10th Annual Shrimp Cookoff–Great Food for a Great Cause

Preparing Polynesian shrimp in a crispy wonton topped with a kimchi cucumber at Shipwreck's.
Preparing Polynesian shrimp in a crispy wonton topped with a kimchi cucumber at Shipwreck’s.

Now that the 10th Annual Shrimp Cookoff is an event of the past, we can honestly say we never thought shrimp could be prepared in so many ways.

There was the California Style Shrimp Wonton from Ocean Boulevard. Really two dishes on one plate—a poached shrimp in a fried wonton and spicy shrimp rice ball.

It was good. No wonder it won the People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice awards.

That, however, was just one of ten remarkably innovative ways to think about preparing shrimp.

Something heavy? Go for the shrimp biscuit and gravy from Bad Bean Baja Grill featuring a shrimp and pork meatball over a freshly made buttermilk biscuit.

Looking for something lighter? The Polynesian shrimp in a crispy wonton topped with a kimchi cucumber at Shipwreck’s was delightful.

There was so much to choose from that trying to choose the best was really difficult.

The best part of the day, though, is that the Shrimp Cookoff is a fundraiser for the Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research. Actually their biggest of the year and Executive Direrctor Jessica Taylor mentioned that they sold out of tickets.

That’s great. It means the research the OBCDR has been doing on the Outer Banks dolphins will continue to be funded. The work the group has been doing has been invaluable in identifying the local population and getting a reasonable count. Around 800 in Roanoke Sound and still counting.

Next up on the Outer Banks—next weekend is Veteran’s Day Weekend which mean the Outer Banks Marathon will be happening 

There is so much to do on the Outer Banks one week is barely enough time. Stay with us at Joe Lamb, Jr., & Associates for a week or two and discover the real Outer Banks.

Shrimp Cookoff to Support Outer Banks Dolphin Research This Sunday

The 10th Annual Shrimp Cookoff will support Outer Banks dolphin research.
The 10th Annual Shrimp Cookoff will support Outer Banks dolphin research.

Eating shrimp for a good cause. Could there possibly be a better plan of action than that?

The 10th Annual Shrimp Cookoff is this coming Sunday, November 3 at Ocean Boulevard in Kitty Hawk. 

The good cause? The Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research.

The Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research has been gathering data on the Outer Banks dolphins that call Roanoke sound and surrounding waters their home. Yes, there are a lot of them.

For the most part they are seasonal visitors, staying on the Outer Banks from spring though early fall. They are somewhat migratory and as the weather turns colder, they head for warmer waters.

What is surprising is how many dolphins call the Outer Banks home during the summer. Since 2008 when they first began counting dolphins, the OBCDR has confirmed 800. 

To identify individual species, the OBCDR uses a simple but effective method. They photograph the dolphin’s fins. Each fin is unique, often with evidence of tangles with sharks or other predators, making identification fairly obvious.

Their work has helped scientists get a better handle on which dolphins migrate to where and when.

It is ongoing work, and the Shrimp Cookoff goes a long way to helping the OBCDR do its research. 

Some great restaurants will be on hand, including Ocean Boulevard, of course, Bad Bean Baja Grill, AQUA Restaurant and many more.

This is a great opportunity to sample some great seafood from some of the best Outer Banks chefs and help a good cause.

There is always something to do on the Outer Banks. Spend some time with Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates  and see what it’s all about.

Outer Banks New Year’s Eve Celebrations Promise Fun for All

Manteo promises the largest New Year's Eve fireworks in the state. If the weather holds, it may be.
Manteo promises the largest New Year’s Eve fireworks in the state. If the weather holds, it may be.

We had a fantastic Christmas here on the Outer Banks and with Christmas past, the next holiday to greet us is New Year’s Eve.

It’s kind of nice—the Outer Banks offers our visitors and residents a couple of different ways to celebrate the coming of New Year.

For families, check out what’s happening in downtown Manteo.

Tod Clissold owner of Poor Richard’s and Cory Hemilright, owner of Bluegrass Island, got together and with some help from the town and other organizations have put created an event with something for everyone.

Plenty of great live music, fireworks.weather permitting—last year it wasn’t—and street vendors and games. One really nice fouth… Fireworks? Yes, in the past, although last year the wind was too strong.

