Savannah is only one of many places we will be exploring between Florida and North Carolina (and I am always willing for suggestions from those more experienced with travel around there!), but this weekend trip could not have been more perfect. Especially because it turned into a weekend of celebrating being officially done with Part 1 of Boards and PASSING! So to celebrate, we took a food tour! Three glorious hours in the midday, burning sun, walking around downtown Savannah, eating amazing food at local restaurants. Restaurants that are very off the normal tourist trek, and known for utilizing local ingredients to express the classic Savannah taste.
First stop, and so fitting for my special someone, Smith Bros Butcher Shop! This was the meeting location for the tour group, and our first tasting of the day. We had a few minutes to walk around the store, which overall was a really great little local grocery store with it’s main focus being the butcher counter. Local snacks, dips, drinks, tons of wine, and the best part, a recipe book library! I now had a full list of books that I now need, along with a future recipe library planned out in my head.
Below you will see the main course of our first tasting, sausage: Tuscan, Blueberry (my favorite) and a spicy cajun. All pork, made in house, and absolutely fantastic. Paired with whole grain mustard and a variety of pickled vegetables. They also served a Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese dip with fresh made baguettes. Now, as amazing as the sausage was, the dip was hands down my favorite. And yes, you heard right, a beet dip. Whether you like beets or not, this dip will knock your socks off! It is heavily seasoned with lemon and goat cheese to keep the bitterness of beets at bay. Add the light and airy, and warm baguette, I was in heaven. This dip will be on my list to replicate.
Cha Bella was our second stop on the tour. Famous for their constantly changing menu, based on ingredients and inspiration found daily at local farmers markets, as well as their own garden and herb garden (featured picture). This caprese salad tasting looks simple, and was bursting with flavor. Local tomatoes with a flavor profile on par with the tomatoes I had in Italy, (yes, a tomato was so incredible that I remember how delicious it was three years later) a balsamic reduction and marinade mozzarella. They marinate the mozzarella in oil and spices. This turns the cheese into a total flavor bomb, as well as completely altering the texture to become soft, easily torn apart without fraying and far less chewy than the average mozzarella. It tasted as if they had just made it fresh in the back! They didn’t, I asked.
Wall’s BBQ, such the classic “hole-in-the-wall” restaurant that the average person can’t find it even with perfect directions and a GPS. It is hidden discreetly off a sandy backstreet, a small house with one table outside and only big enough inside for about ten people, and one single sign with “Wall’s BBQ” carved into a wood sign the same color as the side of the house. Inside, just simply a counter to order from, and next to it is the specials sign in which they use magnetic letters to identify what is available and what they have run out of by scrambling the letters around. To go with the classic BBQ sandwich was their housemade sauce, which was a blend of the many different varieties of BBQ sauces around, with the main focus being vinegar and tomato. A perfectly delicious and messy BBQ sandwich.
As for any classic summer walking tour, we got caught in a nice little down pour between stops. Considering how hot it was, a little rain was warranted. But this was a little more than anticipated, so we ducked into a close by Inn and stopped for a drink. Can you guess which one is mine? That’d be the Bloody Mary, extra spicy! I was even given permission to help myself to the Sriracha if I needed more of a kick. Their special for the day was a fruit punch, the one on the left as decked out in fruits and candies. Also very good, but a little too sweet for my taste.
You’d think after all this food, we’d be full by now! But we are only halfway done. And this next one is probably my second favorite of the tour. Zunzi’s Express, where they are known for their catchy phrase, “Shtyeah.” This is also the name of their famous sauce, which is smothered all over the chicken sandwich. Lightly fried chicken, veggies, sauce on Italian bread, heavenly! We went back to buy bottles of the sauces later because it was just too good!
Bakeries, my area of expertise! And our last two stops. Our Daily Bread Cafe (you know i’m already loving it just by the name) was first, serving a pimento cheese sandwich on a crispy croissant. Please take a minute to fully admire the layering of the croissant.
Making laminated dough is something I always love to do, but never without a sheeter. I have been spoiled by working in bakeries when it comes to having heavy equipment do the work for me and cut my work time in half. Its hard to come back from that for a dough that takes so many layerings.
Our last stop of the day was Mirabelle Suits & Cafe. By this point, we were exhausted, full and very happy. But not too full for dessert, waffles and Georgia Peach cobbler. And to wash it all down, and give us the extra jolt to make it back to the hotel before going into a food coma, cold brew coffee. The waffle was sweet and crispy, which was the perfect texture complement to the cooked peaches.
Overall, this tour was a fantastic start to our weekend in Savannah. I loved walking all over the city, seeing parts that I may not have made it to on my own, and having a brief history tour along the way. Plus, it is always nice to be surrounded by a group of like minded people, all enjoying food and conversing about traveling.