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Restaurants

Shrimp Factory ~ Savannah, GA

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Our very first meal in Savannah, GA was  on the mighty Savannah River, in the midst of an cotton warehouse, built in the 1820's. The historical riverfront drew us in on our first day in the beautiful city, and somehow, we found a parking space in the pleasantly bustling few days before Christmas. We parked for the day and spent the whole afternoon having the time of our lives exploring the wonders of the historical riverfront district.

Naturally, we were starving, so we headed across the cobblestone street and saw a sign for the Shrimp Factory and a chalkboard sign listing some gluten free foods. We entered and were captivated by heart of pine floors, captains chairs around big wood tables, and sitting in the midst of history for lunch. First impression reminded me of the original Disneyland, in California. For some reason, the area reminded me of the area around the Pirates of the Caribbean, not quite Blue Bayou and not quite Cafe Orleans, mix with Mark Twain's Riverboat ride and you have the Shrimp Factory. So, a part of the Disneyland of my childhood was sliced out of Savannah....very cool!

We were seated and scanning the menu, immediately began to realize that our Gluten Free trip to Savannah was going to be a challenge of epic proportions. Savannah is all about Southern Cuisine, lots of wheat....breaded and fried, fried and breaded, a little wheat to thicken here and a little wheat to add flavor and richness there, crab cakes of every kind, Banana Puddin, cakes, pies all swimming in wheat. Our first real Living History Sites GF trip was to Savannah...yikes!

That was fine, it was the Autumn Salad proudly written on the chalkboard out front that drew us in to the riverfront Shrimp Factory to begin with and we knew we could safely eat it. While talking to our fabulous server, Sara, who had a daughter that was gluten free for several years playing with a celiac diagnosis, we knew we were in good hands. She knew what was in the food, she knew what had wheat and deftly guided us through the menu. A few things were questionable and she headed back to the kitchen to double check and helped us knock a few off the list. We so appreciated her magnanimous personality and her level of care - it was a huge relief, when you are tired and past the point of starving! So crab cakes were out....sadly, as was 90% of the menu, but we happily settled on 3 items, Shrimp and Sausage Creole, Shrimp and Grits and the Autumn Salad that drew us in.

Sara darted off to bring us a round of unsweet tea (okay, so gluten free and UNsweet tea, we are weird as we traverse the South). Meanwhile, waiters walked past with sourdough bread....eeek. Let's quit this here gluten-free-thang and just eat the bread, it smelled so good. But we were starving. And totally gluten intolerant, so we stayed the course! Seafood can be a great gluten free option, but there are a lot of pitfalls, so beware of bisque, gumbo, deviled and baked, au gratin and even the pine bark stew. Never be afraid to ask your waiter and ask them to ask the kitchen!

Sara brought out our dishes and extra plates, so we could sample each dish. The Shrimp and Sausage Creole was safe, but not outstanding. Great option for a GF meal, but overall, the dish was bland  and not spicy or particularly flavorful for our foodie family that dabbles on the uber-hot side. Dave thought it tasted almost like Spaghetti-O's sauce, and the sausage had an odd sharpness to it - almost the twang of green bell pepper to the whole thing. The shrimp were good, but the sauce underwhelmed. Fantastic GF option, served over rice, simply not one of our favorites. Had we thought it through, we would have asked for some red pepper flakes or cayenne to take it up a few notches and it probably would have been much better!

Emily ordered Shrimp and Grits and we were ecstatic to eat it on the riverfront in Savannah! Shrimp and Grits sounded like the funniest thing on earth when we first read about it, but then I trolled the internet for recipes and began making it on a lark. Turns out it is one of our favorite GF "treat meals" and we even made it for family back home in California, when we visited this summer. Emily's plate was a small serving, with a few perfectly cooked, succulent and tender shrimp in a buttery saute. The grits were beyond yummy, creamy and delicious and beyond any that I have made. Oh creamy, luscious grits on the riverfront! The bacon was a little over crunchy and just pieces laid on top. It did not feel substantial, almost appetizer sized. Overall the Shrimp and Grits were quite good, just not as flavorful as we had hoped. (Admittedly ~ we put habanero pepper in with our shrimp, so we were probably erroneously expecting a spicier flavor)

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Turns out the winner at Shrimp Factory, surprisingly, was the Fall Salad with Salmon or Chicken! We chose salmon and it was one of the best salads we have ever eaten, hands down. Fresh, crisp field greens, cranberries and walnuts and the best balsamic vinaigrettes ever ~ not too sweet and not that cloyingly balsamic taste, but light and refreshing and utterly fabulous. A huge piece of salmon on top - slightly balsamicy crisp on top - totally tender and delicious inside. The Fall Salad delivered fabulously well and we could have had nothing but that and been in gluten free, field green heaven! Yummy. We would order it hands down, again, superb!

