Loving the idea of a rustic wedding but don’t want to do the whole barn-haybale-kerchief thing? Elegant-ize your event with a St. Simons Island Wedding at the King and Prince! Shrimp and Grits are a local, down-home fare – just perfect for a relaxed brunch or elegant reception. Our Shrimp and Grits recipe has won the ‘People Choice’ prize at the Wild Georgia Shrimp & Grits Festival – they are that good! If you can’t make it to our restaurant or just want a taste of St. Simons Island at home, click here for our famous recipe!
Elayne Spencer took a recent trip to The King and Prince for fun, food & relaxation. She wasn’t disappointed! Read on… For more of Elayne’s stories, visit www.homeschoolingparent.com
Experiencing the history, beauty, tranquility and the food of St. Simons Island
By Elayne Spencer
Part One: In this installment, I am focusing on the food I found while staying on St. Simons Island. In my next installment, I will share with you the historical highlights of the Island, making it a perfect place for a fall field trip.
If the coast of Georgia isn’t on your mind as a destination for a family/educational get-away, you’ll want to add it to your list immediately. If you’re trying to work in
an affordable “field trip” for your homeschooling family, fall or early spring are exceptional times to visit the area. The rates are lower than in the summer months, but the days are warm and the nights are cool… perfect weather for exploring all the island has to offer.
Nestled among the coastline and barrier islands of Georgia, Brunswick and the
Golden Isles welcome you to a truly exhilarating expanse of sea, sun, and fun. There is so much do and see! Yet, just relaxing and taking in the beauty of these fabled shores will give you enough wonderful memories to last for years. After experiencing the hospitality and beauty of St. Simons Island, it’s apparent why Georgia stays in the minds of so many, evoking images of open arms and peaceful dreams.
There’s a peaceful, laid-back feel on St. Simons Island. It’s quiet. It’s established. It has many year-round residents. Yet, you feel at home. When you enter restaurants and shops you are treated not as a guest but as a friend. There’s a lack of pretentiousness that personifies the soul of the South.
YUM YUM YUM
And the food? I’m not sure I could find better food. Anywhere.
There are foods that I have not been particularly drawn to in the past. Before I left for this trip, however, I decided to open up my mind (and my palate) and view every culinary exposure as an adventure. I was not disappointed.
After checking in at The King and Prince Resort, the adventure began! At dinner, I was seated next to Vinny D’Agostino,Food & Beverage Director at The King and Prince. Besides having a contagious and delightful sense of fun and adventure, Vinny has an amazing grasp on the nuances of food preparation, history and creation. Throughout the rest of the trip, I stayed close to Vinny and experienced food I’d never been brave enough to try. The first culinary treat was Apalachiacola Oysters on the half shell with sweet corn, asparagus, tomato and cilantro vinaigrette. I planned to pretend I liked the dish, but as it turned out, no acting skills were necessary. It was delectable! No one was more surprised than I. I think Vinny had a napkin handy … just in case.
We were joined by Chef Jeff Kaplan and Bud St. Pierre, Director of Sales and Marketing. Dinner was prepared before our eyes and I never expected to be so smitten with grits! I’d had grits before, but none that rival the ones served to us that night … Wild Georgia Low Country Shrimp and Grits.
I love shrimp prepared any way. Fried, boiled, grilled … you name it. I have eaten shrimp all over the country, but there is something that distinguishes Wild Georgia shrimp from any other shrimp I’ve ever eaten. They’re unusually sweet. According toWild Georgia Shrimp, they have their own unique flavor. The flesh is firm and the color is fresh. Wild Georgia Shrimp grow naturally. According to Monterey Bay Aquarium, “Southeast Asian wetlands, especially mangrove forests, are being destroyed to create commercial shrimp farms. These ponds build up muck which can cause shrimp to have pollutants or disease.” Yuck. There’s none of that muck in this sweet, succulent shrimp.
Chef Kaplan prepared Shrimp and Grits in a Tasso Cream Sauce. If you’d like to try your hand at it, here’s the recipe. I’m pretty sure the addition of asiago cheese is a nod to Vinny’s Italian roots. I’ve never met an Italian spin I didn’t like.
