America, The Road Trip: Charleston

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In order to get to Charleston, we had to drive seven hours from Nags Head.  That was fine, but it pretty much limited our sightseeing to Friday morning which meant that the majority of our experiences with this city had to do with food.

When I was planning our time, I relied heavily on THIS POST from elefantitas alegres to figure out where to stop, where to walk, etc.  She went on a getaway to this gorgeous city with her husband earlier this year and the information she shared was so helpful.  And, as an extra plug, everything she writes about is hilarious and wonderful and so honest.  If you are not reading her yet, you need to start.

The Food.

Doug Saul’s BBQ

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This place?  Not actually in Charleston.  It’s actually in Nashville, NC.  Which happened to be in-between Nags Head and Charleston.

My abilities to sift through the one dollar sign-five star reviews on Yelp struck again.  This restaurant was a bit out-of-the-way on our drive (~15 minutes) but The Internet basically agreed that if you were looking for Good Southern Food and you were in the area, this was the spot you had to visit.

I grabbed a plate of Carolina BBQ, Marcus had the Fried Chicken.  Stomachs were full, hearts were happy.

And your order came with an order of complimentary hushpuppies.  I have never seen them served in this shape before, but I can also tell you that tasting these was like tasting the sun’s light.  Golden.  I know these hushpuppies and I will not meet again in this life.

Dave’s Carry-Out

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When I first discovered this place on Yelp, I didn’t know that it was just around the corner from our Hostel.  If you accomplish no other eating in this city, you need to eat here.  For $13, I got a styrofoam box stuffed full (truly full) of fresh shrimp, scallops (they were sweet) and a fish fillet that had all been fried to a delightful, light crisp served over homemade hoppin’ john.

Or in Marcus’ case, fries.  It was hard to know where to begin.

Social Wine Bar

Stop here and split a wine flight with a friend.  They have a really wide selection and you’re essentially getting three full glasses for the cost of your flight.  There’s not a great deal to say about the interior or the atmosphere, but it was an excellent location to begin our evening out.

Blind Tiger Pub

Little did we know that the Blind Tiger would be the key to the rest of our Charleston shenanigans.  When I hopped onto a stool at the outdoor bar, I had no idea that the bow-tied, cigar-smoking man next to me was Rocco, who is apparently something of a Charleston legend.  Between him, the bartender and the strange cast of characters that rotated through to log some face time with him, we heard many many tales of Southern Life.  And had the odd free drink to boot.

Since I can’t promise you that Rocco will be there or that you would even be so lucky to cross his monogrammed-path, the actual reason we came here is because they have a really interesting, old courtyard behind the pub with an outdoor bar.

The Rooftop Bar at the Vendue Inn

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We grabbed a drink here on our way out of the city because we had a bit of extra time. Marcus sipped a bottle of some beer we’ve only seen on the East Coast and I did champagne, because that’s what you day drink when you’re sitting in the sun overlooking a harbor.  Am I right?

Kaminsky’s

Here, you eat cake.  Here you discover exactly how much of a non-sharer you are when it comes to dessert (answer, I am really bad at it, even when the sharee is my husband).  Here you drink port and all is right in the world.

I grabbed a slice of the Chocolate Raspberry Cake and it was just to die for.  Chocolate and raspberries are easily one of my all-time favorite combinations (the other being chocolate and peanut butter when combined in ice cream) and I would happily live off of it if I needed to.

I seriously considered ordering another slice to eat as breakfast in the morning (I am nothing if not shameless) but as we already had plans, this was a one-night only sort of show.

The Sunflower Cafe

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This was recommended to us by one of the mates at the Blind Tiger, and once I Instagrammed the sign, Ann informed me that this was one of the places that she and Jay used to frequent.  So it’s legit.  And extremely cheap for a good southern breakfast.

I know that I what I ordered wasn’t terribly glamorous but you tell me if there is anything happier than grits and soft fried eggs with bacon.  Why yes, yes there is.  Because that biscuit was PHENOMENAL.  I could have eaten an entire breakfast comprised solely of biscuits in that restaurant.

Fish Net Seafood

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My God.  This.

Just like One Of The Blind Tiger Friends said, if someone did not tell you to go here, you would never even have a clue.

It’s a seafood market slash carry-out place run by some Evangelical Christians (read: Jesus crabs instead of Deviled crabs…order one) in a bombed-out gas station.  It’s just outside of town on the road to Savannah.

For $7.95, I got three deep-fried hard shell crabs and a tub of slaw.  Between the rest of our ensemble (we had picked up Michelle and Joseph at this point), there were fish sandwiches, fried shrimp and Jesus crabs.

The Things.

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Like I said before, we didn’t have the longest amount of time to get things accomplished.  But there was a solution to that because elefantitas alegres posted some walking maps at the end of her post that yet another kindred spirit had recommended to her.

Seriously.  Girlfriend planned my trip (and thank you for that!).

So we spent our time wandering around the city, through alleyways we never would have found and past the creepiest old little cemeteries.  It was fascinating.  I think the absolute weirdest part was when we climbed to the fourth story of a parking garage to get a full-on shot of a church, but it was sort of like a bizarre, self-guided adult scavenger hunt.

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We probably only saw about half of the things on the list and we were still criss-crossing the city every which way.

If you are not going to do one of the buggy tours, this is a really good alternate activity.  Or you know, if you have more time than we did and want the chance to explore some excellent alleyways in addition to all of your other activities, this will fit the bill.

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