Friday, September 21, 2007

An Evening at the County Fair...make that...Cracker Barrel

In the 8 years my husband and I have been dating and later married, Michael has not asked me if I wanted to go the annual county fair until this year. I was so excited! I love fairs, especially county fairs! I love the crafts! I love the smells of popcorn and sausage and fried dough! I love all the glittery lights, the smiling faces of families spending time together, and the beautiful antique shows...I simply love it all… Oh the food… I forgot the food.

i. LOVE. the. food.(and not just smelling it!) Of course the food will be somewhat limited now that I’m gluten-free, but, I was sure I could still enjoy and love our county fair.

Eastern NC has been in a serious drought for the past 4 months, no rain, no sprinkles…and all the state and county water officials are beginning to get jittery… But yesterday, the official day Michael and I were going to go to the county fair….

Yep. It rained. I guess due to the drought, it’s kind of like when we get snow down here...everything shuts down. You northerners can have your fairs in rain and snow… but apparently down here in Eastern NC… it’s just not possible. Oh well… there’s always next year!

SO… not in the mood to cook dinner at this point, my husband sweetly offered to take me out.

Enter Cracker Barrel. I love Cracker Barrel. I don’t exactly know why, the food isn’t anything to rave about, you usually have to wait about half an hour before you get seated, and my dad can’t stand Cracker Barrel (wait, maybe that’s why I like it… you always have to really like something that your Dad doesn't... it's tradition... like rock and roll!!) ...So here is our trip to Cracker Barrel.

I don’t know where all the Cracker Barrels in the North and Midwest are located, but if you’re unfamiliar with this restaurant, here’s a guided tour: (trust me… they all look like this!)

Welcome to Cracker Barrel. Notice rockers on the porch! If you don’t get a chance to rock while you’re waiting to be seated, you have to rock on the way out… don’t forget, okay!

Enter into the country store. The real reason everybody goes to Cracker Barrel. TO shop. Because, just in case there isn't a Walmart within 1000 yards, you'll be okay. You can shop all you want too right here at Cracker Barrel. They don't mind. They'd probably feed you right here in the country store if it were not for sanitary laws. SO...since you have to make your seating reservations first, You have to pass the candy shelves, cruel of them I know...

Yum! GOO GOO Clusters... *Sigh*

Next, Michael usually heads over to the toys. This is not a demeaning comment. Cracker Barrel has the. best. toys. ever. like this little guy... I had to include him... this is a food blog after all...

And this little orange guy below... for a day when you just can’t take any more... I need one of these at my office... don't squeeze TOO hard Michael! His brains might blow out!

This is how I felt about my hair today…

I almost had to buy these (you remember these don't you? Yes! it's a miracle somebody still makes money off these strange critters…)

These candles look good enough to eat!

I told you Fall was here! See all the autumn apparel?

Michael can never accuse me of decorating for Christmas too early; they take care of that at Cracker Barrel...

Seriously gourmet cookbooks available right here at your local Cracker Barrel!

See Dad!! You should like Cracker Barrel! They support your favorite team!!

Finally! We're seated and provided with fine, quality entertainment!

A seasonal fall drink at Cracker Barrel: a big mug of icy apple cider! It’s still too warm to serve it hot! IT was really good!

Dinner… I mean breakfast is served!! This is about the only gluten-free offering I could find at Cracker Barrel! Fried eggs, turkey sausage, and grits. That’s okay… I love grits!! Ignore the cornbread and biscuits, I didn’t touch them and Michael got mean stares when he started devouring a biscuit! We learned that Cracker Barrel uses a pre-made MIX to make these breads… oh the irony…

Michael’s typical dinner order (no matter where we go)…. A bacon cheeseburger and fries. I love this man!

All done! Yum! I wasn’t hungry at all!

Apparently there aren't many food bloggers who head to Cracker Barrel in Eastern NC... the family at the table next to us thought I was pretty weird for taking pics of my food.... either that or they thought I was a very strange tourist!

And last but not least… YOU HAVE to play a game of checkers on the front porch in a rocker. You. just. have. too! You cannot truly experience Cracker Barrel without a game of checkers on the front porch in a rocker. Who needs a county fair!

This concludes your tour of the local Cracker Barrel! Come back soon!


Can you hear the waves and feel the sand? We will be on Ocracoke Island over the next few days… I’ll share some delicious gluten-free beach fare next week! Have a great weekend!

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