Okay, who was on Hilton Head Island with me last week? I’ve never seen so many Fulton County license plates there at once. Let’s share tasting notes. Where do you like to eat on the island?
We went to our usual haunts this year but stopped in a few new places, too. Of course, the original Truffles Cafe was on our list. Who can resist a tall glass of orange-spiced iced tea and a bowl of tomato-dill soup with a swirl of sour cream after a day at the pool?
We’ve also made it a tradition to stop in Flamingo’s Doughnut Cafe once during each Hilton Head visit. Flamingo’s is a design-your-own doughnut shop with cake doughnuts that are made-to-order. Customers choose from a list of glazes such as orange, peanut butter, caramel or lemon and then add toppings like nuts and sprinkles. I only wish there were a few savory options. I’d love to add salty bacon to a doughnut with caramel glaze…
My daughter chose a super-sweet strawberry glaze with poppy seeds and my son settled on chocolate glaze with mini M&M’s. (At no other
point will mom allow M&M’s for breakfast!) We also ordered a few predesigned selections to share. We tried the overly sweet “peach cobbler,” which has a chunky peach glaze nestled under pecans, graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon sugar. I prefer the simple “french toast” doughnut with maple syrup and powdered sugar. The simple ingredients highlight — not overwhelm — the lovely fried cake doughnut. We’ll just pretend that we go to Flamingo’s for the kids…
We also checked out One Hot Mama’s for the first time. This barbecue joint happens to be owned by Orchid Paulmeier, a frontrunner in the current season of “Food Network Star” (competing against our own Justin Balmes). The ribs, brisket and pulled pork are all solid at One Hot Mama’s and I guarantee you won’t leave this place hungry.
Coincidentally, our current island favorite is owned by an established Food Network star: Robert Irvine. Friends recommended Robert Irvine’s eat! (no, that’s not a typo) to us last summer and we devoured our meal there. There was no question about going back this year. While the menu offers traditional entrees, my money is on the lengthy list of tapas.
Don’t miss the bacon, shallot and parmesan topped oysters, which will have you considering a second order. Instead, turn your attention to the foie gras with a dijon-bourbon sauce (actually from the sides menu). The foie gras achieves the melts-like-butter status and you must fight plate-licking urges. As a small consolation, you can use the toast point to sop up any remaining traces of the foie and sweet dijon-bourbon sauce.
As good as these two dishes were, we tried six or seven more that were nearly as scrumptious. And as full as you may be, resist the temptation to skip dessert. Order the sweet potato bread pudding with tabasco ice cream. It may sound like a gimmick but this tabasco-cinnamon ice cream has a kick on the back end that will wake you from your full-belly coma. And it pairs ever so nicely with the bread pudding — Thanksgiving on a plate. So, when do I get to go back to the beach?
Where do you eat when you’re in Hilton Head? It’s the prime place for little undiscovered hole-in-the-wall gems. What have you discovered?
–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog
– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.