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The Wine Crate Bar & Bistro -- A Washington gem with a view

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By Christina Ruotolo
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

 

I love living in the south and eastern North Carolina. I also love that within thirty minutes, I can be walking on the idyllic boardwalk overlooking the Pamlico River in the charming town of Little Washington. Most weekends, many of us seek adventure on the roads or on the river, so just hop in your car, or turn on the boat motor and get ready for your next culinary adventure.

For those who live, love and visit Little Washington, you know it’s home to a downtown scene that has eclectic antique shops, art galleries, a booming theater arts district, quaint restaurants and bars and everything in-between. Just turn onto Water Street, park your car or boat next to the boardwalk, relax in a white Adirondack swing and take in the charm that is Washington. Walk down past the rows of boats and head toward the Esturarium, hang a left and you’re almost there. Welcome to The Wine Crate Bar & Bistro located at 132 E. Water Street, the perfect place to gather with friends and family to unwind your coils and get away.

The front brick facade is anchored by seating areas with comfy sofas and chairs with pillows. Sit down for a bit, take in the view of the sun glinting on the slow currents of the Pamlico River, then come inside and get ready to be amazed. Co-owners and mom-daughter duo, Paige Horne and Beth Glisson are your local guides to all things beer, wine, cocktails and food. They have been open for several years and have gained a healthy following of locals and transplants and Paige she says she sees friendships start and grow over a drink and food and it’s a beautiful thing to see. “Over time, we have become a local hangout for everyone and when you come in, we want you to feel like you are relaxing in your own living room,” Horne says. The inside is just as charming with center tables and a fully equipped bar flanked by two front sitting areas, both with stunning water views.

The Wine Crate specializes in everything drinks. They have an expansive wine menu including whites, reds, and Sangria. Choose your size from wine by the glass, 6oz pour, 9oz carafe or full bottle. Or, if you’re not sure which one to try, sip a few by selecting the red or white wine flight and sample between 3-5 wines (3oz pour each).

They also offer a large beer selection with three beers on tap that change every 2-4 weeks, featuring favorite domestics like Miller or Yuengling, imports like Grupo Modelo Cornoa Extra, IPA’s such as Wyndridge Laughing Cow or the Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgium. Other craft beers, ciders and spiked seltzers are also available.

The Wine Crate also now serves liquor so you can get your favorite mixed drinks too. They even offer the local NC Kill Devil Rum, Pecan and Honey. So now that your mouth is watering, let’s have a drink. I started my tour with a cocktail, the Peach Buoy. This fun named drink is made with Maker Mark’s Bourbon, peach schnapps, a splash of ginger-ale, lemon juice & garnished with a sprig of mint. As Paige says on this one, “if you see the peach buoy, you’ve gone too far.” This drink has all the good feels with the earthy, deep bourbon, its warming touch making me relaxed and ready for a snack.

Each month, The Wine Crate features a special cocktail and wine and beer specials. For the month of February enjoy Passion Grass beer by the bottle, the Be My Valentine’s wine drink made with sparkling Rose, raspberry vodka and a chocolate truffle garnish. The cocktail feature is Love Potion #9 made with raspberry vodka, pink lemonade, peach schnapps, and garnished with a strawberry. A comfy seat, and a great drink can bring people together and Beth sees this happen all the time here. "We love that our cozy little melting pot has been at the heart of so many new friendships and adventures, " Glisson says.

Now let’s talk about some delicious food that you can pair with your favorite drink. The Wine Crate is known for their custom charcuterie boards. What is this you ask...well, it’s a smorgasbord of every yummy and delicious thing you can think of. For those who love salty, cheesy, tangy, sweet and nutty flavors, then a charcuterie board is your best friend. Image a large wooden board filled with your favorite high-end tapas items from cheeses, meats, breads, nuts, dips, fruits and spreads. You can choose your favorite items or just tell them a few likes and dislikes and they will do the rest. You can choose from 3-12 items and all boards are garnished with nuts and dried fruits. Prices range from $8-$54. Choose from specialty cow cheeses like the Irish Whiskey White Cheddar or a soft brie, or maybe a creamy honey goat cheese or a Manchego Reserva sheep cheese. Next, add in your favorite cured meats like the Genoa Salami or Proscuitto just to name a few. Tapas items include Gorgonzola stuffed dates, caprese skewers, or maybe Greek style hummus or olives. If you need a little sweet, add in some honey, jams or jellies.

For my charcuterie board tasting, I had them create a 12 item board. It included sliced Proscuitto, Geona Salami, and Capocollo, Greek marinated olives, smoked Gouda Pimento Spread, roasted pineapple, mango & habanero salsa, roasted red peppers, Asiago rosemary & olive oil cow cheese, crumbled Blue cheese, Irish Whiskey White cheddar, toasted Italian bread slices, pita points, roasted red peppers, and fresh sliced pears. It was garnished with pepitas, fresh blackberries, walnuts, and sliced oranges. Let me just say, I was in heaven. I am a grazer, and I like a lot of flavor, and this was right up my alley. This board tasted just as pretty as it looked. I love that you can choose only what you love, so you get the flavor you want every time.

They offer a diverse menu with tastes to match their catchy names. You can build your own flatbread with your choice of cheese, meat & vegetable, or select a pre-made one like the One Hot Mama with 3 alarm cheddar, grilled pineapple, & bacon. Or maybe you want a little Hair of the Dog which is two toasted wraps stuffed with a sliced Booze Dog with a layer of honey goat cheese & roasted pineapple habanero salsa. Other menu items include a Thai roasted beef wrap, Cuban wrap, Hawaiian Ham & Cheese slider, or a delectable Mediterranean Platter with hummus, pita, and olives.

Cheese lovers welcome to your Paradise. First, choose from their Fancy Schmancy mini grilled cheese menu that matches gooey, melty cheesy goodness that will have you hugging the cows on the way home. A few options include The Crate Classic with sharp cheddar, Blue cheese, and a drizzle of local honey served with a pickle. For my food tasting, I got to try one of these creations, the You Don’t Know Jack which is Pepper Jack white cheddar cheese melted between slices of crusty Italian bread served with a side of roasted pineapple, mango, habanero salsa and a pickle spear. It was beautifully presented on a wood board. The sharp cheese with its spicy bite paired with the sweet and tangy salsa make for a truly magical cheese experience.

For those who can’t make it to Washington until the weekend, have no fear, they offer brunch Saturdays from 12-3pm and Sunday from 10am-3pm. Start by picking your favorite flavor for your bottomless Mimosas which are $20 a pitcher for 2 people or $10 per additional patron. Brunch menu items include bagel sandwiches, Hawaiian ham & cheese sliders, quiche Lorraine and mini pancakes with warm syrup, with or without bacon or powdered sugar and fresh fruit.

No matter if you come for a drink with friends, a snack before or after dinner, or for Sunday brunch, The Wine Crate Bar & Bistro is the place to come. They are open Wednesday 4-10pm, Thursday 4-10pm, Friday 4-12am, Saturday 12pm-12am, and Sunday 10am-3pm. They are also available to help you cater a private party on site. For more information, call 252-495-8485.

Tid Bits

Hana Cafe located at 1904 W. Arlington Blvd. in Greenville near K&W is now open. They offer authentic ramen created with fresh noodles, healthy house-made broth, and flavorful toppings. Chef Tiffany Cheong and staff will help you select an asian dish from their diverse menu to enhance the senses and palate. For more information, visit their website, www.hanacafegreenville.com or call 252-756-6708.

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