I had lunch with a good friend the other day, and toward the end of our meal together, she asked, “What are you doing Sunday afternoon?” When I replied with “Not too much, what’s going on?” She said, “Would you like to come pick blueberries with me?” To anyone else, this may have seemed an arduous way to spend the Sabbath, but the wheels in my brain immediately started turning. Would you believe the only way I’ve ever purchased or eaten a blueberry has been from the pint-sized packages sold in the produce section of the grocery store? Pick blueberries, I thought? That sounds like a blast! Continue reading “Scratch Baking & Blueberry Picking in The Peach State”
Bowens Island Restaurant
Charleston, South Carolina
In my short six months as a Charlestonian, I’ve learned one very accommodating notion about the food scene: The Holy City offers a dining experience for every frame of mind. Without a doubt, diners will find their every hearts’ desire–Want high-end fare, served with keen attention to detail on white tablecloths to the tune of jazz music? How about brunch in a funky roadside dive or on the porch of a historic Victorian home-turned-culinary delight? Maybe it’s serenity you seek in the natural surroundings of the Lowcountry–a place where you can gaze upon the marshlands while sinking your teeth into the ocean’s bounty. Chucktown has it all.
While hand-crafted cocktails and perfectly plated entrées are a luxury, sometimes just the taste of crunchy fried shrimp or a good hush-puppy dunked in cocktail sauce and chased by a cold glass of sweet tea does the trick. On a warm Friday night recently, I found such a place: Bowens Island Restaurant. Down home and casual as can be, you’d never know it existed (the restaurant has no website or Facebook page) unless you had a little insider insight.
Just as traffic breaks free on the way out to Folly Beach, visitors will notice a large spray painted sign which points the way down a washed out dirt road to 1870 Bowens Island Rd. Take this road slowly, not just to avoid a flat tire, but because you won’t want to miss the glorious mansions on each side of the road, flanked by shade trees and grandiose Southern porches.
You’ll stand in line to place your order. It can be a long line, because people are willing to wait for good food. I met some friends there around 7 p.m. on a weekend, and we waited about 10-15 minutes.
Views of boats motoring up to the docks, the smell of fresh-caught seafood and the sun setting over the water will keep you pretty entertained. Not to mention the anticipation of at least 10 local brews on tap.
There’s not a bad seat in the house–or outside “the house” for that matter. Take your pick of where to rest your weary bones: Indoor dining room, indoor bar, or outside on the deck facing the water. Should you pick inside, be forewarned, there’s no air conditioning. Ceiling fans and the natural sea breeze keep the air circulating. The dining room is a bustling place. Waiters come barreling out of the kitchen with trays of hot fried seafood, hollering the name on your order.
Orders are served in recyclable cartons with plastic utensils. A big roll of paper towels sits on each table. The menu has everything from fried and boiled shrimp to in-season oysters and fried chicken tenders. The food is well seasoned, hot upon arrival and for those blessed to have eaten a lot on the coast, familiar. Unlike a large percentage of Charleston dining establishments, there won’t be an item on this menu you can’t pronounce or an ingredient you have to question. Hush-puppies, french fries and coleslaw come with just about everything. The “Big Ol’ Seafood Platter” is the most expensive thing on the menu, coming in at $19. Simple, and Some Kinda Good!
If your idea of a night on the town is a laid back, no fuss Lowcountry experience, this is your spot. Open six nights a week from 5 – 10 p.m., you can bet I’ll be there again soon, sipping on a cold Corona.
Now based in Charleston, South Carolina, Georgia native Rebekah Faulk is a freelance writer, entertainer and food enthusiast who writes and speaks about her love of good food and the Coastal South. A Season 2 Contestant on ABC’s “The Taste,” she is the former Statesboro Herald food columnist and past host of the television program Statesboro Cooks. From 2012 – ’14, she appeared regularly as Celebrity Chef at the Statesboro Main Street Farmers’ Market and wrote as a guest blogger for Visit Savannah and The Local Palate. In addition, Faulk’s work is published in Moments magazine and Connect Statesboro. Her culinary accomplishments are recognized in two publications: She is a featured alumna in Georgia Southern Magazine (Spring ’14) and the “Go Girl!” in Moments magazine (March 2104), a tabloid for Moms and Modern Women. To learn more, visit RebekahFaulk.wix.com/RebekahFaulk.
