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.
New Year’s Day is here, and every good Southerner knows what that means: It’s time to cook up a hearty meal that echoes the good vibes a brand new year can bring: luck, prosperity and cash flow.
Charleston, South Carolina
“This place is like a fancy Chick-fil-A,” said Kurt, my good lookin’ husband, as he took a juicy bite of his “Build Your Own” fried chicken sandwich at Boxcar Betty’s on Saturday afternoon. Kurt has a way of putting everything in layman’s terms, so there’s no mistaking the meaning. I thought his perception was spot on, as this “purveyor of gourmet fried chicken sandwiches” is known for its high-end take on a classic Southern delicacy. Their philosophy is simple: Pair the best chicken with locally sourced ingredients. They take one thing – fried chicken – place it between a soft bun – and offer a variation of toppings and sauces so customers can customize their sandwiches. This is a place where only FRIED chicken – not grilled, baked or roasted – reigns supreme.
As a resident of West Ashley, I had driven by the place a hundred times. Intrigued by the look of the outside, and the inviting words “Chicken Biscuits” that often appear on the sign, we pulled in to discover a real delight. Upbeat music plays over the speakers, and regulars bring books to read by the window as they await lunch.
We started the meal with an order of fried pickles, served with house-made ranch dressing. With just one look, I could tell they were done right. Crispy with a thin coating of seasoned flour, the recipe starts with cucumbers sourced from Joseph Fields Farm in Charleston. Just $4 will get you an order. Check out Food Editor Hannah Raskin’s take on these pickles in The Post & Courier. The handcut fries (pictured below) are seasoned while they’re hot and have a nice crunch. Growing up at home, my dad would make them like this and let them drain on a paper grocery sack on the countertop.
Here’s how it works: You can choose from three predetermined sandwich options – #1 The Boxcar including pimiento cheese, peach slaw, house pickles and spicy mayo; #2 The Chicken “Not So Waffle” with bacon jam, maple syrup, pimiento cheese and tomato; or #3 The Buffalo with blue cheese sauce, tomato and bibb lettuce. If the three of those don’t get your mouth-watering, opt to Build Your Own, with toppings such as Kentucky beer cheese, sweet chili sauce or shallots. There’s something for everyone! Kurt built his own and kept it simple with Swiss cheese and honey mustard and an order of handcut fries, and I chose The Chicken “Not So Waffle” with sweet potato fries. That bacon jam combined with pimento cheese and the crispy skin of that fried chicken was SOME KINDA GOOD, now! With a big bite of my sandwich, I happily bobbed my head to the beat of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” as the lyrics perfectly echoed my emotions toward the sandwich.
Inside the restaurant, antique, exposed wood creates a retro vibe while a mix of colorful boxcar wall art and modern lighting combines old with new. Guests can sit on bar stools or at tables in the quaint dining area. Nothing on the menu is over $7, and aside from the chicken sandwiches, the menu offers chicken tenders for kids, and a few salads. Pecan pie is served in a cup and floats are also available for dessert.
When you eat at Boxcar Betty’s, you’re also helping the environment. All the materials on your tray come completely compostable. You’ll find the chicken + bun stamp on everything from the paper-wrapped sandwiches and order numbers to the front doors. If it’s fried chicken you seek, Boxcar Betty’s does it well. It’s refreshing to discover a place that takes pride in every ingredient. Dine here for a truly unique and memorable meal – they’ve genuinely mastered the art of the fried chicken sandwich!
Now based in Charleston, South Carolina, 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, 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.
A well dressed table is like a well put together outfit. It makes the kitchen feel complete and invites conversation. Y’all know how I feel about Table Talk and Family Ties, and no holiday would suffice without a properly outfitted place to dine. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen some really over-the-top centerpieces, and just like Ina Garten says, “When people start talking about tablescapes, that makes me crazy.” My style is mindful of the budget and inspired by nature, with a few items from around the house. In this post, I’ll provide you with a few tips for creating a sophisticated and simple ambiance this holiday season, using my kitchen table as an example.
