Monday, March 31, 2014

The Hawthornes Try Out A New Restaurant - The Saltbox Café On Colington Road.

 Rosie and Mr. Hawthorne are checking out a new restaurant  -
The Saltbox Café on Colington Road.
The Saltbox premiered on Valentine's Day,
a good omen in and of itself.
Everyday when we drove out from Colington Harbour,
we were happy to see a good-sized lunch crowd there.
So, two weeks later, Rosie and Mr. Hawthorne,
along with Titania and Mr. Titania met at the Saltbox for lunch.

First, a few words about this location.
This is the site of the original Colington Cafe,
when it first opened 25(?) years ago.
Since Colington Cafe moved out to its present location,
still on Colington Road,
this building has housed numerous restaurants,
more than I can count or name.

The previous restaurants, Colington Cafe being the exception,
 have been mostly dives,
with a focus on the bar and sports crowds.
How many wide screen TVs can you fit in under 1000 square feet?
Thankfully, the TVs are out
and the decor is relaxed, comfortable, and friendly.
Four booths surround the outside next to the windows,
five tables are inside,
and there's a bar with stools.
Fortunately, the Saltbox Café is not catering
to the bar and sports crowds.
They're focusing on darn good food,
with a changing menu according to availability and seasonality.

Saltbox Café serves an 8 o'clock breakfast
 Wednesday through Saturday,
 lunch and dinner
Monday through Saturday,
and brunch from 8-2 on Sundays.
No restaurant here yet has served breakfast,
so I'm quite happy to see the Saltbox going in this direction.

I have a good feeling about this place.

The food is GOOD.
And I'm looking forward to coming back.

Actually, Mr. Hawthorne suggested
going to the Sunday brunch tomorrow.

The Saltbox is serving a needed niche in Colington.
We want a quality restaurant nearby.
It's so very convenient to us in the Harbour
and it's well worth the short ride down Colington Road
for anybody on the beach.

The chefs/owners are
Team Amanda Wolf and Randolph Sprinkle,
formerly of Bambino's
(formerly Nicoletta's)
in Corolla.

Chefs Wolf and Sprinkle,
I think you are taking this venture
in a most needed direction.
I applaud you and wish you much success.

 Of course, I had to stop to take a picture
 of this bumper sticker in their parking lot.

 Mr. Hawthorne started out with a delicately balanced
sweet and creamy tomato soup
 with fresh basil and Parmesan shavings.

 Light, bright, and refreshing,
this is something I will duplicate with delight!

 I chose the heartier wild mushroom soup du jour.
It was velvety and earthy, 
accented with a complementing drizzle of truffle oil.

I have mushroom parts in my freezer,
just waiting to be enjoyed.
I'll be making this, too.
Will let you know.

 Titania had a crabcake with remoulade sauce,
 slaw, and crisp fries.
I had one bite and it was all crab meat.
I know there has to be some filler in there,
but it wasn't in the bite I had -
simply sweet crab flavor.

 Mr. Titania had the Oyster Po-Boy
with a spiced chipotle/mayo sauce,
also accompanied by slaw and fries.
Mr. Titania was sitting directly across from me
and never turned around once to look elsewhere
so I couldn't spear an oyster with my fork
while he wasn't watching.
But I was ready to.
Delicately battered and lightly fried.
I could see that much.
I want these oysters.
I will order these next time.
As for the prices here,
I consider them reasonable.
This oyster platter was $10.00
and I'm counting seven oysters up there.

 Mr. Hawthorne ordered the breaded flounder.
We had to ask if it was baked or fried.
It turned out to be perfectly fried with no oily taste
and with a very light crust surrounding the fish.
Oh, and the coleslaw has coriander in it - nice touch -
and the fries are thin and crisp.

 I had the Classic Cuban  -
 roasted pork, ham, fontina cheese,
spiced chipotle mayo, and pickles,
with a slice of tomato and chips,
pressed together between some very nice bread
and grilled.

Buen Provecho!

Our service was flawless.

Nice colors.
Calming...  and happy.
Specials on the blackboard menu in back.

Car still there.

We'll be back.
It's well-prepared,
thoughtfully-made food.
Lovingly produced and presented.

Chef Sprinkle came out to our table
and talked to us.
I considered that beyond the call of duty,
but excellently executed.

Bottom line:
Any place that inspires me to go home
and try to recreate a dish-
actually not one, but two dishes -
is a winner in my book.
The wild mushroom bisque
and the tomato soup were the big hits today.

Thank you, Saltbox Café,
for a wonderful meal.
I look forward to many more!

Hold on...
There's another post coming up.
Our brunch!

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Hawthornes Have A Lovely Lunch In Savannah.

 The Hawthornes love Uncle Bubba's in Savannah.
We visited a week ago, on March 21, 2014, our third time.
Our first visit was November 11, 2010.
The second time was October 9, 2012.

