Your 3-day weekend guide to gobbling your way through the Port City
Fruity drinks on the water and enough crab cakes to build a fort. Foodies pair well with this coastal town.
Thanks to a Wilmington, NC, zip code, this may be my daily reality—but it’s not real life for everyone. I get that. Living in a vacation town definitely comes with its perks, and one of them is the multitude of visitors we receive looking to live it up Wilmington-style for the weekend. Opening our homes to our tourist and traveler friends of all ages comes with a responsibility, though. Being a coastal native means that it’s your job to show these folks a good time—especially when it comes to food. But, with every versatile group having different dining destinations in mind, how do you map out your Friday, Saturday, and Sunday itineraries to please your friends?
This is where I come in (No, seriously, can I come?). With Wilmington offering so many restaurant styles that speak to the masses, I decided to split things up and lay out three (three-day) eating excursions. Whether you live riverside and happen to be hosting guests or are a tourist yourself in town for a long weekend—pay attention. I’m about to show you how to seamlessly cruise your way through the Port City’s cuisine.
The Wilmington Food Scene Caters to Crustacean Cravings
Let’s start with the obvious. Wilmington is a water town, after all, so the hunt for seafood is strong with this crowd. The biggest problem is knowing how to avoid the tourist traps and finding the hot spots locals actually frequent. Shellfish for breakfast? Oh yes, we do. This coastal community loves its crab cakes so much; we even bring them to the breakfast table.
1 Eternal Sunshine on Eastwood Road has benedicts for days, and if you’re feeling something fishy on a Friday, this is your jam. Get a load of hand-pattied blue crab claw meat a la croissant or sample the Smoked Salmon Benedict on parmesan peppercorn bread.
2 Going light for lunch? Look no further than NOFO’s Savorez. Also look at their Yelp status because it’s impressively impeccable. The Brooklyn Arts District has been blowing up in the past few years, and Sam Cahoon’s luxurious Latin fare has only made the homey neighborhood that much more of a draw. Pop in just before noon, snag a seat at the bar, and start with a Black Cadillac featuring Hornitos Plata tequila, agave, fresh pineapple and lime juice, and a Grand Marnier Floater. In the non-liquid lunch department, everyone in your party will be fighting over who gets to lick the plate of the Langousta Y Coco (lobster ceviche in an inexplicably addictive citrus-coconut ginger marinade spiked with habanero).
It’s been a filling day. Scratch heavy dinner plans, and catch the sunset at 3 Anne Bonny’s on the Riverwalk where baller buffalo and blue cheese shrimp meet frozen rose, and live music is always on deck.
Wakey, wakey. We’re headed to the shore. Start your Saturday off at 4 King Neptune on Wrightsville Beach’s main strip. This Lumina Avenue longtime gem runs from sunrise to late night and offers coastal southern cuisine that will cure you from the night before. Set your sights on the Crab Bowl—a delicate mixture of egg whites, citrusy pico de gallo, guacamole, and crab meat. King Neptune’s take on shrimp and grits also gets high marks from regulars. Thanks to a lighter morning meal, lead your mounting appetite to 5 Cape Fear Seafood Company (with three locations, I might add) for a lowcountry lunch. Get your spread on by sharing the bubbly Crab Dip—a rich hybrid of crab, spicy horseradish, cheese, and spices served with dippable pita points. If a downhome southern dish is what you’re after, the seafood platters—which come broiled, grilled, or fried—are a comforting bite of the coast. Finish your Saturday seafood finale by following 6 Joe Loves Lobster Rolls food truck wherever it rolls for a seriously succulent, seriously loaded handheld with lobster meat straight from Maine.
Take it easy (like a Sunday morning) and treat yourself to some extra sleep. Roll into 7 Shuckin’ Shack around 11 AM, and belly up to their epic Bloody Mary bar where you check off your choice of spirit, mix, rim, and garnish—and they take care of the rest. This recently unveiled masterpiece is brimming with booze and cream-cheese stuffed snacks. Cover breakfast and lunch here by pairing your tomatoey concoction with a pile of chargrilled oysters.
For a superior Sunday night seafood feast, hit up…
8 Catch on the busy end of Market close to Gordon Road. Global twists on regional seafood is the sweet spot of this Asian-southern fusion restaurant, and celeb chef and James Beard nominee Keith Rhodes is always on his game. Go for the soft shells if the season is right; otherwise get after the signature North Carolina Lump Crab Cakes in Lobster Cream and 1/2 Pound “Hong Kong” Tempura Lobster Tail with a citrusy ponzu reduction.
Brews & Chews
Gastropubs have become a Wilmington specialty, and there’s no shortage of these beer havens doling out topnotch homemade bar food. The majority of our area’s well-known breweries (Wilmington Brewing Company, Flytrap, New Anthem, and Waterline to name a few) specialize in superb hops, but only carry food in the form of food trucks out front. For those brewpubs that are kicking it in the kitchen, here are some of your stops.
