Friday, September 11, 2015

Here...a Tale of Two Restaurants

This is a Home week we'll have some away as we are off to San Francisco and a Baha Cruise!

The South Carolina Lowcountry is our home.  We have a large number and variety of restaurants to choose from...(mostly) casual, Italian, Seafood, Steaks, Ribs, Down Home Southern, Eclectic...almost anythimg to test you pallet.

Over the last couple of days we have tried a couple of for dinner and one for lunch...starting with the dinner...

Orobello's Restaurant in Bluffton, SC
Orobello's, in the Buckwalter Place shopping center a few doors down from the Publix supermarket (important for later...) is an intimate little place that specializes in Sicilian cuisine and pizza.  My wife, Dianne, and I have been there before and have enjoyed both the food and the quiet atmosphere.

However, two nights ago our experience wasn't what we had been expecting.  We arrived and were seated (sort host) promptly. Menus provided, we ordered wine and settled back to decide what we wanted for mains.  Service (now we have to keep reminding ourselves that we are in the "South") was slow. 

Garlic bread at Orabello's
Finally ordered and we were told that bread was on the way.  OK, a bit later it arrived and I casually asked (uh, this being an Italian restaurant) for some olive oil in which to soak my bread.  Don't think that is too much of an unusual/demanding/outrageous request?

Well, the wait person...after checking in the kitchen...came back an said they didn't have any.  Huh???  How can an Italian restaurant...a few doors away from a Publix Super Market..not be able to fulfill a customer's request for some extra olive oil with his bread??? Left an unfulfilled taste in my mouth...

Moving forward, Dianne had very good Chicken Parmesan in a tomato sauce with spaghetti.  I had what they called a Spaghetti Messina which was also very good.  

Although the meals were good, the service was just OK and the fact  that an Italian restaurant couldn't/wouldn't give you a bit of extra olive oil for your bread was pretty off-puting - in case you haven't gathered that already!

In Old Town on Calhoun Street
Changing the venue, we move on to a delightful afternoon lunch at  Vineyard 55, an eclectic bistro in the center of Old Town Bluffton at the south end of the Thursday weekly farmer's market.  We had delightful lunch there today.  Driving after 1:00pm there were plenty of tables available so we chose one in the corner on the porch.  Nice location as we could watch the activity at the south end of the Bluffton farmer's market.

River Dog Brewery in Bluffton
It being lunch, Dianne chose not to imbibe with anything other than water.  Vineyard 55 offers a very wide selections of beers...both on tap and in bottles.  I tend to favor IPAs...and they had a choice of four! Decisions...decisions...I went for a local Bluffton brew from River Dog...a double IPA

So, for lunch we went pretty much on the light side...both with seafood selections. 

Sea Scallops and Bread
Dianne LOVES, not so much unless they are virtually raw.  Last time we were at Vintage 55, Dianne had a huge bowl of bay scallops in a garlic/wine sauce.  Apparently, bay scallops are now out of season, so, she had a very reasonable plate of sea scallops.

Vineyard 55 Garlic Bread
I went for the bowl of mussels in a white wine and garlic broth, also served with a crusty and very crunchy garlic bread.  

Mussels in garlic white wine
They were very plentiful, plump and had a nice - although not overpowering - garlic flavor.  They went down well and were just enough to satisfy a not-too-hungry appetite.

Having solved the gastronomic quandary for the mid-day, we headed off to the farmer's market to gather the few items we needed for this coming weekend's Tapas dinner with friends...probably my next blog...

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