Friday, June 7, 2013

U.S. Adventures: Savannah, GA

We were planning a family trip to Hilton Head and when we realized we had to fly into Savannah, I thought, hey, what a great opportunity to check out Savannah with the kids. My kids seem to love cities as much as they do the beach—New Orleans being one of their favorite trips.  I thought I would just do a brief post on where we ate while we were there. (Really, I am trying to be brief, so not hitting on everything, particularly skipping several of the kids’ meals.)

Anyhow, we arrived just after lunch so I hadn’t made any specific plans for that first lunch and after mentioning that we were headed there on twitter, @AttackResist tweeted me that we must go to Crystal Beer Parlor. I figured, sounded good, we had no other plans, and we were hungry.

In short, we really enjoyed it. In fact, we all agreed it was one of our favorites of the trip. It’s a little out of the way too so I am sure I wouldn’t have found it on my own. It’s an old school place that was established in 1933—and it looks like it. Our waiter was one of the nicest I have experienced in a long time. I asked him for must orders and he told me. And I listened. Hubby and I split fried local shrimp (with onion rings) ($17.95) and a cup of the Crystal Crab stew ($4.95).  The stew was really rich and hearty—had a very slow cooked taste of crab. Loved that they serve it with a side of Sherry to sprinkle on top. It gave it another layer of flavor. Good to share though, man it’s rich.  The shrimp were great.  Some of the best of the trip (and as you will see a lot of shrimp were eaten throughout this vacation). Super tender with a hand battered, very light fried crust.  The onion rings didn’t look that good to me—very lightly battered as well, but they were delicious. They really tasted like onions, with just a hint of the seasoned crust. Not a fan of the Ocilla slaw, which was a slaw with vinaigrette. A little sweet for my taste, even though it is described as “tangy.” The kids loved this place too. Especially the chocolate Johnnycake dessert ($6.50).

Crystal Beer Parlor
For dinner I had researched and made reservations for The Olde Pink House.  This place is really cool. A huge old house with many rooms turned into various dining room, and again really friendly service. Hubby and I shared a couple of appetizers and an entrée. The crab cake appetizer ($13.95) was served with fried green tomatoes.  The thing that made this dish was the remoulade sauce. It had a fair amount of heat from what tasted like horseradish and mustard. It was also tangy. We were both kind of hoarding it, so I asked for an extra side of it. The shrimp and grits ($10.95) was the other app we had and again, the sauce really made this one as well. It was a tasso ham gravy. The grits were in the form of little grit cakes and they, along with the gravy were so good. Creamy, rich and perfectly seasoned. Unfortunately, the 3-4 smallish local shrimp were pretty horribly overcooked and rubbery so we ended up not eating all of them. Honestly, the other stuff was so good on the plate, I didn’t even mind. The concierge at our hotel as well as our waiter suggested we try the specialty of the house, the crispy flounder for our main ($27.95). It was really good as well. And yes, the sauce was great.  It was a whole bone in, skin on flounder (head was removed) that was scored and then very lightly deep-fried.  The tender little medallions of fish just pulled right off onto your fork.  The sauce was an apricot shallot sauce, which I had my doubts about, but it tasted similar to a kind of Thai chili oil sort of flavor. There was certainly a fruit flavor to it, but a good amount of heat as well.  There were sides of collards and grits, but honestly, the food was so rich and filling, it was hard to eat it all (the collards were spicy and delicious though).
Olde Pink House
Our last lunch in Savannah, we tried to go to a restaurant I had read about, Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, but it is a first-come-first-served restaurant and even by 11:30, the line was around the block.  The kids were certainly not having it. So I asked the pedicab driver on the corner for a suggestion nearby and we ended up at The Public.  It was nice to sit on the street, although this was the first place in the South where the service fell off a bit. I had the Carolina pulled pork sandwich($11) (which is a vinegar based sauce), which I really quite liked. It was North Carolina style, rather than the mustard sauce of South Carolina, but it was really very tangy and spicy.  There was a fair amount of cabbage on top, which added a nice crunch, although I could have done with a bit less of it. Hubby continued his quest for his favorite shrimp and grits ($18), and while he also really, really enjoyed the grits and sausage part of this one, again, the shrimp suffered from being overcooked.  These were more of the traditional-style soft grits and they were also really good.  Another great rich, buttery gravy—thicker though, almost like more of a stew.  It was a pretty cool place, very modern, and very crowded inside and out.
The Public
All in all, we had quite a pleasurable food trip in Savannah.  The kids loved the old city, and it is truly a beautiful place to visit. The history, the friendly people, and all that beautiful Spanish moss.

Crystal Beer Parlor
301 West Jones
Savannah, GA 31401
Crystal Beer Parlor on Urbanspoon

The Olde Pink House
23 Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA 31401
The Olde Pink House on Urbanspoon

The Public
1 West Liberty Street
Savannah, GA 31401
The Public Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

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