It’s a brand new year, and 2017 finds Some Kinda Good in its sixth year of inception. I wanted to take a moment to thank you for reading my posts and to share with you what this blog is all about. Continue reading “A Post to You, My Audience”
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.
Valentine’s Day is well on its way, and if you find yourself without a restaurant reservation, or simply prefer to have a romantic night at home, I’ve got a three course restaurant-quality meal that’s Some Kinda Good and easy to prepare. What’s more romantic than setting the mood in your own home, and cooking next to the one you love?
So, roll up your sleeves, light some unscented candles, pour some wine, put some tunes on and get cookin’!
Farm to Table Fried Green Tomatoes
With their salty, crunchy exterior and Southern roots, Fried Green Tomatoes make the best appetizer for whetting your appetite. Keep it super simple and serve them with ranch dressing.
Wild Georgia Shrimp and Grits
My Wild Georgia Shrimp and Grits features a creamy white wine sauce and is topped off with bacon and green onions. Made with heavy cream and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, one bite of this succulent dish will make you wonder why you ever considered dining out in the first place. A main course worth the effort! Pair with a crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigo.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Nothing says “I love you” quite like Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Indulgent and satisfying but not too heavy, you can bake them a day ahead to maximize time with your sweetheart! ❤
Wishing you and yours a Valentine’s Day that’s Some Kinda Good. Eat well!
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. Pour yourself a glass of Chardonnay, turn on some good music and settle into your kitchen. For me, eating a meal like this with vegetables that are in season and locally sourced, is ultimately satisfying. Some recipes suggest frozen potatoes and corn, but I find I appreciate the meal so much more when I’ve worked a little to make it happen. The crunch of summer’s sweet corn with salty bacon and starchy potatoes come together in complete harmony with wild Georgia plump shrimp. Creamy and pleasing to the eye with great texture, this dish epitomizes Some Kinda Good!
- 3 slices of hardwood smoked bacon
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 2 bunches of green onions, chopped
- 1/2 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
- 2 large baked potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 ears of fresh, summer corn, sliced off the cob
- 3 sprigs lemon thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 quart 2% milk
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Old Bay, for seasoning shrimp
In a large skillet with a high rim, cook bacon on medium-high heat. Remove the bacon, but leave the grease. Stir in the celery, green onions and Vidalia onions, potatoes and corn. Add the thyme, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Stir in the flour until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the milk, then cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium low and gently simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
Season the shrimp with Old Bay. Stir in the shrimp and cook until opaque, about 4 minutes. Season with salt. Divide among bowls and sprinkle with green onion and chopped bacon. Serve with Italian bread.
The Boiling Shrimp
The earliest known use of the American phrase, “The Whole Nine Yards,” an expression meaning “all of it, the full measure,” dates back to 1907 in Southern Indiana, but for one new Statesboro seafood restaurant, the term is a business model by which everything from the food to the service is based around. The Boiling Shrimp opened just over three months ago on U.S. 301 South with a mission to make seafood work in Statesboro punctuated by an unconventional, Asian-influenced approach. After visiting for dinner recently, I caught up with Assistant Manager Adam Tsang to get the details on this restaurant’s unique spin on presentation, flavor and entertainment.
Two things that caught my attention immediately: 1) Customers place their order in a 3-step sequence and 2) Food ordered Low Country boil style, is presented in a clear, plastic bag. First, you choose your catch, next your flavor and lastly, determine how you’d like it prepared. “We found that if we served the food directly on the plate, the sauces and seasonings don’t stay on as well,” said Adam. On my visit, I ordered a 1/2 pound of boiled shrimp with Cajun sauce for $8 and washed it all down with a cold Blue Moon. Currently, the restaurant serves beer with future plans to offer wine.
Once I got over the shock factor of the plastic bag on my plate, I found its contents divine. The aroma of a Low Country boil hit me as soon as I untied the bag, and the size of the plump, succulent shrimp alongside a half ear of deliciously seasoned corn on the cob and juicy sausage was all I needed to feel right in my element. Fresh, good quality seafood in the coastal plains of Georgia? What more could one want?
Menu items also include soups, salads and po’ boy sandwiches. Adam says the Fried Shrimp Basket is one of their most popular dishes. So, just where does the Asian influence come in to play? Owned by longtime Statesboro residents Charles and Jean Hsu, the Taiwanese Americans created their sauces –your choice of chili pepper, lemon pepper, Cajun or garlic — based on influences from their travels and previous restaurant experiences. “The Whole Nine Yards” is both a sauce (a combination of all of the above) and a dish on the menu. Asian influences can be found in the tempura fry style and preparation of the batter.
