Tag Archives: Southern

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!

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Savannah Food & Wine Festival

Taste of Savannah was held this year at the Georgia State Railroad Museum. Hundreds of food, wine, and spirits vendors participated in the festival, doling out their goodies to eager foodies and oenophiles.

Any excuse to get back to beautiful Savannah, right?

Savannah Food Wine Festival Park Backdrop

Savannah Food Wine Festival Atlanta Train

What an amazing outdoor venue! I felt like a kid, stupefied by all the big trains, and couldn’t resist the childish urge to clamber up onto some of the carriages to get a better view of the festival grounds.

Savannah Food Wine Festival Train 30

Savannah Food Wine Festival Atlanta Train 2715

There were scads of vendor tents, lots of barbecue grills being fired up, cookbooks being signed, and numerous live demonstrations taking place.

Savannah Food Wine Festival Cooking Demo

But we were careful to prioritize our time – tasting some of the incredible wines on offer…

Savannah Food Wine Festival Wine Tasting

And sampling some southern delicacies, such as honey barbecue grilled chicken wings.

Savannah Food Wine Festival Big Green Egg Chicken Wings

Savannah Food Wine Festival BBQ Wings

Savannah Food Wine Festival Couple

Savannah Food Wine Festival Berkeley's Mill Grits

Other Southern favorites were available to sample. These astounding grits were made with heavy cream and packed quite a punch – ooomf!

Savannah Food Wine Festival Barkley's Mill Grits

Savannah Food Wine Festival Naan Indian restaurant Savannah

We had our first taste of Indian food since leaving London, and it was sweet, spicy relief at long last. Oh, how we miss our old local curry house!

Savannah Food Wine Festival Naan Indian Food Savannah

Savannah Food Wine Festival Naan Indian restaurant Savannah Food

Savannah Food Wine Festival Nicolas Feuillatte Ste Michelle Wine Estates Sparkling Rose

Savannah Food Wine Festival Nicolas Feuillatte Ste Michelle Wine Estates Sparkling Rose Bottle

Savannah Food Wine Festival Sip Nicolas Feuillatte Ste Michelle Wine Estates Sparkling Rose Bottle

Savannah Food Wine Festival Samples

After a glass of bubbles and some pickled crudités, we swung round the tents one more time to try out some new and exciting drinks.

I am going to be filling my shopping cart with a huge supply of this toasted almond coconut sake when it makes its debut at my local Publix grocery store soon – it’s incredible!

Savannah Food Wine Festival Social Coconut Almond Sake

I don’t go for the hard stuff, but there was plenty of it around.

Savannah Food Wine Festival Serpents Bite Apple Cider

And even the most discerning drinker can’t resist a little sip of southern moonshine when it’s offered…

Savannah Food Wine Festival Moonshine shooter

Savannah Food Wine Festival Bill Elliott Dawsonville Moonshine

Savannah Food Wine Festival SoHo South Combo Shooter with Petit Crabcake

SoHo Combo Shooter with Petit Crabcake with mini grilled cheese & tomato bisque

Savannah Food Wine Festival Buffalo Wild Wings Slider

Wild Wing Cafe’s BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders with fried jalepenos

Savannah Food Wine Festival Georgia Peach Balsamic Vinegar

Lowcountry Gourmet Georgia Peach Balsamic Vinegar over ice cream

Savannah Food Wine Festival Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie with Toasted Marshmallow and Raspberry

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie with toasted marshmallow and raspberry

Savannah Food Wine Festival Red Train

We finally came to the end of our tour, and took our caboose right back into Savannah to call it a day!

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.

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.

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.