Archive for the ‘Royal Reviews’ Category

Inspired Mint Julep

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

 picture-415.jpg  (click-Happiness is a Julep)

I just finished the most inspired article about the classic Mint Julep in this month’s Garden & Gun :21st Century Southern America magazine.  Written by Jonathon Miles in “A Drink for All Seasons,” the iconic drink is described as a “a splendid, simple drink.”  Ya’ll it does not require a special occasion to enjoy it Jonathon reminds me!  And honey, it does not require a silver cup or fine veranda, since this can be a tad intimidating.  (Personally, I like serving it in a silver cup if it goes with my flouncing outfit and when I am in lime green toile with pageant banner sash, I truly believe it adds so much to the look.)  I can promise you however that I have collapsed on my couch after a hot summer day, in plain ol’ jeans and a T-shirt to enjoy ”the ideal analgesic to a tough day at work.”  For this Saturday’s Flounce at Alligator Soul, I plan to bring my own little linen cocktail napkin, (’cause it is cute), my own silver plated Patrick Henry Mint Julep cup, and even a big bunch of fresh mint, grown right here in Savannah, just in case they need some. 

Thank you, Jonathon Miles for the inspiration. Oh, and if your consort likes to hunt and all that, you might enjoy the new publication Garden & Gun, since there is something in it for him, and more importantly lots of interesting ariticles for you.  Click to read Jonathon’s Mint Julep article:)

Great Service at Alligator Soul

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

carolyn-stillwell-2008.jpgmjqs-and-dinner-at-alligator-soul08.jpg(click) Danny Boy aka Daniel, a staff consort pours for Carolyn and Diner requests a photo-op with us.

Saturday night we showed up at Alligator Soul,  about an hour later than we had planned, but we were greeted with applause and hugs from the staff anyway. The owner, Maureen Craig even wore her special sweater that had little green gators on it.  

We wanted something light and easy to eat since you really don’t need to eat a full dinner when wearing a glittering, form-fitting green gown.  The chef made us special nibbles that we didn’t need knife and fork to noosh on.  My favorite was the jumbo fried olives.  Also you cannot go wrong with grilled bread brushed with virgin olive oil and served with a wonderful variety of cheeses.  Drinks were perfect and fairly priced. The atmosphere warm and welcoming and staff good-natured and properly impressed with our Royal selves. Several guests had pictures made with us and enjoyed our very attendance.  I am guessing their evening was complete after good food, good wine, and then meeting some of the MJQs. It is possible, right?

The McMansion on Forsyth & Julep Trouble

Monday, December 10th, 2007

img_1164.jpg3 drinks (AKA $45.oo dollars worth of drinks, not counting tips), toast flouncing.)

November 30th the MJQs met at The Mansion on Forsyth Park for drinks.  Again, I was less than impressed with the service or lack there of at this 4 star wanna be. If you need the space to have a function downtown, then I suppose this location will fill the bill, but if for some strange reason you long for a Southern experience in the style that represents the best of hospitality, good taste, and of what makes Savannah a destination, better rethink your choices.

I will stick to my very limited dealings with the place and its staff.  Last April we had cocktails at The McMansion and we were met with surly service. Not a single smile or “thank you” was uttered as we shelled out 16.00 for a single glass of wine poured into a cheap glass 2.00 stem. At the time, I chalked it up to Crown Envy, a little known syndrome of the type one witnesses from certain women that are temporarily blinded by jewels in some one’s hair. You don’t believe me? Put on a tiara and watch. A handful of ladies give you the disappoving you-r-such-a-harlot stare. Others will ask, “Where in the world did you find your cute tiara.?” So, since the wenches behind the bar were…well…wenches, their sour attitudes were ignored by us.  Now back to our recent expereinces at The McM. 

The poor barkeep that met us Friday evening was totally over-whelmed by a flow of females asking for wine, Cosmopolitans, and Mint Juleps. Honey, the bar was almost dead with about 8 folks already served when the first group of ladies approached. During the 45 minutes I stood at the bar waiting for a drink, this pitiful lad struggled with every concoction.  It took me 45 minutes to get my first drink.  I was never even acknowledged or greeted.

Three ladies had to flounce upstairs to get their drinks since they had waited so long. Lucky for me someone else was able to get his attention and procure the julep for me.  Now, the julep was so bad I almost gave it back to him, but frankly I was suffering from absolute dehydration and I decided I would never get another drink so I kept it.  The little pseudo-drink was, from what I could figure a concoction of ginger ale, bourbon, sugar, mint leaves and huge lime wedge perched atop the glass. Yuck.  More like a little punch.  In the future, I suppose I must resort to ordering bourbon and water, a side of mint, and a packet of Dixie Crystal that I stir in myself. I was at this bar for 2 hours and never offered another drink or even spoken to by anyone behind the bar.

