In early April, I went on vacation with two of my best friends of 25 years, including our families – kids, pets and all. We rented a beach house on St. Simons Island and spent the week eating to our hearts’ content, lounging on the beach and having jam sessions by the pool. It was the ideal vacation, complete with dolphin watching, strolling on the pier and working on our tans, but the most fun I had all week was when we rode our bikes to the pier for a little crabbing adventure. Continue reading “Aunt Adela’s Cold Georgia Blue Crab Dip”
I grew up in a rural neighborhood on the outskirts of Augusta, Ga. To get to any beach was at least a three-hour ride, but somehow, my soul has always been at home on the water. One of the highlights of my summer was at long last, getting to go Shrimpin’ on the Lady Jane with my handsome new husband, and what an excursion it was! I’ve read so many novels about shrimpin’ (check out Mary Alice Monroe’s Last Light Over Carolina), and have long dreamt of climbing aboard a real shrimp boat and casting my net. On a rainy August day, thanks to Credle’s Adventures, that dream became a reality.
For just $40 a ticket, we got to spend the afternoon cruising the St. Simons Sound, taking in the picturesque views of the Georgia coast and relishing in the wonderment of under-sea life. If I hadn’t gone to school to study marketing and public relations, I would seriously have considered becoming a marine biologist. The creatures that swim below the ocean absolutely fascinate me! Don’t be fooled by the name of the outing–we caught way more than shrimp! Jeffery, the naturalist and guide on our boat, quickly told us that “Shrimp are actually one of the most boring things we catch.” Our cast net reeled in everything from two varieties of shark, angel fish, squid, butterfly rays and the most bizarre little creature, called a hog choker. See for yourself!
You can just hear the excitement!
This guy has a great job!
We cast our 20-foot net twice during the 2-hour event. It stayed down for 16-20 minutes each time. Among the things I learned? How to de-head and de-vein a wild Georgia Shrimp fresh from the Atlantic, that a marine estuary is a mix of fresh and salt water to make brackish water, and all about the oyster beds along the coastline.
Now that I live on the South Carolina coast, I’ll be doing a lot more of this!
The beautiful green grass along the boarder of the water is called Spartina and surprisingly enough, this plant gives the water its color. It’s the base of the ecosystem’s food chain, and uses salt water to survive.
If you’ve never held a real, live shark in your bare hands, it’s an experience to remember! Even though this guy was only 2-3 feet long, he had me at his mercy.
I’d recommend this outing to anyone! View the slideshow below for more fun photos from our trip.
Y’all know how much I love my Georgia coast, and a good shrimp. One of my favorite ways to cooks these babies is to pile them high on a bed of Southern, buttery grits. Get my recipe for Wild Georgia Shrimp & Grits here.
Thanks to Captain Larry and his crew for a really memorable, fun and great day on the water. We can’t wait to go Shrimpin’ again!
Seafood on the Georgia coast with good company gets me more excited than a child on Christmas morning. Moreover, restaurants that want to show off their menu offerings at affordable prices are that much more enticing. Tybee Island Restaurant Week begins this Friday, and I can’t imagine a better way to enjoy a little taste of Tybee, from beer battered oysters at North Beach Bar and Grill or Killer Key Lime Pie at Fannie’s on the Beach to homemade pizza at Huc-A-Poos Bites and Booze. Why not join in the fun at perhaps the most laid-back destination on the Southeastern seacoast?
From January 17 – 26, 2014, each participating restaurant will offer 3-course, prix fixe dinner menus for $25-$30 per person (not including tax and gratuity). “Prix fixe” simply means the chefs have predetermined a few of the most delicious selections to showcase in each category–appetizer, entrée and dessert. You choose whatever suits your palate, then sit back and enjoy the experience. It’s a fantastic time to explore a new restaurant and experience variety in a wallet-friendly way. On my list of places to stop? Tybee Island Social Club and Coco’s Sunset Grille. Bacon wrapped scallops or fried strawberries, anyone? Yes, please!
