As usual, I was on the road again. Although now, I’m long term installed in DC (I moved!), and starting some more regular, scheduled employment (more on that to come.)
Last week, Quentin and I hit the road, picking up his car in Tampa and forging North. Since we’re all about exploring, and I haven’t visited nearly enough of the South (or the West, or Midwest, for that matter), we made a trip out of it.
From Tampa we headed North East to Jacksonville, and spent the night there. We didn’t get to see much of “Jax” but I did manage to locate Brew, a delightfully hipster coffee shop to fuel the next morning before our drive to Savannah.
At Brew (which also serves beer!), I went with the tasty (albeit sweet) vanilla cold brew and a jalapeño-cheddar-sausage kolache (soft roll) l with an egg tucked safely within.
(Clearly starting things off light down South.)
In typical One Hungry Pickle style, I commandeered the drive, so it was from one food location (Brew), to another–a legendary Savannah breakfast spot: Narobia’s Grits & Gravy. We were very excited to eat here–when researching breakfast spots for an upcoming cookbook, I came across Narobia’s and had been eager to try the country cooking that Savannians (Savannites?) spoke so highly of. It’s a really downhome place–no frills to speak of, but just honest, rib stickin’ Southern cooking and lovely service. I went for the smothered shrimp and grits with a side of eggs (and sweet tea of course), while Quentin opted for the smothered crab. The velvety, slightly briny sauce that coated the shrimp was comforting and savory, without overpowering the fresh, sweet seafood. If you’re ever in Savannah, don’t miss Narobia’s.
So, we didn’t do much significant eating (or eating in general, for that matter) after Narobia’s, but Savannah is so glorious I couldn’t resist a couple of pictures. I will say, though, that the sandwiches at Savannah’s Goose Feathers Cafe are really very good and worthy of a casual lunch. (No pics, I’m afraid, but don’t miss the lemonade!) Next Stop: Charleston! I’ve wanted to visit Charleston for a very long time, so I jumped on the opportunity to drive through and spend a couple of nights in this quaint South Carolina city. Once before, in New York, I’d eaten the food of Charleston’s star chef Sean Brock, and was eager to try as much of his cooking as I could– on his home turf. Brock is known as one of the biggest champions of Southern cuisine, and I crammed in two of his restaurants (in two days!) on our trip. On our first night, we had dinner at McCrady’s, his upscale haute dining restaurant, where we dove right in with the tasting menu.
McCrady’s has a fascinatingly old history: it was originally opened in 1778 as a tavern by one Edward McCrady (more on the history here.) In honor of the restaurant’s roots as a watering hole, we started off with cocktails, of course. We both went for whiskey-based dranks, and both were delightful.
One of our absolute favorite tastes was this “snack”, a benne seed wafer with flavored popcorn on top. The flavor was so umami, and Brock’s use of benne seed wafers, a classic in Charleston, with the seed originating in Africa and brought over by slaves, felt very innovative. Also, you can’t beat this presentation:The other taste I can’t get out of my mind? This hidden dome of blue crab encased in a nest of cucumber topped with green almonds. Wow.
McCrady’s was a truly fabulous sensory experience, and one I’ll surely remember for a long time. We spent the next afternoon strolling around the historic district of Charleston, and I was completely taken with the enchanting multi-colored houses, perfectly maintained gardens, and magical side streets. The city has so much history, both good and bad, so we visited the Exchange Museum and also the Old Slave Mart Museum (a must-see) to better understand our surroundings.
While McCrady’s was clearly a wonderfully decadent treat, I’ve been more into laid back dining lately, both for financial and general mood reasons.
Lunch at Husk in this amazing house (pictured below) was by no means a steal in terms of price, but perfectly laid back and absolutely scrumptious it was. Combining pork rinds, pimento cheese, fried chicken, and peanut butter pie in one meal was a daring cardiovascular decision, but, when in the South…!
A couple of other spots we enjoyed in Charleston:
The Belmont (cocktail bar)
Christian Michi (women’s clothing)
And thus, our road trip concluded, and we trundled back to DC with gout developing and Southern charm in our hearts.
1024 Park Street
Narobia’s Grits and Gravy
2019 Habersham St, Savannah, GA
Goose Feather’s Cafe
39 Barnard St. Savannah, GA
2 Unity Alley, Charleston, SC
76 Queen St.