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Good eats around Hunting Island

I had better modify part of this recommendation. Gay's is good for shrimp, which is what we get 99% of the time. We have on occasion done well buying flounder or another type of fish that is likely to be local, when it looked fresh and they told us it was local. However, they do have some fish (and crab) that appears to have travelled a long distance, and we leave that alone.

Oct 18, 2013
lbamber in Southeast
1

Places to eat from a Beaufort SC native.

cowgirl,

If your stop at Gay's was based on my prior recommendation on another thread, I am sorry for previously being unclear. We typically only buy shrimp at Gay's. The shrimp boats come right up to their back door.

On rare occasions, I might buy flounder or a fish likely to be local if it looked fresh and they said it was local. But 99% of the time we content ourselves with the shrimp.

Depending on where you are going from Hunting Island, we really like Highway 21 Seafood, on, well, Highway 21 on the way out of Beaufort (past Beaufort and just before the big airplane at the Marine base, but on the opposite side of the road). It's a little road stand with coolers on the side. We've been happy with the freshness of the seafood. For example, we've seen pickup trucks drive up with bushels of live crabs.

Oct 18, 2013
lbamber in Southeast

Good eats around Hunting Island

Mostly I lurk here, so I am happy to be of help on a relatively obscure topic where I happen to have some experience. My disappointment with most Thai restaurants in the SE is that the food is one dimensional or far too sweet, or most often, both. Suwan falls into neither trap. The chef is Thai, and her husband runs the front of house. The reviews on Urbanspoon are spot on, with both the pros (food quality) and cons (sometimes slow service, as it is a two person operation). For this reason, we go at lunch or for early dinner.

The lunch special green chicken curry is both delicious and good value. Deviating from the lunch menu specials can be expensive, but in my opinion the quality is high enough to warrant the hit to the wallet.

Jul 26, 2013
lbamber in Southeast

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? July, 2013 edition (through July 31, 2013)

Glad to be of help. Many of his recipes are fairly straightforward (like the shrimp creole), but others are pretty involved (e.g., the stuffed trout). To be honest, one of the best things I learned from the book is how to make shrimp stock (shrimp heads are worth their weight in gold here, and really make a difference to the creole or gumbo). So I think it is a worthwhile investment for a newish cook.

I haven't made it in years, but there is also a seafood dirty rice recipe that I recall being quite straightforward and tasty. As someone else mentioned, the quantities of butter and cream in some of the recipes are over the top, but easily adjusted.

Happy cooking!

Jul 26, 2013
lbamber in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? July, 2013 edition (through July 31, 2013)

I have several of the books you are contemplating, and my favorite one is Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen. I love spicy food, and his original recipes fill the bill. One of my all time favorite recipes is his shrimp creole, although it is fiery indeed, and even I have to cut back the cayenne somewhat. His remoulade is delicious, as are a hard boiled egg-based salad dressing, and a trout stuffed with crab and shrimp.

Jul 26, 2013
lbamber in Home Cooking
1

Good eats around Hunting Island

I'm not sure which direction you are coming from, but if you go through Port Royal, I can also recommend Suwan Thai (yes, amazing Thai food in Port Royal -- to be honest it's the best Thai food I've had in the southeast). Also, Fat Patties has excellent burgers (locally sourced meats) and milkshakes which can, ahem, be spiked.

If you are coming from the west, Highway 21 Seafood before you get into Beaufort has the best selection, freshness, and prices on seafood that we've found anywhere in the area. It's a little trailer with coolers filled with ice and various seafoods. It's the only place I've ever found raw stone crab claws. Now if I can only figure out how to cook them so that the meat comes out more easily...

Turning to markets, we have not been to White's seafood, but in addition to Gay's, Bradley's also has good shrimp. As an aside, the shrimp boat scenes in Forrest Gump were filmed outside Gay's.

Finally, the Port Royal farmer's market on Saturday mornings is really very good. Good selection of veg, locally grown meats, seafood, a great local coffee guy, good bakeries, and some very good food stands (Chinese dumplings, BBQ, crepes, and pierogies).

Jul 26, 2013
lbamber in Southeast

Rehearsal Dinner Help - Athens GA

I'd suggest not writing off the National based on their online menu. I've had nothing but great experiences with them, which is more than I can say for the other two you are considering. Chef Peter Dale is very accommodating. We hosted a wedding lunch for a Ph.D. student at the restaurant. The bride and groom wanted a tiramisu cake, and the pastry chef created one for us. If you talk to the chef about the kinds of food you want, I'd bet they can help you out. They also have a large adjacent space, though I am not sure it is quite big enough for 60-70 people.