We finished our trip to the Shrimp Factory with the piece de resistance, the Bananas Foster Flambe, made at table! After watching it made for several other tables, smelling the melted butter caramalizing with brown sugar and then that flash of fire with the rum and double checking ingredients. Oh happy, we can actually eat a dessert in a restaurant day - Bananas Foster IS gluten free! Sara dashed off, wheeled out the cart, lit a fire and created a beautiful caramel sauce right in front of us! The smell is even more intense and wonderful at our table. She poured and flamed the rum and served this fabulous dessert over ice cream! It was pricey at $11.50, but the experience and having a gluten free dessert that was so beautifully done was worth it!

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Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our first GF meal on this historica riverfront in Savannah and highly recommend you ask for Sara, who was SUPERB and treated us with compassion, knowledge and care, navigating our gluten challenge! If we were to go again, we would go for the Fall Salad with Salmon and get another Bananas Foster Flambe at the Shrimp Factory in Savannah! We left full and happy after dessert and spent hours exploring the fun riverfront!

Shrimp Factory

313 East River Street

Savannah, GA

912.236.4229

http://www.theshrimpfactory.com/

Chick-Fil-A Dwarf House ~ Hapeville GA

Since moving to the South, we have become crazed Chick-Fil-A fans. There is just no two ways about it, we love Chick Fil A! We love the story of Chick-Fil-A, the food, the staff, the fact that they are always super helpful and give terrific service, and most of all we love the fact that they play Christian music.

Since we are rabid Chick-Fil-A fans, we determined to go to the Dwarf House, where the whole story of CFA began! Originally, Truett Cathy opened the Dwarf Grille in 1946. It later became the known as the Dwarf House. In 1964, he invented the chicken sandwich and the rest is history!

We were staying down by the Atlanta Airport and knew that the Dwarf House was somewhere near. We asked and found out that it was just a few blocks over, and up....we were right by it! After a busy day chasing history, we headed over the the Dwarf House. 

A vintage sign greeted us as we drove up, and a different looking building. CFAs are pretty standard, so it was a bit of a suprise. Like every other Chick-Fil-A, the place was packed. We walked inside the restaurant, and noticed a 50's looking section with big booths on one side, a counter with bar stools on the other. Waitresses bustled up and down the aisles, taking orders and serving platters of food. It looked just like a vintage Denny's, with a Chick-Fil-A twist! 

On the other side, a regular walk up Chick-Fil-A counter with the regular menu, just like the regular CFAs have everywhere.

It felt like a split personality! We half expected Truett to pop out, but he never did!

We had to wait awhile for a seat, and finally got the opportunity to plop down in the big booth. It was a busy Saturday night, and people had to get their fix in, before Sunday (CFAs are closed on Sunday)

We looked at the menu and got to choose. Either our everyday favorites served on a plate, or their special hot lunches and dinners. I watched as a waitress grabbed a plastic box of CFA salad, exactly what is at every restaurant, then arrange it neatly on a plate, with packages of salad dressing and croutons. It cracked me up. Looks so much better on a plate! We each ordered one and they were just extra good on that plate!

Dave was brave and ordered one of the most popular items on the Dwarf House menu, the Hot Brown Platter. That sounded good, chunks of chicken in a thick cream sauce, with cheddar cheese, topped with bacon, paprika and toast. We had sort of an ooey gooey yummy chicken casserole type of thing in mind, dripping with cheese, sprinkled with chunks of bacon. 

Nope! Think 1950's diner. Our waitress brought out his Hot Brown Platter and we did a double take. It was an oval bowl with white gravy, a little bit of cheese running under the white gravy. Two long pieces of bacon were on top, and 4 quarters of toast stuck out the sides. The Jetsons theme song began running through my mind and I was cracking up on the inside. 

We were here for vintage food, to try the ORIGINAL Chick-Fil-A and we did! Still trying not to giggle at Dave's hospital food, we dug in.

Emily and I got nice little oval Chicken Pot Pie Platters. Chunks of chicken in a cream sauce, with vegetables, topped with a flaky crust. Our Chicken Pot Pies were good, a little bland and very hot. Totally 50's.

