Tag Archives: America

Home Beach Home

It’s been quite a journey, getting to South Carolina from London, over the past few months. But we finally found the perfect beach shack and we’re all snuggled in! I guess you could say I’ve even become a bit of a homebody.

Station 19 Outside front door orange

Station 19 Living Room Sofa

Station 19 Living Room Mirror

Station 19 Kitchen Side Counter

Station 19 Kitchen Counter

Station 19 Guest bedroom Chest of Drawers Side

Station 19 Guest Bedroom Flowers

Station 19 Guest Bedroom Flowers Nightstand

Station 19 Bedroom Pillows

Station 19 Screened in Porch Beach Cottage

I’ve been getting down to work in the kitchen, testing out some classic Southern recipes… and a few of my own, like this Georgia peach gâteau.

Station 19 Pie Cloche

Station 19 Pie Cloche Cover

Southern life is treating us well. We’ve found the perfect compromise living 15 minutes outside of Charleston, but right on the beach in Sullivan’s Island. After all, we haven’t moved from the greatest city in the world to be downtown with all the tourists, college students and fixie bike hipsters. Life’s better on the water!

Sullivan's Island Beach Welcome Sign

Luckily, we’re 2 blocks from the sand – so we’ve been taking advantage of morning walks on the beach and late afternoon swims in the ocean.

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach path

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach path Landscape

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach Waves Sand Landscape

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach Houses Lighthouse Landscape

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach Dunes Landscape

We didn’t waste any time finding our favourite restaurants on the island. On this particular occasion, we were off to brunch just up the road. We’re lucky we can walk everywhere, exploring our new neighbourhood on foot.

Sullivan's Island Sidewalk

Sullivan's Island Blue Doll House Victorian

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter Steps

Obstinate Daughter is relatively new to the island – like us! But it’s already been making waves in the area for it’s coastal Italian influences and local ingredients. We heard about it practically before we even got unpacked, and now we’re working on making ourselves regulars.

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter Steps Up

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter Interior

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter BarMary

Their Blonde Bloody Mary is epic. And in case you’re wondering, that’s pickled okra speared on the garnish.

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter Bloody Mary

Seasonal vegetable frittata with basil and mozzarella

Seasonal vegetable frittata with basil and mozzarella

House ham, farm egg, fontal cheese, garlic aioli

House ham, farm egg, fontal cheese, garlic aioli

Our brunch was slammin’ – I will keep coming back until I try everything on the menu.

Sullivan's Island Beardcats OD

Life’s a beach – and I really can’t complain!

Savannah

There are so many great road trips in the South. It seems like all we need to do is cover our eyes and pick and spot on the map. Ever since we moved down here, I’ve had Georgia on my mind. So this weekend we put the top down and headed for the border – to Savannah!

Savannah Wright Square

Savannah Scottish Rite Temple

Savannah Sqaure Statue

The first thing you’ll notice about Savannah is its design. It’s one of the greenest cities I’ve ever seen, thanks to its vast network of squares. Every few blocks you’ll come across one – vibrantly landscaped and draped in Spanish moss. These squares were once used for communal purposes – fetching water, baking bread, hosting celebrations, even a place to gather livestock.

Everywhere you look, it’s green!

Savannah Jasmine Arch

Savannah Horse Drawn Carriage

Savannah Barber

Savannah has so much American charm, it’s silly! A real effort has been made here to preserve some of the old way of life – like this barber shop, where you can still get a haircut and shoe shine.

This place is really famous for its antique shops. There are over 35 of them within walking distance, and we set off to explore a few of the best.

Savannah Everett and Cobb Antiques and Interiors Sign

Savannah Everett and Cobb Antiques and Interiors

Savannah Everett and Cobb Antiques and Interiors Display

Our favourite was Alex Raskin Antiques on Bull Street. It’s located within the gilded Italianate Noble Hardee Mansion. Overlooking Forsyth Square, it’s four stories of completely unrestored architecture. This building has not been touched in years, it creaks and groans and it’s covered in a thin veneer of dust, but the antiques covering the 12,000 square feet inside it are incredible!

Savannah Raskin Antiques Outside Exterior

Savannah Raskin Antiques Interior

Savannah Raskin Antiques Old Gilt Frames

Savannah Raskin Antiques Interior Hallway

I’ve never seen so many American and European antiques in one place.

