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Short Virginia to Florida and back through Charleston SC blog


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DAY ONE 6/10/2022

We took a little trip – the first real vacation we’ve taken since the beginning of the pandemic in February 2020.  For the folks who are on FB with me, I didn't talk about the Florida aspect of it there because there is a relative that lives there that I don't care to spend time with - especially since we only had two day.  So that's why on FB it only looks like we went to Charleston.  We left Richmond on the morning of the 10th heading south on the way to Florida.  No stops of note until our traditional stop at the out of control South of the Border just inside the South Carolina border.  This tourist trap is one that I’ll stop at every time I drive by.  I grew up wanting desperately to go there and being fascinated by what I could see from I-95:

1-IMG_9602.jpg.3df9a54da3e33e9e3b4ecd7fdcb56b05.jpg

 

1-IMG_9600.thumb.jpg.756c9c808bf8dd2e649e9d7b9206425f.jpg

Not to mention those amazing billboards up and down the highway:

1-IMG_9595.jpg.aace31a7cf4a93ec7e4df2432310ea2d.jpg

But Ted was his most British on long drives and put his nose in the air and foot on the gas and refused to indulge me (though he indulged me in a myriad of other ways).  Mr. Kim’s dad was similar. So, as adults in control of our own car with our own spending money, we stop every trip.  My little fat self was always curiously craving cafeteria foods, Drive In movie snacks, gas station hot dogs, etc.  I still have that curiosity, though I don’t gratify it very often.  But understanding that, you’ll know how hard it is for me to turn away from this:

1-IMG_9599.jpg.efeadef3448d2917fd4777e1e01209d8.jpg

I mean they have a giant hamburger on the ROOF!  AND they serve tamales.  But I managed to deny myself and just got a drink.  In the bizarre time warp of Pedro’s South of the Border, they still sell candy cigarettes:

1-IMG_9606.jpg.4c77ab33e6b394101b50b6e6429dee55.jpg

 

One of the reasons that I was willing to leave South of the Border untasted was because we’d decided to take a slight detour off I-95 to go here in Holly Hill, SC:

1-20220610_145726.jpg.f132afa5045d555f7f13f991cf2a7fbf.jpg

When you see the sign, you think that it’s hard to believe this place has only been open 45 years.  It feels much older and more established.  And then you read this on their website:

"Mr. and Mrs. Harold Sweatman, better known as Bub and Margie Sweatman first opened a small bar-b-que place in the town of Holly Hill, SC in 1959. After closing this location, they only cooked for special gatherings with family and friends. Cooking for these occasions took place in the "old dairy" which was located just a few yards from the Sweatman's home.  Their desire to open a bar-b-que restaurant came to fruition when they purchased an old farmhouse. Sweatman's Bar-B-Que opened for business in 1977. "   

 

The house where the restaurant is located:

1-IMG_9612.jpg.dd4c8afa9b6e68c1b8b663bebfe059c3.jpg

 

And the pit house in the back:

1-IMG_9617.thumb.jpg.2454e8d9c795858ce70af5f0ad74b7f6.jpg

 

They cook during the week and are only open Fridays and Saturday.  They do whole hogs over oak, hickory, and pecan and baste them with their mustard sauce (mustard based BBQ sauce is a SC tradition).  The menu:

1-IMG_9607.jpg.3c6cbc341376a18772f344ddbe019625.jpg

 

My “plate”:

1-IMG_9608.jpg.b31e9b3be44d8b6b483421f01ef03601.jpg

Gorgeous mac & cheese, some short ribs (these aren’t even mentioned, we just got them with our meal) – incredibly tender and flavorful, pulled pork and hash on rice (see Mr. Kim’s description below).  On top is just a casual piece of crisp, fatty crackling.  Every portion gets one until they run out. 

 

Mr. Kim’s meal:

1-IMG_9609.jpg.c53790b358aefb9d2524891354d40e96.jpg

Slaw, ribs, hash on rice (some of those short ribs, too – you just can’t see them).

