We have had a very productive, and tasty past few days in Charleston. Having decided to spend an extra week after returning, our goal is simple: enjoy the Charleston culinary scene and be a unabashed tourist.
Charleston, according to friends, is known for the diversity and quality of its restaurants and so far we enthusiastically agree. We typically like to go out for lunch, it is easier on our pocket book, we don't fill up as much and we eat a small & light dinner on the boat. Also, we can get around during the daylight better in an unfamiliar city.
We started our epicurean experience at Rue de Jean 39rue de jean. Oh my gosh! The mussels were great (Ray & Susan you were right) . They are offered in five different sauces and I chose a pistou sauce. Have you ever had a meal that if you could you would lick the bowl if it were not too embarrassing? Well this was one of those times. It was so good that I had them give me a to go cup with some extra pistou sauce. Last night I polished off the last of it. Yum.
Our next stop was 82 Queen 82 Queen ; we ate outside under patio heaters in a beautiful garden courtyard and had a wonderful meal (thank you Joanie & Dieter for the recommendation) . We have started ordering several appetizers as our main course for the variety of different options without having such a large and filling main entree. Of the several that we ordered, I had a really excellent oyster stew. Jeannie loved her shrimp and grits and the she crab soup as well.
Finally, we had lunch at Hymans Seafood, which was for the most part pretty standard fare and not a real standout, however of the appetizers, the shrimp and grits were a standout; I am a convert.
Other than food we have done lots of chores, including some needed re-provisioning.
Yesterday we went to the market in downtown Charleston. This market has been around in one form or another for hundreds of years and offered the usual sort of stuff you might expect as well as some of the more local fare that is unique and interesting. We bought such fine things as seasoned grits so we can do the shrimp and grits thing. A month ago I would have told you I am not a grits fan, today however I am totally converted and and on the grits bandwagon. Double yum.
We went to a very unique store called The Spice and Tea Exchange Spice & Tea Exchange. They specialize in custom made spices, rubs & teas. They sell these in small bags and much larger quantities, we purchased small samplers for different meats, fish and teas. Quite interesting, we will see how they taste in the near future. So far Charleston is a charming city with a distinctive downtown. Of note, there are no real "high rises" you typically find in so many urban settings. This, combined with an older historic section and the College of Charleston, makes this city different and special.
Finally the weather, ugh! Another front is moving through with heavy rain & wind. There are warnings of coastal flooding in association with a normally high tide due to a full moon. We are expecting a tidal range of over nine feet, normal is 5 or so. Fortunately we are on a floating dock that rises and falls with the tides so it makes accommodating these tidal changes a non issue. I may put on a few extra lines in anticipation of strong winds.
We are undecided what to do today. Our thought had been to go to the City Aquarium and Maritime Center. It is raining so hard that we may make this a boat chore/cleaning/reading/nap kinda day.............