9 Bill’s Front Porch is kind enough to include Friday in their morning menu lineup, and regulars rave over the brewpub’s Sunday-Fil-A (an open-faced fried chicken biscuit sammy with pimento cheese, a fried egg, and sriracha). The Breakfast Stout has your name all over it.
Once mid-day hits, a sandy-toed walk by the ocean (in any weather) is always a treat. When you’ve crossed exercise off your list, treat yo’self to a flight of suds and a fiercely good bowl of greens at Wrightsville Beach’s…
10 Waterman’s Brewing. Head Chef Andrew Stanley is an artist when it comes to vibrant presentations and the Berry Salad with goat cheese, candied walnuts, and berry-beer vinaigrette is a healthy mouthful. The Po’ Boys—boasting flawlessly fried seafood, tart pickle, and tangy remoulade—are a meal made for two. Pair one with the Abundant Sunshine IPA with lingering piney resin and notes of mango, grapefruit, lemon, and coconut.
Stick around WB and hit the bustling patio of…
11 Poe’s Tavern for dinner. Though they’re not brewing in-house, the craft lineup is impressive at this lively eatery. Chomp down on Edgar’s Nachos: mounds of multicolored tortilla chips layered with a generous amount of creamy jack cheese, hoppy booze-infused chili, pico, guac, and spicy jalapenos. The tavern also prides itself on making a mean burger, and the brilliantly cooked, smothered beef (and veggie) sammies exceed every expectation. Taco-wise, the Buffalo Shrimp with Marinated Bacon-Blue Cheese Cole Slaw hits the spot.
With a brunch menu served Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., you can’t pass up…
12 Fork n Cork to fire up the day. This quaint, artisanal burger and beer bar has always been locally famed for its enormously satisfying creations, but received a national nod when Guy Fieri and his Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives crew popped in for chef/ owner James Smith’s confit duck wings and beef wellington bites. If you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast, the Brisket Biscuit (14-hour smoked brisket, two sunny side up eggs, and a creole mustard cream sauce) is your one-way ticket to food coma land.
13 Skytown Beer + BBQ on New Centre Drive is tapping righteous housemade brews and dishing out smoky specialties. Taste familiar? Their sister restaurant is popular Princess Street taco joint.
14 Beer Barrio. Still full from Fork? Share the deep-fried sausage gravy bites (Yeah, you read that right!) and a round of Dreamsicle Milkshake IPAs.
Wilmington’s food truck scene is rapidly expanding, so you’ll want to hit as many as you can in a short amount of time. Look for 15 CheeseSmith Co. at whatever brewery or bottle shop parking lot this grilled cheese mobile has pulled into Saturday night. Their eclectic lineup—like the Buffalo Baby with creamy Havarti, braised buffalo chicken, buttermilk ranch, and quick pickled carrot and celery slaw—is nothing short of divine.
Yesterday was a pants popper. Skip breakfast and swing into downtown staple 16 Front Street Brewery (the first of its kind around here) for lunch. Known for epic pulled barbeque chicken nachos and a double happy hour, any time of day is a good time at FSB.
Nothing says late Sunday afternoon like pizza, and 17 Wrightsville Beach Brewing Company is a beach go-to where the crackly pie crusts are made with beer-infused dough and the draft list boasts crushable crafts. Ask owner Jud Watkins for a flight of his favorites or tap into the classics like the seasonable Puppy Drum Pale or the Orange Krush Kölsch permeated with fragrant orange peel and hints of vanilla. Get your veg on with the flash fried Tempura Cauliflower tossed in your choice of sauce, or pop a few of the Kimchi & Fried Oyster Bites whose acidic punch of vinegar and chili cut the fat from the fryer.
Flip Flops & Bowties
While Wilmington certainly offers its fair share of fine dining establishments, we’re a comfortable coastal town where board shorts are almost always acceptable. That being said, enjoying a fancy meal or craft cocktail in your flip flops around here is the norm. Hey, you made it to Friday! You deserve something frothy. Pop into 18 Bespoke Coffee & Dry Goods on Princess Street where the chic Counter Culture Coffee baristas doodle hearts in the dirty chai lattes. Locally baked goods are great for grab-and-go.
Since the portions at…
19 Indochine are typically large enough to ensure leftovers, split an early lunch here so you don’t fill up before dinner. Favorites from this oriental far East café include classic sweet-and-sour Pad Thai and light Vietnamese Pork Meatballs loaded with citrusy lemongrass.
There’s no better prescription for satisfying your hunger than a Southern, locally-inspired feast at 5th and Castle Street’s 20 RX Restaurant. Known for being one of the first eateries to bring genuine farm-to-table dining to the Wilmington food scene, RX stole our hearts years ago and still steadily wows regulars with their seasonally-changing menu. Many items are pork-tastic (like the wonderfully quirky Buffalo Pig Ears with funky Bleu cheese), but RX is equally praised for their cocktails and thoughtfully-prepared seafood.
