Everything I Ate & Drank in Charleston, SC

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{ Could not get over the beauty this city has to offer! }

It sure took me a while but I finally made it to Charleston! I’ve had my eyes on the southern city for some time… I even wrote “visit Charleston” on the list of (fun) things I wanted to do in 2017! ¬†When I decided to enroll in a distilling workshop in Kentucky, I knew it was going be one of very few, if not the only, chances to hop over to South Carolina this year. My course finished on a Wednesday evening, so we stayed in Louisville one extra night, then rented a car and drove to one of my favorite cities, Nashville. The only way to fly to Charleston from Louisville was with a layover in Chicago, so we decided to spend a quick 12 hours in Nashville, – a.k.a. just enough time for dinner at Rolf & Daughters, drinks at the brand new Attaboy outpost and a few too many at Robert’s Western World! ūüėČ – then fly from Nashville to Charleston the following morning.

The main agenda points for the weekend were obviously food and drink. Charleston is without a doubt the current darling of the American culinary scene, and I wanted to fit in as many bites and sips as possible. Below is a full itinerary of what we ate and drank over the course of our weekend in Charleston!

Friday 2 pm. I originally had my eye on Xiao Bao Biscuit for a late lunch on arrival but failed to note they close for a couple of hours in the afternoon before dinner service. My plan B was 167 Raw, which was hilariously and vehemently recommended by our captain over the plane’s intercom during our descent into the Charleston airport. I’d had it on my list already but the captain’s¬†blessing made the decision an easy one. Maybe I was just hungry, but 167 Raw was, hands down, one of the best seafood meals I’ve ever had! We started with a dozen oysters (and their house white), which we let the fishmonger choose for us, then moved on to a special that day – chilled corn soup with crab. I’m a sucker for anything with fresh sweet corn during the summer months so I had to. Post-apps we moved on to a shrimp po’boy which was to. die. for. The trio of sauces gracing the perfectly battered and flash-fried shrimp – a sriracha aioli, red beet reduction, and green goddess drizzle – sent the dish over the top. We then finished off with the fish taco of the day, grilled halibut, and a glass of the wine special that day, a natural orange wine that was super tannic and interesting. We felt silly ordering fish tacos, coming from San Diego after all. We sat there thinking, What could Southerners possibly do to top our home city’s signature dish?, but the sneaky trick of smearing avocado BETWEEN TWO TORTILLAS (double decker-style for my fellow T-bell fans) was a brilliant trick I will not soon forget.

Friday, 7:30 pm.¬†Pre-dinner drinks at¬†our hotel’s rooftop bar, The Watch.

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{ Creme de Violette libation at The Watch }

Friday, 8:30 pm. I’d made reservations weeks earlier for Sean Brock’s tasting menu only McCrady’s. Hidden behind his more casual spot, McCrady’s Tavern, sits a private kitchen and dining room that is both staffed and decorated impeccably. All 12+ courses (or “interactions,” as they’re called) were stunning but¬†the standouts were the cobia with corn and marigold and the sorbet with summer flowers. I have to mention that what actually made the meal for us were the wine pairings! We usually skip wine pairings at fancy tasting menu spots, seeing as you’re likely already paying a good chunk of change for dinner, but we decided that I’d do the pairings and Luke would do a glass of white, then a red as the meal progressed. I’m so happy we did it this way because the pairing pours were so generous that we easily shared the glass with each dish, and were so, so impressed. Funny enough, the Sommelier there, Myers, turned out to be one of Luke’s old coworkers from his Market days!

Friday, 11 pm. Aforementioned Myers sent us to see his friends at The Dewberry hotel’s lobby bar. The bartender served up an incredible night cap with an amaro and all kinds of other delicious things I’ve now sadly forgotten. Turns out, the night cap wasn’t that night’s final “cap”. We got so excited talking distilling and cocktail culture and Charleston vs. San Diego with the Dewberry crew that by the time we left, we’d partaken in no less than two manhattans, a boulevardier and perhaps one too many Army & Navy’s, snaquiri style. ūüėČ

Charleston-Distillerista-1{ our cozy and spacious room at The Restoration }

Saturday, 8:30 am. Our hotel, The Restoration, drops off a picnic basket full of breakfast goodies of your choosing each morning, as a part of the room rate. We went all out the first morning to see what we liked Рcroissant, English muffin, housemade butter, country ham, granola and yogurt parfaits, Charleston tea and delicious coffee. We made a note to order an extra helping of the yummy country ham the next day!

Charleston-Distillerista-3{ the immaculately preserved Aiken Family Library at the Aiken Rhett House }

Saturday, 1 pm.¬†After a bike ride around South of Broad and tour of the Aiken Rhett house, we snagged a Lyft over to The Obstinate Daughter. Although we were hoping for more seafood options, we loved our lunch at the highly recommended Sullivan’s Island staple. We started off with a gorgeous crab salad on pumpernickel¬†toast and the gem salad, then split an incredible orecchiette¬†with fresh summer corn (told ya I can’t help myself), nduja, peppers, chile, parsley, and parmesan. The pasta was one of my favorite dishes of the whole weekend!

Charleston-Distillerista-13 { a (not so pretty) screenshot of a boomerang of our rooftop cheers at Revelry lol }

{ a (not so pretty) screenshot of a boomerang of our rooftop cheers at Revelry lol }

Saturday 3 pm. After a stroll along the beach and a peek at the lighthouse on Sullivan’s Island, we headed back towards the city to check out Revelry Brewing Co. Enjoying a cold beer on their rooftop deck, overlooking the city and watching a famous southern rain storm roll in was definitely a high point of the weekend!

{ Hiding out from the rain at the Nathaniel Russell House }

Saturday, 8 pm.¬†After hiding out from the rain with a few indoor activities, we headed up to North King for our southern fried chicken fix at Leon’s Oyster & Fine Poultry. Although not thoroughly sold on the fried chicken, we loved the atmosphere and cocktails!

Saturday, 9 pm.¬†Even though we had an early morning the next day, we decided to¬†fit in one more spot and grab an after dinner drink at the bar at The Ordinary. Upon hearing we hailed from San Diego, the bartender ordered us the ceviche on the spot! Not entirely satisfied with our dinner choice, the gesture was so sweet and appreciated! As if that wasn’t enough, we ordered a fried oyster slider to round out the night. For drinks, I ordered one of their daiquiris with a port cask finished rum (riffs on the classic cocktail being their claim to fame) and Luke had a classic Daquiri. Casual bartender of the year then surprised me with an Old Tom Gin Last Word after overhearing my love for Old Tom Gin! Night. Made.

Saturday, 10 pm. Couldn’t pass up a Jeni’s scoop on the way home, #sorrynotsorry.

Sunday, 7 am. We sleepily scarfed down more country ham and English muffin before heading out on an early morning walking tour.

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{ enchanting Duelers’ Alley, discovered on our walking tour }

Sunday, 1 pm. Brunch at Hominy Grill. What we thought was a local favorite turned out to be more of a tourist trap. Not super impressed. Wish we would have hit our second choice, Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit.

Sunday, 2 pm. Cocktails at The Darling Oyster Bar. Saddling up to their drop dead gorgeous bar with a Lillet Royale РLillet Blanc, Brut Rosé and orange bitters Рwas the perfect way to cap off the trip!

Safe to say, I can’t wait to head back to Charleston! I’ve already booked a trip in the spring for the Charleston Food & Wine Festival. Tell me, have you been to Charleston? What other spots did I miss? I’ll be sure to put them on my list for next time!

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