Trip report: savannah, beaufort, charleston
Last month, my SO and I spent a week in Savannah, Beaufort and Charleston. We kept a short food journal, and while we didn't go into great detail, rereading it is enough to make me miss it dearly.
Saturday afternoon, late happy hour:
Fried green tomatoes and fried oysters on River Street at Tubby's
Roast chicken (best ever), shrimp taco, spicy Savannah red rice with grouper, shrimp and spoleto clams and pecan pie (also amazing) at Elizabeth's on 37th. A note on Elizabeth's - simply one of the better meals of my life. Remarkable service in just an unbelievably romantic setting. Another note - the chicken was breathtaking light, cooked so perfectly. I'd eat that every day if I could.
Breakfast at Kehoe - biscuits, French toast, cheese grits, sausage, bacon. Super cute b&b. I didn't like grits. That changed.
Lunch at the Crab Shack on Tybee - shrimp and crab au gratin (double yum!), peel and eat shrimp and deviled crab. The peel and eat shrimp were just ok. A note - the place is pretty campy, but the view was pretty, and it was a nice fun stop off on the way to the beach.
Dinner at Huey's on River Street - oyster po boy, shrimp po boy, crawfish (fried, of course), collards, red beans and rice (my new favorite southern food)! Really good po boys, even though I know it's more NOLA than low country cuisine.
Ice cream at Leopold's - super cute old ice cream parlor on Broughton Street
Omelets, potatoes and sausage for breakfast at Kehoe house. And more grits of course.
Shrimp grits and pizza at Panini's in Beaufort (great grits!) Our first experience with shrimp and grits. Pretty different from the version we ended up having in charleston. It almost had a Mediterranean feel, but delicious.
Tabasco and garlic shrimp at Plums's in Beaufort (excellent!), pasta with mussels, crusted salmon in white miso glaze with glass noodles (decent, but a bit too heavy with the miso sauce.) The tabasco and garlic shrimp were lovely, and digged the palmetto ale.
Peanut butter pie and nut and cherry cake at Rhett House Inn. This was complimentary and a nice touch. Peanut butter pie makes me happy. A word on the Rhett House - wonderful town and super cute inn perfect for a 1 night stopover in between two great cities.
Scrambled eggs, grits, bacon and toast at Rhett House Inn. Super light eggs, great bacon, more grits of course (i'm now craving grits at this point...)
Blackened grouper sandwich and shrimp BLT on Hunting Island (think there's only one restaurant on the entire island) nothing amazing, but the grouper was really nicely cooked.
Charleston cocktail, oyster stew, red bean soup, tuna, cucumber salad and kimchi, and quail with lima beans, smoked tasso ham and cheese grits with port wine reduction at S.N.O.B. Sensational meal. The oyster stew was just unbelievably good.
She crab soup and pecan crusted pork chop with peach sauce, mac & cheese and squash casserole at Hominy Grill. What can we say about this place that hasn't already been written? We noticed mac & cheese listed as a veggie.
Creamsicle and red velvet cupcakes at Cupcake. My SO, a deadly cupcake maker, has successfully ignored my pleas for her to replicate the creamsicle cupcake. I MUST get this again. SO GOOD best cupcake ever. so moist.
Raw oysters, oyster shooters, mahi mahi fish taco and bloody mary's at Pearlz (Happy Hour!)This led to a multi hour nap. Oysters, oyster shooters were perfect. The bloody mary's were too good for their own good.
Salads, tuna tartar (amazing!), ceviche and pecan pie at Hank's (great seafood). We were pretty out of it and not that hungry, but the ceviche was light and incredibly flavorful. I'd go back here in a second.
She crab soup, peanut soup, shrimp and grits (with gravy!) and pulled pork with green beans and rice and peas at Middleton Place. Stunning old rice plantation with deep history and breathtaking landscape. None of the food blew us away, but we went for reasons outside of chow.
Steak tartar, trio of soups (lobster corn chowder, cold potato leak, creamy chicken and wild rice), soft shell crab with asparagus and cheese grits, pork chop with collard greens and bacon cheese grits, Charleston cocktail (sweet tea vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, mint syrup, water) at Peninsula Grill - tied for best meal with Elizabeth's. Words can't do this place justice, but the trio of soups was decadent, and the coconut cake - want, now!
Crab and lobster quesadilla and Rooftop salad at the Rooftop Bar at the Vendue Inn
Shrimp and grit cakes (so surprising that this is our last meal) and pecan pralines a la mode at our cooking class at Charleston Cooks/Maverick Kitchen. Wonderful cooking class with a sensational meal. I know love grits and crave it. The store next door rocks! We picked up all kinds of gadgets and some spices that make a mean crust on fish or even love up some eggs.
So we're two northerners from Boston who never experienced the south prior to this trip. We both loved the food, the people, the culture and can't wait to come back!
What did you think about the sweet tea volka? Was it firefly...thats our favorite.
Mac and cheese is absolutely a veegie in the South.LOL!
Sorry for the delayed response! It t was Firefly - they are deadly - watch out :-) Sweet tea in itself was real good. My best friend (from Tenn.) described it as being just sweet enough to make you thirsty for another one, and he was absolutely right. The vodka version could spell trouble (as several bartenders laughingly shared stories with us.) We ended up buying a bottle to bring home with us. Yes, Mac & Cheese is a veggie. That made my day.
So Maestrette - you will have a great, great time. Charleston is such an incredibly beautiful city. We stayed at the French Quarter Inn, which was very very nice (although I prefered the b&b in Savannah.) If you like to cook, a new spice shop opened up literally hours before we left - picked up some nice rubs there!
I wish I was going back but have an amazing trip and let me know if you have any questions!
Next time you're in the Charleston area, you should try The Old Village Post House in Mt. Pleasant for brunch. It is a little tricky to find, but completely worth it. It is one of the restaurants owned by Maverick Southern Kitchens, who also own SNOB, High Cotton, and High Hammock in Pawleys. I'm from the Charleston area, and have eaten at a ton of restaurants, but they served some of the best shrimp and grits I have ever had.
Also, you should check out Poe's Tavern on Sullivan's Island. It's a great local joint that highlights (the short and tragic) life of Edgar Allan Poe. I don't know if you're into fish tacos, but the Citrus Marinated Mahi-Mahi tacos with pico de gallo and chipotle sour cream are to die for... a refreshing meal after being at the beach all day. They also have great burgers and fries.
Hope you come back soon!
farmgirl, I've seen people dressed more casually, but I usually wear a sport coat (maybe a tie, maybe not) and my wife usually puts on a nice dress, FWIW. I'm thinking khakis and a shirt with a collar (preferably no name stitched over the breast pocket and no bowling pins on the back) will be the minimum for men.
Of course, I've been known to go into an extremely nice restaurant wearing blue jeans and a pocket crew-neck t-shirt and tell the tuxedoed maitre'd that I realize I'm not dressed appropriately but I was wondering whether they might not have a table back by the kitchen door.
Elizabeths is a great place. My wife and I have been back four or five times over the last eight years (and we live in NJ). The Head Waiter took over a few years ago; but he has high standards. The food remains impecable. The dress is southern charming. Wear a jacket unless it is hard summer. It looks nicer and you can hang it on the back of your chair anyway.
Get the oysters.
Re: Hunting Island. Maybe you're thinking of the Johnson Creek Tavern on Harbor Island? Hunting Island is a state park and I don't think there are any restaurants there. The po boy is okay but they do a very respectable fried shrimp.