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Days 1-2, April 3-4:


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#1 Fat Guy

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 04:13 AM

It’s no trouble to eat very well in Charleston for several days. We did it in 24 hours.

For a determined and insane couple living in New York City, it’s possible to drive to Charleston in a day and make a 7:00 dinner reservation. All you need to do is depart at 5:00am, stop only for gas and urgent calls of nature, defy all local speed limits (even the enlightened 70mph highway limits in the Carolinas) and not get caught. I hear it’s possible to make the trip from New Jersey in half that time, but even before sunrise it takes as long to get off the island of Manhattan as it does to get from the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel the rest of the way to Charleston.

Barreling down one of the world’s most un-picturesque stretches of road, the barely coherent Interstate 95 where the only remotely interesting things we saw were tacky billboards and a bona fide chain gang collecting trash on the median under the watchful eyes of heavily armed North Carolina prison guards, I couldn’t help noticing all the cities, states and regions we were passing by. On this trip, despite a planned two months on the road, the missed opportunities started piling up within moments: There was to be no stop in Philadelphia for breakfast at Carman’s Country Kitchen; no visit to Jerry Sheldon, my bulldog-breeder friend in Bethesda; no North Carolina Barbecue adventures with Dean McCord, my Raleigh-based guru of all things smoked, pickled, larded, and fried; no visit to the Outer Banks, where I’ve never been. It’s difficult to resist the urge to let a long-haul road trip be defined by what you need to skip. Is it possible, in one lifetime, to see all of North America? I wonder if it's even possible to see all of Brooklyn.

Our planned compromise for this cross-country road-trip -- and in using the plural "our" I refer to me, my wife Ellen, our bulldog Momo, and our '98 Plymouth Grand Voyager SE minivan -- is a Southern route followed by a drive up the West Coast to Vancouver followed by an Easterly drive the whole way across Canada. After Charleston, our next key stop will be the area long known as the "Redneck Riviera" (the Gulf coast of Northwestern Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas).

There was one thing we couldn't miss on our I-95 itinerary, though, and that was South of the Border. South of the Border (or SOB, as it is called), is one of those relentlessly exuberant roadside attractions that have defined the American road-trip since the early days of automobile travel. In this instance, the border refers to the North Carolina/South Carolina divide, and straddling that border you will find a Mexican-themed metropolis of gift shops, snacks, fireworks, and even a motel, announced by scores of billboards scattered across hundreds of miles of highway, all united by the omnipresent Pedro. To quote the excellent Roadside America site:

As with other great accidental discoveries like X-rays and penicillin, it took a man of vision to realize SOB's vast potential. That man was Alan Schafer, who began his rise to roadside immortality in 1950 with a simple beer stand. When building supplies began being delivered to "Schafer Project: South Of The [North Carolina] Border," a neon light went on in his head. He began to import Mexican souvenirs, and on one such trip arranged for two Mexican boys to come to America and work for him. As Schafer said, "Somebody began calling them 'Pedro' and 'Pancho,' and since it fit into the theme, we began calling them both 'Pedro.'" Today, all SOB workers, regardless of race, creed or color, are called Pedro. http://www.roadsidea...t/SCDILsob.html

Thus, at SOB, you will find among many other things: Pedro's Sombrero Tower with its 22-story-high observation deck serviced by a glass elevator (though there isn't much to see); the Pedroland theme park; Pedro's Pizza and Sub Shop; Pedro's Pantry; and of course Pedro's Golf of Mexico. Here we are, with one of many Pedros:

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The great Alan Shafer, I regret to say, left this world in 2001 at the age of 87.

