|legeros.com > Writing > The Best Hush Puppies Ever|
There's a lesser-known route between Raleigh and Atlantic Beach. Take I-40 south, through Garner, past the customary U.S. 70 exit, through Johnston county, past McGee Crossroads, and another fifty (or so) miles to the Magnolia exit. Go east (ten minutes?) until you hit Highway 24 and then just follow that bad (and occasionally agriculturally odiferous) boy all the way to scenic Jacksonville, a military town with *miles* of neon-advertised roadside retail establishments. Pause to pawn guns and/or stereo equipment. Continue to Swansboro and finally Cape Carteret, in Carteret County. At the intersection with whatever road leads to the Emerald Isle bridge, make a choice: sound-side or ocean-side. Both lead to AB, though the former takes you through Morehead, the town where Yours Truly spent his high-school years before relocating to North Carolina State University. Go Pack. Now, about ten miles *west* of J'vil- le, try a detour south on Highway 111, the road to Ellis airport. One mile on the right is Thig's BBQ House and, if it's Friday after sunset, the parking lot is probably full. Go on inside. The unas- suming, single-room restaurant is simple as simple comes. One row of tables along a wall is the designated non-smoking section. Two white boards on opposite ends of the dining room are the menus. Entrees (called "dinner plates" in these here parts) include pork, chicken, hamburger steak, and, on Friday and Saturday nights, ex- ceptionally tasty spare ribs. (Plus two sides.) The best part of the meal, by far, is the hush puppies-- oblong spheres of deep- fried corn meal and with more sugar in the mix than you'd expect. The result is a crunchy, sweet-tasting confection that's almost a dessert. (Thus why the waitress notes "they're good with jelly, too!") No onion flavor, nor too much sweetness. Just right. Just perfect. The server that night also did something I've never seen before: she brought *two* cups of Diet Pepsi, one with ice and one without. The latter was "some extra." Smart gal. I left a good tip and with good words to the hostess, but not before ordering an extra dozen certain somethings. To go. Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
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Copyright 2019 by Michael J. Legeros