We ate and just enjoyed being there at the Dwarf House.

I could not help but be VERY thankful that Truett and his wife had not stopped at the Hot Brown, but had expanded into that famous CFA sandwich and the nuggets and waffle fries! 

Our waitress was superb, all Georgia sugar and spice! It was like being whisked back into another era. We are thrilled that we tried it....but I did look a little longingly at the chicken nugget menu as we walked out!

We highly recommend the experience of eating at the Dwarf House and getting a taste of where Chick-Fil-A started! It was definitely a trip back in time! Tell them the folks at LivingHistorySites.com sent you!

Hapeville Dwarf House

461 Central Avenue
Hapeville, GA 30354
(404) 762-1746

Sweet Tomatoes (Souplantation) ~ Roswell GA

Back home in California, on really hot days, we loved to go to Souplantation when we wanted the best salad, soup, and bakery. On cold days, we loved to go for the soup bar. We just loved to go period!

We haven't eaten in one since we left home. We found out that Souplantation is actually called Sweet Tomatoes in the South, and that Atlanta had several to choose from! We figured our schedule out to eat there, on our way out of town.

I know, I know. We are supposed to try NEW restaurants when we travel...but sometimes we just need a "taste of home!" And sometimes, we just need a super healthy meal on the road!

Sweet Tomatoes is a great family restaurant. It is all you can eat, so whether you have toddlers or teens, it is a great choice. You walk in and see the neverending Salad Bar first, about 50 feet of  fresh fixings to choose from! We are vegetable fanatics, and it is like the Garden of Eden, full of fresh, seasonal vegetables, toppings of every kind, a dozen different salad dressings, prepared salads like Tuna Tarragon (yum!) and so much more. The Salad Bar can please every lifestyle, meat eater, vegetarian, vegan, and has enough variety to even make the picky eater happy.

A selection of different tossed salads are the first thing you see when you walk in. They include: Caesar Salad Asiago, Classic Greek, Wonton Chicken Happiness (and it is happiness!) and crunch Island Pineapple are prepared fresh every few minutes. Timers alert the cooks when to change the salad, and a fresh new batch is prepared immediately. 

Round the corner and you will find 8 delicious, made-from-scratch soups waiting for you to ladle into a bowl. Our all time favorite is the Chicken Noodle, with homemade noodles and giant hunks of chicken breast. It reminds me of my Grandma Wilkies famed Chicken and Dumplings, without really the cream and milk. Fabulous! They usually have at least one chili, if not several. 

In the bakery, you can feast on hand-crafted breads, muffins, focaccia, and desserts. Maine Blueberry muffins are superb, as are the Peanut Butter Muffins (not sure they still have them, but we would eat them like crazy back home!) Several different spreads are available, honey whip, butter and margarine, for every dieting need. Their sourdough bread is out of this world, especially with a little honey whip slathered on it. Yum! 

Try the pasta bar if you are into pasta, with different sauces to put on top of your pasta creation! Baked potatoes are over in the soup bar area, the choices at Sweet Tomatoes are truly endless. 

For dessert, there is a fresh fruit bar, with all sorts of fruits to choose from. Yogurt and granola for toppings. There is also an ice cream (or is it frozen yogurt?) machine with various choices, and toppings. Add a brownie from the bakery and you have all you need for a great end to the meal. As strange as it sounds, I have had sourdough with honey whip for desert more than once!

Sweet Tomatoes also caters healthy lunches at fabulous prices, be sure to ask about that! 

From their website:

Sweet Tomatoes, named one of America’s Healthiest Restaurants by Health Magazine, America’s “Best Family Restaurants” by Parents Magazine and voted by consumers as the #1 buffet chain five years in a row by Restaurants & Institutions, offers a rotating menu of more than 100 original, made fresh daily recipes featuring signature salads, soups, bakery goods and hot pasta sauces, at an all-you-care-to-eat price. All food is prepared without the use of artificial flavors, colors, additives or artificial trans fats. A different food theme is featured each month and the most popular menu items are rotated every two weeks. Items are showcased on a 55-foot salad bar and prepared exhibition style every 20 minutes.

