Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I've finally had it and I'm fed up!

            The day started out just fine.  Barbara was delivered two cups of fresh perked coffee to her in the berth.  She completed a Sudoku on her Nook, which usually means a good day to come.

We enjoyed a quick breakfast before hauling anchor in Factory Creek by Lady’s Island.  Our plan was to head to the municipal dock in Beaufort, SC.  They offer free day time docking.   We would then do a little wandering around town.

Our trip across the Beaufort River was somewhat delayed by a half hour wait for the Lady’s Island swing bridge to open.  We spent the time charging the batteries by motoring in circles.

After passing through the bridge, we approached a dock resembling the description of the municipal dock.  We approached dead slow and were set for a perfect docking when a fellow started walking down the dock towards us.  Barbara elected to not step off with the breast line until we could speak to him.  It turns out, you guessed it, this was not the municipal dock.  We could tie up and leave the boat for as long as we wished.  The first hour was free, and thereafter it was 50 cents per foot of boat length each hour.  Our old boat is 36 feet.  You do the math.

We didn’t even touch.  We glided on past to find the much smaller, 140 foot dock, 110 feet of which was poorly taken up by 3 other boats.  This one took a couple tries to get right but we made it without damaging their boats or ours.

We walked through a very appealing small town already beginning to swarm with tourists.  The horse drawn wagons were filled up for town tours, and the air conditioned busses had folks standing in line.  We chose to amble along looking at the beautiful flowers and trees and mansions and tiger (made of drift wood outside a gift shop). 

High on our list was our ongoing quest to find someplace to have local cuisine for lunch.  We hit dead ends when passing through northbound two years ago and weren’t doing much better this trip.  Historic local fare is known as “low Country”.  I guess the premium example is a dish called Low Country Boil, or occasionally Frogmore Stew.  We have checked out numerous restaurants and have never found it on a menu even though we have seen it touted in guide books and tourist information.  For lunch, Barbara finally settled on a sandwich called the “Ooey Gooey”, pimento garlic cheddar cheese and bacon grilled “low country style”. 

Lunch was settled by walking through the downtown “Tree Walk” maintained by a local ladies garden club. 

Then we headed to Bay St. to find the local wine tasting and dessert shop.  After walking Bay Street certain we would see it, and not seeing it, we look up the address and head back up Bay St. to the right spot.  It no longer exists. 

Time to regroup.  We peruse the restaurant information trying to find a place to which we could walk or boat.  They are all too far away or not boat accessible.  Then we see there is a well reviewed seafood restaurant on the water with a floating dock in Port Royal, just a few miles south.  We remember having anchored overnight in the bay containing the restaurant when we were headed north.  And, since low country boil is mostly a seafood dish, decision made.  Fill a couple gallon jugs with drinking water at the local fountain, cast off and away we go.

We glide up to their dock and have it all to ourselves.  We try a docking trick about which I‘ve read.  I need to re-read and practice.  We tie up and head up to the restaurant.  The smell of delicious seafood is in the air.  We have arrived at dinner time.  The staff is cheerful and gracious.  We take seats on the sun porch looking out on the shrimp boats.  Our waitress, Christine, brings us tall glasses of ice water with lemon and menus.  Everything looks and sounds delicious.  Many items are listed as Southern style or low country, but NO LOW COUNTRY BOIL!  Christine knows of it and its alter ego Frogmore stew, but they don’t serve it.  Drat!

We decide to stay for dinner anyway since there are other items on the menu we have yet to try.  We order a bottle of wine.  I’ve heard about fried green tomatoes for years but have never had them and this is supposed to be the area where they are best, so we’ll share an order of those.  She Crab Soup is a local specialty so we’ll share a bowl of that.  Both are tasty along with the cornbread and bread sticks.  Barbara decides to order Shrimp and Grits dinner, with a grit cake, a popular local meal.  I opt for the broiled Captains platter with all manner of tasty stuff.  We ask Christine if there is a restaurant or café in tiny Port Royal which might have Frogmore stew available for lunch tomorrow.  We’re determined!  She’s not sure, but she’ll ask the manager and staff and cook.  She comes back with a giant smile and “Good news!”  The cook says he’ll make low country boil, aka Frogmore stew for us!  Just for us!  No captain’s platter.  Goodbye shrimp and grits.  Hello two orders of Frogmore stew!

I’ve finally had it!  And it is delicious.  And I’m fed up! 

Each order included a half pound of large fresh local shrimp plus fresh red and green peppers and onion and chunks of corn on the cob and potato and sausage all boiled in a spicy sauce.  More than any regular person could eat.  The hunt is ended, the hunters sated.

As an aside, I’ve been wearing a Montana Grizzlies t-shirt to town.  It never fails to attract comments.  An older gentleman saw it at the restaurant this evening.  He stopped to talk about his cousin in Hamilton and his retired boss in Whitefish.  Another fellow in a men’s room in Charleston talked about his daughter doing post graduate work in Missoula.  Another fellow in a store noted “they have a pretty good football team”.

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