Savannah Raskin Antiques Bits

Savannah Raskin Antiques Chests

Everything is for sale, even if there’s no price tag. Alex roams around the store and is on hand if you need a quote on anything. He has lived in Savannah most of his life, travelling the world going to estate sales and auctions, and filling this mansion with historic treasures. It was such a cool experience wandering all the rooms in here, tightly packed with wonderful finds.

Savannah Raskin Antiques Waring Painting

Savannah Raskin Antiques Old Vintage Black and White Portraits Victorian

After we had explored every nook of the building, it was time to hit the road back to Charleston. On our way out of town, we passed the Carolina Cider Company roadside stand. It was a nice excuse to stop and stretch our legs, plus check out all the local goods for sale. It was like walking into a Southern granny’s pantry – wall-to-wall jars of canned goods, jams, pickles, relishes, and cider.

Roadside Stand Carolina Cider Company Historic Country Store

Roadside Stand

Roadside Stand Carolina Cider Company Historic Country Store Wall of Jars

Roadside Stand Carolina Cider Company Historic Country Store Jars Grits

Roadside Stand Carolina Cider Company Cotton Wreath

They sold boiled peanuts, so I scooped a pot of the Cajun-flavoured ones. And then we set off into the low country.

Roadside Stand Carolina Cider Company Historic Country Store Boiled Peanuts

Tomotely Plantation Drive Mossy Oaks

We stopped just a while later outside of Beaufort, to see the Old Sheldon Church ruins. It was an old church built in the 1700s and burnt by the (you guessed it!) British during the Revolutionary War. It was rebuilt, only to be burned again during the Civil War. The ruins are ghostly, eerie – but so serene. It’s hard to describe.

Old Sheldon Church Ruins

Old Sheldon Church Ruins Front

Old Sheldon Church Ruins Spanish Moss

Old Sheldon Church Ruins Arch

Old Sheldon Church Ruins Sunny Moss

Old Sheldon Church Ruins Wall

We stayed here a while, enjoying the golden evening light and eating our boiled peanuts. Then we quietly walked back to the car, and hopped back on the country road home.

Spoleto Festival Charleston 2015

When I moved from London to a small American city, one thing I was apprehensive about was the cultural scene. So it was with great fortune that we timed our move here to coincide with the opening of the annual Spoleto Festival.

Spoleto is one of the biggest performing arts festivals in the country. It receives generous   government funding through the National Endowment for the Arts to support a programme of a world-class performances across the fields of theatre, music and opera.

Spoleto Festival Charleston Opening Ceremonies Broad Street

We were eager to be on hand for the opening ceremonies, which took place down on Broad Street, on the steps of City Hall. The crowd was packed with a sea of straw-hatted arts enthusiasts as the Mayor of Spoleto, Italy made his remarks to officially open the first day of the festival.

Spoleto Festival Charleston Opening Ceremonies Mayor of Spoleto

Spoleto Festival Opening Ceremonies Broad Street

Spoleto Festival Building Charleston

Spoleto Festival USA 2015

Charleston Riviera Theatre

Before the theatre, we had time to grab a quick bite at a Charleston dining recommendation we’d been chomping at the bit to try. My godmother, Lisa, suggested the Two Boroughs Larder and since we were downtown, this seemed the perfect chance to give it a go.

Two Borroughs Larder Front

Two Boroughs Larder Charleston Outside Sign

Two Boroughs Larder Charleston Communal Table

The communal dining area is lined with shelves stocked with dry goods and kitchen provisions. They carried some wonderful products, from French paring knives to custom dog collars that support rescue pups. I loved browsing that wall for things to line my own pantry!

Two Boroughs Larder Charleston Shop

Two Boroughs Larder Charleston Inside Friends of Walter Sign

We headed around to the other side of the restaurant to a more intimate seating area, and happily grabbed a seat by the window. The waitress slipped us some menus and we began to order a steady stream of small plates.

Two Boroughs Larder Charleston Kitchen

Two Boroughs Larder Charleston Chopsticks

Like many restaurants in Charleston, Two Boroughs Larder strives to serve locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. The dishes are simple, but some of the combinations really blew our minds. Even the most basic dishes, like the seasonal lettuce, had us scraping our plates.

Lettuce, benne seed tahini, meyer lemon, breadcrumbs

Lettuce, benne seed tahini, meyer lemon, breadcrumbs

Asparagus, buttered popcorn, whey

Asparagus, buttered popcorn, whey

Charred English Peas, horseradish, pea Jus, creme fraiche, radish

Charred English Peas, horseradish, pea jus, crème fraîche, radish

Squid Ala Plancha, aioli, wild greens

Squid Ala Plancha, aioli, wild greens

Cuban Sandwich, pork neck, ham, swiss, pickle mustard

Cuban Sandwich, pork neck, ham, swiss, pickle mustard

Things started getting real by the time we polished off the Cuban sandwich. But our favourite by far was the bowl of house noodles. Could it be Charleston’s best ramen?

