Tag Archives: Meatloaf

RT2014: Hilton Head Island, SC

Today is a lazy day. Sleep in, grab a leisurely hotel breakfast, gas up and hit the road for Hilton Head, a mere one hour drive away. We cross over the sky high Talmadge Memorial Bridge into South Carolina. Not much to see at first, scrub, strip clubs, swamps and a few ibis. Very rural. Soon pretty, small bungalows pop up beside run down trailers and farm equipment. We enter a scenic byway which becomes a dappled drive on a country two-laner. Tall pines, live oaks, banks of horsetail ferns, palmettos, mailboxes, rail fences and American flags line the road. This very pleasant drive turns to beautifully manicured medians and stores and services housed in tidy little one story homogenous buildings as we get closer to the resort areas of Hilton Head. When we arrive at our home for the next two nights, they are not quite ready so we grab a drink at the Tiki Hut. It’s close to 90 degrees. We spend the rest of the afternoon in leisure, swimming, reading and drinking coconut-pineapple mojitos.

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Dinner tonight is at the aptly named Low Country Backyard. We are seated outside at the bar in what looks like someone’s backyard. Very homey.

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Staff is pleasant and helpful. Kim, who is looking after us is knowledgeable about the local beers. I’m trying the Blonde Bottletree, a white that is less citrusy than Blue Moon and Rob is having the Palmetto, a full-on lager.

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We have a warm, gentle breeze at our backs and a live musician cranking out Neil Diamond, Buffalo Springfield, Lobo and the ubiquitous Margaritaville. All very pleasant. The menu is creative and everything is home made to order. We try two apps, Blue May Crab Dip and the Pimento cheese. Both come with crisp corn chips and soft pita wedges. The melty, cheesy crab dip is delicate and tasty, while the pimiento lacks much needed heat and is made with both cheddar and cream cheeses instead of just cheddar. It’s decent enough especially when spiced up with a little hot sauce.

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I’m having the Shrimp and Grits. I can’t wait until we get to Myrtle beach where I know I will have some fine shrimp and grits at Mr. Fish. Low Country Backyard’s grits are white grits, impossible to find in Ottawa. They are creamy and well seasoned. The shrimp are sautèed in an applewood bacon cream sauce which I find a tad salty and served up on top. This classic also has a few coins of a very good smoked sausage tossed in.

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Rob has ordered the Potato Chip Meatloaf. It is accompanied by his choice of sides, a delicious coleslaw with apples and raisins and a rather dry piece of corn bread. Unfortunately, corn bread is one of those things that stales fast and must be served hot out of the oven. If you don’t turn it over fast enough, don’t serve it. Portions are not huge but they are substantial. The meatloaf is made with beef, pork and potato chip crumbs instead of bread crumbs, and then glazed with a home-made BBQ sauce. The potato chips aren’t noticeable but we’re sure they amp up the calorie count. It was very good meatloaf, however.

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No room for that delicious looking home made banana pudding. We finish up our local beers and listen to the kids playing the home made games in the Backyard.

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Diner Deluxe: Breakfast

A quiet unassuming downtown Calgary Street reveals a gem of a breakfast spot. Diner Deluxe has been featured on You Gotta Eat Here, Canada’s kinda sorta Triple D wanna be.

Deluxe 001The diner hosts an ice cream parlour/bakery as you enter. We are here for breakfast so we move on through to a dining room on the other side. Deluxe features authentic items from diners of yesteryear. Salt and pepper cellars, coffee mugs, vinyl chairs and formica-topped. chrome bound tables are mix and match. There are a few kitschy items around such as a rotary phone, lamps, an old toy car or two, artful and not overdone.

Deluxe 003Deluxe’s menu, right out of the 1960’s with just the right amount of creative updating, reminds me a bit of Cafe Zuzu in the Valley Ho resort in Phoenix, Arizona. A good read, this menu. Takes us a few minutes to make an informed decision. Our waitress, in sneakers and pedal pushers, could only be more genuine on roller skates. She delivers a good cup of coffee and takes our orders. Crispy fried potato pancake for me, and meatloaf hash for Rob. I make several substitutions with which she happily notes, “No Problem”.

My crispy pancake is a ginormous potato rosti, crispy as advertised and tasty, topped with a dollop of sour cream, fresh green onion and the over medium egg I added. The generous portion of very good “Canadian” bacon, salty and lightly sweet, substituted for the chicken or chorizo sausage choices on the menu, nicely rounds out my breakfast. Fried Roma tomatoes are offered as a vegetarian substitute to the meat on this menu item. I request them as well. This was my only misstep. The tomatoes are lightly grilled and would have benefited from a long, slow pan fry to blister the skins and caramelize the sugars.

Deluxe 006Rob’s sublime, red pepper jelly topped slice of moist, well seasoned meatloaf is so good, he only offers me one bite.  The generous slice, accompanied by a skillet of potato/spinach hash is excellent on all counts.

Deluxe 005We are off on a short road trip to Banff today to see what we missed due to our late arrival via train last Tuesday. A quick trip to the Ladies transports you to 1966. Cut glass mirrors, powder blue commode and sink and an Alfred Hitchcock movie poster leaves you smiling on your way out.

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