Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Savannah - a culinary review

(You know, I really was planning to post on food anyway. I'm not caving to A in A's pressure. Just for the record.)

So, Savannah is known for serving excellent seafood and excellent southern cooking. What a terrific destination, then, for a vegetarian.

Because I had visions of biscuits made of lard, greens cooked with ham, and great heaps of steamed shrimp, I did a lot of research before I left to find good food I would eat. None of it was authentic Savannah, but it was all pretty good.

Our first stop was at the Sentient Bean, one of those we're-too-hip to put a ceiling over our ductwork places. I felt completely out of place, as the rest of the clientele seemed to be SCAD students, so my practical shoes and my lack of piercings really stood out. But the onion-spinach-cheese scone that I ate was so flavorful (belying it's appearance as a clod of dirt) and the coffee was acceptable. Not quite chewy, but pretty good for a restaurant.

Our favorite lunch was the first, when we at at Saigon, a Vietnamese place on Broughton. I had pho for the first time, because they'll make it there with veggie broth, and the spring roll that preceded it was very fresh. Andrew loved his pork, which was served with a sauce that evidently had an entire head of garlic in it. We also had our first taste of Savannah Fest, a German-style beer from the local brewery Moon River. (For the record, Moon River really is in Savannah. We crossed it every night on our way to the island campsite, and started singing every time.) Unfortunately, that was the only Moon River beer restaurants ever seemed to have on tap, but as a result we had it several times to confirm our opinion.

The next day we ate at a pizzeria called Mellow Mushroom. My seitan sub was flavorful, and the pizza had interesting toppings, but it was really busy even in the middle of the afternoon so the service was mediocre and it was really noisy.

The last day I wanted to well-known establishment called Vinnie-Van-Go-Go's. It's known for it's cheap, giant slices of pizza. As far as pizza goes, it was nothing spectacular, so I guess it's the atmosphere that people go there for. It's in a long, low, half-basement location frequented by bikers and (of course) more of those darn SCAD students.

We also made a special trip to Back in the Day Bakery, which serves well-regarded cupcakes. I don't know who praises these cupcakes so much - $3 each and I could have baked similar ones. Sure, they were moist and tasted of quality ingredients, but I expected more, maybe cream or fruit or something.

At the bakery, Andrew went up to buy our cupcakes and tea. Remembering that I had told him the day before that sometime while we were in Savannah he needed to try sweet tea, he ordered that instead of hot tea. Even the lady at the counter knew this a foolish idea. Presumably noting his accent and assuming he didn't know what he was doing, she asked, "You do understand sweet tea is very sweet, don't you?" Well, he got it anyway, and then spluttered as he drank it, "It's like a cup of sugar with a spoonful of tea." Pretty far removed from what we drank in England, I'll say that. And it really was awful with a iced cupcake.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I thank you all sincerely for crying into your beer. You can stop now. It all turned out okay. At 8pm the night before we were supposed to leave, Andrew managed to make the car work. We madly bought groceries, threw a tent and blankets and random objects in the car, and left early the next morning.

And it was so worth it. Savannah was exquisite. Every few minutes I would exclaim, "It's so lovely" and it really was. The azaelas and tulips were blooming, the trees already had leaves as green as new peas, and the Spanish moss hung, as it always does, gracefully. The weather was warm enough for spring clothes, and in the evenings while camping, it was a balmy 50 or 60 degrees. Last year we went camping during spring break in the mountains of Virginia and it was so cold I didn't pour the olive oil on our food, I spread it on. In comparison, only having to wear a hat and a single sweatshirt to bed is quite comfy.

More on the wonders of Georgia soon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I once read some psychobabble examine-you-life-and-live-more-fully article that said that people either live in the past, the present, or the future. The punchline was that you should live in the present, but I so totally completely live in the future. I love looking forward to things. This can (occasionally) lead to bad things.

I have been planning this trip to Savannah for about three months. I've read guide books (note the plural), I've searched on travel blogs, I've printed maps, made reservations, planned where to eat, and basically dreamed of every lovely thing that we will do. However, it now appears that there is a good chance that the trip won't happen.

We were supposed to leave tomorrow morning (which meant that today was for packing, checking the oil, and going to bed early). Andrew took this opportunity to do some little things to the car and they have gone quite wrong. I know (I do come from a mechanical family, after all) that car disasters can happen to anyone, and I'm not mad, but

I'm too sad to even cry into my beer.