The other post mentions Lee Epting Catering. I've been to several events they catered (unfortunately, not real recently), and the food was very good.

Jul 25, 2013
lbamber in Southeast

Good eats around Hunting Island

Shrimp Shack has excellent (but ridiculously expensive for what they are) fried shrimp.

Gay's seafood across from the Shrimp Shack has good local seafood (shrimp, fish).

In Beaufort, Griffin Market (corner of Carteret and Craven I think; it doesn't have a sign) has outstanding Northern Italian food. Old Bull Tavern is a good gastropub with very good culinary cocktails.

Jul 25, 2013
lbamber in Southeast

North Georgia Mountains

Thanks Cloebell. We were thinking of Wolf Mountain Vineyard and Monteluce.

Jun 11, 2013
lbamber in Southeast

North Georgia Mountains

We will be spending a few days in the North Georgia Mountains this fall. Specifically, around Dahlonega. I apologize if I missed something, but I did not find any prior threads on this area. Does anyone have recommendations for good places to eat? Price is not important, and we enjoy holes in the wall just as much as top end places. We also eat all kinds of ethnic food, although I doubt that part of the world is overflowing with great ethnic options. Thanks for any help you can provide.

Jun 11, 2013
lbamber in Southeast

good, cheap eats in Charleston, SC?

This spring we went on the Soul Food tour at the Charleston Food and Wine Festival. Hands down, the single best dish of the five stops was the lima bean dish at Ernie's. I know, I know. Lima Beans????? Yes, lima beans. If you go, I'd recommend the lima beans (and this is from a girl who thinks fried chicken is the bomb). I still dream about Ernie's lima beans. Apparently, I am not the only one.

https://plus.google.com/104569311836324938852/about?gl=us&hl=en

http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Re...

Jun 02, 2013
lbamber in Southeast

Is Athens covered in the Atlanta board? 1 dinner, 2 lunch (BBQ and/or Mexican)

I'm relatively new to CH, but we have lived in Athens for 20+ years. Fortunately, the restaurant scene is much improved since 1990. I'll just post a quick update related to the most recent posts.

Even though Chef Acheson has opened another restaurant in Atlanta (Empire State South), we believe that 5&10 is still the best place for fine dining in Athens. I also concur that The National and lately Farm 255 are just a bit behind 5&10 -- but both have more funky Athens vibe and are very enjoyable. The Branded Butcher also has potential (as in habanero bratwurst and very good cocktails), and I believe it has also taken over the Georgia Theater rooftop restaurant.

https://www.facebook.com/thebrandedbutcher

About authentic Mexican. Taqueria Del Sol is fusion southern food/Mexican (e.g., BBQ tacos???), which is not to our taste. However, if you go while the green chilis are in season (late summer/early fall), you will have the best chile rellenos you have ever had in your life! Light and not greasy, and incredibly delicious. Pretty good margaritas too. We go at least once a week while the chilis are in season, but give it a pass the rest of the year. Agua Linda used to be good, but our last few experiences there were meh. Although it does have the best margaritas. We prefer Sr. Sol, even though its margaritas are so bad that I am compelled to switch to Negra Modelo to wash the food down. (If anyone knows what to order to get a good margarita at Sr. Sol (i.e., a fresh one without the mix and with better alcohol), I'd be forever grateful.) But the food is good, and it is close to our condo. All that said, we like Tlaloc the best. By far. It is a real hole in the wall, and not in the best section of town. But it is delicious, real, and incredibly inexpensive. Service is very friendly. I want to try the pupusas (which are Salvadoran, not Mexican), but at least so far I have not been able to get past their chilaquiles.

http://www.tlalocelmexicano.webs.com/

Some people like the new Pulaski Heights BBQ, and it has a great bourbon selection. However, the one time we went at 8:00 pm, they were out of meat. As in completely out of meat (and this was before they had the catfish). So there were no main courses available. The sides that we ordered could have used some work (smoked cauliflower a bit too crunchy, and mac and cheese a bit too runny). We will have to give them another try, however, as the idea of the place is very appealing. Does anyone else have a report on PHBBQ?

http://pulaskiheightsbbq.com/

Jun 02, 2013
lbamber in Southeast

beaufort, sc dinner.

While I'm too late to help you, I hope this will help others coming to the lovely town of Beaufort. Our experience is that Panini's, Plums, Southern Graces Bistro, and Breakwater, are "ok," but we would not go out of our way to return. We think the best food in the area is to be had at Suwan Thai, Fat Patties, or Griffin Market. The first two are actually in Port Royal, and the third is in Beaufort.