King and Prince Shrimp & Grits in a Tasso Cream Sauce Recipe
1 cup heaving cream
1/3 cup tasso ham
¼ cup kernel corn
¼ cup diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
½ cup wild Georgia shrimp
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
¼ cup asiago cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preparation: In a sauce pan, sauté the Georgia shrimp with Cajun seasoning using olive oil. In another pan, sauté tasso ham, corn, tomatoes, and green onions: add heavy cream and asiago cheese: let simmer two minutes. Add shrimp and serve over stone ground grits of your choice.
I could go on and on about the food. (Too late … I think I already have!) We visitedSouthern Soul Barbeque, housed in a converted 1940s gas station. All the smoking is done with wood. Prior to our visit, Guy Fieri from Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives visited. (Watch here…)
Among our group, we tried nearly every kind of smoked meat on the menu – it was all delicious. My mouth is still watering over the fried green beans. Delicious! Take a look at the menu … it’s so affordable. It’s also gone through its share of challenges and hasrisen from the ashes, so to speak, only a month or so after being visited by Guy.
Palmer’s Cafe is an Artist Studio as Well as a Restaurant
Heading to the downtown area, we visited Palmer’s Cafe to see Palmer Fortune and his beloved team. I can’t think of a breakfast food I like more than Eggs Benedict. Palmer’s puts a distinctive, southern spin on its version. Their version of Eggs Benedict is fondly called “The Southern.” It is two poached eggs, collards and ham served on an open faced biscuit with homemade ‘pot-licker’ gravy. In place of the usual Canadian Bacon, there was a thick, crispy fried green tomato. I have spent nights awake thinking about that scrumptious tomato. I grew up on fried green tomatoes, but they were nothing like the one I had at Palmer’s. (Sorry, Mom.) Check out their breakfast menu.
Chef Dave Snyder of Halyards surpassed all of our expectations with a sampling of what must have been every single item he serves at his restaurant. Every selection on the menu is prepared fresh – seafood, beef, poultry, game, sauces, soups and sweets. And every single thing is made from scratch. How can you not love a place that hangs its hat on using fresh food and making everything from scratch? While my mouth watered while tasting his luscious the seafood, I have to say … the grilled vegetables were some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Probably because they were fresh … And made from scratch.
And Vinny D’Agostino? Are you reading this? I am waiting on my batch of homemade Limoncello to arrive … It’s been a hot summer here! I need a refreshing treat!
Special thanks to my fellow journalists and Leigh Cort. I look forward to perhaps
crossing paths with all of you again. Maybe a reunion?
Lewis Colam is rowing to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s. The King and Prince hosted Lewis for a night of much needed rest from his voyage.
The King & Prince Resort Celebrates a True Hero!
We have spoken about the amazing King and Prince Resort in many articles over the past few months. We have spoken about the amazing members of their incredibly gifted staff. We have spoken about the luxury that each and every room provides. We‘ve presented you with the lasting images of the glorious scenery that involves flocks of nesting Sandhill Cranes and dolphins swimming in the surf as you walk along the shore of the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. But there’s so much more to say…
It’s been 75 years that this amazing resort has been entertaining guests. Seventy-five years of hospitality that has been found to be second to none. Recently, however, King and Prince was able to honor a hero in the minds of many, and offered their incredible hospitality to a man who has taken on a seriously difficult challenge for the purpose of bringing much-needed funds and worldwide awareness to the issue of Alzheimer’s. His name is Lewis Colam, and by the time I’m finished telling you about him, you will want to jump ‘on board’ with his spectacular quest and root for him every step of the way!
On March 3rd, Lewis Colam set off from Miami in a fifteen-foot, open-decked row boat (which offers no coverage from the wind, rain and whatever else Mother Nature has in mind to throw at him. His mission is to sail 1400 miles along the East Coast in order to raise $20,000 dollars for the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. (www.ALZinfo.org).