As it turns out, many of the restaurants I’ve reviewed right here on “Some Kinda Good™”are participating! Check them out below:
The Crab Shack – “Where Friendship and Fine Food Collide”
Huc-A-Poos Bites and Booze – “A Heavenly Vibe at Huc-A-Poos Bites and Booze”
Sting Ray’s Seafood – “White Zinfandel and Wild Georgia Shrimp”
North Beach Grill – “Pastured Poultry Week: So God Made a Farmer”
Get a complete list of participating restaurants, including the restaurant week menus by visiting this page on the Tybee Island Restaurant Week website. See you on the coast!
Fiddlers Seafood Southside
Attention to detail is unmistakable. Nine times out of 10, if a restaurant understands how to be great in the little things, that trait is going to carry over in the taste and presentation of food, as well as the quality of service and atmosphere. Fiddlers Seafood in Savannah, Georgia nails it. From the coastal beach-shack vibe to the seafood inspired menu, stepping through the front door is like stepping back in time. Maritime, that is. Black and white photographs depicting generations of happy fisherman families fill the walls, while char-grilled oyster platters and steam pot shrimp dinners come barreling out of the kitchen.
The menu is posted outside on the patio, so you can get an idea of pricing and a jump-start on what you’d like to order. Once seated, you’ll receive a tangible menu that opens up like a window (It’s these little nuances that make my heart sing!). It’s full of colorful, enticing and tempting pictures that will prolong your decision! After careful deliberation, I decided on the Lobster Sliders for $14.99–a trio served three ways: lobster salad, lobster sautéed in a garlic wine sauce and fried lobster. I also ordered a Caesar salad for the sake of something green.
I enjoyed the unique spin on the popular lobster roll. The bread was toasted and each filling provided a different flavor. The shape of the white plate was also a nice touch. I liked the fried lobster best. The crunch of the light batter with the succulent meat worked well. The menu is broken down into a few themed categories: Oyster Bar, Beginnings, Soups & Salads, Fiddlers Finest and Steam Pot. You can also choose from Fried, Land and Sammies selections. I plan to try the Seafood Nachos and blackened Fish Tacos on my next visit. Not to worry, Fiddlers Seafood doesn’t forget dessert. Key Lime Pie, Pecan Pie, Chocolate Brownie A La Mode and Clemmie’s Peach Cobbler range from $5.99 – $6.99.
I visited during lunch on a Wednesday afternoon. The atmosphere was friendly, upbeat and coastal. In other words, my kinda party. Our waitress couldn’t have been more pleasant. We shared a few laughs and had everything we needed throughout the meal. Open seven days a week, with daily Happy Hour specials from 4 – 7 p.m., attire is casual and no reservation is needed. Live music happens every Friday beginning at 7 p.m. I can’t wait to visit again!
With two locations, Fiddlers Seafood has been around for over 22 years. I visited the Memorial Drive venue, but if you’re in downtown Savannah, be sure to check out the Fiddlers Crab House River Street location too. Either way, you’re guaranteed a great food escape!
Barbara Jean’s Restaurant & Bar
St. Simons Island, Georgia
There’s something comforting about the never changing–those restaurants you’ve been going to for years that you know and love, and have come to expect. You know the quality, you would bet your life savings by the she crab soup and nothing excites you more than sharing the experience with friends and family who’ve never tasted and seen. At the corner of Mallory and Beachview streets located in the Pier Village of St. Simons Island, Georgia sits one of my family’s constants: Barbara Jean’s. You may have visited in the Golden Isles, or in one of the four locations in South Carolina or Florida. Whether you go for the famous crab cakes or the pumpkin bread and the sweet jalapeno corn bread with cinnamon butter, Barbara Jean’s Easy Southern Dining makes deciding where to eat lunch or dinner a cinch!
My favorite seat in the house is by the bay window overlooking the Pier Village shops. In the summertime, every table is usually full and the place is bustling with wait staff, bus boys and hungry tourists and locals. Traveling with Fido? Grab a seat on the patio. Dining alone? Pull up a chair at the full bar and order up your favorite cocktail. The menu prices range from $4.99 for a cup of soup to about $24 for the most expensive dinner entrée.
