It has been two years since Colin and I took a solo trip together and it was his turn to choose the location. I was not surprised when my at-home-chef husband chose one of the biggest food cities in America: Charleston, South Carolina.
Ever since watching mind of a chef, we have been fascinated by Sean Brock. His cookbook is a staple in our household, and there is not one, but FOUR of his restaurants in Charleston. We foodies went to three of them as well as some other amazing restaurants.
We went to a couple of the touristy places in the area, then headed to Botany Bay. It was about an hour out of town, but exploring nature is always my favorite thing to do on vacation and the drive was gorgeous. Botany driftwood beach MADE The trip for me. Sure, the food we ate was incredible, but I have never been to a place like that. Because no one is allowed to remove anything from the beach, it is covered in shells and tiny ocean treasures. The tide was coming in as we arrived. Entire sun-bleached driftwood trees crowded the sand with roots exposed, and I could hear the sweet tinkling of shells as the waves pushed and pulled them out to sea.
We got sunburned.
I was proud of that. Considering back home in Michigan it was in the low 20s, I was happy to take home a reminder of how warm it was that weekend.
Coffee + Drinks
Kudu: a sweet little coffee shop with a boss courtyard. The nitro cold brew was refreshing.
4 Vanderhorst St, Charleston, SC 29403
The Gin Joint: a hip cocktail bar in the heart of the historic district. Incredible aesthetics, loud + lively atmosphere, unique cocktails, and an EXTENSIVE list of spirits.
Colin and I opted to do their bartenders choice instead of selecting a specific cocktail. You choose two flavor words from a list and the bartender creates something inspired by them. I chose sweet + smokey. I’m not entirely certain about each ingredient, but there was mezcal, rum, and cherry involved. It was reminiscent of an old fashioned, and incredibly delicious.
2169, 182 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401
Mercantile + Mash: located in a renovated cigar company, this is a super cool gourmet food emporium, coffee shop, deli, and bar. Along with our morning coffee- Paris By Night (a Nitro Vietnamese Coffee) for me and an Americano for Colin, we picked up some Charleston Salt Water Taffy and Praline Pecans to bring home for the kids.
The space certainly has a more local vibe and was filled with college students. It would have been a great place to get some work done if we wanted.
701 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29403
The Bar at Husk: the best damn place to wait for a meal at Husk. It is a stand-alone cocktail and whiskey bar in a totally separate space from Husk. We arrived early for our dinner reservation, and the host walked us over. It felt like being transported through history in the coziest atmosphere. I had the Papa Holiday (Vodka, Grapefruit, Floral Cordial, Lime, Soda) and Colin had some kind of whiskey drink.
76 Queen St, Charleston, SC 29401
McCradys Tavern: the casual sister of the high end McCrady’s around the corner, the brick-walled tavern feels intimate despite two story high ceilings. The food is high-concept and locally sourced. We had: the Seasonal Southern Cheese Plate, Seared Octopus (with Pork Belly, Fingerlings, Spiced Yogurt, Chermoula), Roast Duck Breast (with Sweet Potato, Brown Butter, Black Truffle), Fried Broccolini (with Bacon Jam, Crispy Shallots), and Tiramisu for dessert.
2 Unity Alley, Charleston, SC 29401
Poogans Porch: The sweetest southern brunch around. It was homey but interesting and the service was so friendly. We started with mimosas, coffee and Fried Green Tomatoes then moved on to a Roast Beef Omelette and Fried Pecan Encrusted Strawberry Cream Filled French Toast. LIFE CHANGED.
72 Queen St Charleston SC, 29401
Minero: Sean Brock does tacos! Best guacamole I’ve ever had. We got the Fried Catfish Taco (with pickled green tomato tartar, cabbage, red onion), a couple Tacos al Pastor (with marinated and grilled pork, pineapple, avocado purée) and a Charcoal Grilled Chicken Taco (with unripe mango, cotija, lime pickled red onion, pasilla de Oaxaca). Also, Margaritas with Mezcal because DUH.
153B East Bay Street Charleston, SC 29401
Husk: Husk is probably the number ONE reason Colin chose Charleston for this trip. When we think Sean Brock, we think Husk. Everything we ate was a celebration of Southern ingredients and so so so delicious. I didn’t know carrots could taste like that. We started with Beef Tartar, then had a Pork Terrine with Carrot Glazed Carrots, Cornbread, and Country Ham. Words fall flat. It was amazing. You GOTTA GO. Just get those reservations wayyyyy in advance.
76 Queen St. Charleston, SC 29401
Fig: We stumbled upon Fig through an interview with Sean Brock. When asked if there was another restaurant to check out in Charleston, he said this was it. Everything was incredible and interesting. We had the B-Snapper Rice Bowl, Pumpkin Soup, Pork with Duck Fat Potato Salad, and Coconut Carmella Panna Cotta (with grapefruit, dark chocolate).
232 Meeting Street Charleston, SC 29401
Rainbow Row: We walked along Bay St. and the Battery to see these colorful beauties.
Pineapple Fountain: We took a stroll through Waterfront Park underneath the gorgeous tree-lined brick walkways to the renowned Pineapple Fountain. The Pineapple is the symbol of hospitality- one of the highest Southern values.
Angel Oak: This giant live Oak is possibly 500 years old, and absolutely worth the trip out of town.
Folly Beach: This was one of the few “touristy” places we went. Sometimes, you just gotta get a cheap rum and coke and sit beachside and get some SUN.
Botany Bay: Just go. JUST GO!