Sweet Southern Eats ~ Charleston Edition

A trip to the south – or anywhere for that matter – is not complete without a list of eats.  We were only in Charleston for a short time, just under three days, and I think we did a fine job of making our way around town.

Starting with breakfast/brunch, we decided to hit up Butcher & Bee, a top recommendation and one which is located off one of the main roads and in the back of a parking lot.  Sure, sounds normal to those folks in L.A. or in the suburbs, but strange for someone who has been absorbed in the New York lifestyle for some time.

IMG_7837 IMG_7825 Options, options, options.  Most of them were along the lunch and dinner realm, but we made it work with some huevos rancheros and epic french toast.

IMG_7831  ^^ Like I said on Monday, when you find yourself in the south, ask for everything on top of a biscuit.  Duh.

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 A food blogger in her natural habitat.  😉  She is queen of the San Francisco eats and has lots of fun explorations if find yourself in sunny (cloudy?) San Fran.

IMG_7833 Of course Gaia’s french toast was the real winner on presentation.  A gooey selection of Challah bread dipped in something sweet, toasted to perfection, and topped with berries and granola. Mmmmm, sugar coma come save me.

Butcher & Bee
654 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 619-0202

IMG_7835Now if you are looking for something a little more casual or maybe caffeinated, I recommend stopping into The Daily (by Butcher & Bee).  We ended up here post breakfast for just that – coffee and juice, and I would certainly have gone back there the next two days if it wasn’t in the opposite direction of our adventures. Oh and the whole “must try new things” idea.

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IMG_7822Lovely pre-packaged items ready to devour.  Like I said, if I lived here full time and had the ability to spend $$$, I would be here all day every day.

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Yes kind sir I am taking a picture of my beverages (split with Laura).  No judgement.  We’ve got Green Lemonade on the left (kale, spinach, cucumber, green apple, lemon, ginger – BEST JUICE EVER) and Iced Almond Milk Latte on the right (BEST ALMOND MILK LATTE EVER).  Just throwing that out there.

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On the first day, we ended up eating breakfast at such a late hour, that there really was no need to stop again for lunch and instead, we spent the day walking and then snacking on various coffee drinks and glorious King Street Cookies.  They even had a milk bar for you to fill up and pair alongside your one, two, or more sweet treats.  I went for more of the chocolate selection while Lindsay had strawberry and lemon and Laura stuck to a snicker-doodle and molasses.

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King Street Cookies
370 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401

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We may not have eaten lunch on day one, but we sure found ourselves in line for BBQ on day two.  The original plan had been to wander through a plantation and then end up at Sullivan’s Island or Isle of the Palms for some much needed beach time.  Well, Mother Nature had different ideas and with a never-ending rainstorm in our midst, we settled in for a nice drink and southern spread.

IMG_2214IMG_7927 Lindsay found the most adorable old-fashioned bar where they make affordable classic cocktails and play black and white movies on the wall.  I decided to go outside my comfort zone and order something with gin and pineapple.  The thinking was “maybe the pineapple will help my legs recover from all that walking, right?”  Good thinking.

Next up dinner, but that went un-pictured by yours truly.  I swear it was delicious, I just decided to live in the moment.

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Husk is yet another wonderful dining option – one that requires a reservation well in advance.  We didn’t think that one through either and couldn’t really show up and ask for a table for 5.  But maybe you can check it out for us!

Husk
76 Queen St, Charleston, SC 29401

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Next step.  Find a suitable dessert option to end the night.

We all know the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but I think there needs to be a book, If You Give Kaitlin a Scoop of Ice Cream (she will love you forever).  But then again, maybe we shouldn’t.  In the end I will say hands down, ice cream is the best creation and certainly the best dessert.  I also think now that Jeni’s has their stuff together, they are churning out some fine flavors.

IMG_2257 Because ending the day, weekend, trip, and summer with another scoop of ice cream is the right decision. (same place, different night)  Really, the diet starts tomorrow.

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Hominy Grill ~ Charleston Brunch #2

This little thing we like to call brunch is way more popular across the country than I actually realized.  Maybe it’s due to the fact that I never truly “brunched” growing up.  We were always so busy going from soccer tournaments to softball games to USC tailgates and football games and the list could go on and on.  Basically, going to brunch has been a whole new experience for me.  So obviously we made it happen not once, but twice.

