We just got back from 10 days in the Charleston area. We stayed out on Sullivans Island for beach time, but even though we had a kitchen, we ate most dinners out. Our restaurant choices were pretty varied, because when all of us went out together, we were a group of 9 with a 4 and 6 year old. Some of our group had only been to Charleston a few times. Others, like my husband and myself, have been there 10+ times in the past few years. That being said, here are the highlights of what we ate!
We ate at Fleet Landing on Sunday night. This was my first trip to Fleet and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Ordinarily when you go someplace that has a water view, it's the old "good view or good food" conundrum. However, while Fleet wasn't knock your socks off amazing, we all thought that the seafood was very fresh and well prepared. The sides that accompanied the entrees were a little less successful, but they weren't dismal. Fleet handled our group of 9 very easily and all in all, I would recommend it for people wanting a water view.
Three of us ventured out to the Fat Hen the next evening. I love the Fat Hen and my favorite dish there is the seared grouper with butter beans. However, my husband ordered "The Rib" and after I took a bite of it, my dish might as well have been sawdust. That slow cooked short rib was one of the most amazing pieces of meat I've ever eaten. Delicious!
Tuesday a group of us decided to venture out to the Tea Plantation and the Firefly Distillery. We timed our visit so that we could eat lunch at the Tomato Shed on our way out there. Fantastic fresh vegetables and just all around good Southern cooking. They also have a bakery and the lemon blueberry bread that I bought was great for breakfast the rest of the week. The Tea Plantation and Distillery were neat food related side trips. The Distillery does tastings of their sweet tea vodkas, as well as their new rums and southern dessert inspired liqueurs. For $6 you get to sample 6 flavors, as well as keep your tasting glass, which has a picture of the distillery on it. The grounds are very charming and would be a great place for a picnic. The Irvin vineyards are on the same property and you can also do tastings of their muscadine wines.
That evening found a friend in town on business, so our group of now 10 had to scramble to find a place to accommodate us. We wound up at Five Loaves Cafe on Cannon St. Service was cheerful, if a little slow, and the food was very solid. I think everyone enjoyed their entrees, but the salads and lighter fare seemed to really shine here. My salad with honey basil lime dressing was fantastic. I wanted to bottle up the dressing and take it home.
Our one big blooper in the week's dining occurred the next night when we decided to go to Home Team BBQ. My husband and I had eaten here before, and while it was not mind blowing BBQ, we had enjoyed it. Let me also add that we had always gotten carry out and had never actually eaten in the restaurant. Well, we had a very long wait to get in, followed by seating on the patio in the sun, where we waited almost another hour to get our food. By that point, everyone was already grumpy and I don't know that anyone was thrilled with what they had, except possibly me, because I ordered the Home Team Salad, which is a great salad with a poblano dressing and your choice of smoked meat on top. At any rate, in my opinion, Home Team is best for carryout or for going later when they have live music and the focus is on the bar side of things.
The next night we split up and my group went to Poe's Tavern. This is still one of my favorite burgers in the world and I love the beachy bar atmosphere. After dinner we walked across the street to Cafe Medley for ice cream.
Now for the good stuff!
Friday night was our anniversary. Dinner at the Peninsula Grill has become an anniversary tradition for us and I was a little nervous about it, since I knew that Chef Robert Carter had left to open his own restaurant. However, I had read several reviews saying that Chef Dailey had made a smooth transition. Nothing could be more true! If anything, the Peninsula Grill is better than ever. Chef Dailey has kept the basic menu intact, but has tweaked things like sides and sauces and I have to say that I like what he's done. I had the seared scallops served with a lobster broth so good that it was all I could do not to lick my bowl! Everything we had was delicious and the service was as flawless as ever.
Saturday morning was a very hot trip to the Farmer's Market. I am grateful that I'm married to a very patient man who will let me roam the market in 90+ degree weather (at 10am!) to find popsicles and soda! I found the King of Pops under his umbrella and boy, am I glad I did! The SC Peach popsicle takes frozen fruit flavors to a whole new level. These are not your childhood popsicles! I really wanted to go back and buy the entire cart, but my husband said we had no room for it in the car! haha! We also sought out the Cannonborough Soda guys. Their Blackberry Mint soda was well worth the hunt. Very refreshing on such a hot morning. I can't wait until they start bottling their product.
Lunch was at Taco Boy downtown and it was good, but the best meal of the day, and runner up meal of the trip, was dinner that night at the Glass Onion. Yum, yum, yum! Great salad with pickled okra and green beans, great deviled eggs, and great entrees. I had shrimp and grits, which had a bit of a Louisiana twist with chunks of andouille. My husband had a pork ragout with house made pasta. Both were delicious. The service was good and we will definitely make a return trip!
Sunday morning I trekked downtown to Glazed. Wow. The most amazing doughnuts I've ever had. I bought a Maple Bacon, a Blackberry Earl Grey, a cinnamon sugar twist, and a Purple Goat. They were all fantastic, but the Purple Goat was the standout. It was a filled doughnut with a lavender glaze and filling made of a goat cheese triple berry mix. Ahhhhmazzzing! I still dream about it!
I stopped by The Co-Op on Sullivans Island to get a sandwich for lunch. They try to source all their veggies, etc. locally and I have to say that it was a pretty great turkey sandwich and a great little place to get a picnic or just sandwiches to take to the beach.
Dinner was at an old favorite, Andolini's. I love their crust and wish I could find someplace close to home that is half as good.
Monday morning it was time to head home. We had planned to have breakfast at Dixie Supply and according to their website, they're open 7 days a week. Well, we got there at 9am and the sign said "Closed". Boo! I am guessing maybe they took a vacation the week of the 4th? At any rate, we headed over to Hominy Grill, our first visit since they expanded. Although it has become more touristy than when I first ate there in 2005, the food is still very good, and my omelet with marinated grape tomatoes, bacon, and avocado was excellent.
So, we did a lot of eating and now I'm having to do a lot of walking to work it all off! It was all worth it though, and we can't wait for our next Low Country adventure!