The late Fall always inspires me to get into the kitchen and experiment with some new recipes, ingredients and cooking methods. With the crush of holiday commitments and expectations looming, I enjoy some relaxing ‘me time’ perusing the pages of neglected magazines piling up on the bedside table. Like the clackety clack of an old timey steam engine, my brain starts to rumble and my creative juices flow with inspiration for the holiday table.
Like many foodies who love to cook and bake, I probably optimistically envision more plans than I have cookie sheets and muffins tins (I have a lot of those!). Once that third batch of made-from-scratch butter cookies are finally meticulously decorated and packaged for gift giving, the romantic novelty of holiday baking has honestly, well, worn thin.
So while I relish the loveliness of a coastal Christmas in Hilton Head Island, I‘ve come to realize that not every appetizer, nosh, dessert, condiment and even main dish has to be concocted inside the confines of my kitchen. With the outstanding creativity of talented local chefs utilizing our wonderful, seasonal ingredients it’s just plain smart to lighten the culinary load, if you will, and allow (beg?) the professionals to work their magic a bit.
The holidays are a truly great time to be in Hilton Head Island! For those in the culinary “know” it is the time to take advantage of the seasonal activities and foods that mark the Lowcountry as “The Lowcountry”. Sizzling oyster roasts, luscious local shrimp, and the many outdoor community events that I’ve described in previous posts are happening now! If you’re thinking of a visit soon or even planning a group getaway such as a destination wedding or meeting, you may need the services of a caterer, chef, baker or restaurateur, so allow me to help!
As the Island and environs continue to become well known for our fine gastronomic scene, the variety of cuisines and expansion of dining ‘experiences’ has grown as well. No matter if you need fresh baked goodies to nibble with your morning java, long for an authentic taste of the Lowcountry with an expertly prepared seafood boil, or desire a silver-service gourmet extravaganza at your next soiree, its time to hand over that ladle… and let the magic begin!
- Bess’ Delicatessen and Catering: Talk about professional! Bess has been catering to the locals and visitors since 1982! She’lll get your holiday turkey all ready for your oven if you like (roasting pan included!), offer you a variety of wonderful sides (scalloped oysters with butter and cream anyone?) and tempt you with homemade pecan pie, double shot chocolate brownies and her signature pound cake. It’s also rumored she’ll have cheese grits casserole, shrimp Creole, and several other super-special holiday creations on tap – just ask.
- Bluffton Oyster Co.: If you find yourself in Bluffton and you’re planning to party, then lucky you, because nothing says it’s holiday time around the Lowcountry like oysters! The Toomer Family can set you up with an excellent oyster roast, barbeque, crab boil, fish fry or clam bake – no matter if you’re expecting couple dozen guests…or 1,000!
- Bullies Real BBQ: Fast but not fast-food! In fact their food is prepared s-l-o-w-l-y. Pulled brisket, pork, ribs and chicken with family dinners packaged for 2 to 10 peeps. Mac-n-cheese by the pound!
- Frankie Bones: Old school was never so never so fun AND delectable. Choices like oysters “Rocket”Feller, chicken cacciatore with angel hair pasta and char-grilled Tuscan marinated petit filet mignon, will satisfy, only leave you longing for Sinatra tunes.
- OMBRA Cucina Rustica: Foodies and wine enthusiasts revel in the fresh, classic regional Italian cuisine served with flair in a warm, upscale atmosphere. This Christmas Eve partake in their traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fish (make your reservation asap!) and for that super-special gathering of 12, reserve the Chef’s Table complete with a customized menu with hand selected wine pairings!
- One Hot Mama’s (OHM): Okay so you to pick up dinner on the fly, or perhaps, serve a whole, southern fried turkey with your holiday spread? Skip the peanut oil. Just go straight to OHM, do not pass go, go straight to OHM. Seriously, Chef Orchid Paulmeier will set you up with a whole fried turkey, beer can chicken with all the sides, or any of her wonderful slow smoked meats – by the pound to go, anytime!
- Palmetto Dunes Catering: Holiday parties and family gatherings are a breeze when you use the skilled services at Dunes Catering. Islanders know that the fried chicken and barbeque dinners prepared by these folks are quite simply…delicious. They have the complete staff to cater to you’re very whim, or can simply deliver the ‘goods’ to your rental home, villa or event venue.
- Roy’s Place Café & Catering: In home and onsite catering serving traditional regional favorites like barbeque, seafood specialties and more! Owners Roy and Becky Prescott really know Hilton Head and can assist with many elements of your event ensuring a great time is had by all.
- Signe’s Heavenbound Bakery & Café: This place did not become an Island institution for nothin’! The gorgeous cookie trays, and yummy pies are sure to please the whole gang, plus family-style entrees and veggies are available for an easy, yet delectable “homemade” dinner. Signe’s traditional holiday stollens and poudcakes make unique gifts they will truly love – and she ships worldwide!
- Skull Creek Boathouse: Seafood is the thing here. From dinner packages like the Carolina Fish Camp to a selection of 18 (wow!) carving stations to specialties including handcrafted sushi and nigiri, if you like seafood you’ll LOVE Skull Creek Boathouse.
- Street Meet: From party platters to boxed lunches and quarts of soup (Wedding Soup!) head here for home-style meets fresh!