Explore A Taste of Tybee January 17-26

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Image courtesy of VisitTybee.com.

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?

Fantastic place, I'd go back again!
North Beach Bar and Grill is offering a free dessert course and coffee during Tybee Island Restaurant Week!
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Image courtesy of VisitTybee.com.

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!

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The Crab Shack is known for its famous Lowcountry Boil.

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”

"The Federale"  at Huc-A-Poos: Mexican pizza with grilled chicken, red onions, bell peppers, fresh tomatoes and jalapenos.
“The Federale” at Huc-A-Poos: Mexican pizza with grilled chicken, red onions, bell peppers, fresh tomatoes and jalapenos.
The Wild Georgia Shrimp at Sting Ray's Seafood are caught and served fresh from the Atlantic.
The Wild Georgia Shrimp at Sting Ray’s Seafood are caught and served fresh from the Atlantic.

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!

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From the Farm to the Plate: A Day in the Life of a Pasture-Raised Chicken

pastured poultry poster 2013 gaPastured Poultry Week kicks off this Monday, and I invite you to come with me as I follow the life of a chicken from the farm to the plate.

Organized by Compassion in World Farming, a global organization working to end factory farming, and Georgians for Pastured Poultry, the event aims to help promote and celebrate humane and sustainable pasture-raised poultry for one week each year.

Local Farmer, Brandon Chonko has invited me to visit his South Georgia farm in Tattnall County–Grassroots Farms, where he raises 1500 chickens, ducks and turkeys and supplies them to more than 15 restaurants in the state and throughout the South. Many of the restaurants he supplies are in the Atlanta area, and some are even on the Georgia Coast, where I’ll be enjoying my pastured poultry dish, at North Beach Bar and Grill on Tybee Island.

Learning about the food we eat, where it comes from and how it’s raised is really fascinating to me. If you’re like me, you may be wondering what exactly a pastured bird is and why there’s a whole week set aside for their awareness. Farmer Brandon explains:

"I love working outdoors with animals. I also love being able to market to such talented chefs." -Brandon Chonko
“I love working outdoors with animals. I also love being able to market to such talented chefs.” -Brandon Chonko [Photo Credit: Andrew Thomas Lee]
“Pasture-raised or pastured birds actually live 24/7 in fresh pasture. They are housed in small batches in portable housing. They get moved frequently to ensure fresh forage. Also, we use a French breed of chicken that are known to be active foragers. They are bred to live outdoors, not in a chicken house. Pastured birds are healthier, need no antibiotics, are active and taste better. They have a long life. They are what chicken dinner Sundays used to consist of prior to the rise of the industrial chicken.”

Learn more about Grassroots Farm’s Humble Roots story.

Pastured Poultry Week is in its second year, and has expanded to include more than 50 Georgia-based chefs and over 25 chefs from New York. If you’d like to experience the taste of a pasture-raised chicken and support Georgia’s farmers while eating cleaner, visit Halyards or Tramici Neighborhood Italian on St. Simons Island. You can also see a complete listing of participating restaurants on the Georgians for Pastured Poultry website.

I’m headed to the farm Sunday, and will venture out to the beach next week to eat that chicken. I’ll keep you posted!

Related content:

A Heavenly Vibe at Huc-a-Poo’s

Huc-A-Poo’s Bites & Booze
Tybee Island, Georgia

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.

The Food
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.

The Cost
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.

The Location
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.

The Crowd
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.

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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.

Huc-A-Poo's Bites & Booze on Urbanspoon

Where Friendship and Fine Food Collide

The Crab Shack
Tybee Island, Georgia

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.

This is the large deck that overlooks the creek. Age old Spanish-moss covered oak trees hang over the area, creating an ambiance where it’s impossible to be unhappy.

You can also feed live baby alligators on the premises. There are 78 to be exact! Pretty cool to see.

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.

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Crab Shack on Urbanspoon

White Zinfandel and Wild Georgia Shrimp

Sting Ray’s Seafood Restaurant
Tybee Island, Georgia 

It’s the kind of place you drive by and think, “We have to go there!” Maybe it’s the sound of live beach music that lures you in or the colorful umbrellas and white lights. For me, it was the idea of strolling over from the beach, sun-kissed and sandy to enjoy some wild Georgia shrimp on the patio in the ocean breeze.

Around 7 p.m. on a Saturday night following a great day at the beach, we joined the crowd at Sting Ray’s Seafood Restaurant located just across the street from the Atlantic ocean.

Wearing a little powder and lip gloss, dressed in my swimsuit cover-up and sparkling flip-flops, I ordered a cold glass of white zinfandel and enjoyed the music. The casual, laid-back atmosphere is such a nice change of pace from the everyday office environment.

The menu was full of good food and it was hard to make a choice. You can order seafood by itself or as a meal, which is great if you don’t have a huge appetite.

I ordered a 1/2 pound of steamed, peel & eat wild Georgia shrimp for $9.95 with a house salad.

Nothing fancy here-just simple, familiar ingredients with a cold drink.

I wish y’all could reach through your computer screen and taste one of these. They were the most plump, succulent shrimp I’ve ever eaten. Served with melted butter and seasoned with Old Bay, the shrimp were swimming in the Atlantic just two days before they were served to me. Fresh at its finest. I squeezed the lemon juice right over the top and dunked them in cocktail sauce.

 I don’t know this fellow’s name, but he entertained everyone well with classic beach tunes: Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay, It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere…you get the idea. Jam on my friend, jam on.

Sting Ray’s sits at the intersection of Butler Avenue and 14th Street.

Every table was full but the wait wasn’t long. Who’s counting minutes anyway when you’re on island time?

After dinner, we took a walk on the pier to listen to the waves crash and say goodbye to the Atlantic one more time. It really wasn’t goodbye though, only see you later–because I’ll be back soon, and very soon.

Sting Ray's Seafood on Urbanspoon