Tag Archives: Charleston

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.

Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival

Every year the people of Charleston, and others from across the Low Country, come out for the springtime Blessing of the Fleet and Seafood Festival. The celebration is in support of the local shrimping and fishing industry, thanking the captains and their families for all the wild-caught seafood they supply to the community.

Blessing of the Fleet Festival Tents

Blessing of the Fleet Festival Green

Blessing of the Fleet Festival Wetlands

Blessing of the Fleet Festival Ravenel Bridge From Pier

The event takes place at the Memorial Waterfront Park in Mount Pleasant, under Ravenel Bridge, overlooking Charleston Harbor. It attracts all types of people, local businesses, families, and lots of children!

Blessing of the Fleet Children Kids

Blessing of the Fleet Boats on the Water Railing

Blessing of the Fleet Boats on the Water

All sorts of pleasure boats show up for the event, bobbing in the bay to get a good view of the festivities.

Blessing of the Fleet Sailboat

Blessing of the Fleet USA 555 Sailboat

Everything starts off down at the end of the pier with the shrimp boat parade; each one is blessed by the local priest as it passes by. The boats carry crew and their family members onboard, and everyone waves and applauds from both sides. It’s very sweet.

Blessing of the Fleet Pier

Blessing of the Fleet Seahorse Blue

Blessing of the Fleet Shrimp Boat Amy Marie

Blessing of the Fleet Shrimp Boat Family Thing

Blessing of the Fleet Shrimp Boat Lady Paige

Blessing of the Fleet Shrimp Boat Miss Paula

This one even had Forest Gump himself onboard – up top, wearing a red cap and holding his suitcase, enthusiastically waving to the crowd!

Blessing of the Fleet Wave

The local radio station broadcasts the blessing live, so all the boats out there can tune in and hear the ceremony as it happens.

Blessing of the Fleet Preachers

Blessing of the Fleet Shrimp Boat Mrs Judy Too

Blessing of the Fleet Shrimp Boat Richardson Brothers Wave

After the parade, there was a live band playing and lots of people “shagging” on the lawn. That’s what they call the local dance, the Charleston Shag, we were relieved to hear. We had to explain our shocked faces to a few of the revellers we spoke to – it means something very different in the UK!

Blessing of the Fleet Festival East Coast Party Band

Blessing of the Fleet Festival Beer

Blessing of the Fleet Beer I Orange Charleston

But enough praying and dancing – it was finally time to get a taste of all this local seafood everyone’s so proud of!

Blessing of the Fleet Festival Food Broiled Crawfish Sign

Blessing of the Fleet Seafood Festival Stands

Blessing of the Fleet Festival Pickled Shrimp Sign

Blessing of the Fleet Food Boiled Crawfish

I was desperate to try hot boiled crawfish. But first, I needed a little instruction. Thankfully, some friendly folks sitting across from us were happy to talk me through the mechanics of it. Basically, just snap the heads off, peel the tail, and eat!

Blessing of the Fleet Food Broiled Crawfish Eat

Blessing of the Fleet Food Broiled Crawfish Peel

They were excellent! Some local ladies next to me told me the real delicacy was to suck the discarded heads of the crawfish. But I couldn’t tell if she was kidding me, and it didn’t really sound like my thing, so I gave it a pass.

Next, we tried pickled shrimp, fish tacos, and regular old peel and eat shrimp (sprinkled with Old Bay, of course).

Pickled Shrimp

Pickled Shrimp

Fish Taco

Fish Taco

Blessing of the Fleet Food Fish Taco Tortilla

Blessing of the Fleet Food Peel and Eat Shrimp

Without sounding trite, it seems to me that the closer you are to the sea, the better the seafood. We are really going to make an effort to choose local seafood over imported fish from now on. Luckily, we have plenty of options for buying local in this department! Most of the shrimp boats in the parade operate out of Shem’s Creek in Mount Pleasant – hope to see you there this season!

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.