A great weekend, and some pleasant, if not memorable, meals. Here's the low-down:
Anson - I'm not sure what made Gourmet give space to this place. It was good, but nothing special, in a city with all the dining options Charleston has, I doubt I'll ever go back. Mediocre bread and cheap wine glasses. I had halibut (very nice fish cooked properly) on "gnocci" which were not in quotes but should have been. Granted, I can't make good gnocci either, but I'm not getting written up in Gourmet. Baby squash that was almost scorched. Husband's crispy flounder was very similar to Garibaldi's, but not quite as good (same recipe I think, just not carefully glazed). Probably the best thing we had at Anson was the rice pilaf. sounds boring, i know but DH wanted carbs and this stuff turned out to be perfectly cooked, still crunchy wild rice w/ cranberries & toasted pecans. Oh, and my arugula salad served on rounds of watermelon was nice.
Fig - much better meal. More interesting wine by the glass selection, better served. I had serrano ham , figs, goat cheese, mache & pistachio app. Not a test of cooking, I suppose, but of sourcing...they get a B+. DH had the housemade tagliatelle w/ chanterelles and THAT was fantastic. Fortunately an app as it was rather rich. DH had some very nice rare tuna and I was talked into the suckling pig by the waitress, but regretted it. Not very special, served in a compressed cube, like the chef was trying to make pork confit. Not bad, and a good try and being creative, but just tasty, not great, and the sauce didn't make up for it. Really good beets served alongside, though. I will definitely give this one another try.
Sermet - best meal of the trip. We had lunch there and that grilled calamari app is fantastic.
Hominy Grill - yawn. I don't know what the fuss is. Maybe we should have gone for dinner, but I heard brunch was thing. It was good mind you, but nothing special, no better than Sunny Point in Asheville. And bad service. If William Grimes said that was the best food in Charleston, I think he was making a subtle dig at the quality of restaurants there.
11 Center Street on Folly - We had lunch here. It's a wine and cheese shop and restaurant. The food was just passable, I had a grilled cheese sandwich(since it's a cheese shop, you know) that was OK. Husband's proscuitto and mozz sandwich was pretty bad. His quote: "It's like the prosciutto you would get in Greenville". Good wine service, though, and an absolutely fantastic place to sit in the open-air 2nd floor (but a roof for shade). They also offered made-at-your-table sangria and a huge selection of bottled micro-brews. If you needed a pleasant place to get toasted on a rainy day...this is the spot.
Gelataria ?? (on George St.) - really good gelato. get the pistachio. caramel also good. (we went there twice in 3 days)
And a quickie travel report: the new bridge is GORGEOUS, Folly is the greatest beach, surfing is harder than it looks, and the Holiday Inn on Folly is a worse hotel than I would have imagined.