In the grand scheme of things I can't (well, shouldn't) complain about a lost vacation. Think of the poor starving children that don't get vacations.

But it still sucks.

Monday, March 19, 2007

In the Garden of Good and Evil

So what does a blogger do when life isn't appropriate to the blog? I've had stuff going on for the past few weeks that has sort of consumed my life, yet it's not stuff I'm willing to share with the world. Mostly the people who read this blog (hello family!) are people who I would bare my soul to (I do have a tendency to ramble on, I admit) but I always try to write assuming that my coworkers and random stalkers could be reading. The stuff that's been taking up my life is now done, though, so I'll try to life a suitably frivolous life again, appropriate to blogging.

I'm so excited about my trip to Savannah. Spring break is this week, and on Wednesday we're headed down to Dixie. (Note to potential thieves: my roommate will still be at home, so don't bother trying to get your little paws on my thrift-store finds). I lived in Savannah when I was ten and I'm looking forward to seeing it with grown up eyes. I remember Spanish moss, and sweet tea, and discovering the fact that (unbeknownst to me) I was a Yankee. I believe that there might be a bit more to the city than that. For one thing, the city was relatively untouched during the Civil War. (As I understand it, the city leaders just handed over the city to Sherman when he threw a temper tantrum and said if he couldn't have it, no one could. And waved those matches around menacingly.) As a result, it's filled with lovely antebellum mansions. And we're going in spring, so I expect heaps ofazaelas and other flowery things to grace the many parks.

So, stay tuned. Next week I'll report in full. In the meantime, I return you to March Madness.

Monday, March 12, 2007


My niece has become a ham. Remember that trip to Ohio a few weeks ago? Well, here's a picture of here with her adoring greataunts.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

CSA : aka Pretty Expensive, Unusual Veggies

Andrew and I, along with a few other friends, belong to a CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture) group, which means we hand a wad of money over to a group of farmers and then they give us veggies every week for one growing season. This is the first time I had ever done this, and there aren't a lot of options during the winter months. The CSA we're using this time is a very hippie organization, touting biodynamic food. (If you've never heard of that, click on the link and then explain it to me. I still don't get the allure of biodynamic goodness.) We've been disappointed because they don't use a lot of local food and because it seems pretty expensive. (But we haven't given up - this summer we're doing a cheaper CSA, one that really is a local farmer.)

However, the plus has been exposure to vegetables that I've not only never eaten, I hadn't even heard of before. There was salsify, the potato-substitute that gives you gas, Jerusalem artichokes (neither artichokes nor from Jerusalem), and turnips. Okay, well, I had definitely heard of turnips before, but I'm pretty sure I'd never eaten them. We got a few pounds this week, and after consulting my beloved, I boiled them until they were soft, then sauteed them until they were crispy, adding bread crumbs, herbs, and lemon zest. Which made them, um, edible, I guess. Andrew didn't seem to mind them, but his palate is still calibrated to English food, and I don't trust his judgement. I thought they were sort of bitter, and they stunk up the house to high heaven.

Has anyone had a good experience with turnips? Can you make turnips edible? (Or is it just a matter of trying to disguise the flavor?)

Friday, March 09, 2007

Old Dresser, new tricks!

Renee Michelle shows you how you can use a bit of elbow grease, a touch of creativity, and some grout to "teach" and old dresser some new stylish tricks. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Well, I've been a bit lax about posting. Now, I'd like to claim that nothing interesting has been going on in my life, but that clearly doesn't stop some bloggers.

We took a whirlwind trip to Ohio this past weekend. My aunts had flown in from Minnesota to visit my parents and I was the surprise bonus guest. They were thrilled to see me, I was thrilled to see them, and the weekend flew by with much merrymaking and Uno playing.

My mother's side has been playing family Uno games since I was a small child. It is so easy to learn, because there are basically two rules, and I continue to appreciate that it's a card game that I can play without remembering what a 'suite' or a 'straight flush' is.

We played with new and improved cards this time. Back in my day, we assumed that even small children could read the words, "Draw Four." Now all the cards have traded their words for icons and are presumably illiterate-friendly. And also darn hard to figure out. It took us all quite a while to determine what their intuitive little pictures were supposed to mean. (Is a thirty-one-year-old old enough to miss the good old days?)