Superstar chef Jessica Cabo (a season 1 competitor on Hell’s Kitchen) runs 21 East Oceanfront Dining inside Wrightsville Beach’s Blockade Runner. Her globally-influenced seafood and vegetarian dishes are explosive, and her a la carte breakfast menu is just as refined. I vote for the Exotic Mushroom Omelet with peppery arugula and goat cheese. This upscale, yet relaxing restaurant is famed for their gorgeous canopied garden deck which overlooks the beach. Stick around for lunch.
Am I biased about…
22 PinPoint Restaurant? Yup, and I have no problem admitting it. I consistently pick Pinpoint as the top eatery in Wilmington thanks to head chef and co-owner Dean Neff’s ability to work magic with anything edible. Their menu is slammed with local seasonal offerings from Wilmington’s farmers, fishermen, oystermen, and crabbers. Raw oysters here are an absolute must and come with spicy chilled cocktail sauce, yuzu-cucumber granita (spa water meets crushed ice), and a tangy shallot-based mignonette. For dinner, the Crisp Smoked North Carolina Catfish crusted in cornmeal and bathed in lemon brown butter is the best thing I ever ate. Don’t believe me? Google “PinPoint + Best Thing I Ever Ate.”
Okay, I know I just went googly eyed for PinPoint—but here’s my P.S. I love you too…
23 Love, Lydia Bakery & Café. This charming coffee shop (owned by Lydia Clopton—PinPoint’s head pastry chef—not to mention, Dean’s wife) recently opened on South 3rd Street to rave reviews. The building is a lovely re-furbished house, and you’ll want to cozy up with a cappuccino, a book, and one of Lydia’s crispy bacon, egg soufflé, and smoked gouda biscuit sandwiches and never leave.
I made you carb-load for breakfast (and will again for dinner), so I’m sending you straight to…
24 Steam Restaurant & Bar—one of downtown’s newest eateries tucked inside The Embassy Suites. The hotel’s classy coastal demeanor and style parallels the restaurant’s vibe, and though you can get smothered Southern things like creamed leek and béarnaise fried oysters, I’ve sent you here for the salads and waterfront view. I’m a sucker for the Riverside Caesar: bright chilled hearts of romaine, shaved parmesan, white anchovies, and a luxuriously creamy garlic dressing.
Get out your stretchy pants; we’re off to…
25 Tarantelli’s where familiar Tuscan fare sprinkled with live arias and a splash of Montepulciano is the epitome of Italian spirit. Beautifully crafted dishes like the Sicilian Braciole—thin rolled and stuffed beef tenderloin with loads of garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and prosciutto—tastes like home to those who grew up with traditional Italian cooking. It’s rare to dine at Tarantelli’s without spotting a group wow-ing over the Spaghetti al Formaggio Parmigiana prepared tableside in an enormous oversized wheel of Parmesan cheese (doused in whiskey and lit on fire). What better way to end the weekend?
Wilmington Area Communities
When you are checking out the Wilmington cuisine, you’ll also want to see the welcoming communities and experienced builders who will work with you to design your dream home on the North Carolina coast.
1 Bill Clark Homes is a family business that has been building top-quality residences in Wilmington and all over the Carolinas for more than 40 years. Among their newest neighborhoods are The Landing at Mill Creek, located just three miles from North Topsail Beach, and Channel Watch, an intimate community of 36 homes off River Road in Wilmington. BillClarkHomes.com
2 The Bluffs on the Cape Fear offers large riverfront home sites and move-in-ready homes. Amenities include a private Beach Club on Oak Island and a resort-style clubhouse with a pool. The two-acre Riverfront Park & Boat Launch opens soon, to be followed by a new fitness center with pickleball courts. TheBluffsNC.com
3 Brunswick Forest has residential offerings that range from low-maintenance patio homes to estate-size home sites. The Villages commercial hub now includes the New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Recreational amenities like the Cape Fear National golf course, a complete fitness center, and kayak/canoe launches keep active residents happy and healthy. BrunswickForest.com
4 Cambridge Village of Wilmington makes independent retirement living a reality with spacious one- and two-bedroom apartment homes. The Optimal Living Center has a wellness director to customize every resident’s fitness plan, a life enrichment director to plan social events, and pampering professional services at the Salon & MedSpa.
5 Compass Pointe offers resort-style living in an award-winning master-planned community. The golf club is home to one of the best new courses in the Carolinas, while other fitness amenities include a wellness center, tennis/pickleball courts, and miles of hiking/biking paths. The Grand Lanai Amenities Center hosts community events.
6 Landfall is a family-oriented residential community with playgrounds, playing fields, and walking trails in 320 acres of conservation land. In addition to the Cliff Drysdale Sports Complex, The Country Club of Landfall is a member-owned golf club with two challenging championship courses by Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye.
