On Jamie Oliver’s new show “Food Revolution”, the chef visits a West Virginia family and buries their deep fryer in the backyard to start them on the path to healthy eating. Though I certainly agree that we should not submerge meat and produce in boiling oil as a lifestyle choice, indulging in the occasional deep-fried treat is essential to fully appreciate Southern cuisine. Hush puppies, fried fresh shrimp and fried chicken are just a few of my not-so-healthy but delicious favorites.
We visit Brunswick, Georgia, a coastal city near the GA-FL border and my in-law’s hometown, with my husband’s family about twice a year. The city is the gateway to the Golden Isles of Georgia including St. Simons Island (home to Sea Island Resort), and Jekyll Island. Dave grew up spending summers and holidays in Brunswick, and eating our way through his favorite childhood restaurants is always a highlight of our trip. In addition to delicious fresh seafood such as fried oysters, one of our favorite local specialties is battered french fries. Battered fries (essentially fried fries) are dipped in batter and fried like a chicken nugget for an extra layer of greasy goodness. I am not sure if the twice-fried fry is actually native to Brunswick, but my first encounter with the dish was on our first trip years ago.
We recently travelled to Brunswick to spend Easter weekend with Dave’s family and arrived very late on Thursday night. We woke up on Friday to breathtaking views of azaleas in full bloom and lazy creeks ambling towards the Intracoastal waterway. We ventured out on our first local culinary excursion for lunch, heading to Grandy’s restaurant for authentic country cooking. Grandy’s serves delicious chicken (fried or grilled), country fried steak, and many Southern delicacies like fried okra, mac n’ cheese, and collard greens. I ordered grilled chicken to slightly reduce the overall grease factor of my meal of mac n’ cheese, fried okra, and stolen battered fries from Dave’s plate. Every bite was sinfully delicious including my grilled chicken which was marinated in a savory blend of herbs and spices.
Battered fries are also a popular menu item at local joint Twin Oaks Barbeque, a former drive-in which serves some of the most delectable shredded pork I’ve ever tasted. We rarely seek out BBQ restaurants at home, even though some of the best in the state are just a short trip up I-77 in Mooresville, North Carolina. We visited Twin Oaks to pick up lunch on Saturday, and as usual admired the vintage look of the restaurant’s lunch counter and decor. We brought home a large order of barbeque sandwiches and platters, of course along with heaping portions of battered fries. Twin Oaks’ barbeque is plenty juicy and flavorful on its own, so I used my extra bbq sauce to dip the signature french fries.
Though I do not or aspire to own a deep fryer, I am thrilled to indulge in the occasional grease fest to sample the local cuisine. I like this quote from the Grandy’s Web site as a philosophy for enjoying Southern cuisine, “A little comfort food is just plain good for your soul.”
Twin Oaks BBQ: 2618 Norwich St, Brunswick, GA
Grandy’s: 3451 Cypress Mill Rd. in Brunswick, GA