Suwan Thai serves truly authentic Thai cuisine. It is run by a husband and wife team. The husband does the front of the house and the wife (who is Thai) is the chef. It's some of the best Thai food I have had outside of Asia. It is authentic Thai, and not particularly dumbed down (e.g., is not overly sweetened, which is my pet peeve) for American tastes. Don't take this as indicating the food is always overly spicy. I like that I can actually get spicy dishes, but my sister who can't tolerate much spice was happy with the dishes that she requested be served mild/medium. Yes, the atmosphere can be a bit eccentric at times, but I love the food and the owners are so friendly. We also like the BYO opportunity. Since this is a two person show, we have always gone at lunch or for early dinner to beat the crowds. I don't know what would happen if the dining room were full, however...

Fat Patties has awesome burgers (they buy local meats and grind their own) and shakes, including a full bar from which you can add to your milkshake. All manner of regular beef burgers are available as well as turkey and vegetarian burgers. Servings are huge. My husband and I split one burger and one shake and that is more than enough for the two of us.

Griffin Market is a new restaurant at 403 Carteret Street (at the corner of Craven), roughly across from Low Country Market. I give this information because they do not have a sign, and it can be hard to find. This is upscale Northern Italian dining, run by a husband and wife team -- again, the wife is the chef, and the husband (who is from Northern Italy) runs the front of house. In terms of fine dining, this is by far the best meal we have had in 20+ years of visiting Beaufort on a regular basis. Our appetizers included beautiful arincini, and a lovely plate of white anchovies in a vinegarette with sieved eggs. The taglatielle bolognese was absolutely the best pasta dish I have ever had in a restaurant. We also split an order of halibut with a delicious pepper sauce. We are picky about fish, and the halibut was perfectly cooked. We thought the prices were reasonable given the extremely high quality of the food. I have seen some complain that portion sizes are small. While that is true for the antipasti dishes, the size of the pasta dishes and fish were more than ample. Again, it can be a little eccentric (I have read that they will not serve bread except with the antipasti), but I don't mind when the owners are so friendly and seem genuinely concerned that you really enjoy the superb food. The husband is a wine geek (in a good way), and the wine list is astonishing for a town of this size. Fortunately, he is more than willing to make (excellent) suggestions to suit your taste and price point. I read that the owners moved their restaurant from Georgetown (DC) to Beaufort. I agree with local writer Pat Conroy that we are thrilled to have such a fine restaurant, whose quality is on par with that of any big city, here in Beaufort. See his review in a local paper:

http://www.lcweekly.com/food-and-drin...

At present, they are also open for lunch from Thursday-Saturday.

Jun 02, 2013
lbamber in Southeast

Paris Report -- Ledoyen, JCD, Le Petite Sud Ouest

Thanks for the advice. I had researched the food we should order at JCD but neglected to research the wine.

May 24, 2013
lbamber in France

Paris Report -- Ledoyen, JCD, Le Petite Sud Ouest

John,

Many thanks for your response. We will follow your advice on our next trip. This was our first time in France, and for a variety of reasons we didn't have time to prepare as well as we would have preferred. That said, in 10 days we had exactly 2 bad service experiences in restaurants. That is a more favorable ratio than we have had in the US.

And the food! In addition to the restaurants about which I posted, to save our stomachs and wallet, we often enjoyed jambon and emmenthal sandwiches from the bakeries, which were fantastic. While the wine experience at JCD left a lot to be desired, overall Paris and the whole culinary experience exceeded our (high) expectations. We loved our trip and we hope to return in the not-too-distant future.

May 14, 2013
lbamber in France

Paris Report -- Ledoyen, JCD, Le Petite Sud Ouest

I am new to chowhound, and feel a little unqualified to post. DH and I enjoy eating, but are not experts like most of the posters here. However, we received so much great advice from lurking on the boards before our trip, that I decided to post on our recent trip to Paris in hopes it may be helpful to others.

We stayed in the 7th arr., and were happy that it had a neighborhood feel. Yes, we were not the only Anglophone tourists, but there were plenty of locals about as well. Twice during our stay we ate at Le Petite Cler on Rue Cler. It was very handy to our hotel. I believe that the charcuterie is the same as that at their fancier sister restaurant (I can’t recall the name), and the cheese is from the excellent fromagerie Marie Cantin. While not fancy, these items were excellent, as was the fresh squeezed OJ by our waiter. Service was fast and friendly, and everything was reasonably priced.

