Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Weekend In Charleston

Wow! Charleston was incredible. Aunt Lisa and I had an amazing time together. I arrived on Thursday even and the fun started immediately. Both of us, being food junkies, had certain things we wanted to try. I have never spent much time in the south and went in with an open mind and a sense of carelessness in order to fully experience the south, its rich history, and its delicious southern cuisine. Boy did we eat. Every morning we woke up and planned our day around what we were going to eat and what we want to explore. As much as the food blew me away I was equally impressed with the service and southern hospitality  we received from everyone we spoke to. Everybody was so nice and helpful! That is something that Seattle doesn't have so much, but when John, the bellhop, opened the door to the car as we arrived at our wonderful hotel I knew I would be experiencing a new kind of costumer service. 

On the way up to our room John explained that a law was passed in Charleston shortly after the hotel was built that no building in Charleston could be higher that St Michael's Church. Making this hotel on of the tallest in the city. Our view from the room was incredible, we saw all of Charleston, which consists of old brick houses and buildings separated by so many beautiful churches. What a neat place.

For Dinner on thursday night we went to a restaurant called Rue de Jean. I had 
Seared palmetto striped bass, truffle polenta, roasted asparagus and tri citrus beurre blanc. It was fantastic. I also had a mint julep, a small spinach salad and Pots du Creme for dessert. 

It was so good to be reunited with Aunt Lisa. I can't remember the last time it was just the two of us and this time was much needed and long overdue. 

We woke up the next morning grabbed a quick breakfast and hit the pavement. By the time we were out walking around at 9am it was already 90 degrees.  We did the city today on foot.  We toured beautiful houses and churches and admired the amazing architecture. I kept on thinking, man if these walls could talk.

This was a very popular style of house, one unique to Charleston. Very old, but beautifully restored.

We learned that the idea of symmetry was very important in early early houses.

St. Michael's Church.

This is the oldest cemetery in Charleston and is located right in the city behind an old church. Some of the graves in here date back to the 1600s.

For Lunch we went to Jim and Nick's BBQ, once of the foods on our list was good bbq. Many said that this was the place to go. It was INCREDIBLE! I can't remember the last time I had bbq and it really was the best I have every had. We had ribs and brisket and shared. It was a great place and the food was almost too good!

By late afternoon we were feeling pretty tired, we went back to the room and relaxed for a while before getting ready to go to our dinner. Wendy the concierge was so wonderful and she got us a reservation at a great seafood restaurant out by the water  called the Boathouse on Breach's Inlet. I had lobster, something that I had loved since I was very young. I had expensive taste for food even as a 3 year old. The lobster was very very good, the best I have ever had. Another incredible dining experience.

We woke up on Saturday morning nice and early and went to the Saturday Farmer's Market conveniently located in the park across the street from our hotel. The hand made to order crepes were recommened to us by a few people and so that it was we had. After the market we went did the ferry ride and the tour of Fort Sumter. The location where the first shot of the civil war was fired among many other huge events.

After the boat tour we grabbed some carrots and yogurt and drove to tour Drayton Hall Plantation. It is a huge plantation that dates back to the 1730's and has been preserved, NOT restored. It was incredible.

For Dinner tonight we went to Poogan's Porch a low country restaurant. I tried fried green tomatoes for the first time and I also had Shrimp and grits, something that was on every menu here in the south. We had a fantastic time and even got a little silly after our wine with dinner!

We got to sleep in a bit on Sunday morning and went to brunch at 11. We weren't expecting this highly recommended brunch spot to be located in a hotel but as soon as we tasted the food we realized why it was so popular. We had she crab soup another southern favorite, and I had a crab cake breakfast with veggies and breakfast potatoes. After brunch we walked around a bit more then drove to Folly beach, an awesome beach town. We walked on the beach and dipped our toes in the water, which felt like bath water it was so warm.

By this time in our trip we had seen everything on our list, except for one. Where were we going to get fried chicken? I  honestly cannot remember the last time I had fried chicken and it was definitely one thing I wanted to indulge in before I went back to the regular life of salads and nuts. We got back to the room and I started looking through the southern magazine that was on the desk. Ah Ha! I found a small article about a place called Gullah Cuisine and we put in a call, and that was it!  The place was perfect, casual, nothing fancy just damn good food, especially the fried chicken! The owner/chef was there and talked to us, She was an older black woman who everyone called Miss Charlotte. We bought her cookbook and she signed them for us! It was a perfect place and I am so glad we found it.

We came back to the room, and packed up our things. I can't believe it went so fast! I left the next morning, real early. The trip was perfect. The food, the history, the cocktails, the hot sun, and amazing people, but most of all the time with Aunt Lisa. We indulged and did so much, but we really got to hang out and talk and that was the best part about the trip. I definitely couldn't have done it with anyone else, it was precisely an Aunt Lisa and Katy trip, and we had a blast! Thank you so much!

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