I’m very excited to share with you our new episode of Statesboro Cooks, highlighting my Holiday Inspired Menu Featuring Pastured Pork Tenderloin. In the 30-minute program, I host and serve as an executive producer with my friend, Tyson Davis. If you’re in the Statesboro area, you can catch the show on local cable, Channel 99, at 7:30 p.m. 7-days-a-week throughout the holidays. If not, check it out on YouTube at the link below! I hope you’ll make these recipes, and thank you for watching.
Statesboro Cooks is a Georgia Southern University multimedia communications team production. To see the previous episode I hosted, watch here.
In a little brick building on the side of West Jones Ave. in Statesboro, Georgia sits Lee’s Restaurant, a slice of soul food heaven off the beaten path and a point of pride for those seasoned Statesborians in-the-know. In the same location since 1967, the Lee family has been satisfying hungry palates with their down home, Southern cooking for centuries, serving up what they describe as “soul food made with a lot of love and care.”
When you walk into Lee’s, you pass through the dining room to get to the buffet line. There, you wait your turn to place an order. There is no hostess stand or lobby area, but the employees greet you with kindhearted sincerity and genuine Southern hospitality. If you choose to dine in, you simply take your plate and find a seat.
Blue and white checkered flooring and an eclectic mix of tables and chairs make up the open dining room. Ceiling fans, a mix of silk and live plants and a quaint fire-place add character to the atmosphere. The chairs may have a few rips in their cushions and the tablecloths may not match, but what the restaurant lacks in decor, they more than suffice for in flavor of food.
Hot sauce, pepper sauce and mustard condiments sit on each table, along with a handy roll of paper towels.
The buffet includes a wide variety of mouth-watering dishes, timeless food that to those of us blessed enough to be from the South, tastes like home. The sheer smell takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen and transports me to Dinner on the Grounds during Homecoming at my Baptist church. There are pork chops, liver, neck bones, fried fish, stew beef, meat loaf, macaroni & cheese, rice and gravy, green beans with potatoes and ham-hock, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and fried okra. Dinner is served with your choice of roll or corn bread, sweet tea or lemonade. Here you won’t find a soft drink machine or even a vegan or vegetarian-friendly menu offering tofu and gluten-free options. What you see is what you get, and what you get is pure, Southern gold.
My meat and three with a dinner roll and sweet tea hit the spot. This is the kind of meal that is indigenous to a place, the kind you long for when traveling outside the boundaries of Dixie. It is a delicacy–a plate most Northerners envy and can only aspire to duplicate. It is a flavor and taste many cooks never quite master, one that requires no culinary education, but yet a deep-rooted connection to the foodways of a land. This is a meal that should never be taken for granted. The price for this plate was $6.92 including the tea. Priceless.
Lee’s Restaurant is open for lunch Tuesday – Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. I sure love the “Go Big Blue” shout out on their outdoor sign. Any business who supports my Georgia Southern Eagles and serves up fine food such as this, is a place I’ll return to again and again. With Google reviews like “Best southern cooking around!” and “Don’t let the decor fool you,” take a little detour and see for yourself. Lee’s Restaurant is Some Kinda Good!
New to Some Kinda Good?
Thanks for stopping by! If you like this post, you may also be interested to read about a few of the other local restaurants and bakeries I’ve reviewed. As the Statesboro Herald food columnist and a Georgia Southern University alumna, the ‘Boro is a second home to me. Be sure to like Some Kinda Good on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Instagram, to keep up with all my latest, local food discoveries.
