Day 5 Savannah and Hilton Head. After sleeping in and waking up to the sound of the surf and gulls on Tybee Island, we headed in to explore Savannah. I am not going to blog about the dinner we had on Tybee Island, needless to say, we should have gone with our gut and not the hotel guy’s recommendation. Dinner was so bad I couldn’t eat it and went back to the hotel room and ate, guess what – chips and salsa (essentially nachos minus cheese).
We toured around down by the river (very touristy there) and had two goals. Find Moon River Brewing Co and find the local tobacco shop (we are in tobacco territory after all). Ok, three goals, eat seafood for lunch.
We found the brewery right away thanks to the plethora of maps available at the hotel. To my surprise and extreme happiness Moon River had hard cider on tap. They make it in the fall with Pink Lady apples from northern Georgia. It was hands down the best cider I have ever had. I make my own cider (in fact have 30 gallons of hard cider in the basement right now) and this was the best. Tart and tangy with a hint of sweetness and great apple flavor. I dislike sweet ciders. I was feeling pretty happy after my second one (in 20 oz glasses). We ordered a cheese dip subbing tortillas (what would I do if I couldn’t eat corn?) for crackers. The sad news was, that in Georgia they cannot serve beer and cider in growlers (glass bottles to take home) and you can’t bottle and be a pub, so all we could do was drink it there. They were on the last 1/3 of the last keg of cider, so that evening would be the last of it. My guy ordered the beer sampler – I think there were 8 or 9 beer styles. I think he really like the Alt, but I was focused on my glass of joy, so didn’t pay much attention. And for the topping – you can ask for a take out glass for the remainder of your beverage. It is legal to walk around with open alcohol in Savannah, so of course we had to, just because we could.
We found the tobacco shop and bought some local blends ( my boyfriend smokes a pipe on occasion. Seems like the only occasions are when he is outside roasting coffee or outside brewing beer though).
Next, the quest for lunch away from the tourist meccas. Finally we found a place and guess what I ended up ordering? Yes, of course, shrimp nachos. This was however a challenge. Their chips are fried in the same oil as some wheat products. At this point we were so hungry we were about to become grouchy and neither of us wanted to go to another restaurant. They sure do like to bread and deep fry stuff in the south, making it slightly more challenging to dine GF. I decided that this would be an experiment and I would see if the cross contamination would affect me. Our waitress was great, so helpful and had a close friend who was Celiac. After all the discussion, the kitchen actually forgot to put the shrimp on the nachos, but they did bring some out to me afterwards and they were perfectly cooked. They had banana creme brulee for dessert, so we splurged and ordered dessert, a rare thing when I dine out. Roasted bananas and homemade whipped cream, need I say more? Mint garnish. Oh, by the way, yes, I could definitely feel the effects of cross contamination on my shrimp nachos, I was nice and bloated for a few hours – so won’t be doing that again, but now I know for certain, even if I had already guessed.
After our late lunch we headed for Hilton Head, but not after debating whether we should go back to Moon River for one more. I knew if I did, I might not leave or get to the next local on time, so we didn’t. We crossed the long marsh bridge and were in South Carolina. We were meeting my dad and step mom for a couple of days at their time share. Now for the record, there is no other reason that I would choose to go to Hilton Head and I am not a fan of time shares – unless of course they are free and sit on the ocean. The view from the deck:
Something that you can do while on the isle is crabbing. When I found out that you just went to the hardware store for a bucket and line and the grocery store for chicken necks I decided to pass. Apparently there are designated crabbing areas along the coast.
We had lunch at the Crab Shack and I ordered a broiled seafood plate and it was a big deal at first to sub out the stuffed flounder (that had bread crumbs in it) for something else, or to take it off the plate. But then our waiter became more accommodating and just had it removed. Huge scallops and shrimp and a piece of salmon. Broiled with a squeeze of lemon, simple, nice and safe.
Dinner was at the Oyster bar. This was a bit of an adventure too, but they had a real manager who was flexible and very helpful. I really wanted some oysters and some shrimp, I asked the waiter the usual questions about the dishes I had in mind and he went to the kitchen to check and sure enough, the oyster apps that I wanted were fine. All the fish had sauces that included wheat in some manner and I am a sauce girl, the sauce makes the dish, so if I can’t have the sauce, forget it and move on to something else. So I decided to just order the oyster app and a baked potato (they had fresh hush puppies on the table – that was torture). I had asked about the sauces on the oysters and had been given the go ahead. Oysters Rockefeller and Oysters Savannah. The Rockefeller was topped with spinach and bearnaise sauce (which should never have wheat in it, unless they make it from a box). The Savannah was to have cheddar, bacon and onions – no sauce. I start to dig in to the Rockefeller and eat one, then the Savannah, well, it had no bacon or onion, but a creamy white sauce (Paula Dean Oysters I called them) and cheddar. I ate the oyster and then looked more closely at the sauce, seemed to be a thickened sauce. I called the waiter over – who had given me the go ahead and asked him to double check as I had doubts. He went straight to the kitchen and this time, well, no, I couldn’t eat that one, but the Rockefeller was definitely safe, no wheat in the bearnaise sauce. I start to eat the Rockefeller as he orders a few more oysters to replace the Savannah ones and the manager rushes over before I get the bite in my mouth and says the spinach has roux in it (a mix of butter and flour). He was extremely apologetic and asked me what I wanted instead. I decided to go with oysters on the half shell and he said that he would make sure I got the best ones (there were several varieties to choose from) and they were on the house. They came with two sauces, a cocktail sauce and a tasty balsamic vinaigrette. These oysters were fresh and delicious. They really worked hard to make amends after giving me the wrong info and I appreciated their efforts to do so. So I was the cheap date that night for the price of a baked potato. I was really going to ready to cook up a storm of seafood when I returned.
We spent two days at Hilton Head and then started the long journey home – this time making it a two day trip instead of one 18 hour one! We wanted the scenic route through the Smoky Mountains and drove through Ashville NC to Kentucky that day. We passed through the last pass of the mountains just as the sun was setting, so both trips we passed through Tennessee in the dark. We went to a local authentic Mexican restaurant for dinner and I ordered a pork and onion dish. I find that if you ask for their hot salsa, you usually get the one that really tastes of Mexico, and they had a fabulous tomatillo hot salsa. I practically drank it.
We left London Kentucky the next morn and beat the path back to Lansing MI with a stop at a large grocery store outside of Toledo called Andersons. Lo and behold, they had Bard’s Tale Gluten Free beer!! It is pretty good. I hear they are experimenting with a dark beer, I will look forward to that. A couple of days later, our friends came over and we did a bourbon tasting and a comparison of the three GF beers I had on hand – New Grist, Redbridge and Bard’s Tale. The New Grist wasn’t as fresh as it could be – my fault not theirs, but half the crowd (of normal beer drinkers) preferred Bard’s Tale and half the New Grist.
As long as you like lots of nachos..GF road trips work just fine.