December 2015

December, 2015

Dear Friends,

Bill Smith here, writing the December letter, thinking to tell you what I might like to know if I were reading the Crook's letter.

We do not play Christmas Carols per se, but the soundtrack has glimmers of nostalgia (the good kind). And sometimes the television is turned on, without sound, for townies and alumns alike to watch the games when in the bar. Sometimes we see a good many to-go orders on game nights (good idea) and these to-go order placers when picking up their orders enjoying the bar, realizing they could have watched the games here. Throughout December, the inside dining room and bar sort of hums with excitement.

Lots of longtime customers, some home for the holidays, stop by before or after a party or with family or coworkers making for themselves a small party.  I like how Crook's is a gathering place.  

We have a number of plates for sharing around the table. Gayle Murrell suggests the Shrimp and Crab Calas. Beth Smith recommends the Chunky Country Pate with onion jam and garlic toasts, a few olives, pickled okra. I'm a fan of both of those dishes, but also the Fried Oysters and the Cracker Plate (pimento cheese & hot pepper jelly and cream cheese). Cocktails are necessary. Kyle Yamakawa has found his Nectar cocktail featuring Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, served in a festive martini glass, an all-around favorite to remind us of warmer days. He also has the classic cocktails, some more fun inventions, sparkling wines, local beers, the works.

Ducks may be flying onto the menu this coming Wednesday, with any luck. For Holiday Duck I'll need cranberries so I have placed an order so that I can make the sauce for the dish which features a confit leg served along slices of breast. This, Cheese Pork, and the Steak with Bourbon Brown Sauce and French Fries would be my top choices for dinner right now. 


Here's what we have in the way of gifts to buy at bar or on our newly gussied up website ( if you need to handle some shopping while not racing around. For home cooks, I'll suggest my new book Crabs & Oysters. Shannon Healy suggests Alley Twenty Six Tonic (which can be purchased at the bar or at I like both but also a gift certificate in any amount, which you can also pick up during the day if you call first. If placing an order online in hopes that it will arrive before Christmas, it must be placed before Friday, December 18th. There are more items for sale at the bar.

Gene is out of town this week but wanted me to remind all that we have two 'Cue Wednesdays on this month: Southern Smoke in Garland on Wednesday, December 16th. And then on Wednesday, December 30th something entirely different: Sweatman's in Holly Hill, SC.

Other dates to bear in mind are the nights we'll be closed: December 22nd thru the 25th but will be back open on Saturday, December 26. We are also closed on December 31st & January 1st.

Hope to see you before then, soon.

Bill Smith