We made it to Charleston with a good three minutes to unload our endless parade of bags from the minivan, check in to the pet-friendly Charleston Place hotel (where they not only accommodate dogs but also fawn over them and provide custom painted food and water bowls, gourmet dog biscuits and plush dog beds by the esteemed St. John) and change our outer layer of clothes before heading to dinner at the hotel's Charleston Grill restaurant. Momo used this time to ascertain his favorite spot in the room, a bedside table under which he fit nicely:

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Haute cuisine is a process, and that process at its best partly involves taking classic popular cuisine and refining it into something subtler, more flavorful and more sophisticated. Most chefs' attempts to do this are embarrassing failures, though, in part because most chefs are incompetent and in part because you need a good underlying concept to work with and too much classic American food is hopeless. It can take a hundred years before a super-genius like New York's Daniel Boulud successfully reinvents a seminal dish like the hamburger (which Mr. Boulud has done at his new DB Bistro Moderne by forming the patty around a core of braised short ribs and foie gras).

At Charleston Grill, widely regarded as one of the two best restaurants in Charleston (the other is Peninsula Grill at the Planters Inn), chef Robert Waggoner has applied the haute cuisine process effectively to a great number of low-country and classic American staples, which gives the cuisine a regional stamp while allowing for the use of advanced technique.

Potato skins, that classic, ubiquitous, and awful bar snack, are something I'd never have thought about trying to improve, but Mr. Waggoner has turned the humble "loaded" potato skin into one of the world's great garnishes and he has printed the word "skins" right on the menu of a decidedly upscale restaurant. Three of these updated skins accompany a grouper entrée -- a solid dish in itself -- and they are one of the great culinary surprises: Hollowed out fingerling potatoes filled with a mixture of bacon (from a local producer) and caramelized onions, and topped with a cube of foie gras.

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A recipe follows.

The skins are just an illustration, one that I found noteworthy. But Mr. Waggoner's approach to cuisine is playful across the board. Where that sense of whimsy and a firm grasp of technique (no doubt enriched by stages with Jacques Lameloise, Charles Barrier, Pierre Gagnaire, Gerard Boyer and Mark Meneau) meet the better ingredients available in the region (particularly seafood, of course), rewarding dishes ensue.

My quick glance at the wine list revealed a strong cellar, but I focused on the 50+ by-the-glass selections. With just two people and multiple courses, by-the-glass is my preference.

Charleston Grill is a low-key, elegant spot with quiet, professional service (for example, when I returned mid-afternoon the next day to beg the chef for his potato skins recipe, I asked the dazzling hostess if she would ask the chef to come out and talk to me for a second because I had the dog with me and couldn't go in; her response was matter-of-factly to offer to walk Momo while I went inside to talk to the chef -- lucky Momo! ). By contrast, when you step into Peninsula Grill across the street, it's like slamming into a brick wall of energy.

I can't remember the last time I entered a serious restaurant and felt so enlivened by the ambience. Mostly, I notice food, and nice service and atmosphere are extras. But you can't make it to your table at Peninsula without getting swept away by the whole experience: This is a restaurant where everybody is thrilled to be, and for good reason.

Robert Carter, the Robert-in-residence at Peninsula Grill (I imagine plenty of confusion, what with two restaurants named Grill across the street from one another with chefs named Robert; I bet they are confused more often than New York's two DBs: David Bouley and Daniel Boulud), won me over with some of the most honest cooking I've seen. I must confess I was prepared to dislike Peninsula Grill. From all the second-hand reports (all positive, but none convincing) I assumed I'd be encountering a typically overwrought hotel restaurant with an inflated Mobil-guide-perpetuated reputation and dull food. But Peninsula Grill exceeds all the hype, in part because the hype has missed the point.

As at his neighbor's restaurant, Mr. Carter is working towards a Southeastern-inspired vision of haute cuisine. But he is also a minimalist and each dish has been streamlined into a deceptively straightforward proposition. It has become a stereotype for chefs to recite platitudes about how "it's all about the ingredients" and then both to use mediocre ingredients and bury them under mountains of distractions. When Mr. Carter speaks of ingredients, however, it's worth listening.

