My family and I went for a weekend getaway to Charleston South Carolina! Before getting there, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew about was Sean Brock’s Husk! Period.
Well! Charleston turned out to be an amazing foodie-city. SCORE!!!
Our Uber driver told us that Charleston is consciously making an effort to prevent chain restaurants from coming into the city. As a result, there are tons of really amazing and unique concept restaurants. And of course, there is no shortage of southern food – if you so desire. With a well manicured city as a backdrop, friendly happy people no matter where you go, great architecture and lovely historic homes with spectacular gardens – I just felt I was in utopia. The weekend just flew by and I now I can’t wait to return.
Here are some of the highlights of my visit (it’s all about food and drink – of course)!
1. I know Sean Brock from countless articles I have read about him… and also from watching him on PBS’s Mind of A Chef and Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. He has great respect for the local produce and the people behind it. He is passionate about exploring the roots of Southern food and recreating it by preserving and restoring heirloom ingredients. Husk was a must on my agenda. And as expected, it turned out to be a great dining experience. Although I liked the appetizers lot more than the entrees. The Wood Fired Sweansecott Oysters and the Southern Fried Chicken Skins are to die for! Husk has a highly curated and extensive selection of wines, cocktails and bourbons. It will take quite a few visits just to explore the beverage menu. Sadly, I learned from our server that Sean Brock is hardly ever there. I guess he is busy with his other ventures. Pity.
2. Chef Mike Lata’s Fig! Ahhhhmaaaaazing! I loved everything about this restaurant. Mike Lata won James Beard Best Chef: Southeast in 2009. After dining at Fig, I knew precisely why. When you visit Fig, you MUST order the Ricotta Gnocchi in Grass Fed Beef Bolognese. This was the lightest and airiest gnocchi I have ever had. Truly delightful. The Chilled Razor Clams had crisp and bright flavors and the Fish Stew was simply scrumptious.
3. An unplanned, totally by chance visit to a place called Xiao Bao Biscuit was perhaps the absolute highlight of this trip. A friendly bartender told us to check it our if we have time. And one afternoon – when we were trying to figure out where to lunch – Xiao Bao Biscuit was the unanimous choice. A limited menu of 8-10 dishes is a showcase of Asian soul food! A really hip and trendy space, with super friendly staff – this is a total winner. When there – the best option is to order one of everything…. it is small menu after all! But, if you can’t do that – then please do me a favor and be sure to order the Okonomiyaki, We loved this Japanese cabbage pancake topped with egg and/or bacon so much – that we ordered 3!!! 🙂 The Mapo Dou Fu – was another big stand out on this menu.
4. On our final day, we discovered a really popular and local favorite hot spot for brunch. Chef Fred Neuville’s Fat Hen restaurant on John’s Island serves French low country cuisine sourced from friends and neighbors in farming community. We could not believe how many people were at this place. It was clearly the place to be! The menu was super creative and everything we had was delicious. You must try their luxurious Shrimp & Grits. The hearty portion of Créme Brûlée French Toast was a surprisingly delicate pairing of savory and sweet. For the veggie lovers – the Roasted Butternut Squash Rice is an absolute hit!
5. The Vendue Rooftop Bar is a great place to unwind and watch the sunset over this immaculate city as you sip on your beverage of choice. It is voted the best rooftop bar by Charleston City Paper since 2007.
And finally, I must talk about my favorite beverage discovery: Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka. Enjoyed with or without ice…. with a splash of lemon juice. It was such a refreshing and fun flavor profile. If you follow the link you will see that it comes in a few other flavors as well.
Ahhh! two days of divine food & drink along with a dose of history made for a memorable weekend getaway indeed!