Sometimes it pays to shoot from the hip. While traveling towards Jekyll Island last week from a Boondockers spot in rural Georgia, we made the decision to stop in Savannah for groceries. After groceries were procured, it was lunch time, we're in Savannah, so why not find a spot for our dining pleasures.
I Googled "Best Lunches Savannah" and at the top of the list was Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room in the historic district. I was hungry, didn't read anything further, assumed it may be okay, because hungry and that's all that mattered at the moment. After parking on one of the Live Oak covered avenues, we walked the short block and a half to the restaurant using my iPhone as our guide. If not for a lovely couple from New Hampshire, we might not have found the understated entrance.
Inside we were treated to what can only be described, in this, the season, as an early Thanksgiving spread that would make your grandmother blush. Mrs. Wilkes is a family-style seating/serving/meat and many, restaurant. The food is well-prepared and plentiful. Go hungry, no, go very hungry.
Our table mates were from New Hampshire (the folks who helped us find the Mrs. Wilkes), New Jersey, and New York. We had a great time getting to know some things about them and did I mention the food is plentiful. Prepare to eat many good dishes and maybe make room for a nap afterwards, but don't miss lunch there.
We celebrated my birthday Sunday evening at The Ordinary. Great ambiance, great locally sourced seafood.
Once again my Google search using "James Beard" and "insert city du jour" paid off.
Last evening we dined in Charleston at The Grocery. It was a memorable celebration of our wedding anniversary. When in Charleston, don't miss the opportunity to treat yourselves to the talents Chef Kevin Johnson has to offer you. Definitely recommended. Great local foods, great service, nice atmosphere.
We had a couple of great dinners at Ani Ramen in Summit. It's a bit noisy, but their Signature Dish, Short Rib Ramen, is superb.
After spending a few days in Essex Junction, Vermont, Melanie said we should check out Shelburne, Vermont, just down the road a piece. She wanted to go by the local Episcopal church there to see the Tiffany Windows, but we were too early for anyone to be at the church and so, after taking a few photos of the outside of the church and giving me instructions to find breakfast, we took a short ride to the Inn at Shelburne Farms.
Our hosts in Essex Junction mentioned Shelburne Farms to us without much explanation, so we didn't have any idea what to expect. Upon arriving, we drove through a stone gate, then through a series of pastoral settings with barns and livestock. The drive into the inn is just over a mile ending in an idyllic setting next to Lake Champlain.
Checking in with the inn restaurant hostess, we were asked if we were a part of the James Beard Foundation group staying at the inn. At this point, I'm thinking we surely must be at the right and proper place for a great breakfast. 😎
Turns out, set and setting were great as was the breakfast. Afterwards, we walked the grounds a bit and then made our way on to the White Mountains for the evening. The Inn at Shelburne Farms is a great experience. Food is worth a try too. Reservations may be had, but not required.
You may also want to check out various farm-related programs they offer on site.
From their webpage:
From 1886 to 1902, William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb consolidated 32 of these farms into a 3,800-acre agricultural estate. Its landscape design was inspired by Central Park landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The Webbs’ grand model horse farm began a tradition of agricultural innovation. With increasing financial pressures by the 1950s, the family shifted away from maintaining the main house and barns to focus on raising dairy and beef animals.
In 1972, Webb descendants decided to open and share Shelburne Farms with the world and give it a new purpose. In 1984 the family contributed the property to the nonprofit educational organization that owns it today.
Today, Melanie and I rode the easy six miles on the Ashuelot Recreation Rail Trail into Keene, New Hampshire for, among other things, lunch.
We'd received some guidance from one of our hosts, Laura, at Ashuelot River Campground, but, while we got names for places she likes, we didn't get any particulars from her. We were fortunate, once we reached Main Street, to happen on Odelay, one of Laura's recommendations.
Odelay is a phonetic English rendering of the Mexican slang interjection "órale", which translates roughly to "listen up" or "what's up?" While I've been unable to get the name of the chef at Odelay, suffice it to say he has talent. He fuses Vietnamese and Mexican cusines, among others, for really delicious combinations. Fusion.
Odelay doesn't have much of a web presence, but the person who assisted us with ordering mentioned the chef had a food cart before opening Odelay and sold street food.
Odelay is located at 44 Main Street in downtown Keene.
We didn't have much free time while we were in Birmingham, but the last evening there we met long-time dear friends at what continues to be one of our very favorite places to eat, El Barrio. El Barrio is listed on our resources page, but really another mention won't hurt anything.
Besides, what a great way to catch up with friends over several Tuesday margarita specials and a great meal, including great Sopaipillas.
Don't let Catch's location on Market Street in a strip shopping area fool you.
It was raining and had been raining for some time when we arrived. It's raining as I type this. Relatively deep standing water in spots had to be navigated as we parked Miranda on the side of the shopping center. We called about an hour before hand and reserved a spot in the bar which is small and located in the entrance way.
The setting didn't matter, road weary people often can't be too choosey. When a good meal follows, first-world problems are forgotten.
From their site:
A James Beard Finalist for best Southeast Chef and featured on Bravo TV’s Top Chef (season 9) Keith Rhodes has been caught up in the North Carolina seafood scene since he founded Catch in 2006. The chef has always favored wild caught or sustainably raised seafood and continually supports local fisheries and organic farmers. On any given day his coastal creations can take you on a global escape with flavors that traverse borders and seas.