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Food questions from an Australian - Charleston and Savannah visit

Food questions from an Australian - Charleston and Savannah visit

Feb 24th, 2008, 04:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I am no expert on Southern cooking, but can offer some comments.

Drawn butter, however, is clarified butter. That's butter that's been gently heated to separate the milk solids from the rest of the butter. The milk solids are then removed, and the clarified butter is what's served for dunking your lobster in.

Grits are a bit of an acquired taste. My dad used to have it at his southern cousin's house, though, and passed on his liking to me. I love it for breakfast (when I'm in Florida; doesn't seem to taste as good at home in the West), with lots of butter and some salt. This might be a better way to sample it, as a side dish with something else. I think most people who don't like grits think that it is bland.

Another (I think) Southern specialty that I LOVE is hush puppies. Other more knowledge southern folks can tell you which areas have hush puppies. They are deep-fried balls of cornmeal mush. I love them! They are usually served as a side dish.

Frog legs are worth trying, but they are a bit of a pain, just because, as you can imagine, there's not much meat on each little froggy leg. Usually served with the two little back legs attached to each other, but not always. The meat is still on the bones. So you pick up the frog-leg with your fingers and pull the meat off. At the end of the meal, you have a bunch of little frog bones.

The food and cuisine of a place, to me, is a big part of learning about the locale. Enjoy!
Lexma90 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2008, 06:57 PM
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The exact composition of a raw bar can be somewhat seasonal and/or regional, but it is always cold on ice. Usually the only things that are actually raw are clams and oysters. Here in the Northeast, crab legs, lobster, and shrimp are also often on offer, but cooked and then chilled.
Grits are something of an acquired taste, no matter what they are served with, and are likely the same dish you were served at that B&B.
Collard greens are like kale (or turnip greens, or beet greens) and are often served seasoned with ham hocks (or salt pork, or bacon, or ham...) Good, but not as healthy as you might think for a boiled green!
persimmondeb is offline  
Feb 24th, 2008, 07:10 PM
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OMG, y'all are making me want to trade in my tickets to Mexico for a week in Mississippi!!!
txgirlinbda is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 12:48 AM
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Thanks for all the tips and info. Sounds like the food will be a highlight of our trip! I had my face screwed up at the thought of all those little frog bones left at the end of a meal. Poor frogs, no more hopping for you.

I think I will definitely not be using the words cooter or cracker. With my Australian accent - which most Americans seem to struggle to understand even though I'm speaking English!! - who knows how it could sound.

KayF is online now  
Feb 25th, 2008, 03:28 AM
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Since you have a number of seafood questions, you can get many of them answered at a place called the Crab Shack on Tybee Island (near Savannah). Get directions - you would never find it just driving to Tybee. Not the type of place I would normally seek out, but went with my son this weekend and shared a boiled seafood thing for 2 - they bring this enormous platter of assorted crab, shrimp shellfish - whatever is fresh and available - and you eat with your ands, throwing shells into a big trash can thru a hole cut out in the table. The waiter was very nice and did not laugh at my ignorance in how to eat a crayfish (looks like a mini lobster). About as an American experience as you can get.
gail is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 03:36 AM
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The Crab Shack sounds good as I love seafood but my husband isn't so keen. Does the Crab Shack sell other things, like chicken or pork or fish (but not shellfish) for example?

Also, can anyone give us directions. We'll have a car, roughly how long would it take to get there?

KayF is online now  
Feb 25th, 2008, 03:48 AM
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thecrabshack.com is website (without "the" you get someplace in Florida - I would call them for directions or ask when you get here. About 15 minutes from Savannah. I know they had hotdogs and maybe chicken but seafood is really what it is all about. I think at lunch they have more non-seafood, but I would ask when you call for directions.

It really is a collection of shacks - complete with an artifical pond with small alligators outside and a room full of tropical birds.

Another option with great seafood but a wider selection on non-swimming food items is Uncle Bubbas Oyster House - also on road to Tybee, but closer. This one is a real restaurant.
gail is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 04:09 AM
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To get to the Crab Shack, take Hwy 80 out of downtown toward Tybee Island. You'll go past Ft Pulaski (worth a tour). After you pass the fort, a ways further you will make a right turn on Estill Hammock Rd--just a tiny little inauspicious looking road. The Crab Shack is down this road on the left. You will think you made a wrong turn...surely this is not the way to it, everything looks run down...but it is. Their parking lot is huge and growing...you'll spot the lot before the restaurant.
OO is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 06:22 AM
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Thanks everyone. Much appreciated.
KayF is online now  
Feb 25th, 2008, 06:52 AM
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If you are into sweets, be sure to try pralines at River St. Sweets in Savannah, very touristy place but fabulous candy. Pralines are made with large whole pecans, brown sugar and cream. They make them fresh all day and the smell is unbelieveable! The candy store has a number of other yummies you will want to try, but the pralines are "the bomb" (excellent).
aliska is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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There's also a River Street Sweets in Charleston if you don't get there in Savannah. They usually have pralines available to sample before you commit.

1. She crab soup is divine, IMHO! Get it with a dash of sherry if they offer. The lump crab is taken out of the shell and put in the soup. It's a peachy/orange thick bisque kind of like lobster bisque. Called she-crab because it had the roe (dark orange specks) from a female blue crab in it. The roe is omitted now because it is against SC Dept of Natural Resources regulations to keep a female crab with visible roe (hurts the crab population to be eating the females with eggs). Everyone has their own recipe, just like for

8. shrimp and grits (also wonderful). Cheese grits might be less bland than just plain grits if you want to try them on the side. They are essentially 'white' polenta as Liz stated.

2. Collard greens are tougher than spinach and are cooked longer, thus the advantage to cooking with a pork component.

10. We do appetizers as dinner often. I wouldn't recommend doing it at an establishment that has a prix fixe menu - but I'm sure you know that. Some establishments will charge an extra fee (usually $1-$3) to split a dinner; if they do it's usually stated somewhere on the menu. If they charge extra they will usually divide the dinner in the kitchen onto two plates. Feel free to ask your server before hand.

"...blue plate special, I think this is a meat and 3 veg deal served in cheaper places" is often called a 'meat and three.' Many places not just cheaper restaurants have it and is often the special of the day at lunch. Some places will let you do 4-5 sides if you don't want the meat. Try fried green tomatoes (exactly what they sound like, sliced, coated with corn meal or flour and fried in a skillet, but not usually deep fried) if you can find them (it's a little early in the season, however).

In Charleston they also have a regional cookie called a Benne Wafer. They're made with sesame seeds and very tasty.

The only tea (Camellia sinensis not herbal tea) grown in the United States is grown right outside Charleston at the Charleston Tea Plantation. It's sold as American Classic Tea. Pick some up at a grocery store (Piggly Wiggly, Harris Teeter, etc) a lot cheaper than in the touristy open market area in Charleston. The farm has a tour of the grounds and the tea making process.
dsgmi is offline  
Feb 25th, 2008, 12:44 PM
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I am a proud Florida Cracker from a long line of native cattle ranchers from the Tampa area. Not offensive in the least.

She crab soup is a lovely, rich cream based soup that is best laced with sherry. It has a pink tinge to it and should not contain shells.

My family cooks collard greens with a good amount of ham hock, onion and some garlic in a cast iron pot. These are a labor of love and are served with hot corn bread. YUMMY!!!

Cooter is turtle, and in some circles an uncouth term for female nether regions. If it is on a menu, it should be safe to order. LOL

Another dish you might want to try is hearts of palm. It is found on Florida menus...don't know about GA & SC. Have fun and eat hearty!
nolefan1 is offline  
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