 

And a little cup of banana pudding, because how can you not?

1-IMG_9610.jpg.4916fb4b26854ed808c62086128f5637.jpg

I didn’t even mind the use of Nilla Wafers.

 

Every single thing was truly delicious. 

 

Mr. Kim’s Yelp review: "Sweatman's is legendary.  I am glad we diverted off of the tedium of I-95 to eat here.  You have to love barbecue to go looking for this place, but it is time well spent.  An old school pit to plate kind of place, you won't find anything fancy here.  But Sweatman's delivers good smoked meats....  ribs are pretty much unadorned but well smoked.  A good deal fattier than I prefer, but tasty.  Whole hog pork is very well executed.  The barbecue hash over rice is really good -- for those unfamiliar, it is like a thickened brunswick stew with bbq meat in it.  If you are like me (and I pity you if you are) and are obsessed with tasting the full variety of what the world of BBQ has to offer, this is one place you have to include on your list."

 

We got to our friends’ in time for dinner.  Mr. Kim had brought, as requested, some of his BBQ which we had for dinner:

1-IMG_9623.jpg.34475fc9483232891f045ffc133dde1d.jpg

We brought the slaw and meat, they supplied the buns, beans, and broccoli salad.  They couldn’t believe that we’d eat BBQ for lunch and be ready for it again at dinner.  We told them that one of our retirement dreams is to do a couple of months long BBQ crawl all over the south.  Day one done.  Went to be exhausted, full, and smelling vaguely of smoke.

 

More to come!  

 

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15 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

DAY ONE 6/10/2022

We took a little trip – the first real vacation we’ve taken since the beginning of the pandemic in February 2020.  For the folks who are on FB with me, I didn't talk about the Florida aspect of it there because there is a relative that lives there that I don't care to spend time with - especially since we only had two day.  So that's why on FB it only looks like we went to Charleston.  We left Richmond on the morning of the 10th heading south on the way to Florida.  No stops of note until our traditional stop at the out of control South of the Border just inside the South Carolina border.  This tourist trap is one that I’ll stop at every time I drive by.  I grew up wanting desperately to go there and being fascinated by what I could see from I-95:

1-IMG_9602.jpg.3df9a54da3e33e9e3b4ecd7fdcb56b05.jpg

 

1-IMG_9600.thumb.jpg.756c9c808bf8dd2e649e9d7b9206425f.jpg

Not to mention those amazing billboards up and down the highway:

1-IMG_9595.jpg.aace31a7cf4a93ec7e4df2432310ea2d.jpg

But Ted was his most British on long drives and put his nose in the air and foot on the gas and refused to indulge me (though he indulged me in a myriad of other ways).  Mr. Kim’s dad was similar. So, as adults in control of our own car with our own spending money, we stop every trip.  My little fat self was always curiously craving cafeteria foods, Drive In movie snacks, gas station hot dogs, etc.  I still have that curiosity, though I don’t gratify it very often.  But understanding that, you’ll know how hard it is for me to turn away from this:

1-IMG_9599.jpg.efeadef3448d2917fd4777e1e01209d8.jpg

I mean they have a giant hamburger on the ROOF!  AND they serve tamales.  But I managed to deny myself and just got a drink.  In the bizarre time warp of Pedro’s South of the Border, they still sell candy cigarettes:

1-IMG_9606.jpg.4c77ab33e6b394101b50b6e6429dee55.jpg

 

One of the reasons that I was willing to leave South of the Border untasted was because we’d decided to take a slight detour off I-95 to go here in Holly Hill, SC:

1-20220610_145726.jpg.f132afa5045d555f7f13f991cf2a7fbf.jpg

When you see the sign, you think that it’s hard to believe this place has only been open 45 years.  It feels much older and more established.  And then you read this on their website:

