Foodcation in Charleston, SC

I’m back from my little getaway to Charleston. Rhode Island welcomed me with a high of 22 degrees today!

Charleston was warm and sunny. Just chillin’ by the water, NBD.
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By the way, you can see DOLPHINS from this pier. I have never seen dolphins hanging out in the wild before. Tell me that’s not cool?

Click through for my pic-heavy recap

Where I Stayed

Charleston’s hotel prices rivals Manhattan’s; it’s a little distressing. I stayed at a bed and breakfast, the Andrew Pinckney Inn. I think there are certain types of people who enjoy bed and breakfasts, and my husband and I don’t fit that category. I don’t like feeling like I’m staying in someone’s house, and I don’t want any floral wallpaper or bedding. The Andrew Pinckney Inn was alright; it is large enough to feel like a hotel.
andrewpinckneyinn

It did have the quirks of being a very old building. I was often woken up by the sounds of slamming doors and people moving/walking around. It was centrally located in the “old” tourist district (near the harbor and the market), and we learned that a new and slightly hipper tourist district had popped up about a half mile away on King Street and we spent all of our time over there. If you’re into more nightlife stuff, it’s worth it to find a hotel closer to King Street.

What I Saw

Everything is old and we just wandered around reading all of the old plaques. The campus of College of Charleston looked like if the campuses of two of my former schools Brown (small, ancient buildings, compact campus) and Tulane (oak trees and spanish moss) had a baby.
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I learned a lot of about ‘Merica.
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We also took the tour of Fort Sumter, which is literally where the Civil War began. I also learned it was a Massachusetts regiment that took them down. Massachusetts, fuck yeah.

I ran 6 miles on one day, and 3 miles another day. The weather was so perfect that it would have been a crime not to take advantage of running weather. We also walked everywhere. One day I decided to use my Nike app to track how far we walked in a typical day. Guess what the total was?

8 MILES

On the day that I ran 6 miles plus walked, my legs felt DEAD. Of course they did; they traveled more than a half marathon! We took a pedicab once, and it was only $5 per person. It’s a nice way to ride when you get tired of walking. Protip: Don’t wear a skirt. I didn’t even get a discount for giving the biker some Asian upskirt action.

I also did a lot of this:

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Knitting and coffee. I was even introduced to a new coffee drink, the Shakerato. It’s a shot of espresso and simple syrup, shaken with ice in a cocktail shaker.

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For espresso, Black Tap Coffee is A+. We went there every morning. For hanging out, drinking dirty chai and local beers, we went to Kudu every afternoon. On our final visit to Kudu, every employee separately said goodbye to us. Aww!

I also did my fair share of this:

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We hung out at Closed for Business more than once for their huge list of craft beer. I did not drink fancy cocktails while knitting though. That’s too dangerous. One thing I noticed is that fancy cocktails were cheaper than I expected. Rum and whisky-based artsy cocktails were usually $8-10, instead of the $10-$13 that we see up here.

What I Ate

The whole reason we booked a trip to Charleston was to eat. Charleston is serious about food, and it isn’t limited to uptight fine dining.

We found our first restaurant, Warehouse, because our airport shuttle drove by and I could tell by the looks that it would be my jam. Dinner on our first night was a few small plates: kale salad, potato croquettes, and confit wings. We liked the vibe so much, we came back another day to drink and play shuffleboard. Does this count as a sport?

shuffleboard

I watched Sean Brock on Inside the Mind of a Chef, so the big splurge of our trip was dinner at Husk.

The bar had this ode to Popcorn Sutton. Love.

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I can’t remember the cocktails I had at the bar, but they were completely original recipes and they were mind blowing.

For dinner, we started with Pig Ear Lettuce Wraps. Even though we are adventurous eaters, we were hesitant but the waiter was really enthusiastic. For entrees, I had the duck. Excuse me, Confit of Duck Leg, Apple Butter Farroto, Heirloom Tuscan Kale and Celeriac with Shaved Apple, Bourbon Broth. Brian had VA Heritage Pork, Creamy Sea Island Red Peas and Scallion, Blackbird Farms Mustard Greens, Preserved Tomato Jus.

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I didn’t like the teriyaki sauce on the lettuce wraps, but the pig ears were not as scary as they sound. It was just crunchy like pork rinds. My duck was amazing. If you happened to have watched the TV series, yes that farro is from the farm that showed Sean and the farmer threshing by hand. Not shown was the cornbread (with bacon from Allen Benton’s farm!) and rice pudding dessert.

This is a piece of their beautiful pickle closet:
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My pedestrian descriptions can’t compare to the thousands of write-ups that earned Husk a reputation for being the best new restaurant in America, so just go.

Another notable dinner was at Macintosh, where we had appetizers for dinner again. Lettuce wraps – this time, a little more normal. Pulled pork, kimchi, and sriracha mayo. I love lettuce wraps, and it was only $5 during Happy Hour. At the bottom of the photo is a fish charcuterie plate that included fried pickles. Fish charcuterie was unique and one of the items was a “sausage” made out of fish.

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There is an awesome donut shop on King Street, Glazed Gourmet Donuts:

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We chose the salted caramel cake, blackberry earl gray, apple bacon fritter, and maple bacon donuts.

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Other flavors that stuck out in my mind were rosemary honey and pear and blue cheese. If you go, can you mail me some of those other cool flavors?

Another flavor bomb we encountered as lunch at Xiao Bao Biscuit. From what I can tell, it’s a new-ish restaurant in an area that’s slightly off the beaten path. I had this cold dish of shredded chicken, peanuts, bean sprouts, with a sesame coconut sauce.

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I guess it would be described as Asian-fusion but that category gets  a bad rap. Their dishes are influenced more by Vietnamese, Malaysian, Thai, and Laos – big bold tastes. It may be considered hybrids but the flavors were spot on. They could totally have come out of my family’s kitchen. The menu was not afraid to use shrimp paste, fish sauce, hot peppers, and authentic spices. I am convinced that Southeast Asian styles are going to be the next “thing”.

Now I am at home – cold, broke, fat, and hungry.

I had never heard of Charleston as a vacation place until I knew someone who traveled there a lot on business. Turns out it’s a huge tourist destination and if you live on the east coast, it’s a nice getaway. If you have a car or stay longer, you can get to the beaches, plantation tours, or a sidetrip to Savannah. You might even still have time to get out there during this neverending winter of death.

What else are you doing to survive this crazy winter?

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3 thoughts on “Foodcation in Charleston, SC

  1. “I also learned it was a Massachusetts regiment that took them down.” — This is why I could never go to the South for vacation; they’re a bunch of losers. LOL, but seriously — *losers*.

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