Real Food for Real Life

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vacation dining...

Low Country Boil

When we vacation, we typically rent a villa rather than stay in a hotel.  Not only are we able to feel more "at home" where ever we may be, but we are also able to prepare most of our own meals ourselves.  This is not only a money saving gesture, for quite honestly, our own meals are usually as good (or better) than we would have if we dined out.  One dish we always make whnenwe travel south is the Low Country Boil pictured above (click here for the recipe).  A new addition to the southern repertoire will be the Key lime Pie of the previous post.  

Now don't get me wrong...we do enjoy eating out, we are just more selective about our dining dollars than we were in our reckless youth ("reckless" here meaning "before we could cook so well").  On one of our early trips to Hilton Head, we did like most other tourists and ate at the Crazy Crab in Harbor Town, a mediocre tourist trap in the truest sense (if anyone feels that it has improved in the last few years, please let me know.)

This trip we decided to try Chef Robert Irvine's eat!, just across the street from Shipyard Plantation where we were staying.  Ben and I are both fans of Chef Robert's antics on the Food Network, and even the little guy Christopher likes him from Worst Cooks in America.  In ten years of going to Hilton Head, our meal here was probably one of the best we have ever had on the island.  And yes, those are pictures of Chef Robert on the wall, and the waiters were all dressed in short sleeve black polos. showing off their "gun shows."  No one ever said the man had a small ego :)

Tried for photos, but the lighting was no good.
A basket of crusty bread was served alongside olive oil with a drizzle of balsamic reduction, quite a delicious start and Christopher was "forced" to finish the last piece.  We ordered the fried green tomatoes to share.  Ben does not normally care for this dish (that Chris and I love), but he found these to be quite delicious.  Supposedly the micro-sprouts that came with the tomatoes were very good too, but I wouldn't know since Chris swooped in so quickly and gobbled them up :)  Being a "real" restaurant, there was no children's menu, so Chris ordered the Carolina shrimp and house fries.  The fries (he reported) were good as fries go, but nothing special.  The coconut pecan crusted shrimp, however, he declared to be divine (and I can report that they were huge).  Ben ordered a pork and gnocchi dish he adored, while I ordered the blackened snapper.  I'd give just about anything to know how the red pepper and goat cheese coulis was made...yummy!!  To finish, we ordered the tabasco ice cream.  Ben and Chris said they got a hint of the tabasco; I didn't, but did find it to be a very delicious cinnamon ice cream.  Overall, a very pleasurable experience and we will be returning.

Another place i have to mention is the Palmetto Bay Sunrise Cafe where we had breakfast late one morning.  We will be sure to visit this busy little cafe again (and again).  It was homey, fast, cheap, and delicious...what more could one want in a breakfast place.  Chris had french toast, Ben had the shrimp hash, and I had a breakfast version of shrimp and grits, complete with red eye gravy and a fried egg on top...yum, yum, yum!!

Breakfast Shrimp and Grits
 Okay, looking at the photo now, I'll admit that this is not the prettiest dish ever, but it sure was good!

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