In June 2012 my friend Stephanie and I set out on an odyssey through some Southern states to find the best food (and of course shopping) that we could squeeze into our itinerary. I loved every minute of this vacation. Stephanie is as traveled as I am and way faster at processing travel books and websites than I am. She was a perfect companion for this trip. It is one of my best vacations ever.
We left Memphis in our rental car on a Sunday morning and drove straight to Nashville. We ate at Cheesecake Factory and then shopped all around the Green Hills area (Paper Source, Container Store, L'Occitane, West Elm) and then drove on to Chattanooga, TN where we checked into the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel. We visited the really good aquarium and ate at 212 Market Restaurant. The food was delicious and summery fresh.
The next morning we drove toward Atlanta, Georgia and stopped in to visit one of Stephanie's great aunts in a nursing home. Afterwards we went straight to downtown Atlanta for lunch at the famous Mary Mac's Tearoom. This place is Southern food at its most Southern. Between the two of us we tried to order every side veggie. The fried green tomatoes were amazing. I started with a cup of potlikker greens and then had the meatloaf drenched in very red ketchup, grits, tomatoes and okra, caramelized apples, cabbage and a few bites of squash casserole. Heaven! For dessert a really good slice of lemon icebox pie. Afterwards we went to IKEA and went crazy shopping. We filled the car halfway to the brim and it was only the second day of an eight-day trip.
After IKEA we drove to Savannah, Georgia and checked into the very pretty Andaz Hotel. We walked around the shops and restaurants and found a Thai restaurant where I ordered the masaman curry. It was served with avocado on the side.
The next day we drove to Charleston, South Carolina. We walked around and found a Moon Pie store with every flavor. I tried a bite of each one later before bed at the hotel. Charleston was beautiful but I think I left my heart in Savannah, Georgia.
This was the most delicious pie ever. Dark chocolate and coconut pie from Hominy Grill in Charleston, South Carolina.
This is our delicious meal at The Hominy Grill. Fried green tomatoes, grilled catfish, collard greens, squash casserole, tomatoes and okra, black eyed pea fritters with chowchow.
We visited Tybee Island after Charleston, then we toured the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina and drove on to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to hit the outlet mall and have Tennessee pancakes before heading home to Memphis. This is one of my favorite trips of all time.