"Mr. and Mrs. Harold Sweatman, better known as Bub and Margie Sweatman first opened a small bar-b-que place in the town of Holly Hill, SC in 1959. After closing this location, they only cooked for special gatherings with family and friends. Cooking for these occasions took place in the "old dairy" which was located just a few yards from the Sweatman's home.  Their desire to open a bar-b-que restaurant came to fruition when they purchased an old farmhouse. Sweatman's Bar-B-Que opened for business in 1977. "   

 

The house where the restaurant is located:

1-IMG_9612.jpg.dd4c8afa9b6e68c1b8b663bebfe059c3.jpg

 

And the pit house in the back:

1-IMG_9617.thumb.jpg.2454e8d9c795858ce70af5f0ad74b7f6.jpg

 

They cook during the week and are only open Fridays and Saturday.  They do whole hogs over oak, hickory, and pecan and baste them with their mustard sauce (mustard based BBQ sauce is a SC tradition).  The menu:

1-IMG_9607.jpg.3c6cbc341376a18772f344ddbe019625.jpg

 

My “plate”:

1-IMG_9608.jpg.b31e9b3be44d8b6b483421f01ef03601.jpg

Gorgeous mac & cheese, some short ribs (these aren’t even mentioned, we just got them with our meal) – incredibly tender and flavorful, pulled pork and hash on rice (see Mr. Kim’s description below).  On top is just a casual piece of crisp, fatty crackling.  Every portion gets one until they run out. 

 

Mr. Kim’s meal:

1-IMG_9609.jpg.c53790b358aefb9d2524891354d40e96.jpg

Slaw, ribs, hash on rice (some of those short ribs, too – you just can’t see them).

 

And a little cup of banana pudding, because how can you not?

1-IMG_9610.jpg.4916fb4b26854ed808c62086128f5637.jpg

I didn’t even mind the use of Nilla Wafers.

 

Every single thing was truly delicious. 

 

Mr. Kim’s Yelp review: "Sweatman's is legendary.  I am glad we diverted off of the tedium of I-95 to eat here.  You have to love barbecue to go looking for this place, but it is time well spent.  An old school pit to plate kind of place, you won't find anything fancy here.  But Sweatman's delivers good smoked meats....  ribs are pretty much unadorned but well smoked.  A good deal fattier than I prefer, but tasty.  Whole hog pork is very well executed.  The barbecue hash over rice is really good -- for those unfamiliar, it is like a thickened brunswick stew with bbq meat in it.  If you are like me (and I pity you if you are) and are obsessed with tasting the full variety of what the world of BBQ has to offer, this is one place you have to include on your list."

 

We got to our friends’ in time for dinner.  Mr. Kim had brought, as requested, some of his BBQ which we had for dinner:

1-IMG_9623.jpg.34475fc9483232891f045ffc133dde1d.jpg

We brought the slaw and meat, they supplied the buns, beans, and broccoli salad.  They couldn’t believe that we’d eat BBQ for lunch and be ready for it again at dinner.  We told them that one of our retirement dreams is to do a couple of months long BBQ crawl all over the south.  Day one done.  Went to be exhausted, full, and smelling vaguely of smoke.

 

More to come!  

 

I may be mistake but I could swear that Anthony Bourdain did a piece on this place in one of episodes, maybe 'No Reservations'.  Anyway, it was quite the place and the lines to get in were l-o-n-g.

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Thank you for treating us to a blog on your trip.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first installment and am looking forward to the next one.

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21 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

No stops of note until our traditional stop at the out of control South of the Border just inside the South Carolina border.  This tourist trap is one that I’ll stop at every time I drive by.  I grew up wanting desperately to go there and being fascinated by what I could see from I-95:

When we were kids, we always wanted to stop there - how could you not after seeing all those build-up billboards for miles and miles! My parents never obliged either.  They used to be well known for selling fireworks, if I recall.

 

24 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

We told them that one of our retirement dreams is to do a couple of months long BBQ crawl all over the south.

