Me, Lynda, Darlene, Rose and Lou...Crab Shackin' it!
Anyone been to the Crab Shack on Tybee Island?
We drove there today, on a perfect Savannah spring day...sunshine, cool breeze, perfection!
The parking lot at the Crab Shack was packed, and there was a waiting line of 20 minutes to get in for lunch. While checking out the baby alligators in the walk-over pens, we discovered that our fearless trip planner, Leslie and her husband, Brent, their daughter Riley and Miss Mindy were already digging into a huge mixed seafood platter. They were seated just inside the entrance so I stopped by to chat and take a few photos.
We found a great table, inside and at the farthest end of the restaurant, overlooking the water. This was a perfect spot for us, close enough to the cool breeze filtering in through the tall screened windows for me, and sheltered enough for those California girls to be comfortable.
Our server was excellent, taking our orders for beverages first, bringing those to the table and then helping everyone choose what to order. I wanted a bowl of Crab Stew with a Shrimp Salad Sandwich and iced tea...no sugar, ma'am...and a slice of their Key Lime Pie. Within minutes, our drinks were on the table and the food followed right after that.
For me, the food at the Crab Shack is just ok.
The ambience is what I love.
That, and their Key Lime Pie.
This was no exception...the stew had a good amount of crabmeat in it, but the flavor was barely detectable and the stew was barely warm. My Shrimp Salad Sandwich was very cold and very wet and very tasteless.
I always stop here hoping for more and rarely getting it, so this time was not a surprise for me.
The Key Lime Pie, as always, was stellar!
Lime-y to the nth degree and icy-cold, with a thick graham wafer crust that I love, also. I loved it so much that I forgot to take a photo for you, until it was nearly gone...
Driving back to Savannah from Tybee, we were already looking forward to our Olive Oil Tasting, with Vincenzo and Karen from Via Martina, a new piadineria opening soon in Savannah. Karen's been here a few days and Vincenzo arrived last night from Italy, so he'll be jet-lagged to pieces, for sure.
We arrived just in time to welcome Karen and Vincenzo, as they set out four bottles of liquid sunshine from four different regions of Italy. A new experience for most of us, we were very much anticipating the actual tasting process.
First, Vincenzo gave us a excellent history of the regions of Italy where the best olive oil is produced. With his trademark sense of humour, he taught us the difference between the oil produced closer to the sea and at a lower altitude and the most perfect and most desired oil that is produced from olives grown at 400' altitude and 20 kilometres from the sea.
Then, the tasting began...
First, a small amount of oil drizzled into a small cup.
Next, the process of warming the oil by holding the cup in one hand and using the palm of the other hand to rub the rim of the cup, creating a warmer oil temperature. This releases the true fragrance and flavor of the oil.
Then, holding our cups beneath our noses, we learned to smell the fragrance of the oil by taking two small sniffs and then, one long deep breath in, to really inhale the smell of the oil.
Finally, Vincenzo showed us how to tip the cup to our lips and suck the oil into our mouths through our teeth, aerating it and getting the most enhanced flavor possible.
Each oil was definitely different in flavor and fragrance.
The first oil smelled like new-mown grass and had a delicate and slightly peppery aftertaste.
The second oil was a heavy-handed fellow, with a deep and intense fragrance and a very definite bite to it. Leslie found herself choking slightly from the unexpected heat of it, and she ran for water!
The third oil was very smooth, delicate and quite gentle...but wait for it...a light kick, after all.
The fourth oil was definitely the richest and the most delightful. I found it almost buttery, and again, with a delayed bite to it, after swallowing and thinking it to be over...wham! There's that bite in the back of the throat.
Oil from the Marche region...
Oil from the Romagna area of Italy...
What a wonderful way to end the afternoon...
I truly enjoyed the various oils, the fragrance and taste being so different from oil to oil, region to region. I was a little apprehensive, thinking I'd not find the experience of sipping oil pleasant, but I actually loved it!
My sincere appreciation to Vincenzo and Karen for taking time for us today. Karen packed all of these bottles of oil in her checked luggage! What a woman.
Vincenzo gave us an excellent and witty education about the oils of the olive, which to purchase and which to leave on the shelf...and all of this while riding the wave of the mother of all jet-lags.
I wish you all the good fortune possible in starting Via Martina, the first piadineria in Savannah, Georgia!
Grazie, cari amici, grazie.
"But then, miraculously, there is olive oil.
Olive oil, it seems, is the only really good food we are still allowed." ~ Mark Kurlansky