Lot’s of food from restaurants and local street vendors and what might be one of the nicest touches, an 8:30 p.m. ball drop so kids can get in the fun.

It can get a bit cold on the waterfront. OK, last it was painful cold, but the forecast right now doesn’t seem quite that extreme.

There is, of course, lots of celebrations at local bars and restaurants. We did some looking around and here’s a few of the New Year’s Eve events we found.


Bypass, Kitty Hawk

The Conch Shells


Locals Dee Thornley, Hugh Hammers and Rob Evans perform high energy favorites for your New Year’s Eve celebration! Music Starts at 9:30 and goes right on through when we ring in the New Year!

Village Tavern

Route 12, Duck


Ring in the New Year with the Village Table & Tavern! To celebrate we’ll be offering a special 3-course menu which includes an appetizer, entree, dessert and a glass of bubbly.

Chose from two dinner seatings: one at 5:30 pm and the second at 8:30 pm. Live music from Mama’s Black Sheep starts at 9:30 pm, and the party goes until 1 am! Advance reservations are required for the 3-course dinner which is $50 for the 5:30 seating and $65 for the 8:30. We’ll also be offering an a la carte menu at our communal tables and bar where seating will be on a first come, first serve basis.

Ocean Boulevard

Beach Road, Kitty Hawk


We like to usher in the New Year by creating a special five (5) course menu. This special menu is offered exclusively on New Year’s Eve.  We save live music for another night simply because the main focus is on dining well and space is limited.  We celebrate at midnight by counting down with a complimentary glass of bubbly, watching the ball drop, and making a lot of noise (with the help of noise maker favors that, thankfully, only come out once a year).  

There is always something happening on the Outer Banks. Come stay with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and explore our world by the sea.

Kitty Hawk Winks to Close after Thanksgiving

After 65 years of serving Kitty Hawk beach goers, Winks will be closing.
After 65 years of serving Kitty Hawk beach goers, Winks will be closing.

A Last Hurrah for a Local Icon

Change is inevitable but somehow it seemed the Kitty Hawk Winks was immune to that. Through 65 years it remained open at the corner of Ocean Boulevard and the Beach Road, the perfect beach town convenience store, dispensing food, sandwiches, tee-shirts and cheap souvenirs in equal measure.

Change, evidently has finally caught up with the icon to beach living and Thanksgiving Weekend will be the store’s last hurrah.

It’s been a pretty remarkable run—as the rest of the world seemed to get more modern, Winks seemed to settle into its role as a remainder of what vacation and beach life was all about..

The store never closed. Even Hurricane Sandy, which flooded the interior and floated away the gas tanks for the grill, couldn’t stop the store from opening. One day of cleanup and the doors were unlocked, the owners noting that if they were closed, their neighbors with damaged cars would have no way for them to get the necessities they needed.

Tentative plans call for the building to be torn down and houses built on the lot. Nothing is final until construction begins, but those are the plans.

If that does happen—and it probably will—it will break up a wonderful little strip of buildings in Kitty Hawk that hearken back to the 1950s and 60s. Winds, was at one time the anchor for a small commercial district that was the center of the towns resort community.

Across the street was Virginia Dare Hardware that opened in 1948, now the restaurant Ocean Boulevard. Next door is Art’s place, still the go to spot for breakfast and lunch along the beach road.

Perhaps, then, swing by Winks, snap a picture of the building and if it’s still open, by a little something to remember it by and say goodbye.

There are stories everywhere on the Outer Banks. Spend some time with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and learn about the real life on a sandbar.

When Rain Goes Away Musicians Come Out to Play

First Friday in downtown Manteo. It looks like the rain will be gone and it should be a good evening for music and visiting.
First Friday in downtown Manteo. It looks like the rain will be gone and it should be a good evening for music and visiting.

Live Outdoor Music Back on Tap for Upcoming Week

We have had a lot of rain here on the Outer Banks over the past week. If the rain gauge at the Dare County Airport on Roanoke Island is accurate—and it’s the official record keeper—it looks like 14” over the past seven days.

We’ve had a couple of breaks in the clouds and the sun has come out from time to time, but honestly? It’s time for the rain to go away. And if the weather forecast is accurate, we’re going to have another day or day and a half of this, then finally some consistent nice weather.

When it finally clears up, we can go back to some got the things that make summer on the Outer Banks so special.