7 Logan Homes is the leading name in coastal living with unique residential designs in premier Carolina locations like Wilmington. Their signature Build Smart program includes personal service at state-of-the-art design studios, the latest energy-efficient features in every home, and a complete warranty program for lasting peace of mind. LoganHomes.com
8 Palmetto Creek, perfectly situated between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach near Southport,features a beautiful boardwalk trail through a natural Palmetto preserve. One of the community’s preferred builders is Horizon Homes, a family-run business that provides quality homes at affordable prices. PalmettoCreek.com
9 River Bluffs features single-family homes and choice home sites along the North Cape Fear River. Lifestyle amenities include Davis Square events, boat/kayak launches, walking trails, a fitness center, tennis/pickleball courts, and an elevated riverwalk. Lunches at Porches Cafe can include produce from the 10-acre community farm. RiverBluffLiving.com
10 River Lights is a residential destination for young professionals to active retirees with traditional single-family, maintenance-free town homes, and age 55+ neighborhoods. The Marina Village is a hub of shopping and dining, while the wellness-centered lifestyle is enhanced by seven miles of trails, four community parks and a 38-acre recreational lake. RiverLightsLiving.com
11 St. James Plantation offers single-family residences and low-maintenance town homes in an unspoiled coastal setting. Golf memberships feature access to four championship courses and clubhouses. Also on-site are four fitness centers, an Intracoastal Waterway marina, and 36+ miles of walking trails. The private Beach Club on Oak Island and the seaside town of Southport are just minutes away. SJPLife.com/Living
12 Summerhouse on Everett Bay is a private residential community near the popular oceanfront destinations of Surf City and Topsail Island. Move-in-ready homes and customizable floor plans from leading builders are available. Community amenities include a clubhouse with pool, fitness center with tennis courts, and boat/kayak launches with direct Intracoastal Waterway access.
When creating memorable experiences for members and guests, a world-class dining program is essential. The opening of the new clubhouse at Quail Ridge Country Club in Boynton Beach, FL, provided the perfect opportunity to reimagine that dining experience, from training staff to providing impeccable service, to managing every aspect of successful food and beverage operations. Leading efforts on the culinary side of service, Executive Chef Reza Adhitiya shines with his fresh take on club cuisine.
Freshness and quality are evident in every dish Chef Reza and his team prepares.
“All menu composition and development are driven by seasonally-sourced foods, emphasizing quality over price, and simply-prepared,” he says. “We’d like our members to savor and taste the quality of the foods without masking them too much with unnecessary ingredients … less is more.”
To capture that freshness and quality in each dish, many of Chef Reza’s dishes celebrate local seafood and other regional ingredients. The menus often feature mahi and swordfish from just off the coast of Boynton Beach and the Jupiter Inlet, grouper from Islamorada, soft shell crab from Jacksonville, and yellowtail snapper from Key Largo – just to name a few.
“Florida is known for its seafood – from the Panhandle to the Keys. We’d like to take advantage of that here at the club. It makes sense for us to support local fisherman and farmers by hiring our own fisherman and farmers tied to our produce supplier and seafood vendor. This ensures simply the freshest seafood available. We insist on sourcing our products from the local Florida market as much as possible,” Chef Reza said.
It’s more than just the ingredients that are fresh. Keeping the menus new and exciting through frequent revision is also imperative. Chef Reza works collaboratively with General Manager/COO Bill Langley, and Director of Operations, Carl Horace, to feature a wide array of cuisine throughout the year that highlights the best of the season. With an ever-changing menu, he also says that setting up recipes which everyone on his team must follow and adhere to, helps to guarantee that the kitchen consistently delivers the utmost quality at every meal.
One of the keys to keeping things fresh, is doing away with the old style of stock-piling inventory in the kitchen, opting instead for the “just in time” method of short-term storage.
“My father used to work at an assembly plant for a car manufacturer,” says Chef Reza. “There, demand drives production. Taking notes from that idea, we only purchase food for what we need, driven by the forecast for two days ahead of time. That way our product is always fresh, there’s less waste and spoilage, and most importantly, we can turn the products on a daily basis which saves money in the long run, and assures the highest quality of our cuisine.”
Chef Reza would like to thank the club members for all of their patience, and feedback this season, which has helped him and his team to continuously improve. He says he is constantly researching new recipes and developing innovative ideas for food, plating, and presentation.
“We have a great team in the back-of-the-house that worked tirelessly this season to get our clubhouse open and kitchen operations rolling, and we look forward to the exciting future of cuisine at the Quail Ridge club.”
From the Chef’s Kitchen
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup lime juice
1 cup lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
10 oz of fish (snapper, grouper, corvina, shrimp, calamari, etc.), cut into half-inch cubes
1 tbsp tomato, seeded & finely diced
1 tbsp jicama, finely diced
1 tbsp cucumber, finely diced
1 tbsp red onion, finely diced
½ tsp jalapeño, seeded & finely diced
½ tsp cilantro, chopped
1 ½ limes, juiced
Salt and black pepper to taste
Method of Preparation
In a non-metallic bowl, combine the marinade and the fish. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
In another bowl, combine the marinated fish and vegetables together. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
Garnish with fresh cilantro and fresh corn. Make it Peruvian style by adding boiled, cubed sweet potato.
This is a traditional ceviche recipe, with ingredients you can find at your local market. The possibilities for this dish are as wide as your imagination! You can work with vegetables you have in the refrigerator, and be sure to get the freshest fish you can from your local fish monger.
