Monday, August 29, 2016

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Restaurant Review: Midwood Smokeshack, Matthews, NC

Midwood Smokeshack is an offshoot of the very successful Charlotte, NC barbecue restaurant Midwood Smokehouse, which now has several locations in the Charlotte area. Unlike the Smokehouse, the Smokeshack is smaller, with a more limited menu, no table service, and only beer/soft drinks instead of a full bar.

The menu for Midwood Smokeshack can be found here. Basically the Smokeshack saves prep time by only offering items that can be cooked in the wood-fired smokers; none of the burgers or steaks that can be found in the full-sized Smokehouse. The Midwood Smokeshack is, in fact, very similar to the Charlotte location of Q Shack: order at the counter as you enter, take your food to the table, bus it yourself afterwards, just as in a fast-food restaurant.

Today I ordered the brisket sandwiches, which are made with Texas Toast instead of rolls or buns, along with some red onion. You can even get them with cheese, if you prefer. As at the full-sized Midwood Smokehouse locations, you are offered a choice of lean brisket, fatty brisket, or a mix of both. I got the mix. They really load the sandwich up with a lot of meat - - I ordered two sandwiches, thinking that they would skimp on the meat, and was unable to finish both of them. With a sandwich you also get one side, I saw that they offer cornbread, so I got that (no hushpuppies here at the Smokeshack, unfortunately). The cornbread came in individual ramekin size, slightly sweet, and with small pieces of hot pepper tucked inside, so that one breaks out in a sudden sweat from eating cornbread. I quite liked this cornbread.

The restaurant only opened for business last week, so there were still a lot of management types circulating through the place, as well as having important-looking discussions at a couple of the tables. Since the lunch rush was already over when I arrived (2 o'clock hour), the staff actually outnumbered the customers.

I'd say that Midwood Smokeshack is more of a lunch/takeout place than it is a dinner date location, unless you are a really dedicated barbecue fan. It's in a space that was originally used by a Five Guys burger joint, with a Domino's Pizza next to it. There is competition right across the street in the form of Queen City Q, which is bigger, has a full menu, as well as a full bar, so the dinner crowd will gravitate there, presumably. I've eaten at Queen City Q, though, and their barbecue is much inferior to that of Midwood Smokeshack.

I'll give Midwood Smokeshack a 4 on my 5-scale of restaurants: good; tasty, well-prepared food, staff alert, restaurant clean. I'll hold off on giving it a higher score as it is a new restaurant and I need to see how it performs once the new is worn off.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Shipwreck Blog: French 16th-Century Ships, Cape Canaveral

Probably linked to the very earliest colonial efforts by the French in Florida: Fort Caroline, built by Jean Ribault and destroyed by the Spanish.

A private treasure salvage company says it’s found a shipwreck, buried in sand under the ocean off Cape Canaveral, that could be linked to the lost French colony of Fort Caroline.

Global Marine Exploration Inc. has discovered scattered evidence of a historic wreck that includes some tantalizing clues: three French bronze cannons, at least one of which has markings from the time of the colony, and a French granite monument adorned with that country’s coat of arms.

The monument is similar to the one French captain Jean Ribault put near the mouth of the St. Johns River in 1562 as he staked his nation’s claim to Florida. Its whereabouts have been a mystery for centuries.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Day That Heat Left Summer...

...has arrived:

It's today! The annual Day the Heat Left Summer in Charlotte! Once a year about this time, you will have a single day in which the weather goes from summer-normal - - washed out skies, temperatures in the high 90's, high humidity - - to something far nicer - - clear blue skies without a single cloud, temperature down in the 80's, low humidity. It's startling how quickly the change occurs. Oh, this doesn't mean that summer is over, or that there won't be hot/humid periods again - - but the corner has been turned.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Fast & Furious Blogger Mike Vanderboegh Dead of Cancer

Mike Vanderboegh, a prepper/III percent blogger who, along with fellow gun blogger David Codrea and CBS journalist Sharyl Atkisson exposed the Obama administration's "Operation Fast & Furious" gunwalking plot, has died after a long battle with cancer.