ella dining room

ella dining room

>>> one of the oldest and bestrespected of traditional seafood restaurants in the town ofcalabash is ella's. it opened in 1950 and has beengoing strong ever since. it's a place where a lot oflocals eat, and it's the place bob garner stopped recently fortonight's "house special." >> ella's is definitely one ofthe rock-solid old standbys of traditional calabash. if you're there in the fall orwinter, you'll want to look into their oyster roast.

literally, a roaster full ofsmall but intensely flavored local oysters from the nearbylockwood folly river called lockwood folly rocks, steamed asyou like them. i like to start with a bowl ofmelted butter mixed with hot sauce. this is very much in keepingwith the spirit of the way that my family has eaten oysters fora hundred years. now, some people can't wait longenough to do this, but what really makes you feel great isto get kind of a critical mass

of oysters all in one placerather than eating them one at a time. look at that. mmm! one giant oyster, lots of littleoysters. heaven either way. now, when you look at the menuhere at ella's, you still see words like snow crab legs orgrilled or stuffed or sauteed. but what you expect here incalabash is calabash-style

seafood, lightly breaded, friedto a golden brown. since 1950, 1950, generations ofella's customers have dined on the deluxe seafood platter. flounder, fried shrimp, goldenplump scallops, fried oysters during oyster season. these plump, beautiful shrimpare the perfect place to start. you can usually tell in abouttwo seconds whether shrimp or really fresh. old-timers used to say theyshould have an ever so slight

taste of iodine, and you knowwhat? these do. everything's instant these days. most people nowadays don't wantto deal with flounder on the bone, although that's mypersonal favorite. but i do dearly love flounderfilets as well, especially if they're really fresh. mmm. and especially if they aren'tovercooked.

just nice and soft and yieldingto the teeth. oh, yeah. these are absolutely ginormousscallops. as a matter of fact, i thinksome of these have been cut in two. so that's actually half ascallop. love the color of that. the main point, of course, aboutscallops, scallops are sweet. sweet is good.

mmm-mmm-mmm. they're also soft. they're also pillowy. they're also salty along withbeing sweet. fabulous. the perfect deviled crab issupposed to combine crabmeat, vegetables like celery andonion, a little breading and spices, into a mixture that'ssmooth and silky enough to glide across your palate like a skateracross a frozen pond.

now, here's the deal. if you only get to the beachonce a year and you're determined to have friedoysters, you can have them because they'll keep some aroundin the freezer for you to enjoy during your beach vacation. but the real time to eat friedoysters is in the cooler months of the fall and the winter andthe spring. it's my favorite time anyway,although you certainly can eat them year-round.

these days you can eat themyear-round fresh, not frozen, because of cultivated oysters. but i still like them in thecooler months the best. big, plump, juicy oysters. and when they fry them, theyjust hold all that juiciness inside. i'll tell you what --the depth of flavor in a fried oyster surpasses that of almostany fried seafood, in my opinion.

you know, there are so many morechoices these days in terms of the way seafood is prepared thatwe're sort of getting away from the more old-fashioned calabashstyle seafood. but i'll tell you what --there isn't much that's any better and especially here atella's. for "north carolina weekend,"i'm bob garner.

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