Saturday, October 8, 2016

BSB CHAPTER 6 Myrtle Beach

For more years than I can remember, my friend, Pat Goodwin has been the head honcho, curator and all around manager of the Franklin G. Burroughs/Simeon B. Chapin art museum in Myrtle Beach. And though it's only 2 hours away, until now, I had only made the trip to be a guest of Pat's to make it easier to catch an early Spirit Airlines flight. But there was only time for dinner and wine, not a museum visit.
And it just so happens, that Myrtle Beach is littered with BBQ places! And it just so happens, that Linda ( "Louise" as in , I'm Thelma..) Mayo Perez, loves art, collects art and was an artist.
So here we go!

Now on the way, Lunch 1st. We had checked the BBQ map  and just for the name alone, wanted to go to Radd Dew's BBQ in Conway.  We GPS it and go. Well, we learned our lesson to check websites or Face Book, and not just the map. Seems the map needed quite the update! (Now I just checked , and as of this writing, it has been updated. YEA!  Several places deleted and several added. And we'll still check websites or call before we go!) ) Radd Dew's had moved to Aynor, SC, and was open on Wednesday, but only in the evening. Back onto the map... so we found another place on 501 in Conway, on the way into Myrtle Beach, and this one too, was gone. replaced by the Hwy 90 Diner. At this point, We were  getting "hangry", so we ate! Great diner food, I think we had sandwiches and chips and slaw. all very tasty, but not bbq, so started planning the evening meal...
Now, back to the museum story.
Last time I was in Myrtle Beach, I was visiting my family, who had rented a condo in the total touristy section of town. They never call me for advice, (no surprise there) so we were across the street from a big parking lot, full of motorcycles...yep, Bike Week. The beach and the pool was nice as was the condo, and my sister and I  did get down to Atayala, the big craft fair at Huntington state park, but still  didn't have time for the museum...manipulating all those motorcycles was interesting to say the least.
So now there was no excuse.
Even with gps, we got a little lost..seems there is a 3100 Ocean blvd and we needed 3100 South Ocean blvd, so a little detour and tour of residential Myrtle Beach. Even though a lot of Myrtle Beach is mini Vegas or Branson, some of the town is actually  quite quaint and nice!
But we found it!
I had seen pictures of the museum on the website, but nothing does it justice. A beautiful white beach house, with open hurricane shutters, lattice work camouflaging the utilitarian downstairs flood zone, and windows everywhere! Beautifully groomed lawns all around.
We go in and the front desk staff go get Pat. Hugs all around, then the tour. It's an absolutely beautiful museum with, at that time, displays of the  winner's of the Wacamaw Arts and Crafts Guild Juried exhibiton,  and the Winyah River Keepers Photography contest. So many talented artists!  Then, of course, the museum has it's permanent collections, including many Jonathan Green Paintings, Antique maps, the Wadmalaw Arts and Crafts Guild and the Museum collection of Gifts and purchases. Pat keeps very busy looking for and securing the next best exhibition and overseeing the staff who teach the many classes for adults and children alike. Also, at that time, outside  on the front lawn, there were these tall, 3D square chalkboards on the lawn. They were there, meant for anyone to stop, pick up some colored chalk and write on the board, something "Before I Die"  (pictures below). We asked Pat if it had been a hard to maintain exhibition, being a free for all public event. She said that everyone had been respectful. No nasties had to be erased, and no one had taken morei of their fair share. Good for us.
So many folks I talk to have no idea that there is a museum in Myrtle Beach, let alone one so full and robust with emotion and beauty. We've already been back (which will be in a future post),  and will go again. Hope you go as well! Oh, and the Museum Gift Shop  is one of the best! Many friends got the benefit of very interesting Christmas gifts, believe me!
So, we pretty much close the museum. Time to head home. We drive 17 south, and decided  to stop at Hog Heaven in Pawley's Island. Easy access right on the highway. All that art and fun seeing my friend had made us hungry again!  Hog Heaven is a good BBQ buffet with lots of selections of the pig to taste, and many tasty sides. An all around decent  place for families and locals in the area. Linda of course, got her take out for Jimmy. We were glad they were open so we could try them and officially make this a BBQ trip!