Bowl-o-Noodles, pork confit, soft egg, pork broth, house noodles, plus kimchi pickled mushrooms

Bowl-o-Noodles, pork confit, soft egg, pork broth, house noodles, plus kimchi pickled mushrooms

We happily put away our bowls and headed to the theatre.

I’m profoundly embarrassed to admit that in five years of living in London I never managed to get to The Globe Theatre to see a performance. I walked by it so many times rambling up Southbank, but the right opportunity just never arose. So how apt that we moved to Charleston and let the merry players come to us!

Spoleto Romeo and Juliet Dock Street Theatre Steps

Spoleto Festival Dock Street Theatre Steps

Opening night performance at the Dock Street Theatre was The Globe’s touring production of Romeo and Juliet. And I couldn’t have been more excited!

Spoleto Festival Charleston Dock Street Theatre

Spoleto Festival Programme Dock Street Theatre

Spoleto Festival Romeo and Juliet Dock Street Theatre Table of Programmes

Dock Street Theatre Courtyard Seating

The Dock Street Theatre first opened in 1736, under the reign of King George II. And despite Charleston’s tricky (to say the least) history with the British, the royal crest still hangs above the Dock Street stage.

We arrived fashionably early, giving us time for a quick apéritif in the beautiful brick courtyard before the show.

Dock Street Theatre Courtyard Table

Dock Street Theatre Courtyard

When the bells chimed, we sought out our seats and were pleased to find the actors milling about the room, tuning their musical instruments and exchanging casual banter with audience members. I can’t deny it was nice to hear the familiar parlance of the English tongue after so many weeks away from London.

Spoleto Festival Charleston Romeo and Juliet Audience Dock Street Theatre

Spoleto Festival Charleston Romeo and Juliet Dock Street Theatre Actors

Spoleto Festival Charleston Romeo and Juliet Dock Street Theatre

The performance was fresh and energetic, and the actors seemed to transcend the pitfalls of such a famous, well-known story. Romeo was played by dad-bod ginger Samuel Valentine, which took a bit of getting used to as my mind kept picturing Mitchell Pritchett from Modern Family up on stage trying to woo Juliet, who was played by Cassie Layton. She actually nailed the part as a callow, pubescent schoolgirl pining after her first crush – after all, the character was only 14 years old.

But the standout performance was definitely Steffan Donnelly, the lanky and incredibly camp Mercutio – his charisma and vigor onstage was magnetic and won the audience over completely.

A wonderful first show in a two-week long lineup of events that are sure to be equally enthralling. It’s a relief to know that the arts are alive and thriving down here in the American South.

Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oyster Shop, Charleston

I guess you could say we’ve been doing a lot of taste-testing in Charleston! The foodie scene in this town is remarkable. It seems we can’t turn the corner without running smack-bam into a new restaurant we just have to try.

I had been wanting to pop into Leon’s since the first time I drove by it’s summery patio shaded with lemon yellow canvas parasols. Inside it’s just as charming, which was fortunate since it was too hot to sit outside.

Leon's Charleston Outside Yellow

Leon's Charleston Oyster and Poultry

Leon's Inside Wine Sign Softserve Machine

Leon's Inside Dining Area Bar

Leon's Inside Garage Door Stools

Leon's Charleston Artic Boy Inside

Leon's Charleston Inside White Dress

When it comes to oysters, I normally don’t deviate too far from the raw-on-the-halfshell spectrum. But Leon’s is renowned for the char-grilled variety, so we wagered on an order.

Char-grilled Oysters, lemon, parsley, butter, parmesan

Char-grilled Oysters, lemon, parsley, butter, parmesan

Leon's Charleston Wood Fired Char-Grilled Oyster

Awww, shucks, they were good!

Especially with a dab of southern hot sauce.

Leon's Charleston Red Clay Southern Hot Sauce

We also dabbled in a little fried clams, crispy and wrapped in lettuce…

Fried Clam Lettuce Wraps, pickled vegetables, spicy mayo, fresh herbs

Fried Clam Lettuce Wraps, pickled vegetables, spicy mayo, fresh herbs

… and a corker of a shrimp salad sandwich, sprinkled with crushed potato chips!