All of the small outdoor music venues had to cancel their shows this past week. That would be places like Ocean Boulevard, with it’s wonderful setting on the beach road. Or the roof top venue at Rundown Cafe. Both of those are n Kitty Hawk.

In Nags Head it would be hard to find a better place to relax with a drink, watch the sunset over the Roanoke Sound and listen to music than Pamlico Jacks.

And those are just a few of the venues that had to cancel shows this week because of the weather…and thankfully, the weather is looking like it’s going to cooperate for Tuesday evening on.

That also means things are looking great for First Friday this coming Friday in downtown Manteo.

First Friday has truly become one of the Outer Banks summer traditions that people really look forward to. There is four or five block area along the water front in the town that is ideal for enjoying live music, some sidewalk cafes, some art and a night out.

There’s always a lot happening on the Outer Banks. Check out our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates homes for the perfect location to enjoy all the there is to do and see.

Chef’s Auction Brings Out the Best in OBX

Chef Donny King, Ocean Boulevard, at the 16th Annual Signature Chef's Auction.
Chef Donny King, Ocean Boulevard, at the 16th Annual Signature Chef’s Auction.

As a reminder of how great it is to be associated with the Outer Banks, the 16th Annual Outer Banks Signature Chef’s Auction is perfect.

Held on Sunday at Duck Woods Country Club, there’s a little bit of glamour, some great food, it’s for a great cause and the generosity of the Outer Banks is on full display.

A fundraiser for the March of Dimes, the Chef’s Auction featured 12 area chef’s at their creative best. That alone is a great reason to come to the event, but there is also the auction.

There’s a silent auction as everyone is sampling the food, but the fundraising highlight has got to be the Live Auction Items. Seventeen packages were bid on this year, and there were some spectacular packages.

A week on Ocracoke for six; personal chef service for a 25 person party; dinner and a sunset cruise on a yacht—there was something for everyone. And the bid reflected that, ranging all the way up to $6500.

But the evening was really all about the Outer Banks families who have children who may not have survived if it wasn’t for the March of Dimes and the research the organization has been doing.

The Nola Bryne was this year’s ambassador. Nola and her mom went through a tough time at birth and three-and-a-half years later Nola still has some issue, but she is an active, cheerful child with a smile that can light up the largest room.

That’s what the Chef’s Auction was all about. After the food has been eaten—and it was great food; after the auctions and everyone goes home and hugs their kids, the evening really is about hope and the generosity of the Outer Banks community.

Participating restaurants

Aqua Restaurant and Spa-Chef Cory Bryant

Black Pelican-Chef Jason Jordon

Cravings Steak and Seafood-Scott Foster

Duck Woods Country Club-Chef Joey Russo

Eastside Restaurant-Chef Jeff Readman

Mike Dianna’s Grill Room-Chef Mike Dianna

Ocean Boulevard-Chef Donny King

Red Sky Cafe-Chef Wes Stepp

Kimball’s Kitchen, Sanderling Resort-Chefs Tyler Powell, Brian Riddle

Steamer-Chefs Chris Braswell, Michael Blanchard

Stripers Bar and Grille-Chef Alfredo Landzuri

The Saltbox Cafe-Chefs Randolph and Amanda Sprinkle

OBX Valentine’s Day-Create Some Memories

Trio will be offering an Aphrodisiac dinner pairing on Saturday and Valentine's Day.
Trio will be offering an Aphrodisiac dinner pairing on Saturday and Valentine’s Day.

There are very few places anywhere as romantic as the Outer Banks, which makes Valentine’s Day by the sea even better.

Of course the Outer Banks slows down in the winter, but local restaurants and bars are a long way from dead and a number of them have some great ideas for how to celebrate with someone special.

What’s nice is that our local businesses, recognizing that a lot of couples take the weekend as a romantic getaway, have some pre-Valentine’s Day ideas that are a great reason to step out for the evening.

This is a partial list, although we think we’ve got a good sampling of what there is to do; but if there is a special place that has been the regular Valentine’s Day rendezvous, call and see what’s available.

Saturday & Sunday February 11, 12

Ocean Boulevard, Kitty Hawk

Special 4-Course Dinner

Perfect for a romantic evening with someone special. A special 4-course dinner  menu.

