Wednesday, June 23, 2010

South Carolina Adventure: Finding a Great Restaurant Tips

On our way back from Biltmore in North Carolina, we drove through the small town of Traveler's Rest. It was getting past dinner time, and we were on the look out for a place to grab a good southern home cooked style meal.
Just in case you ever find yourself in similar need: Here are some useful tips.

1. Restaurants with hand painted signs generally have great southern food.

2. Restaurants that drop letters from words in their name (example: huntin' instead of hunting)
generally have great southern food.

3. Places with gravel parking lots and SUVs and trucks out front generally have great southern food.

4. Places with rocking chairs on the porch generally have great southern food.

5. Places with spittoons next to the rocking chairs on a porch---prepare for awe inspiring
6. Taxidermy with friendly signs: Oh this place is going to be GREAT!!!

7. Large scale examples of taxidermy staged with folksy wreaths and kitchen utensils: Prepare for a meal of a life time.

8. Decorative cheesy theme lighting: Oh have found a winner!

I ordered a fish plate, Bernie ordered the buffet with several barbecue styles in the mix, along with all the the traditional "sides".
The waitress took our orders, and moments later a hush puppy filled plastic basket lined with wax paper was before us.

Usually I just take a nibble of a hush puppy...and usually don't even want to finish eating it.

Not this time: We somehow had stumbled upon the Holy Grail of Hush Puppy-dom.

Serious. I could have eaten the whole basket all by myself.
These hush puppies were the
They were so good I am considering writing them for their recipe. Or going to Travel's Rest on a Hush Puppy Pilgrimage every year.

Dang. I am drooling just thinking about the things.

I had only wolfed down about half the basket (and this after having said to Bernie when we sat down that I really wasn't very hungry...) when my dinner arrived.

The plate was served with the fork stuck upright in the coleslaw.
How fun is that?

I usually don't care for fried cat fish, but this was good stuff.
The slaw was also good, as was the pickles.
My other "side" was a new taste treat to me.
Fried sweet potato "chippers", sprinkled with brown sugar. Yes...they were great!

I think I will give this a try at home, but I'd add a bit of salt and pepper to the brown sugar sprinkling.

Bernie was busy filling his plate with meat topped with barbecue sauces from the various colored squeeze bottles that lined the top of the buffet area. He didn't find any that he didn't like...I can't recall if he had a favorite.

I snuck a bit of peach cobbler off his plate though. Oh was delicious.
Swilling sweet tea like a local, I felt right at home in the south again.
Of course we did a bit of people watching too. The family at a long table in the center of the room had the cutest baby that they passed around as they ate. At one point an older woman, (presumably grandma) had the little one who had been given a pacifier to suck on.
Grandma pulled the paci out, and shoved a HUSH PUPPY straight into the kid's mouth!
Then she pulled the hush puppy out, dipped her finger into some butter, and stuck that in the kid's mouth for a moment, then re-inserted the hush puppy.
I about fell off my chair!
Talk about starting your kids young on the road to appreciating southern cuisine.
Huntin' Camp, as I later learned, was given FOUR STARS out of five on several restaurant review sites.
And...they have HYMN singing nights posted on the calendar!
Well, shut my mouth, as they say in the south.
If we had hit Huntin' Camp on hymn singing night I would have thought I had died and gone to heaven. In fact, I think I'd probably still be there.
Well, just remember to follow my tips and you too will be able to spot a great southern restaurant while on the road too.
And get this: When we left the restaurant it was dark outside. In the forest and grasses around the parking lot were the tiny flickering lights of the sweetest sight in the south: Fireflies.
Blessings upon blessing!
I do not understand why God choose to bestow fireflies only to a few places on this earth.
I swear fireflies flickers are like seeing a hint of heaven.
If you have never seen fireflies sparking on a warm summer night...add it to your bucket list today.
Heck...add a trip to "The South" to your bucket list.
(And plan to eat southern food until you die happy!)


ellen b. said...

Oh I'm hungry for some good ole food. You stumbled upon a great spot.

Vicki said...

Thank you so much for posting the link. We drive for miles to find good catfish. Our favorite so far was at the north end of the Denison (TX) dam in Cartwright, OK at a place called "Windy's." I'm drooling just thinking about that (they make the best tartar sauce there). Now...hush puppies...I can make a meal off those, perhaps with a side of steamin' hot grits. :)

So, when can we meet up at Traveler's Rest?