Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, Wilmington’s New Sub Place

Capriottis Sign

We had heard that Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop makes some of the best subs across the country. I knew down the road we would have to come to our own conclusions about that statement. It proves to be sooner than later. They have shops across fourteen states and their newest one happens to be in Wilmington, NC. Only a couple of hours from us, we decided to head for historic Wilmington for some photos and grab some lunch at Capriotti’s newest location.

The shopping centers in the area made it an ideal location for Capriotti’s.  But I was surprise that they pick a location that already has a few sub shops within few hundred feet. I’m guessing that Capriotti’s feel they deliver a superior product and once you try a sandwich you’ll be hooked. The layout was very clean which was expected for a new place. As soon as we walked in Capriotti’s, we were greeted and educated about the menu by the staff. The first thing I noticed about the menu was the size options: 9″, 12″ and 20″ subs.  I was very tempted to go with the 20″ meatball sandwich but I was still committed to my new diet plan. If two people were having same sandwich, the best deal would be to split a 20″ sub. The cost would be around $7.30 for 10″ while normally 9″ cost $7.59.  ( Sample of menu at very bottom)

Inside Capriotti's Sandwich Shop ~ Wilmington, NC

Inside Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop ~ Wilmington, NC

The most popular and famous sandwich on Capriotti’s menu, “The Bobbie”: Homemade Turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and mayo. Basically the sandwich is described as Thanksgiving meal that you could have any time in the year.  A very interesting sandwich but I lack the fondness for cranberries. Even before I left the house I knew the meatball sandwich was my goal for lunch. I’ll be honest, I usually eat at fast food style sub shops, where the meatballs taste artificial and the bread becomes soggy from the sauce. The complete opposite can be said about Capriotti’s meatball sandwich ~ the meatballs were large full of flavor and the bread manage to stay together. Overall a very well done meatball sandwich and I should have gone with the 20” version.

Caprtotti's Meatball Sandwich 12" ~ Their own signature homemade meatball recipe and topped off with Provolone cheese, grated Romano cheese, and sauce.

Caprtotti’s Meatball Sandwich 12″ ~ Their own signature homemade meatball recipe and topped off with Provolone cheese, grated Romano cheese, and sauce. It’s hard to make a meatball sub look pretty. All that matters is the taste.

Josh decided that he would try the 12″ Grilled Italian. He said it was awesome and the only improvement was if the cheese was more melted. I think the new staff was still learning “timing” with the hot subs because my cheese needed little melt too.

Capriotti's Grilled Italian ~ genoa salami, capacolla and prosciutini makes for an awesome sandwich.

Capriotti’s Grilled Italian ~ genoa salami, capacolla and prosciutini makes for an awesome sandwich.

The verdict about being the best sandwich shop in the country still up in the air. It would be only fair to check out other worthy opponents. But I will admit they have very good meatball sandwich and anytime I’m on the road near a Capriotti’s, I’m stopping for a 20″ sandwich. Hopefully Jerry or Nick is not afraid of cranberries so I can get “The Bobbie” review.

specialmenu_CAPCapriotti’s Sandwich Shop

3501 Oleander Dr. #2
Wilmington, NC 28403
capriottis_lower 

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, No Bacon Shortage Here

A little bit of a delay on the review, we visited Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar back in early August. The first food stop on the Charlotte road trip was not up to our standards and Carowinds, our main goal, was closed. I made the failed assumption that Carowinds would still be open during the weekdays in early August. I needed to find a great place to make up for my prior mistakes during this particular road trip. After reading some reviews and our love for good burgers we settled on Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar. I had 2 strikes against me during this trip, this burger bar may keep me from striking out.

The customer service was outstanding from start to end. Our server, Ashley (maybe misspelled) was on her “A” game. She was very knowledgeable about the menu and offered up her personal favorites. The conversation didn’t seem fake and she was very up beat. She will go down as the best server to date that I have ever had in a casual dining atmosphere. The manager on duty didn’t charge us for our fried pickles starter because he thought the fried pickles were slow getting to the table (For us ~ no time issue). The service alone will have us come back when we make a return trip to Charlotte.

Let’s go over the food:

We started with the Fried Pickle Starter served with ranch dressing. ($7.25)

Fried Pickles

This would be the second time I have had fried pickles and this version had a little more of a kick in flavor. The batter was crispy and fell apart from the pickle easily. As you can see the pickles were lightly battered. Overall they were alright, I’m slowly becoming a fan of fried pickles.

