Food Tour through Charleston & Savannah

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I recently got back from a one week trip touring Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. It was a Southern Ladies’ trip, since it was just my mom, sister, and me. We had a lovely time walking around, taking in all the history, sipping iced tea on porches, and steering clear of any ghosts! But mostly we did a lot of eating! We definitely had more food in Savannah, probably because we did a lot more walking around in Charleston and then usually ate a late lunch. One night we even skipped dinner and opted for ice cream instead! Charleston was incredibly warm, like high 80s when we were there, but Savannah was such much hotter! Some days it was in the 90s with humidity! It was a kind of heat I have never experienced before. We weren’t able to walk out and around in Savannah as much because the air was so heavy, it was difficult to move! Because of this, we ended up walking in to as many air conditioned places we could find!

Here are some of the wonderful places we discovered along the way!

Pie Society

The first place we went to in Savannah was Pie Society, a classic British Pie shop. I saw it from the trolley tour ride and gravitated to it once we stopped. Oh, it brought me right back to my semester abroad in Newcastle! They have pie shops called Gregg’s on about every corner in the U.K. I am still obsessed with Gregg’s! They have loads of meat pies for only a pound each! They also have sweets and cookies, but that’s not the reason you go there! And Pie Society definitely stood up to Gregg’s…or possibly I am just overly nostalgic.

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We got 2 sausage rolls, a cheese & onion pasty, and a steak & mushroom pie. The sausage rolls were fresh out of the oven, so they were super hot! Other than that, they were delicious! The cheese & onion pasty tasted pretty similar to a grilled cheese in puff pastry. The steak pie was real good and had a great sauce/gravy inside but was very heavy handed with the mushrooms, which I was not a huge fan of.

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And to top it all off, there was millionaire’s shortbread! These amazing cookies are rich shortbread with a layer of caramel and chocolate on top. I pretty much lived off these cookies during my 5 month stay abroad. (Thank goodness I did so much walking too!) They sold them in these small trays at Tesco’s, 2 for a £1. I have also tried making them and have yet to find success:( But these cookies were just like the ones at Tesco and were sooo good!!

Paula Deen’s The Lady and Sons

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The only restaurant we made a reservation for when planning our trip was Paula Deen’s restaurant, The Lady and Sons. It was my only real “destination” in Charleston or Savannah, and it definitely delivered! We went on a Sunday night which served a Southern Buffet. I don’t do well with buffets. I tend to take too much of the first three things I want, then I have no room for anything else! Then I eat too much and get full and that’s pretty much how this night went. I got fried chicken, mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, a sweet potato, and some rice. I know I know I thought it was gonna be some kind of fancy rice — it was just steamed white rice. There was a salad bar in the beginning which was just a warm up to the main course.

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Oh and the cheesey biscuits and hoecake! The biscuit was really amazing. The hoecake was like a cornbread fried pancake. It was pretty greasy, and I would have rather just had corn bread. I would definitely pick the biscuit over the hoe cake. My sister’s plate is in the middle. She went for more vegetables on her buffet plate (You go, Katie!), like the green beans and collard greens, which she said were a bit spicy. My plate, on the right, was more decidedly “Carboload Sunday.”

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Of course the main event at Paula’s was the dessert! There were three to choose from: Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, Peach Cobbler, and a trifle made with Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, pudding, and whipped cream. My Mom got the cobbler, Katie tried the cake, and I went for the trifle. Oh it was the best!! Paula is known for her ooey gooey butter cake, which is actually simple to make. The crust is a cake mix, butter, and an egg. The top gooey part is powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese, and another egg! I’ll let you look up the actual measurements yourself because you’ll be shocked by the quantities. But whatever, we were on vacation and it was delicious! The cake is great on its own but the pudding and whipped cream really took it above and beyond!!

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It was a really fun night taking in a true Southern Sunday dinner buffet. We so enjoyed her retail store, which is just next door to the restaurant. She really capitalized on butter. Butter magnets, butter salt and pepper shakers, butter decorated butter dish! You name it! I even bought some butter flavored chapstick souvenirs for my friends!

Leopold’s Ice Cream

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Leopold’s is the oldest ice cream shop in Savannah so it was a must when we visited. And boy was it crowded! We went around 2 or 3, and it was 90 degrees outside so of course it was busy!

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The inside reminded me a bit of Ghiradelli in San Francisco but I guess the same goes for any old fashioned ice cream shop. They had really great seasonal flavors. I tried a honey toasted almond one that was so not something I would usually have but it was so good! Ultimately though, I got a chocolate milkshake which was very tasty and rich but also a terrible decision since it was so heavy and we still had a lot of walking to do. It was necessary for the Savannah experience though!

Hominy Grill

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The highlight of our trip had to have been our dinner at Hominy Grill in Charleston. Of course the food was incredible, but this dinner was memorable because we ran into our cousin and her husband! Let me back up, it’s not totally random that we ran into them. They live in the Bay Area but were visiting Charleston for a friend’s wedding so we knew they would be there around the same time as us, but not totally certain on the dates.

Firstly, my sister picked Hominy Grill because my Mom was itching to have some true Southern style shrimp and grits, and Hominy Grill is said to have the best! Also, my sister wanted to go to dinner at 4:30! No one else was that hungry, also our inn had a cheese hour at 5 so we ended up loading up on cheese, crackers, and grapes. We didn’t head out to the restaurant until 7. We were walking along King Street, and Katie was navigating. Well, we went a block too far and had to turn around. We crossed the street, and I pointed out the American Theater which was used in a scene for The Notebook. As we waited for my sister to take the photo, I spotted my cousin and her husband walking by the very theater! And where were they heading to but Hominy Grill! And there you have it!

We had such a lovely meal with them. Mom got to finally have her shrimp and grits which she thought were absolutely delicious! Katie had the Charleston Nasty Biscuit, which was a piece of fried chicken sandwiched in a biscuit with cheese then surrounded by sausage gravy. I tried some of that and knew I made a big mistake of not ordering it myself! I had a curried chicken salad sandwich which was great and light so I could save myself for dessert.

Our waitress was really wonderful and quite the saleswoman because she sure had me hooked with the chocolate pudding! I initially wanted the brownie à la mode, but she said Alton Brown had awarded Hominy Grill’s chocolate pudding the best chocolate thing he had ever eaten so I had to have it. If you look in the above photo, you can spot it in front of me. I could only eat half! It was so rich! It was certainly no Jell-o pudding cup. This pudding was more a cross between fudge and mousse, which are absolutely contradictions. More fudge like then because it was certainly solid in that cup, but also very creamy. And, could have used more whipped cream (make that my catch phrase).

Interesting tidbit about the South, they like to boil peanuts. We were served them before our meal, before we even ordered. They come in soggy shells and then you have to open the shell to reveal what no longer looks like a peanut but a kidney bean! And, surprise, it tastes like a kidney bean, or any bean I guess as it was kind of hard like a garbanzo but with a smooth paste inside. It was weird and freaky. And the first one I tried to open had no peanut bean inside, which was ominous. Probably, should have taken it as a sign to not try another!

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