Left Savannah and headed north towards Charleston. Things I remember, not too much apart from fireworks – fireworks super stores, oh the memories. Anyways, we had four nights booked in downtown Charleston, right amongst the action. And while there was some good eating in Savannah, Charleston is known for good eating. There used to be a culinary school and when that closed the local chefs got together and created an identity aside from a culinary school identity.
Because the food needs its own blog, this is it – if you want to know more about Charleston (well, not really because that’s what Wikipedia is for) but maybe see some photos and my short thoughts, then that will arrive when I get around to it. We were in Charleston a week ago as I write this so my memory fades quite quickly.
We arrived early at our beautiful hotel (The Vendue) and felt like we were important, even after once again Ms TomTom sent us to the back-door. After our bags and car were checked and we received a tour of the hotel, we were recommended a lunch at Amen Street and Fish Bar – no food porn photos but a good sandwich. Now I’m not going to be able to remember everything we ate (almost) and don’t expect any cravat commentary but you may enjoy, just as we enjoyed.
We were in such a good location that many places were out the front door, like our dinner for that night was tacos at Minero. These were excellent, maybe could have eaten more and we loved the way the chips (best I’ve ever tasted and so much better than what we call chips) came in their own little sleeping bag to keep them warm. We saw what others were eating and wished we had bigger bellies – the burritos were huge and the wings were delivered at the table by a server who then poured on the hot sauce and gave the wings a coating in a bag they were delivered in. And we had to have the churros. This place was great, even had the novelty of your napkins and silverwear in a drawer at your table. Highly recommended.
Breakfast was just something simple from our hotel coffee shop where we could get some free coffee for being guests. But this doesn’t matter. What was going to matter was what we had ahead of us. Aside from plenty of walking, we had dinner booked at Husk, a southern cuisine restaurant rated very highly by the experts who do wear cravats. But before that was a quick dinner of hot dog – not any old hot dog, these were maybe the best ever at Parlor Deluxe. And not only were the dogs good, so was the ice-cream after.
And then Husk. We were looking forward to this but maybe a tad disappointed. Well, maybe not disappointed as the food was excellent just maybe we were expecting more (dessert was a bit of a let down – not even worthy of a photo). However, what was one the sweetest ways I’ve ever had pork was shoulder ham wrapped around pork belly and sous-vide overnight then pan fried – one of the best ways I’ve ever had pork and so sweet and tasty. Also a highlight was the corn bread, which we boxed and took half home for breakfast the next day. Husk was good and worthy of its high ratings but we thought The Grey was better (Husk also not helped by a waiter that lacked a bit of pizzazz).
Mentioned breakfast so don’t need to mention that again. We went for another walk to go on a bus tour and stopped for a mid-morning snack of biscuits – think scones – at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits. We went the sweet and savoury and sat in the park enjoying our wares.
After our bus tour we were hungry so made the trek to another of Charleston must-dos – Hominy Grill. It was late afternoon and we were the only ones there and the food was really good but I was thinking maybe a tad expensive for lunch – but, yes, it was worth the recommendation.
And that night was extra special, we ate at a place called Poogan’s Smokehouse and this was their opening night. Poogan’s has a place next to Husk (Poogan’s Porch) and is also one of the highly rated eateries in Charleston. We never got to the porch but the smokehouse, also known as Bar-P-Q, was very good. Plenty of room, relaxed atmosphere, good beer (we had a ghost jalapeno beer, which had a little bit of a kick and a great taste to-boot), and some really good chicken wings. Even had the owner come and chat to us and she was pleased I liked the wings as the night before when they had a practice run, there were some comments about the wings. Like people who care, they made some changes and for me, I thought they were pretty good. And our server was also out earning his tips without ignoring the customer or being a try-hard. This is a really good casual dining experience and recommended and will probably do well.
Next day breakfast was an omelette at a little place in the side-streets – the Queen St Grocery (loved how we could breakfast in the same room as a Bernese Mountain Dog chewing on his breakfast stick). This place was so casual and really, really good.
We then checked the car out of valet and headed to the Charleston island beach areas. The valet recommended one island (Folly’s Beach) as they have a sister hotel at that location where we could park for free, but we also wanted to have a look at another island (Sullivan’s Island) where we could enjoy a different view and a really good clam pizza at The Obstinate Daughter (another recommended eatery) – and guess what, Ms TomTom didn’t let us down by taking us to the back door. But the pizza, apart from maybe needing a few more clams was so tasty, with great lemon and fennel flavour – the pizza was Five Fathom Hole with clams, roasted fennel, chilli flakes, lemon and parsley – gonna try this one at home.
That night was Halloween but we decided to have an easy night and ate at the brewery across the road from our hotel (Southend Brewery & Smokehouse), after a few ales at our hotel’s restaurant bar. The brewery was okay, that okay I can’t remember what I ate – but I do have a photo of the beer flight. Not the greatest of beers but what I liked about this place was that there was always someone with their dog eating outside.
So we checked out of Charleston the next day (Sunday) but not before we had a Sunday Brunch at our hotel restaurant, the Drawing Room (everyone we spoke to said this restaurant was excellent, including the owner of Poogan’s). Sunday Brunch is apparently the thing to do and we felt that yes, it was the thing to do. The picture is of my breakfast of Croque Madame – sounds fancy, tasted fancy.
Did we enjoy our days in Charleston – yes. Did we find it a culinary delight as recommended – yes. Would we go again – yes, even if it is just to eat.