The Fisher Center is comprised of internationally renowned scientists under the direction of Nobel laureate, Dr. Paul Greengard. If you do not yet know, Dr. Greengard has been at the forefront of seminal research that has provided the conceptual framework for all modern day investigations into Alzheimer’s disease. The Fisher Center, headquartered in New York City, works with other leading research institutions around the world. Dedicated to three main goals, the Fisher Center strives to understand the cause of Alzheimer’s; find a cure for the horrific disease; and improve the care of people who live with the disease, in order to enhance their quality of life – not to mention offering support for the families and caregivers who must watch the devastation of their loved ones.
Lewis Colam is one of millions who had to watch a person he cared very much for succumb to Alzheimer’s, and he truly wanted to do something to bring this disease into the headlines. He wanted to take on a mission that would bring people from across the globe to their computer’s and cell phones – creating a team that would work together to stop this illness in its tracks.
What people will be most surprised about is the fact that Lewis has no prior rowing experience. Like so many who are out there rowing, biking, and heralding their expeditions in the media, Lewis is accomplishing his feat with absolutely no support. What I mean by this is the fact that there are no vehicle’s or people following him to help him along the way, or to watch out for his safety; he is completely alone, with not even a motor or sail for support. To do something like this is amazing, but when you add in the fact that Lewis has no seafaring experience whatsoever, you – like me – will become immediately mind-boggled by the entire journey.
I was lucky enough to speak with Lewis on his boat this afternoon, and he is still in good spirits. In fact, he likes the ‘traveling’ part the best; he loves the scenery and exploring all those hidden areas that most of us have never even gotten the chance to see. One of those hidden areas is on St. Simons Island, where the King and Prince Resort has its immaculate home base. The marshes, the vivid colors of the flowers – a picture that only Monet could do justice to. Lewis was offered a stay at the King and Prince as he ‘sailed by’ on his mission, and Lewis told me that the short time he spent there was beyond memorable.
He spoke of how lovely the staff was and how incredible it felt to be treated to a room surrounded by beautiful pools, tennis courts, etc. He said it was extremely comforting, after being out in the elements, to have a taste of real luxury.
Before the sun sets tomorrow, assuming Mother Nature is supportive, Lewis will be halfway through with his 1400 mile journey along the East Coast of America. I can’t speak enough about how (I suppose it’s cynical to insert the word ‘surprised’ in this sentence) so, let’s just go with say emotional I became after speaking with him. This particular journey is occurring with no PR, no agent, no headlines, no ‘future book contract’ in the works if Lewis achieves his goal…nothing. This is simply a man who’s doing something completely unselfish. He‘s trying to shine a light on one of the most frightening diseases to behold; and not only for the precious soul that’s diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but also for the friends and family who must watch the decline with absolutely no way of helping the situation.
Lewis has also been most generous with his own website, adding some pretty fun and cool features that his followers and fans can use in order to feel as if they’re an actual part of his journey. Lewis has a real time GPS on his website that shows everyone exactly where he’s located at the moment. He ‘checks in’ every day, blogs, and leaves a short audio message to update listeners on all the trials, tribulations and blessings that have occurred during his trek. He even posts updates on Twitter and Facebook.
One of the most beautiful facets of his website is the photo album that Lewis has kept. From the pictures of people who have greeted Lewis at his stops to the images of the toll that the trip has taken thus far – fans and followers get an in-depth view of each and every day that Lewis braves the sea.
By welcoming this amazing man and providing the red-carpet treatment, the King and Prince Resort certainly honored a true hero that has taken on an incredible challenge for all the right reasons.
I am calling to all you generous and amazing readers out there to join with the King and Prince Resort – and the giving donors who have already been a part of this challenge! Help Lewis meet his goal, raise the money he desires, and join the fight to find a cure for Alzheimer’s once and for all!
Until Next Time, Everybody.
Head RIGHT NOW to these Lewis Colam links and be amazed!
Marc d’Entremont writes an article at Suite101 about his visit to The King and Prince Resort and eating their Shrimp & Grits, a Southern Culinary Tradition.
King and Prince Resort’s Shrimp and Grits in a Tasso Cream Sauce
The King & Prince Beach & Golf Resort, St. Simons Island, GA, finesses a classic dish served in every southern dinner elevating Shrimp and Grits to stardom.
