If you’ve never fried shrimp at home before, you totally should. It is so easy to do, and seriously, Some Kinda Good! When my husband and I go out for dinner, I typically order things I rarely prepare at home. Coconut shrimp with orange marmalade is one of those dishes….sounds so fancy, right? Continue reading “Coconut Shrimp with Orange Marmalade: Yes, please!”
I walked in and the first thing I saw were the words, “Country Ham” in navy blue and yellow, painted on a white wall. The restaurant had been converted from a previous slaughter-house and the words preserved. Country ham is one of those Southern mainstays, and I knew immediately this was a place I would love. I had driven from the coastal plains of Southeast Georgia, about 200 miles, to the big city of Atlanta on a business trip to meet a good friend. We had done our research, and of all the fine places to dine in the notorious A-T-L, had naturally settled on what the restaurant’s Twitter account classifies “A beach-food experience for landlocked Atlantans.”
While we waited on our table in the main dining room, we sat at the Oyster Bar and tried just about everything–East and West coast oysters of every variety, snow crab & lobster knuckles, oyster crackers and salt & vinegar chips. The oysters were served with fresh horseradish and a mignonette sauce (a sauce of vinegar and shallots, typically served with raw oysters). The mignonette sauce was so bright and fresh, it would awaken even a sloth.
Next, let’s talk about the snow crab claw & lobster knuckles in a chili-lime butter bath. It took a little work, but once I got my hands on the cracking tool, we were good to go. Who wouldn’t want to eat something presented that beautifully?
I experienced food at The Optimist like I have never experienced food before…intense flavors with no detail undone when it came to presentation. Every encounter I had with staff members was pleasant, from the hostess taking notice of my black dress and providing me a black napkin, the bartender who told me he even spent his days off there, to the manager who described the place as “one big house.” I could tell our waitress Jenn, genuinely enjoyed her job and was very knowledgeable about the menu.
Some Kinda Good is all about good food and good company, and when the two are combined, that’s a life well lived. The Optimist is a breath of fresh air for the city life, a nautical escape. My friend Harper said it perfectly, “That wasn’t just going out to dinner, that was the best two-hour dining experience of my life.”
In the South, barbeque is a holy subject. Opinions about it begin forming at a very early age. At an after-church dinner recently, my sister-in-law and I were serving our plates and chatting about how good the barbeque looked, when a young boy not more than ten spoke up, confidence in motion, to let us know that while lunch was nice, it was his dad who made the best barbeque in all of Bulloch County. We take our pork seriously. Harrison and the staff at Southern Soul Barbeque on St. Simons Island get that. It’s an expression from their very soul, spoken in tender pork, slow cooked and oak-smoked for hours over burning coals and served to anyone with sense enough to stop. You can see the smoke and smell that barbeque coming from the outdoor pits as soon as you hit the parking lot.
That’s Harrison Sapp, the owner. He was an all around nice guy and made me and my Shih Tzu, Ewok, feel as welcome as a whelk in its shell. This guy gets up at 4 a.m. everyday and begins cooking at 6:30 a.m. to have lunch ready for all the hungry folks in the Golden Isles. Passion is the only thing that would motivate one to do something so well 7 days a week.
He showed me around and lifted the lid on the smoker to reveal these beauties. Seasoned with a sweet dry rub and sprayed with a little apple juice throughout the cooking process, the result is pure pork flavor, juicy and tender.
Ewok made himself right at home on the cool cement floor while I waited for my sandwich. The staff even brought him a bowl of water to drink. These long picnic tables are situated on the porch under a vaulted ceiling with big fans and drop lighting. It’s the kind of casual atmosphere where it’s perfectly acceptable to stroll over off the beach in your swim suit.
Served on a toasted bun with pickles, the Jumbo Pulled Pork Sandwich is a beautiful display of the restaurant’s finest. I ordered creamy mac & cheese as my side with a tall, cold glass of sweet tea. Suffice it to say, it’s the best $6.50 I’ve ever spent.
Is your mouth watering yet? I drizzled my sandwich with a little Sweet Georgia Soul Sauce and dug in. Jars of sweet and hot sauce, vinegar and Texas Pete grace the tables. If slaw suits your fancy, they’ll top your sandwich with it at no charge.
Formerly a 1940’s gas station, tag plates and catchy signs decorate the restaurant front and posters advertising local events fill the windows, giving the place that hometown, log cabin-like feel. I particularly love the Dig on Pig sign. On the menu, you’ll find grilled pimento cheese sandwiches, beef brisket, chicken strips, ribs, even sausage and burgers. The sides are soulful too including selections like Brunswick stew, hoppin’ john, fried okra and fried green beans.
No worries for all of you that prefer to beat the heat. Pull up a bar stool inside in the air conditioning and have a cold one. Southern Soul Barbeque is open Monday – Saturday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
As seen in leading magazines like Georgia Trend, Garden & Gun and Southern Living and on major television networks like TLC and Food Network, Southern Soul Barbeque is no secret. Guy Fieri himself has been here and has featured the restaurant on his show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. This Southeast Coastal Georgia Smoke Joint gets around.
Not in the South? Not a problem. Now, Southern Soul Barbeque offers nationwide shipping! Located on the round about at 2020 Demere Road, be sure to pull in on your next visit to the Golden Isles of Georgia. It’s worth the stop and good for your soul. 😉
Mallery Street Cafe
St. Simons Island, Georgia
A rainy morning on the last day of vacation led us to Mallery Street Cafe, a quaint place that boasts familiar, great tasting food in a causal setting. While the rain fell outside, we enjoyed a cozy table inside and awaited breakfast.