The food is Some Kinda Good y’all, and my best friend swears by “The Chocolate Stuff.” Cobbler-like and better than a brownie, it’s Barbara Jean’s signature dessert and is served in a big bowl with homemade whipped cream. Other menu items include Tuna Steaks, Shrimp & Grits and Chicken Fried Steak. The restaurant is coastal and down home all at the same time…my kinda place!
After dinner, walk along Mallory street or take a seat at the Pier to see what the fisherman are reeling in. Of all the places to eat in the Golden Isles, Barbara Jean’s should be at the top of your list.
Huc -A-Poo’s Bites & Booze is the epitome of life. It’s where stories are born. It’s the kind of place Pat Conroy and Earnest Hemingway write about in novels. It’s a genuine, local bar with an environment that can’t be created. It’s not store-bought. It’s not forced. No one has a care in the world. It’s a place where nothing matters–what you wear, who you are, where you come from. You can just be. It’s care free, non-judgmental. It’s come one, come all. It’s family owned and operated. It’s the kind of place where time and seasons escape. Laid back. Eclectic. It doesn’t have a website. You won’t find brochures on it. It’s not touristy. It’s unpretentious, unassuming. The slogan on the paper menu reads: Huc-A-Poo’s – Where the Mind and Spirits Meet. I would imagine heaven to have the same vibe.
The Cast of Characters
The people in a place make all the difference. It’s the characters who create the atmosphere. These folks along with my friend, April (pictured left above) inspired my experience.
Steven – He wore a multi-colored Beanie hat and liked to call me brat, but oddly, in an endearing way. He said, “My brother owns this place. Wanna meet him?” He led me into the kitchen and I got a behind the scenes tour. Throughout the night, he would look at me across the room and put his finger to his lips and say, “shhhhh.” He wandered from table to bar top, to staircase and his brothers referred to him as Huc-A-Poo’s PR guy. He was right at home.
The Bartender – He would pop out from behind the bar and groove to the music, moving from customer to customer bringing drinks, taking checks. He had a beard and obviously loved his job.
The Band – The Royal Noise: Jazz, Funk, Soul – Each band member bled music. It ran through their veins. They felt every note. They expressed pure passion in a saxophone, a drum set, a bass and electric guitar. It was evident they were born to play. Take a listen.
The Staff – A close-nit group of folks who appeared to be all related. They were long-haired, free-spirited and kind with tanned skin worn from the sun. Very welcoming. Really hospitable. No uniforms, they wore whatever they pleased. Shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops, even in November.
Pizza. Beer. Saturday night.
We ordered a $15 specialty pizza – The Federale: Mexican pizza with grilled chicken, red onions, bell peppers, fresh tomatoes and jalapenos. It was massive and only $15 bucks. We’ll get at least four meals out of it from the leftovers! Landshark Lagers with lime slices only made sense to drink. You can order pizza by the $4 slice or a whole pie. Make your choice from 12 different specialty pies or build your own. Wraps, nachos and hot dogs are on the menu too, even low carb salads. The food tasted great, but honestly it wouldn’t have mattered.
Nothing on the menu is priced over $7 with the exception of the $15 whole pies, which would cost at least $30 anywhere else. Amazingly affordable.
Located in the Tybee Oaks Shopping Center just a few miles from the beach off of Highway 80, Huc-A-Poo’s has over 2,500 Likes on Facebook. Let’s help them get to 3,000.
On a Saturday night in early November, the age group ranged from 25 – 60 with the majority of the crowd being locals, others, first-time visitors like myself. With the exception of a young, drunk athlete who tried to eat my face upon arrival, everybody there was awesome.
Huc-A-Poo’s combined all my favorite things in one place-Good food and good company, and live music in an incredible atmosphere on the Georgia coast. It’s the kind of environment you happen upon once in a blue moon, the kind of place that has the potential to make me relocate. Huc-A-Poo’s is a place that sets the standard, that you’ll continue comparing other environments to again and again. They’ve found a new regular in me.
