Monday, August 1, 2016

Coastal Georgia Eats - Skipper's Fish Camp (Darien) and Willie's Wee-Nee Wagon (Brunswick)

In between a Chicago trip and our impending move to New York, the Hackknife Family somehow found the energy to visit the Carolina Shore this summer, heading to Ocean Isle Beach, NC as we have done now for many years. Our week at the shore was packed full of quality pool and beach time with many relatives on my dad's side (read: not much dining out and, sadly, no pilgrimage to Scott's BBQ this go-round), but I'm happy to report we made noteworthy stops for lunch on the long drive up and back from the Canteen, both times in the Georgia Lowcountry just east of I-95.

Stop #1 was a Jane and Michael Stern recommendation on (an indispensable tool for locating good and humble grub no matter where you may be wandering in this great country, I might add). Skipper's Fish Camp is situated within spitting distance of the shrimp boats bobbing along the Darien River and, as you would guess, fresh seafood is the main draw here.

The restaurant isn't quite as hardscrabble as the surrounding town (apparently, business has been good), but the menu offers some unique offerings, including these broiled oysters topped with spinach, Parmesan cheese, and a Key lime sauce, a combination that wouldn't seem to work at first consideration (surprisingly, it does work, yielding a pleasant tang to cut the rich cheese and briny oyster meat).

The sandwich shops in New Orleans have little to fear from Skipper's fried shrimp po' boy (it didn't take long to disintegrate into pieces); however, the more formidable dish in this case was the house sweet potato souffle (that's the little white bowl in the top of the photo), a calorie-dense slurry of butter, brown sugar, eggs, walnuts, and starch.  The Sterns wrote that it's sweet enough to be dessert and I would concur with that viewpoint.

On the return trip, we pulled off the expressway only a few miles from our first lunch stop, this time in the similarly-sedate Brunswick, GA, home of Willie's Wee-Nee Wagon, a fixture in town since 1975.

A favorite of college students (the campus of Coastal Georgia University is across the street) and local residents alike, one would believe that hot dogs are the house specialty upon glancing at the menu (Willie's sells 8 different combinations).  If you let your eyes drift slightly to the right, though, you'll note a sign that states patrons will be awarded $2,000 if they can identify a better pork chop sandwich in Glynn County (allegedly, no one has ever cashed in on this offer).

Far be it for me to pass on a challenge like that, so I ordered up said pork chop sandwich and was promptly blown out of the swamp, feasting on a glorious mess of hoagie roll, tender pork pieces (pounded thin and grilled on the flattop, not really a "chop" per se, but much easier to consume in its existing form), caramelized onions, and bright yellow mustard.  If I were Willie (or his descendants, to be more precise - he passed on in 2009), I'd up that wager and expand my radius of pork chop sandwich dominance to include the whole Eastern Seaboard since I doubt anyone else is serving one this outstanding.

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