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rlibkind

Savannah: A Week's Stay

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Herewith, "real time" reports (well, nearly so) on our visit to Savannah, which began with the departure in our trusty sedan from Philadelphia Easter Sunday morning and will conclude, after a week's stay in Georgia, with the return drive back north.

We overnighted in Wilson, NC where I meandered over to Bill Ellis' BBQ in search eastern North Carolina 'cue. No line, no waiting, probably because it was Easter Sunday and everyone else was stuffed with their ham dinners. My order of a pint of 'cue, four pieces of chicken, cole slaw and hush puppies arrived within five minutes for the grand total of $15.43. She Who Must Be Obeyed and I ate plenty back in our motel suite, with leftovers for at least one more meal (consumed in our Savannah holiday flat off Troupe Square this evening after a quick trip to Krogers for bread and other staples). I'm no expert on barbecue, but I found this just a tad dry and the flavor subdued; just the slightest touch of vinegar. SWMBO thought the chicken was very good; once again, I thought it a tad dry, though the sauce was nicely done. Still, a very good bargain given that we got more than four modest servings out of it. The hush puppies were fine when hot. The slaw was tangy and good, chopped like what we call "pepper hash" in Philadelphia, and dressed yellow which, until someone educates me better, I'll assume reflects mustard as an ingredient.

I've got a full list of potential eating spots and places to buy food for feeding us in our flat (we've got workable kitchen facilities, but I plan no heavy duty cooking). Below are the possibilites I've researched so far (obviously, we won't hit them all in a week's time), but I welcome suggestions/warnings. Keep in mind we will probably not do fancy-schmantzy, unless someone insists we can't visit Savannah without a meal at whatchamacallits. We're more interested in local flavor and good value than high-falutin' feedin'.

<ul><li>Belford's (I hear the shrimp, greens and grit cakes are good).

<li>Sweet Potatoes

<li>Toucan Café

<li>Gerald's Diner

<li>Fiddler's Crab House

<li>River House Seafood

<li>Firefly Café

<li>Mrs. Wilkes (if the line isn't too long)

<li>Madison Cafeteria

<li>Crab Shack (Tybee)

<li>North Beach Grill (Tybee)

<li>Old School Diner (Townsend)

<li>Sunbury Crab Company (Sunbury)

And for consumption back at our flat:

<li>Polks Fresh Market

<li>Baker's Pride Bakery

<li>Harris Baking Company

</ul>Again, suggestions, warnings, menu recommendations and restaurant prioritization most welcome. I'll continue to post post-prandial reports.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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To really get some local color, you should definitely hit the United House of Prayer for All People for lunch one day - great soul food, and the price is right: http://www.savannahoffthebeatenpath.com/Fo...e_of_prayer.htm

Way at the west end of Bay St, easily reached right off of I-16.

Back in the Day Bakery (http://www.backinthedaybakery.com/) is your best bet for good bread and other yummy baked goods, sammies, etc.

I've not been that impressed with the Crab Shack, but other people seem to love it. I'd rather go to Uncle Bubba's for similar atmosphere and better food, despite the celebrity connection.

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I think the Crab Shack is as much about atmosphere as it is food. The food is good, but it's also a nice place to sit outside and eat, especially in the warmer months. And it's close to Tybee, so if you're heading out to Fort Pulaski (which you should; it's a great visit), it'd be worth a stop. Thing is, the local blue crabs are out of season, so you may be out of luck there. But the low country boil is good.

I really love Sweet Potatoes- it's probably my favorite restaurant in Savannah. It sounds like it'd fit the bill: it's very casual, updated Southern food (not "new Southern" or any fusion nonsense, but a little bit lighter). It's sort of in the middle of nowhere, tourist-speaking- it's in a strip mall- but I think you'll like it.

You might try Sweet Leaf for barbecue; it's sort of a hippy-dippy coffeehouse atmosphere, but the BBQ was pretty good when I tried it. Better is the BBQ at Papa's; it's way the heck out in Thunderbolt, but it's my favorite 'cue in Savannah.

