Historic Charleston Revisited

Historic Charleston, South Caroline With One Of Its Many Steeples

The southern town of Charleston, South Carolina is so lovely that it deserves multiple visits to really get to know all of its’ hidden charms. That is exactly what my husband and I did on our road trip down to Florida and back. You may recall that we had stopped for one day  in Charleston but the lure of the picturesque city was calling us back as we headed north to our home in New England. Once again we stayed at the French Quarter Inn and were greeted with Champagne as we checked in.

French Inspired Bedroom

After unpacking and settling in to our French inspired  bedroom, we headed out to explore the city. The hotel is within walking distance of most everything that you want to visit and is right across from the restored markets.

Making Baskets For Over 70 Years

While walking through the market, I stopped and spoke with a woman who has made lovely sweetgrass baskets for over 70 years. The making of baskets has been handed down through her family from generation to generation. Her baskets are both beautiful and unusual.

Beautiful Handmade Sweetgrass baskets

Right outside the market you can find horse or mule draw carriages that will take you on a guided tour of the historic section of Charleston, stopping along the way to explain about the history of the beautiful homes and buildings from a century ago.

Carriage Ride Through Historic Charleston

It was a damp and gray day but Charleston is such a wonderful city for walking that we  decided to take a stroll so that we might peak down alleys and through garden gates. We discovered small hidden gardens,

Hidden Garden

some public with statues or fountains, others were private and very intimate.

Peek Through the Wrought Iron Gate To Find Hidden Garden

Walking always builds up your appetite, so we headed back to the hotel to enjoy the free wine and cheese reception and meet some of the other guests staying at the hotel.  Then it was upstairs to our room to change for dinner, a short walk away.

Tonight’s dinner reservation was at FIG. The initials stand for Food is Good and believe me it was. Chef Mike Lata was named Best Chef of the Southeast by the James Bread Foundation in 2010. The well known restaurant is renowned for its quality ingredients sourced from local farmers and growers. The restaurant feels like a combination of a neighborhood café and a little chic bistro.

Appetizers were classic yet served in a stylish and creative way. We started with a Wagyu beef carpaccio and chicken liver pâté.

Beef Breast Carpaccio, Pecorino And Crispy Potato

Main courses were a delicious slow baked snapper with artichoke-cauliflower grenobloise  and a suckling pig confit, with sautéed greens, roasted beets and mustard jus.

Slow Baked Snapper With Yukon Puree, Artichoke And Cauliflower Grenobloise

The next day, we were off again to explore the city. Unfortunately it was another drizzly day, but that couldn’t stop us. Thankfully the rain stopped and even though we didn’t have beautiful sun, we enjoyed our day of discovery.

Back Of The Old Custom House

The Circular Church

Historic Building With Wrought Iron Balcony

Historic Daughter Of Confederacy Building

We had made a reservation at Husk for lunch. This is probably one of the most well known restaurants in town and it didn’t disappoint.

Husk Restaurant

Husk is noted for its farm to table meals. After walking in the front door you see a chalk board that has a list of ingredients used in the days cooking and the farms they came from.

Smoky Wings With Charred Onion BBQ Glaze

We ordered to items from their snacks section of the menu to start…grilled crostinis with pimento cheese and country ham and SC smoky wings with charred onion BBQ glaze and Sea Island benne.

Vermillion Snapper With Carolina Gold Rice And Tomato Bacon Pole Beans

Lunch was SC shrimp and grits with braised peppers and onion and Surry sausage an a Vermillion snapper with Carolina gold rice and tomato bacon braised pole beans. We had to have two of their famous sides for the table…bacon cornbread and country ham braised greens. We would go back to Husk just for another helping of sides. They were the best we have ever had.

Our evening started with cocktails at The Gin Joint and should have ended there with some small plates. The Gin joint specializes in pre-Prohibition spirits. Their cocktails are made with the best quality ingredients and spirits. They are so particular about making the best cocktail that they juice their own fruit and make their own syrups. The many paged cocktail menu is full of slings, smashes, fizzes and fine small batch sipping spirits.

James Creates The Best Cocktail You Will Ever Have

A Proper Old Fashion And Fitzgerald FizzAfter sampling two of their delicious cocktails, I can see why they have been written up so often in both local and national magazines and papers.