For example, his Berkshire (that's the name of a breed of pig) pork, from a farmer in Iowa who apparently sells 90% of his output to Japan, makes for the best pork chop I have ever eaten. About two inches thick, cooked pink on the inside, and tasting as though it has been injected with a special sugar solution distilled from Chinese spare ribs, it would be a shame to mess up such a beautiful piece of meat with too much sauce or garnish. Mr. Carter wisely serves it with nothing more than two scoops of Cheddar grits and a bed of bitter greens that elevates the meat above a simple sauce. The soft-shell crabs, which just came into early season a few days ago, are deep-fried tempura style (memo to all chefs: deep-frying is the only way to cook soft-shell crabs) and are the finest specimens I've seen. And Peninsula Grill is also noteworthy for one of America's finest desserts: A twelve-layer coconut cake inspired by a recipe from Mr. Carter's mother. You don't have to love coconut to love this cake, and even if you hate coconut you'll like it a lot.

We did by-the-glass at Peninsula as well, though we were sorely tempted by a diverse international list. Still, with Merryvale Cabernet and Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir available in glasses, there wasn't much need to go to the bottles.

Mr. Carter deserves praise not only for inspiring his customers and his waitstaff, but also for including his personal e-mail address right on his restaurant's Web site (see below) -- and he answers.

Sticky Fingers is the jam-packed-every-day barbecue spot on Charleston's main drag. There are now eight restaurants in the Sticky Fingers chain, which has recently started a mail order business as well.

There is such a thing as South Carolina-style barbecue, which as I understand it is similar to North Carolina-style but with a mustard-based sauce. Sticky Fingers, however, is primarily a Memphis-style rib joint. So, an expression of regional South Carolina barbecue it isn't. But the ribs are outstanding. The same hickory smoking technology in use at many of the top barbecue places (gas-regulated Southern Pride smokers with log-fed fireboxes) is applied to ribs in five different styles, the best of which is the dry style -- the acid test of good barbecue because it allows for no cheating with a wet sauce. Pulled pork is also sweet and smoky with an evident red smoke-ring on the exterior parts. I suggest you order it with sauce on the side, though, and season it to your taste.

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A couple of secrets about Sticky Fingers, one of which I'm allowed to tell you and one of which I'm not (though I will tell both, of course): First, Sticky Fingers is as far as I know the only barbecue restaurant that is also a bed-and-breakfast. Right upstairs from the restaurant (you check in at the takeout counter) are five newly renovated suites. The two I looked at were beautifully done with the original brick walls, restored heart of pine floors, sleek kitchenettes, Whirlpools, gas fireplaces, DVD players, and high-speed Internet access. The B&B operation goes by the name Meeting Street Suites. There are no indicia of barbecue in the rooms, but pork is always close at hand. Second, Sticky Fingers has done something that I imagine goes on a lot in small cities where the tourist crowds make it impossible for local businesspeople to get into restaurants for lunch: Created a secret lunch club of sorts. You don't actually have to be a member, but if you are in the know and you conduct yourself nonchalantly you can sidle up to the back entrance and pay a flat fee of $8 to partake in a Sticky Fingers lunch buffet -- no waiting. You did not hear this from me.

If you only go to one restaurant in Charleston, however, you must go to Bowen's Island. This is beyond a recommendation: It is a commandment. Bowen's Island, which I'd never have known about were it not for Holly Moore's site, is on James Island, just across a connector from Charleston. James Island has that Florida Keys shabby feel to it and you know you're in for an experience when Bowen's Island restaurant is announced by a dilapidated billboard, and then you miss the turn because the signage is so bad, and then the paved road degenerates into a very poorly maintained dirt road culminating in a crumbling shack on the beach surrounded by mountains of oyster shells. As I entered the restaurant, and I should add that I was the only person eating there at 6:00pm on a Thursday, the guy behind the counter sized me up, stared at his feet, and muttered, "What do you want."