IMG_7942Just down the road from where we were staying is the ultimate brunch (and dinner) affair – Hominy Grill.  It’s the place to go for biscuits or shrimp and grits or even a cup of jo’ and some eggs.  But let’s be honest, eggs are no fun when you only get to eat here once in your life.

IMG_7941Hominy Grill
207 Rutledge Ave. Charleston, SC 29403

IMG_7948IMG_7950Like many other popular brunch spots, you will arrive, only to find a wait.  Simply put your name in and consider ordering a beverage (or two) and relax.

IMG_7953 IMG_7955 Just a few appetizers for the table ~ 1) Fried Green Tomatoes (a MUST in Charleston apparently)  2) Plain ‘ol Biscuit 3) Slices Housemade Banana Or Pumpkin Ginger Bread two slices

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 Charleston Nasty Biscuit with fried chicken breast, cheddar cheese & sausage gravy

IMG_7959 Daily special of Buckwheat Pancakes w/ Peach Yogurt Butter

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Shrimp & Grits! with sautéed shrimp w/ scallions, mushrooms & bacon over cheese grits

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Double thumbs up my friends.  We were quite impressed by the food and the folks helping us out.  I mean, our server practically almost pulled up a chair to swap stories with us, explain the menu, and make sure we were doing alright.  All the food recommendations were spot on – make sure to order the fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits – and we left very well fed.

Hominy Grill
207 Rutledge Ave. Charleston, SC 29403
~ Menus ~ Recipes ~ Information ~

When in Charleston, Visit a Plantation

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Now, when given the opportunity to explore something gorgeous and historical, I am totally game.  So, when we decided to visit the south for Labor Day Weekend, we realized there were oh so many options and opportunities.  We never did make it into one of the Charleston house tours, but set our sights on a plantation tour.

We tried our best to go with the flow on this trip and only plan out a few things we wanted to see.  I was trying to balance the types of trips where it’s go-go-go and then the trips or beach days where all you do is lounge.  I don’t really know how to “do nothing” but know my travel companions aren’t always about the “go-go-go.”  Healthy medium, right?  So, while we didn’t really plan out our restaurant reservations, we did find Boone Hall Plantation as one of the top plantations in Charleston, thus it became an absolute must see item on our trip!

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IMG_7964These picturesque oaks are years and years old.  In fact, they were planted back in 1743 by the son of Major John Boone.  When you see these trees lining the driveway, you know you are deep in the south and for some, right out of a Nicholas Sparks’ novel.

We had just finished off brunch at the Hominy Grill, delicious review to come soon, and scheduled an Uber to pick us right up from the restaurant.  The plantation is a quick 20 or so minute drive away and we were able to see some of the local sights on our trip over.

IMG_7968 IMG_7975We had fun exploring around the garden prior to our schedule tour.  There really is no need to purchase tickets ahead of time and as a matter of fact, your $20 entrance fee pays for the tour!  Do note that the plantation entrance is a solid 1/2 mile from the Visitor’s Center, house, and parking.  We didn’t realize that but did have the opportunity to walk under the gorgeous oak trees.  See what we did?  Found the silver linings 🙂

IMG_7984Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset IMG_7985The house that stands there today was built in 1936 and guides will take you through the first floor of rooms and share the evolution of owners since 1681.   One of the current owners lives out in California (hey hey west coast!) but enjoys spending time at home every once in awhile.  When she travels back, she stays right there in the plantation home, occupying the second floor, thus tours are a no-go.  We weren’t allowed to take any photos inside the plantation mansion, but I couldn’t help myself with this gorgeous patterned brick floor.

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 Post-plantation tour, we headed out to the gift store and listened to there was a talk or rather entertaining presentation of the “Gullah Culture” – or culture adapted by the African slaves.   Definitely insightful and worth the extra half hour!

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Boone Hall Plantation
1235 Long Point Road, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

March 9, 2015 – Labor Day Sept. 7, 2015 
Mon-Sat:  8:30am-6:30pm
Sun: 12pm-5pmSept. 8, 2015 – Jan. 1, 2016
Mon-Sat: 9am-5pm
Sun: 12pm-5pm

So, I was supposed to write up a recap of my actual historical trip to Fort Sumter as well buuuuuut seeing as I dropped my computer last week and the screen went black and I didn’t upload the pictures to the web and now it’s in the Grand Central Apple Store, that won’t be happening.  But, for what it’s worth, it was neat to see the place where the Civil War started and I did enjoy the boat ride and Fort tour.  I certainly brought the average age down by a lot, seeing as I was touring among 100+ folks, all aged around 60+.  Oh, and I saw two college students on a date there.  Odd choice but when in the south I guess?

