Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekend Adventure

Sara and I went to Lake Lure/Chimney Rock, NC, on Saturday, on an absolutely lovely day, cool and sunny. Our new gnome, Travis L. Ocity, went with us; here he is in front of the Lake Lure Inn:

Chimney Rock until this past year was a private park, and one of the main mountain tourist attractions in North Carolina. It has been acquired by the state of North Carolina and is being converted into a state park. Chimney Rock itself is a rock outcrop thrusting out from the side of a mountain; if you're familiar with the works of Stephen R. Donaldson, think Kevin's Watch on a smaller scale:

And yes, it is rather phallic-looking.

The village of Chimney Rock, in the valley below the rock, lies along the Broad River. The town is mostly souvenir and t-shirt shops; the shops alongside the river enjoy lovely views of it and the sound of rushing water:

The gnome posed in front of the river, and approved:

It's really a beautiful river:

While walking about the town we had seen a barbecue restaurant at the west end, beside the river:

I seem to recall that this barbecue restaurant was washed into the river a dozen or so years ago, this may be a rebuilt version of it; it's just a single-wide trailer with a kitchen shed attached, nothing more fancy than that.

I ordered a pork plate, but was given a pork sandwich; Sara ordered the pork sandwich and got a pork sandwich. They look like this:

I have to report that Duncan's isn't particularly good barbecue; it's mixed with sauce before leaving the kitchen; Sara found a bone fragment in her sandwich. The quality was about that of a tub of grocery store barbecue; there was also an insect problem, specifically ants on the tables and interior walls. Not lots of ants, but enough to notice, especially the ones on the tables. I'd have to assign Duncan's a 2 on my 5-scale: 2 out of 5: edible, but no effort to impress; staff/management going through motions. Sara actually couldn't finish her sandwich, unusual for her.

After lunch we headed back for Charlotte, taking back roads all the way; near Chesnee we happened upon an unfortunately named church:

The trip back took several hours, and we decided to stop by a real barbecue restaurant in Lake Wylie, South Carolina, for dinner:

This restaurant, Q2U,serves pretty good barbecue, although it's far enough off the road to be hidden, something of a disadvantage; you always want people to be able to see your restaurant from the road, not just a small sign.

Sara ordered a small pork plate and two cups of BBQ stew, similar to Brunswick Stew, which she had eaten before here and quite liked:

I ordered a large pork plate:

The pork was a bit dry. On our previous visit, at 11 a.m. just after the restaurant opened, it had been moist and succulent; at 5 p.m. it was dried out. The hush puppies weren't fresh, being a bit cold and tough. I also had 3 ribs to eat; I'm not normally a rib eater, but I've been trying to learn to like them, since Sara and I are contemplating an avocation as BBQ judges. The ribs were tasty and cooked well; didn't fall off the bone, and the skin didn't pull away from the rib when you bit into it. Sara's stew was still good, though. The cook was apparently worried by my photographing of the food, as he came out to ask if the food was all right, being particularly concerned about the french fries; he said he could make fresh ones if the ones we had were sodden or cold. We declined, not feeling it necessary to make him cook fresh, since the food was still ten times better than the stuff we had eaten for lunch. I think that Q2U is probably best as a lunch destination rather than a dinner destination; and truly, aren't most barbecue joints places you eat lunch at, rather than dinner? I'll have to give Q2U a 3 on my 5-scale of BBQ, due to the dry pork and the old hush puppies; it would have been a 4/5 on the first visit: 3 out of 5: average; reasonably good food, moderate effort by staff/management.

And so to home after a long day.

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