Check-in from the beach

June 14, 2011

Well. Here I am in Hilton Head, enjoying myself and eating well, but you won’t see ics until I get back, because, well, I forgot the cable to the camera and the netbook (which I just typed as “entbook,” which, being a long-time Lord of the Ringts fan, amused me greatly) does not have a slot to ploug the memory card into. ButI have photos, oh, yes I do.

It’s actually been a mixed bag of meals, from Burger Kign in the Atlanta airport (it being Sunday, Chick-Fil-A, which is atleast a somewhat unobjectionble fast food, was closed) to really good local seafood at Hudson’s on the Dock Sunday night and South Carolina style barbecue on Monday afternoon.

Hudsons is a fixture in HH, both for the tourists and the locals, and turns out some fine cuisine. I had broiled shrimp stuffed with crabmeat, and had NO objection at all to them. They were damn close to Sweet Baby Jesus territory. My dining companions had shrimp and grits (not bad, butnot the best I’vehad) and blackened mahi-mahi with crabmeat toppping (not too shabby!) over tomato coulis.

Star of the evening may have been the bruschetta, a simple tomato/onion/basil/olive oil topping over a generous baguette slice. The addition of grilled, chopped up shrimps to the tomato topping was sheer, unadulterated genius. I am In Love. The shrimp are just salted and peppered, brushed with a little olive oil and butter, and grilled lightly; roughly chopped, and about the equivalent of 2 medium shrimp wind up on top of each baguette slice.  They add a wonderful flavor and texture element to the appetizer, which is already damn good, given that it’s a good baguette slice, toasted to the point of firm/chewiness but not to the crispy stage, and local, vine-ripe Carolina tomatos.

The roadside markets around here are full of those tomatos, and peaches, and local shrimps. I’m trying to figure out how I can fly home with some, and I’m not sure I can make it work.

And then there was the barbecue. For those of you who are not barbecue aficionados like I am, SC barbecue differentiates itself from Memphis style ‘cue, the standard by which all barbecues ought to be judged, mostly via its mustard-based sauce.  Mustard. Barbecue. Just don’t sound natural, do it?

So we went to Q on Bay, in downtown Beaufort, which is a charming little city with a wonderful waterfront. And they had barbecue sliders, on which you could have pulled pork, brisket or pulled chicken. I got one each of the pork and chicken.

Chicken was good. Smoky, not like a lot of barbecue chicken where the smoke taste is merely on the outside. Finished off with a traditional barbecue sauce (tomato and spices. Reminded me a bit of the barbecued chicken sandwich at the Bulldog in Bald Knob.

The pork was excellent. I had my choice of a vinegar-spice sauce, a traditional tomato-spice sauce, and the quintessential Maurice’s mustard based stuff. I took a deep breath and squeezed some of the mustard-based onto my pork, trying not to cringe.

It was…different. Not bad. Really, pretty good. The sauce looked like the spicy brown mustard, little dark flecks in it. It tasted like….well…mustard. With some spices — a couple of different chiles, maybe some allspice, not certain what all else. And once I got over the tastebud shock of mustard on my barbecue, it wasn’t bad. It’s not going to move me off Rendezvous or Interstate or Central or Purity’s sauce, but it’s interesting for a change of pace, and just for giggles, I may try to recreate it when I get home.

We also had a cup of Brunswick stew — damn fine, but didn’t eat much of it because it was too stinking hot — and some steamed shrimp. Good shrimp, but I’ll take the Cajun variety any day. I’m just sayin’.

And then we drove around Beaufort and stopped by the Chocolate Tree, where the scent of marvelous chocolate is enough to just make you swoon, and got a variety of  truffles (champagne, cognac, Grand Marnier, chile pepper) and some Key Lime white chocolate bark that was pretty astounding. And a “deviled egg” made out of white chocolate, including the yolk, which was white chocolate with yellow food coloring, which was about the cutest thing I ever saw. And turtles shaped like turtles, also in the pretty-damn-cute category.

Am currently babysitting for the sleeping McCallan, whose mama is getting a pedicure.  And it seems that sleeping McCallan is about to wake up, so I’ll bid you and y’mama ‘n ’em a good afternoon.



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