Shrimp Roll, horseradish mayo, celery, potato chips, fine herbs

Shrimp Roll, horseradish mayo, celery, potato chips, fine herbs

Leon's Charleston Food Shrimp Roll Potato Chips

But the real main event was the fried chicken, soaked in buttermilk, and then double fried in Crystal’s hot sauce – it was plucking unbelievable!

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

After all that, we were totally full and ready for the check. But the waiter mentioned that the special dessert was a soft-serve cone with jimmies, and my inner child screamed for ice cream!

Leon's Charleston Food Soft Serve Vanilla cone with Jimmies

Leon's Charleston Food Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone with Jimmies

We walked home, sharing a cone, through Hampton Park – which originally used to be a race course and jockey club. Now the perimeter is bursting with trees and gardens, and lots and lots of magnolias!

Hampton Park Flower Bed Spanish Moss

Hampton Park Charleston Path Wooded

^^ This guy kept me laughing with a bunch of old school jokes, like “Which knight designed King Arthur’s Round Table?”

Circumference!

Hampton Park Charleston Path Moss

Hampton Park Charleston Path

Hampton Park Charleston Magnolia Bloom

We were blessed with another beautiful day to be out and about, enjoying the sights and weather in this wonderful city.

Magnolia Plantation

Magnolia Plantation is a mere twenty-minute drive outside of Charleston and it’s known for its beautiful gardens.

When you pull up, you coast down a long drive covered in old oak boughs draped with Spanish moss.

Magnolia Plantation Spanish Moss Drive

Magnolia Plantation Spanish Moss Big Tree

Peacocks greet you on the front lawn of an old plantation house.

Magnolia Plantation Peacock

Magnolia Plantation Exterior Front

Magnolia used to be a rice plantation. The property backs up to the Ashley River, which was used to flood the fields to create the standing water needed to grow rice.

Reverend John Drayton inherited the property in the 1840s. It surprised me that he was a man of the cloth. As the tourguide gestured proudly to Drayton’s large Old Testament book commissioned from a London press, I couldn’t help but picture some creepy old villain, hunched over his Bible reading Exodus verses as enslaved labourers were being whipped (or worse) just outside his door.

I really struggled to separate the beauty of this property from its sinister history. I wonder if that’s what Drayton’s wife tried to do when she arrived at Magnolia from her hometown of Philadelphia. Legend has it that John built all the gardens on the property to please his out-of-town bride. There’s really no denying the refined allure of the landscape here.

Magnolia Plantation Exterior Rear Backyard

Magnolia Plantation Porch Bench

Magnolia Plantation Long White Bridge

Magnolia Plantation Long White Bridge Standing

Magnolia Plantation Long White Bridge Path

Magnolia Plantation Long White Bridge Pond

Magnolia Plantation Hedge Garden

The gardens remind me of the kind of Romantic landscapes you’d see in a Pre-Raphaelite painting. The kind of place a melancholy maiden might sulk around in a bohemian gown writing love letters…

Or maybe just prance gaily through a hedge maze!

Magnolia Plantation Garden Maze

The azalea bushes weren’t yet in full bloom, but there were plenty of exquisite flowers peeking out everywhere you looked. We toured down paths in every which direction, getting lost in the extensive grounds.

Magnolia Plantation Flowers

Magnolia Plantation Daisies

Magnolia Plantation Red Bridge Spanish Moss

Magnolia Plantation Red Bridge Gold Sandals

Magnolia Plantation Bag

Magnolia Plantation Peacock Fan

Part of our admission ticket included a walking tour of the swamp. So with some trepidation, we ventured in…

Swamp Tree Bark

Swamp

Magnolia Plantation Swamp

Magnolia Plantation Swamp Path

Magnolia Plantation Swamp View

Magnolia Plantation Swamp Egret in Flight

The swamp is such a fascinating eco-habitat for so many creatures – especially birds. We saw egrets, red-headed woodpeckers, cardinals, and some others that we couldn’t identify. I would love to go back sometime with a pair of binoculars. It’s a bird-watcher’s paradise!

Thankfully, we were able to get close to some cute creatures in the swamp.

Magnolia Plantation Marsh Rabbit

This little marsh rabbit was not afraid to strike a pose for the camera!

Magnolia Plantation Marsh Rabbit Photoshoot

Magnolia Plantation Marsh Rabbit Swamp

By the time we left, it was starting to get very muggy in the swamp – it’s definitely not a forgiving climate in which to live! But this was a truly special place to visit and appreciate nature in one of its most enchanting forms.