I don’t like to criticize restaurants…that is up to local reviewers. I have decided to make an exception and say that my tip of the day is not to go to Amen Street restaurant. The she crab soup was like eating a bowl of bland thick gravy. A salad of marinated tomatoes, hearts of palm and gorgonzola was sent back because it was uneatable. Oysters on the half shell were fine but shucked in the kitchen instead of out front. This has been the only restaurant on our entire trip that we left without ordering a main course. I don’t think I need to say more.

As much fun as we have had on our two brief stays…we are already looking forward to our next trip to Charleston, South Carolina. The historic city, the delicious food and the warmth of the people will keep us coming back for many years to come.

About these ads

About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

76 Responses to Historic Charleston Revisited

  1. How about replicating those cocktails? Now that I am in the throes of planning a wedding, I can see how useful such a recipe(s) could be. You could very well be saving a soul…think about it.
    ~~Bliss (aka: I Need A Drink STAT Mother of the Bride in Michigan)

  2. You whet my appetite when you first posted about Charleston, now I have a longing to go there! Loved those gardens and especially that statue of the girl!

  3. ChgoJohn says:

    So glad you were able to visit Charleston again. That’s the big advantage to travelling by car, the ability to stop where you want and stay for as long as you want. Sorry about the bad experience at ASR but you’ve been so fortunate up until now that, eventually this was bound to happen. Luckily you were wise enough to leave before ordering your dinner. If you’re on the road today, safe travels!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks John, for your nice comment. Traveling by car certainly takes more time but you are right…there are a lot of advantages. One bad food experience on this trip is not bad. I always say, research as much as you can on restaurants and you will usually have a nice meal.

  4. Charleston is such a great town and it looks like y’all had fun both times! Once, my mom and I stayed in a B&B in one of those beautiful historic houses with the side garden. Turned out it was a very old family, the Kings (of King Street), who owned it and they told us all the great spots to visit. They have (or at least used to have) a great B&B system there, and you might try that on your next visit…an insider’s look so to speak. That sazerac (at least that’s what it looks like) is my hubby’s favorite cocktail!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, You must have had a great time staying in one of the lovely historic homes. We love staying at B&B’s when our dates are firm. B&B’s usually want you to pay in full in advance. If you have to change your plans, most times you will not get a refund. On a road trip this long that can be a problem. The cocktails were an Old Fashioned and a Fitzgerald Fizz. Both very good by the way.

  5. lulu says:

    Did you spend any time in Savannah, another place for wonderful photos? I have no problem with you offering an opinion on a restaurant. With so many choices, it’s helpful to know which are not favorites. Travel well.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lulu, We thought about staying in Savannah on the way back north but decided that we wanted to see more of Charleston. I hope to go back to Savannah on one of our trips. All of the city gardens are so beautiful there.

  6. Charleston certainly looks a lovely town, lots of interest, and the drinks look divine !

  7. I hate bad crab dishes! Looks like you did well overall.

  8. Zoe @ Pantry and Fridge says:

    ~drooling~ :) As usual, the food looks magnificent.

    I love that part of the country and all of the historic buildings. Do you ever stay in supposed haunted hotels? There’s a famous one North of here but I don’t think I could. :D

    Signed, Chicken :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Zoe, Thanks for your comment. The food was as good as it looks. We have never stayed in a supposed haunted hotel…don’t know if I would or not.

  9. Mad Dog says:

    Amazing snapper – again!

    • Karen says:

      I really love fresh seafood, Mad Dog and the snapper was cooked to perfection. The butter topping the fish was jalapeño butter…just gave flavor without too much heat. Loved it!

  10. The architecture is beautiful! I wish they used some more colours like that up here, especially during the long and cold winters. Great pictures

  11. Bonnie says:

    Karen, Charleston is one of my favorite places. I love the market anad the River Road. I remeber a beautiful pink town home with a large pig statue out front. The meals you ate look incredible. It was always a toss up for me to chose between eating and strolling. Love the small hidden graveyards and churches the best. Thanks for sharing.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bonnie, Isn’t Charleston lovely. I didn’t see the town home with a pig statue…I would have had to take a photo. It would have been very appropriate for all the food we have been eating. We love the fact that you can park your car and walk everywhere.