Ooooh!  I'd be happy to follow along for that thread here! Could we have dueling Princessmobiles one day???

 

Thanks for taking us along!

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46 minutes ago, lindag said:

I may be mistake but I could swear that Anthony Bourdain did a piece on this place in one of episodes, maybe 'No Reservations'.  Anyway, it was quite the place and the lines to get in were l-o-n-g.


I remember that too. 
 

Can’t wait to read more Kim! 

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5 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

I'm surprised to see candy cigarettes. Are they still legal there? They were outlawed in the UK must be 50 years ago.


They’re definitely still legal here. I’m 42 and remember having them as a kid so they’ve been around for a while. They’re generally considered “retro” candy. 

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2 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

DAY ONE 6/10/2022

We took a little trip – the first real vacation we’ve taken since the beginning of the pandemic in February 2020.  For the folks who are on FB with me, I didn't talk about the Florida aspect of it there because there is a relative that lives there that I don't care to spend time with - especially since we only had two day.  So that's why on FB it only looks like we went to Charleston.  We left Richmond on the morning of the 10th heading south on the way to Florida.  No stops of note until our traditional stop at the out of control South of the Border just inside the South Carolina border.  This tourist trap is one that I’ll stop at every time I drive by.  I grew up wanting desperately to go there and being fascinated by what I could see from I-95:

1-IMG_9602.jpg.3df9a54da3e33e9e3b4ecd7fdcb56b05.jpg

 

1-IMG_9600.thumb.jpg.756c9c808bf8dd2e649e9d7b9206425f.jpg

Not to mention those amazing billboards up and down the highway:

1-IMG_9595.jpg.aace31a7cf4a93ec7e4df2432310ea2d.jpg

But Ted was his most British on long drives and put his nose in the air and foot on the gas and refused to indulge me (though he indulged me in a myriad of other ways).  Mr. Kim’s dad was similar. So, as adults in control of our own car with our own spending money, we stop every trip.  My little fat self was always curiously craving cafeteria foods, Drive In movie snacks, gas station hot dogs, etc.  I still have that curiosity, though I don’t gratify it very often.  But understanding that, you’ll know how hard it is for me to turn away from this:

1-IMG_9599.jpg.efeadef3448d2917fd4777e1e01209d8.jpg

I mean they have a giant hamburger on the ROOF!  AND they serve tamales.  But I managed to deny myself and just got a drink.  In the bizarre time warp of Pedro’s South of the Border, they still sell candy cigarettes:

1-IMG_9606.jpg.4c77ab33e6b394101b50b6e6429dee55.jpg

 

One of the reasons that I was willing to leave South of the Border untasted was because we’d decided to take a slight detour off I-95 to go here in Holly Hill, SC:

1-20220610_145726.jpg.f132afa5045d555f7f13f991cf2a7fbf.jpg

When you see the sign, you think that it’s hard to believe this place has only been open 45 years.  It feels much older and more established.  And then you read this on their website:

"Mr. and Mrs. Harold Sweatman, better known as Bub and Margie Sweatman first opened a small bar-b-que place in the town of Holly Hill, SC in 1959. After closing this location, they only cooked for special gatherings with family and friends. Cooking for these occasions took place in the "old dairy" which was located just a few yards from the Sweatman's home.  Their desire to open a bar-b-que restaurant came to fruition when they purchased an old farmhouse. Sweatman's Bar-B-Que opened for business in 1977. "   

 

The house where the restaurant is located:

1-IMG_9612.jpg.dd4c8afa9b6e68c1b8b663bebfe059c3.jpg

 

And the pit house in the back:

1-IMG_9617.thumb.jpg.2454e8d9c795858ce70af5f0ad74b7f6.jpg

 

They cook during the week and are only open Fridays and Saturday.  They do whole hogs over oak, hickory, and pecan and baste them with their mustard sauce (mustard based BBQ sauce is a SC tradition).  The menu:

1-IMG_9607.jpg.3c6cbc341376a18772f344ddbe019625.jpg

 

My “plate”:

1-IMG_9608.jpg.b31e9b3be44d8b6b483421f01ef03601.jpg

Gorgeous mac & cheese, some short ribs (these aren’t even mentioned, we just got them with our meal) – incredibly tender and flavorful, pulled pork and hash on rice (see Mr. Kim’s description below).  On top is just a casual piece of crisp, fatty crackling.  Every portion gets one until they run out. 

 

Mr. Kim’s meal:

1-IMG_9609.jpg.c53790b358aefb9d2524891354d40e96.jpg

Slaw, ribs, hash on rice (some of those short ribs, too – you just can’t see them).

 

And a little cup of banana pudding, because how can you not?

1-IMG_9610.jpg.4916fb4b26854ed808c62086128f5637.jpg

I didn’t even mind the use of Nilla Wafers.

 

Every single thing was truly delicious. 

 

Mr. Kim’s Yelp review: "Sweatman's is legendary.  I am glad we diverted off of the tedium of I-95 to eat here.  You have to love barbecue to go looking for this place, but it is time well spent.  An old school pit to plate kind of place, you won't find anything fancy here.  But Sweatman's delivers good smoked meats....  ribs are pretty much unadorned but well smoked.  A good deal fattier than I prefer, but tasty.  Whole hog pork is very well executed.  The barbecue hash over rice is really good -- for those unfamiliar, it is like a thickened brunswick stew with bbq meat in it.  If you are like me (and I pity you if you are) and are obsessed with tasting the full variety of what the world of BBQ has to offer, this is one place you have to include on your list."

 

We got to our friends’ in time for dinner.  Mr. Kim had brought, as requested, some of his BBQ which we had for dinner:

1-IMG_9623.jpg.34475fc9483232891f045ffc133dde1d.jpg

We brought the slaw and meat, they supplied the buns, beans, and broccoli salad.  They couldn’t believe that we’d eat BBQ for lunch and be ready for it again at dinner.  We told them that one of our retirement dreams is to do a couple of months long BBQ crawl all over the south.  Day one done.  Went to be exhausted, full, and smelling vaguely of smoke.

 

More to come!  

 

I'm so excited!!!!

 

Those prices are really quite good for this day and age and the food.  Oh my.  I'm sitting here wishing I had it all in front of me.  You've inspired me to throw a small piece of pork in the SV that Ronnie had already smoked.  I need pork sandwiches for dinner now!

 

And the banana pudding.  Love love love.  

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1 hour ago, MetsFan5 said:


They’re definitely still legal here. I’m 42 and remember having them as a kid so they’ve been around for a while. They’re generally considered “retro” candy. 

Yep.  I'm going to be 48 soon and I remember them for sure.  Thought I was super cool pretend smoking with them ....well, who am I kidding.  I was super cool 🙃

 

One more comment.  I've never seen hash over rice before.  Is it BBQ-ish type sauce?

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I am also curious about the hash over rice, pleas tell us more about it.  😋

"There are no mistakes in bread baking, only more bread crumbs"

*Bernard Clayton, Jr.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you to everyone who commented and I’m sorry to take so long to continue.  Life tends to intervene in my plans!

 

@lindag – Bourdain did do a piece on Sweatman’s on an episode of “No Reservations”.  I can’t find the video anywhere.  

 

@Shelby & @BetD – I’ve only ever seen the BBQ hash once before – it was at a BBQ buffet restaurant in NC (sadly, neither of us can remember exactly where it was).  I’m betting that the rice was also on that buffet and those “in the know” put them together.  It tasted to us like a pork-forward Brunswick stew.  Since Mr. Kim is a “smoker” I usually have a pound or so hanging around, so that when I make Brunswick stew I put in a good amount of pork with the chicken.  The recipes I’m seeing include potatoes, mustard, onions, and vinegar.  Some have tomatoes/tomato sauce and some don’t.  Everything is minced very fine. 