I wish I had more recommendations- though I'm in Savannah a couple of times a year, I don't eat in a lot of restaurants down there. I'll eagerly be waiting for your reports, so I can plan out my next visit in July!

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gallery_7493_5845_74907.jpg

Harris Baking, Drayton just north of Liberty, makes as good a croissant as i've ever had. Buttery and flakey. Good place to start the morning with their strong coffee. Savory tarts, if you wish, for breakfast. Sweets looked good: I'll be back!


Edited by rlibkind (log)

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Andrew, you were right on: Sweet Potatoes has wonderful Southern food, but with a light touch.

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At our late lunch today, SWMBO started to devour this chicken (you can see her knife and fork action in the photo) before I could get out the camera. She adored the peach barbeque sauce and the accompaniments: a sweet/potato apple mash and herbed vinaigrette cucumbers. (It wasn't called a blue plate special, but it came on one.)

gallery_7493_5845_43574.jpg

My meatloaf plate featured a huge hunk of The People's Paté, adorned with the same peach sauce. The meatloaf had just enough filler to provide pleasing texture, and a good, meaty flavor. The lemony collard greens hadn't seen any fatback, but that didn't make them any less good; in fact, they were a superb veggie. And, being that the restaurant is named Sweet Potatoes, I, too, ordered that tuber for my starch, in this case it was sweet potato salad, which also had a nice light touch, something you don't expect from sweet potatoes. Both plates also included a light, fluffy biscuit.

Sweet potatoes is about a 10-15 minute drive from the historic district, where we're staying, but it's worth the minor detour. If this establishment were in my neighborhood, it would be my go-to place. And it's value-priced: the tab for our two plates (we didn't order beverages or dessert) was just a little over $15, including tax. Service friendly and efficient.

We'll be eating leftovers for dinner tonight, but I stopped to pick up some menu additions at Polk Fresh Market, a produce and plant vendor two blocks from our flat. My chief acquisition was a pint of local strawberries, grown just 65 miles away in Metter, Georgia. They smelled great at the market, so I couldn't resist this early taste of spring. When I got them back, I tasted one: strong, pure strawberry flavor, and although not sugary, adequate sweetness; they'll need just the merest dusting of sugar. But just in case that isn't enough dessert, a small peach cobbler is now also sitting in the counter. Who cares if it's made of frozen peaches? I'm in Georgia! How 'bout them Dawgs?


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Glad you liked Sweet Potatoes! Any place that has a "green of the day" is my kinda joint. If you head back, try the catfish...

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I don’t want to trash any of these places, as all are (to the extent I know) pretty good, and you’ve obviously done some research. Nonetheless, I’ll add my opinions, fwiw. Don’t know if you chose this week for the Savannah Music Festival, but if not, you may want to pick up a schedule and see if there’s anything of interest.

Belford's (I hear the shrimp, greens and grit cakes are good): I wouldn’t put this in my top few places, or even the top in its category. I would instead recommend Vic’s on the River, especially for a reasonably priced lunch. Good shrimp & grits and other "modern" southern fare. Try for a table by the windows, looking over the Savannah River. The massive cargo ships pass close enough that you could call out to the crew on deck as they quietly slide by. Locals pretend they’re not impressed by the ships, but they lie. Not as much atmosphere, but New South Cafe also offers Southern staples with a slightly modern twist ("Wild Georgia Shrimp inside Fried Grits /Polenta Cakes with Andouille Sausage & Braised Collard Greens"). Lunch at both places under $10.

Sweet Potatoes: you’ve already been. If it helps my credibility, I would have told you to keep this on your list (easy to say now that I know you liked it).

Toucan Café: same owners as Sweet Potatoes, but with a Caribbean slant. Good jerk chicken (although probably inauthentic, as ox tails seem more likely than a boneless breast in a Jamaican place). Slightly more expensive than Sweet Potatoes, but still pretty reasonable.

Gerald's Diner: one of my favorite "meat & 3's." It’s fast because it’s steam table, and very reasonably priced. I don’t know if he’s currently open for dinner, as his hours have varied over time. Gerald is very much what we affectionately refer to as a Yankee. He’s fun to talk to if you get him going- ask him about the time he shot a guy. I think it's because he's a Yankee.

