We had a great time in Myrtle Beach on Tuesday night, Wednesday, and Thursday morning, but it was time to head up the coast to North Carolina. We headed up Hwy 17 North toward Little River, SC and drove right on through to Calabash, NC for some shopping and to grab some famous Calabash seafood for lunch.
Callahan’s Nautical Gifts and Christmas Shop
We walked into the side entrance of Callahan’s Gift Shop and turned to the right and there it was. Although it was April, it was suddenly December and Christmas punched me in the face with its music and smells of cinnamon and Santa Claus’ musk. Every year for our anniversary, my wife and I find an ornament for our Christmas tree from wherever we went on our anniversary trip; that’s the only reason we ended up at the Christmas store. Sorry, not my thing. We found our ornament, regardless, and had it personalized with the year so that we could remember our trip.
We then went through the rest of the gift shop, finding t-shirts for ourselves and family, looking at stickers and trinkets, and tasting fudge when we got to the fudge shop. Oh man…the fudge. Not only did they have the traditional chocolate, peanut butter, and vanilla flavors, but they also had may unique flavors to taste. We sampled their seasonal strawberry flavors, made with real, local strawberries. These flavors were strawberry, strawberry walnut, and strawberry cheesecake. They were all so fresh-tasting and delicious. The server even said that they have someone that orders their strawberry fudge all the way from Montana when it is in season. Now that’s dedication! There was no way we could walk away from trying their other flavors as the strawberry was so delicious. We continued trying the others: pecan praline, divinity (oh my God this one…it was marshmallow fudge and it was so chewy!), dreamsicle, and chocolate praline. If you are ever near Calabash, you’d be doing yourself a great disservice to not stop by Callahan’s fudge shop.
**The Boundary House**
When arriving to The Boundary House the first thing one notices is the beautiful white building surrounded with a colorful array of flowers and shrubs. Walking through the front doors, one will feel like they have entered the innards of an elegant ship with polished wood everywhere around. There is a sunken dining area in the center of the restaurant with two rowboats suspended above in a lofted area. The decor and atmosphere truly gives diners the feeling that they have just entered a sea vessel to enjoy some of the freshest seafood that they have ever tasted; and they certainly deliver.
We were seated by the hostess and provided with our menus and wine list and were promptly asked for our drink order. My wife had a specialty drink called The Mae West made with frozen piña colada, frozen strawberry daiquiri, and rum. I ordered one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails; a Cherry Limeade, made with cherry vodka, sprite, and some other flavors, garnished with a lime wheel, cherry and the glass was rimmed with sugar; it was amazing! We also ordered a basket of freshly baked croissants, drizzled with honey butter, freshly made clam chowder, and a caesar salad as appetizers.
The clam chowder was delicious; the best I’ve had outside of New England, with plenty of chunks of clam meat, potatoes, and LOADED with flavor. No extra salt or pepper was necessary and that says a lot for a soup. The croissants were amazing; hot, fresh, soft, and flaky and the honey butter made them unbelievably good. We couldn’t get enough.
For our entrées, we ordered the Clark’s Combo where you can pick from Large Shrimp (blackened, fried, or grilled), Fried Select Oysters, Carolina Flounder (blackened, fried, or grilled), or Fried Calabash Crab Cakes. We chose Fried Flounder, Grilled Shrimp, and Fried Calabash Crab Cakes. The combo was served with homemade hushpuppies, tartar sauce, aioli for the crab cake, and a fresh-made side item and we selected the garlic and cheddar mashed potatoes. At this point, I have thought about just leaving the photos to speak for themselves because I’m not sure that any words of mine could express just how delicious this meal was.
Now the photo above does not show the crab cake well, but you can see just how large the Flounder was as well as the Grilled Shrimp and the rest of the meal. Let’s start with the Flounder. Not only was it one of the largest Flounder filets I’ve ever had, but the breading was spiced just right and the fish, itself, was juicy, soft, flaky, and more delicious than any I’ve ever had. The Grilled Shrimp tasted like most Grilled Shrimp, but what put these above the rest was the freshness. These shrimp tasted like Forest Gump had just brought in a fresh catch on the dock down the street and sold it to The Boundary House just because I was coming to town. It was that good. Now, to the Crab Cakes.