Jerry’s Build a Burger: Bison burger with Fried Egg, Buttermilk Fried Bacon, Blue Cheese and Bacon Mayo. Along with House Made Chips ( $17)

Jerry’s Build a Burger

Shawn’s Build a Burger: 6oz burger with Fried Egg, Buttermilk Fried Bacon, White Cheddar, and Bacon Mayo. Along with Sweet Potato Fries ($15.50)

Jerry and myself decided to get creative with our burgers from a wide variety of topping options. We highly recommend getting the Buttermilk Fried Bacon, it takes the burger to a whole new level of awesomeness. The fried egg starting to be a “must” for me when available. The busted yolk adding to the flavor of the burger. The bacon mayo was not a big impact so next time I’ll probable leave it off the burger. The cost of the burger was well justified and had no problem paying that price. I will never have an issue paying higher price for better quality burger over a $6 tasteless mess from a fast food place.

Josh’s Southern Burger: Basic burger topped with chili, American cheese, relish, mustard and slaw.($10)

Josh’s Southern Burger

Josh’s memory of his burger experience was lacking. I guess in future reviews I need to get his information right away. He was able to say his burger was good, the chili was mild and tater tots were normal.

The overall experience was great! We’ll definitely make it back. Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar so we can sample the shakes (Chunky Elvis) along with the burgers.

Service: 9.5/10

Burger: 8/10

Atmosphere: 8/10

We Visited Bad Daddy’s Ballantyne Location: 15105 John J. Delaney Drive, Ste. A
Charlotte, NC 28277

NASCAR Hall of Fame, Checker Flag or 5 Car Wreck

The NASCAR Hall of Fame was not on our original game plan when we visited Charlotte. Our goal was to tackle the Intimidator at Carowinds, but we were unaware that they would be closed during the weekdays in late August. So we quickly needed an alternative fun place to visit to make the 4 hour trip worthwhile. The NASCAR Hall of Fame caught our eye. Not because we are die-hard race fans (We are only average fans) but due to the “over 50” interactive stations at the Hall. So we decided to head to the NASCAR Hall of Fame . Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing boys!

The admission for the Hall was $19.95 which was a fair price for the two hours we were wondering around the place. They will give you a “Hard Card” at the admission counter which you take it to the first station to create a profile for the interactive experience throughout the Hall. Be mindful and pick a nickname that would be proper for the general public because it may show up on the big screen for all to see. Make use of the “Hard Card” throughout the Hall to get most out of the experience and you will receive a final score at the very end of the Hall. A very cool idea.

The very first area we discovered was the Great Hall with Sunoco Glory Road leading up to the third level. They have a number of historic cars on display in this area. They did an amazing job showcasing these cars and very creative way to get people to the upper level. Way better than an escalator or elevator.

One of the many historic cars located in the Great Hall

One of the cars on display on Sunoco Glory Road

The third level has the Hall of Honor. NASCAR did a terrific job honoring their legendary drivers. The lighting, displays and video screen around the upper dome, they all come together to set the appropriate mood. If you’re a die-hard racing fan this area is a “Must” visit.

Hall of Honor

The rest of the third and fourth levels hold the majority of the interactive stations of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. They help people get a better understanding what happens on “Race Day” and the progression of racing through the years. The two stations that were the most fun were the Kobalt Pit Challenge and iRacing Simulator. The Kobalt Pit Challenge allows two people to simulate a timed pit stop in NASCAR. None of us wanted to show our pitiful attempt at changing a tire, but we did capture two guys that put on a clinic on how it should be done. (Video Clip) The iRacing Simulator was an extra 5 dollars, but it was worth every penny. Jerry and Shawn both jumped in a car to race on the Bristol Track against other visitors which consisted of 2 pace laps and about 12 laps of racing. Jerry did very well, but Shawn managed to get the 3rd fastest lap time overall for the day and still only finished 7 of 8. The controls take some practice so make sure to visit the practice area first.

iRacing Simulator: Each car holds two racers. The race is broadcast on the big screen along with the fastest times of the day.

Josh: What I liked about the Hall of Fame?
The history behind NASCAR, the memorabilia in the glass cases, the interaction activities.
It was an all around good time.

Jerry: What I enjoyed the most from my visit at the Hall was how it brought you every aspect of NASCAR and how it all started from the moonshiners to the 1st race at Daytona Beach to the Super Speedways of Talladega! Its great how the Hall allows you to test your skills with the simulator and pit crew tests. I would recommend a visit to anyone who loves NASCAR like me!