Fiddler's Crab House: locals will tell you this is a tourist place. That doesn’t mean it’s bad- it’s just in the area that has been ceded to visitors, so it’s not cool for locals to go there. I haven’t been in years (having once been so cool that I could risk it), but I remember acceptable but unremarkable fried seafood.

River House Seafood: same comment as above, but tending more towards grilled fish over angel-hair pasta with a sauce. Not bad, but certainly not inexpensive.

Firefly Café: on the same square where you’re staying, so location earns it points. Friendly neighborhood place, despite the fact that their application for a wine license started a war with some of the neighbors who felt this would bring the wrong element into their proximity. Not memorable, but not bad, either.

Mrs. Wilkes (if the line isn't too long): I love this place, but as you note the line can be long, too long, in fact, for it to be considered for lunch on a work day. Eating here reminds me of Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s, with three or four meats and a dozen vegetables (most boiled way past fork tender, but that’s what regular people do) passed around the table in bowls until you can’t eat any more. Great way to sample typical Southern fare like greens, okra & tomatoes, butter beans, snaps and black-eyed peas. Not cheap (I think $13 for lunch, including sweet tea and dessert), but still a good value. This was once the place for visitors, although it’s been largely overshadowed by Paula Deen’s Lady & Sons. No dinner.

Madison Cafeteria: this place and the similar location on Bay Street noted by bettylouski above are located in the back of churches and put out solid southern food in a cafeteria setting. Not much on atmosphere, but cheap and good. No dinner.

Crab Shack (Tybee): as Andrew noted, this place is more about atmosphere than the food. You can sit outside under the canopy of live oaks, with alligators lurking in the adjacent lagoons, and eat low country boil, a mix of steamed shrimp, potatoes, corn and sausage. It pretty common communal food around here, but not usually seen at restaurants. I’d skip this in favor of North Beach Grill if I were at Tybee, but others disagree.

North Beach Grill (Tybee): fun place with a Jamaican vibe, including authentically slow service. What's your hurry, anyway? If you order two Red Stripes at a time, you’re less likely to run out before they get back to you. I’d stick to the sandwiches and other less expensive offerings, like the crab cake sandwich, as I personally feel that a $19 piece of fish should not be served on wax paper with a plastic basket and fork, but I’m snobby that way.

Old School Diner (Townsend): I’ve never ventured down there, but it has gathered a following on large portions and the owner’s promotion of it as Ben Affleck’s local hangout. The dirt parking lot is apparently (partly) covered in carpet squares because the owner "doesn’t like dirt." A tour of this Sanford and Son complex is sometimes offered, including postings in the back room of the owner’s adult-rated poetry. I have been advised that the tour, if taken, should follow instead of precede the meal.

Sunbury Crab Company (Sunbury): I must admit I’ve never heard of this one. Noticing this and the previous location indicates you’re willing to venture pretty far South of Savannah for a meal, I’d recommend the seafood at Sapelo Station in Eulonia/Townsend on US 17. There are a bunch of seafood shacks along the 17 coast, but Sapelo Station rates among the favorites of most the people I know. If you have time, it’s not much further South to St. Simon’s Island, well worth a day trip.

Sounds like you’ve already found the Kroger, the only grocery chain downtown. More upscale can be found at the Fresh Market on Southside’s Abercorn Street. Good wine selection at Ganem’s downtown, better prices at Southside’s Beverage Warehouse. Parker’s Market on Drayton is within walking distance and has very good "gourmet" items, wine, cheese, prepared foods, breads, etc.

If you’re going to Tybee, consider the highly regarded (but unfortunately strip-center located) Sundae Café. Also, one of my favorite dive bars is there, Doc’s. It’s a small place with Patsy Cline and The Mills Brothers on the juke box, a bumper pool table where the pole supporting the roof often interferes with your shot, and frequently some of the locals who mysteriously live at the beach without ever seeming to do anything. Be warned this place is not one of those gastropubs that has banned smoking- you’ll come out smelling like you wallowed in the ashtrays. I hate that part, but I still love the place.

