Category Archives: Georgia

Savannah | Bonaventure

If you’ve read the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, you might remember the statue, The Bird Girl, on the cover. I did and I knew it was located in the Bonaventure Cemetery. While its been on my Savannah to-see list since the 90’s, other sites preempted.  Even though I decided to see it this time, it would have been too late even in the 90’s since the city relocated the statue to the Telfair Museum after the book was released. Something about over enthusiastic tourists and potential risk of damage.

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No matter, Bonaventure is still a Savannah must-see, since its 100 acres of beautifully landscaped property running down to the Wilmington River. Serene, Gothic, inspiring vistas at every turn and history dating back to the late 1700’s.

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Bona-20-LRESWhat surprised me was the large section of Jewish ‘residents’. It might have been an attractive destination during the 1800’s  with the city’s rise as a shipping center, exporting all sorts of consumables, particularly cotton. Who knows, but the Jewish presence in Bonaventure is prominent, taking up one whole section to the right of the entrance gates.

I was amused to find ‘Bono’ here, who knew?

Definitely allow at least one hour for a survey tour, more if you’re hunting for history.

Savannah | King And I

Coming from a city with Thai venues on every corner it might seem odd to declare Savannah, Georgia as the city with the best Thai food. But there it is, you just never know where a Thai family is going to land and work for decades to hone their family recipes to perfection with local ingredients. Invariably The King and I is a destination when family gathers in Savannah.

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Its buried in a small innocuous strip mall with other restaurants and doesn’t look like much from the outside. But you know the book-cover judgement thing already. The inside is clean, well-dressed in white tablecloths and noise levels are conducive to conversation. I’ve seen many a low key birthday party here and it seems quite popular for date night with the 20-somethings.

You can get the requisite Thai dishes here like Pad Thai and Pad See Ew but what sets King apart from other Thai venues is the what they create with locally caught seafood. They aren’t always available but if you see Soft Shelled Crab in Lemongrass, Kefir Lime sauce or Panang Prawns, definitely try those or any other local seafood options which typically show up in the specials menu; you can circle back to the staples on another visit.

This time I tried Panang Prawns, delicious. The prawns they use are the 12/18 count variety so about 6 is more than enough. First basted in the Panang curry and grilled, then served atop the remaining curry and vegetables. The prawns had the consistency of steak; firm but pliable and juicy all the way.  I’ve made Panang curry paste from scratch and compared it to packaged but it wasn’t much better so I don’t do that anymore. However, King’s is much better, a more prominent lemongrass and peanut flavour, my guess is that they get much fresher or more authentic ingredients to make the paste. I tried to extract the secret from the owner but short of waterboarding I don’t think I’ll ever get anymore than what I got – a smile and ‘Glad you like it’. Fair enough.

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My dad ordered up the Soft Shelled Crab which was a knockout. With this dish the focus is on the sauce; which is rich and buttery but with contrasting citrus notes from the lemongrass and Kefir lime.  The crab is flash fried, which, of course, makes it soo much better.

King also focuses on presentation. I’ve noticed after many trips that almost all the veggies are etched or carved in some way. When the owner brings out the plates, he is very specific about how the plate is delivered to the table and the angle the plate is turned before he walks away. The dish’s focal point must be centered with the customers line of slight.

Its spectacular service. However, if you pop by anytime after they open on Friday or Saturday you might wait upwards of 30 minutes for a table.

Seems on par with what I would spend in Houston. Most of the dishes hover in the $8-13 range, however the seafood specials are often closer to $20.

If I’m in Savannah I know I’m going to eat at King and I,  the only decision is which seafood specials to order once we get there.

Dinner: December 2014

The King And I | 7098 Hodgson Memorial | Savannah GA 31406

Savannah | Pin Point

Savannah, Georgia may not seem like a tourist destination; its small, its southern, its not a high visibility destination in tourist rags. However, since I’ve been traveling there to see family for several decades, I can tell you there is quite a bit to see if you like history, architecture and art. There is also a quirky version of ‘down-home’ cooking, locally referred to as ‘low-country’.

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This trip I made a point of stopping at the Pin Point Museum after many years of driving right past it with the ‘next time’ thought. Glad about that. Pin Point is a small, active fishing community on your way out of Savannah, over the inter-coastal waterway to Skidaway Island.  Its one of several Gullah communities left in the southeast. The Gullah are a community of African Americans descendent from slaves mostly from Sierra Leone. If you’re looking to relate that to something more current and visible, Judge Clarence Thomas is from the Pin Point community. By the way, Thomas’ Pin Point nickname is ‘Boy’. Apparently if you call him by his nickname he will know you’ve been to Pin Point. I’m not going to do that but let me know how that goes should you give it try.

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The museum is operated by the Gullah still  living in Pin Point. Its located in the original buildings they used to process their fishing hauls. They know everything there is to know about the community and they are extremely enthusiastic and animated in conversation, so the highlight here is to interact with them and ask questions. Besides the interaction, the tour (including a short video) is interesting since its gives you insight into the customs and language (Geeche) of the Gullah people. I found their spiritual beliefs fascinating, much of which seemed to me, derived from animists.

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You’ll need about an hour for the lot and definitely GPS your way there; the turnoff is not very well-marked and comes out of nowhere. Its a long drive to the next turnabout should you miss it, not that I know personally. Nope.