All-you-can-eat oysters cost $18.50. For most people, all-you-can-eat will be one serving: A heaping shovelful containing half a bushel of freshly cooked oysters. The oyster cook, a gentleman named Henry, digs up the oysters right nearby every day and he cooks and shovels all night. He will shovel until you tell him you're done, and then he will shovel a bit more. Tables are covered in newspaper and in the center of each is a hole feeding into a trash can. The oysters are clumped together and it takes some effort to get to the insides of all of them, but a sharp implement is provided for this purpose. You also get, for your $18.50, a bottle of cocktail sauce, a quarter-box sleeve of saltines, a small tray of hush puppies and a towel.

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Oysters are one of those things I can never get enough of. At several dollars a piece in most New York restaurants, they are an appetizer. At Bowen's, they are a feast in and of themselves. Finally, enough oysters. And it doesn't hurt that they are oysters without rival in terms of their freshness and brininess. Had I more time, I'd have tried a few raw as well. Henry is very accommodating.

For a definitive analysis and many more photos of Bowen's, see http://www.hollyeats.com/Bowens.htm

In the few moments we weren't eating, we became convinced that Charleston is a vibrant and wonderful city, a great juxtaposition of urban renewal and early American history. A carriage ride -- touristy but with surprisingly informative guides (you'll get equal doses of hardcore history and contemporary gossip) -- is a good way to get an overview of the city. The nice people at Palmetto Carriage Works had no problem with letting Momo ride along.

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The weather was cool and sunny, our carriage was pulled by an ornery mule named Katie, and my wife and bulldog were at my side. It doesn't get much better than that.

Charleston Grill Potato Skins

For 12 skins

6-small (golf ball size) Yukon Gold potatoes
6-oz. fresh foie gras cut into 1 oz. pieces
1-large onion (preferably Wadmalaw), sliced thin
12-slices smoked bacon
Salt and fresh ground white pepper
½-quart frying oil
1-bunch chives, chopped fine

Cook the sliced bacon in a heavy-bottomed pan until crispy.
Remove the bacon and half the remaining fat.
Add the sliced onion and cook until caramelized.
Season with white pepper only, adding small amounts of water to deglaze if needed.
Add the cooked bacon to the onions and puree in a food processor.
Check seasoning.
Salt and pepper the foie gras pieces and sauté them in a small pan very hot with no oil added.
Cook 5 to 10 seconds on each side.
Remove and place on a paper towel.

Cut the potatoes in half and remove the center with a small spoon.
Heat the frying oil in a pot to 350º and deep-fry the potatoes for approximately 3 minutes until tender.
Spoon some onion-bacon puree into the potato skin.
Add 1 piece of foie gras on top.
Bake at 375º for 3 to 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with chopped chives on top.

Addresses

Charleston Grill
224 King Street (in the Charleston Place hotel)
Charleston, SC
(843) 577-4522
http://www.charlestongrill.com/

Bowen's Island
1870 Bowen Island Rd, Off Foley Rd
James Island, SC
(803) 795-2757

Peninsula Grill
112 North Market Street (in the Planters Inn hotel)
Charleston, SC
(843) 723-0700
http://www.peninsulagrill.com/

South of the Border
I-95 - U.S. 301-501 at the North Carolina/South Carolina line
(800) 845-6011

Sticky Fingers
235 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC
(843) 853-7427
http://www.stickyfingersonline.com/

Photos by Ellen R. Shapiro

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)


#2 Jinmyo

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 05:49 AM

Finally, enough oysters.

Excellent reading, Hat Guy.
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#3 Fat Guy

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 05:51 AM

Thanks, Jinmyo, for reading that far!

By the way, you're all encouraged to comment and discuss these posts -- I've left the reply function active on this board. I may not be online much, but you can talk about me behind my back.

Franks.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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#4 macrosan

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 05:55 AM

You really ate all that in 24 hours ? Oh boy !!! No wonder Momo looks as if he's put on a bit of weight already.

