November 5, 2012

Which Establishment on Pleasure Island Has the Best Fried Pickles?

That's a question that was recently answered by a group of fried pickle aficionados. 
Charlies Boardwalk Subs Fried Pickles

Several weeks ago, a group of island residents were out enjoying some fried pickles when someone pondered aloud which restaurant on Pleasure Island had the best fried pickles?  Almost immediately, an intense light formed over the spirited group and they all looked at each other with a moderate amount of alcohol induced confusion.  But as this beacon of light began to fade, the group put down their beers and the Carolina Beach Pickle Patrol (CBPP) was born.

Over the next few days, the founding fathers of the CBPP recruited some helpers and set out to find which island establishments offered the fried delectables.  To their surprise, none of the establishments in Kure Beach had them on their menus.  So that left Carolina Beach...and they soon discovered that seven places offered them.  But there was still one more to come because when they called the Hoplite, they were initially told fried pickles weren't on the menu.  But the head chef intervened and said he wanted in on the competition and promised to create some competition worthy pickles.  

So with Hoplite in the mix, the pickle team had eight restaurants for their unofficial official competition: 

• Charlies
• The Dive
• Hang Ten
• Harbor Master
• Hoplite
• Lazy Pirate
• Seawitch
• Shuckin Shack

The official unofficial CBPP Fried Pickle Friday 2012 was held on October 26, 2012.  Each member of the 10 man/woman team was given a 'super official score card.' Each pickle was to be rated from 1 to 5 (1=spitting it out and 5=hoarding the rest) on six different factors: pickle flavor, crispiness, batter flavor, batter coating (did the batter adhere to the pickle), dipping sauce and overall taste.

With a sense of mission, the group donned their official CBPP shirts and headed out into an evening filled with driving winter-like rains, cold beer and baskets upon baskets of fried pickles.  And although they enjoyed some alcoholic cheer along their rounds, they maintained a reasonable amount of pickle professionalism and were able to fairly judge the competition.

Drum roll........The winner of the 2012 CBPP Fried Pickle Friday was Charlies Boardwalk Subs!  Major congrats to Charlies for earning this premiere recognition.  Close on the heals of Charlies was Hoplite Pub & Beer Garden.  They were able to produce a great tasting pickle and due to the enthusiastic response from judges, they are considering making them a regular part of the menu.  Rounding out the medal competition was a very strong showing by Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar which brought home the bronze.

The remaining field (minus one) were tightly peppered around forth place.  The competitors had all put out fried pickles that were worthy of this most regal competition.  

But as for the lone limpy pickle that didn't make the cut, the chance of it ever seeing a medal is only slightly better than that of Lance Armstrong . One judge actually gave it a score of 1 across the board...I know, so sad. Fortunately, the remaining judges were a bit kinder, and scored the sad little pickled cucumber a tad higher.  With that said, since we are nearing the festive holidays where we are encouraged to show good will toward others, it just didn't seem fitting for us to call them out.

So that's it, the 2012 CBPP Fried Pickle Friday challenge is now logged in the books.  But guess what, the group aims to do it again next year and I'm told that they already have a lot more interest from fellow fried pickleholics.
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