The last time we were through Savannah, I tried to get a reservation at The Grey. It was a hot ticket then and remains so.
We recently spent a few days on Skidaway Island near Savannah, Georgia where, among other things, Melanie found someone to cut her hair and we enjoyed walking around downtown Savannah checking out the historic parks too.
After her hair cut later in the day, I mentioned to Melanie I couldn't get us a reservation at The Grey, but if we arrived shortly after they opened at 5:00 p,m., we might be able to walk in since they had a limited number of spots in their bar available for walk-ins.
Arriving at around 5:15 we indeed were able to get a table in the great bar area in the front of the restaurant. They serve a limited menu in the bar, but we came away quite satisfied with what we ordered. Note, the bar menu portions are more like tapas or small plates.
Next time pass we pass through Savannah I'll try to anticipate our arrival and make a reservation for the dining room.
Chef Mashama Bailey is a James Beard, Best Chef, winner.
What do your intrepid travelers do when the skies are grey and wind blustery (Gale Warning) while camped along the coast of South Carolina? We take Miranda into town, in this case Beaufort, South Carolina, for a bit of grocery shopping, sightseeing and lunch finding.
Our corresponding secretary, Melanie, generally ducks into a few shops to check out postcards and/or occasion cards for future use. We found delicious chocolate truffles too.
I was tasked with finding lunch whilst the grocery shopping was happening.
I found Lost Local. Along with an extensive beer list and decent wine list, they serve some really great..., uh, bar food. Yeah, we'll call it bar food. Soup, salads and some of the best and unusual tacos you'll find.
Try the Deep South Gullah taco, braised BBQ port, black bean Pico de Gallo, slow simmered Collard Greens, smoked bacon jam, and house-made Mac and Cheese. Oh, yes.
Our friend, Beth, sent us a guide to Charleston sent to her by a resident. We used it to find lunch at Gaulart & Maliclet.
Fast & French $ (Broad Street) – also known as Gaulart et Maliclet Café. This is a GEM of a spot; tiny. The name says it all. Great spot and so very European. Probably the most inexpensive option downtown with true flair. Located in the heart of the historic and art district.
Busy at lunch, but we lucked out and got a seat almost immediately upon walking in. They do a great take-out business and like Beth's friend says, it's tiny, so expect to wait.
I just had to have a fish sandwich, and I could see what I wanted in my mind’s eye. We were driving to Pensacola, Florida, fleeing the bitter cold, in January, 2024. A quick google search for “best fish sandwich Pensacola” had The Fishing Hole as the first listing.
When we finally saw the restaurant, I was really close to asking Steven to just keep driving. It’s in a strip mall and it has the words “fish sandwich” (among others) painted on the front window. It is nowhere near the usual tourist haunts and I could not image who would be eating in such a place. But, I’m used to disappointing Steven with my food choices, so I just stayed quiet and in we went.
Inside, it was cozy and well appointed, with nice, soft lighting even though outside there was blazing Florida sun. It was fairly busy, with most tables occupied with, surprisingly, folks who looked like they were having business lunches. Busy as it was, the staff seemed genuinely glad to see us – we had two waitresses who were very attentive. We both got Arnold Palmers, and I barely had to look at the menu before telling Mia that I wanted a grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich, hold the cheese, with a side of butter beans (I call them limas) and an extra side of hush puppies. Steven had the same (with cheese) and a side of coleslaw. We really could have gone for any sort of seafood , as the lunch menu was quite full (but, I was on a mission) and it all looked great.
The sandwich was divine. The fish was cooked perfectly, the tartar sauce was tangy and delicious, and it was served with sliced red onion (hooray!), tomato and lettuce. The fish fit the bun and I ate it with my hands, the way God intended. I made Steven taste my limas to confirm that they were seasoned just right (he did) and the hush puppies were large and not too dense and in every aspect exactly as they should be. They never let us run out of Arnold Palmer.
I can’t wait to come back to Pensacola when it gets cold again to try whatever seafood I am craving that day at The Fishing Hole.
We'd not traveled to or through Oxford, Mississippi before we met friends near there (Water Valley) for what was to be a camping trip turned Airbnb weekend.
Snackbar, part of the City Kitchen Restaurant Group which includes City Grocery and Big Bad Breakfast, was recommended to us by our friend, Tim Hontzas, of Johnny's who had worked for Chef John Currence while he was living in Oxford.