#5 Sandra Levine

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 06:26 AM

Wow! Great report, Steve.  Good to hear from you again.  It sounds as if Charleston has changed a lot since Alan and I went there 25 years ago.  Getting a decent meal was not easy.  There were only a couple of decent hotels, and the food at ours (don't remember the name) was extremely bland and generic.  We were sent by locals to a place downtown that made its own "limehouse" sausage for breakfast, but by the time we got there, they had stopped making it and were serving only a commercial brand.  The grits were good, though, for those who like grits.

Charleston was beautiful and still a little rundown.  There wasn't much money, but people still had their houses and silver.  I was very impressed by the architecture and ambiance.  I'm sure that by now it has been restored to a fault.

#6 Fat Guy

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 06:39 AM

Macrosan: That was just the interesting stuff. I didn't tell you about the big hotel breakfast we had, or the club-floor lounge where it's like a cruise ship and they serve various hot and cold hord d'oeuvres and afternoon tea and everything on a 24-hour rotating basis. I'll try only to include things in these reports that people might care about. If I ever commit the cardinal writer's sin of thinking every little detail of my life is worth everybody reading about, please shoot me.

Sandra: It has been a great urban success story; perhaps one of the greatest ones among the many there are to tell from the past 15 years. Most of the restaurants I mentioned did not exist in the 1980s, or they existed in a different form. That is, except for Bowen's, circa 1949 I think it said, which will soon be moved to the Smithsonian if they're smart.

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Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)


#7 Ron Johnson

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 06:44 AM

Great installment Fat Guy.  Please continue to mention the hotels and inns that accomodate Momo.  I am keeping a list for my Chesapeake Bay Retriever so I can take her on my next vacation.

#8 Fat Guy

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 06:51 AM

Will do, Ron. Also all Motel 6 locations accommodate dogs provided you lie about their weight. Also there's a book on this available from AAA as well as five or six Web sites with huge pet-friendly hotel databases. We wanted to do a book, but Ellen's publisher thought the market was either too small or saturated. I don't know about that (more than half of American homes have a dog or cat), but I don't call the shots. But as for the hotels that do extra, like the Charleston Place with it's VIP (Very Important Pet) program, I'll be sure to give them the special mention they deserve. One place in Canada, I won't ruin the surprise, but you won't believe what they do for dogs.

Incidentally, I had a great talk with Paul Stracey, the general manager of Charleston Place, yesterday and I think between what I get from him and from a couple of other sources I'll have the makings of an interesting travel piece on dog-friendly hotels. Basically, what this gentleman had to say was that the program hasn't been at all problematic for the hotel: The people who bother to take their dogs on the road are the people who tend to have well behaved, quiet dogs (well, except for us), and they don't do nearly as much damage as human guests -- especially kids. Momo is pretty low impact since we keep him crated when he's alone in the room. Anyway, the other thing this fellow (I call him a fellow on account of his being British) said was that there are a number of important clients, especially among the celebrity set, that just won't stay at your hotel unless you accommodate pets.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)


#9 giannone

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 07:46 AM

Fat Guy,

Great post.  I would imagine that you are gonna hit New Orleans soon.  If you got there latter in the month you could have hit The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  In addition to eleven stages and about seventy acts a day in one place, they have about fifty food booths.  . Seven days over two weekends.   Have you ever attended?  For those of you interested, here's the link:

www.nojazzfest.com

Here's a link directly to the food portion of the site:

www.nojazzfest.com/food

Bon Voyage and Buon Appetite

#10 tommy

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 07:57 AM

steven, what's with those pants.  seriously.

#11 Fat Guy

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 08:02 AM

Those are my lounging-around pants, which come from a chef-supply place:

http://www.chefwork.com/pants.htm

They're similar to the ones worn at Nobu, though in a different color. I got addicted to them when doing various kitchen stages. I think I have three pair.

