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Charleston Fabulous Eating Highlights

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Charleston Fabulous Eating Highlights

Isolda | Apr 23, 2011 01:23 PM

We just got back to Boston last night after 4 nights at the Wentworth Mansion (great place--highly recommend, and the awesome cooked breakfast is included). What excellent restaurants you have down there!

The first night, we had an early dinner at Magnolia. The Southern egg rolls stuffed with collards and ham were delicious--you could really taste the collard greens, rather than just the fried eggroll shell, as is the case with most eggrolls. Their spicy sausage and shrimp over grits was probably the best shrimp and grits I had on this trip (and yes, we ordered it four times from four different places.)

The second night, we ate at McCrady's. Their charred octopus was the highlight of that meal. I'll remember that dish for decades! We also loved the really interesting, well-chosen cheese platter for dessert. It is not easy to put together a cheese platter that doesn't seem random, and this one really held together nicely.

The third day, we ate at Middleton Place before touring the plantation. They won the award for best fried green tomatoes and sweet tea (perfect balance of sugar and tannic acid). Their shrimp and grits was also good, but I thought it would have been better without the wine in the sauce. Those Carolina shrimp have more than enough flavor.

On the way back to Charleston, we stopped at Timbo's for Cajun boiled peanuts and coke. They were out of plain, but the Cajun version was very good, and the spice didn't overpower the subtle taste of the peanuts. Plus, they made our rental car smell really nice!

Because we didn't feel fat enough, we drove straight to 82 Queen for crabcakes (seriously, these were ALL crab--no skimping at all), and more shrimp and grits. Got our first mosquito bites of the season there.

The fourth day, we had lunch at SNOB, their excellent crab salad. This place won the best cornbread award, hands down. And their banana cream pie, with the bananas pureed into the filling, was brilliant. I will be attempting to duplicate that very soon.

Our final night, we went to Muse on the recommendation of a hotel employee. I told him I was craving small plates. Got caught in what my Southern mama would call a "gully washer" on the way over, so ate dinner in sopping wet skirt and shoes. But this was nothing a little Rioja could not cure. We had the arugula and seared manchego salad (I'm actually attempting to make that for dinner tonight because it absolutely sang), the roasted veggie salad (asparagus, grape tomatoes, fennel with a lovely lemony dressing), the Merguez sausage, the grilled calamari, and their cheese platter. This place won for best decor.

Not wanting to leave Charleston without another order of shrimp and grits, I ordered this for breakfast at the Circa 1886 restaurant, which is part of the Wentworth Mansion. This version was second only to the one at Magnolia.

If I lived anywhere near Charleston, I'd be both poor and fat! Thanks to all, esp, Sue in Mt P, for your help!

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McCrady's Restaurant
2 Unity Alley, Charleston, SC 29401

82 Queen
82 Queen Street, Charleston, SC 29401

Circa 1886
149 Wentworth St., Charleston, SC 29401

Wentworth Mansion
149 Wentworth St, Charleston, SC 29401

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