Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Above is the swamped entrance to a plantation we attempted to visit. The road in was creepy and muddy and very Stephen King, winding bumpily through the gnarly trees draped with spanish moss. NO ONE around. And we finally get to the parking area and the sign on the little bridge to the mansion is floating in the swamp. Maybe next time...

This is the ultimate planned community environment here. Everything is brick, with breaks of woodframe porches or columned facades. I must admit it's less offensive than, say, Jersey development, what with the palmettos and other unidentifiable groovy flora. And I have looked everywhere for more info on the pine forests and wild holly and stuff and no one seems to actually KNOW anything about what grows here in the Low Country. You get used to the land really fast; it's lush and easy, flat, dense with foliage.

Yesterday was mall day. My first (and I hope to say last) experience at a Lazy Boy megastore. We got T2 a new lifter recliner. She prettymuch lives in the one Brother got her years ago and it's had it. This new thang is plush and motorized and really well made. I'm just sorry she has to have it at all, but the folks at the store couldn't have been nicer and they'll deliver it Thursday and T2 is really really happy about it. We took her shopping , settling in at the Bed, Bath and Beyond for an urgent heart to heart about all that's goin on for her just now. I'm sure passersby didn't give us a thought, as we occupied the space around the lawn furniture at the store and held hands, an island of sincerity and love amidst the bargain mugs and chairs, and talked for a good ten minutes before moving on to the task of shopping for 'domestic items' she needed. She's fun to buy for and I recall fondly how Mom would do the same for me when I was short of cash. She will always carry on....

OK. This is where I get to complaayne about what passes for a good meal. Last night we wanted to take numbet 2 son D out for suppa as he works all day making nice deli food for others. As Jacob's Inn at I'on wasn't open, and Coco's cafe appears to have relocated to Georgia, we ended up at Langdon's hoping for a good meal. Landgon's is the kind of pretentious restaurant that makes me, as a professional cook, so mad I could spit. Where some horse's ass gets off charging 29 bucks for two lamb chops with mashed potatoes and 5 teenie asparagus (yes, i know the teenie ones are better, but they don't COST more than bigger ones, so...??) that had no particular merit in the flavor dept. is a perfect example of the kind of arrogance Americans are world famous for. D had a seafood concoction over grits, two shrimp, two raw scallops (that these pretentious fools think everyone wants raw seafood is laughable) and a forgettable creamy mess holding it all together that was equally overpriced. This "chef" is one of those guys who looks in the mirror and always likes what he sees. Once I saw the unimaginative menu, gluggy stuff -sigh- with the usual self important overdescription, and OH did I mention the miniature raw oysters? 6 for 12 bucks. They were so diminuitive they needed finger encouragement to provide the WEIGHT required to slide them off the shell into your mouth! I suggested the waiter tell the "chef" about our mouthwatering, not to mention satisfying, Pemaquid oysters from Maine. Now THAT's an oyster! Here we are in South Carolina, reputed to have good oysters, and this fool had ordered his from New Brunswick, or so the waiter informed us, I presume he meant Canada. People just get dumber and dumber.

I just can't bring myself to order yet another plate o' slop that's overpriced, but I did catch that the fish of the day, which the chef seems to think cannot stand alone, is fresh North CArolina flounder. NOW you have my attention. Unfortunately the chef feels compelled to layer it with crap and crab and sauce and whatever else he can pile on there, when my mouth is watering for a nice, simple flounder a la meuniere. I wonder if the guy knows what that is, obviously if he doesn't he's a fraud. So I order that, and ask for a bit of grits and collards on the side, as they seem to be handy already on the menu. What arrives is a piece of nicely sauteed/ pan fried flounder with a slice of lemon plopped on top and two geriatric looking ceramic containers ON THE SAME PLATE, cafeteria/diner style. I was mortified, and he had the gall to charge 27 bucks for that. I mean it was a MEGADISH of grits, enough for three people. Not unlike what you get if you order a plate of two side dishes (say, baked apples and mac and cheese) at a Cracker Barrel chain restaurant. I could just see the chef back in the kitchen calculating that this broad who ordered plain fish was a cretin carb consumer... and he would be wrong.

Dessert was unremarkable. Coffee ice cream on top of a brownie. I have had the real version of Bouche a la reine in Paris and this one was a dry brownie. Best part? little bits of toffee around the plate. It killed me to tip the waiter, who was one of those guys who takes one look at you, decides you're not gonna spend enough money or tip well, is condescending until you do spend some money, then obsequious, but not really paying attention. I wondered if he actually TOLD the chef what i ordered: "Flounder a la meuniere". Doubt it, but even so, the friggin grits and collard clunky dishes ON MY PLATE were a blatant insult.

Do not eat here. Next time we'll try Mustard Seed or definitely Jacob's, whose menu on line is to die for.

We are headed into the old city today, Charleston, to the museum. Not very manyof the old houses are wheelchair accessible, so we'll tool around. Tina will love it, no matter what we do. Bless her.