"We are going to call three names. If we call your name, that doesn't mean you made it. If we don't call your name, that doesn't mean you didn't make it. That sounds like a line, doesn't it? But it's really not. In each city, for each season, we go back through applications and notes and make phone calls, so please don't discount yourself. With that said, please hang around if your name is..."
1. ZZ Top look-alike that played harmonica and sang like he was at American Idol tryouts
2. Jim Schmim
3. Not Melody Ann
I shook hands with the roofer and lawyer that were on either side of me, we tasted each other's dishes, and I left with a huge grin on my face. Because I did the best I could do, got awesome feedback, stepped out of the box and did something outside my comfort zone, and had an amazing experience.
Time to go grab a beer and finally exhale. We walked down to River Street and headed for Vic's on the River for lunch.
For lunch, I had a Caesar salad that was so amazing I stuffed it in my gob before I could photograph it. Amazing lemony white anchovies, biscuit croutons and parmesan crisps that when combined created a whole so much greater than its parts, and an excellent and refreshing foil to the rich and wonderful french onion soup. Washed down with a Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, and I'm a happy girl. We capped it off with a trip to River Street Sweets and munched on some pralines on the waterfront. Nap time. I had to rest up (no sleep, remember) before we headed out to dinner and our ghost tour. I'd like to go ahead and give Lori her due credit for coming up with this idea. I'd also like to point out I am a huge wimp and have no idea why I agreed to do such a thing as a ghost tour in the world's most haunted city. But at this point, with a belly full of good food and tryouts under my belt, I laid in bed still blissfully unaware of what awful things awaited me.
The alarm goes off, we all get dressed for our fanciest dinner of the night and head out haphazardly without reservation or reservations.
Our destination of choice would have been The Olde Pink House, but there were no reservations available, and the wait likely would have been hours. We walked past a beautiful restaurant with amazing smells and charm oozing out everywhere. Let's eat here! It's the Olde Pink House, duh. We went in anyway to ask about wait times. A handsome man held the door for us, walked up to the host and cancelled his reservation, exclaiming that instead he would like to offer his place "to these lovely ladies." And that's how we were immediately seated at the best seat in the house. The Pink House, to be exact. I didn't get pictures here, because it was just inappropriate, ya know. It was one of those perfect moments that a picture couldn't sum up when we started in on our cornbread fried oyster appetizer with a fresh basil aioli. A large group was seated at the table next to us as we ordered our entrees. I of course had to go with Duck Confit with Vegetable Crepes which was amazeballs.
"That girl at the table next to us looks like Eva Mendez," Lori said. I looked over, amused, and slowly my amusement turned to panic. And I'm sweating. It couldn't be. There in all their LA-stained glory were all the producers, judges and food critics from this morning. We ordered a bottle of wine, and I freaked out as Lori and Ashley planned intricate schemes to get their attention. Their themes varied, but their plans generally stuck to reliable tactics like forced tripping, yelling obvious questions in their general direction, and other reasonable methods. We were almost late for our ghost tour, so we asked for some to-go cups for our bottle of wine (remember that crazy open container law) and started to head out. I walked by their table, told them I enjoyed cooking for them today, and hoped they enjoyed the rest of their stay in Savannah. They were over the top nice, and when Lori kept motioning and mouthing, "call her," behind my head, the sweet Latin American Studies major asked again for my name. They remembered my dish and again said they enjoyed it, and I walked out completely elated. Now if they'd just give me that call to come to LA... :)
At this point, we were legitimately late for our ghost tour, and were sprinting down the streets, wine bottle in hand, looking for our meetup point. We found our party and were congratulated for our open-container-savvy ways. First stop was a graveyard. I was totally not scared at this point. Our guide, Tobias, told us to be sure to take pictures, and don't delete them until we get a good look on our computers. Silly ghost tour, man. It turns out Tobias not only owned this company, but he is actively involved in research with such reputable paranormal researchers as The Rhine Institute. We went to the hospital where mental patients and yellow fever patients were treated and buried in mass unmarked graves. Many were buried alive due to the coma-like state that was characteristic of yellow fever. I started feeling pretty bad right about here. Lori, Ashley and I were debating leaving the tour. It was getting to be a bit much.
The worst was yet to come. We headed to the slave trade square, where families were separated and humans were sold like household appliances. The air was cold and thick here, and tragedy and fear were tangible. Without going into too much detail, there was bad energy here, and we were ready to move on. The tour reached a terrifying finale when at the last uninhabited house, we were given the awful and heartbreaking story of what had happened in this place. As the worst details were divulged, the lights in the top floor suddenly went out. They keep lights on in the house to discourage vandalism and curious ghost hunters. Downstairs lights remained on, and everyone seemed to be ready to head back to more populated areas. Timers, maybe? It was 11:56; maybe they were set for that random time, or maybe the timers were fast... Whatever, it was time to go. What had been Savannah's charming landscape of beautiful old trees and Spanish moss was now more terrifying than it was beautiful, even in the daylight of the next morning. We all three slept in the same bed that night with no sleep. Notice a trend here? Good thing we hadn't loaded the pictures on Ashley's computer yet. (Every single picture is full of these large, mysterious orbs. No biggie.) Lesson here- don't go searching for darkness. You will surely find it. I regret the tour, and will certainly not be going out looking for ghosts again.
The next morning, we decided to grab some brunch before heading home. We also decided a sack of 24 Krystal Burgers would be a fitting appetizer. We were clearly thinking rationally. Breakfast on the beach sounded perfect, so we headed for Tybee Island. We picked Fannie's on the Beach, which offered amazing brunch with these views.
Ashley ordered some mighty tasty fish tacos, and Lori and I ordered the Holy Grail of Eggs Benedict: Two grit cakes topped with two poached eggs and hollandaise, swimming in a pool of pan fried garlic shrimp and butter. Exhibit A.
It came with a toasted English muffin and a gorgeous variety of fresh fruit. Seriously?! Oh, yeah. After a stroll on the beach, we headed back to North Carolina three very happy girls.
So I still haven't heard anything, but trying out for MasterChef was one of the best experiences of my life. It made me more confident in my cooking skills and more ready than ever to pursue my passions. I can't believe the overwhelming amount of support I received from family, friends and strangers. So Thank you! I can't wait to try out again! Until then, this redhead is staying in the kitchen, and telling you all about it.
It's hard to sum up the whole experience in these three blog posts, so if I've left anything out, or if you have any questions about any of it, you know where to find me! Cheers.