Friday, June 3, 2011

Carolina Blue, Pitman

There are few things better than rolling into your hometown on a sunny afternoon early in the summer when the leaves are green, the sky is blue, and temperatures hover in the low 80's. It helps if your hometown is a placid, self-contained suburb like mine. It's better if it has a decent restaurant nearby. In the case of Pitman, Carolina Blue is several feet over the border into the next town - Pitman is a dry town, and CB is very alcohol-focused.

Lest you think we're all rednecks and bible beaters there, I want to point out that there are bikers too. CB isn't a real biker place like Mary's Panhead, as you can tell from this elaborate chopper.

And since we're in America, things start with a football-sized loaf of bread. A lot of my posts from the next two weeks are going to say things like that - "It's America. Ooog."

I'm more interested in other things though:
The liquid bread. They have about 15 taps, and good stuff. Flying Fish, Dogfish Head, Victory, Stone, I can't remember what else (that'll be another theme for these posts - anything that's not memorable enough to be remembered 2 weeks later ain't gonna get written). The wine list is pretty solid (not that I know), and there's a convenient 'package goods' area by the door.

I admit, I have a hard time referring to this place by its name. I just think of it as "Cook's" from all the time Dad (and I, sometimes) spent working at Cook's original restaurant, the Telford Inn, in the 80's. I didn't really remember what the owner, Jim Cook, looked like, until I went in a couple days later and the guy who rang up my package goods was clearly his son.

By the way, 'package goods' is South Jersey for 'take-out alcohol', like a 6 of MGD.

CB is billed as a smokehouse and taproom; the tap part is covered above, and here's the smokehouse portion of the evening. With visions of Grumpy's dancing in my head, I inflicted the three-meat sampler on someone. It's decent, and I could almost leave it at that, but the sauce is too sweet and one-dimensional.

Fortunately we're in New Jersey, so nothing is stopping us from balancing the vast quantities of meat with vast quantities of grilled zucchini and asparagus. More on that tomorrow when we go to Duffield's Farm Market, where Jesus is Lord.

The menu here is big, and by big I mean 'unfocused'. It sorta doesn't matter, because people are here to get a little loud, have a good time, drink some drinks, and generally have a good time (even though I already said that). So in addition to your barbeque, you can get stuff like coconut-crusted scallops, in which the fish was honestly good, but the coconut breading was thick and overly sweet. It's a good summary of CB, and American food, and maybe America these days - thick, overly sweet.

Hmmm, the address is Pitman. Could it be that the town is no longer dry? Secretly wet?
(856) 582-8586

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