I’m convinced that all I really need in this world is a lifelong friend and a pile of crab legs on the Southern seacoast. There are times when my soul feels so content, like if in that moment life were to end, I could slip from the Earth with a smile on my face. That satisfaction, that fulfillment only comes from good conversation–the kind where you can bear your soul and not be judged, paired with the taste of food so fresh it was swimming in the Atlantic only moments before it landed on your plate. My blog, Some Kinda Good is all about good food and good company, and that’s what I experienced over the weekend at The Crab Shack on Tybee Island with Jennifer, my friend of 17 years.
Located just off highway 80 as you make your way onto Tybee Island, The Crab Shack–Where the Elite Eat in Their Bare Feet–is THE destination for all things seafood. Known for their Lowcountry boil, the restaurant has been voted Best Seafood and Best Outdoor Dining since 1998.
Offering indoor and outdoor dining, there’s really no bad seat in the house. When we first arrived, we sat on the deck overlooking Chimney Creek, and later moved inside to the screened in porch area when it started to rain. Since we visited in October, the boat was decorated for Halloween. From your table, you can hear boat motors cranking up and seagulls overhead.
The menu features the Captain Crab’s Sampler where you can try an assortment of seasonal shellfish with corn, potatoes and sausage. It also offers a variety of crabs–Snow, Alaskan King, Blue, Dungeness or Stone. Not only does The Crab Shack serve seafood, but true to its Southern region, they tout “The best barbecue on the beach or anywhere else.” The sides include corn, potatoes, sausage, smashed taters and slaw.
I ordered a Landshark Lager–only fitting being on the island–with a cup of Boston Clam Chowder and the Half and Half dinner: A half pound of snow crab legs with a half pound of wild Georgia shrimp for $19. 99. It came with corn on the cob. There are holes in the center of each table for discarding shrimp hulls and empty shells and I love being able to just toss your paper plate when you’re done. It’s casual dining on the coast, the way it should be.
Once we acted like tourists and took our photo with the Croc (this made me feel like we were 12 again on a family vacation), we took our to-go cups of sweet tea and made our way out to the beach. Jennifer is the red-head on the left, and that’s me on the right.
I counted 53 pelicans fishing over the ocean that evening, watched the sunset by the lighthouse and touched down in the Atlantic one more time. We rode 80 West back home with the windows down and Southern rock on the radio, the palm trees passing in the wind.
See more pictures below from our visit to The Crab Shack–and be sure to grab a good friend and make the trip. The only time you won’t find them open is on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
I couldn’t be more excited to tell y’all about the Inaugural Saint Simons Food & Spirits Festival happening this September at Gascoigne Bluff in my favorite vacation destination…the beautiful Golden Isles of Georgia.
If you’re like me and love seafood and Southern cuisine, this is an event you won’t want to miss. Headlined by James Beard – award-winning television personality, cookbook author and grand dame of Southern cooking – Nathalie Dupree and her co-author, Cynthia Graubart, the festival will highlight the talents of many major players in the culinary world.
Nathalie Dupree was a household name when I was growing up and like many of you, I am a very big fan of her cookbooks. Other participants will include Atlanta chef of No. 246 Restaurant, Ford Fry; food blogger and cookbook author Libbie Summers and Saint Simons’ own beekeeper, Ted Dennard, founder of Savannah Bee Company.
Think wild Georgia shrimp & grits. Crab cakes. Local honey. Fine wine. The food is sure to be Some Kinda Good, but the cause is even better.
While celebrating the bounty of Georgia’s Golden Isles, the Saint Simons Food & Spirits Festival will raise dollars and awareness for Hospice of the Golden Isles, the only community-based, non-profit hospice serving the area. A variety of ticket prices will cater to every budget.
Culinary talent, bluegrass musical performances and local, coastal cuisine–what’s not to love? I hope you’ll join me and area restaurants, regional farmers and artisans at the first event of its kind September 21 – 23.
Find out who’ll be there, learn more about volunteer opportunities and get the full event schedule by visiting The Saint Simons Food & Spirits Festival website.
Never been to the Golden Isles? Check out my photo gallery to get a glimpse.