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“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

Labor Day in Review ~ Charleston, SC

If you have ever have the grand opportunity to visit the south, you will understand the charm that just seems to flow through the streets, greets you on every corner and brightens your day as you walk around.  The people are sweet or at least sweeter than in the uppity north east or sometimes stuffy Southern California – both places which I adore.  I even loved their enthusiasm surrounding football and how some vendors at the Rainbow Market even closed early for their beloved game day.

Well, I’ve always had the desire to travel up and down the coast, or rather set food in every single state and of course holiday weekends are prime opportunity for that.  Last year I took a couple days off and flew out to San Francisco and Seattle, which some may think as silly since I lived near SF for a good four years.  This year my friend Lindsay and I had been chatting about South Carolina and decided to make it happen.  We had our other friend Laura, who does live in SF, fly out to meet us, and even brought one of our other roommates along to explore!

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No matter where I travel, I ALWAYS pack my running shoes.  No matter if its running, walking, or jogging, getting an early jaunt in helps start me on the right foot.  Plus, #runtoeat right?

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IMG_2265I swear, I was taken in by the Southern drawl and the fact that everyone greets you as you run along in the morning.  I discovered a loop that took you from “Battery to Beach” and decided to make it a daily jaunt (ok, just two days but beautiful views each time)

IMG_7816IMG_7835We arrived late on Friday night and after a quick Uber ride to our place, practically crashed into bed.  It was quite a shock arriving into the South Carolina airport as there was nothing and I repeat nothing, around.  Such a stark comparison to the airline digs in Los Angeles and New York.  Hey, even the airports in Hawaii had more to them.  Although, I have to say, the humidity was quite on par with Hawaii.

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Brunch at Butcher & Bee – more to come on that later – but moral of the story is always ask for a biscuit or better yet, have your huevos rancheros ON A BISCUIT!

IMG_7856 We weren’t able to rent a car thanks to the funky rental car hours (who requires that the car be returned by Saturday at 1pm??), but Uber was pretty much available 100% of the time we needed it, fairly inexpensive, especially when split among the group, and allowed us to wander to our hearts content without worrying about parking and so on.  Well, with a short Uber ride later, we were dropped off at the Rainbow Market to walk around a bit.

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I’m a complete sucker for t-shirts and souvenirs.  Wandering the market was almost bad news bears for me and by the end of the weekend I ended up with a new pair of earrings (only $7!!), a recycled candle that smelled divine, a Southern Proper t-shirt, and a few different ornaments for the Christmas tree.  So many of the vendors wanted to chat with you, which was different from New York for sure!

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IMG_2209Why of course the rest of the day we spent walking.  I could have walked myself silly that weekend with all the gorgeous houses Charleston has to offer.  Walking and running is my favorite way to see a new city because you get to earn all those extra tasty treats and it helps get yourself acclimated to the weather, time zone, and the layout of the city. Plus, I’m not sure about you, but I always end up stumbling upon something I wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise.

IMG_7886 IMG_2195IMG_2210Accurately named “Rainbow Row”, a southern twin of San Fran’s “Painted Ladies”

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^^ Can you tell I’m obsessed with light blues and shades of turquoise?

IMG_2211^^ We shall call this the non-glamour shot.  Caught by my roommate Gaia, I look like a hot mess.  😉 See, not all perfection, trying to document everything between my eyes, my iPhone, and my camera.  Also carrying countless souvenirs…

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IMG_2213 ^^ We’ll call this the ultimate glamour shot, fit for social media distribution 😉 (taken multiple times, reviewed, perfected)

IMG_7892 IMG_7894 (1)IMG_7895IMG_7897Strolling along the waterfront, gazing and drooling over all the historical and oh-so-Southern architecture.

IMG_7900 IMG_7901IMG_7911IMG_7914 Some of the upscale shopping where we did some heavy duty window browsing but refrained from dropping any sort of money.  Internal win!  I figure it’s better to pick up souvenirs from mom & pop shops, places that are unique to the area and things you can’t find at home.

IMG_7915 IMG_7918 IMG_7920Since we filled up on brunch, the next option was a quick cookie and coffee break at King Street Cookies.  Opting for the 1/2 Bakers Dozen, we each got to sample a little bit of everything.  Who said you couldn’t make sugar a meal?

