We know this is a little late, but we just wanted to say thank you to everyone! Thank you to those who followed us and the restaurants we visited. We had a wonderful time on our Southern Food Roadtrip, and it made it even better that I got to do it with my bestie Tay! At the Paula Deen Store in Savannah Taylor and I found something that summed up our whole trip: matching PINK tanks which say “Put Some South In Your Mouth”. We definitely recommend this to everyone!!!! And don’t worry, this is not the last of us! Especially with summer approaching, there will be many more adventures for megs and tay to come!!!
Sigh… spring break has ended and we are back to school. Meghan and I both are super busy… BUT, I’ve made a little time to blog before getting back to work! A few people have asked us what we are putting with the spices and the vinegar we got at the stores in Savannah, GA. Well, here is a list of what I’ve used my spices & vinegar in so far…
1. Southwest Blend Spice: I’m from Texas so NATURALLY, I am obsessed with guacamole. I used the southwest blend spice in my homemade guacamole which also included “fresh” brand salsa (from harris teeter), a little liquid margarita mix WITHOUT the alcohol and some sea salt, and the avocado of course. I like to make this delicious snack on days when I get home from class early and I am only in the mood for a snack instead of lunch. Avocados are kind of expensive, but the rest of the ingredients go a long way so I justify the price. Also, Avocados are really high in Vitamin A which gives you energy throughout the day.
2. Cajun Blend: I had dinner with my family when I returned from our trip and my mom made baked Tilapia. You can get the Tilapia from the Seafood section of the grocery store that is packaged individually so you don’t have to buy a ton at once to make this dish. My mom breads the Tilapia in Panko crust and bakes in the oven with lemon slices on top of each piece and some spices. This time, in addition to the Panko crust, we topped the Tilapia before baking with the Cajun Blend spice. You can definitely taste the “cajun” in the spices which is a nice complement to the seafood. It isn’t a spicy spicy blend of spices; I’d describe it as a more hearty and rich blend of spices… meaning the spices linger in your mouth afterwards rather than burning off all your tastebuds in heat.
3. Malaysian Ginger Curry: I haven’t used this spice yet but I probably will do a yellow curry chicken dish in a couple of weeks… I love indian food!
4. Harvest Peach Balsamic: I’ve actually gotten alot of use out of this vinegar… I probably should have gotten the full sized jar . We made orzo, tomato, grilled chicken and celery pasta salad a few days ago and this vinegar was PERFECT on top of it. I also made my favorite salad: goat cheese, pecans, spinach leaves and grilled chicken and used the vinegar as the dressing (Can you tell that since I’ve been home I’ve been eating super healthy???)
Well, thats what I’ve made with my spices & balsamic so far… I enjoy to cook so when I have the time, I really want to experiment with these blends! I’ll be sure to post receipes to share! Have a good week everyone!
Our last stop in Charleston was a restaurant opened by two locals (a wife & husband) of Charleston. The restaurant, Caviar & Bananas is located in a residential area of historic Charleston. Meghan and I had looked at the menu before arriving to the restaurant and judging by the food, we had no idea what to expect. Caviar & Bananas is the perfect name for this restaurant as their food is exactly that; rich in flavor and unique like caviar with the simplicity of ingredients like bananas. The restaurant is set up like a market; there is a coffee bar, a salad station, a sandwich station and then, a wide range of foods you can order by the ounce. Within the restaurant are also local products such as pasta, jams and candies that you are able to purchase. Meghan and I were so overwelmed at the choices! Both of us were still pretty full from breakfast so we chose salads. I chose a “create your own” salad ($7): spinach leaves with procuitto, fresh strawberries, goat cheese and Charleston style candied pecans all mixed and tossed with an apple cider bacon vinegarette. I also chose a creamy Avacado and Cucumber soup ($6). The salad was amazing! The pecans weren’t just sauteed in sugar to be “candied pecans”; they were true “candy shop” candied pecans coated in sugar and then rolled in cinnamon. There was no skimping in this salad; there were large portions of goat cheese and strawberries as well as pecans and procuitto to make sure every single bite had notes from each ingredient inside. The procuitto was a special treat; it isn’t an ingredient that you would think to put in a salad nor can you get procuitto at any given restaurant. It was cooked to perfection, crispy yet retaining the oil and flavor within. It was the perfect meat for this salad. The dressing, an apple cider bacon vinegarette was also a perfect pairing for this salad; it had a great flavor yet it wasn’t overwelming like some vinegarettes can be. The avacado and cucumber soup was something like I had never tasted before… it was slightly spicy and had a cucumber”y” aftertaste. You could tell by the texture that the avacado was present, yet you couldn’t really taste it. I’m not sure what other ingredients there were in the soup, but it sure was worth it! Meghan also had an amazing salad ($7)! She chose to make her own salad: a spinach leaf salad with grilled chicken, strawberries, cranberry raisins, bleu cheese, candied pecans and the apple cider bacon vinegarette. She couldn’t stop raving about how tender and juicy the chicken pieces were and how the bleu cheese greatly complimented the strawberries and cranberry raisins.
When we finished eating, I decided to walk around the restaurant and take pictures (I know, I am that awkward person). I made sure I got pictures of the food offered by the ounce as some of the choices were remarkably presented. Take the Mac & Cheese for instance… cut into blocks, just the presentation would be enough to sell me on buying this dish! Other dishes included Seven layer Eggplant Parmesean, Lamb Gyros, Baked Ziti, Grilled Asparagus and many more. Amongst the other stations in the restaurant, there was a balsamic and bread sampling station as well as a few racks worth of wine choices; many of which were local. Overall, Caviar & Bananas was a great place to end our journey in Charleston; it had a great local atmosphere, amazing cuisine, all for the perfect price. This restaurant proved you can have your cake AND eat it too.
Since it was the last day of our southern food roadtrip, we knew we had to do it big and go out with a bang. We did exactly that starting with breakfast. We went to Saffron Cafe and Bakery, we had looked at their menu prior to our arrival and couldn’t wait to eat there. While their breakfast menu looked absolutely grand, all plans of breakfast went out the window when we walked in and saw all their pastries, cakes, and other goodies on display.
Our waiter probs judged us when he came to get our order for breakfast and instead we told him we were going to get dessert. After much deliberation we narrowed it down to three things: s’mores cake, Greek torte, and a berry tart. Each item ranged from $3-$4. To accompany this we each got a coffee and Taylor also got a side of cheese grits. The s’mores cake was amazing, almost as close as making your own s’more fireside. There were three layers to this. The bottom layer was a graham cracker crust, which on top of that was a thick marshmallow mousse layer, and on top of all of that was rich creamy chocolate layer garnished with more marshmallows.
The Greek torte was something neither of us had had before. It had a pistachio crust, with a cheesecake layer, topped with a chocolate mousse layer, more cheesecake layered, and topped off with ground pistachios. Three words: TO DIE FOR. Each flavor was distinct and rich, we were definitely glad we decided to try this.
Last on for our breakfast was the berry tart. It was two layers of moist sponge cake, each topped with whipped cream and strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. It so refreshing and light compared to the other two desserts, but we enjoyed it just as much as the others.
Taylor said her cheese grits were some of the best she ever had. They were made with white cheese and were extra creamy. Let’s just say Big Jenny finished them all.
Saffron literally took the cake. It was hard to choose our favorite from what we had sampled and we doubt you would be able to either. After overindulging, we figured it would probably be a good idea to walk around Charleston and used shopping to motivate us. Of course we had to visit the iconic infamous Charleston Market, so we made our way down King St. We found some great shops including Lilly Pulitzer, a bridal boutique (ya we were those girls), the cutest jewelry store, and some awesome consignment shops. Continuing to walk down King St for BLOCKS we finally decided to look at my iPhone map again when the street started to get a little sketchy. We concluded that the market was too far to walk to and that we would drive to it after lunch, so we headed back to the car. On the way back we came across a doughnut shop, WE WERE IN LOVE! We walked in and were overwhelmed by all the delicious original doughnuts at Glazed. We chose to split the rosemary honeybun. It sounded like such an interesting combo, so we had to try it. Not sure what to expect, we dug in. It was actually the perfect pairing! The rosemary simply enhanced the taste of the honeybun; it was not an overpowering flavor, which we expected. It brought out the real honey that was glazed on the dough. Needless to say we were pleased (and may be experimenting with rosemary and honey in our cupcakes soon)!
While we were enjoying our honeybun we realized that I had misread my iPhone map and that we were walking the wrong way the whole time. Sorry not sorry, we would have never have found Glazed if I didn’t. Basically it was a sign that Glazed is something that can’t be missed in Charleston.
Don’t judge us, but going on a food road trip is HARD.WORK. But seriously… you have to eat delicious food and then drive along the Southern coast to each place… we can only imagine how our favorite stars on the food network do this as a career. (we’re being sarcastic in case you couldn’t tell)
Anyways, Meghan and I arrived to Charleston, SC around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, checked into our motel/inn and rested a bit before we headed out for dinner. Our choice for dinner was featured on the food network show, Diners Drive-ins and Dives and we heard such great things about it, we HAD to go. Luckily, we went on a weekday night so it wasn’t overly crowded. Early Bird Diner puts truth in the common phrase, “you can’t judge a book by its cover”. The diner is along a busy road outside of Charleston near some car dealerships and fast food restaurants.
When you enter, the place looks like a local diner but nothing over the top. It isn’t until you receive your food that you realize why this gem of a restaurant was featured on the food network channel. Meghan and I chose to split three dishes; for an appetizer, we got an order of homemade fried pickles (yes, homemade pickles, homemade tartar dill sauce AND homemade batter). Both of us were overwhelmed at the flavor! The pickles were thickly sliced and deep fried in a delicious thick cornmeal batter. They were beautifully complimented with a tartar sauce which had hints of dill inside.
For our main course, Meghan and I split two dishes; Oreo pancakes and an off-the-menu special, Chicken and Waffles. The oreo pancakes were light and fluffy with oreo pie crust baked into the pancakes. Drowned in syrup that we poured all over the pancakes, each bite was an indulgence. It was like I was five years old again, Mom was out of town and Dad let us have dessert for breakfast. Except in this case, there was no guilt associated with our indulging!
If the pancakes weren’t enough to make our visit to Early Bird Diner worthwhile, the famous Chicken and Waffles were! Belgian waffles with boneless pecan encrusted chicken on top; then, syrup and homemade honey mustard drizzled atop the whole concoction – absolute perfection! I had never had chicken and waffles before but after one bite, I completely understood the concept. The salty and crispy taste of the chicken complimented with the sweet and fluffy waffles created the most perfect combination. The whole meal was so amazing, Meghan and I couldn’t even finish the whole thing we were so stuffed. The chicken & waffles was $9, the oreo pancakes were $6.75 and our order of fried pickles was $5. Aside from the amazing food, the service was more than welcoming- we felt just like locals!
Since we finished our “breakfast” for dinner around 7:45, we headed to historic Charleston to catch dessert at Kaminsky’s. Kaminsky’s serves legit homemade desserts and amazing drinks. We chose piece of Tiramisu cake and sat at the bar area. Having recently turned 21, I took this opportunity to try a specialty martini. Our bartender, a College of Charleston student was more than friendly, telling me in detail about all of the martinis and which one he thought i would like best. For my first drink, I chose a Mango Tango martini. With mango vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, lemon and lime juice and a little tonic water, this drink was amazing! It even had a cool peachy color!
In small talk bartender/ customer conversation, we told our bartender all about our road trip and he made me a specialty “charleston” mixed shot. To this day, I have no idea what was in it, and all I can say to describe it is that it tasted just like what I would imagine Charleston would taste like if it was a mixed shot. I finished the night with a Sour Pucker Green Apple Martini which tasted just like 7-UP! Each martini was $7.50 and the shot was on the house. Such a deal!
While enjoying my martinis, Meghan enjoyed her water (price: free) and we dug into the Tiramisu cake. The cake was layered; each layer separated by a rich, thick and creamy layer of whipped cream. The cake had the perfect balance of espresso and the mascarpone cheese; all topped with a baby lady finger. Delicious to say the least. Kaminsky’s is in a great location and has a great dessert bar vibe (whatever that means…) Though we didn’t catch our bartender’s name, he was very nice and funny and entertaining as we enjoyed the cake and as I enjoyed my drinks. If you are in the area, you should definitely stop here for a drink, a friendly conversation with a bartender and a nice dessert!
After two nights and two days in Georgia, Meghan and I headed back up the coast towards Charleston. Along the way, we stopped in quaint little Beaufort for breakfast and some sightseeing. Beaufort, population roughly 9,000 people, is a small little town along the coast of South Carolina. The restaurant we picked was locally owned by Roger Blackstone; a true character and renaissance man. When we entered the restaurant, we were warmly welcomed in and seated. The restaurant, decorated with college pendants, flags, pictures with famous people and, newspaper articles, screamed one word: Memories.
When it was time to order, Meghan and I chose to split two dishes; the Shrimp and Grits and, the Homemade Corn Beef Hash. The shrimp and grits came in a large bowl; grits on the bottom, green and red peppers and onions sauteed inside, then topped with shrimp and andouille sausage. Over the deliciousness was a thick layer of melted cheese, a demi glaze and spices. When we dug our spoons into the concoction and took a bite, it was as if a light bulb went on. The concept of putting the cheese ON TOP of the shrimp & grits instead of inside of it was to us, revolutionary. With the cheese on top, flavors from the green & red peppers as well as the andouille sausage were brought out and tasted in every bite. The shrimp and grits were $8.25. The other dish we had was the homemade corn beef hash; a favorite of Blackstone Café locals. Ground corn beef, hash browns and scrambled eggs, all seasoned onto a plate and served with toast… absolutely TO.DIE.FOR. Neither one of us had ever had corn beef hash and seeing as we were on a southern food road trip, we felt it necessary to branch out and try new things. Thank goodness we tried corn beef hash as it was delicious! The corn beef hash was $7.75. With our two dishes, we received a large portion of toasted sourdough bread and English muffins to accompany the dishes. We paired these with apple and grape jam and fed our stomachs until they were full! All in all, we were totes impressed with Blackstone Café and of the amazing and adventurous life that the owner has experienced (We loved looking at all of his pictures on the walls and can only imagine he tells great stories).
Beaufort literally looks like a town out of a movie from the 1960’s so we HAD to drive around and explore… a.k.a. stalk all of the beautiful old southern houses and plan our futures out.
Along our “exploring” adventures, Meghan and I drove past a hot pink building along the side of a shopping center… what could this be? It must be great if it was hot pink… When we got closer, we realized this was a cupcake boutique, Crave. If you don’t know me very well, let me tell you two things about me: 1. My favorite color of ALL time is Pink. 2. If there is one thing I am obsessed with, it is cupcakes. We had to stop. When we went in, we were greeted by the friendly owner, Tamecka Petty and were overwhelmed at all of the flavors of cupcakes available… and these weren’t just normal flavors- these were creative and unique flavors! If the cupcake variety wasn’t enough to overwhelm us, the adorable interior decorations were! Petty has precious cupcake décor inside of her shop; t-shirts with sayings such as “Make cupcakes not war” or “Real men crave cupcakes”. Naturally, Meghan and I were immediately obsessed! Since Meghan and I were on a time crunch to get on the road, we picked a Raspberry Lemon cupcake and a Maple Bacon cupcake to take on the road and to eat when we got to our next destination. When we ate the cupcakes later, they literally melted in our mouths with each bite. The maple bacon cupcake tasted like a mouthful of pancakes and a piece of bacon while the lemon raspberry cupcake was tangy from the lemon yet sweet from the raspberry. Best of all, these cupcakes were only $2 each! A price you can’t beat!
