Monday, November 15, 2010

Stomping Grounds

The latest pass through my hometown region for my father's funeral involved stops at some of my old stomping grounds. My stomping history in each locale is varied: some a bit, some too much. I have fond memories of each one, for sure.

Kristy and Lydia picked me up at the airport and Lydia took us to lunch at Tidewater Grill at the Charleston Town Center. I used to work at the Chili's restaurant next door and my fellow Chiliheads and I spent an inordinate amount of time hangin' at the Tide. The oyster bar was part of the draw but the food brought me back again and again. Sometimes, it would be for a bucket of steamers or maybe just the fresh Greek salad complete with beets and generous hunks of feta cheese. Blessedly, the Greek salad with beets remains as does it's accompaniment of warm poppy-seed rolls. These rolls with real butter are the real deal. For me, I was thrilled to discover that my favorite dish is still on the menu: once known as Chicken St. Tropez, it is now listed as Fettuccine St. Tropez. Despite Tidewater's rep for fresh seafood(and Lord knows I love me some fresh seafood), this is a chicken dish that had me at first bite: sliced chicken breast marinated in fresh garlic and herbs and a light tomato cream sauce topped with fresh Parmesan....oh my goodness. My fellow Chilihead Ellen Brooks and I used to call it our "fix". It's still good to get my fix once again. Looking up at the oyster bar, I still envision Ellen's brother Keith Jackson cracking jokes and slinging drinks......good times.

Keith and I would meet Lydia for lunch again at the Galley in Marietta for lunch later in the week. I've written about the Galley recently and I'm still blown away by their renovations. The new setting for live music is stunning. It was great seeing Pimp Daddy Greg, little Debbie and darlin' Audrey once again. Lunch was a seriously yummy Hot Pastrami sandwich. Of course, time with Lydia is always golden.

Finally, we had Lunch with Sarah Jane to celebrate her birthday. We joined her at the venerable North End Tavern in Parkersburg. Known as the NET to the locals, the tavern first opened its doors in 1899 and today has as fanatical a following as ever. The NET houses a microbrewery now and features various German-American specialties on the menu. It, however, would not have been a traditional visit for me without ordering the famous NETburger. It's a juicy long time favorite and it's as satisfying as ever. We also ordered some onion rings and potato wedges but for me, as always, the NETburger is the thing.

It was a week of comfort food and not least amongst that food were some old faves from some old, beloved haunts.


Mimi O'Hare said...

Loved this, Greg! OH, how I miss those rolls at Tidewater! I will have to make sure Patrick reads this....he's got some fond memories of that place, too....;).

I wonder if Keith still works there? I had dinner there with my dad and my daughters and he waited on us a couple years ago. He looked EXACTLY the same!!

Thanks for the article! Loved it!!

Confounded Cook said...

Oh,man,Mims....I would have loved to see Keith. Didn't recognize anyone there. I'd love to see him again...Ellen, too!

Anonymous said...

Keith is there for an encore performance...hasn't been for years but then I saw him the past few times I've been in. I do miss Ellen though. She was so wonderful & a wicked sense of humor. Even tough I kow the Tidewater menu has great items on it, I always get the jerked shrimp app, the Greek salad for dinner & of course THE ROLLS!!

Anonymous said...

When I saw you mentioned Tidewater Grill, I at first thought you were referring to a place in the Tidewater VA region, one of my old seafood-lovin' stomping grounds! Glad to hear you and SJ had a good time!

Martha Vermuth said...

I was in town last thanksgiving and took my mother there for her FREE dinner on her birthday. Cliche, I know, since I spent many hours making my money there. But, after all Free is Free.

Keith was there and we visited for a while. It was very nice to see him and catch up a bit. I wish that our young, dumb warm-body of a waiter had noticed our visit.

The things you mentioned; the greek salad, rolls, were all absent. He actually said "i didnt think you guys wanted it" UGH!

I had the Ginger Soy Halibut, amazingingly light and wonderful texture. It was cooked to perfection.

Along with some of my favorite menu items (Lobster Fettucine) the service was absent also. I would still return again and again.

Thanks Greg!

Confounded Cook said...

Oh, Martha....I would have moved Heaven and Earth to get those rolls and that Greek salad. The halibut sounds yummy. Glad I didn't have that waiter....yikes.

Kristy said...

If you recall Greg, when we were there after picking you up from the airport our service was definitely lacking too. Not as bad as Martha's experience but still not what I'm used to at The Tidewater.

Confounded Cook said...

Yes, you're right, Kristy, it was lacking. I think I was too lost in my thoughts and enjoying the food too much to notice. Reuniting with the rolls, Greek salad and pasta was the highlight. However, if it had been a similar situation to Martha's and they didn't bring the rolls AT ALL, I might have gone nuts!

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