Welcoming Visitors Since 1700's
This old place first opened as an inn, serving seafarers traveling down the nearby Savannah River. There are lots of stories of pirates and grog and underground tunnels to the Rum Room. But mostly the grog drinkers have been tourists, since it became a restaurant in the 1940's. Don and I were 2 of those tourists, last January.
There are a number of buildings that make up the Pirate's House and its 15 dining rooms. This homey one with the porch, was part of the original inn. The attached structure on the right, with the slanty-roof, was built in 1734. It was called the Herb House and it was home to the gardner who tended Savannah's carefully planned botanical garden.
I'm sure the exterior has gone through many changes over the years, but not much since 1964. This illustration is from my 54-year-old Ford Motor Cookbook and it shows the same paint colors on building and shutters. Of course I brought along the book, hoping to share with an enthused server or cook...
Late Afternoon Visit
The Captain's Room
The Captain's Room had great old floors and wooden walls. The fireplace looked authentically rustic. But what was with the skull and parrot theme? Yes, real pirates spent time in this room, but I doubt the fireplace was decorated with skulls back then.
Don and I wanted to have a "dining adventure" in this old building, but it was too early and too empty to be fun. So we figured we could at least drink an ale or some grog-like beverage to help remember our visit. Sadly, the bar was a newly remodeled space that could have been anywhere. But luckily Joshua was still on duty for a while behind the bar. He had a bit of a pirate look about him, with ponytail and earrings. But best of all he had a lot of interest in the history of the place.
Date and Nut Pudding?
It made my day that Joshua was amused by the old cookbook. He laughed over the pudding recipe, which is no longer served. He even flipped through some of the pages from the northeastern States to see if he recognized any of the featured restaurants.
A Quick VIsit
Some Background First
This actual building was reconstructed 75 years ago, where the old Colonial Hotel once stood. The hotel was built in 1895 on the foundations of 2 buildings from the mid 1700's!
Who Was Mr. Chowning?
An old newspaper advertisement shows that a man named Josiah Chowning did own a Williamsburg tavern in 1765. I don't believe this is where his tavern was, but the 1940's reconstruction attempted to bring back the authentic flavor. They even added a beer garden in back, with "arbors and booths of greenery". The tavern became popular with visiting servicemen during WWII.
Waiting for a Table
A costumed hostess met us on the porch and added our names to the a wait list. Maybe she was just "in character", but she seemed sort of bossy when she asked, "Would you mind eating with another couple?" That seemed odd, but she wasn't someone we wanted to say no to. And we were hungry. We passed through the dining room to wait in the beer garden. I hoped we would be matched up with someone more friendly than our hostess.
We headed towards the rear door and I peeked at the corner fireplace and antique chairs and benches. Nice. I also took a look at some of the tourists and hoped we hadn't set ourselves up for some very dull dining conversation.
The hostess grabbed us from the bar, before I had a chance to ask for the complimentary peanuts. She hustled us through the lower rooms like an impatient schoolmarm and pointed us towards another couple, heading towards the stairs. Our dining partners! Don and I eyed each other and grinned. Not only did we luck out, getting to eat in the quaint upstairs attic room, but the other dining couple looked pretty delightful!
Our New Friends
Our server, Tansu was in much better spirits than the schoolmarm hostess. Being from Turkey, I didn't expect her to care a hoot about the 1950's, Ford Motor Cookbook, which I pulled out of my bag. But she laughed and took in the retro book, like she actually understood the fun. Our new friends Bob and Joan seemed equally tickled as they flipped through pages.
But somehow the 2 had determined, the route would be different if they needed an elevator. They ended up with a sneak peek into the White House kitchen and some extra chat time with the Secret Service! Our dining buddies were gave us some tips for the future!
Food and Drink
Don and I did a little sharing for lunch. Our order came with Brunswick Stew (made with young fowl and fresh garden vegetables) and two Pasties, plus slaw. The meat and veggie "pasty" pies were flavorful and seemed like an authentic choice for an alehouse. The stew was thick and tasty, as well.
I took off on a wandering mission and only got in trouble once. Evidently one staircase is for employees only. A different schoolmarm got on my case, this time. But I did see some wonderful antique youth chairs and some curious sconces and pewter items.