The cupcakes were a great size for the price and were beautifully decorated with delicious butter cream icing. Crave has been opened since September of last year and is a favorite of Beaufort locals. Not going to lie… Meghan and I have since been “craving” Crave cupcakes!
On our ghost tour we learned the story of the Olde Pink House. While the house was being built, the architect and the owner did not get along; the architect was having an affair with the owner’s wife. This tension is what caused the house to be pink. The architect covered the brick with a “special” stucco, so that when it rained the brick would bleed into the stucco and make the house pink. The Pink House is one of the oldest standing buildings remaining in Savannah, which means it has a lot of history and a lot of ghosts. On our tour we had learned that we would be dining with more ghosts. The servants’ children still like to play tricks in the basement, which was the original kitchen of the house but it is now the piano bar. You can hear them (but don’t see them) under your table when you sit down, they argue with the bartender, play chopsticks when the pianist is taking a break, raise and lower bottles, and move drinks. There is also a servant notorious for locking women in the restroom.
Needless to say, we were more than excited to be dining here. We were seated in the great room of the house. This house has remained unchanged since it was built and turned pink, from the hardwood floors to the glass window panes. Everything on the menu sounded wonderful, but unfortunately we couldn’t eat it all. We decided to start our meal with sushi, that is southern sushi. Taylor ordered the pecan crusted chicken breast with blackberry bourbon glaze, served with sweet potatoes with pecan vanilla butter and collards. I ordered the crispy scored flounder with apricot shallot sauce, served with macaroni and cheese and collards.
Before any of our food had arrived biscuits were brought to our table along with whipped butter. These petite biscuits were delicious; they were so delicate and had a hint of honey to them. After we had finished the whole basket, another basket was brought to our table. We thought it was just more biscuits, but we were wrong. This time it was cornbread muffins, which were just as good as the biscuits. This is the only place I know where you get two bread courses, thus we already loved it!
Next to arrive was our southern sushi. You are probably just as curious as we were to see what exactly this southern sushi is; the chef wraps smoked shrimp in grits, then rolls that in coconut crusted nori, and deep fires the whole thing. Next to the sushi was a wasabi aioli and a side cucumber salad. The sushi was yummy! It had a crunchy exterior, but once you bit into it you the grits were so soft and creamy. It had great sectional quality too!
Our entrees arrived next and our mouths started watering immediately. Taylor’s chicken was covered in a slightly tangy and sweet blackberry glaze. Her sweet potatoes were mashed with pralines and were the perfect consistency and sweetness. We both liked our collards; they had lots of little chucks of country ham in them, yum.
My flounder was luscious; the whole fish was served on the plate (minus the head). By the look on my face, the waiter could probably tell I had never eaten a fish like this so he showed me how to do it. Because of the way the chef scores the fish, you just had to slide your fork right under a medallion of meat and it was so tender that it would just pop right off. The fish was crunchy on the outside, which felt like it was deep fried. I usually don’t like sweet meat or fish, but the apricot shallot sauce was perfect with the fish. It wasn’t too sweet and the red pepper flakes gave it an Asian feel. The macaroni and cheese was simple, but was baked to perfection and was pure comfort food.
Our sushi was $8.95, Taylor’s dinner was $17.95, and mine was $26.95. We had great service here; especially being those awkward girls in jeans and cowboy boots when everyone else was in a sports coat and heels. The Olde Pink House serves exquisite food with true southern hospitality. It is a dining experience that everyone must try when visiting Savannah.