Hickory

Fourk in Hickory NC

Fourk was the last stop on our Girl Nosh Tour.  We had a crazy time getting there: a flat tire while traveling at 75 mph down the interstate and an hour late for our reservation.  Poor Kim waited for us at the bar 😦  But we made it and it was well worth the trouble.

Mad props to the staff.  They held our reservation for an hour and were very gracious when we finally arrived, not at all snarky.  I’ve been to other places where they’ll wait 15 minutes and give your reservation away, regardless of the circumstance, so this was a pleasant surprise, and certainly helped in turning the disastrous night around.  We sat down, breathed a sigh of relief and took a moment to look around.  The decor is the industrial/farm chic that is so popular right now.  It is very pleasant and current.  The servers are trained well and are kind, make excellent suggestions and are completely attentive to all needs.  The best service I’ve had in a very long time. But the food…that’s what makes this the perfect dining excursion.

“Daily Serving”

“Pinky Swear”

“Flaming Thai Shrimp”

“Ahi & Avocado”

“Sea ‘Pearl’ Scallop Rockefeller”

“Bruschetta”

“Baked Brie”

“French Onion Soup”

“Lobster Bisque”

“Rosemary and Lemon Chicken”

“Stuffed Chicken”

“Champagne Berry Cheesecake”

“Chocolate Cake”

So let’s talk about the food.  We each try to order different things so we can taste each other’s to form a really broad and enlightened opinion of a place.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.  The appetizers came out quickly and were so good we couldn’t wait for our food.  The scallops were cooked perfectly, but the best thing about that dish was the spinach mix served as a garnish.  So flavorful!  A surprise was the tuna and avocado. I’m not a big fan of raw fish, but this was a nice balance with the spiced crust on the seared tuna, the acidic sauce and the cool, creamy avocado made it a really outstanding dish.  The Thai shrimp were crispy with a spicy sweet sauce. The brie was a different presentation, being breaded and baked.  Buttery brie spread on bread slices, who wouldn’t love that?  Kim had to have her appetizer while she waited on us to fix our flat and get to her, so we didn’t get to sample the bruschetta, but she pronounced it the best she’d ever had, citing the balsamic drizzle as the element that tipped it over the edge.

I’ve heard it said that a simple soup is the true test of a cook’s abilities.  I’ve come to believe that.   The best soup I’ve ever made was simmered all day long, and that’s what these taste like.  Made with love, expertly.  We tried three this night.  The French onion Soup was very deeply flavored with beef stock and simmered onions.  The cheese atop the brioche is just icing on the cake.  It was a really good soup.  We also tried the butternut squash soup, I didn’t take a taste, so can’t personally comment but Megan said it was really good.  The winner of the night was the lobster bisque; it was velvety and packed a punch of flavor.  Also, seasoned perfectly.  I still think about that soup.

The main dishes were all just a fabulous as we’d hoped.  I have to say that I might have enjoyed the garnish more than the protein.  My charred brussels sprouts were a real treat.  Roasting them that way gives them such a depth of flavor.  My chicken was the airline chicken, which is where the breast is boneless but still has the drummette attached.  They then cleaned the bone so it looks fancy.  I appreciate the effort.  It was delicious!

If I had one (tiny) complaint about the experience it is dessert.  I had the small chocolate cake and it was dry and underwhelming.  I was disappointed.  My friends enjoyed the cheesecake and faired a bit better, but we all agreed next time we’d skip.  Upon questioning the waitress we learned that someone else made the desserts for them, so likely that is the problem.

Don’t let that deter you.  Go!  Lunch or dinner, both are great and very comfortable.  I can’t wait to get back.
Fourk Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Hickory · Restaurants

Youssef 242 in Hickory

Hickory has blessed few real “fancy” restaurants (when compared to Charlotte) so I was so excited to finally try Youssef 242 last night.  I’ve had it on my list forever, and somehow never got to it.  I made reservations in the middle of the night (thanks Open Table!) and like that we were in.

We arrived on a back street near Hickory High School, and I was truly amazed at the cool little spot, tucked away from prying eyes on Hwy. 127.  This was gonna be good, I could feel it.  As we approached the entrance, we saw the outdoor seating area with the fireplace.  So welcoming!  Unfortunately, too hot for this gal, so inside we went.

We were greeted promptly and kindly, and given our choice of a table or a booth.  I appreciated the choice, one of our diners is a tall man, so sometimes a booth isn’t a great option.  We were seated and approached by the server quickly.

escargotyouseff

We ordered appetizers and those were brought quickly.  Some were better than others.  I got the escargot.  They were served in small puff pastry cups and pan sautéed with garlic and parsley.  The flavor was fine, but the temperature was too cool.  My other criticism is that the shells tasted of the freezer.  Next time I’d get another dish.

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My husband got the Fried Blue Oyster Mushrooms.  They were amazing!  The batter was light and crispy, perfectly fried and not at all greasy.  They sat atop a Dijon mustard sauce which was a perfect pairing.  Very tangy!  It balanced the sweet and rich bite of mushroom.