Our big splurge was the 110 euro lunch at Ledoyen. Far and away the best meal we’ve eaten in our lives. It was an utterly amazing blend of classical French with some modernist twists. This blog’s photos are representative of our meal:

http://fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/ledoyen/

Amuse bouche 1 and 3 were the same, as were the post-desserts. We were told to eat amuse bouche 1 in a single bite. It was a ginger and orange liquid-filled pillow. Great palate cleanser. Our amuse bouche #2 on the slate slab included foie gras with crunchy carmelized pieces on the sides (I didn’t think I’d like that touch but it was inspired), fried orange-stuffed caperberries (delicious), and some kind of ultra-thin wafer with a dollop of an herb paste. Amuse #3 (pictured in the photo) included squid ink wafers and horseradish wafers. I am a sucker for salty crunchy things, and these were mind-blowing, especially with the champagne. Our amuse #4 was a little dish of cubed radishes on an herb cream. Just lovely. Springtime in a bowl. Finally we had our “official” first courses. I chose the poached lobster that arrived with a jellied lobster stock. The lobster was perfectly cooked. I am the sort of person who will eat jellied chicken stock from the pyrex bowl in the fridge, so to say that I enjoyed the lobster consommé would be quite an understatement. DH enjoyed his dish of white and green asparagus, sauced with an emulsified egg vinaigrette, and dotted with salmon eggs. Amazing combination of flavors. My main course was a piece of sole rolled up, and covered with a translucent sheet. I couldn’t figure out what the sheet was, but now I think it may have been a sort of dehydrated fish stock (perhaps with gelatin) made into a translucent sheet. This was served with a beurre blanc and “pea garnishes.” The pea garnishes were nothing short of amazing. Green cylinders (I am guessing some sort of dehydrated pea puree cut into a rectangle and rolled into a cylinder), filled with pea puree, then lightly steamed peas, then pea foam, and finally, pea shoots. This dish surpassed even the lobster, in terms of flavor and complexity, while not overwhelming the sweet peas. I felt like I had never eaten a proper pea! My husband had a chicken breast covered with brioche crumbs, and if I am correct, more caviar. I am not a particular fan of chicken, but he said it was by far the most exquisite chicken he’d eaten. After our mains came the cheese trolley, with both familiar and unfamiliar cheeses that were perfectly aged. Then came the merengue adorned with little lollipop-type desserts (I have to respectfully disagree with fatmanslimwallet and characterize the base as a merengue and not a pavlova which is chewy in the center). Desserts were the low point for us (although we would have thought they were amazing preceded by any other meal). I had a salted caramel and citrus mousse type dessert. I didn’t think the citrus did much for the salted caramel. DH had a crème brulee topped with ice cream and some sort of creamy fruit concoction, and I think he’d have preferred the brulee plain. But we are just nit-picking here. The desserts were very tasty, just (in our view) not quite up to the standards of the savory courses. When a server appeared with the tray of pastries and candies, and I left out a very big sigh, she immediately asked if we’d like them wrapped to go. Well… yes indeed! We had the pastries for breakfast the next morning. We savored the chocolates and caramels for three days. The caramels in particular were the best we have ever had – amazingly deep flavor, and not so sticky to pull off your crowns. The overall takeaway from this experience is that the chef is masterful in extracting the most flavor from each ingredient. Each bite was like a flavor explosion.

Yes, the rose champagne from the trolley was expensive. But it was by far the best and richest rose champagne I’ve had. It was a label I had never seen in the US. We asked the waiter for a wine recommendation, and he gave us a wonderful recommendation that was only around 85 euros and it perfectly complemented the meal. Interestingly, the waiter kept moving the bottle in and out of the ice bucket to keep it at optimal temperature.

The service, while formal, was attentive, and uniformly professional. While I only read restaurant French (and speak even less), the staff treated us well and we did not feel looked down upon. Of course, we expressed appreciation for the quality of the food and wine. That, along with a few words of French, seems to go a long way. While this meal set us back around $500 US, and we are by no means wealthy, astonishingly, we actually felt it was a good value given the superior quality of the food and wine.

Several days later we had lunch at Josephine Chez Dumonet. We specifically went for the boeuf bourgignon, foie gras, and Napolean. The food was outstanding, and as others have indicated, the sauce for the beef bourgignon was mind-blowingly complex and rich. A half order should be plenty for most people. The foie gras was pretty good, and I had the pigeon (first time) which was extremely tender and accompanied by a very flavorful reduction sauce (although the potato gallette that accompanied the pigeon was in my opinion overcooked nearly to the point of being burnt. The Napolean was also quite good – different than I expected. It had very thin layers of crispy pastry filled with thin layers of pastry cream and dusted with confectioners’ sugar. As a side, don’t miss the perfectly cooked and seasoned haricot verts. While the food was (mostly) outstanding, as others have noted, the service was another story. The waiter whisked away our amuse bouche before we were finished, saying he had to take it away to make room for our next course, which was the (cold) foie gras! We were obviously sharing the foie gras, but they did not bring us individual plates. Worst of all, they brought out all of the main courses except one order of the beef, and we waited about 10 minutes for our friend’s order to arrive, all the while our food was getting cold. As a few others others have implied, in our opinion the wine list is criminal. There was very little under 100 euros. Since we do not know much about French wine other than champagnes, we asked the headwaiter for a recommendation. We ended up paying 118 euros for the worst wine (a harsh Burgundy) we had during our 10-day trip (worse than the house wine from the little Italian bistro down the street from our hotel). Bottom line: I’m glad we went and were able to taste the classical French comfort food, but I wouldn’t go back.