Now you may ask if I have eaten at the Mcmansion? No dear heart, I have not.  I am not talking about their food or “dining experience.”  Wait.  I did attend a big gala that was catered by the McMansion. Does that count?  The food was horrible and pretentious. The wine glasses were hot, fresh out of the dishwasher.  The funniest food item they served was some mashed potato thing in a martini glass with a port wine  reduction, (AKA gravy) and shredded cheese. I know this event was a fund-raiser and the non-profit that booked the location was not wlling to shell out the ten prices needed to make a decent table of nibbles. 

Way on up in NYC, The Waldorf-Astoria, Tao, and The W all have friendly service, nicer stemware, better drinks and, here’s the shocker…similar bar prices to the McMansion. Never the less, when faced with adversity, we , The MJQs absolutely make the best of a challenging situation and rise to the occasion. We yuck it up, flounce a little, and smile real pretty for pictures so it did not ruin our time.  In fact, we had a blast drinking over- priced wine. miniature Cosmos, and bad Juleps. Then some of us went on to dinner at Wally’s Six Pence Pub, crowned our waitress, and devoured a darn good burger.  Next time though, I really don’t think we will congregate at The McMansion. Alligator Soul or the Mercury Lounge will likely be the location of choice:)

Good Juleps = Good Service (& Vice a Versa)

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Garibaldi’sI am an ex- waitress and I am sometimes the best and the worst customer to wait on.  I over-tip, blame the kitchen for slow service, and help stack plates.  However, if you are just ill-informed, have bad manners or shamelessly try to up-sell my wine order, watch out. I never walk out without tipping, but I will call a manager over to my table and diplomatically point out the server’s short-comings, then I leave a 14% tip to prove a point.

I had an opportunity a couple of weeks ago to point out the short-comings of an out-of-her-league server at Garibaldi’s. Prior to our 6:00 reservation, my husband and I had a cocktail at the house. I had a Marker’s Mark Mint Julep.Yum. Frosty silver cup, bourbon with a hint of sweetness, and refreshing infusion of mint I had picked from planters on my back porch. We were greeted by Flo, (name is changed to match her service level).  She offered the typical wine or cocktail before dinner option.

“Flo, I had a Mint Julep here a couple of years ago. Do ya’ll have the ingredients tonight?” Flo confidently assured me that yes, they did.

“Well, I would love one, please. And ask the bartender not to make it too sweet. It was a tad too sweet last time.”  Flo scurried off to get the cocktail and upon her return, she placed a lightly colored iced beverage in front of me.

“This isn’t my order,” I said. “This isn’t a julep.”

Flo retorted, “Try it and see what you think. If you don’t like it, we can send it back.”

To some diners, this might not strike them as completely idiotic. To me, it was a bizarre statement. You don’t have to taste something to know it’s wrong. Having a sophisticated palate is not a prerequisite, honey!  The cocktail before me was, number one, too light and number 2, utterly devoid of mint.  Imagine a Manhattan the color of light orange juice with no garnish or even a brown Martini with no olives. So that was the predicament.

I laughed out loud when Flo instructed me to “try it,” which I did.  The taste caused me to laugh even harder. It was a watered down bourbon and soda. Sadly, after my instructions to take it back and ask the bartender to try again, I was presented the same exact drink with one sad, lone mint leaf floating in the mess.  I had blamed the bartender because I am an ex-waitress and I was being easy to serve. Now I was blaming the waitress and things were getting ugly.

I told Flo, “Just bring me a glass of Pinot Grigio.” Flo insisted that they could get it right, julep-wise.  My confidence shaken, I refused, “Just a glass of your house Pinot Grigio, please.”

The episode would have been forgiven and forgotten except at this point Flo tried to up-sell me to the $12 a glass rather than racing off to get the $9 a glass I had ordered.  She justified the push by saying, “I just thought you’d like to try something new.” How she knew what was new to me remains a mystery.  I refused and for the rest of the meal we had surly service.  Entrées plopped in front of us without comment.  Proving a point, she ground pepper over my plate, angrily saying, “Just tell me ‘when.’” She had taken personally my laughing at a poorly made drink.  It was as though she had caught me talking trash about her mother.

I love Garibaldi’s for nice food. It is one of the best, but “fine-dining” experiences in Savannah are inconsistent. Good or bad service is unavoidably linked with the success of the meal. The meal I had that night was adequate; nothing to write home about and nothing to complain about either.  The whole experience was a little pitiful though, all because of a server who was out of her element.  I think Flo would be better at Bennigan’s or Chili’s. Or maybe she would screw that up too.   I can imagine a customer orders a Frozen Margarita, no salt.  Flo arrives with a light blue concoction rimmed with salt, proclaiming “Try It. If you don’t like it we can send it back.” 

I would bet that Flo will not last long as a server and when I return to Garibaldi’s, if by some wild chance she is still there, I won’t sit in her section.