Eating our way through Charleston, SC

November 5, 2018

We are huge foodies. Seriously, as in we used to plan vacations to cities known for their outstanding cuisine. We once planned this amazing trip to Napa, California for an entire week dining at some of the nation’s best restaurants, including Thomas Keller’s French Laundry.

So when I tell you that Charleston has some of the best food in the south, trust a sister. We didn’t have a meal that wasn’t fan-freaking-tastic there. (Well, except for the BBQ. Read on…)

Our first dinner was just after we arrived, and after we all showered of course! We went to 167 Raw – a little hole in the wall on E. Bay Street. Since we were docked at Charleston Maritime Center, it was a quick walk to this restaurant.

It didn’t disappoint. The oysters were briny and the wine was crisp. I honestly can’t remember what I actually had for dinner though – I think by the time I ate it, my body was just too tired so I probably slept right through each delicious bite.

Just the way I like ’em – briny!

The next day was Friday and I had to work – in fact, because I was so far offshore on the last sail, I couldn’t work and meetings were just piling up. My Friday was SLAMMED until 6p. But once I hung up my last call, it was time to get some grub. We went to Slightly North of Broad, or SNOB – again just a short walk from our dock. Man oh man, I was in heaven! We started with the lobster bisque, then quail (sorry, this was a special and I don’t recall the specifics), then a beet and sunflower seed salad, followed by the duck breast. Perfectly cooked and service was amazing.

Our mystery quail. It was good. Not as good as Vanessa B’s in Walnut Creek, CA, but damn good nonetheless
Unless your diet consists of daily sourdough bread from San Francisco, let me just say, when you don’t get really good sourdough bread, you get cranky. This was a good substitute!
This was a perfect balance of savory and sweet. Not overdone at all. Highly recommend.

On Saturday, after getting the “house” clean and laundry done, it was time to go explore – more food. A friend recommended we have the chilaquiles at Minero’s so after riding our bikes and taking in the sights, we headed there for a late lunch snack – or – early dinner appetizer, however you want to look at it. These were the bomb! And paired with margaritas, we were all smiles, and very happy.

Homemade chips and overall pure awesomeness!
Cocktails and smiles!

We booked Magnolia’s for dinner that night, but of course, I waited too long to get a reservation, so our dinner would be at a staggeringly early 4:45p! LOL. We never eat before 8p – and generally eat around 10p, but we fondly recalled how amazing our meal was when we took the RV trip to Charleston in the spring, and since we hadn’t eaten much that day, we were ready to enjoy this legendary restaurant.

We started with the brussel sprout salad that had a delicious truffle vinaigrette dressing. Next was the lowcountry bouillabaisse, which was stunning. The broth was perfect but because I didn’t want to embarrass anyone, I refrained from dipping the bowl into my mouth. I’m classy that way.

Finally, we shared a warm cream cheese pecan brownie, with white chocolate ice cream. We rarely eat desserts, but folks, I’m telling you – this was worth every single calorie.

Crispy fried brussel sprouts – if you haven’t had it – try it!
I’m not kidding about the slurp aspect here.
Sometimes, you just need dessert.

We waddled back to the boat with the intention of making popcorn and watching a movie, but after such fine food, and let’s not forget libations, we ended up going to bed at like 9p. Another first – we rarely go to bed before 11p.

Sunday was Veteran’s Day and we got back on our bikes to see what was going on downtown. Oh look – a parade!! So very cool to have front row seats at Magnolia’s sister restaurant, Blossom. Here we enjoyed more oysters, some peel and eat shrimp, and martini’s. Plural. In fact, I really need to avoid martini’s during the day. To compensate for the light fare, we also ordered the lamb sausage pizza with feta cheese. That was tasty, but honestly, I’m a huge pizza snob and their crust was not 00 flour. (You may find it hilarious that I packed 00 flour for the boat – even though my shitty oven will NEVER bake a pizza. I’ll be better off trying to grill one than bake one.)

Ain’t gonna lie, I teared up!
Our fold up bikes are no match for these hogs!
Did someone say pizza?!
I have a drinking problem. CLEARLY.


Monday would be our last culinary adventure. In this case, we had our sights set on BBQ. We went to Smoke BBQ for an early lunch which was a good bike ride away. Plus, biking around town gave me some moral superiority over those lazy people driving their cars (just kidding, I miss my convertible Mercedes quite a bit.)

I’d love to say it was a fantastic BBQ experience, but it wasn’t. And it’s not Smoke’s fault – it may just be a local South Carolina thing, but the sauces provided were just too sweet to our liking. We like smoky and hot. Go figure.

Tuesday would find us prepping to sail out late that night, heading to Hilton Head. This post would be remiss if I didn’t give a huge shout out to the great dock hands and marina management at the Maritime Center. They offer free commercial washer’s and dryer’s, and even let me use a room (with a great view) when the wifi wouldn’t reach our boat. That was pretty amazing!

Overall, I really enjoyed our time in Charleston, and hope one day we will go back. Great city. Great people.

Next up: Our first solo sail on the Atlantic.

XOXO, Lisa

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