Category / On The Road


Charleston Dining & Fun

CharlestonDining-1_MarthaLousIn mid-July, I traveled to Charleston to try some new restaurants and attend a barbecue event. Recently named the top travel destination by Travel & Leisure magazine, Charleston has a burgeoning food scene and so many good restaurants. I met up with a group of new and old Charleston and Texas friends, and we had an array of amazing dining experiences.

We started off with soul food at Martha Lou’s. Fried chicken, mac and cheese, butter beans {my favorite} and other vegetables, and chitterlings. The Texas contingent is pictured above: Robert Lerma, Robert Sierra, and John Lewis with Martha Lou Gadsden and Ms. Debra on the left, and Emma and Travis Heim on the right.

CharlestonDining-2_RobertSierraRobert Sierra and me, with a Robert Lerma photo bomb.

CharlestonDining-3_HomeTeamBBQ“Let’s be incognito,” I said to Robert Lerma, as we entered Hometeam BBQ. That didn’t work out so well as we were instantly greeted by name  and treated like royalty. We’ve been Instagram friends for a few years and I loved seeing their operation in person.

CharlestonDining-4_HomeTeamBBQThey cook on both Lang and Southern Pride pits.

CharlestonDining-5_HomeTeamBBQHere’s owner/pitmaster Aaron Siegel, showing off some pork bellies.

CharlestonDining-6_HomeTeamBBQThe trays of food just kept coming. These pork rinds, dusted with their dry rub, and served with pimiento cheese were crazy good.

CharlestonDining-7_HomeTeamBBQThe Gamechanger is my new favorite frozen cocktail. Golden spiced rum, dark rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple and orange juices.

CharlestonDining-8_HomeTeamBBQFresh, lightly battered fried okra. Great.

CharlestonDining-9_HomeTeamBBQBrisket, beef ribs, house made pickles. So good.

CharlestonDining-10_HomeTeamBBQAnd of course, the requisite Fireball shots.

CharlestonDining-11_TwoBoroughsLarderA leisurely Saturday morning brunch at the charming Two Boroughs Larder was a treat.

CharlestonDining-12_TwoBoroughsLarderLove the design of this tiny space.

CharlestonDining-13_TwoBoroughsLarderFresh, delicious food and breakfast cocktails.

CharlestonDining-14_DellzJuiceI worked in hot power yoga and fresh green juice at Dellz Vibez twice during this visit. The Charleston Power Yoga is small and has a number of classes each day. The ones I attended were Baptiste in style and quick flow. Great instructors and nice people. Dellz Vibez is just a few doors down, and both are located on Upper King Street.

CharlestonDining-15_LeonsLeon’s Poultry & Oyster Shop opened in April and it was high on my list of new places to try. I love everything about restaurant design in Charleston – from well-designed logos/menus/signage to old spaces that incorporate reclaimed materials. This former paint and body shop has been transformed into a cleverly designed space with vintage and repurposed details, exposed beams, and a variety of textures and finishes. The food is as sexy as the space.

CharlestonDining-16_LeonsWe ordered all of the oysters … fresh, chargrilled, and Rockefeller — and we enjoyed them all, especially the chargrilled platter.

CharlestonDining-17_LeonsSiam slaw – napa cabbage, avocado, peanuts, orange, fried shallots, and fresh herbs … hush puppies with honey butter … fried chicken … and corn …

CharlestonDining-18_LeonsThe corn on the cob was a highlight. Brushed with mayonnaise and rolled in fried shallots, cheese, and herbs. Savory and bursting with flavor.

CharlestonDining-19_EdmundsOastNext up was a memorable late afternoon at  Edmund’s Oast, with their outstanding selection of beer and libations and charcuterie.

CharlestonDining-20_EdmundsOastWe chose to drink pink.

CharlestonDining-22_EdmundsOastAnd eat only vegetables. These fried heirloom carrots with yogurt and pistachios were my favorite.

CharlestonDining-23_EdmundsOastDessert for two. Of course, we had room for a small taste of these moist, dense brownies with Italian meringue, graham cracker crumble, and salted sorghum caramel.

CharlestonDining-21_EdmundsOastFunny dessert cocktail.

CharlestonDining-24_ProofOnMainWe spent several evenings at Proof, a chic, sexy cocktail bar on upper King Street. Owner Craig Nelson, mixologist extraordinaire, crafts impeccable cocktails, delivered with a flourish and a lesson.

CharlestonDining-25_ProofOnMainVida mezcal, Reyes ancho chile liquor, agave shrub, and a bread and butter jalapeño wrapped in orange peel.

CharlestonDining-26_ProofOnMainI’ll have to update with the description … I totally lost track as cocktail after cocktail was set in front of me. Craig?

CharlestonDining-27_ProofOnMainThe tall glasses are Reverb, Proof Gin & Tonic, a few shots of Fernet Branca, for good measure, and the remains of the previous drinks.

CharlestonDining-28_ProofOnMainMore of the gang whooping it up at Proof: Robert Strickland, Craig Nelson, Jed Portman, and Eric Doksa. Thanks, guys, for a most memorable trip!

Read more about my Charleston adventures, including an amazing meal at Husk.

Follow our adventures in real time on Instagram and Twitter.
See lots of branding, restaurant design, entertaining, and barbecue ideas on our Pinterest boards.
And we post fun things on Facebook, too! 