Shrimp and Grits: The Lowcountry staple has been around for more than 100 years and you can hardly visit a restaurant these days without seeing it on the menu. In 2011, Shrimp & Grits was the most popular dish served at weddings across the United States. Continue reading “Shop Local for Wild Georgia Shrimp & Grits”
As far as I’m concerned, Statesboro is home to one of the best little food communities in the South. I have the privilege of living and working in this blessed farm town, and this month, in just a few days, I’m teaming up with Hunter Cattle Company, a family owned and operated pastured and sustainable farm, and The Garden of the Coastal Plain at Georgia Southern University to talk local food and share my story. I hope you’ll be in the crowd!
Farm Heritage Day is Hunter Cattle Company’s biggest event of the year and an annual festival designed to teach attendees about preserving the history of farming and homesteading through educational and inspirational experiences. I attended the event last year and had a blast watching the pig races and walking around the farm. The smell of the food wafting off the grills is enough to make your mouth water!
This year, the Ferguson family has invited me to entertain guests with a 20-minute live cooking demonstration during the event which is this Saturday, Sept. 20. You can find me under the Chef’s Demo Tent at 4 p.m. Join me (and the other 5,000 expected guests!) as I talk about the health benefits of eating pastured eggs, and teach the crowd about how Hunter Cattle’s chickens are raised. Don’t miss out on sampling my Vidalia Onion Quiche featuring Hunter Cattle Co.’s pastured bacon and eggs. You’ll learn why pastured eggs are best and what to look for on package labeling when shopping for eggs. I’ll also share some recipe ideas! It’s sure to be eggcellent. 😉 Hunter Cattle Company is located at 934 Driggers Rd., Brooklet, GA 30415. Learn more about the event by following them on Facebook.
Then, just a few days later on Tuesday, Sept. 23, I’ll be cooking my Wild Georgia Shrimp and Grits with a white wine sauce, during The Garden of the Coastal Plain at Georgia Southern University’s 2014-’15 Lunch and Learn series, titled “Return to Your Roots, Pursue Your Passion.” From Noon – 1 p.m., while you’re eating lunch, I’ll demonstrate my dish live and share my journey from Statesboro to Hollywood on ABC’s “The Taste,” as well as how I became the Statesboro Herald Food Columnist and how I consistently maintain one of Urbanspoon’s top Georgia food blogs by going after the things that make my heart beat.
The sweet lady pictured above to my right is Mrs. Martha Nesbit. I had the opportunity to meet Martha when I volunteered for the Savannah Food & Wine Festival last year. Mrs. Nesbit will be the featured talent at the Garden on Thursday, Oct. 30. Located at 1505 Bland Ave., under the Heritage Pavilion, tickets are $20 including lunch and the program. All proceeds support the Garden. Learn more about these events and purchase your tickets by visiting the Garden’s website or read more on my.georgiasouthern.edu: Lunch and Learn Featuring Rebekah Faulk and Martha Nesbit.
You can keep up with all my appearances by visiting my new website at http://rebekahfaulk.wix.com/rebekahfaulk. Also, if you or someone you know is looking for a speaker, writer or food TV personality for an upcoming event, I hope you’ll share my website with them.
Thanks so much for reading Some Kinda Good. See y’all in Statesboro!
During the summer of 2013, just six months after an intriguing new restaurant popped up in downtown Statesboro on the corner of South Main and West Vine Streets, I ventured inside to discover a restaurant that would become the backbone of our community, and so much more. It would become my go-to place for a special night out on the town, where I would ring in the New Year and the place where I would celebrate my birthday lunch with 15 of my co-workers. It would become the restaurant I would proudly share with out-of-town guests, it was my Happy Hour bar of choice–and the only place in town where I could order the Glorious Gin and Tonic with a fresh slice of lime or experience a Hunter Cattle Company hamburger, prepared with the utmost respect for the integrity of the ingredients. The hand-cut Parmesan truffle fries were unmatched, as was the cornmeal encrusted red snapper over Freeman’s Mill grits, the fried green tomatoes and their undeniably famous chocolate chip cookies. There, was a restaurant that would expand the ‘Boro’s culinary boundaries, introducing plates with king crab piled high atop crusty French bread and pan seared redfish over dirty rice with garlic green beans and crawfish cream sauce. There, the food would always be the main event. Always local. Always inspired.