With an open floor plan, the casual atmosphere feels like you’re dining on the coast, as if you could walk outside and be on the beach. Oars and ship wheels fill the walls, along with flat screen TVs. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Sunday – Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday – Saturday until 11 p.m. Live music is offered during lunch Sunday – Thursday. “We’re tapping into local musicians,” Adam said. “Right now, we’re featuring light jazz with Andrew Brantley who plays with The Orange Constant band. They’re really good.”
Seafood restaurants in Statesboro don’t have the best track record. Carry Hilliard’s Restaurant closed after just two years and The Shell House, what is now The Mill House, didn’t survive the college town either. Adam says, at The Boiling Shrimp, they’ve learned from the mistakes restaurants who’ve gone before them have made. With more than 700 Facebook “Likes” and a lot of positive buzz surrounding them, they’re off to a great start. If you haven’t made your way over to see them yet, keep an open mind and give them a shot! If it’s good seafood you seek, you’ve come to the right place.
‘A Boiling Shrimp’ of Flavors in Statesboro
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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.
Two of my best friends recently took me to dinner at a place more than 153 miles inland from the Georgia Coast located in my hometown of Augusta, Georgia. They promised it would be “right up my alley” and said I should “be prepared to blog about it.” Though it’s been open since I was nine years old, that Friday night was the first time I’d ever heard of it or set foot through its doors. Tucked away in a small community at the west end of Walton Way, Rae’s Coastal Cafe transported me to the islands the moment I stepped inside, perpetuated only by the best Key Lime Pie Martini I’ve ever had, and a house salad that rivaled my go-to Caesar and sailed away with my heart.
The cafe touched on every indicator I consider noteworthy about a restaurant: 1) It’s independently owned, 2) The local, casual atmosphere was well done–coastal but not in an obnoxious way, 3) The food was excellent and 4) The service was informed.
Meet our waitress, April. Servers have the ability to make or break a dining experience and if they’re on point, nine times out of 10, your visit will be too. April was well-informed on the menu items, at the ready with refills, and intuitively aware of when to ask if we were ready for the next course or if she could take our empty plates. As a first time visitor, she sold me on the house salad when I routinely ordered a Caesar, and I’m so glad I took her word. Super friendly and seemingly happy to be at work, April enhanced our meal and represented Rae’s expertly well.
There on the table, much to my surprise sat a product from good ol’ Statesboro…Braswell’s Vidalia Onion Steak Sauce. That made this Statesboro food writer proud.
The meal began with fresh-baked rolls, served with spreadable butter, followed by Rae’s Famous House Salad, known as an Augusta favorite. A simple combination of fresh greens and tomatoes tossed in a homemade dressing, the salad is plated in a cold, pewter-like bowl and topped with crunchy croutons made in-house. It was everything one could hope for–light, tangy, crunchy and refreshing.
I ordered the Blackened Mahi-Mahi, a healthy 9 oz. fillet topped with Cajun spices, seared in a cast iron skillet and served with new potatoes. April informed me that Rae’s uses the same spices on the fish as in their famous Jamaican Jerk Chicken. The Mahi-Mahi had the perfect kick to it and together with the buttery potatoes, I was happy and satisfied. My friends shared the special that evening: Carolina Mountain Trout with crisp green beans and new potatoes. For dessert, we tackled a slice of Chocolate Cheesecake made with Kahlua and drizzled with raspberry syrup. Other tempting menu items included Coconut Fried Shrimp, the Crabmeat Sandwich (yes, that’s right. Not crab cake, crabMEAT!), the Dolphin Sandwich and Filet Mignon. Chicken, steak, seafood…they do it all!
It’s a good thing that I no longer live in Augusta because I would have to have this drink in my life every day. Rimmed in a graham cracker crust, the Key Lime Pie Martini was the most balanced blend of sweet and tart I’ve ever experienced. It was like drinking pie. Move over Malibu Bay Breeze, there’s a new sheriff in town.
Dining at Rae’s Coastal Cafe felt like an episode of Cheers. The owner, Walter, makes his way through the restaurant greeting guests and shaking hands. You’re bound to run into someone you know there. It’s a comfortable place where people go to enjoy good food and good company…after all, that’s what it’s all about!
Special thanks to these two (who just celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary!) for a wonderful evening out. Y’all know me well.