Regarding New Orleans, we're pretty much skipping it. Maybe a quick stop for coffee if we're passing through anyway, but we'll do New Orleans in full some other time. A serious New Orleans visit isn't going to fit into the schedule because I have a number of other Gulf Coast commitments that will eat up all our time in the region.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)


#12 tommy

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 08:11 AM

Those are my lounging-around pants, which come from a chef-supply place:

http://www.chefwork.com/pants.htm

They're similar to the ones worn at Nobu, though in a different color. I got addicted to them when doing various kitchen stages. I think I have three pair.

yeah, great.  it's a good look.  'specially with clogs.

so, since they're chefs pants, you must constantly get mistaken for a complete tw*t?  :p

skipping nola, aye?  just as well.  that's a week in and of itself!

#13 giannone

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 08:28 AM

Don't expect much beach on the Redneck Riviera unless you are going to hit the Florida Panhandle.  And whatever you do, don't bother with Galvaston.  It is the ugliest beach that I have ever seen.  And I've been to beaches in Staten Island.  Good food in Houston though.  There's a neat little place in The Galleria area called the Amazon Grill.  It's sorta cafeteria style.  If you are going to visit a casino, the nicest place in Mississippi is The Beau Rivage.  The other places don't come close.  I didn't eat there though.

#14 Varmint

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 08:29 AM

steven, what's with those pants.  seriously.

Tommy, if you've ever seen Steve's "dress-up" attire, you'd really ask, "whassup widdat?"  Let me briefly create one image for you: "Mustard-colored zoot suit and fedora."
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#15 Varmint

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 08:53 AM

Oh, and two-toned shoes.
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#16 Ron Johnson

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 09:17 AM

Fat Guy:
I think a piece on travelling with pets will have a large audience.  BTW, I have been lying about my dog Kendall's weight for years.  It is how I got a condo in my building.  I have the world's only 30 lb. Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

#17 Wilfrid

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 10:33 AM

That brought back some pleasant memories of our trip to Charleston in summer 2000.  There are some gorgeously preserved eighteenth and nineteenth century streets, as I recall, and we also spent some time snooping around the mansions which are open to visitors.

I tried to eat in Sticky Fingers, but it was closing when I got there, and I ended up with some very pleasant traditional fish and chips in a fish restaurant a few doors down.

#18 col klink

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 10:37 AM

That chefwork's site is fantastic, all of my future clothes purchases will be from them!

#19 Rail Paul

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 11:03 AM

Dee and I encountered a woman travelling with two Golden Retrievers several years ago. They were hiking in the mountains above Hood River, Oregon.

She writes books about travelling with dogs, had the two of them on the cover, and is able to write off much of her travel expense. She was developing a cable TV program at the time.

Sounds like a good gig...
Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

#20 ChocoKitty

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 11:14 AM

Fabulous installment, Fat Guy. Can't wait to read more!

#21 Shiva

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 02:35 PM

Great Job, F. G.  Keep 'em coming.

Why am I suddenly hungry for ribs?

#22 jaybee

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 03:50 PM

Great narrative and descriptions, big fella.  You bring back memories of my favorite story teller, Jean Shepherd.  He did a video segment on South of the Border for his PBS series "Jean Shepherd's America."  I have them all on VHS.  One day, I hope to follow in your tire tracks, at least part of the way.  May your tank be full and your stomach feel empty.

#23 Varmint

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 04:00 PM

Regarding South of the Border, I had asked Steve to count the number of SOB signs he saw on his trip.  I know that in the 85 miles I have to travel on I-95 to get to the place, there were exactly 82 SOB signs.  Some of my favorites:

"Weather Forecast:  Chili Today, Hot Tamale"

"Keep Screaming, Kids.  They'll Stop."

"You Never Sausage a Place"

Do we live in a great country or what???
Dean McCord
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#24 Holly Moore

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 05:03 PM

Neat write-up.  Great pics.

Looks like Bowen's Island has remodeled some.  The hole for shells in the center of the table is new.  Every time I've been there, we each got our own small garbage can positioned to either one's left or right.

I'm curious Steve, considering the ambience at Bowen's, when did you go from thinking, "What the hell did Holly get us into?" to "WOW!"