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Last year we took a peek into the daily lives of the executive chefs pulling the strings in the kitchens of some of the coast’s most celebrated country clubs. I chatted with Chef Robert L. Daugherty—at the time, a newcomer to the country club world after retiring from the hotel business—who expressed his excitement and anticipation for relocating to the heartland of America. A chef with a strong draw toward the Portuguese-influenced ingredients of his New England roots (not to mention the righteous lobsters and clams), Robert was ready to take on the warm climate, beach weather, and all the edible bounty Millsboro, DE, had to offer. His first full season watching the fields grow was 2017, so I decided to check in and see how he’s grown into his role at The Peninsula Golf & Country Club in Millsboro, DE. From the innovative American regional cuisine he serves daily at the club to his poolside Cabana Bar dishing out oysters and garden fresh mint mojitos to smoking a whole pig in La Caja China (an enormous roasting box that results in crispy skin), there’s nothing this imaginative chef won’t do to keep his guests happy.
How has your culinary skillset grown over the last year?
We’re growing all of our own herbs—exotic varieties like pineapple sage and opal basil—and doing containers around the club house. We’re running out quickly and harvesting them every day on the porch and patio. We also have a huge bin of mint that we’re using in cocktails like mojitos, as well as for desserts. We’re really having fun trying to involve our team in the dining room with members.
Did this past year bring about any new food trends that you’ve incorporated into your style?
I’m still very passionate about New England cuisine and, of course, fish. I’m a fanatic about fish and that’s continued to evolve. I sent my executive sous chef up to Foley Fish School (the oldest fish house in Boston). She did a three-and-a-half-day intensive training on the fishing boats, went to the fish auctions, and got to see what really fresh fish is. I also found a way to bring a truck down here once a week, so on Thursdays we get a truck full of oysters and fish from Georges Bank where the Labrador current meets the gulf. The water current is so rough, the fish actually have the most developed muscle structure. The halibut, cod, and scallops that come from there are amazing.
Over the warmer months, what did your kitchen team do to keep things interesting?
The pool area is new for our chefs. We didn’t pay much attention to it last year, but this year we built an outdoor lower cooking area. This “Cabana Bar” is part of our raw bar and poolside burger bar which we do on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. We’re bringing in Wellfleet oysters and local ones from Moonstone Bay and Rhode Island. We share them with members (along with specialties like my New England clam chowder). We also do Angus burgers right off the grill and when people smell that charcoal, they start to crave it. We do portobellos and chicken on the grill, but the burgers are the hit. We served over 220 burgers around July 4th.
Speaking of July 4th, what other special events did your team put on for the members this past year?
For July 4th, the club was filled with extended family and friends and we had everything from bouncy houses to live music to the poolside burger bar. Everybody enjoyed themselves! Another special event is the sunset celebration we do every Thursday. We do a special raw bar by the Cabana Bar and folks get to enjoy the sunset on the horizon with a complimentary champagne toast. It’s our salute to the sunset and we also have a yachting cannon we fire off. This sunset celebration has grown to about 80 to 90 people.
People also still love our Wednesday night Iron Chef Battles where two of our chefs go head-to-head with one ingredient and everyone in the dining rooms gets to taste the dishes. Recently, one chef made salmon cakes over quinoa salad with a roasted red pepper coulis, and the other did a 28-hour brined and marinated roasted chicken with a cider vinegar reduction. It’s our way of developing the younger culinary talent, and it’s proven to be a busy night.
Are you still preparing wine and beer dinners, and how do you put your own spin on them?
We have a fantastic wine room (pictured in the photo) and we just finished an event for homeowners there. The room seats 34 people and it’s where we do our Chef’s Table events among other special celebrations. We recently hosted one themed as “foods from Greece” and the menu was filled with items like grilled octopus, a “Mezze Table” with stuffed grape leaves, falafel, spanakopita, etc. We have a lot of fun beer dinners, and we’re gearing up to do one with Heady Seas Brewing soon. They’re bringing their beer master in and instead of just one meal, we’re having an entire festival with tastings. It will be an outdoor event and we’ll definitely roast a whole pig there too and get a pirate to fire the cannon!
We also feature great themed wine dinners. We have 190 members who are part of a wine club and there is an event every month for them. Last month, our executive chef helped put together the “Rosé by the Pool” menu that was three courses all paired with rosé. This month is BBQ and wine by the pool.
I know you’re focused on healthier cooking techniques for members who are more conscious of their nutrition. I’m sure that’s easier to do in the summer. How do you incorporate that into the winter months when folks want hearty comfort food but still want to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle?
I have to get very creative. We have a strong following of a low carb club who dines with us every two months. It’s about 30 to 35 people and they challenge our staff to come up with a carb-free menu. The last challenge was an Italian dinner, and we prepared items like Carpaccio, roasted vegetables, aiolis, and different appetizers. We actually made risotto out of cauliflower rice and did a brunoise (fine dice) of root vegetables—similar to how you would prepare risotto with whine wine, cheese, and onions. It was a hit. We also made zucchini noodles and squash and carrot bundles that resembled pasta. There was veal braised with prosciutto, sage, and mozzarella in a pan sauce. They thought they were in Italy! Our next one is a luau and we’ll be preparing Kalua pig and a number of different things from Hawaii. I have a great chef from Spain who worked for seven years on The Big Island. For this event, we just bought a La Caja China box and plan to go whole hog. What aromatics do you suggest folks to use at home to incorporate flavors, sauces, etc.?
