Cute cute cute.
I think that was the theme of our trip to Charleston. Everywhere we went, we just said “oh my god, it’s so cute!” Their slogan should be: “Charleston: like a giant box of kittens and puppies”.
Rayna (of @onehungryjew) and I stayed for 5 days in this adorable city, despite awful weather the first couple nights. There were 3 hotels, multiple restaurants, 3 bottles of champagne, 2 thunderstorms, 1 horse carriage tour, and a partridge in a pear tree.
Outside of the cute factor, Charleston is actually riddled with history: Fort Sumter is where some of the first shots rang out during the Civil War, and we learned on our carriage tour that it is one of the first places in the US to have historic preservation laws in place. Why? Because they want to keep the architectural integrity of the buildings and homes that have been there for hundreds of years. It really was fascinating walking through the cobblestone streets and seeing some of these places – if you have the chance to take a tour, I think it’s always worth it. These people are so knowledgable and friendly. Plus, it beats the hell out of reading a Wikipedia page.
Oh and speaking of “friendly”, did you know Charleston was voted “The Friendliest City in the US” by Conde Nast Traveler in 2016? You can see why if you’ve been. People say good morning to you on the street. ON THE STREET. I’m a New Yorker – if anyone even LOOKS at me in the morning on the street, my gut reaction is “what do you want??” or “sorry I don’t have change”.
Either way, it’s actually quite nice once you get used to it. And when it comes to food, the South knows what they’re doing with comfort food and BBQ. The argument I make pretty much anywhere I go is that I’m from New York City and we have some of the best food in the world. You may think I’m being a food snob, and maybe I am. But…there’s a reason.
So in terms of Charleston, here’s what you should be eating:
If you love smoked meats, beans, and slaw, this is the place for you. I even loved the thick-sliced smoked turkey – they took one of the driest birds around and made it something worthy of sharing a plate with brisket.
Off the beaten path with a very “Brooklyn” vibe on the inside – if I were a betting woman, I’d say this is going to be the “Williamsburg of Charleston” very soon. No one comes here for my real estate forecasting, so let me tell you that the food was some of the best I’ve had. Anywhere. The veggie-focused and inventive menu was executed perfectly. Highly recommend.
A must-visit. The biscuits range from massive to tiny, and there is no shortage of shortening here. Or butter. These are some buttery, flaky biscuits and you need them in your life.
One of the most famous restaurants in Charleston and reservations come highly recommended. We only tried a couple dishes, but the catfish was my favorite. Perfectly balanced and seasoned just right.
This is supposedly THE place for brunch – biscuits, gravy, shrimp and grits…you get the idea. I can’t say it was my favorite of the places we ate, but the fried chicken biscuit was worth the trip.
Think Urbanspace or Smorgasburg, but smaller scale and indoors. They have 5-6 vendors, and they were all really solid. I loved the nachos from Juan Luis, the noodles from Sam Bar, and the pizza from Slice Company.
Ohhh I loved this spot. So cute for brunch! I saw a Bloody Mary come out with a lobster claw in it, so maybe that’s all you need to know? We sat at the oyster bar (even though I hate oysters) and I got clam chowder fries. You heard me. So damn good.
And in terms of the hotels, here’s where we stayed:
Very upscale, and we stayed on the Club Level which gives you free food and drink (including alcohol) basically all day. And it’s not really “free” – you pay more to be on that floor – but if you have it, why the heck not.
Some gorgeous rooms here – exposed brick walls, high ceilings and French doors. Those might be a bit more pricey, but they’re so so pretty! Just a beautiful space and lovely staff. Breakfast in the morning with some amazing ham and cheese croissants, and it’s right along the water too, which was great for my morning run.
If you’re a no frills person, this is a good spot. Great location, and they have breakfast on the cute rooftop every day. We didn’t get to enjoy that though, because the rain was horrific.
If you want more pics, just see below.
Thanks to all of the hotels and restaurants who hosted us! Had a blast and can’t wait to come back.