The menu is short and sweet with recognizable breakfast food like french toast, fruit, eggs, pancakes, grits and toast. You won’t break the bank here, because the items are a la carte. What is it about a coffee mug on a saucer surrounded by cream and a little spoon for stirring that elicits such a good feeling? A welcomed sight indeed in the early morning.
Anytime there’s a packed house, that’s always a good sign. Just give me friendly service and tasty food in a coastal environment and I’m good to go. Located just across the street from the popular St. Simons Island Village, the cafe is a short walk from the Pier.
Open for breakfast and lunch, the cafe serves homemade soups, desserts and features daily specials. Make this place a stop on your next visit to the Golden Isles–you’ll leave simply satisfied.
Iguanas Seafood Restaurant
St. Simons Island, Georgia
Though I’ve been going to St. Simons Island my entire life, I discovered Iguanas Seafood Restaurant just last year. If you’ve ever spent any time in the Golden Isles on the Georgia coast, you know there are many good places to dine, and my family has always had their favorites. Being the creatures of habit that we are, we typically always visit the same places. Last summer though, we tried somewhere new and I’m so glad we did.
With its colorful island-inspired walls, sail boat and fishing net decor and fun bar scene, Iguanas Seafood Restaurant is located in the heart of the village among all the great little shops near the St. Simons Island Pier. This year, we had New Year’s Eve dinner there. It was funny seeing the place decked out in Christmas lights and faux snow.
I ordered the shrimp and scallops dish, blackened, with grits. I don’t usually get scallops but I thought I’d give them a try. The shrimp was delicious, but I didn’t find the scallops to be that flavorful. Have you ever had scallops? I get the sense they must be like tofu in a way, taking on whatever flavor in which they’re cooked. The texture was spongy and just didn’t do much for me. Grits are the perfect accompaniment to shrimp any old time. The hushpuppies were crispy on the outside and succulent in the center, perfect for dipping in their house remoulade sauce (pictured left above).
My cousin Justin is a fan of my food blog, and when he saw me get out my camera to snap a shot of my dish, he excitedly offered his up and said, “Rebekah, wanna blog about this?” He ordered the special of the evening…soft shell crab with french fries. I’m pretty sure he cleaned his plate.
The great thing about eating dinner and shopping in the village is walking out on the newly renovated St. Simons Island Pier afterwards. I probably have at least one picture from each year of my life out on it, and I’ve often said it’s one of my favorite places on earth. I love to walk out to the end of it and watch the porpoises swim and see the shrimp boats in the distance. I’d like to be on one of those shrimp boats one day.
While out walking on the beach and at the pier, I met several folks from up North. One couple from Massachusetts and another group from Connecticut. They had each rented a condo for 3 months on the island to escape the cold weather in their hometowns. I don’t blame them!
This is the whole New Years crew, with our dogs, after breakfast the next morning. That’s me in the middle, on the far left between Brad and my cousin Justin, who’s holding my precious puppy Ewok. My good friend Patrick is next to him and the couple with the two labs–Constance and Justin, are great friends from college.
I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the first day of the New Year.
The Shell House
There’s nothing like cracking open a crab leg and pulling one long, succulent, in-tact piece of crab meat out of the shell, preparing it for its butter bath. Pair that with a good, cold drink of sweet tea with a fat lemon wedge and a little Jimmy Buffett, and life is good.
Last night I visited The Shell House. The prices were high, but the portions compensate and the food was delicious. I ordered snow crab legs, my favorite kind of seafood next to crab cakes. Hushpuppies and green beans were its counterparts and I’m telling you what, it doesn’t get much better. Here we are a week from Christmas and we’re eating seafood like it’s the Fourth of July. Who needs sweet potato casserole when you’re 45 minutes from the Georgia Coast? I say bring on the crustaceans, anytime of year! The restaurant was quite busy, even on a Sunday night, which is always a good sign. The only downside to eating crab legs is that you’re always the last one to finish because it takes a little bit of work. When you taste that meat though, it’s worth every minute of the time you spend getting to it.
The tables at The Shell House have holes in the center, so when you finish peeling those shrimp or cracking those crab legs open or shucking those oysters, you can conveniently discard all your trash. It’s a casual atmosphere…don’t go expecting white table cloths or fine china. In fact, you’ll eat off of paper plates and drink out of plastic cups but it’s hard to beat the amount of food you get for the price. It’s fresh and hearty. That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!
The Oyster Bar Restaurant, Raw Bar and Ale House
Over the weekend, we met some friends at The Oyster Bar Restaurant, Raw Bar and Ale House on River Street in Savannah. I ordered the Shrimp Trio–fried shrimp, shrimp scampi and bacon-wrapped shrimp stuffed with crab meat. Man alive! It was Some Kinda Good. I had a caesar salad and baked potato alongside it. The bacon-wrapped shrimp, stuffed with crab meat, was the description that caught my attention and what made me order the dish. I love seafood and I mean, how could you not like any crustacean wrapped in bacon? Before the food arrived, the waiter brought out what they referred to as “hushpuppies,” but they tasted more like little doughnut holes served with honey butter. I ordered a good glass of red wine, an Australian variety of Shiraz, and had a good time reminiscing about our college days with old and new friends.
If you’ve never visited River Street in Savannah, it’ll be worth your time. I have been several times, but never during the Christmas season. I just recently moved back to Southeast Georgia, and Savannah is only a short 45 minutes away. It was a comfortable 60 degrees, no wind blowing, no wait and no crowds. I would definitely visit The Oyster Bar again and would highly recommend it. Besides, you just can’t go wrong with friendly service, quality food and a great atmosphere.