Ocean Terrace Grille
St. Simons Island, Georgia
If your family is anything like mine, you’ll know what I mean when I say a beach outing can leave you exhausted. The checklist of items we lug through the sand usually includes everything but the kitchen sink. Beach chairs. Tent. Cooler–packed to the brim. Towels. Radio. You get the idea. Thanks to The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort however, and their recently opened Ocean Terrace Grille, our load will be a little lighter this summer because we’ll be leaving the lunch fixings at home.
Conveniently located on the ocean’s edge, Ocean Terrace Grille is open to the public. While visiting St. Simons Island in the Golden Isles of Georgia, you can walk over from any location on East beach, just as you are, to enjoy the ocean breeze, have a cocktail or one of Chef Jeff’s scrumptious creations. Like the atmosphere, the menu is casual featuring salads, sandwiches, fresh wraps and burgers. The prices range from $5 for a classic garden salad to $11 for a shrimp salad wrap.
Nothing beats a properly garnished cocktail, especially on a hot day in Georgia at the beach. The full bar has an impressive selection of frozen and specialty cocktails as well as beer and wine. We visited on July 4th, and the K&P Independence specialty cocktail with coconut rum, Blue Curacao and pineapple juice was a fine way to celebrate our nation’s independence. Beautiful job, bartender.
We ordered chips and salsa for an appetizer at $7. The tri-colored chips were served with the best and most refreshing salsa I’ve ever tasted. A little cilantro, diced tomatoes and onion along with something fruity (mango maybe?) definitely made my taste buds say wow! The service also was timely and hospitable.
I ordered the Grilled Fish Sandwich, blackened, on a Brioche bun with lettuce, tomato and lemon aioli. Served with kettle chips, the sandwich showcases the catch of the day–on that day it was grouper: flaky, white, moist and fork-tender. Just look at those gorgeous grill marks!
You do not have to be a guest of The King and Prince to enjoy lunch or dinner at Ocean Terrace Grille. It is the island’s only alfresco oceanside dining establishment and everyone is welcomed and encouraged to come and experience it.
Sorry sandwich meat, on my next beach trip, you’ll be staying in the fridge.
Back in the Day Bakery
At the intersection of West 40th and Bull Streets under one lone palm tree in the Starland District of Savannah, Georgia sits Back in the Day Bakery, so fondly known as The Best Little Bakery in the South. I had wanted to visit for weeks, ever since I’d seen Cheryl Day, co-owner, cooking with Paula Deen on Food Network. It was everything I’d hoped it would be and more.
I was in love from the moment I entered. Love at first sight. It was like sensory overload. The smell of fresh bread. The cottage, rustic, modern style. The retro appliances. The vintage dishes. The coastal color palette. The inviting seating area above immediately caught my eye–I couldn’t get over the live baby’s breath anchored in tin pails and the over-sized chairs. This was a place I could come daily, I thought.
Then I saw it. Cinnamon Sticky Buns. It just so happened that I had visited Back in the Day bakery on a special day–Saturday morning, the only time of the week Griff Day, co-owner, bakes these unbelievably freakin’ good send-you-to-church delicacies. Made with local honey from the Savannah Bee Company, the buns have a sweet-spicy filling, a caramel glaze and a tangy, oh-my-sweet-heavenly-Lord, cream cheese frosting. The taste was enough to make this Southern Baptist begin speaking in tongues.
The floor and counter tops are cement…just another little detail that adds to the nostalgia.
Simple syrup, a combination of equal parts water and sugar, is available to sweeten your tea or coffee. I like using simple syrup because it allows you to be in control of your sugar intake…of pristine importance when you’re downing Cinnamon Sticky Buns. 😉 You’ll also find utensils for the taking in classic Mason Jars.
Back in the Day Bakery doesn’t just sell baked goods, lunch is also served daily from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Above, the Rosemary Chicken sandwich is made with chicken, red onion, celery, black currants and herb spiced mayo.
My trip wouldn’t have been complete without purchasing The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook. Buy it from the Bakery and you’ll get an autographed copy! If the recipes contained in this book taste anything like the Saturday-morning tradition Cinnamon Sticky Buns, it’ll be the best $24.95 I’ve ever spent.