Magnolia Plantation Swamp Bench

We left feeling completely swamped with lots of great memories!

Husk Charleston

Something special is happening. I’ve got butterflies in my stomach, and a new bounce in my step.  I haven’t felt this way in a while, but I think I’m falling in love…

With this town!

Isn’t it dreamy?

Spanish moss floating from the trees, music in the air, front doors so pretty they almost wink at you as you pass by, boughs heavy with fat spring blossoms…

Charleston has seduced me, swept me completely off my feet!

Charleston Library Spanish Moss Oak Acordian Player

Charleston Grey House

Charleston Boughs heavy with Blossoms

It was on a romantic stroll around town, I found myself in front of one of the city’s hottest restaurants, Husk – – – without a reservation. People wait months to get one. I didn’t have high hopes, but figured “it never hurts to ask.”

We checked in with the hostess and she recommended we add our names to the waitlist and have a drink in the Husk bar across the alley. So we did.

Charleston Husk Building Exterior Front

Charleston Husk Pink Building Across the Street

I was feeling adventurous so when a Southern libation called “Shrubs” made of fruity vinegars caught my eye, I had to order one! I went for the grapefruit version.

Charleston Husk Shrubs

Wow.

It tastes like fruity vinegar alright!

Charleston Husk Shrubs Sip Bar

^^ I think my eyes were cross-eyed underneath my eyelids in this photo!

Let’s just say, Shrubs is an acquired taste. One that I was actually beginning to acquire by the time the ice melted and took things down a notch.

But, hey, I can say I drank vinegar!

Charleston Husk Shrubs Sip Bar Deck

At least I provided plenty of amusement to my date as he kicked back on the porch with a more sensible drink. Sometimes it pays to stick to what you know.

Charleston Husk Beer Porch

Charleston Husk Shrubs Porch Sipping

When the hostess called us for our table, we were fully expecting to be squeezed into a corner between the kitchen and the loos. And we would have been grateful!

Instead, what we got was a beautiful table for two on the upstairs outdoor balcony, with a view out over Queen Street, porch fans whirring silently above us. Yeah, we were pretty pleased…

Charleston Husk Upstairs Balcony

Charleston Husk Upstairs Porch

Charleston Husk Menu Frangipani Shirt

First thing I did, was order an actual cocktail. This time it was the Charleston Dragoon Punch, one of Husk’s signatures. Our server explained it as a classic Southern “porch-sipper” designed to be leisurely imbibed under the breezy shade of… a porch. The recipe has been adapted from the Charleston Preservation Society – California brandy, Jamaican rum, peach brandy, black tea, lemon juice, and raw sugar. It’s now my official favourite drink of the colonial South!

Dragoon Punch

Dragoon Punch

Well, the critics don’t lie, and all the reviews are true. The food at Husk is phenomenal!

But I’ll let the photos do the talking.

Caper's Inlet Blade Oysters on the Half Shell, SC Strawberry Mignonette, Jalapeno, Citrus

Caper’s Inlet Blade Oysters on the Half Shell, SC Strawberry Mignonette, Jalapeno, Citrus

Charleston Husk Caper's Inlet Blade Oysters on the Half Shell, SC Strawberry Mignonette, Jalapeno Citrus

Charleston Husk Caper's Inlet Blade Oysters on the Half Shell

Charleston Husk Fire Roasted Clams, HUSK Sausage, Preserved Tomato, Fennel, Ambrose Farms Pea Shoots, Garlic Toast

Charleston Husk Fire Roasted Clams, HUSK Sausage, Preserved Tomato, Fennel, Ambrose Farms Pea Shoots, Garlic Toasts

Charleston Husk Fire Roasted Clams, HUSK Sausage, Preserved Tomato, Fennel, Ambrose Farms Pea Shoots, Garlic Toasts

Cornmeal Dusted Catfish, FL Sweet Corn Creamed with Green Garlic, Fried Cabbage, Roasted Fennel and Peppers

Cornmeal Dusted Catfish, FL Sweet Corn Creamed with Green Garlic, Fried Cabbage, Roasted Fennel and Peppers

Cider Glazed SC Tamworth Pork, Grilled Asparagus and KY Wonder Beans, Charred Ramps, Smoky Tomato, Pot Likker

Cider Glazed SC Tamworth Pork, Grilled Asparagus and KY Wonder Beans, Charred Ramps, Smoky Tomato, Pot Likker

After a truly special meal, we paid our check and made it out of the restaurant just as the sun was beginning to set. So we clambered for a spot at one of Charleston’s best al fresco bars, The Rooftop at The Vendue. It’s a silly name, but the views are to be taken seriously. With a panoramic view of the city, from the array of church steeples, to Charleston Harbor, it was hard to pick one direction to look in.