It’s a rare day in Statesboro when the weather requires scarves and gloves. This week when the temperatures dropped to 16 degrees, I used the Some Kinda Good™ Facebook page to ask, “What’s your favorite thing to eat on freezing days like this?” Many of you responded with exactly what most would–soups, chili, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot chocolate, hot tea–anything comforting and warm. I certainly agree, but the truth is, I’m a warm weather creature. I don’t do well in the cold. Once Christmas is over, I’m ready to go to the beach. If hibernating were an option, you wouldn’t see hide nor hair of me until April when the flowers bloom and the sunny, bright days return. My cold weather comfort isn’t soup. Ironically, it’s beach food. Food that allows me to envision myself on the Georgia coast after a day of basking in the summer sun. So, I cope by cranking up my summer playlist, with songs like Joe Nichols’ Sunny and 75 or Luke Bryan’s Suntan City. I make meals at home that take me to coast and count down the days when I can cruise with the windows down and smile as my 11-pound Shih Tzu cools his belly on the tile floor of the kitchen following an afternoon walk.
If any meal helps me escape the winter, it’s Alaskan Snow Crab Legs with drawn butter. They’re the easiest thing to make. You’ll need salt, Old Bay, Shrimp & Crab Boil, butter and a few pieces of equipment…
A large stock pot fitted with a steamer basket and a lid are essential. Fill the pot about a quarter of the way full. Just be sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the steamer basket. You want to steam the crab legs, not boil them. Then season it with salt and add about a teaspoon of the Shrimp & Crab Boil. Stir.
Bring the water to a boil. If your crab legs are frozen, rinse them good under cold water or thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Place the crab legs in the steamer basket and set the basket inside the pot.
Then, cover them with the lid. Let the crab legs steam over medium-high heat for at least 8-10 minutes. If frozen, you may want to steam them longer, but no more than 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter. I like using unsalted butter. To create drawn butter or clarified butter, use a spoon to skim the fat off the top. Once melted, the fat and solids separate (pictured above on the right). Melted butter takes steamed seafood from good to gourmet.
The result is beautiful, tender, succulent crab meat fit for a king. I served the crab legs with rosemary roasted potatoes and a fresh green salad, but another complimentary side dish is good ol’ Southern grits.
Nothing makes me happier than a whole, intact piece of crab meat fresh from its shell. Thank you, Jesus. The art of cracking crab legs takes some time, but oh, is it worth it. Boy, is it ever. Dunk the meat in the butter for optimum food nirvana.
Tonight is the big night! I’m counting down the hours until my national TV debut on ABC. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be competing for a spot on one of these four culinary giant’s teams—Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre and Marcus Samuelsson! Please tune in to cheer me on at 8|7c. Learn more about my audition experience, and be sure to visit SomeKindaGood.org after the premier to get the scoop on my post audition show thoughts!
Will I make the cut? Show your support for me on social media by following me on Facebook and Twitter. Join the conversation and live tweet with me tonight using #TeamRebekah and #TheTaste! Thank you for watching. I plan to make Georgia proud!
Check out the buzz on local media about my appearance:
WJCL Savannah and Fox 28: Statesboro Woman to Appear on ABC
Statesboro Herald: Local Cooking Enthusiast on Reality Show
Tune in tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 3 to Statesboro’s Eagle 102.9 at 4:37 p.m. and 7:37 p.m. for my post-premier interview!
It was 1:37 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon when the email came. The subject line read: ABC’s The Taste. I had pre-registered for the show the week before, after a friend shared on my Facebook wall that they were casting for Season 2 of the cooking competition reality show.
A casting producer was interested in me! I stared at my computer screen in amazement for about 10 minutes before I pulled myself together. I emailed her back and got the details. She’d invited me to come to Nashville that weekend for a private on-camera interview, and to skip the Open Call auditions and long lines. Mind. Blown. I had already committed to traveling to Atlanta to write a restaurant review for Hottie Hawg’s Smokin’ BBQ, but had previously planned to submit an audition video. She completely understood and encouraged me to do so. In the 10-minute video, I had to cook a dish that represented me and really showed my personality, including any other talents.
I chose shrimp and grits with a white wine sauce, of course.
Today marks over one week since I’ve heard back and I’m eagerly awaiting the outcome. It would be amazing if I made it any further in the process, but the truth is, I’ve already won. During the midst of the week, I’d shared the news with a few folks I hold close. My dear friend, Bill, knows my story and where I’ve been. He said it best.
“You have a brand new testimony of someone who stopped, took stock of her life and decided that life was too short not to pursue her passion. You are proof that success isn’t about the size of the stage or how big the audience, but making it happen. You have taken what you love and pursued it with passion. And, in the process, you have discovered that regardless of where the road takes you, you already are living out your dream.”
If you’d like to see my audition video, you can check it out below. I’ll keep you posted on where the road leads.