Archive for March, 2015

Fruit and Cream

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Here’s a quick and easy way to enjoy the coming berry, peach and other Summer fruit season.  This yummy is perfect for breakfast or dessert.  Play with your fruit and nuts, even toss in some toasted coconut.

Fruit and Almond Gratins

2 large eggs

½ cup heavy cream

1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup almond flour or meal (optional)

½ tsp. vanilla

¼ tsp. almond extract

1/8 tsp. salt

Fresh fruit of your choosing

Whisk eggs and cream together, then sugar almond meal and extracts.  Layer 4 (51/2 by 1 inch) greased ramekins with your fruit.  Pour custard over.  Bake at 350 about20- 30 minutes.  Sieve confectioner’s sugar over top before serving.  Good warm or at room temp.

A Grave Subject

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Been to a good cemetery lately? Strange question, however we actually enjoy walking in old cemeteries, The older, the more ornate, the more quirky, the better! Believe it or not, one of the highlights of our trips to Italy during the previous century were our visits to some really old, really amazing cemeteries where each grave stone was designed to reflect who that person was in life.

Wilmington has some wonderful old cemeteries, too, and we love hiking in them. First and foremost is Oakdale Cemetery, where Sparky is allowed to come along with us for a great hike. It’s where 15th Street dead ends (get it?) and was built on what was the outskirts of Wilmington in 1852. There are Confederate spies, war heroes, yellow fever victims and all sorts of interesting folks buried here and the grave stones tell a thousand stories.

Right next to Oakdale is Pine Forest Cemetery, where African-Americans were historically put to rest starting in the 1860s. Different stories are told by the grave stones here, but just as interesting,

Closer to Camellia Cottage, just 2 blocks away is St. James Churchyard, where the oldest grave markers in Wilmington rest.  Some date back to the 1730s and the writing is virtually illegible…but still fascinating (at least to us.) Many TV series and movies have shot scenes here to take advantage of the eerie ambiance.

Been to a good cemetery lately?

So, You Think You Want To Be an Innkeeper

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Recently, we were reminiscing over the breakfast table about some of our more “unusual” experiences as innkeepers for the better part of 18 years.  Before we opened our first bed and breakfast in 1996 in Milwaukee, WI, we read every word we could lay our hands on about how to run a B&B.  Now, it’s not rocket science, but, if you don’t make it sound complicated, you don’t sell books.  There was talk of whether or not to incorporate the business, how many sets of bone china to have, where to have your linens dry-cleaned, how to polish your silver……Then a very wise innkeeper said, “Do you know how to make a bed, make a breakfast and balance a checkbook?  Then you know how to run a bed and breakfast.”

Now, after jumping in and swimming for all these years, I realize the truth is somewhere in the middle.  There certainly is a wealth of information out there, but it doesn’t address everything.  There have been some situations over the years when my only well-read, totally professional response was to hyper-ventilate.

So, in thinking about prospective innkeepers out there who are wondering about whether this is the career for them,  I have some questions for you to ponder.

1.  Are you easily amused?  As in, will banana shaped salt and pepper shakers dressed like Carmen Miranda absolutely make your day?!

2.  Can your kitchen cupboard accommodate guests who are gluten free,  vegan and  allergic to fruit?

3.  Can you NOT talk politics?

4.  If you’re not a morning person by nature, can you fake it with guests who are?

5.  Does agoraphobia actually sound kind of appealing?

These are some starter thoughts for you.  This job is not for everyone, but it’s given us the most fun 18 years we’ve ever had!

Celebrate Spring with Restaurant Week!

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

WE HAVE AN ANNUAL EVENT HERE IN DOWNTOWN WILMINGTON, NC.  KNOWN AS RESTAURANT WEEK–March 4 thru 11.  MANY OF THE RESTAURANTS HERE DOWNTOWN, AT THE BEACHES AND IN BETWEEN OFFER WONDERFUL DAILY SPECIALS.  THIS IS A GREATWAY TO TRY SOMETHING NEW, IN A NEW NEIGHBORHOOD OR REVISIT AN OLD FAVORITE.  MANY RESTAURANTS HAVE DINNER SPECIALS, BUT A LOT HAVE BOTH LUNCH AND DINNER SPECIALS. FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF RESTAURANTS AND MENUS, PLEASE GO TO WWW.ENCORERESTAURANTWEEK.COM

SOME OF THE RESTAURANTS PARTICIPATING ARE:

DOWNTOWN:

CAPRICE BISTRO

RX RESTAURANT

SHUCKIN’ SHACK

MIDTOWN:

CAROLINA ALE HOUSE

CASEY’S BUFFET

JAMICA’S COMFORT ZONE

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH:

SOUTH BEACH GRILL

CEVICHE’S

OCEANIC

FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF RESTAURANTS AND MENUS, PLEASE GO TO WWW.ENCORERESTAURANTWEEK.COM