This past weekend was pretty amazing, and not in a way I had expected. My chef called me Thursday to ask if I'd like to do an offsite on my day off. I said yes, because I always say yes. It was more than I had expected. On Saturday morning I drove out of Raleigh in a convertible heading east and kept going as far as it's possible to go. I crossed the Alligator River, then the Croatan Sound to reach Roanoake, and then the Roanoke Sound to hit Nags Head in the Outer Banks. From there it's north through Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk to Duck, North Carolina, the site of a vacation I didn't know I was going to have.
The Blue Point, a midsized restaurant (massive for the area) in Duck, NC, was having its 25th anniversary. My chef is on quite friendly terms with the chef owner of the restaurant and offered to serve a plated meal the night before the full festivities. He left on Thursday to enjoy some time there and I followed after. The first image is their outdoor pavillion. The second is out their back door; it's part of the board walk. Both face the Carrituck Sound.
We stayed at the Sanderling, a four star resort on a stretch of island less than 200 meters wide. It was nice, but I didn't get much more out of it than the candy they left me in the morning as I was rather busy working. My door led to a pool and then the Atlantic; back the other way led to the spa and the sound. I walked twenty feet out my back door and over a sandbar onto the first picture. One night I sat out here on a chair I... eh... found after a few adult beverages and the moon was bright enough to see for miles. The second image is directly out the front door of the hotel. Yes, that is the other edge of the island.
After checking in around noon I put on my whites and hurried to the restaurant. The experience of going into another restaurant's kitchen and making a meal is always chaotic and usually fun and interesting. You never really know where things are, though there is a rhyme and reason to it all, and you don't know anyone's name. But the safety calls are the same and you meet people who like knives and you get to cook food that's different from what you normally do. We served fresh lump crab over a lima and corn succotash, rabbit confit on a watercress and jicama salad, smoked tenderloin with shrimp and smoked bacon mac and cheese, and pound cake over a pool of a mint cream sauce. I only grabbed one picture of any finished products because, frankly, I was a little busy. I got some, "Best wine dinner of my life!" comments from the guests, which is unsurprisingly something you hear often when people are drunk after a wine dinner, but I believe it this time.
The next night I helped them put out their 25th anniversary party. Simple stuff, finger sandwiches and a shrimp boil, but all tasty. We ate at the restaurant afterward and had a generally great time. The staff was a true pleasure to work with. I left the next morning with the top down and drove back to Raleigh.
My chef paid me for three days to do this and I would have done it for free. Every now and then working in food is truly incredible.