Thursday, December 10, 2009
hominy grill, charleston, s.c., dec. 7
so, rachael ray went to hominy grill on $40 a day. anthony bourdain went there on no reservations. adam richman went there on man vs food. so when we were within two hours of charleston, we made a point of hitting it for lunch.
after i made plans to go there, i learned that chef robert stehling won best chef-south from james beard in 2008. which makes it funny that it took three tv shows to get me there. the best chef thing is usually all it takes.
anyway, rachael had the catfish. bourdain had the shrimp and grits. and adam went for breakfast and had the big nasty, a fried chicken biscuit.
didn't want catfish. i made shrimp and grits at the hotel one monday night. and while i would have liked to try the big nasty, we didn't get there until after noon. so, no dice.
once we found a parking space on the second pass, we went in. nice townhome-y kind of place. very southern look. all the specials and desserts were up on chalkboards. i like that.
we started off with the picnic sampler. it had some pimento cheese, some country ham, some beet-soaked boiled eggs and okra pickles. i hat okra, but hadn't had it pickled, so i tried it. it was fine. the pimento was very garlick-y. i don't know that i had ever had country ham before, but had heard and read about it so much that i was looking forward to it. i heard it compared favorably to prosciutto and serrano. i don't know about that, but it was good. my favorite thing,
though, was cleaning up. after the toasts were gone, there was a little of everything left over. the pimento cheese was in a butter lettuce leaf, so i picked it up, added the rest of the ham and the
last quarter of egg and had it like a low country lettuce wrap.
then i had the low country purloo. i'm sure there's a really long, interesting story on what the heck purloo means, but here is what i determined: seemed like jambalaya to me. and no, i don't know what the heck jambalaya means, either. is was a rice stew with sausage and ham, and on top were chicken wings and cornmeal-crusted fried shrimp. i liked it. all the components were good. they worked well together. while there was plenty for lunch, i thought it was kind of expensive for how much there was. i wondered if the prices were at that point before it was on all the tv shows.
oh, and i had a side of fried cheese grits. they were actually in a light batter. very creamy and tasty. love grits, tho. i'm easy.
i had actually considered having the fried green tomato blt instead of the purloo. that sounded like a really good idea. but i wanted to try more than a sandwich.
after that, we consulted the chalkboards for dessert and asked our waitress for suggestions. she said that all three of the cakes were served at her wedding. and she also said that the chocolate pudding was the "best in the world." so we got that. none of the cakes appealed to me, so we also got the buttermilk pie. i wasn't sure what buttermilk pie was, but the waitress told me it was a lot like chess pie. um, oh. didn't have the heart to tell her i had no idea what chess pie is. it was lemon-custardy. i'll take it. was the pudding the best in the world? well, i haven't had all the others, so i don't know. it was really thick, chocolatey and nicely not-too-sweet. it was more mousse-y than pudding-y. that is officially not a complaint. apparently, the pudding has been featured on food network's best thing i ever ate, where someone -- our waitress thought maybe bobby flay -- had declared it his fave. i can see it. it was good.
love to go back for breakfast sometime to try the big nasty. i don't see ever being in charleston at breakfast time, tho. we'll see.
-- so, i mentioned that bourdain had the shrimp and grits. that is a signature here, and normally i like to order the signature stuff, but we avoided the shrimp and grits because i had made it at the hotel the night before. we always buy grits when we go through south carolina, and since our hotel in hilton head has a kitchen, i make shrimp and grits. this is this year's attempt. looks good. tasted fine. but something was missing. i realized this morning that it was tabasco. i thought i packed it, but i guess i forgot. oh well.