One night when we had no reservations we lined up at 6:30 for Les Cocottes. We started with a Caesar salad, which oddly came with chicken strips. It was ok, but nothing special. I had the langoustine ravioli with artichoke mousse that also seemed to have langoustine bisque and foam. It was an extremely rich and delicious dish. My husband had cod with spring vegetables, which oddly came with a rather sweet sauce. After he got over the sweetness he enjoyed it, but I couldn’t have eaten it. Both dishes were perfectly cooked (and we are loathe to eat overcooked seafood), which had been a concern with ordering seafood cooked in cast iron pots. Service was great, and our server gave a wonderful and reasonably priced wine recommendation (a Sancerre under 50 euros which was very tasty). What we didn’t like was the mob scene. Not only were tables jammed together, but people waiting to eat were jammed together in every possible space in the room. I don’t know how our waiter managed to bring food/etc. it was so crowded. And noisy. Would we return? Probably not, because of the mob scene. Although the ravioli were just divine.

Another evening we dined at Le Petite Sud Ouest. That was our first experience with foie gras, and it was the best of our entire trip (setting aside the bites at Ledoyen). The owner, Chantal, told us that she made it herself. We had the scrambled eggs with truffles, which was also a very large serving, with a generous amount of truffles. I had the duck confit, and DH had the magret. Both were very delicious, although I have to give the edge to the confit. The servings were huge, and the quality was very good. Madame Chantal gave us a perfect wine recommendation that was also reasonably priced. Service was very friendly and prompt. At the next table, a little girl was playing with the toaster on her table (warm toast for the foie gras), and soon there was a burning smell. She was toasting the wood tongs used to remove the toast from the toasters! Madame Chantal could not have been nicer or more cheery to the young girl, saying that “it’s much better to toast the bread!” Another plus is that this was the one restaurant where I successfully made a reservation via email.

After seeing what appeared to be a three hour line to get into the Pompidou, our tired feet instead took us to L’As du Falafel for an early lunch. We shared the falafel plate and a bowl of French fries. The plate must have had 20 of the most delicious falafel, along with hummus, tahini sauce, two kinds of cabbage salad, and a cucumber/tomato salad. We ate nearly the whole dish of green hot sauce on the falafel, it was so delicious.

My final food-related recommendation is we really enjoyed our day trip to the champagne region with Paris Champagne Tours (www.parischampagnetour.com). This is a small van tour with a maximum of 7 guests. Our guide, Trong, used to live in Reims, and seemed to know every second person we met. He started by taking us to the vinyards and explaining the painstaking work of growing and harvesting the grapes (all manual, virtually no machines). Then we went to a small grower-producer who is a 5th generation champagne maker. She explained the process of producing and bottling champagne (again, largely by hand). We tasted 4 different types of champagne, and of course had the opportunity to purchase some. We thought it was a very good value for the price, and bought a bottle to bring home, and one to drink in our hotel. Then it was off to lunch (our guide indicated that the board of directors of Taittinger were seated at the next table), and after lunch we had a tour of the spectacular cathedral in Reims. Last stop was a (touristy) tour of Pommery, which has 25 million bottles of champagne in miles of cellars. The highlight of the tour was the small grower-producer in the morning, and the tour was well worth the (nontrivial) cost. (I don’t think the train tour option that skips the morning activities would be worth the time and money.

)

I hope this posting will be helpful for other newbies to Paris. Thanks to all of the posters who helped us decide where to spend our scarce meals in Paris.

May 14, 2013
lbamber in France

Beaufort SC for one day

Nippy's has excellent fish tacos. It is a few streets in from the main drag and would be a nice spot for lunch.

Jun 29, 2011
lbamber in Southeast

Lake Oconee/Greensboro,GA

There is a lot of average food in the lake area. We normally don't go to Italian restaurants (preferring something more interesting), but we think the best place in the lake area is Da Corrado. The ravioli are excellent.

Apr 14, 2011
lbamber in Southeast