I'm busy this week trying to get a start on my next book, so blog posts may be scarce for a while. But while I'm writing, you'll still need to eat -- or think about eating -- so here are a few suggestions for lunch stops if you happen to find yourself in South Carolina's Low Country. We tried each of these last week.
1. The Sippin' Cow is a tiny counter lunch spot in in the old town section of Bluffton, not far from Hilton Head. The menu is hand-written on an old black chalkboard and will amaze you with its variety. but I usually just take whatever is on special. Last Saturday, that policy brought me a real find -- a veggie eggs Benedict: two English muffin halves, each topped with a huge, juicy-red tomato slice, half a fresh avocado, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce. It came with some of the best shredded hasb browns I have ever eaten. I think they had tiny bits of fresh green onion in them. The place is uber-casual. You place your order at the counter, stake out one of four tables or lean on the window sill, and bus your own dishes, scraping the left-overs (if there are any!) into the garbage. We found this place years ago and keep coming back.
2. In the Tanger 2 Outlet Mall near Hilton Head, we found a place called "Robert Irvine's Nosh." Yes, that Robert Irvine -- the guy from "Restaurant Impossible." This one was more than possible, however. Every item was unique. I had three kinds of deviled eggs (original, barbecue, and chicken ) accompanied by tempura-battered zucchini strips to die for. But no, I didn't figure out which came first -- the chicken or the egg.I rvine was supposed to be in the house the day we were there but had been diverted to California. Food was great, anyway.
3. There's no lack of good food in Beaufort, SC, but we keep going back to the Magnolia Cafe. It's a long, narrow room, decorated in every cranny with clever kitchen and garden paraphernalia. This time I had a ham and cheese strata and a garden salad, and then topped it off by buying a large metal rooster for my own kitchen. They also will send you home with great cinnamon buns and a container of cream cheese frosting, so you can ice you own when you're ready to eat them.
4. And on our last day, we stumbled upon a really authentic French bakery in Hilton Head. It's hidden away in a back corner of a strip shopping center, but you can find it by following the smell of fresh baking bread. It's another tiny place with only a few cloth-covered tables and some armchairs, but the food is extraordinary. I almost tried their "No-Name Soup," because it smelled wonderful, but settled for a half a baguette, lavishly buttered and then filled with Romaine lettuce, ripe tomatoes, and half-inch thick slices of Brie.
Looking for a Croque Monsieur just like the one you ate in Paris? A chocolate croissant? It'll be waiting for you here. Just ask my husband!