Next time, a local place right near home!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016



It’s almost over 2.5 years ago. January 2014. I’m driving up I-26W to wherever… I travel that way frequently, and as we do while driving, am often thinking about other things.. I notice I’m looking at the billboards.. They do catch my eye…I remember and start to sing the 70’s song, “Signs, signs, everywhere are signs, messing up scenery, breaking my mind. Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the si...igns?…”
They get a bad rap, billboards do…I actually find them somewhat interesting, and tell me stuff I wouldn’t know about. Especially that one fateful day that I see in big colorful letters and pictures from SC Tourism, the “SC BBQ Trail Map”…What was that? Trail map? BBQ?
So I get home and I, of course, Google it. And there it is. The BBQ Trail map. An advertisement from our state’s tourism office showing maps of all the regions of South Carolina. With what looks like hundreds of little green pop up balloons crowded all over the main map. It’s talking about traveling the state and visiting BBQ joints.…Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit, I love that idea! Who knew? Upon inspecting the main map closer up, they list 168 BBQ places! From the corporate chains, to the small family restaurant that’s only open on the weekend, spread out and separated by region and listed by number, making the task at hand much easier to read.
Now, I started liking BBQ when in my 20’s and while in the Army. My boyfriend took me to a place, which last time I checked, is still in business, Kings BBQ in Petersburg, VA.
Now, growing up, I’d had pork roast, but nothing like this... Remember, this is before The Great Food Explosion… The Food Network, and Google and “Foodies” and food magazines,etc. When you said BBQ in the northeast, they meant firing up the grill and cooking up hamburger, hotdog, chicken, or maybe, on a good day, a chuck steak.
Well, Billy (yes his real name... a true southerner) orders for me...While we wait I’m taking in and loving the atmosphere. The waitresses were mostly older, had on crisp, white uniforms with the little aprons in the front and the little white cap on their head. This was “out” of restaurant fashion by then, but not long enough to become “kitschy”.
And the place was brightly lit, clean, with lots of round dining tables, like we had in our 50”s kitchen…and with several wooden pig signs all over.
 What comes out is a plate with a pile of chopped meat with 3 veggie     sides. (I’m salivating thinking of it!) It was, by far, one of the most amazing things I had ever, and I mean EVER put in my mouth….
Succulent, smoky, chewy but tender, brown and crunchy bits meaty and fatty and the same time. Just incredible… the veggies were all good, but I just wanted to bury my face in the pork.
The BBQ was available chopped, on a plate, in a sandwich, by the lb to go….I visited King’s on several return visits to Petersburg to see the boy friend, or while driving back to NJ to see the family, and since it was right off I-95, I couldn’t miss it.. I had people bring me that bbq if they were going or coming that way…so if you are traveling I-95 north or south, please, do let me know!
So now this map and the possibilities are peaking my interest.. I tell my friend, Linda Mayo Perez Williams (she’s another transplant from parts north and south on the east coast) all about it and she says, “Let’s go!” to which I replied, “When?”
So that’s what this Blog is about. I’m a holistic hairdresser and consultant by trade, Your Grooming Guru, to be exact, and I love to eat, cook and try funky out of the way places. So Linda and I have decided that over the next 5 years, we will be the best part of Thelma and Louise and hit as many of these BBQ huts and homes as we can.. And explore our land as we go! Hang on for the tasty tour!

Chapter 5. November 2014, Wise's BBQ Newberry SC

I have a penchant for quite a few things.. Great food, of course,... my work, networking and hooking people up to each other, and obviously, from this blog, local travel. Especially the mountains.. I love the beach and the Low Country and  don't know If I'd ever leave, but when I drive up I-26 and see that 1st vista of the Smokey's near Tryon, NC, my heart sings!
I also like to write and I think it's a good idea to get things down on paper. So I had gone up to one of my favorite places, Hot Springs, North Carolina and The Sunnybank Inn (Elmer's Place...more on him later...) for a writing retreat, in August of 2013. The teacher was Carolyn Wallace and she was doing a 2.5 day workshop on Writing your Stories.  You know,  the memories that you want to get down as part of that never ending Bucket List. She was a very good teacher, and used lots of prompting to get us to think of the things that were and are important to us, but helped us find a way to JUST START WRITING., which can be the hardest part of any story.
I was so impressed with Carolyn and all I learned, that I had her come down to Charleston, to do a mini workshop for folks in my church. I signed a few friends up to go back to Sunnybank in November of 2014 for another of her workshops...
Yes, the BBQ part is coming, I promise.
So my BBQ cohort, Linda, being one of the participants, goes with me for the weekend. We're on the road and start thinking about food. We had been thinking about BBQ in the Upstate, since we hadn't ventured that way before. That just seems like too much travel for lunch, you know? And we haven't had  time to do a 2 day so far.   Now,  the owner of the Sunnybank Inn, Elmer Hall, makes excellent vegetarian breakfasts and dinners for folks staying in his hostel. So were thinking A) we're hungry and B) we'd better eat earlier than later, so we could enjoy our 1st dinner with the other guests and participants of the workshop.  
So we pull out the trusty technology and the SC BBQ Trail Map once again. We're on the far west side of Columbia, and I asked Linda if she had ever been to Newberry. I had on several occasions for performances at the Newberry Opera House. Totally Cute town! In fact, spent a couple of New Year Eve's there with family and a grandly talented friend, who's an opera singer by trade, and was hired as part of their NYE celebration! 
BBQ... yea.....
We look at the map and on the far side of Newberry, is Wise's BBQ. We look them up, and see that they are only open to the public on Friday an Saturday (catering is the rest of their business). For lunch through dinner.  Well aren't we lucky! Nothing to speak of on the outside, which can often be the case, but the chow made up for it, let me tell you!
We go in and there is a whole steam table for the buffett line... nothing in the steam table, mind you, but a lot of crockpots set up on the top! Like a Church Supper! From BBQ to ribs to bbq and fried chicken, to mac and cheese, green's, slaw, beans...all of it... 
And then we meet the Guy! The Guy who, " Just cooks, cooks cooks...that's all I do is cook!" He was so funny without meaning to be. He talked at the speed of a southern boy who hadn't had company in a while.  He also told us his life story and how he ended up in Newberry.. came down from the upstate to take care of family members, who have all died now, but left him here not knowing what's next. Oh, and he also sews.. all the curtains, aprons and other crafty items for sale in the restaurant.  I laughed ( almost snorted my iced tea) in between bites of succulent chicken and ribs and sides... 

