Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Saturday in Savannah: Sunny with a chance of wine

Saturday morning we woke up to the smells of breakfast: the salty tang of ham, the mouth-watering fruit topping for the waffles, and coffee, which, sadly, was nowhere in reach until we got dressed and went downstairs. The Foley House offered a choice of one of three breakfasts, the Basic Foley, which was typical eggs/grits/breakfast meat fare, the Sweet Foley, which was waffles with berries, and the Savory Foley, which was smoked salmon and cream cheese on a croissant. I had the Sweet Foley, and it was like having pie for breakfast. I had no problem with that.

Stuffed, we wandered out to and through some squares and ended up at the Mercer-Williams House, famous since the movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." Due to fire codes and the presence of only one rather narrow staircase, we could only tour the downstairs, but that was more than enough. The tour guide was knowledgeable, and we all laughed when she referred to the Civil War as "that recent unpleasantness." She also pointed out the vines growing up from the courtyard to the balcony: muscadines. This proved to be foreshadowing, although we didn't realize it at the time (but then, who does?).

We strolled on to Forsyth Park, where the local Savannians were out enjoying the weather and the tourists took pictures of the large fountain. Yes, I did, too. The rhododendrons opened their pink cups to the flawless blue sky, and the Spanish Moss seemed romantic and mysterious until Hubby pointed out that the stuff that had fallen on the sidewalk would scamper right back up the tree when no one was looking. And he says that I have an overactive imagination! We didn't see any of the characters from The Book, as it's called there, but we did see one guy having a very animated argument with someone we couldn't see. And no, he didn't have an earbud or cell phone.

After walking through the park, we turned around and headed back toward the river. We passed a square that is under construction -- apparently the city is putting in a parking deck under it -- and saw a winery sign. A winery? This bore further investigation, and so we headed in. I'll review it in my next post. I'll just say one thing: it's not a smart idea to go tasting Southern wines before you've had lunch.

Luckily, we found a Scottish pub, Molly MacPherson's, where they don't mind if you come in already intoxicated. Hubby had the Blackwatch Burger, which he said was good, and I had a Molly's Favorite, which was a smoked turkey sandwich with melted cheddar and sliced apple. It came on rye, and I had ordered wheat, but that's my only complaint. I'm going to skip the scorecard on this restaurant because it's a pub, and there wasn't really anything remarkable to set it apart from other pubs we've been to. Good food, good beer, 'nuff said.

After lunch, we headed down to the riverfront and walked right into the middle of the First Saturday festival. I had no idea there were that many people in Savannah! Of course, a large part of the crowd was elderly couples who seemed to be part of a large tourist industry-sponsored trap, tag, and release program. We escaped the crowd and went back to the hotel with time to spare for our 4:00 couples' massages.

We ate dinner at Bistro Savannah (no website available), which is located right next to the Scottish Pub. This allowed the sound of bagpipes to drift in periodically during our meal. We ordered a split (half bottle) of The Crossings 2007 (Marlborough, NZ) Sauvignon Blanc. It was fruity on the nose with strong lime, and it had a nicely balanced taste with citrus, mineral, and acid. I started my meal with the mixed greens salad, which had goat cheese and pine nuts and just the right amount of a raspberry vinaigrette that wasn't too sweet. For my entree, I ordered the larger size of the Mussels Mariniere appetizer. The mussels were a little small, but it was a good portion, and the broth was excellent, especially with the rosemary bread. Hubby had the scored flounder, which was really good and had a tangy apricot glaze on it. It was fun watching him try to turn it over to eat the other side. Dessert, a "fallen chocolate cake" with vanilla ice cream and hazelnut caramel sauce, made me very happy.

Score card:
Atmosphere: Nice, a little noisy even outside of the bagpipes, and lacked tablecloths
Food: Very Good
Wine list: Very Good with a decent selection of half bottles, although not many options for glasses
Wait staff: Very good
Desserts: Excellent
Vegetarian friendly? Probably not
Kid friendly? No kid's menu
Would I go back? Yes

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