Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"great grits are perfection"

editor's note: due to our senior photo editor being on the road without a camera, some posts will be without the customary picture.  we apologize for the inconvenience, and hope that the evocative nature of the writing will make up the gap.  (why not having a camera prevents him from grabbing images off google--as he usually does--makes a difference, i don't understand.  but you know how these creative types are)

wilmington, nc.  8:43 p.m., eastern daylight time

north carolina has jumped to the lead for "best meal" at the moment, no small feat on this trip.  at the dock street oyster bar, a little caribbean-style restaurant shack just a few hundred feet from the river.  everyone i've talked to said to try to the crab cakes, but with no cakes on the menu, i went for the day's special, shrimp and grits.

best meal yet.

a flavorful cream sauce with red peppers and green onions with excellent shrimp over a plate of grits, i savored each bite.  afterward, we were brave and tried a plate of raw oysters on the half shell.  delicious.

yesterday was our first day of shooting.  i was generally happy with the lighting on the interview (and grateful for the good help around me), but it's still an odd feeling to not have anyone between me and the ad guys.  i like them, and they like me, but they're turning to me for answers and suggestions.  it's easy to offer the occasional suggestion or improvement, but now i'm the one giving the main ideas for lighting and shots; it requires a step up.  i think i can do better on tomorrow's.

we had lunch at a new england pub that looked like patrick henry could have given a rousing speech in, where i got the fried scallops but should have gotten the lobster roll.  from there me and the sound girl went out with an ad guy to get shots of the city.  again, not "jeff, put the camera here", but "shoot what you think is good, jeff."  i think standing up to shoot out the sunroof as we were driving across the bridge impressed them.

shooting during the afternoon is never really good; the overhead sunlight is just boring.  i told the ad guys i might go back out when the sun was setting, but after getting into my hotel room, lost the motivation for that until the photographer called me.

"hey, i heard you were going out to shoot around town; mind if i come along, just to get out?"

"um, yeah.  i'll be down in.... 10 minutes."

i'm glad he called; the footage we got was much better.  and we ended the day with swordfish at a very nice restaurant.

the night we flew in to maine, i told the shuttle driver that my connotations of maine were pretty much lighthouses on rocky shores and lobsters.  he said that was pretty much it, adding blueberries (and chickadees), saying we will have the best blueberry pancakes in the world here.  the hotel's breakfast cafe, decorating with not with wallpaper but genuine cloth wall coverings, confirmed it: the blueberry malt pancakes were the best i've ever had.

after all this, north carolina seemed like it could only go down.  and, yes, it has, but only slightly.  our hotel is equally nice but more modern, and overlooks the cape fear river (yeah, i always figured "cape fear" was a cape, or even just a movie), and has a nice boardwalk along the river.  

my connotations of north carolina don't seem as accurate as they were in maine: i think of tobacco plantations and toned-down versions versions col. sanders and scarlet o'hara.  instead, jimmy buffett and the island culture are much more predominant in the tourist (?) areas.

the one thorn in this whole trip is that i did not bring my camera.  it's hard to tell if a trip will be a whirlwind, where the camera is just one more bag to carry and keep track of, or it there will be countless moments to capture.  tragically, this trip has most definitely, been the latter.  *sigh*

mental pictures......  (and tim's point-n-shoot, which i appreciate).

josh, our photographer, got in a few hours after we did, and although we'd already eaten, i went out with him to dinner.  and after meandering the streets, which seemed busier now than they did at 7, he chose the same place i went to earlier (largely because i wouldn't stop raving about it).  josh got the special.  i've been jonesing for a good slice of chocolate cake for days, and he noticed that, while it wasn't on the menu, it was on the "today's special", just like the shrimp and grits (and another plate of mississippi oysters).

through the mercy of the fates, we picked the best day of the year to come to this place.

as if that weren't enough, the clock/radio here, too, is ipod friendly.  and i've got jane monheit singing to me as i finish this.

wish you were here.


Natalie said...

This post makes me want to travel the country and stay in little bed & breakfasts.

Jaime said...

i love the very last line: wish you were here. :)

Brooke said...

The entire experience so far sounds delicious! Not only in the food (not sure about the oysters though), but in the sights and sounds! It sounds like it is the kind of trip that fills the soul. I am jealous.

Em said...

Scarlet O'Hara was in Georgia.

Luckily I got Feasting on Asphalt for Renn for Father's day, because your posts, and their heavy-on-the-food-writing-ness are really making me want to watch it.

Keep on keeping on.

And bring your camera next time. Or take camera phone pics, or SOMETHING. I want to SEE this FOOD!

Em said...

ps the Duh is a nice facetious one. Not condescending in the least.

Just in case.

kwistin said...

my goodness. reading this post, i was kind of transported into another-world reality that i can only currently fantasize. i love that you got the chance to be the guy with the answers.

on a side note, i also really like 'people titles' -- sound girl, ad guy...

i wish i could claim even one of those titles. even though it must be pretty grinding , stressful, and frustrating at times, your reality is sometimes my fantasy.

that's pretty dang. :)