Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 6 boiled peanuts and restaurants that have lasted over 60 years

boiled peanuts
We checked out of our Atlanta hotel to head to Greenville, South Carolina and find some bbq along the way.  The day started with more eggs and grits near where we were staying, I tried them again. . . Not my favourite to say, they pretty much take on the flavour of whatever you put on them.  But I am trying to be Southern on this trip.. . Although I have not yet said y’all without doing it to make fun.  We then headed into the Virginia Highlands neighbourhood we had missed the day before, we of course then figured out that it was less than a mile from where we were yesterday. . . Geez. . . Lesson. . Do your research!  Virginia Highlands was again a small little hood starting at the corner of Ponce De Leon and Highland Ave with cute bars, restaurants and boutiques (although the price point here was much much higher than little five points.)  We sat down to steal the internet at Aktins Pub at some cute outdoor tables and ended up ordering my new favourite drink, unsweetened ice tea with lemonade (James says this is called an Arnold Palmer) and some boiled peanuts.  They are surprisingly good!  They are boiled in salt water and your kind of suck them out like edamame.  I’d eat them again for sure.  Great pub food!

We then headed out to Southern Atlanta to find “Harold’s Bbq” a legend that has been open since 1947   in the same location.  Obviously a working class neighbourhood 60 years ago, it now is the home to the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary and there are bars all over the window and the hood is just sketchy over all.  BUT yes it was worth the trip and the triple checking the car was locked to get that famous Brunswick stew (loaded stew with pork, tomato and corn: delicious) with our sliced pork and cornbread on what seemed to be prison issue divided plates.  And it was packed with lunch goers alike.  We left smelling like we’d been sitting around a campfire and satisfied from the food.  And this was fast food too, we sat down and ate and were out of there in less than 20 minutes.  Why would people eat McDonalds when they can eat this?? 

Harold's bbq with bars on the windows

the interior grill for toasting bread and warming up the bbq'd pork
Brunswick stew, cornbread, slaw, and sliced pork right of the leg in front of us  

Scuppernong Cider, a local drink

how you boil peanuts
After gassing up the car, we hopped onto the interstate to quickly veer off to the back highways on our way to Greenville, South Carolina.  The scenery began to change, rolling hills, lovely forest, lakes and rivers.  We passed the Wrigley Factory and the smell of spearmint stayed with us for miles!  On the back roads you get to see all sorts of things and we stopped at Jaemor farms, where they had a farmers market with all sorts of local produce and products as well as supplies for farmers, feed for chickens, trees for sale and a pork BBQ.  The locals got us to buy some local preserves and candied jalapenos as well as some local peanuts to eat along the way.  I also bought some Scuppernong Cider, just because. . What the &(#* is that??  Turns out to be a grape type fruit, I would say it’s an acquired taste but it was worth the $1.99 for all the laughs I got our of trying to say that word!  Loved the accents and we got a good look at how those boiled peanuts work, apparently it takes hours!

Jaemor farms, farmers market

Jaemor Farms BBQ, we have seen a lot of cartoon pigs on signs on this trip!
 The small highway took us through Toccoa, GA where rooms rent for $80 per week and there is not much going on to say the least.  The churches were the places that showed they had the most money, those buildings were super structures where the banks looked run down and scary.  I can see why the south puts so much money into the churches, they look better than the banks where they should be putting their money!  We then passed into South Carolina, according to the sign full of “smiling faces and beautiful places” and it really has been true so far.  We next passed trough Clemson, SC,  home of the  Clemson University Tigers, a small town that becomes a big one for 8 months a year when the students are in town or when 80,000 people come to see the college football games.  The stadium looks crazy and kicks McMahon stadium’s butt!
Keowee lake on the way to South Carolina

Massive church that looks like an arena for concerts!

We rolled into Greenville and we were so impressed with how pretty it is!  The downtown began its revitalization in the 70’s with a forceful mayor and it really has been kept up.  Downtown parking is free in this 100,000 + person town and Main Street has a big river park in the center with waterfalls and a gorgeous park area.  Locals and plaques told us that the history of the town that began with a textile industry in the late 1700 and now houses all sorts of head offices for modern companies.  This town really is about the quality of life and it is obvious from the pride these people have in their town and its beauty.  Everyone is super nice and friendly.  There are tons of hotels, and unique restaurants, boutiques, and stores for all price ranges for all to enjoy.

The heart of Downtown Greenville, Sc

more downtown Greenville

the original sign says "Drink coca-cola the ideal brain tonic"
For dinner we decided to try the oldest steak house in town, Charlie’s.  Founded in 1921!  It has been in its current  location since 1930 and I think that they haven’t renovated it since then!  It is a true old school steak house, no fancy waiters, just pro servers, that have probably been there 40 + years and the grand daughter running this multi-generational business.  The menu hasn’t changed much, except the prices, there was a menu on the wall from the 1940’s where a filet mignon was $3.25!  We shared a ribeye served on metal hotplates, had baked potatoes and mushrooms and a Greek salad with an interesting  twist, anchovies.  (James liked the addition, I didn’t! Lol)  I also took a piece of their baked home made cheese cake to go as I was stuffed at the end of the meal, I have since eaten it and it is amazing!!
Charlie's est 1921

original menu from the 1940's, fillet mignon $3.25

that is half a steak on a hot metal plate
Our day today was lovely, seeing and feeling a lot of authentic Southern charm and eating delicious food.  Can’t wait to see Asheville, North Carolina tomorrow.  We have been told that all the hippies live there. . . Lol. . . Sounds like Nelson, BC.

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