King Street Cookies
370 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401
~ Mon – Thur 8am-11pm ~ Fri 8am-10pm ~ Sat/Sun 9am-10pm ~

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IMG_2214Drinks at the Belmont ~ Adorable old fashioned bar with creative cocktails and where classic black & white films are shown on the sides of the walls.  Dinner was at Xio Bao Biscuit – absolutely delicious and oh so affordable.  We had planned to go to FIG but didn’t really think through the whole reservation thing and dropping in with 5 people, just didn’t seem like the way to go.  So to Xio Bao we went and what a lovely end to the day it was.

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Charleston, you have been oh so kind to us.  Stay tuned for some delicious eats and two more South Carolina jaunts!

“To travel is to live” – Hans Christian Anderson

Late Summer Random Thoughts

I think it’s about time to round up some random thoughts today, don’t you agree?  Here’s to Amanda who came up with this idea to throw out all your thoughts aloud every Thursday on the web.  Enjoy 🙂

1. Being a functioning adult is tough.  I went to see the US Open on Monday and had a blast!  Though getting home at 12:45 wasn’t ideal and my decision to then run the next morning at 6:30 was even less ideal.  Then getting up at 4:50 on Wednesday to go to the 5:30 November Project was probably just stupid.  I was running on fumes during work and we all know that’s never good.  Wednesday was a day where I was grateful no one comes over to my side of the office. I just worked the day looking like a zombie.

IMG_2121 ^^ November Project does the U.S. Open

IMG_2136^^ See? Already zoned out and not paying attention.  Or just trying my best to keep up with Emma.

2. This morning (as I do every morning), I woke up and scrolled through every piece of social media that I use (email, Facebook, Instagram, etc).  I thought I was being clever when I found a post that I thought (emphasis on thought) was mis-captioned and reached out.  Granted, this was a person I met recently but there’s never a need to reach out and correct someone.  Oops.  I did.

My mom likes to call this my the whirling dervish effect (always used the phrase but for more insight into this strange swirling phenomenon, pictures here), where I don’t really think through things but act impulsively.  It’s also paired with the phrase “Kaitlin, you need to slow down”.  Anyways, thought it was ironic that I opened the AMNY paper and my horoscope was as follows:

Preview your act. You’re strong, and yet face a challenge.  A female calms a controversy.  Don’t say everything your thinking! Wait for what develops.”

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3. I am obsessed with overnight oats this week.  The best combo to date (this week) has been oats, almond butter, chia/flax/cinnamon combo, goji berries, and a smashed banana.  Maybe topped with extra granola/nature valley bar crunch and a tad more nut butter.  I have a habit of stuffing my face during breakfast and coasting through the rest of the day snacking.  I don’t like lunch.

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4. I’m going to Charleston this weekend and have been running through potential outfits in my head and may have already done two practice-packs.  We are supposed to get thunderstorms all weekend, so I’m not really sure how to plan for that.

5. I’ve gotten a tad bit obsessed with working out before going to work (I swear it makes my brain less foggy) but when I rolled over to my 6am alarm this morning, I knew running on fumes for 3 days in a row would be a mistake.  Yoga or sleep.  Sleep or yoga.  Cue two new alarms and 90 minutes later, I felt oodles better.  Strange how powerful sleep can be.

IMG_2125^^ Tuesday’s early morning run where the views were gorgeous but the humidity was atrocious.

6.  I tend to go through phases where I like to have a lot of contact with people, be with friends, talk with family all.the.time.  My grandma would call me “Nosy Rosy” because I was always inquiring into one thing or another.  I still would prefer that people respond to my messages (cough cough Meghan) but I have to realize how spoiled that sounds and that people actually lead lives and have things to do.  For example, Meghan is running cross country (probably leading the world as captain and senior mentor to the team), overloading on classes (at a tough college nonetheless), and trying to make the most of her senior year.  I need to cut people some slack.

Also, I’ve started to realize that while everyone is in a different part of their life, the simple act of “liking a photo” on IG or Facebook really does make you feel good.  I used to think that unless you know what’s actually happening in one another’s lives, you weren’t close.  That’s not true.  People come in and out of your lives in different methods and for different lengths of time.  Nothing is wasted experience. Again, cue the “Kaitlin, you need to slow down and relax”.  Ok.

Anything new and random in your life? Enjoy the day, carpe diem!