As for don’t miss, I’d recommend you try some local barbeque, which you’ll find different from North Carolina style. I like Sweet Leaf as mentioned by Andrew, but this is nouveau BBQ with sides of smoked zucchini and Granny Smith slaw. I also second Papa’s (barbeque on two buns and brunswick stew). Sandfly BBQ is new and very good. If you end up going as far South as Brunswick, post to that effect and I can recommend some really good barbeque down there. While I consider Holly More a demi-god of food advice and have eaten at many terrific places based on his recommendations, I’d have to say that the best part of Wall's BBQ is finding the place; the food is somewhat of a letdown.


"Eat at Joe's."

- Joe

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Thanks for all the suggestions and comments, maf.

I'll have to hit Parker's. I was pretty close to there when I walked over to Harris Baking yesterday morning.

BBQ is probably a dead issue, since we finally finished the leftovers from NC tonight and we've had our fill. And even though we're here for a week, there's so much to enjoy right in Savanah that my original thoughts of driving south to explore will probably fall by the wayside.

More seafood, however, is definitely required. For that reason, I'll probably head to Tybee tomorrow and do the Crab Shack shrimp boil. The lady who rented us our flat also recommended North Beach Grill, so maybe I'll indulge in a Red Stripe or two, also.

I'm also in the market for oysters on the half shell. Fresh, cheap and expertly shucked is the goal. Anyone have any suggestions on where to find them? (I'll shuck them myself if someone supplies a knife -- I forgot to pack mine). And can anyone recommend a superior establishment from which to purchase fresh shrimp? I'd like to cook them in our flat for munching on the ride back to Philadelphia!

I was fully aware that Belford's, being located in City Market, would be tourist-centric, but we were in tourist mode today, starting out with a private carriage tour. We asked our driver to drop us off at City Market so I could try the shrimp, greens and grits at Belfords. I enjoyed it. Everything was well-cooked and tasty, though I thought the grit cake serving could have been more generous; the five nicely-sized (probably 16-24s) shrimps tasted fresh and were not over-cooked, which is how I measure shrimp preparation. The collards were as good as what we had at Sweet Potatoes, but more traditional, i.e., cooked with pork fat. I was so eager to dig in that I forgot to take photos of everything swimming in butter sauce.

Since I'm in search of more shrimp and grits (and I'm also a transportation nut, having spent 23 years working for a freight railroad), Vic's sounds ideal for lunch. The menu looks great, though I think chicken and waffles with kumquat maple gastrique sounds a bit precious.

BTW, we spied the line at Mrs. Wilkes at 12:30 today during our carriage ride. Too long for me, though I imagine if we showed up 15 or 20 minutes before opening, or after 1:30, it might be a bit shorter.

I visited two bakeries this morning: Back in the Day and Baker's Pride. I found the latter forgetable (with few exceptions, just over-sweet, over-glazed, over-frosted fare). Back in the Day seemed more interesting. The baguette, which I had for breakfast and with dinner, was as good as most that I've had. SWMBO is delaying her consumption of the Chocolate Heaven cupcake until tomorrow, but if looks could kill, this little treat could face a womanslaughter charge.

I found Johnie Ganem's on my return from Kroger's Monday evening. I didn't explore their wine offerings, since I was only in the market for beer and bourbon. The beer selection was modest but offered sufficient variety (I got a bottle of Flensburger Weizen). Since I've got plenty of bourbon at home, I went with a simple pint of Evan Williams (though it's not as decent as it was before they dropped claiming on the label it was aged seven years). Drinkable, but just that. I'll use the remainder of the pint in marinade for grilled meats when I get home.

We didn't choose this week because of the music festival (we really keyed it to azalea season), but I reserved tickets for Audra Macdonald more than a month ago. I've heard her twice in Philly (once solo, once with Barbara Cook), and she's a rare talent.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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I don’t consider myself an oyster afficionado, confining most of my consumption to the cooked ones found at the ubiquitous oyster roasts that dominate large group eating during our colder months. While March includes the mandatory r, I note you’re pretty near the end of oyster season. Nonetheless, I hold raw oyster eaters in the same high regard as those who imbibe in that poisonous puffer fish sushi, so I don’t want to discourage you.