My table is square, so I used a long table runner right down the center of it. I gathered a few jars of varying heights from my cabinets, like jam and Mason jars, then staggered votive candles on either side of them down the length of the runner. Instead of purchasing flowers, which can be costly and require upkeep, I opted to trim a few stems from my holly berry plant in the yard. I divided the berries and some greenery among the jars. The berries cost me nothing, and they coordinate with my Christmas china and the table runner perfectly!
I layered some of my tree trimmings in between the candles and jars, then tucked in little red and gold ornaments to give the table that extra special touch. Pine cones or acorns would also be fun to include.
These are the most important things to remember about table decor:
1) Always use unscented candles. You don’t want artificial scents competing with the food.
2) Centerpieces should be conversation friendly. Use either low centerpieces like my jars or tall, slender and clear vases that don’t obstruct conversation. There’s nothing like sitting down to a meal and not being able to see the person across from you. Awkward.
3) Leave your guests with room to breathe. If you’re dining family style, be sure to leave room for casserole and side dishes, and the main course. An overcrowded table feels cramped and stressful.
How is your table decorated? What tips would you add to my list?
“After Ruth died and the railroad stopped runnin’, the cafe shut down and everybody just scattered to the winds. It was never more’n just a little knockabout place, but now that I look back on it, when that cafe closed, the heart of the town just stopped beatin’. It’s funny how a little place like this brought so many people together.” – Ninny Threadgoode, Fried Green Tomatoes
On a beautiful fall day recently, my mom and boyfriend, Kurt, ventured to have lunch at the Whistle Stop Cafe, made famous by the 1991 movie “Fried Green Tomatoes,” a comedy-drama based on the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. Though the movie plot is set in 1920’s Alabama, the filming took place in Juliette, Georgia. It’s one of those films that every Southerner can relate to; every character in the movie is identifiable as one’s own family member. The cafe was everything I’d imagined it would be: country with a wide front porch complete with rocking chairs and large ferns, inviting in a way that reminds you of a simpler time and place, and authentic with a menu that proclaims Southern culture and cultivates deep-seated food memories in the hearts and minds of every diner.
We drank sweet iced tea served in Mason jars with big wedges of lemon and bit into the crunchy, highly anticipated Fried Green Tomato appetizer to the tune of Hank Williams Jr.’s “Country State of Mind.” The hand sliced green tomatoes were battered and fried to perfection, and you could see flecks of black pepper in the coating. Served with made-from-scratch radish sauce, it tasted much like a spicy Thousand Island dressing, though the waitress was tight-lipped with the recipe. We placed our orders — Country Fried Steak with mashed potatoes and gravy and Brunswick stew for Kurt, Yard Bird Tenders with collard greens, grilled squash and zucchini for mama, and the Fried Green Tomato Burger featuring Swiss cheese, lettuce, onion, bacon and radish sauce, with sweet potato fries for me. What I loved most about the menu was how the Fried Green Tomato was elevated — featured in an appetizer, a salad, a sandwich and on a burger, the restaurant’s name is not in vain. Prices ranged around $9 an order to $22 for a full rack of Smoked Baby Back ribs.
For dessert, we split a slice of seven layer lemon cheesecake with vanilla bean ice cream. The cake was moist and light, with tangy sheets of lemon filling between each layer. Other dessert options included peach cobbler, pecan cobbler, apple dumpling and chocolate bread pudding.
The once general merchandising store-turned-cafe still contains an antique file system loaded with old yellow tickets from the past along with the meat block, cash register, meat scales, wood heater, safe and other items used from 1927 to 1972. Movie memorabilia and local history also adorn the walls. Folks sit on bar stools at the u-shaped counter top in the center of the restaurant, or in tables and booths. The floors squeak and ceiling fans keep the air flowing.
The wait staff wear t-shirts that say, “Get Fried at the Whistle Stop Cafe,” and bustle about welcoming tourists and locals.
