Monday, July 20, 2009
A taste of Savannah
In one week's time, Reggie and I made two quick trips to Savannah: one to deliver our daughter to a weeklong workshop at Savannah College of Art and Design and one to pick her up.
I could tell you all about the historic buildings we saw, the shaded squares, the Spanish moss, the wonderful shopping, the beautiful silver ring Reggie bought for me, the view of the Savannah River from our hotel room. But instead, I want to talk about the food we ate.
Before our trip, Reggie and I read about dining and shopping and activities in Savannah. We both knew we wanted to eat at Paula Deen's Lady and Sons on our return trip, but we had to carefully choose what we wanted to eat during the few hours we were in Savannah the Sunday we dropped off our daughter. We chose Leopold's Ice Cream on Broughton, which turned out to be the street with wonderful shopping as well!
Leopold's was established in 1919 and was made famous for its homemade ice cream. The business closed at some point but was reopened in 2004 by a descendant of the original Leopold brothers. The current business uses the original ice cream recipe and some of the same fixtures from the original store, including the black marble soda fountain. In addition to ice cream, the restaurant serves sandwiches and salads.
The restaurant sounded like the perfect plan for the three of us, who were hot and hungry after driving five hours. Reggie and I each ordered a club sandwich with a side order of pasta salad, and Anna got a turkey sandwich with chips. We all three enjoyed our meal so much and still had room for some ice cream. I chose chocolate swirl; Reggie got his favorite butter pecan, and I think Anna got vanilla or maybe chocolate. The ice cream was truly delicious and was a good indication of the special homemade food we would sample in Savannah.
After eating, we drove around Savannah, taking in the sites and getting acquainted with the city. We made several stops at fashionable shops such as Marc Jacobs and Urban Outfitters before stumbling across City Market. We wandered in and out of shops and galleries and found Savannah's Candy Kitchen, where a worker was making taffy by the front door. The aromas from this business were heavenly! I literally felt like a kid in the candy store as I admired the chocolate covered pretzels (which I bought), pralines, caramel apples and other delights. I picked out some favorite taffy flavors and filled up a bag to take home.
That was it for our first quick trip. Reggie and I were in Savannah for less than four hours that day, but we did return!
Lady and Sons was certainly the culinary highlight of our second quick visit. For years I had wanted to eat at Paula Deen's famous restaurant and sample the fried chicken! It was worth the wait.
Reggie and I were quite surprised at the size of the restaurant. Lady and Sons is located in the 200-year-old White Hardware Building on Congress Street, a narrow street that's always crowded with tourists. The restaurant is three stories with dining on the first and third floors. We ate on the third story. Another diner told us the kitchen is on the second floor.
Doiles were set at each place of our antique table, which overlooked the streets below. We chose the buffet, which that day featured fried chicken, baked chicken and fried fish. The side dishes included lima beans, creamed corn, green beans, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, candied yams, grits, black-eyed peas and brunswick stew, which Reggie said was delicious.
I filled my plate with a little bit of a lot of things and wasn't disappointed. My favorites were the creamed corn and candied yams — and the two kind of chicken, of course. Instead of eating dessert, Reggie and I went back for seconds, and I ate both the cheese biscuit and hoecake that were delivered to our table. The breads were a highlight of the meal.
Our meal cost around $30, and it was worth every cent, not only for the tasty food but also for the atmosphere. We also loved it when we asked our waiter about the beautiful dining tables, and he said, "Miss Paula loves antiques."
If you plan to visit Lady and Sons, you must know that it's not as easy as walking in and asking for a table. People line up early in the morning to secure a seat for later in the day. The photo on this post was taken by my daughter early one morning on her way to class. Check out the Web site for details on getting reservations:
Reggie and I didn't get hungry again for hours after our buffet lunch, as we roamed the streets of Savannah. One of our favorite stops Friday was River Street, which is lined with many stores and restaurant, and another Savannah Candy Kitchen location. There was much more activity at this candy shop location, where workers were making gophers (think chocolate, caramel and pecan turtles) and more taffy. The guy making taffy was throwing out samples of the tangerine flavor he was making. I caught one; it was so good! Before we left, I got a cup of lemon gelato. Oh my! It was so delicious. I wish I could have tried every flavor.
Neither one of us was very hungry at suppertime, but when we did need to eat something before heading to our daughter's art reception. We chose a spot on River Street, Wet Willie's. Now Reggie and I are not drinkers, but we chose a restaurant famous for its alcholic drinks. The bar side of the restaurant features a wall of swirling drink machines (think Icee). We each got a sandwich and a Weak Willie, a nonalcoholic frozen lemonade, which we really enjoyed. We ate our meal at a table that overlooked the river. We enjoyed watching the tourist riverboats come in and out. If you ever eat at Wet Willie's, make sure you have cash; they don't take checks or credit cards.
Savannah was a lot of fun. There's so much to see and do, and we only got a glimpse, really. Anna loved SCAD, so I imagine we'll be back in town. Next time, we'll take a trolley tour and visit Tybee Island, I hope, and certainly try some new restaurants.