Girls’ trips are generally good for the soul. It’s always reassuring to know you have good friends with whom you can share and laugh about memories from the past, plan the future, and enjoy the present–especially the camaraderie, the activities, the food, and wine. A few weeks ago, four of us golfing goddesses trekked to Pine Needles in Southern Pines, NC, a few miles from Pinehurst. The game of golf reigns supreme in these parts, and I really appreciate the fact that no one, and I mean no one, will stare at or even look twice at my white feet and tanned legs, in addition to my white left hand.
This was our second trip to Pine Needles, and we are all four enthusiastic golfers, foodies, and especially wine lovers, having traveled to Napa and Sonoma together on many occasions. So we brought wine and some snacks along with our clubs. One of us called a friend who lives in that area and got restaurant recommendations for the two nights we were there. Let me interject before I continue, that a certain husband (mine!) sent an “early Mothers Day gift” basket to us, which provided enough fruits, cheeses, nuts, crackers, cakes, candy, and cookies for the rest of our meals with plenty left over. (They told me he is a “keeper”!)
For our first night we chose to eat at Ashten’s. We’d eaten here on our previous trip and liked it, so it was an easy choice, and we were not disappointed. For an appetizer, I had the 64-hour egg with asparagus and bacon. Yes, it’s actually cooked for 64 hours and comes out much like a lightly poached egg. This is the same preparation of the “Perfect Egg” appetizer that I had at the Cloister a few weeks previously. Interesting concept! And it was quite delicious.
My entree was Wreckfish with fennel slaw, sweet potatoes, and sauteed arugula. Also a winner. Others had salmon with crispy potato cake, caper berries, dill, fennel, and sauteed arugula, or a bone-in pork chop with collard greens and cheddar mashed potatoes. We were all happy with our meals, and the service. We brought our own wines, which consisted of wines we had purchased while on wine trips together. Drinking wines purchased on wine trips is such a happy thing to do, eliciting memories of the the visits, the friends, and the wineries. Liquid memories!
Before venturing to our second restaurant, we took a side trip to Pinehurst to see the quaint historic town and wander around The Carolina, the beautiful and majestic old hotel at Pinehurst Resort. The dining room is T-shaped with elegant chandeliers and a sizable dance floor at the junction of the three wings. This place has been a favorite golfer’s destination for many decades, and has now been added to my bucket list.
For our second night we chose a restaurant named “195” based on the friend’s recommendation. The restaurant also has a gourmet food shop attached to it which is owned and operated by the same people. The chef of 195 is Indian, and he features some authentic but not spicy dishes on the menu along with other creative items. Again we brought our own wines, and ordered appropriately for the 2006 BV Tapestry and the 2008 Lancaster Cabernet. (It’s not the first time we wine-lovers have ordered food to match the wine!) We either ordered the beef tenderloin with mushrooms and crispy onion rings or the ribeye (which covered the plate!). Despite the ample portions, we split the strawberry quesadilla for dessert, and it was incredibly fresh and delicious, with sweet local strawberries mounded with whipped cream. Well…I almost forgot to mention the bread. I’m not much of a “bread person”, usually skipping it in favor of more interesting fare. But we were served bread that actually did look interesting, maybe even had some character. And the server’s description confirmed this. It contained about every seed known to man, no preservatives, no sugar, a little honey, and was made daily on the premises. AND it was absolutely delicious. I even got the server to sell me a loaf from the gourmet shop so I could take it home. Best bread I’ve ever eaten, bar none!
We were very pleased with our two dinners and had lovely golf weather. Needless to say, there was an abundance of laughter and wine. It was a great relaxing and fun weekend for all of us. Seen below, left to right: Strawberry Quesadilla from 195; Beef Tenderloin at 195; Carolina Hotel, Pinehurst; Wreckfish at Ashton’s