Other dishes considered and rejected: Mustard-based barbecue sauce. As alien as it may seem to our western eyes, when you're in South Carolina, barbecue sauce is yellow. Frogmore stew is a simple one pot meal consisting of shrimp, corn and whatever odds and ends the chef feels like adding tossed in a pot of boiling water. A chicken, sausage and rice dish called chicken pilau (PER-lo).
Get it from: Bernie's Southern Bistro (2904 NE Alberta St, 282-9864, berniesbistro.com) offers a wonderfully piquant take on shrimp and grits—albeit after traditional breakfast time, since Bernie's opens at 4 pm. But keep in mind, that this is good, old-fashioned Southern cooking by way of Portland. So have your shrimp and grits for dinner, maybe add a side of mashed yams or creamed kale. The shrimp is good, the grits creamy and the spicy red sauce a perfect compliment. On a warm summer eve, the servers buzzed around Bernie's back patio, asking a friendly, "Would y'all like another drink?" as I gobbled up my grits. Don't mind if I do.
Click on the map to see each state's distinctive food and where to get it in Portland.