Shawn: During iRacing, I was going with Ricky Bobby ideology of racing “Only one speed ~ Fast” which in return I shared some rubbing time with the wall.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame was a surprise hit for us. We do not think you have to be a NASCAR fan to appreciate this place. They did a terrific job creating an environment that appeals to a broader crowd thus potentially gaining new fans. Well played NASCAR Hall, you received the checker flag from the Wanna See It All Guys.

Video:
Link to Video on Youtube

We have many more great photos posted in our Facebook Album worthy of a check out.

Fort Macon, A Whole Lot of Fort Still Left Over

We planned a trip up the coastline of North Carolina to visit Fort Macon State Park and the Aquarium near Atlantic Beach. We couldn’t forget Wilbur’s BBQ too. Fort Macon is located on the Eastern End of Bogue Banks. We made it to the Fort around 11a.m.just as the sun started to heat up. So I knew it was going to be a great day for us to visit Fort Macon State Park. It was a bright and sunny day when we arrived at Fort Macon. There was no fee to get in. We just parked our car and next to the parking lot there were nice walkways and clean restrooms. The fort had a bold look to it with a pentagon shaped structure. The park had a lot to offer. Swimming, fishing and nature trails were spread out over the 398 acres. We were mostly interested in the Fort, due to our time schedule.

Jerry standing in front of the entrance to Fort Macon

Fort Macon had beautiful walkways and great audio-visual displays within the Fort Structure. The displays consisted of showing how the Confederate troops lived and operated there. It made it easy for us to envision the Civil War and what the men encountered during that time. There are several cannons around the perimeter of the fort to take a few snapshots of. The Fort looked in good structural condition and well maintained throughout the years. It’s almost like you could envision the battle of 1862 against the Union Artillery. The most impressive part of our trip to Fort Macon was the informational displays of how the men made there goods instead of importing them. It also showed how the officers lived compared to the enlisted men, and ways family would send letters to them. It really gave you a sense of the time period! I have to say, everything was within short walking distance of each other. Nick got sidetracked and got a little wet when he explored the tunnels beneath the fort. I‘m pretty sure that wasn‘t part of the tour. The majority of the trip it was just Shawn and I checking out different displays within the rooms of the fort. It’s a go at your own pace, kind of place! Shawn and I discovered a great view from on top of the Forts walls. It gives you a peripheral view of Fort Macon and the Atlantic Ocean that borders it. It’s a Must Visit!

Jerry standing beside one of the Cannons on the wall facing the Atlantic Ocean

We all seemed to enjoy our time at Fort Macon. Fort Macon is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You will need to charge your camera battery before you go considering all the photo opportunities!

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North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, We Got Turtles

The mascot for North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

Shawn, Jerry and I decided to take a trip up the coast of North Carolina for one of our road trips. The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores was one of our stops on the trip. The aquarium was better than I expected. The reason I had low expectations was due to the fact North Carolina has three aquariums along the coastline and figured that they would spread out key exhibits among themselves. The aquarium admission cost us about $8 a piece, which isn’t bad for what the North Carolina Aquarium has to offer. The North Carolina Aquarium has a variety of different fish from fresh water to salt water. They even has otters, snakes and an outdoor bird walk. My best advice is to check out the otter feeding around 11am for some fun play between the otters.

When you first walk in the North Carolina Aquarium has some fresh water fish along the walls leading you into the next room which has part of floor (interactive play) that looks like you are stepping on water which causing ripples and goldfish to swim away. The otters in the next room were not that active due to being stuff with food. We decided to come back later after their power nap to see if any of them were causing some curious fun. Only one of the three were awake after our second attempt, we caught him on video (video at bottom).

One of the otters at play

Moving on along, you will come to the reptile area which I love snakes and other reptiles, they fascinate me. They have small crocodiles, different kinds of snakes and a turtle tank. The turtle exhibit was filled with turtles, I had to estimate about 50 of those swimming critters. The aquarium created a pond environment for them to hangout in with couple of the old-timer turtles on the surface sunbathing to the heat lamps. When you walk to the next room there is a sting ray tank that you can stick your hand down in and touch one as is swims by. In this same area they have a nursery for baby loggerhead sea turtle. One of the turtles kept hitting the bottom of the tank trying to get either food or saw his reflection on the bottom. The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores does extensive work and take great strides to help the loggerhead sea turtles.

Sunbathing out of the water.

The next room was the Shipwreck Tank. This is their biggest tank in the aquarium and the call it the shipwreck tank because of the sunken submarine creating the habitat for the fish.The North Carolina Aquarium had many different fish in with the sharks in the tank. They feed the sharks very well so they do not get the urge to digest the smaller fish in the tank. The North Carolina Aquarium probably had only 3 different types of sharks but they were cool to watch. One of them was laying on the bottom with its head next to a vent looking like a dogs cheeks when its head is out the window. They also had an adult loggerhead sea turtle on exhibit in the tank. The North Carolina Aquarium has a couple smaller tanks behind the shark tank. These tanks were filled with lobster, octopus, and jellyfish. The shipwreck tank was the best part of the aquarium and was excellent way to close out the aquarium.

This was the shipwreck tank with an assortment of sea life

All in all, North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is very nice for the price. My favorite part was watching the otter run around in the tank. The shark tank was pretty cool too. If anyone is in the Atlantic Beach area, this is a must do.

Wilber’s Barbecue, Must Get BBQ Pork – Do Not Pull a Nick

We decided to do a road trip up the coastline of North Carolina. The plan was to make stops at Fort Macon, North Carolina Aquarium, and Duplin Winery. We were going to end the day on a high note with some great barbecue. I did a little research and found Wilber’s Barbecue, well-known for the best eastern carolina style BBQ in the area. So I made it a goal not to ruin my taste buds by not eating anything until we got to the restaurant. No breakfast, lunch, or snack stops. Nick did not get the memo so he was left starving for majority of the day. The only thing I allowed in my system was a bottle of Mountain Dew, my own personal addiction and how I often start the day.

We arrived at Wilber’s Barbecue around 3 in the afternoon. The hushpuppies were the first thing we received from the waitress. They were incredible (best I ever had) , hush puppies were so hot the butter melted on contact. It was hard not to eat the whole basket and I had my hunger control on lockdown for BBQ.  Here was our food order:

Myself: I ordered the Pig & Chick(white meat) combination plate with Mountain Dew. The Pig was the BBQ pork chopped up very fine and carolina style(no sauce, vinegar base) and the Chick was chicken thigh covered in some kind of gravy. The pork had a great spice mixture that gave the taste buds a tangy kick at the end of the meat shovel down the throat. The chicken was so tender, juicy, and the meat fell right of the bone. A choice of two sides, I went with a double portion of french fries and stayed clear of the healthy veggies.

Pig and Chick Combination Plate

Jerry: He had the BBQ Pork Sandwich with fries and sweet tea.

BBQ Pork Sandwich with Coleslaw on it.

Nick: Two cheeseburgers with an order of fries and sweet tea. What? Who orders cheeseburgers when you can have the best BBQ around, I was baffled at his decision and so was the cook. It took an extended time for the food to come out because of the burgers. Our theory was they probable serve a burger once every 3 months and had no clue where the burgers were stored. It became a Where’s Waldo for burger meat and two burgers at one time was even more challenging.

Proof that Nick Ordered Two Cheeseburgers and No BBQ

Overall you have to check out Wilber’s Barbecue if in the area and do not pull a Nick and order something that is not BBQ.

Mount Mitchell, Gets No Higher East of the Mississippi

Mount Mitchell Sign

Shawn and I decided to take a trip up to Mount Mitchell while we were in the Asheville area. It was a nice drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway. I had never been on the parkway, but had heard it was an awesome road to travel on. It was a good hour drive up Blue Ridge Parkway (it was only about 35 miles but all the curves in the road slowed progress) to reach the bottom of Mount Mitchell. Make sure your gas tank is full because we didn’t see one gas station the whole way there.

View from top of Mount Mitchell

Once you turn off of Blue Ridge Parkway you will have to take another road pretty much all the way to the top of Mount Mitchell. They also have a nice restaurant looking over the mountain about half way up. After reaching the top there is a parking lot looking down on the road we traveled up on and all across the mountain range. As we stepped out of the car I noticed instantly that we were going to have a bug problem so bring plenty of bug spray. There were flies everywhere.

There is a short trail, but very steep, that takes you to the tip-top of Mount Mitchell. They have benches every 20 feet or so to stop and take a rest. When you get to the top you will notice a stone structure that is the grave of the man who discovered Mount Mitchell. Walking past the grave site is a bridge leading up to a platform area which is the highest point east of the Mississippi. This is the best view from the mountain.

Founder of Mount Mitchell Buried Here

We had a good trip up there. I think the drive up to Mount Mitchell down the Blue Ridge Parkway was more enjoyable to me. Do I recommend traveling to Mount Mitchell? Yes, because who wouldn’t want to stand on the highest point east of the Mississippi!

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