Charleston Vendue Front

Charleston Vendue Rooftop Water View

Charleston Vendue Rooftop View

Charleston Vendue Rooftop Bar

Charleston Vendue Rooftop Bar Nightscape City view

Charleston Vendue Rooftop Bar Drink

We watched the sky change color and enjoyed the cool breeze wafting in with nightfall. Charleston is pulling out all the stops to win me over, and I’m falling hard for its charms.

Hello, Charleston!

The time finally came to pack up our remaining belongings and head down the east coast to our new home – Charleston, South Carolina!

Penske Moving Truck

Driving this bad boy was a bit tricky at times, but we enjoyed the most beautiful drive through the Shenandoah Valley, watching spring blossom more and more with each passing mile.

By the time we reached Charleston, everything was in full bloom!

King Street Walking Tour English Flag

We couldn’t wait for our feet to touch the ground and stretch our stiff legs – we immediately set off on a stroll around town.

Charleston King Street Runner Leafy Spring

Charleston Morgan Driveway

Charleston Architecture

Charleston King Street 19 Architecture Home

Charleston King Street Palm Tree Building Plaque

Charleston Peninsula Striped Cabbages and Roses Knit Sweater Dress

Charleston Peninsula Park Walk Trees

We instantly fell in love with our new city! The charming streets, the regal antebellum architecture, the way everyone you pass on the sidewalk smiles and says hello. We both breathed a sigh of relief that it seems we’ve picked the perfect spot for our new adventure.

Then we realised we were famished from our exceptionally long journey! In Charleston, we will be spoiled for choice because the foodie scene is exploding here. We thought since we’re new in town, we better just start with some local Southern classics. So we popped in to Hominy Grill on Rutledge Avenue.

Charleston Hominy Grill Exterior Wall Sign

First thing they did, was plonk down a basket of boiled peanuts. I’d only ever heard of them once before, when I saw Francis Underwood chomping on some in an episode of House of Cards. Well, they are a pretty big deal in the South. Boiled in the shell, in salty water (for hours!) until they are nice and soft. Once you get over the mushy consistency, it’s still just a tasty peanut! And I have to admit, it didn’t take long to start to enjoy them!

Boiled Peanuts

Boiled Peanuts

Another curious taste of the south is the cherry-flavoured soda pop called Cheerwine. I had my first taste of it in the form of a Cheerwine Negroni. Ruby red in colour and sweetened with cane sugar, it’s a retro favourite in Charleston. I’ll be honest, I probably won’t be stocking up on it anytime soon – it’s a little too sweet for me. But it was worth a try!

Cheerwine Negroni: Aperol, Boodles gin, sweet vermouth and cheerwine

Cheerwine Negroni: Aperol, Boodles gin, sweet vermouth and Cheerwine

Fried Chicken Basket with pickles and pepper relish

Fried Chicken Basket with pickles and pepper relish

She Crab Soup with sherry

She Crab Soup with sherry

There was only one dish under consideration for my first meal in Charleston, and that was a heaping serving of classic Southern shrimp and grits. So many restaurants have their own version of it, and there’s always fierce competition for best shrimp and grits in town. But, boy, I think I picked a good ‘un.

Shrimp & Grits: sautéd shrimp, mushrooms, scallions and bacon over cheese grits

Shrimp & Grits: sautéed shrimp, mushrooms, scallions and bacon over cheese grits

This plate is a basically just a cheesy amalgamation of all of my favourite foods – mushrooms, shrimp, cheese, spring onions and, of course, bacon!

The catch of the day was soft shell crab, which had just come into season. Just a naked little crab, lightly sesame fried, with greens and a scoop of macaroni and cheese.

Sesame Fried Soft Shell Crab with house tartar sauce and two sides

Sesame Fried Soft Shell Crab with house tartar sauce and two sides

There was hardly room for dessert, but we had to share a slice of buttermilk pie. Who would have known it was originally an English recipe, which has now been adopted by the American South! The UK might want to ask for it back – it’s downright delicious!

Buttermilk Pie

Buttermilk Pie

Hominy Grill Interior Dark Outside Tables

Charleston Hominy Grill Shades Table

Our first meal in Charleston knocked our socks off. And the way things are looking, there’s no end in sight of good eating in this town.