I, along with hundreds of other food lovers from past United States President Jimmy Carter and other dignitaries to celebrity chefs and townspeople, would come to know this place as an experience where every meal was memorable, a place that breathed new life into a community and introduced a world of gastronomic excellence and quality to a food scene in desperate need of passion. It would be there in that restaurant where I would make two new friends—the Alabi-Isamas, restaurant owner Seni and his wife Janetta, a couple who acknowledges their customers as guests and welcomes everyone who steps foot through their doors as if reuniting with the prodigal son.
Then one August morning, just five months before the restaurant would celebrate two years in business, the unthinkable happened.
Statesboro’s food scene has suffered an immense loss, as South & Vine Public House (SVPH) caught fire on the night of Tuesday, August 26. The fire may have taken our beloved corner hangout, but one thing the smoke and soot can’t snuff out is Seni’s desire to reopen, his unquenchable thirst to provide this small town with the finest food and beverage available and a humble culinary intuition few possess.
In my one-on-one exclusive interview, I sat down with Seni to learn how the SVPH family is doing since tragedy struck, how the community has reacted to the news and what the future holds for SVPH.
Me: First off, how are you doing?
Seni: I’m a heck of a lot better now than I was last week this time.
Me: What were you doing when you learned there was a fire?
Seni: I was actually sitting at home on the couch about to watch “Hard Knocks,” the Atlanta Falcons thing on HBO. I got a call from Jimmy at Chops and he was telling me that the place was smoking and was on fire. I got Janetta out of bed and we ran out and probably did 100 miles an hour down Fair Rd. We got there and I see all this smoke. I wasn’t in good shape. As soon as I saw that, I knew it was bad.
Me: Describe the scene.
Seni: The fire department was amazing. I’d never actually seen firemen in action, up close and personal. It was something. They can’t talk with you because they’re trying to put out a fire, and I’m running around trying to figure out what’s happening, what’s going on and they really couldn’t give me much information at the time. I was just standing in the street freaking out. The smoke was one thing but the fire eventually had worked its way out of the roof. That’s when I was useless. There were probably 30 to 40 foot flames coming out of the building. They got it under control and before the night was over, I walked through the restaurant with them. It was just devastation. It’s pretty much all gone. All the equipment, all the stuff we worked on for years. It took me a very long time to get the place open, and everything in there was done by us. Every time I look around, every time I go in with all the fire inspectors, it’s just bad. Everywhere you look, you see something that means something to you. We had some very specialized pieces of equipment, some really cool bottles of liquor. All that stuff is gone.
Me: How has the community reacted to the news?
Seni: It’s been unbelievable in every sense. Everyone has been very supportive. Al Chapman, he’s a good friend of mine at Gnat’s Landing. He was there first thing in the morning just to see what he could do. I wasn’t very much good to anybody at that point. We had to find a way to secure the building and board it up so that people couldn’t easily enter. All my tools and stuff are in the building and I had no idea how I was going to get any of this done. Al is there and he says, “Man, don’t worry about it. I’ve got a guy that can take care of that.” He made a call and in 30 minutes, there was a guy there taking care of it. That was just Al helping wherever he could. He said, “Listen if your people need something, let me know.” He’s been true to that. He’s picked up two of my guys. Mellow Mushroom has also given a couple of my employees jobs. Joe Lanier at Loco’s reached out immediately. He didn’t know the extent of the damage but wanted to know if maybe we needed to store some of our food in their coolers. Southern Growlers’ Brad David reached out immediately. Everybody all over town – Heath Robinson at 40 East, Jimmy and Walt at Chops, I mean everybody has offered to help any way they can – not to mention our guests and our regulars, the community at large, our extended family. I’ve gotten messages from all over the country. I can’t say enough about this community and the South and Vine family. It’s not just us and the employees, but when I say our family, I’m talking about our guests that have also been devastated by this. South and Vine is very important to a lot of people. It’s one of those places you become a regular, and the staff knows what you eat, they know what you drink. They know where you want to sit. It’s a pretty neat place.