It was the end of a pleasant sunny early November day in the now quiet off-season of St. Simons Island, one of Georgia’s premier barrier island destinations. The elegant 1935 King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort , listed on the National Historic Register and Historic Hotels of America, set a table befitting its Old World heritage. The formal place settings with an array of flatware and crystal stemware lay on starched white linen lit by softly glowing candles. The guests are not what the media would identify as royalty or even VIPs. We’re nearly two dozen jaded, or nearly jaded, travel and food journalists – critics to the core.
Southern Culinary Traditions
We were the guests of The King and Prince. Our four day tour to explore the culinary traditions of southeastern Georgia was organized by Leigh Cort Publicity. Such media trips involve a considerable amount of activity, not the least of which is eating and drinking. To make an impression worthy of an article the fare has to be more than just free.
Tradition versus an Old Standby
Personally my foodie radar was picking up more an old diner standby rather than a fine tradition when the itinerary indicated that dinner would include a Shrimp and Grits cooking demonstration. Google any of a dozen recipes and discover everything from bullion cubes to extra sharp cheddar used to mask tasteless farm raised frozen shrimp mounded on top of instant grits. Believe me I’ve had my full of disappointing versions.
Chef Dwayne Austell and Vinny D’Agostino
It took only a moment after entering the dining room for my nose to detect a subtle aroma of warm smoked meat. It was emanating from the chafing dish that was keeping the sauce at serving temperature. I should have guessed that a Johnson & Wales University graduate, Vinny D’Agostino, Food and Beverage Director, and Georgia Low Country native Sous Chef Dwayne Austell would rise above the ordinary.
Wild Shrimp and Tasso Ham
Quality ingredients are essential for a great dish and there is no comparison between farm raised and wild shrimp. Fortunately, much of America’s shrimp is wild and the package will be labeled appropriately. The high tides and lush nutrient rich salt marshes of low country and barrier islands provide an excellent clean environment for Georgia’s abundant shrimp. The Georgia White Shrimp is especially plump, meaty and flavorful. Yet the secret to Chef Austell’s outstanding Shrimp and Grits is the addition of smoky, cured Tasso ham – an essential ingredient in much of southern cajun cuisine. What is actually a pork butt rather than a ham gives the cajun spiced light cream sauce a rich flavor that lingers in the mouth.
The Recipe – for 2 servings
2 cups heavy cream
2/3rd cup diced Tasso ham
1/2 cup fresh or frozen kernel corn
1/2 cup seeded diced tomatoes
4 Tablespoons diced green onions
4 to 6 ounces fresh shelled wild shrimp
2 Tablespoons cajun seasoning mix
1/2 cup grated asiago cheese
salt and pepper to taste
First prepare grits using the best recipe I know for Creamy Stone Ground Grits
Add just enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of two saute pans and heat over medium setting.
In one pan add the shrimp and cajun seasoning. Saute no more than 5 minutes. Overcooking results in tough shrimp.
In the second pan add the ham and corn and saute for a couple minutes. Add the tomatoes and green onions, combine and saute a few minutes more. Add the heavy cream and asiago cheese. Bring to a simmer and cook for two minutes.
Combine the shrimp and all the pan juices into the sauce.
Serve over the prepared grits.
Vinny D’Agostino, a sommelier as well, paired the entree with a nice Georgia Chardonnay from Frogtown Cellars. The minimal acidity of a Chardonnay, preferably unoaked, works well with the creamy sauce. A California or Washington State Chardonnay would be a fine substitute since Georgia wines are not widely distributed.
Even if you’re not dining a few hundred feet from the ocean, this fine recipe from the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort can conjure memories of warm lazy days under oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss and sea gulls laughing overhead.