Saturday February 11

Trio. Kitty Hawk

Aphrodisiac Pairing Dinner.

Put a little passion into Valentine’s day with the Trio Aphrodisiac Pairing Dinner. These five-course dinners feature ingredients believed to have properties that spark desire. Each course will be paired with a  choice of wine or beer, further enhancing the mood. 

Sunday, February 12

Kelly’s Outer Baks Tavern, Nags Head

Riff Tides

Classic music of the 1950s and 60s done really well. A great date night. It’s also a fundraiser for GEM, providing services for families and their loved ones suffering from memory loss.

Valentine’s Day

Coastal Provisions, Southern Shores

Hannah Buckley

Outstanding vocalist and guitarist Hannah Buckley is perfect for a romantic dinner under soft lights. She’s bringing some new songs as well as old favorites and a few covers better than their original.

Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern

4:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Free flowers for the ladies and live music in the tavern by Graham Outten. Graham is a local talent with a great voice. This should be a wonderful place to be on Valentine’s Day.

Ocean Boulevard

Special 4-Course Dinner

On Valentine’s Day we will offer a unique Special Four Course Menu ($60 per person, $90 with paired wines) exclusively. The Valentine’s Menu itself is offered exclusively on Valentine’s Day. 

Shrimp Cook Off Brings Out Best in Outer Banks

Rob Robinson in black and Matt Payne, chef's for Bad Bean in Kitty Hawk, just down the street from the Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates offices.
Rob Robinson in black and Matt Payne, chef’s for Bad Bean in Kitty Hawk, creating their Shrimp Veracruz. Bad Bean is just down the street from the Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates offices.

It was certainly crowded in Ocean Boulevard for the 7th Annual Outer Banks Shrimp Cook Off. With 10 restaurant on hand and some great weather, there  seemed to be a lot of folks sampling some great dishes.

It’s nice, too, that the event is a fundraiser for the Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research. It’s a local organization that works to keep track of local dolphins—their migratory patterns, populations and general health. This is the nonprofit’s eighth year of working in the field and they’re starting to get some good information about the local dolphin population.

The Cook Off is for a good cause, but the reason for being at Ocean Boulevard was the shrimp. And what we sampled was spectacular.

It’s almost impossible to pick out a favorite, because everything was excellent. Bad Bean had a Shrimp Veracruz Dumpling with Shrimp Broth. The dumpling used masa dough and it gave the dish a very different flavor and texture.

Cafe Lachine created a marvelous puff pastry with shrimp in the middle of it. Light and fluffy, that was also very good.

However, if pushed to make a decision, we’re going to go with the Pan Seared Shrimp over polenta with a smoked tomato sauce.

Ocean Boulevard has hosted the Cook Off for the past seven years. Having ten restaurants on hand is the most that have participated yet and it really stretched the capacity of OB. Good thing we had beautiful weather because Two Road Tavern was outside, which worked with with their grilled shrimp stuffed with crab meat. There were also three restaurants upstairs, which is a bit cramped under the best of circumstances.

It was though, a very nice event. The chefs seemed genuinely happy to be there and with good food and a good cause, the day seemed to be a genuine success.

15th Annual Chefs Auction at Duck Woods Country Club

Chef Donny King of Ocean Boulevard with his sweet potato and tenderloin steak.
Chef Donny King of Ocean Boulevard with his sweet potato and duck tenderloin.

The food was so good it defies description; the auction items were amazing; the evening of the 15th Annual March of Dimes Chefs Auction at Duck Woods Country Club a wonderful memory.

It was also, though, a chance to reflect on the miracle of birth and what it mean to families when something goes wrong—and how precious and important that child becomes as it struggles to breath; struggles to survive, and then against all odds it does.

That was the story the Gray family told—a story of ultimate triumph in spite of the set backs and continuing medical issues. That was the story of the Pitts family who 11 months after their twins were born prematurely have a healthy children.

The event was truly memorable. We toasted 15 years with champagne; we sampled some of the best food imaginable; the generosity of the Outer Banks community was on full display with bid paddle after bid paddle rising time and time again.

Yes the auction items were worth bidding on—the Cabo, Mexico vacation package for a beachfront stay seemed to get the high bid at $2400, but as great as the auction packages were, the excitement in the room was for the bids, the money that was being raised . . . and the hope that it represents.