  12. Debra Kolkka says:

    What a gorgeous place. I really have to see more of America.

  13. Charles says:

    What beautiful photos – it’s like stepping back in time… everything seems so antique-y and well-cared for. I love the look of that circular church, and those baskets too… so pretty!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Charles, for your nice compliment. While walking along the back cobblestone streets of Charleston, I was reminded of the architecture that has been inspired by the French. So many of the towns we have visited in France have this same familiar look.

      • Charles says:

        Yeah – I was going to say… the circular church especially, some of the windows really seemed to have been inspired by romanesque architecture – so wonderful :)

      • Karen says:

        You are so right, Charles. The church originated more than three hundred years ago but was destroyed in a fire in 186l that devastated most of Charleston. It was rebuilt in 1890 in the Romanesque style that was considered modern for the time. Good eye for architecture.

  14. How beautiful, Karen!
    Thanks for sharing this city with us :)

  15. k.m. says:

    I have some friends who live in Charleston, now I need to find some time off work to go visit them. The pictures of the city are gorgeous and the food sounds great too.

    Did you buy a basket? They are beautiful!

    • Karen says:

      Hi K.M., Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. I know you would really enjoy visiting Charleston, especially since you have friends that live there. No, I didn’t buy one of the baskets on this trip…but they are on my wish list.

  16. spicegirlfla says:

    I’ve wanted to visit Charleston and even more so now viewing your pics!! I’m hoping once you arrive back home you will be testing out some of the meals and cocktails you’ve had!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, Thank you for your nice comment. I hope you get a chance to visit Charleston…it is a lovely city. I will be trying to recreate some of the meals that we have had.

  17. ....RaeDi says:

    After having lived in Charleston two different times, several years each time… I forgot how much I truly have missed the old lady. You did a wonderfu job with the photos and you cannot normally go wrong when eating in Charleston. Thank you for bringing my memories to life once again!

    • Karen says:

      Hi RaeDi, Thank you for your nice compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos and that they brought back good memories of your life in Charleston.

  18. I was in Charleston once maybe ten years ago, and I have thought of that beautiful city many times since then! I really loved it! I somehow managed to resist buying one of those beautiful Sweetgrass baskets, and I have always been sorry! I recall some beautiful bed and breakfasts that I’d love to visit. You have had the most wonderful trip, Karen. I think what I take from your posts is that you travel with intention…you don’t just wing it! Ha! I can see the results, and I need to step it up! Debra

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debra, Thank you for your nice comment. The Sweetgrass baskets are so lovely. The trip has been wonderful. And yes…I travel with intention. I research hotels, restaurants, scenic drives and places to visit. It usually results in a nice day of traveling.

  19. Sissi says:

    I now see why you came back to Charleston. it’s a very charming and beautiful city, at least on your lovely photos. I must admit I started to dream about a visit to this bar with pre-prohibition drinks. It sounds very original.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Sissi, for your nice comment. Charleston has so much to offer any visitor. If it had of been a sunny day, there would have been more photos to share. The Gin Joint is like no other place I have visited for cocktails. They even prepare special ice for the drinks.

  20. I’m very jealous of your visit to Charleston Karen, as it is a place that my wife and I have on “To Visit” list. I’ll definitely have to remember The Gin Joint for when we finally make it there. :-)

    • Karen says:

      Jed, you will love The Gin Joint. I know why it has been written up so much. We found it from an article in a southern magazine called Garden & Gun that my husband had read. Charleston is a great place to visit. Whenever we make the drive south, Charleston will be one of the stops.

  21. Charleston looks like such a lovely town, with so much of heritage.
    I live in completely urban concrete jungle, someday I hope to live in a town like that.
    Beautiful, those baskets are really gorgeous!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Reem, Charleston is very different from so many of our urban areas. I hope you will get a chance to visit the lovely town sometime. The Sweetgrass baskets are beautiful. So much time goes into making each one. It is nice that the tradition is being kept alive.