Mr. Hawthorne has very shapely legs.

Lush, pretty entrance way.

What good fortune for the Hawthornes!
Paula was at Bubba's the day we were there!!
Mr. Hawthorne clicked off a quick pic of me and ...
... Paula was gracious enough to pose with Mr. Hawthorne, too!

Our capable and pleasant waitress, Joy,
immediately brought us cornbread muffins
with a butter and honey spread.

I have the recipe for these and made them tonight for supper.
Quite good!

Mr. Hawthorne and I shared the grilled oysters.
Texas oysters, the sign read.
On the small size,
very gritty,
and too much cheese overload.
The ones we had on our first two visits were quite enjoyable.
These, not so much.
And that bread is addictive.
Grated Parmesan on top.

We also shared the soup de jour - "Loaded" Potato Soup.
We both found this quite bland.
I never salt food at a restaurant,
but Mr. Hawthorne and I both decided it needed salt.
And pepper.
And swirls of Uncle Bubba's hot sauce.
Then it was palatable.
Very creamy and smooth.
Liked the cheddar, scallions, and bacon.
The potato chunks were too big.
These were about a one-inch cube.
Shouldn't be bigger than pea-size.

I had nicely grilled scallops with crisp fries.
Eight scallops!

Mr. Hawthorne had the fried oysters, of course, with cole slaw.
Lightly fried, not greasy at all, fine crust.

And ... we're outta Savannah.

I made the corn muffins tonight, a week later.

 Uncle Bubba's Corn Muffins
This recipe calls for a 12-cup muffin tin.
The muffins at Bubba's were smaller - 24/sheet.
Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
In a large bowl, mix:
1 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal
(I didn't have self-rising cornmeal
so I used plain yellow cornmeal
mixed with 1 1/2 tsp baking powder.)
 3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
In another bowl, beat until well-blended: 
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
Stir in 8 ounces cream style corn.
Add corn mixture to flour mixture and stir until just mixed.
Pour into muffin tins and bake approximately 24 minutes,
until golden brown.

 Quite tasty little morsels.

This hit the spot.
Serve the corn muffins, sliced,
with reduced gravy from the seared London Broil,
with a rub of homemade sea salt, freshly cracked pepper,
Montreal Steak Seasoning, cayenne pepper, and ground coffee.
Add some pretty color -
orange of carrot
green of pea.
Along with my bread.

Serve with a heapin' spoonful of love.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mr. Hawthorne Makes Lunch - Cod En Papillote.

 Mr. Hawthorne put on his big-boy pants
and went to Food Lion all by himself today.
I was so proud of him.
He came home with everything on the list ...
 ... plus cod.
He's making cod en papillote for lunch today.
That's cod wrapped in parchment paper.
It's a good cooking technique to know.
Cooking en papillote is a gentle, delicate cooking method,
perfect for fish.
The fish, along with vegetables,
is cooked by steam, swirling inside the package.

He stacked the filets on a half-moon of parchment paper
and added some baby carrots, sliced leeks, and red onions.
 Then he added a sprinkling of Old Bay
and a splash of Chardonnay
and crimped the parchment to seal.
 Bake at 350° for 22 minutes.
 It is traditional to open the package at the table,
in a show of erupting aromatic steam.

I gave mine a sprinkling of
freshly cracked pepper, some of my homemade sea salt.
 and torn fresh basil.

Lovely and harmoniously flavored.

When food is sealed in parchment,
it cooks in its own juices,
thus it's more flavorful than ordinary steaming.
All ingredients are surrounded by moist heat
so they cook quickly.
When the package is heated,
the air inside expands and the flavors of all the ingredients
are swept into it, swirling throughout the packet.
The food essentially is cooked with flavored air
and the ingredients form a sauce of their own essence.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Hawthornes Were In St. Augustine.

The Hawthornes took an eight-day trip.
To parts south.

We made it to St. Augustine, Florida.
Mr. Hawthorne and I drove around to see the sights.

Enjoy the pics.
Lovely old oak.

St. Augustine lighthouse.

And no.
We didn't climb it.
Mr. Hawthorne doesn't do steps.

I want one of these for my house.

The Fountain of Youth.

Gotta try it.
Tastes horribly sulfuric.

But hey, I woke up the next morning,
looked in the mirror,
and I swear I looked 18.
(In dog years.)

The first day in St. Augustine,
it was sunny and 85°.
The second day, it was in the 50s and pouring.

So we made a very quick trip through this area.

Handmade caldrons such as this one were used aboard sailing ships.  They served as large community cooking vessels for the preparation of soups and stews for the crews.

Peacocks and peahens apparently don't like the rain.
They all gathered together under umbrellas or eaves to keep dry.

The peacocks/hens were my favorite parts!