Colonial Williamsburg is full of costumed characters and I found a few at the bottom of the stairs. Two were seated, playing a table game. A man in a 3-cornered hat, was warming up on the mandolin and a cheery woman in cap and apron was just passing through.
On the Porch
By the time we 4 had finished our meal, the porch had been relieved of the hosting schoolmarm. Joan and I enjoyed a little music and threatened to dance a bit. We posed for a picture instead.
All in all, the place was memorable. The grumpy hostess gave us something to laugh about with our new friends. Food was decent and our sweet server Tansu was the best. Next time, we'll have to arrive at night, when I hear the games and music can become very lively!
Getting Healthy in Small Town Texas!
I pass through this town often, on my way to 2 centers where I volunteer. It's fairly new and I never knew it existed, until my friend from one the centers mentioned it. I've been trying to change some eating habits since I was diagnosed with cancer. My friend, Terri is in the same boat and she highly recommended the place.
So I had my first intro to the place when friends, Lorrie and Shari decided I needed to get prepared for my first chemo, by going wig shopping. I was sort of dreading that outing, so we made sure to start with a fun... and healthy lunch. The inside was as cute as the outside.
Quotes and Cowgirls
The theme seemed to be sort of Texas Cowgirl and Homey Comfort. I loved the retro red refrigerator and the wooden kitchen table with metal legs. And yes, lots of cowgirl "pin up" artwork. The quote above the door caught my eye.
I liked all the clever touches with chalkboards and jars and who knows what that lamp was made out of? Some old espresso maker?
Into the Kitchen
We could peek into the kitchen through the windows, or sort of through the very curious revolving door... which was holding some bananas in an attached holder.
I almost missed these little ladies below the upper counter. Quite a collage, I would say. Some with frying pans and some with guns and one with a cup of cold- pressed juice!
The front room was small but there were more tables in back. I loved the cow and horse art. And Trough! What a curious name for the place.
We 3 got my favorite table, right by the window. It was like a wooden version of my grandmother's white and chrome table. The occasional trains rumbling by just outside our window, added a little more nostalgia!
Lorrie had been before so she knew about the organic cold-pressed juices, made daily. The Trough tags were helpful since they listed the ingredients in your drink. Lorrie went for Green Pastures, the healthiest. Shari went for sweeter, Ruby Red, with apple, beet and celery! I went for the Dragon Fruit or something. I'm confused what I had... because I accidentally drank Shari's first, so we got small cups to sample them all.
The meals were all $8.50, just about the price of a juice. I ordered the Super Trough Bowl, recommended by my friend Terri. Brown rice, kale, cucumbers, tomato, pickled veggies, cranberries, sunflower seeds and ginger sesame dressing. Lorrie got Avocado English Muffin and Shari got a combo of Salad with Grilled Cheese. I couldn't finish, but refused to leave a thing behind. I carted mine home to top my salad for dinner!
Off to Shop
I ordered a wig similar to the one on my head and Lorrie and Shari were good enough to put on some flowered hats to pose with me!
Before starting up with chemo, I met up with Terri for lunch another day. I was once again surrounded by delicious, healthy foods and fun stuff to look at. I got a better look at "Pearl", the juice-drinking Cowgirl. And I loved the slim legs of the Carrot Woman, posing in the basket!
It was wonderful getting to catch up with Terri, since we have much to share. She frequents The Bar often and chatted with many. It was also a nice surprise to learn more about the history of the business. The inspiration came from a mother of 4 who became proactive with her cancer by totally changing her diet. After kicking cancer, she and her daughters transformed this quaint little building to become a healthy and quick alternative to fast food. It's their shared love of horses that brought on the name... along with a reminder that these energetic beasts can thrive on a trough of grass!
I love living in 2016, a time when we no longer whisper the word Cancer. Coming to The Trough, I felt like I was celebrating my good-bye to Cancer!
A Diner of Many Names!
Bounce Castle in the Street!
When Don and I drove by it last fall, we both laughed. It was sitting there at the intersection of 18th and Olive Boulevard, just west of downtown. It looked like one of those blow-up Bounce House Castles, that had been caught by a breeze and landed in the street.
Glass Block and Turrets
Don and I lived in St. Louis, but neither of us really remembered this oddball place. We adore a good diner with character, so we of course had to stop.
