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Archive for November, 2010

Whitey's (Google Street View)

I’ve been searching for the best Southern breakfast in Wilmington, NC. My standard is two eggs, grits, country ham and biscuit. I could get something like this in Cincinnati, but usually only by going over the Ohio into Kentucky. So far I’ve found several I can recommend:

  • Salt Works (the original, 6301 Oleander Drive)
  • Salt Works II (4001 Wrightsville Avenue)
  • Causeway Cafe (114 Causeway Drive, Wrightsville Beach)
  • K&W Cafeteria (various locations)
  • Whitey’s (4501 Market Street)

Whitey’s has the most traditional old-timey feel, and Michael Jordan earned his first paycheck working here. However I understand it may be closing soon in favor of another cookie-cutter Walgreen’s. More’s the pity.

If you’ve live in North Carolina you know about K&W. Traditional Southern food that horrifies visitors from Up Nawth. Immensely popular regional chain, especially for post-church Sunday dinner, but their excellent breakfasts don’t seem to draw as much.

Causeway Cafe is popular with locals in the off-season and tourists at other times. It smells terrific because of their specialty Belgian waffles. This is a good choice for entertaining visitors, and of course it’s at Wrightsville.

Several people and sources recommended the Dixie Grill downtown, which has the right old-time + downtown hip vibe. But I was disappointed. The grits were Adluh (right choice), but were cooked thin. Portions were small, especially for the somewhat higher prices. Some people say it depends on who the chef is at a given time. I should give them another chance, I suppose.

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Update afterward: A beautiful day and a very moving ceremony. Named for Samuel Lee Gravely, first African-American officer, skipper, admiral,  & commander of a fleet. His widow was present along with a host of military & other dignitaries.

This is quite a ceremony.

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Well, Helen and T.C.’s little boy made the news again. The Wilmington Star-News did a profile of me in today’s paper, complete with a picture that looks like I’m trying out for “WHQR 3-D”. Here ’tis.

Wilmington has definitely exceeded my expectations. I went to a rather glittering banquet last night for the Willie Stargell foundation, which raises money for kidney dialysis care at Cape Fear Regional Medical Center here in Wilmington. Stargell of course was a legendary player for the Pittsburgh Pirates who died of kidney failure; his widow Margaret is from Wilmington.

Thanks to her dynamite family and friends (probably a couple of hundred), they had a great turnout. Everywhere you looked there was a sports legend. I had a nice conversation with the great ex-Pirate pitcher Kent Tekulve, who was at my table. It’s been a while since I went out in public in a tux, out of consideration for the public weal.

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We’re in Columbia, SC, and staying at our usual place, the Riverside Inn. Talk about a throwback. Stay here and you’re instantly transported back to the motels you used to go to with your parents in the 50’s and 60’s. Straight shower rods — can you believe it?

Still, we like it. It’s modest (of course), clean, cheap, peaceful, AAA-approved and friendly. One of the clerks went to high school with some of my Callison cousins. You can walk to campus over the Broad River bridge or hike a trail along the river. I couldn’t find a vintage postcard of the Riverside and they don’t even appear to have a website, but here’s a nice one from Guy Clinch’s photostream of old motel cards on Flickr. It’s the Bon-Air motel in Allendale, SC, from about 1970, so same vintage.

We’re here to see our son John in the University of South Carolina opera’s production of Mr. Scrooge. It’s a small piece, about 35 minutes long. Composer Samuel O. Douglas is on the faculty at the USC School of Music. It was composed in the 1970’s and was featured on a national PBS broadcast at the time.

Opera at USC is presenting it with another 1-act of very different tone, Miss Havisham’s Wedding Day by Dominick Argento, as a Dickens double bill. John was great as Marley, who is of course a ghost. An interesting challenge to sing with linen winding sheets wrapped around your head. I had never thought of this before, but apparently the purpose of such things was to keep the jaw attached to the skull after burial. Have a nice day.

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