At least two of the places mentioned in your original post have raw oysters: the Crab Shack and Fiddler’s. Since there isn’t much variation in the preparation, I’d imagine both would be similar. I might also recommend another place at Tybee, Dewey’s Dockside. This has the added bonus of an adjacent seafood market where you could get local shrimp; the shrimp boats dock near the restaurant. Caveat: I haven’t been there for a while, and I seem to remember something about a fire, but maybe that was somewhere else. When I called I got an answering machine, so if it burned down they’ve at least obtained a new phone.

Not long ago there were places where your plywood table had a hole in the center with a trash can base, so you could eat your oysters, push the shells through the hole, and get more. Sadly, these places have disappeared.

If you’re up for plain steamed shrimp, consider Desposito’s, about half way to Tybee. It’s a little hard to find and truly a shack, but I enjoy the 1940's look of the place.

For a seafood market downtown, most everyone will send you to Russo’s. It’s very good and very fresh, but not inexpensive. Matthews Seafood in Garden City is also excellent. On the way to Tybee, you will likely see broken down step vans in roadside lots selling their local catch by the pound. If you by them heads on, remember that’s about a third of the weight.

On the railroad topic, you might be interested in the Roundhouse Museum downtown. It’s only partially restored but pretty interesting. There’s also a railroad shop at the corner of Bull and Oglethorpe Streets that has a bunch of memorabilia and modeling stuff. The owners like to talk trains, and Savannah was at one time a railroad town. There’s still a lot of rail here, but the freight side isn’t as visible as the old passenger rails.


"Eat at Joe's."

- Joe

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I don't know if it fits your desires, but Love's Seafood on US 17 at the Bryan County line (on the Ogeechee River South of Savannah) is pretty good if you're interested in a catfish house. They have a lot of other stuff, but the only reason to go there would be to eat catfish.


"Eat at Joe's."

- Joe

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.....

While I consider Holly More a demi-god of food advice and have eaten at many terrific places based on his recommendations, I’d have to say that the best part of Wall's BBQ is finding the place; the food is somewhat of a letdown.

Alas, my lot in life. Always a demigod, never a god.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Well, Holly, most of us have never had our names mentioned in the same sentence with God, so you're doing well. Being a demigod helps keep you humble, I suppose.........

This should be a great time for oysters. A good friend was here (central Maryland) last week and he brought up 2 bushels of Bull's bay oysters from McClellanville, SC. They were fantastic, as always. Small to medium in size and exquisitely salty. Same sort of thing should be available in Savannah, I would think. Try to get local product. If not from right there, if they have SC oysters from Bull's bay (30 miles north of Charleston) or the Folly River (separates James Island from Folly island in the Bowen's island neighborhood just south of Charleston), I think you'll be pleased.

Right now is not quite shrimping season. Shrimping is more of a warm weather fishery.

They should have local shrimp, but they most likely will have been frozen, but shrimp freeze very well.

The blessing of the shrimp fleet in McClellanville is the first weekend of May, sort of the ceremonial start of the season that runs well into autumn.

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I haven't experienced much luck finding Georgia oysters in restaurants since the demise of Teeples; most seem to come from Bluffton, just across the border.

DT Barton is right about shrimp season. It usually starts in mid-May, and this year it ran later that usual, to the end of January. While any local shrimp you find will therefore be previously frozen, the same is true for any non-local shrimp.

The advantage of being a demigod is you still have to eat. The disadvantage of being a mere mortal is that I can't even type Holly's last name correctly. Sorry, Sir.


"Eat at Joe's."

- Joe

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<a href="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1206634299/gallery_7493_5845_142845.jpg; "><img style="margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right;" src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1206634299/gallery_7493_5845_142845.jpg"</a> The Crab Shack is definitely a fun spot what with this critter, who was not on the menu, available for gawking at (and returning the stare).

Couldn't find Desposito's (probably because of all the road resurfacing going on along Hwy. 80), so I went to the Crab Shack. The shrimp may well have been frozen, but they tasted just fine in the Low Country Shrimp Boil. Nice combination of protein, starch and fat, the last nutritional component courtesy of the kielbasa-like sausage cuts. I like my corn considerably less water-logged, but it still tasted like corn, even this early in the season. Frozen like the shrimp?

