17 February 2016
I got up with a ridiculously early alarm as I had a long way to go today, and not a straight-forward run. I wanted to go through some of the North Carolina coast, so I headed out before dawn. The chest issues are going away, thank goodness, but my right hip was a bit sore still. Nevertheless there’s joy in driving on country roads in the middle of nowhere…
After a few stops along the eastern side of North Carolina, I got to New Bern — a coastal town named by its Swiss founders over 300 years ago for their home town; it actually has the same coat of arms. New Bern was the capital before Raleigh was founded; a cute little town. Then I headed down the coast through a forest and made my way to Wilmington. I had a quick trip to Brunswick Town Historic Site as well, the site of a historic settlement that was ravaged by British forces during the Revolutionary War and abandoned since.
I made my way back to Wilmington and chilled at my hotel, which had a spectacular view of the Cape Fear River, as well as the historic battleship USS North Carolina. I then headed out to dinner to a place I discovered online just a few days ago, Rx.
Yeah, of course, it was built it a former pharmacy downtown. It wasn’t very busy when I arrived so I was a little worried, but I was eating early anyway. The menu looked great and I ordered as I nursed a cocktail. Everything looked good, and I was getting optimistic — and drooly.
Soon the first item came, the opening snack, and I was in heaven…
Crispy buffalo pigs ears. Wow. The buffalo sauce was minimal, so it didn’t affect the texture of the ears. Now these were done nearly perfect, crunchy but with the cartilage still there for the fun. No gooeyness here, This was one of the best pigs ears dish I’ve ever had, and I love these things to death! What a start!
Then I actually tried to be good, but really, two things I love also to death are beets and seasonal root vegetables, and that’s what I got.
The beets were excellent, full of flavour. And the baby carrots? Absolutely divine. I could eat this all day… Fabulous stuff so far, this is by far the best meal of the trip so far! Then the main course, something I don’t do too often — chicken.
Not ordinary chicken but poulet rouge, with more wonderful root vegetables! The chicken was cooked perfectly, full of juice and flavour but with a crispy skin. This was executed perfectly, something that fails in so many James Beard-crowned places that I’ve been in recent years. Clearly Rx is a winner in my book, and it puts Wilmington way on the map for me.
I was nice and full and declined a dessert as I was way too full. And tired, as I’ve been awake since 5am. Plus the place was getting really busy (which is a great sign), so I took my leave.
This was an excellent meal, and as I said Rx has put Wilmington on the map for me as a place to re-visit in the future. Last night at Stove was good, but not enough to drag me into Hampton Roads just for it. Rx is good enough to make me detour all the way here next time I am in North Carolina. Awesome.
My luck is really turning around on this trip now!
421 Castle Street
Wilmington, North Carolina