Smiles everyone smiles. Welcome to Charleston, home of breathtaking historical sights, countless churches, museums, moon pies, humidity comparable to our own, blooming hydrangeas, and gents sporting seersucker galore. An incredibly picturesque city that is also blessedly walkable.
I enjoyed my Memorial Day weekend surrounded by family and friends, all of us guests in this scenic city. Of course food always foremost in my mind I took notice of the depth of deliciousness evident in almost every block of historic Charleston.
Our first evening we strolled to a neighborhood café/elegant bistro – “F.I.G.” www.eatatfig.com. Laid back and eclectic we perused a menu filled with local fare of the Lowcountry region that included:
- Green Garlic Soup… olive oil croutons, radish, parmesan
- Ricotta Gnocchi and Border Springs Farm Lamb Bolognese
- “Caper Blades” on the half shell… lemon infused chardonnay mignonette
- Crispy Caw Caw Creek pork Trotters… sunny side up farm egg, field peas, Serrano vinaigrette
- Sauteed Cubero Snapper… capers inlet clam and spring vegetable chowder, pancetta, fine herbs
- Caw Caw Creek Suckling Pig Confit… sautéed greens, roast spring vegetables, mustard jus, smoked bacon
- Fish Stew in Cocotte… roe shrimp, Carolina gold rice, rouille
Food Is Good! (F.I.G.)
Late lunches yield an even later dinner reservation which is a good thing since we are seated at 9:45 P.M. for our celebration of Southern cuisine at “HUSK” www.huskrestaurant.com. Chef Sean Brock has some rules about what can go on the plate. “If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door.” The restaurant itself evokes an image of traditions of the Charleston way of life, slower paced, perhaps a cocktail on the wide front porch nestled in a historic neighborhood building.
- HUSK Pimento Cheese with Green Tomato Chow Chow and Heirloom Wheat Thins
- Heirloom Beet Salad with Grilled SC Peaches, Ambrose Arugula, Giddy Goat Cheese, Peanut Vinaigrette
- A skillet of Benton’s Bacon Cornbread
- Carolina Wreckfish with Smoked Vidalia Onions, Sweet Peas, Maria’s Flat Beans and Brown Butter
- Border Springs Lamb Leg Terrine with Cabbage, Baby Carrots and Turnips, Juniper Jus
- Wood Fired Chicken from Keegan Filion Farms with Creamed Corn Grits and Ham Hock Braised Garden Greens
And we ate it up!
Our last night, we journeyed back in time, our first stop “The Gin Joint” www.theginjoint.com. The art of mixology right down to the three kinds of ice used in every cocktail shaken not stirred I might add,
- Agua Caliente… Habanero infused tequila, Hornitos Blanco, Strawberries, Lime
- Fingerling Potato Skins… aged cheddar, bacon, sour cream
- Berkshire Hog Dog… truffles, caramelized onions, pickles
Let’s just say we have a new appreciation for the 1920’s.
We crossed the street and entered “Cypress” www.charlestoncocktail.com.
I could just sum up this experience by mentioning the impressive floor to lofty ceiling wine wall and their stunning collection of 4000 bottles of wine from all over the world. But, it was the Sashimi Tuna & Oysters cilantro-lime glazed with pineapple wasabi that really rocked our world.
We ended our evening of delicious entertainment at “McCradys” www.mccradysrestaurant.com. Our last venue is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and Landmarks representing the epitome of Southern hospitality. We finished where we began with pre-prohibition cocktails while relaxing in the Bar, once home to horse and buggy stalls and gazing at the row of three gallon glass pickling jars filled with house-infused spirits.
And speaking of spirits, we satisfied our superstitious bones embarking one evening to tour The Old City Jail, haunted of course, we explored the cells that housed some of Charleston’s most infamous criminals and pirates. Touted as possibly the scariest place we will ever go I can honestly say it wasn’t, entertaining yes, frightening no!
For three short days the city of Charleston was our oyster and we dug in like the seasoned travelers that we are.