The sign said they were open for breakfast and lunch and it was after 3. Darn. At least I could peek through the glass beside the colorful letters, "God Bless America" and see the interior. Wow. What an iconic looking place.
Not only was the diner iconic, but it had a little history with Hollywood. In 1990, the quaint diner had a starring role as a hamburger joint in the movie, "White Palace". The movie starred Susan Sarandon, as a waitress and James Spader as her young lover. The little diner proudly displayed many old movie photos and news clippings.
Anyone from St. Louis knows about White Castle, whether you can stomach the greasy burgers or not. White Castle is really what author, Glenn Savan was writing about when he wrote the book "White Palace" in 1987... but he had to change the name. Don and I were living in St. Louis in the eighties. We lived near a cafe in Webster Groves where the author spent time. When I visited the cafe, I thought I recognized Savan, sitting alone reading. Like a groupie, I introduced myself, but he laughed and said no. Sadly he died in 2003 at 49.
Back to the Diner
Don and I were actually more curious about the diner itself, than the film connection. Who would go there? We decided to catch breakfast the next morning before leaving town. It was hopping at 9:30.
We sat down on 2 of the 4 red stools near the 3 small booths. Later, when some black stools around the corner cleared, I snapped a few photos. Lots of St. Louis Cardinals and US flags in the diner!
There were 3 women hard at work. The place was small, but there were tons of carry out orders. I so wanted to ask about the history of the place, but the cook, was a little busy for chit chat. She did mention that the current owner had owned the business for 46 years. I can find little on the internet, so that's about all I know on history.
I ordered from the menu section titled, "Customer Creations". I ordered the "How 'Bout 'Cha", which was a grilled up combo of chopped ham, hash browns, eggs, cheese, green pepper and onions. Not too bad, with some crunch to the potatoes.
But they had no time to hear about what Angela thought of church service last week and how her bus ride went that morning. But I was happy to chat with Angela, who despite missing a few teeth, posed beautifully for our photo.
Interesting atmosphere. Interesting people encounter and interesting connection with the movie world! I just wish I knew more about how this little place has managed to hold onto this spot for so many years. I'm sure there are good stories out there!
by all the neon signs luring us. The Pin-Up-Bowl, looked like a good option of food, drink and entertainment!
Lots of Old
We sat in a booth by the old bar. The bar is pretty impressive, but that doesn't thrill me as much as all the weird stuff that covers the walls and fills the shelves.
Back in the seventies, Blueberry Hill was just about the only reason for coming to this area of U. City. Don loved the beer and darts. I loved the whimsical collections that owner, Joe Edwards displayed. Vintage toys and record albums, to giant oddities... like Pinocchio's head! I was glad to see it was all still there.
We had already decided on a Thai place for dinner, but I had to stop to take in this beautiful sign, just down the street from Blueberry Hill. It was tempting to change plans, but Don and I decided we would save a stop at The Peacock, for the morning.
Coffee at The Peacock
It's pretty lame to sneak in a blog write up about a place, when you've only sampled their coffee. But that's how much I loved the atmosphere. We stopped in at 9 am and the place was festive, bright, curious and a little empty.
I looked across 4 U-shaped counters and saw a lit up case of themed goodies! As it turns out, Joe Edwards also owns this place. But the collections displayed at The Peacock were all bright and sparkly. I'm not sure I'd want to see some of the Blueberry Hill collections (many items are comically creepy) in the bright of day!
Best Seat in the House
I'm not sure where everyone was, but the place was pretty empty. A sweet old woman sat alone at one booth and a man with laptop sat at a table. He saw us oohing and ahhing and he actually looked up to enjoy our enthusiasm. He encouraged us to go ahead and sit in the "Carousel of Love". When our server brought our coffee, she explained how the round booth rotates on a platform. In the evening you can reserve the booth and spin it towards the curtains... which open up to reveal large TV screen! Crazy!
Feasting My Eyes Again!
I almost wanted to take my coffee and try out every booth. There were many delightful displays of dairy related goodies. Milk bottles and cows.. coffee cans and chickens. What a great place to have breakfast! But we had to save our appetites, because we were heading out of St. Louis in a moment. And we had already planned an important breakfast stop. And that will be my next blog!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.