even if I see the movie.  Or I'll binge it right before the movie.  We'll see.  Follow me on GoodReads if you'd like to see what I'm reading!

I'm wishing for less rain!  I know that the world probably needs the rain or whatever, but I'd love for it to be swimming pool weather for a few more weeks so I can take advantage.  We really didn't take advantage of our apartment pool enough this summer, so after my beach trip I'm determined to enjoy it more.

I'm feeling a bit drained.  I've been doing a lot of stuff for DAR, side gig writing, and work.  I've also had a ton of houseguests last month and this month, so cleaning and keeping the guest room clean add to the workload a bit.  I keep saying I'm "flipping" the room because that's what it feels like.  But the perk?  I got to spend quality time with my DAR friends.

  • On the Blog:  I blogged about my latest Stitch Fix, which meant I got a new shirt for my closet!
  • On Twitter:  I tweeted the best diet tip I ever found online.
  • On Instagram:  I made my crowd favorite orange chicken when I had a guest this week.
  • On Pinterest:  I pinned a weekend guide to Key West because I think we'd really enjoy a getaway weekend there!

I leave you with one last photo that my friend snapped at one of our DAR events this week...  I don't feel like Wonder Woman, but I do know that I have a wonderful, full life.  I've read that if you hold a "super" pose for a bit, it helps you feel energized and confident.  So I need to pose like a superhero more often and own it!

What are you up to this Sunday?

Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup hosted by the Blogger Tribe. We e-hang out every Sunday, sharing a small glimpse into the last week of life in our own worlds. 
Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe
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