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A couple of food experiences in the Smithfield area this week..............

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I like Smithfield. It's a pretty little town on the Pagan river which feeds into the James. I like the ham too in small quantities. It has a pretty good little bakery and a couple of pretty good eateries that I have been to many times. I was in the area this week and had a couple of interesting food experiences at places I had not been to in the past. .1) I went to a locally owned and operated donut place named Ringo's. I thought the donuts were really good. A nice bit of chew and crust on the glazed donut and the cinnamon and sugar version had a hint of nutmeg and a nice texture. If I had any complaint, it would be that the coffee could have been better. It was standard food service coffee. Not bad, just not exceptional. Overall, I liked the place. It's the kind of donut spot every neighborhood should have. 2) Night before last, I was channel surfing and landed on a 2008 repeat of the Food Channel's "Diners, Drive In's and Dives" which featured a local place in Rescue (near Smithfield) on the water named Captain Chuck-a-Mucks. It was an attractive little place on the river. I sat at the bar and ordered a beer which was quite cold and Jimmy Buffett was on the sound system. So far, so good. I ordered the she crab soup, some hush puppies and a crabcake sandwich. The soup was pretty solid, but was obviously warmed over as it wasn't really hot. Tasty though. Hush puppies are a simple dish that I really enjoy. My theory is that the simplist dishes give one a great deal of insight on the level of care and detail on the kitchen that it comes from. The hush puppies weren't really hot, so not made to order, a bad sign in my book, but the killer for me was that they were served with Country Crock spread. No butter. Hard to believe that anyone who gives a hoot about the food that comes out of their kitchen would serve that junk instead of the real thing and I ordered the hushpuppies separately, not that they would have been acceptable if free. The crabcake sandwich was pretty good. Right mixture of lump, claw and backfin and not too much mayo or filler. Only complaint for me was that it had too much Old Bay for my taste. Overpowered the taste of the crab. My bill was about 38 bucks with tip, not what I would call cheap for what I ordered. I probably would have been pretty happy overall if it had not been for the junk butter substitute that came with the hush puppies. A small thing perhaps, but to me it was enough to question if they take the food seriously. For 38 bucks, I want butter. Anyway, that was the culinary part of my day in Smithfield.

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  1. Honey-butter is often placed on the table in the South. I miss that. My son even commented on it when we were there recently. I agree with you, bimmertimmer.