Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, Durham

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Finding ways to enjoy oneself on a weekend when away from the family in a foreign country can sometimes be a challenge. You are missing them, but you don’t want to wallow in your own self inflicted pity, so what should you do. Simple. Call any available workmates, hope for decent weather and go and do something you’ve not done before. Today’s escapade involved a well known but less often played sport (at least in Europe) called American Football. Or as my American brethren confusingly refer to it, football.  Surely that’s football, where 22 players chase a round ball around a field for ninety minutes trying their best not to bite each other.  Seemingly not. That’s soccer. Perhaps we could solve this continental divide once and for all and agree on the name Association football. Not sure the marketing guys can do much with that…

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The location for this foray into USA-style football was the impressive Duke University, home of the ‘Blue Devils‘.  Their opposition were the equally superbly named ‘Virginia Tech Hokies‘. My only previous experience of the game was during my teenage years when annual school ski trips would coincide with the Super Bowl, the grand finale of the American Football season, and we would watch this helmeted showdown on a fuzzily tuned 14″ TV on the coach on the way to the airport.  Suffice as to say, none of the rules stayed with me, so you can imagine how many times we had to ask the locals for an explanation. The most confusing was seeing one of the eight or nine referees on the field throw his underwear on the field, only to have the stadium commentator refer to it as a ‘flag’…

It’s also no surprise that American Football is one of the most lucrative sporting series in the USA. And you can see why.  One hour of clock time covers the entire played game, yet the entire event lasts close to four hours! Imagine the volume of burgers, beers, bagels, doughnuts, TV rights and advertising that can be sold to fill all the spare space…  I rest my case. Perhaps comparing NFL team revenue to various small country GDP’s is a more eye opening stat…

NFL GDP

Post game sustenance was sought at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club, a beautiful country club surrounded by manicured gardens and a championship golf course. Thoroughly outstanding crab cakes were followed by a Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée  with Citrus Sugar Cookie.

Presentation was quietly decadent with simple fresh fruit flourish and the Citrus Sugar cookie. The ramekin was French-style shallow with a thick layer of darkly caramelised sugar.  It took two stabs of the spoon to breakthrough to a room temperature and very light, smooth and gently citrus-toned custard. Despite the title, I couldn’t spot the vanilla pods flecks, but that may have been to due to the exceptionally subdued lighting on the Bull Durham bar’s terrace. In particular, the very smooth and delicately citrus custard afford this evenings subject a worthy 8/10. Right up there with the best. 🙂

Footnote: It was freezing sat on the terrace, as evidenced the need for full outdoor gear, but why we resorted to wearing napkins on our heads whilst practising our pirate scowls is still a mystery.

Napkin Pirates?
Napkin Pirates?

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