I started with a half dozen oysters on the halfshell. Although the oysters were fine, maybe it's my Yankee bias, but I prefer cold water oysters: they provide the briny, mineral taste I've always associated with this particular bivalve. Hmmm, maybe a friend oyster sandwich is in order, since these speciments would make a fine version with some remoulade and shredded lettuce.

I drove by North Beach Grill without realizing it was North Beach Grill. Maybe next time.

Likewise, couldn't make it to Dewey's because it wasn't going to open until 4 or 5 p.m. and I wanted to be back in Savannah by then.

I did stop for a peach ice cream cone on the way off the island. Basic premium ice cream (not super premium), but it hit the spot.

Tomorrow's up for grabs. Maybe Vic's.


Edited by rlibkind (log)

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Made it to Vic's today (thanks for the rec, maf) and enjoyed the the shrimp and grits. I'm a big fan of corn meal derived starches, so it didn't surprise me I liked grits, although I had never had them before this trip to Savannah. They do require a tasty sauce, imho, and the rich ham-laden sauce at Vic's worked well. On a lark, I ordered the pulled pork egg roll; while I wouldn't go out of my way to order it again, it was okay, especially with the mustardy sauce (which tasted similar to the mustard-currant jelly mix in which I cook cocktail franks when I don't wrap them as pigs-in-the-blanket).

Went to the Audra McDonald concert tonight (wonderful) and followed that by walking around to Leopold's Ice Cream. SWMBO had the hot fudge sundae (not enough hot fudge for her taste, but she drinks the stuff by the tankerload) and I lapped up a dish of rum raisin. I'll have to try Bassetts rum raisin again for a taste test when I'm back in Philadelphia!


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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We hit two of the spots on the list today: Gerald's Diner for lunch and Toucan Café for dinner.

We arrived at Gerald's at 12:30 p.m., just a half hour before closing time for Saturday, so only one other table was occupied when we got there. SWMBO wanted eggs, so she had a single egg over with biscuit and bacon. The egg was quite large cooked to her taste, the biscuit light and fluffy the bacon scrumptious (I tasted some from her very large serving). I ordered the fried fish/shrimp combo with hush puppies and cole slaw. The fish (whiting) was sweet, and both shrimp and fish featured a crispy, spicy cornmeal breading that wasn't too thick but perfectly crispy. The oniony hush puppies crispy little balls of corn meal goodness. The creamy-style slaw wasn't shabby, either. If Gerald's other dishes are up to the quality we experienced today, it's a fine spot. (Even if they aren't, it would still be a fine spot based on what we ate alone.) If the friendly staff was put out because we may have kept them from closing a tad early, they didn't let on.

We thoroughly enjoyed dinner at the Toucan Café, but it seemed as much Greek as Caribbean, what with spanakopita and "Hellenic" chicken on the menu. Not that I minded! The bread brought to the table was nearly a dead ringer from the springy Greek white bread I buy in Philadelphia for dipping into taramasalata, except that it was flavored with rosemary and garlic, trying to be foccacio. The rosemary seemed to be overused; with bread seasoned so strongly, I hardly wanted the same flavors to be whipped into the table butter. Likewise SWMBO thought the jerk chicken she ordered, delicious as it was, should have omitted the rosemary as a flavor component. After all the shrimp and fish this week, I wanted red meat, so I ordered the special "black and blue" rib steak, which was a peppered ribeye with blue cheese. The steak came as ordered (medium rare) and was reasonably tender, though it was a tad flavorless for a rib steak (not enough marbling); however, the blue cheese mostly made up for the lack of fat. I didn't expect to get an exceptional steak, but I did expect a decent one; I wasn't disappointed. (Rosemary made its presence felt in the roasted potatoes.)

One of the highlights at Toucan Café was the garlic pickles. Seeing the menu tout its homemade pickles lured me to order them, and I was pleased with them. They were sweet pickles, akin to bread-and-butter pickles, with garlic and just a hint of Tabasco. I bought a container to bring home, they were that good.

