Saturday, August 23, 2008

On the Road - Rest of the Trip

What I'm reading: Stop Me, by Brenda Novak
What I'm writing: Unraveling the computer crash disasters.

After another computer Blue Screen, I gave up on the WIP. We met a friend/colleague for drinks and dinner. While in the low country, eat low country, the consequences be damned. I had a delicious bowl of she-crab soup. Rich and decadent.

The next morning, neither of us was hungry, so we packed and departed. Charleston to Savannah was relatively uneventful, with only occasional dealings with wet weather. The GPS lady did an excellent job of getting us to the hotel, although she doesn't like it when the entrance or parking doesn't exactly match the street address we punch in. However, we pulled up to the door of the Mulberry Hotel, now a Holiday Inn, but still steeped in "The South". George, the bellman took us to our room and told us everything we could possible want to know about the hotel and the area. He's been doing it for sixty years. A real charmer.

Unlike our government-paid room in Charleston, this one was elegant. And huge. A corner room with a balcony overlooking the pool area. Three dressers and a closet. King bed. Too bad time and budget didn't allow a longer stay.

Our first mission was to find the restaurant we hoped to have dinner at. (I know, bad sentence structure.) When I'd searched the Net for a hotel, this one advertised The Lady and Sons, and since we both get a kick out of Paula Deen on the Food Network, we figured we'd give it a shot. They only take reservations in person the day of the meal, so we checked the map and started hoofing it. Given Fay's proximity, the weather was relatively cool for this time of year in the south, albeit muggy. A fifteen minute walk through some historic squares and buildings, and some construction-dodging brought us to the podium in an outdoor alcove, where the head-set outfitted receptionist took our dinner reservations. We were pleased that they had openings, but apparently between gas prices, the weather, and the onset of school in many areas, things were quiet enough so we had a choice of times.

Step one accomplished, we moved to the next item on our 'to do' list, which was to walk along the river. The pictures are gray, as was the day. Hubby had his good camera; I had my point and shoot, which I could stick in my purse when it started raining.

He didn't have a case for his camera, so when the dampness turned to an earnest rain, we ducked from awning to awning and decided to take refuge in a seafood place. Knowing we had an early dinner on the agenda, I opted for a bowl of gumbo, and was still hard-pressed to finish. Everything starts with a roux, and even a simple soup has extra richness.

The rain had let up enough to walk back up the hill to the hotel without camera damage. We made good use of the time we had before it was time to clean up for dinner. I left hubby to his nap and wandered down to the lobby to enjoy some tea and piano music.

Given the unpredictable weather, we opted for a cab to the restaurant. We were seated on the third floor, near the bar, and turned over to Michael, a delightful young waiter whose accent definitely didn't match the locale. Originally from Boston, he was working as a food stylist when his entry for a fall cover for Gourmet Magazine caught Paula Deen's eye. He's working in the restaurant as he continues his education.

Again, I opted for the full southern dinner. I know I'll get some raised eyebrows when I have to step on the scale at the doctor's office on Friday, but when you're at a restaurant that specializes in southern fare, why not enjoy it? I meant to take "pretty" pictures to show the presentation, but everything was so yummy I kept eating before I remembered the camera. So, sorry about the less-than-perfect pictures.

Instead of a bread basket, they serve a hoe cake and a cheese biscuit. With syrup on the table.

I opted for fried green tomatoes for my appetizer. Hubby was "good" and had a salad, but I appeased my conscience by leaving most of the fried crust on the plate.

For dinner it was the crab cakes. They came with black beans and rice, crispy fried greens and diced tomato. Couldn't manage dessert.

We waddled back to the hotel.

Friday morning, we skipped breakfast again and hit the road. Unfortunately, Fay hadn't listened to what the weather folks had said about her being well on her way, and we drove home through many feeder bands. Rain, buffeting winds (but my low-to-the-ground car handled them admirably). Idiot drivers. I feel for the emergency response folks who had to be out in that weather dealing with the consequences. And, for whatever reason, the rest stops along the way had shut down their restrooms. Hubby's driven the route numerous times, but because of this wrinkle, his scheduled pee stops had to be rethought.

Can't believe some folks don't turn on their lights when they're in the middle of a downpour—Florida law says you have to use lights and wipers when it's raining; don't know about Georgia. But will have to look up use of flashers when driving. It did give greater visibility, but I'm not sure it's entirely kosher.


elliott610 said...

food looked great, sadly I am too exhausted to walk downtown and shop but you did make me hungry. Sounds like a great trip.

Mona Risk said...

Glad you managed to enjoy your trip in spite of Fay. We passed by Savannah years ago but never had the chance to visit. I think we are due for a real visit. Thanks for the photos. I am hungry just looking at them. It was good to see you in the elevator in SF. Elevators are useful, just like in Gray's Anatomy.

Terry Odell said...

Bill, there's not much in the way of food at my house, but we're going to deal with it until tomorrow.

Mona, Savannah is a "must see". I'm NOT much for history, but the city makes it fascinating, and I wish I'd been there when I was being forced to read dull, dry textbooks. (And I hope people don't get the wrong idea about our elevator meet!)

Ray said...

I have never been off either US 17 or I-95 in the Savannah area. I was always going somewhere at the time. The first time I was in the area was to visit my B-I-L. in the small town of Hinesville while he was in the Army at Ft. Stewart.

Reading your blog I wish I had done a little site seeing. I watch the Food Channel with my wife. One of her favorite shows is Paula Deen's. I just wish I hadn't started watching the show when I returned to my diet. I can dream. Thanks for stirring my imagination.


Mary Ricksen said...

You can't beat a good crab cake, and a great restaurant.

You were lucky one of those crazy drivers didn't hit you. Headlights just make sense, cause in some places (like Florida), they coined the phrase, "It's raining cats and dogs."

Dara Edmondson said...

We didn't make it to Paula Deen's place on our recent trip to Savannah, but got to sample the famous Pirate's House - a restaurant with a colorful and long history. I loooove Savannah. In fact, I've set my current WIP there.

Toni V.S. said...

Ah Georgia--haven't been back there in 30 years and do miss it so--especially the food! You've brought back memories, Terry.

Terry Odell said...

Ray, it's worth a bit of dietary sacrifice. When in Savannah -- or Charleston -- I'll be back on the wagon Monday. (I'd start tomorrow, but it's our anniversary, so another night out.)

Terry Odell said...

Mary - I checked and it IS illegal to drive with flashers in Florida, but I couldn't find a reference to the laws for Georgia. But headlights in the rain IS the law in Florida, which means your rear lights are on, but you can still see the increased brightness if someone hits the brakes.

Terry Odell said...

Dara, we could see the Pirates restaurant from our hotel room, and if we hadn't been able to get to The Lady and Sons, we'd have gone there. So many restaurants, so little time!

Toni, glad to bring back memories for you. I've always been quick to tag along when hubby has a trip there.

Ray said...

Congratulations on your anniversary.


Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Ray.