 

6/11/2022 Day 2 Jacksonville FL

 

Our hosts made brunch:

1-IMG_9625.jpg.ddd3b06e197df2a7d0f9256010c1eb84.jpg 

These were croissants filled with eggs, cheese, and bacon and then baked. 

 

Dinner was at Orsay.  It is an elegant, but relaxed place with a menu that appeals so much to me.  Their website states: “We are a French bistro incarnated in the American South and our menus feature a mix of traditional Parisian bistro classics, alongside dishes that feature French technique with southern influences.”   Along with what we ordered, so much of what is featured is really classic – a raw bar, smoked fish, Croque Madam, Mussels Frite, roast duck with green lentils, foie gras, escargot – it was truly hard to choose. 

 

All four of us started with Dirty Martinis:

1-IMG_9628.jpg.0fe8b3fdcc7df8f7de41d1bbe9e4f512.jpg 

We thought it was the perfect start to the meal.

 

We shared a Caesar and a shrimp cocktail:

1-IMG_9633.jpg.88a7228f4a7e82a25c55c2bd84572bb9.jpg 

Little Gem lettuce, salt cured lemon & egg yolk, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, fried capers, Boquerone-caper crouton, and Caesar dressing.

 

1-IMG_9632.jpg.aec62746aee15e05545746f8524b50be.jpg 

Poached wild caught local shrimp, cocktail sauce, and fresh grated horseradish.  Large, perfectly cooked shrimp.

 

We ostensibly ordered 4 different meals, but we shared them all.  I love sharing restaurant meals with people like that!

 

Bouillabaisse:

1-IMG_9638.jpg.c904d6f9161f2fd163f6677dc9be5cd6.jpg 

 

1-IMG_9639.jpg.cf1d80dc5a5dc9b17d178b3cc8dffea8.jpg

Assorted fish, wild caught local shrimp, sea scallop, calamari, mussels, Pernod, and saffron tomato broth.

 

Cassoulet:

1-20220611_202313.jpg.d3862284a8d40752330165c29933d874.jpg 

Duck leg confit, fresh field peas, great northern beans, caramelized pearl onions, roasted grape tomatoes, English peas, boudin blanc, fresh lamb bacon, sherry vinaigrette, and fried sage.

 

Beef Stroganoff:

1-20220611_202353.jpg.c36112afb5736ffa53f7324e65c69bc8.jpg 

Red wine braised beef short rib, creme fraiche, leeks, roasted mushrooms, and pappardelle.  Other than the mushrooms (which were large and easily avoided) this was one of the best tasting beef dishes I've ever had.  I've always done/had stroganoff with quick-seared beef and this was truly a revelation.  

 

Lamb ragu over tagliatelle:

1-20220611_202309.jpg.4d69b76cd5d3225520e939ab7782830c.jpg 

 

I don’t know when I’ve had such a classic meal.  I remember going to restaurants like this when I was a little girl, but nothing lately to match this.  All it was lacking was the table side Caesar construction. 

 

Edited by Kim Shook (log)
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Wow … that’s a perfect meal. Of course you had me already at the Dirty Martinis, but the Bouillabaisse, the Cassoulet, the lamb … what a lovely addition to a great trip. 
 

Thanks for sharing 🤗

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@Kim Shook  What you're looking for may have actually been in Season Six of 'Parts Unknown'.  I say 'may' because I can't be sure at this point as that season is not available on HBO right now, but I believe it will be in the future.  You could check on Amazon Prime if you have access to it.

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7 hours ago, lindag said:

@Kim Shook  What you're looking for may have actually been in Season Six of 'Parts Unknown'.  I say 'may' because I can't be sure at this point as that season is not available on HBO right now, but I believe it will be in the future.  You could check on Amazon Prime if you have access to it.

I think it was definitely "No Reservations" - look at what I found on Instagram.