I’m a big fan of toasted seeds like cardamom and coriander and I love to crush them to make rubs and marinades. I also enjoy using fruitier oils (like grapeseed) that bring out the flavors in proteins. For lighter proteins like fish, I go light and mild with ingredients like dill, lemon zest, or other types of citrus rubs. For meats or heavier items, I like robust herbs and flavors like rosemary, thyme, and garlic.
When we spoke a year ago, you mentioned this was your first country club experience and was all new to you. What have been your biggest learning curves that have helped you to grow in this position?
It’s all about continuing to learn what our members want and what style of cuisine they’re enjoying. I want to feel like I’m taking them on my path of my experience with cooking. I want to introduce them to things from my past and my history of food. Learning our membership and getting them to trust us and have confidence in us and our events is important to me. It’s certainly blossomed because many of our events now sell out regularly!
The personal preferences of members is also very important to us. There are quite a number of people who are gluten-free and conscious of what they’re eating so for us—yes is always the answer. If they want something off of the menu, we never say no. That’s our attitude. Our biggest learning curve right now is managing reservations and the dining room. We need to make sure we’re maximizing our numbers, but also making sure that the flow into the kitchen is executed properly. It’s all about restaurant 101 and making sure the dining room floor is managed effectively. If you’re doing 220 to 230 covers on a weekend night, you gotta be on point!
How do you get feedback from your members on what’s working for them and what they’d like to see improve?
We have a notes section called 4 Ts (which is the Open Table of the club house world) and customers can comment on what they like or want. We’re doing an in-house baking program now because we’ve had so many requests for celebration cakes. Folks also put down their dietary needs and table requests, so all of this helps us customize members’ experiences in the dining room.
You were in a New England setting for three decades and used to lobsters, clams, and a Portuguese influence on the food. Last year was your first full season watching the fields grow. What regional ingredients have you really grown to love?
Crab season is coming around so I’m definitely enjoying working with the local crabs. I also have a guy working with us whose dad has a farm, and this year we’re buying his tomatoes and corn. We’ve developed this menu item called “3-hour Corn” where the idea is that the corn is picked and on your table in just three hours. Its will be in the form of a fresh corn salad, street corn, etc. The tomatoes are also coming in and they’re just simple, beautiful, vine-ripened tomatoes that are sweet and deep red in color. Nothing compares to them!
Your Information Request for The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay
What if one fairly simple change in the way you eat could make a positive difference in your health, and possibly result in weight loss? Exciting new research points to a path that may accomplish this. And you don’t even have to change what you eat. It’s called Time-Restricted Eating.
What is Time-Restricted Eating?
Think about your average day. Do you eat breakfast around 7 a.m., have lunch midday, perhaps indulge in a late afternoon nibble, consume dinner around 7 p.m., and then perhaps enjoy a 9 p.m. snack and/or a beverage while you’re working on the computer, reading, or watching TV? If so, the time you have “fasted” (not eaten) would be 10 hours, and your “eating window” would be 14 hours, which is pretty typical for most of us in the United States. With Time-Restricted Eating (TRE), instead of the average 14 eating hour window, you condense your daily food consumption into a tighter time frame, such as 12 hours. This gives your body a daily 12 hour fast, instead of the average 10 hour American fast. Your body will most likely reward you for this change. Let’s see why.
Our bodies have clocks that operate on a roughly 24-hour cycle (circa means “about” and diem refers to “day”). There is an optimum time for our body to digest food, make hormones, and repair tissue. Our guts, stomach, mouth—virtually all of our organs and cells—operate on these clocks. You may be familiar with the research demonstrating that people who work night shifts tend to have more health issues, including obesity, gastrointestinal issues, heart disease, and diabetes. Most people who work at night are fighting their natural circadian rhythms. We are doing the same if we are eating when our body should be resting and repairing itself. So, chomping down on that Dove bar at midnight won’t allow your body to do its best work.
When you think about this from an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense. According to Scientific American, “Sleep evolved to ensure that species are not active when they are most vulnerable to predation and when their food supply is scarce.” Our all-the-time-anytime food availability is relatively recent. Mark Mattson, a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, was quoted in Time magazine saying, “Natural selection would have favored individuals whose brains and bodies functioned well in a food-deprived state.” For many of us, our day-to-day life is at odds with our circadian rhythms.
What Can Rodents Tell Us?
Rodents are frequently used in research because many of their biological functions closely mimic those of humans. Recent studies involving TRE in the journal Cell Metabolism found that rats given unlimited food around the clock became obese and developed a variety of diseases. Those that were offered the same number of calories, but only during a 10-hour time frame, remained healthy and lean. Their insulin sensitivity increased, and they had lower levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Another TRE study, performed by researchers at the Salk Institute, found that TRE worked even if it was practiced only five out of seven days a week. So, a weekend reprieve that still delivers benefits—yippee!
