Tag Archives: Oysters

Garden & Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast

Garden & Gun is a southern lifestyle magazine which hosts an annual Jubilee outside of Charleston. The weekend of events kicked off last night with the hotly anticipated oyster roast at Charles Towne Landing.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast entrance

We arrived after dark to the wooded winter wonderland, with bluegrass singers greeting us at the gates.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Reindeer

Garden Gun Jubliee Oyster Roast entrance walkway

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast entrance bluegrass

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast view

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast beer

We snagged some drinks and had a wander round.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast drinks

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast roaming

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Steamed Oysters

Rappahannock Oyster Co. out of Richmond, VA was was churning out heaps of steamed oysters.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Shucking

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Shucked

Once you manage to shuck them from their shells, they are a tremendous salty, juicy treat!

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast sign

The Jubilee is a festive seasonal marketplace showcasing some brilliant vendors and designs that represent the best of the south.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Vendor Sara Grimshaw Designs

Sara York Grimshaw Designs

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Vendor Goat Sheep Cow

Goat.Sheep.Cow.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Farmshed

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Swing

The catering was deliciously southern.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Chile Verde Merroir Tasting Room

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Tuna

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Tuna plate

Tuna with kimchi & black rice | Rappahannock Oyster Co., Richmond, VA

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Weiner fixins

Toward the end of the evening, Wild Weiners of Charleston was providing hot dogs with all the fixin’s.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Vendor Weiners

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Hot Dog

A nice bite before carriages!

It definitely looks to be a wonderful weekend at the Jubilee. Get your tickets and go!

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.

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.

Sea La Vie: A Day in Whitstable

A blue sky day on the English coast is automatic perfection.

And for us, an automatic excuse to jump in the car, put the roof down, crank up the tunes, and cruise over to Kent for a day on Whitstable’s pebbled shores.

Beach View

Beach Nap

Beach Bright

Beach Legs

Beach Yellow Car

Beach

Sea

Salt in the air, sand in my hair.

We laid in the sun listening to the cries of marauding seagulls above us until our heads got warm and felt a bit fuzzy, which meant it was time for food!

Good thing we knew an amazing place just up the road for a leisurely spot of lunch.

Sportsman

Sportsman Sunroom

Sportsman Sign

Sportsman Tasting Menu

We plunked ourselves down and got comfortable – with a glass of champagne, naturally.

champagne

The amuse bouche was a curious little concoction of fish, egg yolk and cream which was like a decadent spoonful of chowder.

Sportsman Amuse Bouche

Sportsman Amuse Bouche Yolk

Next was the bit I was most looking forward to – the oyster course.

Poached oyster with cream rhubarb granita and crystalized seaweed

Poached oyster with cream rhubarb granita and crystalized seaweed

Sportsman Oyster Box

Sportsman Oyster Eat

Whitstable is known for its oysters and – woweee – these did not disappoint!

Salt baked beetroot, rhubarb and fresh cheese

Salt baked beetroot, rhubarb and fresh cheese

Sportsman 2nd Course

Sportsman Bread

The salads and bread knocked my shoes off! Actually, it was me who kicked them off under the table, because there’s nothing better than eating lunch barefoot by the beach.

Sportsman Kicked Off Shoes

Roast Hake fillet with cherry tomato suace and green olive tapenade

Roast Hake fillet with cherry tomato sauce and green olive tapenade

Sportsman 3rd

Roast breast confit leg of local Aylesbury duck with spiced roasting juices

Roast breast confit leg of local Aylesbury duck with spiced roasting juices

A spiffing English lunch!

The meal wasn’t yet over, but we needed a timeout. So we took our glasses outside for some fresh air and a post-meal stroll.

Sportsman 4th course interlude

We weren’t in a hurry. We had all afternoon to spare.

So we just enjoyed the sunshine for a while before heading back to our table.

Sportsman 4th Interlude Wine

Sportsman 4th Interlude Picnic Table

Rhubarb ice lolly with maderia cake milk

Rhubarb ice lolly with madeira cake milk

Sportsman Lolly

Chocolate and salted caramel tart with vanilla ice cream

Chocolate and salted caramel tart with vanilla ice cream

We didn’t even actually touch this tart, but instead had it wrapped up to take home!