His "cook, cook, cooking" paid off.. we had one of the best meals so far on this journey. I sure hope he figures out what he wants to do, but I also hope the Wise's take good care of him so that bbq stays some that will be hard to beat!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Chapter 4 Columbia.. On the road again! Southern belly

Bacon Seed Beauty #4…On the road again! October 15, 2015. So it’s always hard to choose… which BBQ place to try, and what to do before and after? And it needs to be a day trip... both Linda and my schedules make it hard, so far, to do an overnight.. But soon, very soon! Linda is a good researcher ad looked up exhibits in Columbia museums.  Both of us had been to the Columbia Museum of Art for several of their shows (here we go with those billboards again… That’s how I knew about the Art Museum.), but we hadn’t been to the USC museum. Seems there was a display of the native tribes of SC as well as other southern states.  It just so happens, that part of Linda’s ancestry is Native American. I was ‘jonesin to see something at the relatively new SC State Planetarium…which is in the SC State Museum. So of course we thought we could do it all! Now, we leave about 10-11am on these trips, so lunch is often 1st on the agenda, but this time, with so many things on the schedule, our well laid plan was to do the museum, lunch, planetarium, then other shopping! Then we look on the Trail map… the actual search for a place to for BBQ. So many listed for Columbia area, but many are chain places, that both of us agreed we could do without.  Then I see Southern Belly BBQ…just the name looks great, but wait! Heritage pigs and Organic food, What??? Kind of an oxymoron for BBQ. Definitely our choice. Southern Belly is on Rosewood drive. Not sure if it’s near any part of USC, but it’s well attended. We knew we were in the right place when we saw the big cooker right on the outside of the place. Thank God for GPS. Nice atmosphere and the weather cooperated, so we sat outside on the porch area. Inside is fine too, but dark, and sunlight was calling. They have an extensive list of sandwiches. No platters, buffet or the like, all sandwiches with fun names, like, The King Kahuna, D’jango and Southern Belly Dipper.  All with assorted mouth-watering toppings, but what we loved and wanted to try were the sauces a list of 7, count them 7, kinds to compliment your pork. So not unlike many folks, we had a sampler of the sauces to accompany our sandwiches. A tidbit to explain a little bit about me…Several years ago, I had made a decision to not eat tortured meat, if I could at all help it. I had done the research about feed lot beef, smelly pig farms, crowded chickens, and the way the factory farms often treat their animals and humans with less than ethical standards. Southern Belly’s philosophy and mine worked well together. Their pork was sublime... flavorful, like meat that has been well taken care of and cooked with care.  We took our time and savored our lunch. Nice atmosphere, nice servers and great food! And we missed the planetarium… just too much for one day.  Why rush…another trip!  But we did make it to Five Points to go to one of my favorite shops, 2 G’s on Saluda Ave. A closeout store for women’s clothing and accessories from cool catalogs, consignment boots, and an assortment of home d├ęcor and linens. So, the other trips, I took later in the year with some other friends. To the planetarium and back to the Belly we went … they were impressed as well! And loved the sauces just as much! Next time: Adventures in Myrtle Beach!