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?

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