Gayla Grits and Sauteed Spinach at Steel Magnolias

No, it’s not Tuesday. No, I didn’t just whip up an amazing meal… but I did just eat one that I have to share. My family and I like to explore new places we visit – or in this case, new places we live. Since it was a sunny and cool Saturday morning, we decided to head into town and check out what it had to offer. Valdosta is a cute town that’s making an effort to revitalize the downtown area with new shops and restaurants. It provides a more personal alternative to shopping and dining in one of the many area strip malls.

After wandering the streets a while, my husband suggested we grab a bite to eat. I whipped out my phone and checked out the list of restaurants featured on the valdostamainstreet.com website. We ended up at Steel Magnolias, a small restaurant that is “taking the roots of classic Southern cuisine and showing a new way of looking at them.” They also use products from local farms and artisans, which appeals to me on a number of levels.

Anyway, back to the delicious food. My husband got a bacon burger and baked macaroni and cheese (which he told me was very tasty) and my son got chicken fingers and French fries (not high class, but definitely fresher and more tender than any other place we’ve eaten in quite a while). As for me, I wanted something traditionally Southern, so I decided to try two appetizers: sauteed spinach with golden raisins & almonds and Gayla grits with bleu cheese, honey, and walnuts.20161022_115722

Now, I’ve had grits before and they were probably only good because the pasty mess had been smothered in butter and maple syrup. These, however, had a hearty texture and lightly buttery flavor. They went perfectly with the sweet honey, creamy bleu cheese, and crunchy walnuts. Moreover, they paired nicely with the garlicky spinach. My only complaint would be that flavor of the raisins and almonds got a lost  under the garlic in the spinach saute. It was a truly unique and satisfying lunch! One of these days, we may have to go back and order nothing but dessert because the pumpkin brulee, brown Betty, and classic carrot cake all sounded delicious, albeit too rich after our filling lunch. If the other restaurants we’d like to try in Valdosta are this good, we are in for a treat!

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