Charleston for the Weekend
It's here. Finally. Pack it up, pack it in. Let this trip to Charleston begin!
Second trip with the BF. woah. Second time flying together. double woah. Don't worry, I chilled out on the airport anxiety this time around. In fact, I'm actually beginning to think it's unnecessary to sit at the gate 2 hours before my flight departs. Huh. Weird.
Maybe it's the TSA pre-check. Maybe it's the lounge life. Hmm, all I know is that flying with all these new "perks" makes me one spoiled lil b. I don't deserve it! I'm even comfortable flying with a MOBILE - that's right - mobile boarding pass. So techy, I can't even handle it. Thank you, K, for making me one savvy airport beezy b. Never, ever, would I think that day would come!
So we boarded our flight, easy-peasy, early Saturday morning, and off we went for a few days in Charleston, SC, + a day hike in Congaree National Park [but hang tight, we'll get into that in another post!].
I think it's safe to say we pretty much ate and drank our way through this lovely, lively city.
In fact, in the weeks leading up to our trip, we began curating a list of CHS to-do's. You know - the bevies, the eats, the day-time activities... we captured it all. Also, it seemed that whenever I mentioned I had an upcoming trip to Charleston, generous recommendations ensued. Thank you, friends! We definitely had plenty of ideas to keep us well fed and entertained all weekend. Yep. Eat, drink and be merry. That was the name of the game.
While we didn't accomplish everything on our list, we sure made a huge dent.
On Saturday night we snagged a patio table at The Ordinary. We sipped cocktails and shared a delicious array of seafood dishes [lump blue crab, asparagus crudo, spicy yellowfin tuna, and - pictured below - crispy oyster sliders]. yum. A great way to kick things off, that's for sure.
We were graced with some pretty fab weather Saturday and Sunday. But then Monday rolled around and hmm, that was a different story. What was in the forecast? Well, rain, rain ... and, a little more rain. All day. But that didn't stop us!
We signed up for a culinary tour through Downtown Charleston. That definitely helped us visit a larger smattering of the restaurants on the list [below]. On the company's website they stated that the tour would happen, rain or shine. Oh boy, did it rain. And wow, we definitely walked a considerable amount. By the end of the tour I felt as if I had puddles INSIDE my boots! Ha, it was an adventure to say the least.
We geared up [with our free, tour provided ponchos], and puddle-hopped into 4 different restaurants that afternoon.
We had the best tour guide, named Dana. So sweet and knowledgable about the city of Charleston!
She happily greeted us at our first restaurant of the day, Eli's Table. We said our intro-hello's to the larger group [by stating our names + where we were from + our favorite comfort foods], and then shared family-style plates of chicken and waffles, sweet pot pancakes, and shrimp and grits. We sat with a small group within our tour who happened to be this cute lil gal gang. They all knew each other since their time in high school and were visiting Charleston for a weekend girl's trip. One lady happened to have kids about our age who were also living in Chicago. Small world.
I snapped a picture of the chicken and waffles, but really the sweet potato pancakes were the star of the show. No surprise, coming from this sweet pot princess. Keaton and I both agreed that Eli's Table served the best food on our tour. Glad we started at the top!
Next, we ventured to Craftsman Kitchen & Tap House for a sampling of Mexican corn, pork shoulder nachos, and fried squid. Keaton had a beer flight and I sipped on this awesome craft cocktail, which, if my memory serves me correctly, was called the basil bee. Too perfect. How could I not order it?!
Next up, Low Country Bistro. This was Keaton's favorite "vibe" out of the restaurants on our tour: casual and southern. I would have to agree! Again, we were served another sampling trio, but this time we had an oyster, a fried green tomato and a fried okra. We also ordered two more drinks, because... yolo?
At this point in the day we were getting prettyyy full, but we had one last restaurant on the agenda. We called our canoes [just jokes] and headed to our final spot, Kaminsky's Dessert Cafe where we indulged in a slice of chocolate pecan pie. Don't let our smiles fool you, we're actually both in a sugar coma.
And that was that! The tour concluded and we said goodbye to our friends. Again, claps and snaps for Dana at Charleston Culinary Tours. We had such a great afternoon sloppin' around the flooded streets of Charleston [in our ponchos and soggy shoes], tasting all of the delicious southern comfort eats.
Below is a list of all the places we went [beyond the culinary tour that afternoon] + sights we saw this past weekend. Keep it handy if you're ever heading to Charleston!
On our culinary tour we walked through Philadelphia Alley. It was tough to take in the sights [and snap my pictures!] with the heavy rain, so we ventured back the next day. Lovely. I want each and EVERY flower box.
The Bevies [non-alcoholic]
- Revelator Coffee [A trendy lil coffee shop that actually made us feel like we were back in Chicago's Wicker Park]
- Butcher and the Bee [We stopped here for a quick afternoon espresso, but wish we would have had the time to eat here! Or, at least try their granola.]
The Drinkies [a lil booze, puhlease]
- Henry's House [We relaxed on the rooftop here and I got a killer forehead sunburn... I'm not complaining. It's time to bring this Chicago gal out of hibernation.. but lathered her up in SPF first. Those freckles BEE poppin.]
- 492 [We hung at the bar; I sipped an Effen mule, Keaton had a beer.]
- Vintage Lounge [Live music wine bar where we enjoyed some smooth, jazzy beats.]
- Bourbon [hesitant to list this because it's a bar in Columbia, SC, but it didn't disappoint! We went here after a day of hiking in Congaree National Park. They served craft cocktails, and it had a pretty relaxed vibe. Keaton said the bartender looked like a grown-up version of Peter Pan. I didn't disagree.]
- Charleston Beerworks [A casual sports bar where we hid from the rain and had a quick drink before our culinary tour]
- Felix [Ended up being one of our favorite spots! We went here on a whim on our last night. Cute French vibe with 1920s musique francais, delicious craft cocktails, and the friendliest bartenders]
- The Ordinary [delicious seafood; snag a patio seat if you can!]
- Kitchen208 [cute, quick lunch spot on Kings Street where we enjoyed a break on the patio, and toasted to our first meal in CHS]
- Eli's Table [the three most important words: sweet potato pancakes.]
- Craftsman Kitchen & Tap House [pork! that was the name of the game at this spot. Also, I'm still thinking about that basil bee cocktail. yum.]
- Low Country Bistro [casual, southern spot. we'd say this is 'good vibes', people!]
- Kaminsky's Dessert Cafe [pie. sugar coma. delicious]
- Miller's All Day [we had breakfast here on our last day. delicious southern biscuits, retro atmosphere, and we both snagged some jams to take home as gifts for our fams!]
The Walks/Activities [we were busy bees, buzz!]
- Downtown Farmers market in Marion Square [we snagged the tail-end of this outdoor market on Saturday. We browsed the goods, enjoyed the sunshine and drank a locally-made kombucha!]
- Charleston City Market [again, browsed the goods, but this time in an indoor marketplace downtown]
- Downtown Charleston Culinary Tours [a rain-or-shine culinary tour through a select set of Charleston restaurants]
- The Shops at Belmond [fancy pants shopping center that we browsed, mostly to take a respite from walking in the rain]
- Philadelphia Alley [we went here on our culinary tour, but made a repeat visit the next day to take in the sights, sans the rain]
- Waterfront Park [we had to fulfill our tourist duties to see the Pineapple Fountain and snap a picture!]