The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort participated for the very first time in the Shrimp and Grits Festival on Jekyll Island. The event was three days long from September 16th to 18th and began with a $3 sample night on Friday. Live music continued all 3 days with arts and crafts vendors as well. There were thousands of people who attended, it was kid friendly and had a great vibe. The festival is held at a perfect time of year and is located on the gorgeous, historical grounds of Jekyll Island. The King and Prince served up Shrimp & Grits in a Tasso Cream Sauce all weekend long and it was fabulous! We were thrilled that our recipe was liked by all and are looking forward to serving it in our restaurant in the near future. Our Food and Beverage Director, Vinny D’Agostino and Executive Chef, Robyn Gomez are very excited about entering the cooking competition next year and hope to see you there. Want to try our Tasso Cream Shimp & Grits at home? Here’s the Recipe for this amazing dish.
Charlene Peters writes writes about her travels to The King and Prince and St. Simons Island on WickedLocal.
Taste of Travel: Reigned in by the King and Prince Resort
By Charlene Peters /Wicked Local Marblehead
Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 03:36 PM
Swampscott —All the hype leading to the royal marriage between Kate Middleton and Prince William of Wales is likely to evoke the need for a bit of grandeur in your own life. So, if you’re in need of getting the royal treatment, there’s an affordable destination with a five-star golf course and staff that will treat you like crowned royalty — and you’ll be in surroundings fit for a king.
Lined with oak trees over 200 years old, it’s the Spanish moss that will grab your attention. Draped on limbs that “bough” down to greet you with southern hospitality, and streets dotted with blooming azaleas, roses and more floral landscape, St. Simons Island in Georgia spans 18 miles along a salt marsh that keeps sweet Georgia shrimp happily fed and spawning. Although peaches are what come to the minds of most when this low country Southern state is mentioned — on St. Simons Island, it’s all about shrimp. In fact, Georgia has the largest marshland in acres and is the largest producer of seafood on the eastern coast.
Shrimp with grits, peel ‘n’ eat boiled shrimp, fried shrimp — whatever y’all are in the mood for, you can get it at St. Simons. If you’re not sure how you want your shrimp prepared, or want to try other seafood tastes of the area, such as grouper or flounder, head to King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, a family-friendly, affordable spot on the island for the Friday night seafood buffet; you’ll be guaranteed to get your fill of seafood, as well as prime rib and an assortment of desserts, such as peach cobbler, of course.
Paula Murphy, sous chef at KP, knows her grits (acronym: “girls raised in the south”). Murphy advises seasoning grits as you cook them — don’t wait until they’re fully cooked or “they won’t work,” she says. Cooking lessons are part of KP’s offerings, held in spacious rooms with windows that overlook the sea. During high tide, the beach disappears and all you see is water (you’ll feel as if you’re on a cruise ship, but without the seasickness).
A walk, bike or Lighthouse Trolley ride off-resort will lead you to the Left Bank Art Gallery, where owner, Millie Huie Wilcox, upon request, will regale you with stories of her life, including her past fashion modeling career in New York City, as well as how she came to own an art gallery on St. Simons Island. The artwork, some of which features artists from France, hosts plenty of talented regional artists (my personal favorite: Jane Smithers of North Carolina). Following a fill of culture, be sure to take time to explore the fantastic shopping districts for women, and take a break at Palmer’s, the newest breakfast and lunch eatery, a must-stop for visitors who want to experience a taste of the south. Try the Southern poached eggs with collard greens accompanied by a ham and buttermilk biscuit topped with pot licker gravy, or Mary’s chicken salad sandwich with the hollowed Hoagie filled with ricotta cheese and sun dried tomato chicken salad. Hey, even the Texas-cut French toast stuffed with a strawberry cream will more than satisfy the ficklest of foodies.
Until you reign at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, here are a few shrimp recipes that will catapult you down south.
Shrimp and Grits
– recipes courtesy of King and Prince Resort
1 lb. shrimp (26-30 count)
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup julienned red pepper
1/2 cup julienned green pepper
1/2 cut julienned onion
8 beef bouillon cubes
1 quart water
Dash of salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
4 oz. Burgundy wine
Sauté onions, mushrooms and peppers in butter. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add salt and cayenne pepper, re1duce heat. Add shrimp and simmer for 5 minutes. Add beef bouillon cubes and mix well, add water and bring to a boil. Thicken with half cornstarch and half water mixture.