How about ending each post with an anticipated itinerary for the next few days?
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#25 Bastard

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 05:29 PM

Steven:

I'm impressed not by the amount of eating you did in such a short time, since I know you're capable of that, but by the amount of writing you did in such a short time.  

Those were great write-ups -- detailed, complete, even including a recipe.  Keep up the good work.

Bastard

(Jay Coleman)

#26 Beachfan

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 05:32 PM

I've been wanting to go to Charleston for years and after reading this, I have to go.

Is Charleston on the way to anything (if you're not driving)?  Probably not, otherwise I'd have been there already.
beachfan

#27 Peter B Wolf

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 06:16 PM

Steven, after reading your excellent report, and I thank you, I do have to ask, whether you might be infringing on someone's copy rights. I pulled "Sticky Finger's" web site, and on their menu:  http://stickyfingers...finger_menu.pdf
they list under "Super Sampler" your? slogan: "Too much Pork for just one Fork". Who needs changing?
Peter

#28 NewYorkTexan

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 06:23 PM

What an engaging post.  

The Four Seasons chain is extremely pet friendly.  They have a section on the room service menu dedicated for their guests with four legs. Perfect if Momo gets a craving for a organic wheat and parsley biscuit at three in the morning.  If you think breakfast in the hotel is expensive (always a pet peeve of mine, but that is a whole new thread), wait to you see their room service prices for the pet menu.

#29 Fat Guy

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Posted 06 April 2002 - 04:29 PM

Giannone: We are in the panhandle area now, and I'll give my next report from there tomorrow or the next day.

Ron: Similarly, my 55-pound (and growing) bulldog weighs just under 35 (the Motel 6 limit).

Wilfrid: Yes, Ellen took a look at a few mansions while I was writing. She said they were fabulous and called me a philistine for sitting in the hotel room surfing the Web while we were in the city with the world's second-largest historic district (Rome, I believe, has the largest).

Col Klink: If you like that, you should check out this prison-uniform supply place, owned by our very own H. Moore:

http://www.pxdirect.com/

Rail Paul: In order for deductions to be useful, you need to have income first. That's where I'm having a slight problem.

ChocoKitty, Shiva, JayBee: Thanks!

Varmint: I started to count, but lost track. What you should have done was told me you already knew the number from Raleigh to SOB. Then I could have just counted up to that point. We could have borrowed some time on a Cray 2 supercomputer to add the two numbers.

Holly: I never doubted you for an instant. And to the extent I ever figure out a day's itinerary far enough in advance to post about it in any meaningful way, I'll try to give a preview -- I believe I did so in the above report.

Bastard: Great to see you here in the eGullet universe. For those of you who don't know, Bastard used to be, for lack of a better description, my boss back at a little law firm that is now part of a bigger law firm. He shouldn't be surprised by my prolixity -- writing lots and lots of boring stuff is what we used to do for a living.

Beachfan: Charleston is hardly a detour from I-95, especially if you plan to go on to Savannah.

Peter: Sticky Fingers was not the originator of the phrase. It's actually the title of one of Varmint's favorite record albums. I was, however, reminded of it by the Sticky Fingers site, which is why I changed my signature line a month or so ago.

NewYorkTexan: Those Four Seasons people think of everything. You can always be sure that, wherever you find a Four Seasons, you'll find an excellent hotel. And even in the most remote areas, where restaurant and hotel service is not on a world-class level, the employees at the local Four Seasons all perform at international hospitality-industry standards. I prefer more individuality and uniqueness in hotels -- Four Seasons is more along Ducasse lines in terms of trying to create an overarching structure of uniformity and conformity -- but I especially valued Four Seasons when I was a frequent business traveler and wanted a guaranteed hassle free stay with great breakfast and every imaginable amenity.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)


#30 tommy

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Posted 06 April 2002 - 06:51 PM

was i the only one waiting for the

"tommy:  scr*w you"

????