Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Savannah, GA -- Gluten Free Style

One of the hardest parts of not eating gluten is eating out.  It's hard enough in my own backyard, but when I travel, it's even more difficult.  At least at home I know the restaurants that are good, and those that are bad.  In other cities, it's a guessing game.  My husband and I drove the two hours up I-95 this past weekend to spend a couple of days in Savannah.  We have both been to Savannah without each other before, and once when we were dating we went for St. Patrick's Day.  St. Patty's in Savannah is totally wild and crazy!  I've been twice and had a great time both times, but it's really not the best for seeing the city and enjoying all that Savannah has to offer (unless you're interested in beer, parades, beer and more beer).  So, we took advantage of the long Labor Day weekend, and finally went back. 

Fort Pulaski, on the way to Tybee Island

When traveling I usually ask people for restaurant recommendations.  If the locals eat at a restaurant, you know it's good and not too touristy.  So, when we arrived on Saturday afternoon, that's what we did.  We were encouraged to go to The Distillery on Liberty St.  I was hoping that they would have a GF beer for me, since they boast a large collection of craft beers.  Unfortunately, they were all out of beer for me.  The menu was pretty limited for me too; salads were all that the server could point out for gluten free foods.  I ended up with some peel and eat shrimp, which were good, but the basket was small (only 8 shrimp) and they brought it out with fries instead of potato chips, so I had to send it back to get remade without the fries (cooked in the same fryer as everything else).  I was still hungry after that meal.

For dinner I got onto and looked for gluten free restaurants in Savannah.  The best looking place was Kasey's Gourmet Grille, which is in midtown, not in the historic district, but worth the drive.  It was totally dead on Saturday night, but I bet it's full on the weekdays, with people from the neighborhood.  We started with blue cheese chips.  They had red bell pepper and green onions on them, which added an unexpected sweetness.  For my entree I had a 4 oz filet (the cutest little steak ever!) with a demi glace and blue cheese on top.  My steak came with fries (I LOVE when I can order fries in a restaurant), which didn't disappoint.  They had thyme and rosemary sprinkled on them, and I am going to try that next time I make homemade fries. I'm glad that we drove out to midtown to try this place, it was good, and the server was very helpful in reviewing the menu for gluten free options.

Tybee Island is a great little island just a short drive from Savannah.  We spent Sunday afternoon there, visiting the Tybee Island lighthouse, Fort Pulaski, and Fort Screven.  When we got hungry we were told to check out The Crab Shack for a fun place to eat.  I have been there before and was eager to go back.  I was hoping that at 2:30 in the afternoon our wait wouldn't be too long.  I was wrong.  And starving.  So, instead of waiting for over an hour, we found AJ's Dockside nearby.  At AJ's we found a spot at the bar right away, and ordered lunch.  They have a pretty limited menu for the gluten free, but I really enjoyed my lunch of salad (yummy balsamic dressing) and a half-pound of peel and eat shrimp.  Much better than the day before. 

Tybee Island

I have to let you in on a secret.  Ok, it's not really a secret.  I really like pirates.  Real pirates, not Johnny Deep pirates.  In Key West I made my group of friends tour the pirate museum; I enjoy Gasparilla in Tampa simply because of the pirates.  So when I saw that Savannah had a restaurant called The Pirates' House, I investigated.  This place is the real deal.  Robert Louis Stevenson wrote about this place in Kidnapped.  In the mid-eighteenth century pirates would go to the Pirates' House to spend the night and drink.  People disappeared from this place.  I had to eat there.  Our waiter was really helpful in my menu choices.  After turning down the offer of peel and eat shrimp, I settled on grilled pork chops.  I'm not crazy about pork chops.  I rarely cook them, and can't recall a time I've ever ordered them in a restaurant.  But, these were great. They were moist and tender, full of flavor, and went really well with the delicious asparagus I had.  The food was good, the history of the place was better.  Plus, my husband ordered a drink that came in this mug:

Guess what I'll be drinking my coffee out of on Saturday mornings?

Our last meal in Savannah was breakfast.  Being Labor Day, a lot of places were closed.  We happened upon J. Christopher's (which I didn't realize was a franchise until I looked up the link!) on Liberty Street.  I had an omelet (the Popeye) with fruit.  My omelet had spinach, mushrooms, cream cheese and bacon. It was perfect!  I couldn't finish it all, but it was so good that I truly tried.  The coffee was good, and the fruit was ripe.  I had the perfect breakfast to end my trip here. 

I had a couple misses, but most of my meals were really good.  Stay tuned for more adventures in eating Gluten Free while traveling, because I'm headed to Washington, DC and Virginia tomorrow for the weekend.  I'll be sure to share my successes on that trip too!

1 comment:

  1. Brighter Day Natural Foods Market & Deli has lots of GF options on our shelves and in the deli. We are at 1102 Bull St. near Forsyth Park. We have indoor and outdoor seating. Hope you can visit us when you come back!