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January 20, 2011

Restaurant Review; Salt Works II

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Hello from Topsail Beach. Here is something new. Donna and I eat out frequently. I love to fish, and I love to talk about fishing. You know how hectic the life of a retired guy can be, and with cleaning fish, cleaning spinning reels, fixing fishing rod guides, doing surf recon looking for redfish holes, surfing the internet about fishing, and lying about fishing, sometimes, I just don't have the time to cook. So we just have to eat out, or not eat. And I haven't missed a meal in ...... well, let's just say it's been a long while and let it go. I love to eat, and I love to talk about eating. Problem is, I can't find anyone to listen to me talk about fishing and eating. So I figure, why not write about eating? I am already writing about fishing. Not much effort to make the jump to hyperspace and do both. So here is my premier piece, A review of Salt Works II in Wilmington. Eventually, if this doesn't cut into my fishing time too much, I will have a seperate page for these restaurant reviews. In the meantime.... They will be right here... Thanks for your loyalty, my friends!

Salt Works II, a Restaurant Review

Donna and I had chores in Wilmington today, and wouldn't you know it, we just happened to be there right around lunch time. So, knowing it would take too long to get back home, and then cook lunch, I persuaded Donna to take me out for lunch. With the toss of a coin, it was Salt Works II, on Wrightsville Ave. in Wilmington.

A sign greeted us at the door with something about coupons and new menus and prices and such, didn't pay much attention to it, as is my usual. Don't care to much for signs, it seems they are always "messin up the scenery, blowin my mind." We found a seat in in the corner, my prefered spot, must be from my previous life as an 19th century wild west gambler, you know, never sit with your back to the door.

A very courteous waiter, I think they are called "servers" now, ask us for our drink order, which was sweet tea of course. Who was this guy, this is the south. Sweet tea with lunch is pretty much understood around here. We checked the menu for lunch specials, me being a tight wad and all, I prefer the term thrifty, but I'll accept tightwad. I noticed they served breakfast until 3pm. That's great! I love breakfast when it ain't breakfast time. It wasn't unsual for my Grandma Caddell to whip up some country ham, grits, biscuits and eggs, over easy of course, for supper. Had to have those over easy eggs with biscuits. Toast is ok for scrambled eggs, but you gotta have something to sop with those buttermilk biscuits that Grandma cooked in her wood fired cookstove.

Ok, back to Salt Works II. Donna and I have eaten at Salt Works II many times. It was one of Donna's mother's favorites places to eat. Ms. Lee, that's what all the local Surf City crowd called her, even though her name was Bernice Reece, loved the liver and onions that was on the menu.

The little restaurant had a different atmosphere this time, and Donna questioned our server about the changes. Turns out Salt Works II is now under new management. Not only that, they will be featured in an episode of the Food Network show "Restaurant: Impossible." It's a show where the Food Network folks hi-jack someone's failing restaurant and do a make-over. It will air Feb. 9, at 10 pm.

The lunch specials included meatloaf, chicken pastry, ........ and ....... OK, so when I got to chicken pastry, I kinda zoned out. So we ordered the "Chicken Pastry." Ok, now heres something else. I was born in the sandhills of North Carolina, raised in piedmont North Carolina, and until we moved to coastal North Carolina, Surf City, we had never heard the term "chicken pastry." As Alan Jackson would say, "Back where I come from" it's chicken and dumplins, which was really more dumplins than chicken. Our standard family recipe called for a lot of butter, hand rolled and cut dumplins, made from flour and buttermilk, and shredded boiled chicken. Sounds good, right? Well, believe me, it is!

But when the plates were delivered to our table by our waiter, uh sorry, server, there it was, right in the middle of the plate, a whole half chicken breast. I know what you are thinking. "A whole half chicken breast?" You know what I mean. There's two pieces of breast in a chicken, one on each side of the breast bone. So I got one half and Donna got the other half. Yea, I am sure they were from the same chicken, they looked like a perfect match. And laying there on the plate with the whole half chicken breast that the server brought out to us, was the "dumplins." BIG dumplins. But folks, I gotta tell you, they were devine. The chicken was tender and so juicy, not like any boiled chicken I have ever had. It had a garlic and buttery flavor that was great. Along with the chicken pastry, we had delicious fresh cooked collard greens, the server said he couldn't get me the recipe, and delicious, to die for, home made maccaroni and cheese. It seems that the hijackers from the Food Network told these folks that they should not serve anything out of a can. Our server told us this. He said everything they cooked now is from scratch. Nothing was from a can. Sounds great to me. Folks, This meal was delicious! Real southern taste and hospitality ....... And, only eight bucks a head!

Salt Works II is a winner in my book!

Till next time.....

Pig out!


Salt Works II

4001 Wrightsville Ave.

Wilmington, NC 28403-6331

Telephone: (910) 794-2478

FaceBook Salt Works II

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