You can never really know the moment when a forever friend may walk into your life. That fateful day for my best friend of more than 20 years and I, happened in our sixth period physical education class at Hephzibah Middle School, circa 1994. Charity was born on the Fourth of July and ironically, it was Martina McBride’s song “Independence Day” that began our lifelong friendship. Continue reading “A Fourth of July Friendship”
The return of the Farmers’ Market for me each season is just about as exciting as Christmas Day. With fresh herbs and local produce on my mind, I love getting up on Saturday morning, throwing on my yoga pants, a tank top, a pair of favorite flip flops and my over-sized sunglasses and heading out the door. Sometimes, I even pack up my 11-pound Shih Tzu, Ewok, and we ride with the radio up and the windows down on the way. Continue reading “5 Farmers’ Market Recipes to Make Right Now”
With only a few days before Easter to go, I know I should be writing about ham and sharing egg-cellent (ha!) recipes. The truth is, there’s something else weighing heavy on my mind that I’ve been dying to share with you. Since I started my food blog in 2011, a large part of my inspiration has come from this Julia Child quote: “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” 2016 is the year I take that philosophy to the next level. You can attribute it to 10 years of being in the workforce or the clarity that comes with the decade of turning 30, but no matter how you slice it, experiencing a situation such as When My Job Quit Me, has provided raw perspective. Continue reading “Keep Calm and Carry on Cooking: Exciting Video Announcement Reveals My Next Steps”
It’s that infamous time of year in The Hostess City when everyone, no matter who your people are, becomes Irish for a day. Since I met and married a bonafide Savannahian, my life has never been the same. On March 17 each year, come rain or shine, we will don our green and orange, raise our glasses, pack our picnic baskets and join the hundreds of thousands of others in the Spanish moss-covered oak tree city of Savannah, Georgia.
Benton Lee’s Steakhouse
There are steakhouses, and then there’s Benton Lee’s. I have discovered the place to eat meat in South Georgia, y’all. If you’re looking for a good steak, stop your search right now and hop in your car for a drive through the country. Known for it’s large portions and family-centered atmosphere, the restaurant, with its wide front porch and back deck, overlooks the Altamaha River. For many reading this though, it won’t be a surprise. The locals of this community have enjoyed Benton Lee’s Steakhouse for 48 years.
My good lookin’ husband, Kurt, and I drove over to the restaurant from Claxton, Georgia on a Friday night, just in time to catch the sunset.
We ordered gator nuggets to start, because that’s what you do when you live in The Fruitcake Capital of the World and no restaurant within a 30-mile radius has it on the menu. Much to my dismay, the gator served at Benton Lee’s is not wrestled and caught from the muddy waters of the Altamaha (ha!), but sourced from a gator farm in Odom, Georgia about 300 miles away. Gator has a tough and chewy consistency, but everyone should try it once. Our server said he liked it better than chicken, but I’ll stick with poultry (spoken like a true resident of Evans County).
The straightforward menu features steaks of all cuts and sizes, plus seafood–shrimp, oysters and catfish–chicken tenders and wild game like quail, gator and frog legs. Staples including hamburger steak, pork chops and chef salad also are available. We ordered the Sirloin for Two: each serving is individually cooked and is at least 12 ounces. In the causal atmosphere, tea and water are self-serve.
The hand-cut fries are perfectly salted and crunchy. My steak was cooked to a medium temperature, juicy and just right. Tender and warm from the grill, the steak melts in your mouth. Beautiful grill marks make an appetizing presentation, and a standard salad and roll round out the meal. I am told that once upon a time Benton Lee’s Steakhouse hosted a competition where if you ate six pounds worth of beef, you would get it for free. I don’t understand why anyone would want to do this.
The patrons at Benton Lee’s Steakhouse are the same folks you see on the church pew Sunday morning, the moms of the elementary school drop-off line and dads of the community ball field. They’re Southern folks that do life together, that appreciate a good slab of beef when they see it. This is not an audience concerned about locally sourced ingredients, a five star plate presentation, house-made sauces or compound butters. They’re not seeking white tablecloths or organic produce, just a place they can go with the family in tow for a hearty meal and a break from cooking themselves. Down home, friendly and no nonsense. My kind of place!
Celebrity guests have included country music sensation Travis Tritt, the late actress Donna Douglas (a.k.a Ellie May Clampett from The Beverly Hillbillies TV Show), Troy and Jacob Landry from the History Channel’s Swamp People and Duck Dynasty’s Si Robertson. It doesn’t get more country than that, folks!
The walls contain an eclectic mix of taxidermy and farm equipment familiar to the South Georgia region. An antique hand mixer and some old Coca-Cola bottles decorated the shelf above our table. Every booth and table in the restaurant houses everything you need – paper towels, salt & pepper, ketchup, steak sauces and hot sauce. A well-lit jukebox stands near the doorway. Attentive servers wear bright pink t-shirts displaying the “Don’t Tread On Me” Gadsden Flag.
A sign posted on the front porch of the property sums up the philosophy of Benton Lee’s well. Come hungry and come as you are.
New to Some Kinda Good?
Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser 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, her 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’ve always been one to excel more at the reading and writing side of school–the arithmetic, not so much. There was a time in my life though, when I never read fictional books; I considered myself more of a realist who only read books I could apply to my life. I would read biographies, self-help books and books about others’ real life experiences, but didn’t have an appreciation for the wonderment or escape of letting my imagination run wild or getting to know characters conjured up by someone I’d never met. I look back at that old self now and think, “Live a little, sister!” Continue reading “Food & Fiction – Four Books Worth the Read”
Full disclosure: The first time I set out to make guacamole, I had no idea my avocados needed to be ripe. So, you can imagine my disappointment when I got home from the grocery store with all my ingredients, and sliced open my hard-as-a-brick, bright green avocados. Much to my dismay, the avocados needed a few more days to become soft and able to mash. Fast forward to today, and guacamole is one of my favorite appetizers to make. Continue reading “Your Go-To Guacamole Recipe”
I posted this tweet expressing my excitement last year on moving day bound for the Lowcountry.
Life is full of curveballs. One year ago on this very week, I was packing my bags for Charleston, so excited to begin my new job in a brand new city. I wrote to update you on my whereabouts; you may remember the post “All Things New in 2015; Some Kinda Good Greets the Lowcountry.” Today, I find myself packing yet again, this time for a city not-so-brand-new, and with feelings more somber than excited. Continue reading “When My Job Quit Me”
Okay, y’all. I’m really curious to know your thoughts about something. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last couple of months, you’ve noticed the TV commercials and advertisements promoting the “dawn of e-commerce food,” essentially the creation of perishable food manufacturing businesses. Dozens of companies like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Plated, are springing up around the country with this notion of revolutionizing the way we shop for groceries and stock our refrigerators. We’re talking about changing the way people think about food or as one employee at Plated puts it, “Changing the world by making our food system fundamentally better.” When it comes to our foodways, is quality and convenience upstaging tradition?
I find the concept absolutely fascinating! I mean, if I had told my great grandmother Elnora, that one day, she could visit a website, click a button or make a phone call, and within a few days have meals delivered straight to her door, she would have looked at me as if I had three heads! The strides we’ve made in technology are seriously amazing.
Each company basically boasts the same message: Fresh food delivered to your door, at a better value than you can get at your local grocery store. And not just fresh food, but perfectly proportioned, farm fresh ingredients sourced locally and seasonally, including step-by-step chef-concocted recipes. Foolproof! Genius! Why haven’t we thought of this before? But when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Or is it? Take a look at these ads:
My first thought about these services was they must be for folks who either can’t cook or aren’t able to drive themselves to get their own groceries. As I’ve considered it more closely however, I see the appeal for everyone! Not only does the service save you time and the laborious weekly trip to the supermarket, but it exposes you to new ingredients and takes the guesswork out of weeknight dinner planning (all the while supporting local farmers). I’m having a very hard time seeing the downside. We’ve discussed a few positives, so let’s consider some potential negatives:
- Proportions don’t allow room for seconds. What if I’m still hungry?
- Relying on delivery could become problematic. What if I live in a rural area and they aren’t able to find my location?
- Cost. Is the quality really “at a better value than my local grocery store?”
Also, I can’t help but think about how these companies will affect grocery store chains and local supermarkets. But, maybe that’s the point. If more and more people begin using them, will grocery stores take a major hit? What will that mean for the economy? On the upside, the greatest motivating factor? Ingredients are sourced locally. I can definitely get behind organizations partnering with established farmers’ markets and local artisans.
I haven’t personally tried ordering from any of these companies, but even as someone who enjoys cooking, I’m very tempted! I’m super interested to know what you think. Have you ordered from one of them? What has your experience been? Were you able to follow the provided instructions without a hitch? Most importantly, did the food taste Some Kinda Good? Make me a believer!
As a final thought, Forbes released a great video of an Executive Chef comparing Blue Apron and Plated. See for yourself and let me know your take.
Before we get too far from Christmas, I wanted to share a few things with y’all that Santa Claus brought me to enjoy during this new year! My cookbook collection is growing – To add to my treasures, I received autographed copies of “The Pat Conroy Cookbook – Recipes of My Life” & “Paula Deen Cuts the Fat,” along with a little gift I picked up for myself at the Bass Pro Shop: “Back Home with The Neelys, Comfort Food from Our Southern Kitchen to Yours.” Each of these books hold great inspiration and I just love spending time flipping through their pages. I’ve already made Paula’s Pumpkin Scones for breakfast this week. With buttermilk and pecans, they were Some Kinda Good, too! A few years back, I checked out at the library “The Pat Conroy Cookbook.” As a result, The Best Crab Cakes in the World found their way to the blog. To this day, it was one of the hardest books I’ve ever had to return! Thanks to my thoughtful and good lookin’ husband, Kurt, I now have a copy of my own.
I absolutely ADORE my Georgia-shaped cutting board. Georgia is always on my mind. No matter where life takes me, there’s no place like home. As the late, great Ray Charles sang about, “Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through. Just an old sweet song, keeps Georgia on my mind.”
Finally, for those days when life gets me down, a simple reminder. The coffee mug reads, “Darling, you are fabulous.” It makes me smile every time I pick it up.
Under the tree or in your stocking, did you get any cooking or kitchen-related gifts?