We both brought leftovers back to our flat, so that will be dinner tomorrow evening. Our last restaurant meal in Savannah will probably be brunch at the Firefly Café if the line isn't too long.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Today was our last day in Savannah -- we leave tomorrow morning with a breakfast break at one of SWMBO's favs since her days in Athens, Georgia: The Waffle House.

For brunch, I enjoyed my third serving of shrimp and grits this week, this time at the Firefly Café just on the other side of Troupe Square from our digs. I finished every last morsel of the bacon gravy flavored dish. SWMBO stuck with eggs, hash browns (she hates grits, and usually rhymes it "grits is s---s " to express her feelings about the dish. She may have lived in Georgia for four or five years, but she didn't adopt some of the state's food preferences, especially grits. Service was okay though not quite professional (SCAD students, no doubt); had to ask twice for a coffee refill, which is a no-no before 12 noon on a Sunday morning.

We weren't intending to eat out again today, given that we had leftovers waiting from our Toucan Café excursion last night. However, after a stop at the Byrd Cookie Company (exceedingly overpriced, but very good, cookies and savories in tins, especially the sesame-cheese Benne [sesame] Bits SWMBO discovered during her Georgia days), across the strip mall parking lot, a sign shined as a beacon: The Dawg House Grill. Drawings and photos of Uga (all the successive Ugas) adorned the interior, with a couple big red ones on the exterior. (For those unaware, Uga is a real, live bulldog, the mascot of the U of Ga. "How 'bout them Dawgs!" is not a question.) Incredibly, it was not a chain restaurant. More like a family-oriented sports bar. The hot dogs were merely okay, grilled and what tasted like a beef-pork extrusion into a thin, unsnappy collagen casing. I had one "lonely" (no adornments; add mustard or whatever yourself at the table), and one "coney" with a slightly spicy, meaty sauce, onions and yellow mustard. What were outstanding, however, were the onion rings, freshly made on premises. I could see spending some time watching them Dawgs on the wide screen tvs some autumn Saturday afternoon, ordering rings and downing PBRs.

And attention New Jersey hot dog fans: The Dawg House Grill features "The Ripper," and it sounds right. Here's what the menu says: "Deep Fried Hot Dog, in bun, loaded and ready for your eating pleasure! Loaded with Relish, yellow mustard, onions." Hard to imagine The Dawg House's owners haven't made a trip to Rutt's Hut. I'm not a fan of the Rutt's Hut style, though I understand its attractions, so I didn't order one.

Thus ends our visit to Savannah, which offers plentious good food as well as charming architecture and 22 inviting neighborhood squares.

Now, can anyone tell me where I can get authentic shrimp and grits when I get back to Philly?


Edited by rlibkind (log)

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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No help now, but Jack McDavid had shrimp and grits on the breakfast menu at the Down Home Diner for quite awhile in the 90's.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Funny, I was talking to Jack just the day before I left and asked him about Savanah, and he said he'd never been hereabouts. How were his shrimp and grits?


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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The White Dog has shrimp and grits on the menu. I'm not going to tread on the dangerous path of assessing authenticity, but it's tasty.

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Funny, I was talking to Jack just the day before I left and asked him about Savanah, and he said he'd never been hereabouts. How were his shrimp and grits?

They were good. I talked him into putting them on the menu after having them in Charleston.

Is Jack still at the diner on occasion, that you ran into him?


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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The White Dog has shrimp and grits on the menu.  I'm not going to tread on the dangerous path of assessing authenticity, but it's tasty.

Having eaten shrimp and grits at several places in South Carolina (and making them myself), it seems to me that "shrimp and grits" is kind of a generic term like gumbo or jambalaya that is open to many interpretations and variations depending on who's cooking. Hard to claim that one's more authentic than another. If you search for shrimp and grits recipes, they're all over the map with respect to ingredients and methods.

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Now, can anyone tell me where I can get authentic shrimp and grits when I get back to Philly?

Been a few years since I was there, but Allison at Bluebell was doing a lot of grits dishes for awhile.

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