Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Georgia On My Mind

I don't have a recipe to post, but wanted to give a trip report of my recent trip to the 'Land of Paula Deen' - Savannah, Georgia.

I first saw an ad in the back of Paula Deen's magazine for a Paula Deen tour. If you haven't checked out her magazine, you really should -- it's a beautful magazine with gorgeous pictures and excellent recipes. Rather than do a package deal I found lodging through VBRO-Vacation Rentals By Owner and found a condo in the historic district of Savannah very comparable to a hotel rate. The condo was originally a home built for an officer in the Confederate Army in 1852. It had all the modern amenities and was in a great location. It was across the street from Lafayette Square.

Savannah has 20 or squares which are like little parks within the city. One particular square is Chippewa Square. It is where the bench scene in Forrest Gump was filmed. Unfortunately the actual bench was just a movie prop, but the square itself was quite beautiful.

The condo was across the street from St. John the Baptist Cathedral. The bells were beautiful when they rang.

I went on the Paula Deen tour which was interesting. I had already read her book 'It Ain't All About the Cookin' but it was nice to see some of the places I had read about. The tour included lunch at her brother's restaurant, Uncle Bubba's. Uncle Bubba happened to be there and he was gracious enough to come in and take pictures and talk to everyone. True southern hospitality. The food was okay, not great. They served something called 'Low Country Boil' which was shrimp, sausage, potatoes, and corn on the cob. It reminded me of how we do crawfish down here in Texas but not quite as spicy.

A goodie bag was given for taking the tour and in it was a coupon to call ahead for reservations at Paula's Lady and Sons Restaurant. Typically people start lining up outside to get reservations and this little golden ticket helped you bypass all that. The restaurant is three floors and serves about 800 people per day so our tour guide told us. Right after you are seated, waiters come by with a hot hoe cake which is really good. That is followed by a warm garlic cheese biscuit. Oddly enough, even though Paula is the 'Queen of Butter', there is no butter on the table! The buffet consisted of Paula's famous fried chicken, pulled pork, baked chicken, mashed potatoes, collard greens, macaroni and cheese (the best I have ever tasted), sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas. There is a small salad bar also. After lunch the waitress comes with a tray of either No Yo Mama's Banana Pudding, Gooey Butter Cake, or Peach Cobbler. It was good southern cooking. There is a big store right next to the restaurant where you can shop while you are waiting. It is chock full of all things Paula. She is definitely on the marketing train!

Nearby Paula's restaurant is City Market where there are lots of little shops and restaurants.

River Street is a must see. There are cotton warehouses renovated into shops and restaurants. The street is paved with ballast stones that were used in the ships. There is a statue of a 'waving girl' who they say greeted the ships in the harbor.

Forsyth Park is a beautiful park in the middle of the historic district. It has a beautiful fountain. There are beautiful live oak trees and plenty of benches to take a rest. The houses surrounding the park are just beautiful too.

Dinner at the Pirate House was excellent. The restaurant got its name as it was the hang-out for the pirates back in the day. Supposedly some of Robert Louis Stevenson's book Treasure Island takes place in this house. There is a tunnel leading down to the river. The house is said to be haunted. One of their famous dishes is the Honey Pecan Fried Chicken. It is really good.

About 20 miles east of Savannah is Tybee Island. The Tybee Island Lighthouse has been around for over 250 years.

I was only in Savannah for 3 days. There is so much to see and do there. It was a beautiful city and the people were so friendly. True southern hospitality at its best.


Bellini Valli said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip Anj. Georgia is on my mind:D

Anj said...

It was a great trip, Val. Thanks for stopping by!

Emiline said...

I wish you could have stayed longer! 3 days isn't enough. At least you got to go, though. Everything looks really beautiful. I would love to visit the deep south.
All of the food sounds good. I love mac n' cheese and fried chicken. The desserts sound good too. I think the gooey butter cake would be awesome.

Anonymous said...

Your pics are beautiful.

Carla said...

Glad to see you had fun and tried the chicken at The Pirate House! Did you get a chance to sample the famous pecan pralines from the candy store?

Anj said...

Hey Carla: Yes, we got to have a warm sample of the wonderful pralines. You really must try the recipe. In our goodie bag from the Paula Deen tour was a $5 coupon for free candy and two pieces of candy from the store. We got to go there as part of her tour.

Abby said...

Yay for the South! I've been to Savannah a few times, but once was for the St. Patrick's Day festival so you can IMAGINE what THAT trip was like! Ha.

Great pics. Sounds like you had a fantastic time!