What About Research Using People?
A 2018 study in Nutrition and Healthy Aging found that in a 12-week study of 23 obese volunteers, “those who followed the time-restricted eating diet consumed fewer calories, lost weight, and had improvements in blood pressure. On average, participants consumed about 350 fewer calories, lost about three percent of their body weight, and saw their systolic blood pressure decrease by about seven millimeters of mercury.” The American Heart Association stated: “Intentional eating with mindful attention to the timing and frequency of eating occasions could lead to healthier lifestyle and cardiometabolic risk factor management.” Improved sleep has also been a side reported effect of TRE.
So, How Can This Information Be Used?
Think about your typical “eating hours.” Since I work from home, I’ve adopted an 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. eating time frame. That provides a 12-hour fasting period. Remember that even black coffee—really, anything other than water—counts as “food.” When we stop eating earlier in the evening, we tend to ingest about 20 percent fewer calories since there is no running to the fridge or pantry at 10 p.m. to eat that Chunky Monkey, pour a glass of wine, or fill a big bowl with popcorn, so some weight loss usually follows. This has been a happy side-effect for me. Once you get used to a 12 hour fast/12 hour eating period, try to shave off another hour or two (the research indicates that eating within an 8 to 10 hour time frame, which provides a fasting period of 14 to 16 hours is even better), and perhaps can be an eventual goal.
It does seem, to paraphrase a phrase from the Bible (and a song by the Byrds), that there is a time to fast, and a time to eat. And that WHEN we eat might be as important as WHAT we eat when it comes to our health. Try watching the clock instead of the scale, and see what happens. You have nothing to lose (except perhaps some weight), and potentially a lot to win.
Jan Cullinane is an award-winning retirement author, speaker, and consultant.
Her current book is The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (AARP/Wiley).
This is an especially good year to consider upgrading with a residential solar-power system for two reasons: the cost has never been lower and the 30% federal tax credit starts to disappear in 2020. Understanding how solar systems function will help you to determine the desirability of that investment.
How Solar Works
Every rooftop solar system has four essential components and an optional fifth.
Solar panels have photovoltaic (PV) cells that turn radiant energy from the sun into direct-current (DC) electricity. Each standard-size panel is 65 by 39 inches (5.4 x 3.25 feet), weighs around 40 pounds, and is typically rated for output at 300 watts. To install an average-size residential system that produces six kilowatts (kW) of electricity, you’ll need 20 panels covering an area of 500 square feet and weighing about 1,000 pounds with mounting hardware. All-weather panels are durable for at least 25 years. Rain removes most grime, but annual inspections may include professional cleaning.
A mounting system secures that half-ton array to the rooftop. Most roofs can handle the weight, while older ones may need reinforcement, but this is definitely not a DIY job. Ideally, the roof has a pitch of around 30 degrees, is unobstructed by trees, and faces south because east-west orientations can be about 15% less productive.
An inverter converts that DC electricity into the standard alternating-current (AC) that powers electrical devices. A performance monitor tracks how much electricity is being produced and used. Data is displayed on a wall unit and can be transmitted to an off-site service accessible online or with an app.
The performance monitor also keeps tabs on excess electricity being fed back to your local utility because you’re not off the grid yet, nor do you really want to be. Instead, it’s a two-way street: you’re both a producer and consumer as part of a net-metering system. For every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity you generate but don’t immediately use (typically during the afternoon), you get a credit for sending it out on the wires for redistribution where it’s needed. Those credits are cashed in when you’re producing less than you’re using (morning/evening peaks, all night long and during inclement weather). There’s also an annual cycle of summer production versus winter usage. This ebb and flow results in either a credit surplus that can be carried forward according to utility policy or a deficit requiring a small power bill that’s far less than what you’re paying now on the one-way street of consumption only.
So why can’t you just keep all the power you create, use it as needed, and get entirely off the grid? With current technology, electricity is much cheaper to produce and distribute than it is to store. Hence, the optional component of your system: solar batteries. Until there are major breakthroughs in storage capacity, current batteries serve as little more than emergency back-ups and can add 50% to your total price.
HOW MUCH SOLAR COSTS
The good news is that the declining price of solar panels plus a growing number of competing installers have combined to make residential solar-power systems more affordable than ever. As an example using nationwide averages, the 20-panel/6-kW system described above has a gross cost today of around $20,000, including all equipment, permit, and installation charges. Deduct $2,000 for the rebates offered in many states, subtract the 30% federal tax credit from that subtotal and another $1,000 for state credits where applicable, and you’ve got a bottom-line cost of just $11,600.