Me: Do you have plans to reopen?
Seni: I know we have to come back in some capacity. I’m obligated to. There’s no way I could just leave the community high and dry. What we do is very specialized and the people that enjoy it, they don’t have a lot of options. Honestly, that was the genesis of South and Vine – the lack of options. I would go out to eat with friends, and my wife and I would always feel like there’s got to be something better. People have to want more. After a while, I got tired of saying it and instead of just complaining about it, I decided to put my hat in the ring and see what I could pull off. I’m not a trained chef or anything like that, but I’ve been cooking my whole life, and I know what I think tastes good, and I know what I want to eat. I figured maybe other people would enjoy the same things, and that’s really how the idea of South and Vine came about. It seemed like the right move, because a lot of people in town, in the region and all over have enjoyed many of the things we do there, like changing specials constantly, making everything we possibly can from scratch in-house and bringing in a really neat selection of libations. Our beer, wine and liquor selection is pretty eclectic, and there’s a wide variety of things. As good as it was, there’s still a ton more that I want to bring in and execute. This week, I was supposed to get a 23-year-old single barrel bourbon, which is not something you see hardly anywhere. Statesboro shouldn’t have to take a back seat just because we’re a smaller town. I think we can do just fine right here.
Me: What do you need from the community?
Seni (with a chuckle): Whenever the time comes for us to reopen, come eat. I also just want to say thank you to the community. Thank you for the immense support you’ve shown and continue to show.
In response to the overwhelming amount of support Seni has received on the South & Vine Public House Facebook page, he writes “Thank you so much for your kind words. We will do our best to make sure this community and our wonderful guests get to enjoy all they’ve become accustomed to once again. We love you all and can’t wait to see your beautiful faces!”
Remembering the good times at South & Vine Public House…may they live on forever.
New to Some Kinda Good?
Thanks for stopping by! If you like this post, you may also be interested to read about a few of the other local restaurants and bakeries I’ve reviewed. As the Statesboro Herald food columnist and a Georgia Southern University alumna, the ‘Boro is a second home to me. Be sure to like Some Kinda Good on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter to keep up with all my latest, local food discoveries.
Wild Georgia Shrimp & Summer Corn Chowder
All summer I’ve been wanting to make Shrimp and Corn Chowder, and today, I did it. Aside from peeling the potatoes and shucking the corn, the recipe requires little to no effort other than stirring and simmering. Continue reading “Wild Georgia Shrimp & Summer Corn Chowder”
The evening I met the Queen of Southern Cuisine began in true Savannah style with cold beverages from the bar – Pinot Grigio for me and a Yuengling for my handsome – and live music – a classic Ray Charles cover song, none other than “Georgia On My Mind,” performed by two talented guys with their guitars and perfect harmonies. The lights turned down in the Lucas Theatre and this is what we heard:
They played two more songs, The Allman Brother’s “Ramblin’ Man” and “Chicken Fried” by The Zac Brown Band…perfectly appropriate before Paula Deen took the stage.
And then, there she was. After all the years I’d watched her on TV and imagined her voice as I read her books, there she was not more than 125 feet standing in front of me. She and her husband Michael came out dancing. Her son, Jamie Deen tweeted this photo from backstage which read: “Seeing Mom dance makes me happy.” It did my heart good to see them too, resilient and carefree – A stark difference from what the media would have us to believe. He twirled her around on stage as the audience clapped, hooped and hollered. I must admit, I got a little teary eyed, and nearly patted my boyfriend’s kneecap off in excitement.
