Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ghosts and spooks

A stolen corpse used at a medical college. A fireman pushed down a shaft. A bitter husband who killed his ex-wife.
These are a few of the characters we met on the Queen City Ghost & Graveyard Tour, which started last weekend and runs each weekend until Nov. 11.

On the bus, we met Emily, our ghost tour guide. She gave us all kinds of interesting facts about spooky stuff, such as the origins of Jack-o'-lantern and the graveyard shift. For an hour, we drove to graveyards, parking lots and other areas listening to ghosts tell us their stories. Most were based on real ghost tales from the region.

Tours start at 7 p.m., 8:45 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Last week’s sold out. $15 adults, $8 for kids. 704-248-0922.

Seafood bliss

I have a new favorite seafood restaurant. I’ll never be able to afford to eat there regularly, or even semi-regularly, but I wish I could. Last week, I went to the preview event at the Oceanaire Seafood Room, near SouthPark mall at 4620 Piedmont Row Drive (704-554-8811).

The high-end chain restaurant is themed after a 1930s-style luxury liner. When I walked in, I expected to see Jack and Rose hugged up in a corner.

I was as impressed with the drink menu as I was with the food selection. They had Sidecars (brandy, Cointreau, lemon juice, lime juice and sugar) which my buddy John raves about all the time. They also had Harvey Wallbangers (a fancy name for a Screwdriver). The Sidecar was tasty, but the Tequila Sunrise was way too sweet.

Our waiter, David, wasn’t as knowledgeable about the bar as he was the menu. The menu changes daily depending on the seafood shipment. It’s a la carte. I didn’t know there were so many kinds of oysters. David deftly guided us through the selections. I told him to order for us. My favorites were the Kumamotos, Netarts and Blue Points. I don’t think I can eat oysters at Vinnie’s again.

We also had sashimi-style yellowfin tuna and lump crabcakes with little breading. Don’t make this mistake: Macaroni and cheese and sashimi tuna are not a good combination. We ordered the asparagus, but it was on steroids and flavorless.

For dessert we had the Baked Alaska, which was good and huge. I realized I don’t like creme brulee.

Like I said, I like Oceanaire, but can’t afford it. What are some of your favorite affordable seafood restaurants in Charlotte?