OK, that’s a big chunk of change, but consider this: you’re paying $100 or more a month for electricity now, which is $1,200+ a year or more than $30,000 over 25 years. But, if your system hits the sweet spot of producing roughly the same amount of power that you consume annually in a net-metering system, your monthly bill will be $0—a total savings of about $18,400. And, several recent studies have shown that a residential solar system can raise a home’s market value by up to 4%; for a $300,000 property, that’s an increase of $12,000 on day one. If you can’t afford the entire up-front cost, there are financing options and even leasing plans. But, under current law, the 30% federal tax credit available in 2019 will decline by 4% each year in 2020 and 2021, expiring altogether for residential solar in 2022 unless the program is renewed, which is ironic because rooftop solar systems are renewable-power sources that enhance American energy independence, create skilled jobs, and may help to save the planet.
Retirement planning is pretty variable, so don’t expect right answers, just right questions.
In 1951, Dr. Albert Einstein was working as a physics professor at Princeton University. One day, he and his teacher’s assistant were walking across campus when the assistant asked the question, “Dr. Einstein, how do you think our advanced physics students did on their final exam?” Dr. Einstein replied, “Not very well.” The assistant looked surprised and shocked as he responded, “But Dr. Einstein, why wouldn’t our students have done well when we gave them the same test as we gave them last year?” Dr. Einstein replied, “The questions were the same, but the answers are different this time.” While this scenario applies to many situations, it definitely applies to retirement planning.
In many ways, planning our retirement takes a similar path as Dr. Einstein’s advanced physics class. The questions are still the same, but the answers are different. Here are some of the more important questions:
Do I have enough to retire?
Will my money last as long as I live?
What kind of lifestyle can I afford?
How much risk should I take?
What to do?
Every individual should have a retirement plan regardless of his or her age. This means talking to an advisor about how much money is needed to retire using today’s assumptions regarding life span, health, income levels, inflation, and projected investment returns. As you near retirement, consider a few tactical steps to maximize your security and peace of mind.
Evaluate personal spending.
Instead of worrying about which stock to buy or sell daily, save more money and you’ll get accustomed to spending less now. The good news is that spending is typically highest in the early stages of retirement and declines as the years pass. Take an honest look at your pre-retirement lifestyle, expectations for future spending, and planned activities (such as hobbies and travel). Your conclusions in this thought process will shape your income requirements, and the level of risk in your portfolio.
Coordinate your planning.
Connect the dots between your financial plan and your estate and tax planning. Work with a trusted fiduciary advisor who puts your interests first and can regularly meet face to face with you and your family. Empower your financial advisor to work directly with your estate lawyer and CPA to be sure you get the best results. We do this for our clients and the results and follow through can make a big difference on tax day and when facing big life transitions.
Create a system and follow it.
Today, most individuals invest for growth. Balancing the risk/return and growth/income decision requires thoughtful portfolio design, periodic review, and rebalancing from year to year. And the personal discipline to stick with the plan! An individual is 20 times more likely to achieve desired results with a written plan. It should include details regarding risk, taxes, and portfolio design.
Manage your withdrawal rate.
Research shows that even in the most favorable market environments, taking more than 6% annually from a portfolio over a 30-year period can lead to premature depletion of assets. Determining a sustainable withdrawal rate is wise and allows retirees to maintain stable income throughout various market environments.
Plug the tax and expense drains.
The up and down movements in the stock market are out of your control, so try not to worry when they don’t move in your favor. Instead, plan for adverse markets and pay more attention to characteristics that are controllable. Evaluate the possible impact of taxes on your retirement income. How much should you withdraw from the portfolio to receive enough income after taxes? Should you first withdraw from taxable or tax deferred accounts, given your age, tax rate, asset composition, and other personal factors? What expenses are set in stone for you and which are optional?
Figure inflation into retirement spending projections and expected investment returns. Although inflation has averaged just over 3% on a long-term basis, many advisors say that a 4% assumption is more prudent. The difference between these two rates is substantial over a lengthy retirement. For instance, to maintain purchasing power throughout a 25-year retirement period, a $100,000 annual withdrawal must increase to more than $209,000, assuming 3% inflation, and $266,500 at 4% inflation. There is a big difference.
Make it count.
Many people spend more time planning their vacation or next automobile purchase than they spend thinking about retirement. Your golden years are one of the more important periods of your life – you will enjoy them better if you’re prepared. Take the time to investigate.
Keep it simple.
Invest in things you understand or that your professional advisor can explain in language that makes sense. Great results do not need to be complicated. The far more important concept is the eighth wonder of the world…time and compounding. If an investor will invest in the best businesses in the world, led by the smartest management, providing world-class goods and services to an increasing global consumer, the results tend to be good. And, in most cases, dividends that tend to increase each year helping income keep pace with inflation.
Great results are most often the product of great relationships. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek out qualified experts who can keep you on course as the answers change. Less worry and peace of mind is the goal. We are here to help support your success!
About the authors: Vinton Fountain III, Buck Beam, Brice Gibson and Christopher Riley CFP are members of Fountain Financial Associates, a registered Investment Advisory Firm in Wilmington, NC. Their mission is to give clients and their families a better life. Learn more at www.fountainfinancial.net. Advisory Services offered through Fountain Financial Associates, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Fountain Financial Associates, Inc., and Cetera are not affiliated.