One of the highlights of our trip to the US was a stop in the area where I grew up.
I grew up in Eastern North Carolina in a very poor, rural area. It hasn't changed much since I was little. In fact, with the closing of the textile mill in town, I'm not sure how they're still making it.
We rang my godparents to tell them we'd be in town for supper and wanted to take them out.
My godfather out did himself: not only did he call ahead for reservations for us, but he also convinced the head chef to come back into town to cook for us personally.
The head cook, Peter, is someone I've known since I was about 6 or 7 years old. Unfortunately, I'd not been back to Eastern NC for 15 years and I was afraid he wouldn't remember me.
He did, and it was good to catch up.
Our association with Peter and his family goes back to a chance encounter in Chapel Hill.
My grandmother was in the area and wanted Chinese. She picked a place, seemingly at random, called Hunam Chinese. Whenever we were in 'the big city' we always had some sort of ethnic food.
The reason for this custom was that Roanoke Rapids, the nearest town to us, was not known for its cuisine choices in the 80s. The best one could hope for was a salad at a steakhouse, if one were vegetarian.
My grandmother raved about Hunam and we made it one of our regular spots on trips.
We were absolutely ecstatic when we discovered that the owner of Hunam was sending his son-in-law, Peter, to open a restaurant in Roanoke Rapids.
Even though it was a ~30 minute drive from our house (yes, we lived in the country!) into town, we made a point of eating at the new restaurant as often as possible.
In a town where so many were satisfied simply to continue going to the steakhouse and only wanted sweet and sour pork when at a Chinese place, we were a big exception.
Peter created dishes especially for us and would often send out his most recent idea as a complimentary addition to our meals.
During the summers, his kids came out and swam with us at the lake. I remember that his oldest son was scared of the fish that we used to feed in the lake. I also remember that Peter wanted to cook our prize pet carp. :)
I was definitely not disappointed with the food that Peter cooked for us that night in January. There was Singapore Noodles, Crispy Tofu with Red Garlic Sauce, Vegetable Delight, Velvet Tofu, Garlic Green Beans, and a dish I'd not had before, Ginger Broccoli.
I ate until I simply couldn't put another bite in my mouth. I'd remembered the food nostalgically, but it was as good, if not better, than I remember. I wish I could apprentice to that man.Any restaurants that you remember nostalgically?
Waiting expectantly for food.
Isn't my husband lovely? :)
I know this will have golfbisquit
I'm pretty sure that red sauce has crack in it, because it could make anything taste brilliant.
Peter speaking to ybunny
and my godfather, Wayne.