FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK :: Sleepover in Savannah

by Harvey Gold on April 15, 2011

Coming home from Florida, our first stop was also Savannah, because we LOVE Savannah. What serves as unbearable heat, humidity and stickiness in other parts of the south is described by us as “sultry” in Savannah. You get the picture. We landed at one of our favorite hotels, The Hilton DeSoto :

” Built in 1890 on the site of Oglethorpe’s Barracks, the original DeSoto was the town’s unremitting purveyor of hospitality. Celebrities, dignitaries, and presidents were among guests, setting the bar for Savannah’s tourism. Today the Hilton Savannah DeSoto continues to stand as one of The Historic District’s leading full-service hotels, providing an unmatched setting for leisure and business travelers.

A sitting room dedicated to the history of the DeSoto affords guests a glimpse of the hotel’s past. The original crystal chandeliers, which were once described as “sparkling clusters of jewels,” still shine brilliantly in the hotel’s entryway.”

We checked in (nice rooms, nice views) and headed down to the river, aka Tourist Land, which was fine, as we don’t live there and ARE tourists. Hungry , we settled on The River House Restaurant, as they had a salmon dish Dolli salivated over as we examined menus on the strip:  Salmon Anna Marie Baked Atlantic Salmon Crowned with Whipped Potatoes, Caramelized Onions and Garnished with Pesto. Waiting for our table, we  sat at the bar where I started with a Patron Silver and Dolli an undrinkable Margarita. But before we left for our table, having struck up a conversation with the bartender, (who tried to save Dolli’s drink, then graciously spilled it at no charge). we learned about the signature drink of, if I’m not mistaken, not just this establishment, but the district in general: Chatham Artillary Punch.

A lifesaver pink color, much like the rum punch served as tropical welcome drinks at Caribbean resorts, on sunset cruises and the like, thankfully, it tasted nothing like it.

The color and the recipe (which was printed on the placemats for this eatery) would suggest Long Island Iced tea, i.e. every alcohol in the Anti-Personnel Stinger recipe book with enough fruity components to make it a sweet but toxic beverage. We were completely surprised to find it… or at least this batch, drier and really tasty.

This, of course was bizarre as they follow the recipe as listed. We’re unsure if all this in these proportions would fit in a standard 60” bathtub, suggesting descriptive words such as BIG and PARTY, as opposed to SUBTLE and TASTY. But subtle and tasty it was. Who knew? Kudos Savannah.

 

While expensive (buy a burger in Times Square recently?), the food was, happily, good to excellent ( I sampled their Crab Bisque, much to my delight, a little spicy, and the Crab cakes w. mango Chutney), the waiter a truly interesting and accommodating fellow, these tourists quite pleased with the experience at The River House.

After dinner, a nice walk back to the hotel, on the way, a stop in at a late night gourmet grocer to pick up a six of New Belgium 1554, one of Fat Tire, and a 12 of their Ranger IPA to bring home. That night we decided to end head scratching and print NB’s distribution map on our facebook page, and re-print it here. Headquartered in northern Ohio, we at YBN want to tell you how happy we are for MOST of you, America. Sigh.

* We urge you to zoom in to read the recipe, and the history behind Chatham Artillary Punch. The recipe actually yields 8 gallons, each gallon serving 30 people…. or a party of 4, depending on who you ask.

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