After running a few errands in Oxford, we drove to Snackbar a bit early to have a drink at their bar. The restaurant is located in a strip shopping center near downtown and is nondescript.
The bar was warm on a chilly evening and the staff preparing for the evening shift were all cordial and helpful. Drinks were nicely crafted and we enjoyed each other's company before being seated in a booth in the same general area for an early dinner.
There were few people in the restaurant when we we began our meal, but the place was packed as we left. The atmosphere festive.
Don't come expecting James Beard quality nomination-worthy eats, something Mr. Currence apparently wouldn't give two damns about anyway since he recently very publicly trashed his Beard award over the foundation's treatment of Tim Hontzas. Rebels. They live among us. 😎
The food and service are solid and recommended.
We found ourselves in Oxford, Mississippi meeting friends from Florence, Alabama who originally planned to meet us for a camping excursion at a nearby Corp of Engineers campground.
Winter weather, and some unusual associated conditions, factor large in our recent travels with two powerful fronts complete with thunderstorm and tornado warnings with large hail predictions. In a day or two we'll be faced with plunging temperatures that will force us south to the coast again.
Full time travel has it's challenges.
We left the gulf coast a day early a few days back to escape the first to these strong winter storms, the one that left parts of Panama City in ruin.
Our friends opted out of camping due to the weather and rented an Airbnb nearby. We cancelled our campground reservation to join them in Water Valley, Mississippi
When we agreed to meet our friends in Oxford, I texted Tim Hontzas, owner of Johnny's in Birmingham, Alabama knowing he worked in Oxford for, among others, John Currence owner of City Kitchen and Big Bad Breakfast. I asked for dining recommendations in Oxford. Ajax Diner was one of his picks. Like Johnny's in Birmingham, Ajax should be one of your essential meat and threes when in Oxford.
Since 1997 Ajax Diner has been serving Oxford’s finest Mississippi cuisine. Southern comfort food is our specialty. Chicken and dumplings, fried catfish, Mississippi pot roast, meatloaf, country fried steaks, along with an array of burgers and poboys are just a few of the standards.
Named after owner Randy Yates’ grandfather, A.J. Ajax was his nickname when he was his fraternity’s kitchen steward. A.J bragged that people came from all over campus to eat his food. A.J was also well known for his hospitality at the Neshoba County Fair. The late night sing he directed is named after him to this day. Ajax’ awnings and Christmas trees lights are fashioned after the family’s fair cabin. It’s that Mississippi hospitality that Ajax brings to the Oxford Square.
Ajax has been voted Oxford’s best plate lunch every year since opening. It has also been voted best restaurant several times, and twice has won Oxford’s Best of the Best. Mississippi Magazine readers have three times now voted Ajax as the best plate lunch in the state. From their website
We're in Nashville for a portion of the holiday season this year and for lunch today our kids suggested Ladybird Tacos. Simple menu with a nice variety of tacos and salads.
We’re on a mission to enable life-giving community by specializing in breakfast and lunch tacos. Modeled after the taco scene in Austin, Texas, Ladybird serves house-made tortillas, queso, salsa, and salads from fresh ingredients, alongside full barista service all day. (From their website)
We traveled to Friday Harbor, Washington from Anacortes, Washington back on May 2, 2023 for a summer as Interpretive Rangers at San Juan Island National Historical Park. We're fast closing in on our last day on island the middle of September.
While I may edit this list below before then (and now have done so several times), what you find listed are the restaurants and bars we have been to, sometimes numerous times over our months here and consider worth a try should you find yourself in Friday Harbor, Washington on San Juan Island.
Cease and Desist
After trying a few other places in the vicinity, Cease became my (Steven's) favorite place for a double IPA which are rotated out and come from breweries all over the PNW.
Overlooking the harbor and very near the ferry terminal, Cease is a smallish hole-in-the-wall where locals and those in the know find a nice variety of beers on tap.
With three outside tables to choose from, Cease provides a very pleasant way to spend some time sipping a favorite brew while checking out all things happening in the harbor.
San Juan Island Brewery
Melanie prefers the beer selection here because she can get a hefeweizen (generally). They produce a very nice selection of beers, but not my favorite, a double IPA, except seasonally and I'm not here for that season.
There's very solid bar food to be ordered here and the atmosphere and staff are most pleasant. Also a favorite for some of the islanders.
These three restaurants are white table cloth and all are solid choices. None of them are worthy, IMHO, of say a James Beard Award, but they all provide a good dining experience, if you're in need of a more formal setting.