Our friend got the crab cake, which was served atop a fried green tomato with vegetable slaw and a sriracha sauce.  He said it was in need of salt and a little bland, but cooked perfectly.  He wasn’t wild about the fried green tomato with it.

filet with cheddar mashed potatoes youseff

Two of us got the filet mignon.  It was atop cheddar mashed potatoes and finished with a demi glace.  My filet was cooked perfectly, but it lacked seasoning and had an overly smoked flavor that I did not like.  The potatoes were creamy, but I didn’t see or detect any cheddar in them.  There was even some discussion at the table that they might be fake potatoes?  I don’t believe that to be true, but we were underwhelmed for the prices Youseff charges.

youssefnystrip_zpsd7825cc8

My husband got the NY Strip.  It was slightly better, but the real show stopper for me was the fried onion strips on top.  They were fried delicately and perfectly.  These folks really seem to know how to fry.  Nothing was soggy, everything crispy and perfectly seasoned.

Garden salad with chicken youseff

My other friend got the Mixed Green salad with Chicken.  She loved it, but said that the chicken was dry.  The salad had garbanzo beans, quinoa, carrots, pickled onions, cucumbers and tomatoes with a vinaigrette dressing.  It was dressed well.

vanillabruleeyouseff

We chose 2 desserts for the table.  Robert and Jeri got the Vanilla Brulee, which was reported to be fine, but nothing special.  It did come with a quarter of a cookie which was a nice decoration, but really just a tease.

Pineapple Upsidedown cake youseff

The other dessert was a Pineapple Upside Down cake.  This was the star of the show.  It was topped with a delicious vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce.  Out of this world fresh and good.  It was served warm, too.

Did we like this place?  Sure, it was ok.  But, for the price, there are so many better choices out there, even better choices in Hickory.  The meals were hit or miss, and for half the price, I’d recommend it.  Alas, I cannot.

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Youssef 242 on Urbanspoon

Hickory

Olde Hickory Tap Room

Olde Hickory Tap Room in Hickory (of course)

This place gets rave reviews from the locals, so perhaps we visited on an off night?  I’m not sure, but I didn’t see enough redeeming qualities in what we had or the atmosphere to go back to give it a second chance.

We began our meal with the soup of the day: French Onion Soup.  Ours arrived cold and we sent it back.  When it came back, the cheese was melted and it was warm, but it was flavorless.  No amount of salt helped, so we sent it back to the kitchen.

IMAG0183

My son had the chicken tender plate.  They were homemade, not frozen, but lacked any sort of seasoning at all.  My teenage son scarfed them anyway.

IMAG0184

Lucky me got the worst dish of the night.  The Brutus Caesar salad with fried oysters and big ole anchovies.  Now, I know a Caesar salad has anchovies in the dressing.  That doesn’t freak me out.  However, when I inadvertently put what I thought was a mushroom in my mouth, I thought I’d gag.  It tasted like fishy dirt.  I attempted to pick them all out, but a few remained to spike random bites until I finally gave up.  I then tried eating the oysters on top, but they were so huge and unwieldy, I couldn’t make it through those either.  I left the restaurant starved.

IMAG0185

Dustin got the Tomato Grill which was basically a tomato sandwich.  Supposedly the tomatoes were blackened, but not really.  You’ll notice the wilted lettuce on the sandwich?  Anyway, my husband did eat it because, hey, tomato sandwich.  Would he get it again?  No.

The best dish of the night was this:

IMAG0186

Which is ok, since it is a tap room.
Olde Hickory Tap Room on Urbanspoon

Hickory · Hickory · Restaurants

Tony’s Pizza in Hickory, NC

Tony's Pizza on Urbanspoon

You want to know where the best pizza is in Hickory? It’s at Tony’s, in a little strip mall near Target. It stays wrapped up, so you know it is good. We like New York style pizza, thin and bendy. This pizza is perfect for that, with a crispy crust perfect for crunching.

Another awesome fact about Tony’s is that they sell pizza by the slice, just like in NYC! I always go with the fam, so we just get a whole pie, but you know, the option’s there. I can’t really speak on any of the other items on the menu, because I never stray from the pizza. Never.

Don’t miss this restaurant.

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Hickory

Cool Park!

We went to Cool Park today in Hickory and had such a blast! We have usually made the first visit here by now, but we took that trip to Disney right after school let out, so we delayed our first visit to almost July…unheard of in the Zick house!

CoolPark

To get here, take StarTown Road all the way to Spings Rd. in Hickory. Take a right on Springs and a left on Kool Park Rd. Take a right at the first red light (by the church) and you’ll see the sign for Cool Park on the right. You can thank me later.

Some stats: It costs $12 for adults, $8 for kids, bring a picnic as there are plenty of picnic tables. No glass bottles, no alcohol. The lifeguards are quite lax and you can do pretty much what you want.

Cool Park is open daily from 10-6 pm. During the week you can go at 3pm and get in for 1/2 price. 3 hours of swimming is usually plenty for us. Going at this time also ensures that all of the daycare kids are gone by that time.

Hickory · Places

Catawba Science Center

kids mad  Even Realtors have to take a day off.  My kids were steaming mad at me because I’ve been going going going every single day for a while.  I turned the phone on low today and took them to the Catawba Science Center to get some brownie points and a little education.

nurse_shark.jpg

Catawba Science Center is located in Hickory, NC on the Salt Block.  We’ve been several times before but this time the exhibit is about deep space and also sea creatures!  We saw a program about Black Holes in the planetarium that was like an IMAX lite experience.  My 11 year old loved it!!  More geared toward my 4 year old, we also went over to touch nurse sharks, sting rays, starfish, horseshoe crabs,  sea anemone and the like.  We even saw Nemo and Dory!  They had a blast.  If you’ve never been up there, but have young kids, you must go.  You can sneak in a little learning and they won’t even know it!