Wednesday, July 2, 2014

If I Don't Gain Five Pounds, I Didn't Do it Right

I live in a state where we deep fry our cheese and wash it down with a beer the size of a labra-doodle.  We walk around our state fair munching on pickles, bacon, cookie dough, and other such oddities that have been breaded and deep fried, sometimes coated in chocolate, and served on a stick.  There is a whole building dedicated solely to serving cream puffs the size of your face.

Wisconsin is no stranger to belly-busting food and drink.  Spend one afternoon at Summerfest and you'll see I'm right.  I love a good craft beer as much as the next guy and don't even think I'm going to walk away from the fair without a cream puff.  But here's the thing.  It does make it hard sometimes to eat well.  In the year that I got serious about losing weight, I avoided a lot of the things I otherwise would have gone hog-wild on, beer and deep-fried food on a stick included.

But sometimes it is okay to just say To Heck with It and go a little wild.  This summer I am choosing to ignore the Bob Harpers of the world and for five days, I am going to ignore pretty much every single food rule I have created for myself to ensure that I keep the weight off.

Why?  Because we are going south.  Very very SOUTH.

And the South knows how to do food and I don't want to miss a mouthful.

Would I even be doing Georgia justice if I didn't have sweet tea at least once? 
How could I live with myself if I landed back in Milwaukee without having sampled some southern fried chicken and grits?

We never ever get to travel together like this so I will be darned if I am going to let caloric concerns get in the way of me having a good time.  We are going to be walking all over the place and I am going to attempt to at least be mindful of my portion sizes, but I'm not going to get all hung about about it either.

Basically, my attitude is that if I don't gain five pounds on this vacation, I didn't do it right.  I can lace up my shoes and hit the pavement to run it off when I get back to reality.

Here's just a preview of some of the naughtiness we plan to have on our plates:

1.  Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room
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My whole approach to planning our food stops on this trip was built around the recommendations of a former local who I trust completely.  She guided us away from some of the more well known touristy places and toward a couple different options instead.  Her first recommendation was to skip Lady and Sons (Paula Deen's restaurant) and stand in line for a seat at Mrs. Wilkes' table instead.  The website describes the experience like this - "Tabletops are crowded with platters of fried chicken and cornbread dressing, sweet potato souffle, black-eyed peas, okra gumbo, corn muffins and biscuits. The menu changes daily so regulars can have something different every day. Stop by and enjoy the special pleasure of a meal shared with neighbors and strangers."  Sounds to me like this place could be good for two or three pounds all on its own.  Can't wait!

2.  The Crab Shack

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 A good portion of our time will be spent out on Tybee Island and despite this place's touristy vibe, the food is said to be so good that it's worth it.  Low country boils, fresh crab, shrimp, and live freaking crocodiles make this place a must see.  Plus, my darling friends from church bought us a gift card to this joint, so this will likely be our very first foodie stop upon arrival!   

3.  The Olde Pink House
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I made reservations months in advance here for our one "fancy pants" dinner while we are in Savannah.  Often heralded as the best restaurant in the city, The Olde Pink House is an eighteenth century mansion that apparently also houses a haunted bar.  The word on the street is that the She Crab Soup alone is worth making the trip.   I'm packing a pretty dress and we are looking forward to having a wonderful dinner here after we clean up from tromping around in the Bonaventure Cemetery. 

4.  Zunzi's

According to my sources, this place is absolutely ridiculous.  Featured on The Travel Channel, this take out joint had to open up a second location with dine-in seating just to accommodate the demand for their sandwiches.  With the star of the menu called "The Conquistador," how can we not give it a shot? 

5.  Jen's and Friends

I have given my solemn oath to make a stop here, order a basil lemonade, and then walk out the door with it to embrace Savannah's open container laws.  Be watching for the Instagram photo where I tag Stephanie Howell and she gives me a virtual fist bump all the way from Italy.   

That's just five of them, y'all.  I'm not even going to try to pretend that I'm not planning to eat and drink my way through Tybee and Savannah while we are there.  I've saved up the cash and I'm fully prepared to pay the price on the scale.  And it will be WORTH IT. 


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