My husband never knows what to get for me for gifting occasions, but he knows he can’t go wrong with good food. For my birthday this year we drove to Charleston, South Carolina for an overnight trip. I was so excited to escape the Upstate for a few hours and to eat in the foodie haven Charleston has become.
After checking into the Charleston Marriott, which offered interesting views of The Citadel and the Charleston skyline from our room, we changed clothes and caught a lift for a promising night on the town.
Our first stop of the evening was a restaurant we had tasted during a few food and wine festivals, The Darling Oyster Bar. This was a must for us, as we enjoyed the oysters at the festivals so much, we wanted to see what else they had to offer.
Considering this was a celebratory occasion, we started out with their oyster shooter- pepper infused vodka, House-made mix and, of course, a raw oyster. So, good! I had the Lillet Royale- sparkling Col Mesian Cuvée, Lillet Rosé, and orange bitters- as my follow-up drink and “S” had the Darling Fashioned, their play on the Old Fashioned. Later in the meal, I had a Basil Daisy, which was very refreshing and tasty!
The drinks were delicious, but that’s not what we were there for. The food was, as the kids say, “lit”! We tried two of the baked oysters- the Alabama white sauce and bacon and the pimento and sourdough soppers! Pure deliciousness! We also tried the charred octopus salad, which was oh so good! “S” put it in his top 3 octopus dishes, and he tries octopus almost anytime he sees it on a menu. In addition to all of that seafood goodness, we had some raw oysters and little neck clams.
Our second stop for the evening was Prohibition– the King Street restaurant has become very popular for it’s prohibition style craft cocktails. We both just had a drink because our table wasn’t quite ready for dinner. I had The Warthog, a fantastic gin-based cocktail with rosemary, honey, lemon and St George spiced pear. “S” had the sazerac, because he said you can’t get them everywhere and he knew they would do it right.
Stop number three for the evening was definitely one for the books. “S” wanted me to experience food from either a James Beard chef or restaurant, which led him to The Macintosh, where five time James Beard semifinalist, Jeremiah Bacon is the executive chef. The Macintosh uses sources its ingredients locally, so the menu changes seasonally and sometimes daily. We were fortunate enough to visit at the beginning of softshell crab season, so naturally we chose that as one of our dishes. We also enjoyed the deep sea scallops, which were absolutely scrumptious.
For dessert, we had the lavender ice cream sandwiches. I cannot describe to you the happiness I experienced while eating these!
For drinks, I had the Witchdoctor with Hendrix gin. The Witchdoctor had cucumber, lime, elderflower, mint, and a buzz bud, and was by far the most interesting cocktail I had ever experienced. The waiter suggested taking a sip of the drink to get a taste of what it is like without the buzz bud, and then taking a small nibble of the bud and then tasting the drink. It was a wild drink.
The following day, we went to Butcher and Bee for brunch, and that was definitely a good decision. At Butcher and Bee, we shared several of the Mezze options, which consisted of the house-made pickle plate, hummus, whipped feta, bacon wrapped dates, falafel, fries, crispy stuffed olives, and grilled sweet potatoes. We also shared the roast beef sandwich, which blew us both away!
Charleston obviously has quite a few food choices, and definitely too many to do in one trip, but The Darling Oyster Bar, The Macintosh, Prohibition, and Butcher and Bee should all be on your list of must-visits.