It will make a good midnight snack at some point 🙂

Sunday Stroll & The Thomas Cubitt

On Sunday, London experienced the warmest day since October 26th last year! The sun was out,  the temperature had spiked up to nearly 70°, and we were bumbling around Sloane Square enjoying the weather.

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We made our way to Belgravia where we scored a coveted table at The Thomas Cubitt outside in the sun.

Take a tip from me – ask for one of the three tables on the mews along the side of the restaurant. They are just as good for sun and people-watching as the ones out front on Elizabeth Street, but with way more privacy and without the constant rumble of traffic that totally ruins a meal.

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We stuck to script and ordered our Sunday usual – bloody mary and oysters.

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Carlingford rock oysters with shallot dressing

Carlingford rock oysters with shallot dressing

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For my main, I got a big huge beast of a salad – grilled cornfed chicken, broccoli, avocado, celery and chickpeas with a Colston Basset Stilton dressing.

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I think this place is one of my favorite pubs in London. The excellent food and location goes without saying, but it’s the stellar service that puts this neighborhood watering hole at the tiptop of my list (or, um, blog).

Now back to the streets and my Sunday stroll through this fine city!

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This is getting me in the mood for more springtime hijinks!

Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House

I guess by now my secret’s out – I love oysters! They’re low-fat, low-cal, almost totally protein, and (hello!) natural aphrodisiacs. Thankfully, living on this great island there’s no shortage of the little rascals.

One of my favorite seafood restaurants in London has to be Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House. It’s located at the southern end of London Bridge, in one of London’s oldest and biggest wholesale covered markets – Borough Market. It’s such a bustling niche of the city – and a mecca for foodies. With a snazzy little street band playing outside in the streets, we tucked into a grand fruit de mer. Oysters, mussels, cockles, razor clams, whelks, and steamed Atlantic shrimp – all traded fresh from the morning market.

WB

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After a walk down the Thames, we took in show by local beatboxing artist “Sholmo”. Bad stage name, but excellent performance. He composes alternative, hip hop, drum & bass, and electronic music using only his mouth. It was incredible. A choreographed act of two beat-boxers rapping to a twirling tutu-clad ballerina from the English National Ballet isn’t the type of collaboration you see everyday. In some ways, it’s a metaphor for London!

London Bridge

London Bridge

Millennium Bridge | dome of Saint Paul's Cathedral

Millennium Bridge | dome of Saint Paul’s Cathedral

Schlomo busting a rhyme

Shlomo busting a rhyme

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I’m amazed by the contrasts of a London night. From a traditional meal in one of the city’s historic markets to the energizing creative sphere – the scene is a many-spendored thing!

Afternoon at the National Portrait Gallery

Living in a city with such a temperamental (aka rainy) climate, one must always be prepared with lots of ways to stay entertained indoors. This past weekend, London was especially cold and damp, so I hopped on the tube to Leicester Square for a visit to the National Portrait Gallery. Public museums have always been a safe haven from the outside world for me since I was a teenager, when I would skip high school and wonder the national galleries in Washington, DC. Later, as an Art History undergraduate at NYU, such visits became a part of my weekly Manhattan routine.

On exhibition at the moment is a wonderful collection of George Catlin American Indian Portraits (7 March – 23 June 2013) organised by my old employer Smithsonian Institution. Weekends are always a busy time to visit but I managed to pop in during a loll in the crowds and had a chance to enjoy the portraits and learn a little bit about the different tribes. I collect exhibition catalogues, so I grabbed one on my way out as I headed to lunch.

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A freezing walk down The Strand left me shivering with a chapped nose by the time I nipped into The Delaunay.

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Felt Hat, Saks Fifth Avenue; Crystal Cut Necklace, J Crew; Trench, Vince

The sister restaurant of The Wolsley, this Euro-style cafe is one of my personal favourites. Having missed the cut-off for booking reservations the day before, I did have to wait 20 minutes for a table but I passed the time at the bar with a glass of bubbles.

The rock oysters were worth the wait!

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Living in the UK, I often yearn for decent service when dining out. At The Delaunay, it is exceptional! And with a lobster roll like this, they get top marks in my book.

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For reservations, call ahead by one day or book online via their website.