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Nachos Mexican Restaurant Opens on St. Simons Island

by Guerry Norwood

Nachos Mexican Restaurant & Cantina just opened its doors a couple of weeks ago on St. Simons Island. We went for dinner recently and it was slammed—which is a good sign. There was only one table available when we arrived.

I rate my Mexican restaurants by their “Chile Rellenos” and the ones at Nachos were probably the best I have eaten. The two huge poblano peppers were stuffed with Mexican cheese, dipped in egg and skillet fried and topped with a sauce that was out of this world. They were served with refried beans, rice and corn or flour tortillas.

Nancy had the “Chicken Nachos Supreme” which were also very good. The menu is extensive with many unique Mexican dishes. The staff was very friendly and nice. Our waitress told us that the owners, Jorge & Nacho, had been partners in Los Arcos that recently closed in Brunswick and reopened on the Island. We were very pleased with our first meal at Nachos Mexican Restaurant & Cantina and sure we will have many more great experiences there. We are glad to have this Mexican restaurant on the Mid-North part of the Island.

Nachos is located on Frederica Avenue, in the Brogens North shopping center.

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How do Wild Georgia Shrimp differ from farm-raised shrimp?

by Guerry Norwood

Wild-caught Georgia shrimp grow naturally and are fished in their natural environment. Because there is currently no way for consumers to tell the source of most farmed shrimp on the market, The Monterey Bay Aquarium maintains a general recommendation to avoid farm-raised shrimp from unknown sources.

According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, “valuable Southeast Asian coastal wetlands, especially mangrove forests, are often destroyed to create commercial shrimp farms. Where shrimp are cultivated intensively, pollutants and disease organisms build up in the muck beneath each pond. After a few years, the pond can no longer support healthy shrimp. The pond is abandoned and the farm must expand to fresh territory. The contaminated muck cannot support regrowth of the mangrove forest, so the ecosystem will not recover for decades, if ever.”

Wild Georgia Shrimp get their flavor and color from their natural diet of marine organisms, and because they grow in a natural environment and are harvested at the height of the season, the flesh is firm, the color fresh and the taste is sweet.

This unique flavor profile is thought by researchers at Texas A&M University to be due primarily to “the increased abundance of free amino acids, which the animals utilize to counteract the large osmotic gradient that exists in salty offshore waters. Conversely, pond-raised shrimp are most efficiently raised during the rainy season when pond salinities may drop to one-tenth that of open ocean water. They also speculate that the unique flavor of wild shrimp is due in part to their diet of high-protein, natural foods versus the cereal, grain-based feeds required to grow shrimp at high densities in ponds.”

Learn more on youtube: click here for video

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Chef Jerome’s Old-School Diner

by Guerry Norwood

The experience begins in the restaurant’s parking lot, which is, inexplicably, carpeted with large, mismatched remnants. The building, painted the color of cooked shrimp, is covered with old tools; yard art includes flea market finds, and near the front door, a wheelchair – presumably waiting to assist anyone who dares order the house specialty (read on).

Chef Jerome Brown greeted us, total strangers and all, with kisses in the front room. An ebullient man in his chef’s whites and toque who looks more than a little like Chef on South Park, he’s obviously proud of his place, which he’s apparently expanded by adding a room at a time, each with a different name and theme. He led us through each one before depositing us in the biggest – with a bar, bandstand, rear-projection TV and several nice-looking but mismatched dining tables with comfortable chairs. The walls are crammed with photos, plastic sea creatures and movie mementos.

The menu tells it all: Oysters, catfish nuggets, deviled crab, even lobster and gator tails, as well as barbecued ribs (“Like going to heaven without dying!”) smothered in “Chef Jerome’s ‘You Da Man!’ Sauce.” But forget all that: You’re ordering the house special, The Wheel Chair Platter ($45). Why? As the menu clearly states: “Ben Affleck says, ‘Why Ask? Trust Your Chef!’” (Yes, the movie star and part-time resident of nearby Hampton Island boasts his own private table.) This glorious festival of food consists of the best of what’s at hand that day – in our case, a heap of crisp fried shrimp, fried whiting, fried grouper, deviled crab and a mound of ribs, heaped into a giant Melamine dip-and-chip server with a choice of side (coleslaw, potato salad or French fries) and a basket of hush puppies for the table. We definitely could have used that chair.

chefjerome

Every dish bears the mark of a man who wants to do it right: The light batter, the creamy slaw, the outstanding housemade cocktail sauce, the fat, smoky ribs. And Brown isn’t missing many angles either: Along with T-shirts, you can buy a signed menu for $3. (By the way cash and local checks are accepted —- credit cards aren’t accepted.)
Chef Jerome’s isn’t for everyone. But if you like old-school fried seafood, start planning your visit.
Chef Jerome’s Old-School Diner
Jessie Grant Road off Harris Neck Road
(near Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge)
Townsend
912-832-2136
Hours: Dinner Wednesday-Saturday; lunch and dinner Sunday.
Credit cards: None accepted. Cash only.
Parking: Available on attached, carpeted lot.
Dress code: Anything from a bathing suit to a tuxedo.

View our you tube video of Chef Jerome’s Old School Diner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbemJXqxZrs