When opportunity knocks, you answer. A recent series of events like an extra plane ticket, a few days of vacation and a hotel special was the perfect opportunity to take a quick weekend getaway to Charleston, South Carolina. A little southern hospitality and whole lot of great restaurants turned the weekend into a mini culinary adventure.
With a few recommendations from Mike of The Chopping Block's events team, a recent Charleston transplant, my wife and I were off and running. Starting at the Market Pavilion across from the Customs House, they have one of the best roof top decks in the city. The view of the “Double Diamonds” bridge at sunset is spectacular, although a little deceiving. An old building law dating back to who knows when states that no building can be taller than the church steeple. As a result, you can see over every building in the city, even though you are only six stories off the ground.
As far a dining goes, you really can’t go wrong. Every restaurant and bar had great service and well-designed southern themed menus. Our favorite way to dine, while traveling, is to try one or two dishes at as many places as we can; kind of a culinary bar hop. Some of the highlights were Hominy Grill, a great little brunch place on the north side of downtown. For happy hour, Pearlz Oyster Bar by the historic section was the place to be. They had $1 oysters, a great beer selection and proof that solid recipes, done right, are all you need for a great meal. For fine dining, the Peninsula Grill on the other side of Market Street came highly recommended. We sampled our way through the appetizers and by-the-glass wine list for an impromptu early evening pit stop.
If history is more up your alley, Charleston is full of it. I highly recommend one of the walking tours of downtown. They have day and evening tours ranging from landmarks to the darker side of colonial America. Fort Sumter, the site of the first battle of the Civil War, is a 40 minute scenic boat ride from Charleston and another must see. They still have some of the original cannons at the fort, along with a plethora of period artifacts.
Even though we could have spent another few days there, Chicago was calling us home. A trip to Charleston is a worthwhile stop for any history or culinary buff looking for some warmer weather.
Have you been to Charleston? What places would you recommend for dining?