Good ole’ southern cooking

Omigosh, was the food good in Savannah! I went there skinny and came back fat. Okay, that’s an exaggeration on both fronts, but I did put on a few pounds while I was there! I just couldn’t pass up the great food that is so particular to the south: grits, pralines, pecan everything (pies, tarts, etc.), biscuits, fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, collard greens, BBQ, etc.

Now, I should mention that I’m not good at photographing food at the best of times but especially in the low-light conditions we encountered. The food in my pictures below probably won’t look that great because of my poor photography but hopefully it’ll give you an idea of all the yummy goodness!

Our first foray into Southern food was in a cooking class on our second night in town. Held in a beautiful and historic mansion, the 700 Kitchen Cooking School gets top ratings on Trip Advisor. I don’t really love to cook but Paul does and I knew that the class would be entertaining and informative in any event. And was it ever! Chef Darin was a hoot and highly informative at the same time. The three hour “Low Country Cuisine” class sped by and then we all sat down to one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had. One of the best parts of the whole experience is that I got away with not doing a single bit of cooking in this hands-on class! Ha ha!

Here are Paul and I before entering the mansion, and then an image of our aprons awaiting us inside:

cooking triptych
The mansion inside is stunning. The foyer and restaurant is decorated in a lot of orange; Ren would have loved it!

700 drayton diptych

The class itself was held in a state-of-the art kitchen built for this purpose on a lower level. There, with about another 15 participants, we cooked the following delicious dishes:

  • -Black-eyed pea salad
  • -Cheddar and chive biscuits
  • Fried green tomatoes
  • Shrimp in red-eye gravy (so called because of the coffee added)
  • Rich and creamy grits (with asiago cheese, no less; our first taste of grits was no greasy diner variety!), and
  • Pecan praline angel food cake.

700 kitchen

One of the things I found so fascinating about the food we cooked was not simply the incredible flavour of everything but the textures. For example, I’ve only ever had angel food cake made from a mix. It was no comparison to the one we made from scratch. It was so light.

We enjoyed another amazing southern meal at Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House. Mrs. Wilkes, who passed away nearly 10 years ago, began serving up nutritious and yummy meals in this boarding house in 1943. After she died, her family took it over and continue to run it in the same tradition and to the same standards. The restaurant is only open for lunch and doesn’t take reservations so we planned ahead and arrived at the boarding house 45 minutes before it opened. There was already a line-up.

Once you enter the boarding house, you are shown to a table where you dine family-style with other diners. There were roughly 18 dishes that you pass around. Our plates were absolutely loaded and yet, I think there were a few dishes that I didn’t even try. Once we all dug in to our food, we all agreed that the hype about Mrs. Wilkes is warranted. Although not fancy, every single item was so very yummy and wholesome.
Mrs Wilkes diptych

 After we were all suitably stuffed, one of our fellow diners observed that there was still a lot food left on our table; in fact, you couldn’t see the bottom of any bowls! Paul and I couldn’t help but think of my brother Stu and how he’d probably see that as a personal challenge – that he’d need to see the bottom of every bowl!

Following the meal, you take your dirty dishes and cutlery to the kitchen in true boarding room fashion. I love that little tradition at this restaurant!

With such amazing Southern meals already under our belts (and on my hips, thighs, etc!), I didn’t feel the need to dine at Paula Deen’s famous Lady and Sons restaurant. (We have heard and read that it, unlike Mrs. Wilkes, doesn’t live up to its hype.)  I did, however, get a piece of her gooey cake as take-out from her store. Paul got the pecan pie. Very yummy, indeed!
gooey cake dipytch

 And what would a trip to the South be without some good BBQ? The best barbecue we had there was at Angel’s, a little place tucked into an alley. The brisket, pulled pork sandwich, mac and cheese and peanut buttery-collards were to die for!

Angels diptych

 And last but not least, another favourite spot was Vinnie Van Go-Gos for pizza. The crust reminded me of Beth and James’ perfect crust – it was outstanding. You get to choose whatever toppings you want for your single slice or pizza. And the guys making the pizza put on a great show with the dough. I loved watching the guys with their different techniques of throwing the dough and spinning it in the air.

Vinnies collage

 Again, please pardon the bad food photography here: it doesn’t do the food justice at all. Take my word for it, this food was some of the best I’ve ever sampled!

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  • Peanut butter collards sounds…. interesting.

    The food would be amazing and that class would be a ton of fun!

    Now I want to go to Savannah! I am just going to follow you around everywhere you go!ReplyCancel

  • OH my, that cooking school meal is making my stomach grumble. Looks so amazing. So does everything else. Nice of you to reference our pizza:)ReplyCancel

  • Everything looks delish! The cooking class must have been a lot of fun!ReplyCancel

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