Oh. My. B’gah…the Crab Cakes. As you can see from the photo, these were no ordinary, microwaved, more-filling-than-crab-meat crab cakes. These were just-caught-by-Bubba-Gump-packed-with-REAL-crab-meat Crab Cakes. These Crab Cakes were not only stuffed with real crab meat, not that imitation crap, but they were also seasoned and fried to perfection, leaving the outside crispy with a light crunch and leaving the inside juicy and fall-apart delicious. These were hands-down the best Crab Cakes I have ever had and that’s saying a lot. There’s only one other place that can match these crab cakes and that’s at Belford’s in the City Market in Savannah, GA; but that’s a story for another time. 😉
Our waitress asked us how we enjoyed our meal and the manager, Rey Mikhail, came over to ask the same. I told them both that this dining experience was one of the best we had ever had; not only because the food was so delicious, but also because the service was above and beyond good, with a focus on our satisfaction. The manager was very pleased to hear this, as one would imagine, but he began asking us what brought us to the restaurant and so on. We explained that we were celebrating our Anniversary during this trip and I told him that I was definitely doing a write-up of the restaurant on my blog. He then asked if we would allow him to bring us one of their award-winning desserts for our Anniversary. We couldn’t stand to take another bite, but he told us that he’d be happy if we only took a taste because it was that good. I’m not one to turn down award-winning desserts so we said bring it on. And ho-lee-shit was it the right decision.
Their award-winning dessert is a house-made Bread Pudding. This bread pudding is no ordinary bread pudding, however. This bread pudding is made with their delicious croissants and topped with cinnamon and a homemade Vanilla Bourbon sauce and served with vanilla ice cream. There aren’t words to describe this dessert so we’ll use a non-word: uh-may-zing. The bread pudding was light and fluffy and filled with flavor all by itself, but once you get a taste of the Vanilla Bourbon sauce, melted ice cream, and whipped cream, it’s a flavor overload and I’m not sure that my tastebuds have recovered, or if they ever will.
Luckily, we were in Calabash during the off-season and were able to be seated as soon as we walked into the restaurant. However, if you know you’re going to Calabash during the tourist season, give them a call about a week beforehand and make a reservation if your party is 4-10 people or so. If your party is larger, give them about a month notice. This may sound like a bit much to you, but trust me, it is MORE than worth it. You won’t regret it. If you do, I’m not sure you know what good food is :p
After having such an amazing dining experience at The Boundary House we decided it was time to head up to Holden Beach and relax for the next few days with my grandparents. We stopped at a few surf shops and gift shops, and a pet store for our girls on the way up, but we were ready to get to Holden and just kick back and relax after having such a busy couple of days. Here, we walked on the beach, talked with my grandparents, ate at a local favorite, Jerome’s Steaks and Seafood for lunch, and relaxed.
Jerome’s Steaks and Seafood
Jerome’s was a great experience. We went for lunch on a Friday for their buffet and boy, did it had a full spread. The buffet offered something for everyone: corn, southern green beans, rice, mashed potatoes, gravy, fried chicken, fried whitefish, fried shrimp, pot roast with carrots and potatoes, kielbasa and potatoes, pork roast and gravy, turnip greens, hushpuppies, biscuits, a full salad bar, and a dessert bar with brownies, cobblers, and soft serve ice cream. This buffet was a southerner’s dream and it was filling and delicious. If you’re in the Shallotte area and want a good home-cooked, southern meal with a sweet tea and a smile, this is your spot, but get in there early because their buffet is only open until 14:00.
Overall, this vacation for our Anniversary has been everything we wanted it to be; filled with fun, food, relaxation, and a lot of love.