Traveling for Food: Hilton Head Island

The annual family vacation. For my particular family, it occurs in August, and we always return to the same spot, Hilton Head Island, SC. The trend started in the early 80’s, my first visit occurred when I was just six weeks old. There’s never been a serious discussion to try and visit another locale, and I’m honestly OK with that. There was a time as a teenager that I started to get a little bored with the place. I was too old for the one water slide park nearby and too young for golf or enjoying cocktails on the beach. (I’m still pretty sure I’m too young for golf though.) Now however, as my love of food and my desire to travel and try new delicious things has blossomed, I feel as if I’m rediscovering Hilton Head all over again.

On this particular trip Rob and I made sure to head back to Steamer Seafood, and not just once but twice. I failed epically and only took photos from our first quick lunch there that included their crab and artichoke dip and steamed shrimp (and beer obviously). The dishes that are not photographed but I will tell you to order anyway are the she crab/cream of crab soup, shrimp and grits, grilled shrimp and the savannah platter.

My parent’s have come to love Marley’s Island Grille in recent years and as I couldn’t actually remember eating there last year (one to many pina coladas I think) I was excited to try the restaurant for a second first time. I ordered their signature Sugar Cane Sea Scallops and they were positively magnificent. It’s always great when scallops are cooked well, but these were served with a pina colada butter … I know, stop drooling. I will find a way to recreate this glorious dish, count on it.

We were convinced to stop eating seafood for one night with the promise of a hefty beer menu at the Mellow Mushroom. We had never heard of the chain before but the pizza also came highly recommended. After our experience I’d have to say I can vouch for it too. Rob and I opted for a Philosopher’s Pie – olive oil and garlic base & topped with grilled steak, portobello mushrooms, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, provolone, feta and mozzarella cheese.

Rob’s first visit to Hilton Head was cut severely short by some travel issues. This time around there was one restaurant I really wanted to take him to. The Old Oyster Factory has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember, as much for the food as for the beautiful waterfront view. I was excited to return as I’ve only become an oyster lover in the past year or so, making this visit to The Old Oyster Factory a bit of a first for me as well. After sharing a full dish of assorted oysters Rob and I both ordered specials. I went with a seafood trio of lobster, scallops and shrimp and Rob went with tilapia that was topped with crab, scallops, tomatoes and mushrooms. If you ever have a chance to dine here, make sure you bring your camera along, it’s photo opp central.
Do you take an annual family vacation? Does your group venture somewhere new every year or like us have a tried, true and comfortable destination?

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