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Monday, July 11, 2011

Charleston, SC - 5.28

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Ever since the trip to New Orleans,  I wanted to explore other southern parts of the United State.  For this Memorial day weekend,  we decided to visit Charleston, South Carolina. 

To maximize our time in Charleston, we took a late night flight on Friday after work, returned to New York on Tuesday early morning, and went straight to work.  Because of our flight schedule, we stayed at the Sheraton Charleston Airport Hotel for the first and last night. The direct flight between New York  and Charleston was only 2 hours long, so the schedule was very doable. 

  • Joseph's Restaurant
  • Old City Market 
  • Carriage Tour
  • Marion Square Art Exhibition & Farmer's Market
  • Aiken-Rhett House
  • Kudu Café
  • Poogan's Porch

On Saturday morning, we quickly checked out of the Sheraton hotel and took a short taxi ride into Charleston.  By 10 AM, we had already checked into the King Charles Inn, and on our way to Joesph's Restaurant for brunch based on the concierge's recommendation.  H and I have become more and more efficient when traveling.  I love that!

One of the main focus for this trip is the southern cuisine.  I love the ingredients, the spices, and the rich flavors in Southern cooking.  It is an ultimate comfort food to me.  I soon learned that it is "low-country cuisine" in South Carolina. There is strong rich diversity of seafood with Caribbean, Asian, and African cuisine influences.
After a short wait, we were seated at the yellow dinning room with many locals - a very good sign.  We ordered egg Benedict served on Holland rusks with Canadian bacon & home made Hollandaise sauce, and sweet potato pancakes with toasted pecon butter.  The food did not disappoint.  I really enjoyed my pancakes.  H was never a fan of grits, but he could not stop eating it at this restaurant.

On our way to take the carriage ride, we quickly strolled through the old city market.  Vendors sold all kinds of junk, but nothing interesting worth buying.  We took the Mule carriage ride with Palmetto Carriage Tours.  The carriage ride took longer to start since every carriage had to be weighted and pay the toll.  The carriage ride took us through some tree shaded blocks with beautiful houses.  It was a relaxing ride and a lovely introduction of Charleston

After the carriage ride, we walked over to Marion Square.  The square was quite big.  There was the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition on one end and a Farmer's Market on the other.  There were some amazing artworks at the exhibition.

Both H and I always enjoy touring the historical houses and I was eager to visit them in Charleston.  After Marion Square, we took a short walk to visit Aiken Rhett House.  The house and the slave quarters were interesting, but what caught our attention was the Joggling Board on the piazza. Joggling Board was a green long wooden bench that you could bounce up and down, left to right when you sit on it, which originated in South Carolina in the early 19 century.  Too bad our apartment would not fit, I would love to have a joggling board at home!

After Aiken Rhett House, we stopped by the visitor's center to get some information about plantations that we wanted to visit the next day.  On the way heading back to the hotel, we sought out the Kudu Cafe for a snake.  The beautiful water fountain garden was perfect to relax and enjoy craft beers, coffee, or pastries.

We had a few restaurants in mind for dinner the first night, but had yet to make a reservation.  Poogan's Porch was recommended by the guide from our morning carriage ride and we were lucky to secure an 8 PM reservation.  Maybe it was because of the Memorial day weekend, many popular restaurants were fully booked that evening. 

Poogan's Porch served low-country cuisine in a lovely Victorian House.  It turned out to be our favorite meal in Charleston. The house honey butter was so delicious that I had to refrain from stuffing myself with the bread before the dishes came.  The she-crab soup is the southern version of New England Claim Chowder, only with Crab, more spice, and intense flavor. It was too rich for me though.

The scollops and pork belly was heavenly! I LOVED  my shrimp with grits.  It was hearty and flavorful.  H also enjoyed his buttermilk fried chicken.  The food was so good that we definitely overextended ourselves. By the time we finished the main courses, we were so stuffed that we sadly had to skip the dessert.

We took a walk after dinner and passed by the Dock Street Theatre. People at all ages made the effort to dress up going to the theatre.  A police car was in front of the theatre front to patrol the crowd.  Many older gentlemen wore blue pinstripe seersucker summer suits, and some with bow ties.  They were adorable.

NEXT: Charleston, SC - 5.29  

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