Monday, June 14, 2010

GUEST POST! "Now is the time in Myrtle Beach when we eat!"

As the wife and I settle into less-than-no sleep, some friends have stepped up and brought some entertaining guest posts to the table. When my neighbor Chris wanted to talk about some German restaurants in Myrtle Beach, SC, I thought, "South Carolinian German cuisine is really random...will anyone want to read it?" Then I realized that "random" is sort of the modus operandi of most blog posts here. Furthermore, after (finally...sorry, Chris) getting around to reading his draft, I must say that it is a really humorous take on an under-appreciated culinary tradition, all taking place in the Coney Island of the South. While the opinions stated do not necessarily reflect my own, I will say that I too am enamored with anything "Airwolf". Prost! -Joe

Because Joe is busy with the little munchkin, I was asked to write a guest post in exchange for him pickup up my mail and watering my garden. I must say I was honored to be given such an illustrious task to become the Chief Foreign Correspondent. This post was a difficult one to write, considering the location being a culinary wasteland and devoid of wine that can’t be purchased at Wal-Mart. I bring to you fine lad and/or lass, a humble review of dining in the strange and foreign port city of Myrtle Beach located on the coast of South Carolina.

This isn’t a blog post about wine, because in Myrtle Beach there are two kinds, red and white. It is difficult to find vino made from muscadine grapes and that crap is produced locally! No my good readers, this blog post is about food and beer. With the hundreds of not-so fine eateries on the Grand Strand I had to focus my effort. The natural inclination would be to go for seafood. However, the seafood restaurants are nothing but Calabash (deep fried everything) buffets and chain restaurants such as Joe's Crab Shack and Red Dumpster. I was determined to try some for the sake of journalistic integrity. So I summoned the courage to enter into one location (see picture with lobster fornicating with a mini-van) and after being greeted by the saddest looking pirate and a woman who was in shorts about 3 sizes too small, I took a look at the unholy offering before me (only $17.99 – a bargain in Myrtle), and did what any self-respecting human would do, turned around and walked out the door.

This experience left me with one other option to write about, German food! I had discovered on the internet that there existed two German restaurants in the Myrtle Beach area. Both claimed to be authentic but had completely different styles and atmospheres. The two contenders are Horst Gasthaus located in the suburban friendly North Myrtle Beach and Bodo’s German Restaurant and Pub, located in the heart of the Beirut-esque downtown of Myrtle Beach. Each restaurant has a distinctive nature that mirrors Germany of different eras. One is Sgt. Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes and the other is Dieter from Sprockets. Who will emerge victorious as the Kaiser of Myrtle Beach?

I took the family first to Horst Gasthaus. This quaint little restaurant is styled in the traditional Bavarian lodge. A good deal of the employees, including ownership and wait staff are from Germany. Every night after 6:00PM an accordion player performs music from popular polkas and other international tunes. I ordered the Horst Gasthaus Platte which consisted of Sauerbraten, Bratwurst, Knackwurst, dumpling, red cabbage, and sauerkraut. I must say I was not disappointed! The sauerbraten (roast beef in brown gravy) was tender and the Bratwurst and Knackwurst was terrific with the sauerkraut. The kraut was some of the best I’ve have here in the states, it was fresh but not bitter. The red cabbage was bright red and very sweet, a delight to eat. The potato pancakes my party ordered on the side were also delicious. And to top it off, I washed it all down with a half-liter of Maisel’s Weisse, a wonderful hefe that had a light, nutty, and clean flavor. It paired nicely with my meal. I also sampled the Bitburger Pilsner but found it a little two plain for my tastes but would work for someone who likes a lighter beer. Their menu selection of beers was small but of good quality.

After having a delightful experience at Horst, I set my sites on Bodo’s German Restaurant and Pub. I have to say I didn’t know what to expect, reviews of the place were mixed and without a website to visit, all I could gather was that it was “eclectic.” So as we made our way through downtown Beirut Myrtle Beach, we had no idea what was waiting for us on the other side. As we entered the restaurant, we were first greeted to a unique smell of mold, cigarette smoke, and broken dreams. Apparently “eclectic” in Myrtle Beach means crap collected from the past 30 years stapled up on the wall. Everything from beer posters, bowling trophies, and a bust of Jesus, was used to decorate the restaurant. I knew we were in for trouble when I was seated next to a memorial poster of Princess Diana. Looking back on it, it seemed as if she was trying to warn us from beyond the grave not to eat the food, just like she used to warn children not to play with landmines. While I am at fault for ignoring this warning, I do have to say the picture of Jan-Michael Vincent (star of TV’s Airwolf) caught my attention and 80’s nostalgia filled my heart until the food arrived. I ordered the sausage sampler with family sauerkraut recipe, German potato salad, and red cabbage. I can’t begin to tell you fine folks how disappointing the food was. The sausages were clearly from Johnsonville and Jimmy Dean, the family recipe for the sauerkraut tasted like it came from a can, the same goes for the cabbage, dull and flavorless. To make matters worse, the selection of German beers was thin (St. Pauli Girl doesn’t count because it is made for export) and the Franziskaner Hefe (a solid and dependable beer) was served slightly below room temperature, yuck!

There you have it folks, if you’re in the Myrtle Beach area (which I do not recommend), save yourself from fornicating lobsters and Sprockets America….enjoy the good ole fashion German food and accordion music at Horst Gasthaus. Sgt. Schultz would be proud!

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