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Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Charleston we love

Windows & Door Knockers2I have a fascination with windows. Here are a few that captivated me. Please don’t judge too harshly, I didn’t do this in Photoshop. In time, I will tweak everything. If you’d like to see it larger, click on the image.
There are sooooo many reasons to fall in love with this city – the history, the charm, the people, the architecture, the landscape, the food, the shopping . . . You can visit a plantation one day and go diving with the dolphins the next. And, it’s just incredible to think of the history enveloped in each and every street. Chris and I love it because we can walk almost everywhere. There truly is something for everyone. Apparently, several others agree with us about Charleston as Conde Nast named it 2012’s “#1 City to visit in the US.” Clearly, we have brilliant taste!

Speaking of, here’s the promised second (and final) post featuring just a few things that captured our attention and taste buds on this trip. The first being windows (above). I have a framed picture of 20 windows I photographed during my time in the Middle East and I hope I can do something similar with these charming Southern windows. I also found the door knockers to have so much character. Thank goodness most of the historic homes are directly in front of the sidewalk. In that way, I didn’t feel so obtrusive photographing the homeowner’s doors. 
Windows & Door Knockers3
Of course, you can’t escape the South without walking under canopies of amazing trees. They feel so whimsical, poetic and large. No doubt, they have stories to tell. A stark contrast to Oklahoma trees which inevitably lean whichever way the wind blows. I love that Spanish moss.

But let’s get serious and talk about what we spent a vast majority of our time doing – eating! For fun (and motivation for losing weight), we tried to take a pic of the food at several places we ate. In our shuttle from the airport to the inn, we struck up a conversation with a local who just happened to own three restaurants and had “connections” with several more. We clearly didn’t make it to every restaurant we desired, but here’s a fun rundown of empty calories run amuck.  IMG_0681

Michael Shemtov, the owner of Butcher & Bee and Mellow Mushroom. We’re thankful for his connections at Husk, McCrady’s, Cru Café, Hanks Seafood and more!

Butcher & Bee is a sandwich shop located in a warehouse on King Street tucked underneath I-26. With a menu that changes daily, they source all of their ingredients locally or from their garden. Everything was so fresh. Joanna, this is definitely worth the walk. Tell Michael the Kennedys from OK sent you and spread the word!

IMG_0257Pulled squash sandwich

IMG_0256Roast beef sandwich

IMG_0259Strawberry upside-down cake, compliments of Michael. The last piece they had!

We had to try out Husk, voted “2011’s Best New Restaurant” by both Bon Appetit and Southern Living. Like Butcher & Bee, it also boasts a rotating menu with locally grown ingredients. Chris had striped bass and I had the popular bacon burger. 

IMG_0251Can’t remember the official name, but it’s the mint chocolate pie combo.

IMG_0237Wes’ pimento grilled cheese sandwich at The Blind Tiger pub.

IMG_0235Chris’ “gater hater” burger. Yes, this was ground alligator.

IMG_0702For a true taste of the South, we took a bike taxi to Hominy Grill.

IMG_0264I opted for the “heart attack on a plate” with a buttermilk biscuit, gravy, cheddar cheese & sausage combination with a side of mac and cheese.

IMG_0263Sesame-crusted farm-raised catfish with sautéed okra, deep fried cheese grits & geechee peanut sauce. Whhaaaaat?

IMG_0267Definitely not pretty and almost gone but this strawberry rhubarb pie was to die for!

IMG_0254A deliciously fresh pizza from Mellow Mushroom called “The Caesar!”

Unfortunately, this was the only picture we captured at McCrady’s (a salad of warm spring vegetables). It was a bit too high end for me to feel comfortable whipping out my iPhone during each of the four courses. However, we did enjoy the decadent flavor sensations of green garlic soup, wild salmon, fried softshell crab, wagyu, duck, ambrose strawberries and dark chocolate ganache. Mmmmmmmmm!!  

McCrady’s also features a changing menu based on the freshest locally grown ingredients. When it came to food, I believe this was Chris’ highlight. I enjoyed everything but a few of the wildflowers I ate. I’d prefer them in a vase next time.

Alright, wake up! This post is over and I’ll be moving back into reality with posts from home again soon. Thanks for joining us on a short escape to Charleston.

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