Her boys, Jamie and Bobby trickled out some time after that. I was so star struck, I don’t remember them entering the stage. Immediately, it was as if I was seeing an old friend, hanging out with Paula and her family in their living room. There was no formality, no script to the show. Paula was the exact same in person as she is on television. When she spoke, she began recognizing faces in the audience, pointing out her new daughter-in-law to us all (Congratulations Bobby!), and acknowledging other friends and relatives that had come to see her. She is the personable, warm and sweet spirited woman I have grown to know and love, oozing with Southern hospitality and authentic drawl. Right away, she told us what we could expect from the show, with a funny interjection from Michael. Throughout the night, the tugboat captain was like a Parakeet, chirping witty things whenever the moment struck:
The night was filled with great audience interaction. At one point, Paula called a Look-A-Like up on stage. We played “Deen There, Done That,” hosted by “Bobby Chewbanks” dressed in full costume, complete with a wig and an old-fashioned sport coat. Later, Bobby told us a funny story about his Grandma Paul (God rest her soul), who lived to be 91. He said she use to take her medicine with a pull-tab Budweiser Tall Boy.
Paula spoke to a packed house. I don’t believe there was an empty seat in the Theatre. During the event, she cooked up three dishes with help from the family: a Georgia Peach Trifle, a Chicken Arugula Salad and Jambalaya. Next to meeting Paula, my favorite part of the show were the short video clips they shared. We got to see how Michael and Paula met and even got an inside look and mini tour of Paula’s beautiful home on Wilmington Island. Her rags-to-riches story was shared, including a look back at “The Bag Lady” days. Many audience members had eaten those first lunches.
After the show, I got to meet and talk with Jamie and Michael. Jamie was as nice as he could be. He looked at my boyfriend Kurt who is born and raised in Savannah–and took a double take. “Don’t I know you?,” Jamie said. Kurt replied, “I’m from Savannah. You may have seen me around.” Then Jamie said, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve poured you a glass of sweet tea or two.” CLASSIC!! You can’t make this stuff up.
Michael and Paula met because of Paula’s Shih Tzus, Sam and Otis. Me and Paula have even more in common than Southern, coastal cooking, y’all! I bet she’d love my sweet Shih Tzu, Ewok.
The moment finally came when I would have my chance to meet Paula. I received no special treatment, it was every man for himself. About the time I approached the stage, I heard her bodyguard say, “Okay, last one folks. Paula’s got places to be.” Panic set in. I couldn’t be in the same room with Paula and not at least try to get a photo. This opportunity may never present itself again!
Just before she walked off the stage, I managed to jump in and snap these three pitiful selfies. I also handed her a copy of “It Ain’t All About the Cooking,” and she quickly scribbled Paula on the inside cover. And just like that, she was gone. So close, but so far away. Will this lady ever know how much she’s influenced me in the kitchen? Will she ever know it’s my dream to cook with her? So much to say, so little time. I am a better cook because of you, Paula. Thanks for paving the way.
Paula, if you read this, know that your fans are so glad you’re “getting butter every day.” We never doubted you would.
Some Kinda Good Teams Up with Paula Deen LIVE!
EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it!
I couldn’t be more excited to announce that the Paula Deen team contacted little ol’ me this week with some GREAT news! I’ve been invited to attend Paula Deen Live! in Savannah as a special guest on Friday, August 8 where I’ll be LIVE tweeting and posting about the show on Facebook from the historic Lucas Theatre!
The surprise came earlier this week when I checked my food blog’s email account. The subject line read, “The Heart of Home Cookin’ Coming to Savannah, GA!” It was Paula’s social media coordinator requesting my presence in the Hostess City. Be still my heart. As a life long fan of Paula’s, you can imagine my excitement when I read these words:
To get right to the point, we came across your blog, Some Kinda Good – and we love it! Paula is so excited about her LIVE event, and she wanted to invite some of her biggest fans and supporters, specifically Southern bloggers and influencers.
Do y’all know how many Southern bloggers there are in the world?? I am beside myself and honored that they chose me. Mama and them already purchased their seats!
If you’d like to join the fun, check out Paula’s website for all the details or, follow me on Twitter and LIKE Some Kinda Good on Facebook so you don’t miss a thing. Join the conversation on social media using #PDLIVE. During the event, word also has it that there’ll be a few small surprises in store for you! Paula’s come back tour kicks off on Friday, August 1 with stops all over the country. Be sure to check back after the event for a follow-up post, too. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
Here’s a sneak peek at the fun that awaits. Good times…See you soon PAULA!