2 cups stone ground grits
1 quart chicken stock
1 quart milk
1-1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup water
Bring chicken stock and milk to boil. Add grits, cook for 5 minutes. Add cheese, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add butter, stir well and cook for 10 minutes.
Serves 6 to 8
Shrimp & Crab Seafood Lasagna
2 cups wild shrimp (preferably from Georgia), medium size, defrosted and dried off on paper towels (you can also use/add crab, scallops, etc.)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 scallions cut in 1/2-inch pieces (greens included)
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1-1/2 cups béchamel (when making sauce, use only 1 cup)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dry white wine
Few threads saffron
Cayenne pepper (optional, to taste)
3/4 cup Fontina, provolone and mozzarella cheese mix, shredded
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
8 lasagna sheets, cooked “al dente”
Salt and ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter, sauté the garlic until transparent — do not brown or burn. Add the shrimp and toss over high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add scallions and parsley, stir and continue cooking until shrimp lose their transparency. Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare the béchamel using just 1 cup of milk as you will be adding the cream and white wine to it. When the béchamel is ready, stir in the cream, wine, saffron, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste. Blend thoroughly and remove the sauce from the heat.
Spread about a third of the sauce over the bottom of an 8- by- 10-inch round pie pan. Sprinkle half the cheese mixture (Fontina/mozzarella) over the sauce. Scatter about half the shellfish evenly over the cheese. Cover with half the lasagna sheets. Repeat the layers finishing with the last sheets of lasagna. Cover with the remaining sauce and Parmesan and a few threads of saffron (and some ground pepper if you wish).
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until topping is golden brown (keep an eye on it — you don’t want the top to burn). Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 4 to 6
Copyright 2011 Marblehead Reporter. Some rights reserved
***Update: Since this post was written, the resort has undergone extensive renovations. Please visit our website for current information on restaurants and other amenities.***
Judy Wells, writer of the blog Travel On The Level, recounts her visit to The King and Prince. She mentions the 75 year history, resort amenities, and her favorite King’s Tavern meals.
Happy Birthday, St. Simons Island Hotel
When a St. Simons Island, GA, hotel celebrates its 75th anniversary, you know it’s been doing something right.
In the case of the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, it’s been doing a lot of things right.
First there was location – on the ocean with dance floors inside and out. Then there was policy. The other hotel, The Cloister on Sea Island, was marketed to the well-to-do and the K and P opened as a private dance club. After being leveled by two mysterious fires, K and P was rebuilt and opened to the public. In the meantime, The Cloister had become almost a private club and enclave for Midwesterners. K and P’s live bands and dances were the hit of the island. Didn’t take long for K and P to be known as the fun place to go.
Fancy, too. Rooms, food and service have always been important so it was where you went for those special occasions.
It still is. K and P’s grand buffets – seafood on Friday night, brunch on Sunday and breakfast daily – are famous. Lodgings have all been updated and enlarged, varying from standard rooms or oceanfront suites to one- to three-bedroom condos and individual cottages.
Of course there are kids’ activities, a spa, tennis and a challenging and beautiful Joe Lee golf course at the Hampton Club. But another set of amenities makes K and P unique. You don’t often find a resort, especially in the South, with outdoor and indoor pools plus a wide swath of oceanfront beach. Actually, there are five pools, including the heated one indoors.
Best of all for Levelers, it’s on a very flat island.
Warning: Be careful if booking a room in the hotel. Preserving yet updating and adding to the original building made for some strange configurations and passageways. Ask for a room near the elevator because avoiding stairs adds to the amount of walking you must do in the process.
I and several other travel writers were invited to K&P for a special birthday celebration which included an anniversary dinner featuring seven decades of Southern coastal cuisine. It was grand.
Executive Chef Robyn Gomez demonstrated his cooking techniques and let us in on the recipes for the resort’s popular Shrimp and Grits and their yummy Oatmeal Raisin Muffins. I’ll share these with you via posts to http://foodafar.blogspot.com/.
So happy birthday, K and P, and many more to come!