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6/12/2022 Day 3 Jacksonville FL

 

Our hosts also made brunch on Day 3:

1-20220612_113639.jpg.308375658ab00cf91456538dffa6109d.jpg

 

1-IMG_9643.jpg.ece8d183abd116e4f20e9888ef8095b4.jpg

This was a Baked Cherry Cheesecake French Toast.  It was gorgeous – they even made their own cherry pie filling. 

 

Dinner that night was at Azurea, a gorgeous restaurant at a really lovely beachfront hotel in Atlantic Beach FL.  I wish I’d gotten more pictures, but this is the entrance to the restaurant:

1-IMG_9670.thumb.jpg.c8b040f02a49dad0543f2a6cea2fc2ab.jpg

 

Our cocktails (mine is pictured twice):

1-IMG_9674.thumb.jpg.ac7e35a2525cafb20b38e4964a7e4025.jpg

Dirty martini and an Il Pero – Grey Goose ‘La Poire’ pear-infused vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, shaved pear, and Parmesan.  The pear one was mine – absolutely delectable.  The Parm was weird, though. 

 

My drink again and an Aperol Spritz.  Mr. Kim had a Makers on the rocks.

1-IMG_9675.thumb.jpg.a713dcb5802abaad805ffc1716ceb4e1.jpg 

 

The bread service was excellent.  Good bread and fantastic butter.  You know butter is good when everyone at the table exclaims over it:

1-IMG_9673.jpg.142bbdca037faf0311537d7a465ed0be.jpg

 

We got two appetizers for the table – this is the Pear & Prosciutto Flatbread with garlic cream sauce, Brie, arugula, and a pomegranate reduction:

1-IMG_9676.jpg.5e87f2712f2be2527638e432d00bfc47.jpg

 

1-IMG_9678.jpg.2bddf7ff8a0e832fad805bd4429da9c4.jpg

 

The second was a citrus, strawberry and burrata salad with navel orange carpels, mesclun greens, heirloom cherry tomatoes, Marcona almonds, Genovese basil emulsion and a white balsamic reduction:

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This was sublime!  I would eat this very, very often if I lived there. 

 

Once again, we got four mains, but shared.  There were two of these:

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Florida snapper with cider braised collards and a smoked ham hock, roasted tomato & fennel nage. 

 

This was seared scallops, cauliflower rice, Granny Smith apple chow chow, with a carrot-ginger emulsion, Nueske bacon lardons and a beurre Noisette:

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This was what I ordered, and it contained the one off note in the entire meal, which admittedly bothered no one but me:

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A seafood Cobb salad with cornmeal-crusted calamari, pan-seared Diver scallops & shrimp, Romaine, eggs, tomato, avocado, applewood-smoked bacon, pickled red onion, Florida Hearts of Palm, and Maytag Bleu cheese dressing.  It was so good – each element was perfectly prepared and with that gorgeous dressing it was a glorious blend of ingredients.  The “off” thing?  The fried calamari.  It would have been much better if they had grilled it.  The fried breading, while quite good just didn’t go with the rest of the preparation.  But I quibble.  It was truly one of the best meals we’ve had in years.  And, to top it off perfectly, we wandered out the door onto the walkway and out to the beach.  We weren’t dressed to do anything but gaze, so gaze we did.  Neither of us had seen the ocean in SO long.  Do we look replete and happy?

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Oh wow that meal had my mind racing in all sorts of directions. I could try this or that. I agree the breaded calamari would have out me off- grilled would have made texture and taste sense.

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The entrance to Azurea set the stage for the dinner splendidly, didn't it? What a delightful dinner! I'm with you and the others that the fried calamari sounds wrong. I wonder whether they intended it to provide crunch / texture contrast, but it didn't come out right? No matter. I'm amazed at the flavor combinations and delighted that you're showing them to us. Your hosts' brunch offering looks pretty darned good too!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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