Melanie and I prefer Vinny's for two reasons, bang for the buck and Melanie's love of Italian food.
Westcott Bay Shellfish Company
Got a hankering for oysters? Make sure you make your way to Westcott Bay Shellfish Company and give the grilled oysters accompanied by their compound butters a try. Throw in a nice glass of Rose' and you'll think heaven found you on a shell-strewn beach in the San Juans.
Bakery San Juan
Great island bakery with a menu with breakfast and lunch faire.
I especially like their mushroom pizza and various scones and croissants.
Rocky Bay Cafe & Delicatessen
Solid place for both breakfast and lunch. They've had a Crab Cake Benedict special on the menu this summer that I've eaten several times.
The Market Chef
Our favorite place for lunch. Great sandwiches and salads and a market for great gourmet food items.
From their website:
Over the last year the Market Chef has transformed its dining room into a marketplace featuring a curated selection of provisions and housewares. Come shop for amazing, gourmet ingredients for dinner, linen napkins for your dinner table, picnic baskets and supplies, wines, platters, gifts for the home cook and much more... all hand selected by Tim and Laurie. New products are added regularly and seasonally. Come in and shop today!
Looking for a keepsake or art to take home after your island vacation? Check out Island Collection By Jack Riley directly across the street from The Market Chef.
Van Go's Pizza
Good pizza and great outside patio in back of the restaurant for cool Friday Harbor summer evening dining. Try their cookies or a brownie for desert.
Mike's Cafe and Wine Bar
Mike's is another of our favorite Friday Harbor spots. Good food, service and a vegan menu.
Downriggers definitely has location going for it. Located above my favorite bar, Cease and Desist, which makes it convenient should I want a beer before dinner, it has a view of the harbor and marina.
Enjoy dinner on the deck and watch the seaplanes and ferries coming into the harbor. The menu and food preparation is solid with nice local seafood available.
Downriggers has a very corporate franchise chain feel, but don't let that dissuade you.
San Juan Vineyard
Great spot situated along the Roche Harbor Road just outside Friday Harbor proper. We've stopped in for a Rose' several times while out for a bike ride. They have other types of wine, but I can only speak for the Rose'. Quaffable.
The Bait Shop
They do fish 'n chips pretty darn well. I generally splurge and get the Halibut and chips, Melanie prefers the shrimp and chips. Regardless, for us, The Bait Shop is the spot for a quick fish 'n chips lunch or dinner.
Haley's Sports Bar and Grill
As our friend, Leslie, says below in the comments, "seriously good food and service." There are also large screen televisions for those who may have an interest in sports, Leslie's not wrong.
After dining for two nights with most of the board of directors of the Global Collaborative Law Council, our last evening is Seattle found us with just two other folks, one of whom, John, previously served as president of GCLC's board, and his wife, Kathy at Terra Plata.
John and Kathy planned to stay a day or so beyond the conference to visit with a friend of Kathy's. We resumed our volunteer roles as interpretive rangers at San Juan Island National Historical Park on Monday.
Starting with our table which was located in front of an open floor to ceiling window looking out on a pleasant Capitol Hill street, a nice cool evening and ending with great deserts, we throughly enjoyed our last evening in Seattle with good friends.
Next time we'll request a rooftop table at Terra Plata.
Friday night in Seattle found our group of 11 (Global Collaborative Law Council) dining at Lark. Located behind our hotel (Silver Cloud Hotel) and only about a city block away, we all walked over and were promptly seated in a semi-private dining area off the main dining room.
This year marks the 20th anniversary for Lark. Our group enjoyed another fine dining experience and I also recommend it to you. A few of us, including myself, had great lunches there too.
From the website:
Celebrating twenty years of business, Lark has elevated the standard for modern American restaurants in the Northwest. We invite you to share in chef John Sundstrom’s award winning cuisine in the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, welcomed by legendary hosts and co-owners Kelly Ronan and J.M. Enos.
Opened in 2003, and relocated to a stunning new space in December of 2014, Lark is an artisan-focused restaurant in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Chef John Sundstrom, a James Beard Award-winner, is known for his intimate knowledge and deft use of the Northwest’s unique ingredients and has created the perfect place to celebrate the bounty of the region. The four-course menu changes each month highlighting the best seasonal products available. Lark was honored with Restaurant Design of the Year at the Seattle Design Awards in 2015.
Melanie and Steven