1.18.2010

A Culinary Tour of Charleston

We made a quick getaway to Charleston this weekend. Kind of a "last hurrah" before we are hauling a stroller, diaper bag, four changes of clothes for spit-up/poopy, wipes, bottles...well, you get it. Just in case we didn't have another opportunity to take a trip before June. Now I'm trying like crazy to save all my leave for post-baby.
We had a blast, despite some pretty good rain, and pretty much wandered about and found a few great places to eat. We may be a little too obsessed with Anthony Bourdain, who has a show on the travel channel called "No Reservations." He's a chef who travels about and eats good food. We ended up at three places in Charleston where Anthony ate when he was in town.
Our first, Cru (on Pinckney) was our big night out. Fantastic. We even topped things off with a bread pudding...rare for us, as I'm not a huge sweets person. A cheese-and-poblano stuffed chicken for me and grilled swordfish for the boy.
Saturday morning, we geared up for a two-mile walk to Hominy Grill, umbrellas in tow as the forecast was not promising. We were going to walk since parking in downtown Charleston is a beast, and our car was happily tucked away in the hotel lot. And, if you're going to eat what we ate, you'll need the exercise to justify the calorie intake! Jerod got some kind of low country omelet that involved rice, shrimp gravy, etc. I won, though, with my intake of "The Big Nasty." A buttermilk biscuit, topped with fried chicken breast, white cheddar, and sausage gravy. Sweet Lord in Heaven. The Big Nasty was breakfasty goodness. Be prepared to get hurried along though, as the Hominy waitstaff hovered over us, and scooped up our spare butter before we were done. I thought Jerod was going to poke the waiter with a fork when he swooped in for the mostly-eaten plate before J was done. :) Worth the walk, and we got to see some great streets and houses along the way.
Two miles there meant at least two miles back. Whew!
We made our way back to a cool cemetery we had seen on our Friday carriage ride at the Unitarian Universalist Church. Bless their hearts, I'm not sure why the UU's meet and call themselves people of faith, but their church was BEAUTIFUL. And their cemetery pretty cool too. There were graves dating back to the early 1800's. Perfect for picture-taking on a gray and drippy day.
Since the outside wasn't offering much in the way of good weather, we struck out for "South Carolina's Largest Aquarium store." Bust. Nothing compared to our own Fintastic right up the road. Oh well. As Jerod said, he would have wondered...
But then, Cinebarre!!! And no, that's not where you can get a cinnamon roll with a beer! It's a movie theater where you can sit in the theater and order food and drink! Hallelujah! We had just had a snack before entering, but what fun! They had pizza, sandwiches, burgers, popcorn (of course) and a whole host of things to eat. And they serve you on a small bar that sits directly in front of your theater seats. And...they're building one in CHARLOTTE! SWEET! We'll be hitting that up if we can find a babysitter in the Fall or Winter later this year.
Oh, Sherlock Holmes was pretty darn good, too. Everyone keeps telling us to fit in our movie-going now, since we won't see any again for a long while. So, we did.
A so-so burger at a local dive capped the night.
Sunday is for soul food. I love that sentence so much I want to write a book with that as the title. The much-bally-hooed Jestine's Kitchen was on our must-do for lunch. After driving around the same eight blocks for thirty minutes looking for a parking spot, I finally suggested "let's go RIGHT" and Voila! a spot. I just couldn't bear the thought of going left once again, and J's patience was running low. He actually threatened to skip Jestine's, so I knew that I must act quickly to revive my hopes of delightful fried okra.
Thankfully, the sun came out in time to keep us pleasantly bathed in warmth while we waited on the corner of Wentworth and Meeting for the promise of southern home-cooking. Not too long...then we were greeted with a basket of corn bread and honey butter. We both ran into people we knew there from the Charlotte area (crazy). I had the Sunday pot roast, topped with potatoes and carrots, mac-n-cheese, and fried okra. Jerod had the fried catfish with collards and fried okra. (You'd never know he was a transplanted mid-westerner!). Everything was FANTASTIC. And I hereby declare Jestine's Kitchen the winner of my life-long quest for the best macaroni and cheese. And I should admit that we ended things with some peach and blueberry cobbler (crisp), which was good because it had a serving of fruit for the health-conscious.
That about knocked us out for a good Sunday nap, as it was well after 3 by the time we finished up.
Now that we're home, it's back to real fruit smoothies and salads, and I hope that I didn't gain 12 pounds. I ate like a queen there, but I surely sleep like a baby here. A great getaway!! I highly recommend any of these places if you should find yourself in Charleston!



2 comments:

Justin and Jessica Jones said...

Hey Guys...so glad you guys had a great time. We missed you at the party, but trust me your "eats" were much better than our "eats." Shelley...I love reading your descriptions of the food. I was cracking up...I'm thinking writing for a culinary magazine would be a great job!

momfessions said...

You make me drool for America... Thanks friend! ;) Am I gonna get to see that baby belly pictured anywhere on the web?