Monday, March 3, 2008

Travelogue: Fry-day in Savannah

As most of you have probably noticed, it's Monday. The blog entries are on a slight delay due to the lack of laptops while traveling. I was on vacation from both careers, writing and my day job, so I decided to go tech-free except for cell phone in case of family emergencies. We had hubby's blackberry for directions and whatnot, but other than that, no computing power. Luckily the withdrawal effects didn't last too long.

We spent Thursday night in Macon and drove to Savannah on Friday morning. Seeing as it's currently Lent, so no meat for me on Fridays, we hit seafood restaurants for lunch and dinner. Lunch was at Uncle Bubba's Oyster House on Whitemarsh Island. Bubba is Paula Dean's brother, and at his restaurant, they refer to the Lady herself as, simply, "Paula." Although it's a seafood place, her fried chicken is on the menu. I guess it's where to get it if you don't feel like waiting in line or spending the day on the phone to get into Lady and Sons. After looking over the menu, I couldn't help but think that this would not be a place to try and eat healthy. Even the salads looked like they'd clog one's arteries. With that observation, we dove in.

Hubby had never had fried pickles, so we shared an order of the Fried Dill Pickles, which was served with a remoulade dip. Yes, in the South, you can fry darn near anything! They were okay, cut a little too thick. The ones at the Fickle Pickle in Roswell are much better. For our main course, I had the Fried Oyster Po'Bubba, and Hubby had the Fried Shrimp Po'Bubba. The oysters were from Louisiana, according to the blackboard hanging in the main dining room, and they definitely tasted fresh under their crispy coating. The fries were standard restaurant fries, and they got a little mushy under the weight of the sandwiches (all were served in baskets). The standout of the meal was the cornbread that everyone gets after sitting down. It was amazing with crispy exterior, soft center, and a slightly sweet flavor. Although Uncle Bubba has a full bar at his restaurant, his wine list is not posted online, so I'm afraid I can't comment on it. Also, we didn't have any room for dessert, but the chocolate creme brulee bears further investigation upon a return trip.

Score card:
Atmosphere: As would be expected, but with very nice views of the river and surrounding marshes
Food: Good
Wine list: ?
Wait staff: Very good
Desserts: ?
Vegetarian friendly? Hell, no
Kid friendly? Probably
Would I go back? If I was in the area, I'd consider it

That afternoon, after checking into our B&B, we took a tour of the Owens-Thomas House. It was elegantly restored and furnished and gave a good glimpse of what everyday life would have been like in the mid-19th century for the upper class.

Somehow we managed to find our appetites again for dinner, which was with a friend at the River House Seafood Restaurant and Bakery. Yes, I heard bakery and was intrigued. I even brought home a paper menu with the recipe for "Chatham Artillery Punch," which looks to be a potent brew. I started off the evening with a King Estate Pinot Gris from Oregon, which had a very strong grapefruit flavor but turned out to be very good with food. Our friend had the St. M Riesling, which was on the sweet side, and Hubby had a Naked Chardonnay, which had a surprising amount of fruit and a little bit of sweetness to go with its butter, and, best of all, no oak. All of the main courses are served with a caesar salad that's tossed table-side, and it's so good that our vege-phobic friend ate the whole thing. I moved on to a Rodney Strong Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, California with dinner. We visited the tasting room on our trip to California in 2005, and Rodney Strong has always been a safe choice. The Pinot Noir was smooth and fruity with a hint of mineral and went well with my tuna.

For dinner, I had the yellowfin tuna, which was cooked rare and topped with mushrooms, green onions, and tomatoes and served over angel hair pasta. It was fantastic, and I'm not typically a tuna fan. The fish was fresh without even a hint of fishy flavor, and the whole dish held together well. Hubby had the pecan encrusted tilapia, which he described as "typical." Our friend had the chicken marsala, which he said tasted a little fishy. I had the chocolate cheesecake for dessert, and it was excellent. The only complaint I have about this restaurant is that our friend had to box his own leftovers. If you have entrees with prices over $20, the servers should box leftovers.

Score card:
Atmosphere: Nice with good people-watching out the windows
Food: Very Good
Wine list: Somewhat short, but with a good variety
Wait staff: Very good
Desserts: Very good
Vegetarian friendly? Probably not
Kid friendly? Not sure
Would I go back? Probably

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