Tag Archives: fried chicken

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.

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.

All-Day London Brunch

It’s a well known fact that January is a month for New Year’s resolutions, detoxing, hitting the gym, and swearing off booze and other forms of excess.

At least for some people it is!

For me, it’s about “how am I going to get through the bore and chill of another wintery month in this great city when most of my friends are off on a wagon ride somewhere?”

So my enabler and I hit the town on Saturday chasing the perfect all-day brunch.

Pearl Bracelet

Rocking my new arm candy, an oversized pearl cuff, and bundled up in layers, I set my sights north to Marylebone. Our destination was a London brunch institution, The Providores.

Leather Leggings Marylebone

Providores Downstairs

We bypassed the communal tables of the popular ground floor Tapas Room, and headed upstairs to the bright dining room. I need lots of elbow room when I have a breakfast this good!

Grilled chorizo with sweet potato and miso hash, a soft-boiled egg, garlic labne and star anise cashew nut praline

Grilled chorizo with sweet potato and miso hash, a soft-boiled egg, garlic labne and star anise cashew nut praline

French toast stuffed with bananas and pecans, with grilled smoked streaky bacon and vanilla verjus syrup

French toast stuffed with bananas and pecans, with grilled smoked streaky bacon and vanilla verjus syrup

I’m not normally a fan of sweet and savoury combinations, but this French toast had me changing my tune on that rule, especially as the syrup was so light and not too cloying.

Although the food is wonderful, The Providores is not the type of place you can settle back and linger over a long chat and bottomless cups of coffee. It’s very busy at the weekends, and once our plates were cleared, the wait staff’s expectant eyes were upon us. We didn’t feel rushed; but there was an inherent understanding. We get the picture; so it was “check please” and we were back on the streets.

Titiana's Garden Marylebone

Church on Wyndham Place

Ginger Pig

Smily Face

Cool Guy Cool Shwood Sunglasses

Walking to Chiltern

Now what to do? We strolled for a bit, then headed for a comfy place to chill with a decent wine list, Chiltern Firehouse.

Chiltern Firehouse bar

Chiltern Firehouse Wine Drinking

Crab donuts

Crab donuts

Fried chicken with bacon aioli

Fried chicken with bacon aioli

Spicy tuna tartare deviled eggs

Spicy tuna tartare deviled eggs

Chiltern Lounging Text Messaging

We spent the afternoon lazily chatting, nibbling (and even distractedly checking BBC football scores on our mobiles) – all perfectly justified ways to waste a January Saturday.

Sometimes you just have to shrug off the virtue of moderation, and enjoy a day of self-appointed gratuity! It sure helped this lychee martini go down rather well.

Chiltern Firehouse Lychee Martini

With the day well and truly spent, we retreated from our cozy den of inequity and out into the twinkling lights of Marylebone – after the perfect all-day London brunch.

Chiltern Firehouse Outdoor Front Garden Patio Pots