Off the plane, checked into the Mansion on Forsyth Park, and gussied up for a night on-the-town, we headed to one of the city's culinary grande dames -- The Olde Pink House. Moments after entering the stately rose-colored 18th century mansion, we settled into one of the restaurant's numerous candlelit dining rooms and were immediately overwhelmed by the menu. Too many enticing choices and too little time during this weekend sojourn.
It was a tough call, but I must admit that the dishes we ended up ordering were marvelous. From the Sautéed Local Shrimp with Country Ham Gravy and Cheddar Cheese Grits Cake, to the final sweet touch of Key Lime Pie, Mama Vamp and I were smiling with glee. But, there was one standout dish that had my head reeling: The Olde Pink House's celebrated Crispy Scored Flounder with Apricot Shallot Sauce, Creamy Grits and Collards. It was a crunchy-meets-tender, sweet and sour revelation.
The Southern hospitality whirlwind had just begun.
The next day I parked myself on line for lunch at the legendary Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room. I waited for two and a half hours. Mama Vamp joined me for the last 30 minutes. When we were finally presented with a table, we sidled up with eight strangers to a groaning board brimming with a platter of golden Fried Chicken, bowls of Barbecued Pulled Pork and Beef Stew, and sides aplenty, including Cornbread Dressing, Squash Casserole, Snap Peas, Candied Yams, Black-Eyed Peas, Rice with Andouille Sausage, Collard Greens, Cucumber Salad, Macaroni & Cheese, Mashed Rutabagas, Butter Beans, and so much more. The photo above doesn't even begin to capture the family-style spread set out before us.
Fueled by over two-hours of edible expectations and midday hunger, we gobbled down the feast all too soon, only to be informed that it was a Mrs. Wilkes tradition for guests to bring their dirty dishes and silverware to the kitchen for cleaning -- just like family would do after a big sit-down meal.
Other memorable bites were had at the Gryphon Tea Room, a jaw-droppingly beautiful restaurant festooned with stained glass and amiable servers who are all students at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). And, after taking in a whoop-worthy Bonnie Raitt concert, Mama Vamp and I met a bartender at Casimir's Lounge who gallantly searched the just-closed kitchen for sustenance, emerging as our knight-in-shining-armor with a heaven-sent bowl of Savannah She Crab Bisque.
I think Savannah more than lived up to its nickname and reputation with this trip. Mama Vamp and I bore witness to true Southern hospitality. Long may it live, thrive and rustle up a mean dish or two (or three) from the kitchen!