If you’ve never seen the movie, watch it. If you’ve never read the book, read it. And if you’ve never eaten at the cafe, plan a trip. You’ll be glad you did.
Good food and good company, that’s what it’s all about!
Get my recipe for Farm to Table Fried Green Tomatoes.
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
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.
Summertime may be my absolute favorite time to visit the farmers’ market and fruit may be my absolute favorite thing to purchase. On Saturday morning, I scored a large package of plump blackberries and the season’s first Georgia peaches. You can imagine my excitement when I came across a delicious recipe for Peach-Berry Crumble in the latest edition of Southern Living. Sunday afternoon just got better.
I paid $5 for this huge container of blackberries. You can’t beat that! Well worth the money, especially knowing I’m supporting the local farming community. Thanks Ricardo from Poor Robin’s Produce! The peaches came from my friends at Jacob’s Produce. I snuck a few pieces while slicing them for the crumble. Irresistible, juicy and sweet.
Crumbles make the perfect summer dessert. Simple to throw together, they’re special enough for entertaining yet quick enough for a post-dinner weeknight treat.
I substituted 1/2 cup of uncooked regular oats with Honey Bunches of Oats with Vanilla. It’s what I had on hand and it got the job done! Assembling this dessert is so much fun because it’s rustic and hands-on. Butter makes everything better.
The end result is a crunchy, buttery topping filled with warm, sweet fruit. Serve with cold vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream. Garnish with fresh mint. Savor summertime!
Prep Time: 1 Hour, 20 Minutes
- 3 cups fresh peach slices (about 3 medium)
- 2 cups fresh blackberries
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup uncooked regular oats
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- Vanilla ice cream
- Preheat oven to 375°. Place first 2 ingredients in an 11- x 7-inch (or 2-qt.) baking dish. Stir together egg, egg yolk, and next 4 ingredients with a fork until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over fruit; drizzle melted butter over topping. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until light brown and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes; serve warm with ice cream.
- Foolproof Apple Crisp for the Love of Fall
- Fried Pie Features Georgia’s Finest Fruit
- Georgia Blueberries Star in Summer Tart
With the dog days of summer comes trips to the beach, picnics, grilling out with friends and family, baby showers, weddings, you name it! Summertime is entertaining time and I couldn’t be more excited to announce “Nibble & Nosh and Everything Posh!” a food and style event I’m hosting with my longtime friend Chad Steed, in his sweet home of Alabama.
Tailored for entertaining, the event boasts Southern recipes and innovative style ideas for hosting the perfect summer soirée . I’ll share dishes you can prepare with minimal effort that are big on flavor and presentation! Guests will sample bites of my bacon, lettuce and fried green tomato sliders with spicy pimento cheese among other refreshing grilled desserts, appetizers and warm-weather-friendly beverages. In addition to my live cooking demonstrations, Chad of “The Stylish Steed” lifestyle blog, focused on living well for less, will bring his creative taste to the table teaching guests how to personalize parties with custom cloth table linens, unique lighting elements, painting techniques and easy floral arranging.
You may remember Chad from our brief appearance on The Dr. Oz Show. We met on the mission field in the summer of 2002 during college and have been the best of pals ever since. We always have a good time together and this event will be no exception. I’d like to personally invite you to join us as we sing, laugh and demonstrate how to entertain with ease on Thursday, May 15 at 6 p.m. at the Gadsden State Cherokee Arena. Admission is $5 in advance or $8 at the door. Tickets may be purchased at the Gadsden State Cherokee Campus.
At my house, it wouldn’t be a dinner party without the smoke alarm sounding at least once or my Shih Tzu, Ewok howling to the top of his lungs and doing the happy dance each time a new guest arrives at the door. That was the scene on a rainy Tuesday night recently when I invited my boyfriend and two close friends over for an early Easter feast. It was an occasion special enough for fine china and the antique, linen seashell napkins my mother gave me. On the menu? Continue reading “An Easter Feast of Roasted Leg of Lamb and Mint Chutney”