  22. Those sweetgrass baskets are amazing! Beautiful. I love all the old time traditions that are passed down through the family. The snapper dish looked delicious as well!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ducky, The Sweetgrass baskets are so beautiful. There was another women at the market that wouldn’t let me take any photos of the baskets. Maybe she thought I was going to try and copy them…fat chance of that happening. It must be very involved and very tedious work. The lovely lady that I spoke with was so kind and let me take photos of her and her beautiful baskets.

  23. Whoa, love all these historical buildings. I now have a new interest in Charleston! The Gin Joint does look like it is a place not to miss when you are in town. Thanks for sharing a peek into the wonders that Charleston has to offer.

  24. Cayla says:

    this post, especially the photos make me so excited for my future trip to Charleston! hopefully it’ll take place in the fall! :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cayla, I’m so happy that you enjoyed the post. I know that you will really enjoy your visit to Charleston. The fall should be a great time to go.

  25. What beautiful pictures and descriptions. I felt like I traveled there myself…for free. Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi P.W., Thank you for your compliment. I’m happy you enjoyed the post and that you felt that you were traveling with us…for free. That’s the best kind of travel these days.

  26. Charleston looks wonderful, as I have commented before. You really make me want to take a trip to see it for myself. The architecture looks very similar to that in New Orleans. The food looks amazing as well; it’s too bad you had that dud at the end. Hopefully the others were so good, you won’t recall the bad. Thanks again for bringing us along.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Eva, for your nice compliment. Do try to make a trip to Charleston…you will really enjoy the experience. It does remind me of New Orleans but in a more gentile manner. Definitely not nearly a crowded with tourists as NOLA.

  27. Sounds like such a fun time, delicious too! And your photos are just amazing – makes me feel like I’m there, I love Charleston!

  28. Bonnie says:

    Had you not visited me this morning, I would have missed visiting Charleston with you. I must figure out how to “follow” you. I’ve only scanned your recent posts this morning because I want to come back and savor them. We live in the Chicago area. We moved here from Charleston! One day is not enough time in Charleston. Five years is not enough time! Also, we are considering a move to New England to be closer to our son and DIL.

    Best,
    Bonnie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bonnie, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. I enjoyed your blog…we both have several fellow bloggers that we follow and I thought it was high time that I visited you. Charleston is a wonderful town to visit over and over again. I love Chicago but if you end up moving to New England I think you will be happy. New England is really a beautiful part of our country. Stop by again.

  29. Tandy says:

    it all looks so pretty and the food as usual amazing! I am going to be publishing a review soon about a bad meal we had – hopefully it will save someone else the money. It is good to mention it and well done for doing so!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tandy, Thank you for your nice compliment. I was brought up that if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. This time I felt that I would save someone from having such a bad experience as I did. When I find someplace that is great, I like to give a heads up to others so that someday they might get a chance to go where I have been.

  30. Ann says:

    Fantastic! I LOVE Charleston and your photos of the magic city are wonderful!

  31. The private gardens reminded me of those we saw in Italy. Quaint, intimate parcels, each reflecting the personality of those tending it. And those wings sound amazing!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Judy, The private gardens are so nice to discover. I don’t usually eat chicken wings but my husband kept giving me bites of his and they were incredible.

  32. This has been my favorite travel post of yours yet! I love looking at the buildings and hearing about the food!

  33. This makes me want to drive down to Charleston again. I love all of the little gardens and definitely want to visit FIG!

  34. Carolyn Chan says:

    What wonderful places you have had the opportunity to visit – so quaint and full of history.

  35. jeb610 says:

    I was just in low country of Charleston last week for a short visit. Charleston has a great story to tell and is a beautiful city. The history in there is alive and well.
    If you ever get a chance to visit the upstate of South Carolina, please pay a visit to this area as well, it is just as charming and beautiful and you would not be disappointed!

  36. cabinet stew says:

    I love seeing all that southern Greek revival architecture! And “Husk” sounds like my kind of place…less swanky than FIG and more southern classics! YUM

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol, I think you would enjoy both restaurants. FIG isn’t swanky…a storefront restaurant with bare wood tabletops. Their food is just prepared and presented in a more contemporary way, perhaps. Husk does serve many of the dishes in small cast iron skillets.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s