About Sweet Tomatoes

Sweet Tomatoes was founded in 1978 in San Diego and currently operates 111 salad buffet-style restaurants across the western, southern and eastern portions of the United States. Sweet Tomatoes cares about what comes out of guests’ wallets and into their bodies by creating an exceptional, all-you-care-to-eat dining experience with a daily selection of made-from-scratch soups and salads and hand-crafted muffins, focaccia, breads and tasty desserts. By combining high-quality, farm-fresh and scratch-made foods for a fixed price, the restaurants provide guests with the freedom to create their own wholesome meals. The restaurant concept is built around fresh prepared, great-tasting recipes with a salad bar full of seasonal vegetables and tossed salads prepared exhibition-style every 20 minutes. Sweet Tomatoes restaurants are open daily for lunch and dinner. For more information, visit www.sweettomatoes.com.

LivingHistorySites.com highly recommends the excellent Roswell/Perimeter area Sweet Tomatoes for fresh, fabulous all you can eat salad, soup and bakery! It is a healthy meal you can wrap your life around (well, based on choices!)

Perimeter  

Perimeter Sweet Tomatoes

In the Costco Center

6350 Peachtree-Dunwoody Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30328-4527
Directions (MapQuest)

Phone
770-913-0203
Fax
770-352-9253

Restaurant Hours
Monday - Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 

Trader Joes ~ Roswell GA

Sacrifice. When you leave a perfectly wonderful lifestyle in California, to be closer to history on the East Coast, you give things up. Trader Joe's, Chipotle and Costco are all things that used to be 15 minutes away and are now anywhere from 3 to 5 hours away. Sigh! Is our passion for history really worth giving these things up?

We are totally blessed in our life here in TN, so it is okay! Now if we could just get a TJs closer to home, life would be perfect!

That said, I still have cravings for my favorite things from CA. I find myself scouring the Trader Joe's site, plotting which of our LivingHistorySites.com trips will take us near enough one to stop by! Then I have to figure if I will have room to BUY anything! We always pick up great snacks, meals and yummy treats for the road, at super prices!

Do you need food or supplies on the run while you are vacationing and visiting the history around Atlanta?

Trader Joe's are quirky, fun neighborhood grocery stores bursting with some of the coolest natural and organic stuff out there. TJs combs the world, contracting with the best suppliers everywhere for interesting products. Often they put the Trader Joe's label on them, selling them at cut rate prices.

Since it was my birthday trip, we picked up the last package of Trader Joe's mini-cupcakes in Vanilla Bean. Delicious!

Example, my favorite room spray is an Orange Essence. I love it, reminds me of the orange groves across the street from our beautiful California home. It smells just like the orange groves in bloom....well, sort of! At TJs it is $3.99. At my favorite health food store in town, same bottle is $8.99. Trader Joe's will not carry it if they cannot offer you the very best deal on it.

They have terrific lunches and dinners to go that make an ideal meal on the road. Sandwiches, salads, and more can easily be grabbed and eaten on the go. They carry tons of picnicking essentials, cheeses, spreads, olives, crackers and toasts and a wide selection of deli items. They have a tremendous gluten free section, great veggies and fruits, and imported items from all over the world.

Trader Joe's is just a fabulous resource with the best prices around! 

Our Atlanta trip was quickly running out of time. I was determined to find a TJs before we got back on the road for the 5 hour drive from home. Low and behold, there was a Trader Joes right by Fresh Tomatoes (Souplantation) in Roswell. On the way back to the freeway, we drove by a Chipotle. Man. Roswell is the PLACE to focus on in our next trip! 

We bounced into the Roswell Trader Joe's, ready to grab some of our old favorites!

We are crazy about TJs coffee, so I grabbed tons of their different varieties, focusing on Organic decaf coffee!

We found rich chocolate truffles ($2.99!), tons of hair products, vitamins, and my favorite orange blossom hand soap, along with some cleaning products for dirt cheap! I grabbed Boysenberry Jam (my grandparents were friends of the Knotts in Anaheim back home ~ boysenberries were part of our lives!) and salsa, and 20 cans of green roasted chiles. It is odd what you feel like you can't live without, when you only get to go to TJs once or twice a year! Dave got a case of Myntz

A few weeks before Easter, the place was loaded with special holiday treats. We mainly skipped them, as we had just eaten our way through Atlanta and did not need a lot more "treats!"

All in all, Trader Joe's is still an excellent place to stop for cheap meals and snacks when you are on the road, so LivingHistorySites.com highly recommends them as you travel!

Roswell Trader Joes
635 W. Crossville Road
Roswell, GA 30075
Trading Hours: 9 am – 9 pm
Phone: 770-645-8505