Memorable Meals at Husk

Husk exteriorA fabulous stay in Charleston was roundly celebrated with multiple dining experiences at Sean Brock’s celebrated Husk Restaurant.

Husk MenuI’ve been fortunate to have had some amazing VIP dining experiences, but never one quite like this.

“Let’s lay it on ’em,” said Dan Latimer, Husk GM, to Travis Grimes, chef de cuisine.

“Just ‘Lay it on ’em … ‘ or ‘make a grown man cry’ lay it on’em?” asked Travis.

Let’s go for ‘make a grown man cry.'” said Dan.

Cheerwine-compressed watermelonRoderick Weaver and Darryl Csicsila kept the libations fresh and full as the meal commenced. First course: Cheerwine-compressed watermelon, with an additional bottle of Cheerwine poured over the fruit table side. So fresh and delicious.

PeppersFresh-baked rolls topped with benne seeds and sea salt, served with lardo whipped butter. Fire-blistered Shishito peppers, watermelon “Ponzu,” bourbon-barrel soy and citrus, espelette. And chicken wings {cannot remember the details} and boiled peanuts with ham hocks and jalapeños {not shown}.

OystersFire-roasted Sewansecott oysters with herbed chicken “butter” and spicy pepper mash.

Benne Seed Crackers with pimiento cheeseWe toasted with Tennessee pimento cheese with crispy Benton’s country ham, pickled relish and HUSK benne crackers. So good.

Chilled Corn SoupChilled sweet corn soup, basil marinated shrimp, spring onion and pepper relish, chanterelle mushrooms, and crème fraîche was a standout.

John Lewis and Robert SierraJohn Lewis, pitmaster of La Barbecue in Austin, and Robert Sierra. Really special to share the meal with these two.

Pork Rinds and Compressed Beef TendonFresh, crispy pork rinds dusted with Cheeto powder. Sheets of beef tendon sous vide, cut into sheets and compressed, then fried and tossed with malt vinegar and beer powder.

Crispy Pig Skin Lettuce WrapsSignature dish: Kentuckyaki pig’s ear lettuce wraps with sweet vinegarr, marinated cucumbers and onions, cilantro, and benne.

Arugula salad with peaches and blackberriesEveryone ordered an entree, in addition to the march of dishes that kept streaming from the kitchen. I opted for this fresh arugula, South Carolina peaches and summer berries, South Carolina chèvre with candied pecans, and honey vinaigrette.

Husk Salmon EntréeOne of the entreés:  Atlantic snapper, summer squash and zucchini, Japanese eggplant with sweet onion, and shrimp “bisque.”

Husk Side DishesThe vegetables are one of my favorite things about Husk. Here we have kale chips, compressed melon with Shiso honey, house made ricotta and Surryano ham, the freshest sliced heirloom tomatoes, goat’s milk feta, pickled garlic, Texas olive oil, bourbon smoked salt, Jackson Wonder butterbeans with preserved tomatoes and scallions, and, barely visible in the upper corner, Carolina gold rice with sausage. And a skillet of cornbread with Allan Benton’s Tennessee Bacon So, so good.

Apparently there were three more courses planned, but they could see that we could not even begin to finish the entrees.

Two DessertsThere is, however, always room for a little dessert. Buttermilk chess pie with blackberry sauce and candied zest, and a fresh peach turnover with bourbon anglaise and peach sherbet. Served with seven forks.

Mission accomplished, Dan and Travis. Wow.

Group on the porch at HuskRobert Sierra, Robert Lerma, and John Lewis, in repose on the porch after supper.

Group ShotRobert Donovan {with the camera}, Robert Strickland, Eric Doksa, and me. Cocktails in the bar before heading out to the Blind Tiger.

Charleston church steeple at nightA moonlight stroll along Meeting Street in the Holy City was the perfect end to the evening. This intersection, at Meeting and Broad Streets, is known as the Four Corners of Law, with St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, a United States Post Office, Federal Courthouse, and county courthouse at each corner, representing federal, state, local and ecclesiastical law.

Country ham served on a barrel staveSunday night, after the barbecue event, a few of us headed back to the bar, housed in the historic brick building next to the restaurant. We were greeted with a barrel stave loaded with salty pieces of freshly sliced Edwards Virginia ham.

Cheese PlateWe toasted the success of the day with prosecco while enjoying this beautiful platter of cheese, fruit and nuts.

Husk CheeseburgerAnd we split a delicious cheeseburger.

CheeseburgerOn Monday, after a morning of meetings and real estating, we relaxed on the porch with a burger and rosé. And another go at that peach turnover.

Peach TurnoverThe porch is really a magical place to dine. Fresh air, a little sultry, so relaxing. I was amused as I listened to at least five carriage tours passing by on the street below, each giving a different {and sometimes slightly erroneous} description of Husk and Sean Brock. Note to Melany Mullens – you might consider giving those companies a script!

Heartfelt gratitude to Dan Latimer, Travis Grimes, Roderick Weaver, Darryl Csicsila, Sean Brock, Eric Doksa, and Robert Donovan for engineering such a memorable evening. It was one for the books, indeed. And thanks to the the Husk crew for repeated warm welcomes throughout my stay. I’m already planning my return.

Follow our adventures in real time on Instagram and Twitter.
See lots of entertaining and barbecue ideas on our Pinterest boards.
And we post fun things on Facebook, too!