While only in our second year tradition of vacationing in Charleston over the weekend for my boyfriends birthday in late November, I am always very excited to begin the trip. The days before are always hectic trying to predict the weather and pack for all the activities we plan to do like walking around downtown, strolling the beach and staying out late. A girl needs big luggage for all these occasions smashed into one weekend!
We began the trip from home in Waxhaw and decided to take slight detour to Columbia and visit a little lunch spot recommended by some friends called Spotted Salamander. This place is decorated with lovely accents. Every table has it's own unique set of salt and pepper shakers, a chalkboard display of menu that changes daily. They used to strictly be a catering operation but is now a lunch destination during weekdays from 11:00am to 2:30pm. Next time I am in Columbia this will be my lunch spot.
After checking in to the hotel and regrouping from the car trip, we order a ride and set out for the evening, with somewhat of an agenda. We have made Revelry Brewing's rooftop a priority both years now so it was obvious that was the very first stop on the list. It is a great rooftop complete with a full bar and space heaters. The perfect place to see the sunset and celebrate our first night in Charleston, cheers'ing the weekend off in style.
Spero is tucked away on a side street under the bridge. You would never know this quaint little restaurant had such amazing home-made food by judging from the outward appearance alone. This dinner was by far our favorite experience of the entire trip (food-wise). Have you ever had a Bread and Butter flight? I know I haven't and we both knew immediately it was the first thing we were going to order. The breads were absolutely stellar and the butters were so rich in flavor there was no mistaking everything was made with care and great attention to detail.
Fresh made pasta is one thing difficult to duplicate at home. I have yet to make fresh pasta but it is definitely a goal in the near future. This pasta dish had bits of roasted pork and sharp provolone and was divine. Every bite was a perfect marriage of the different flavors. We savored this dish the rest of the trip.
SOL Southwest Kitchen
The hotel in Mount Pleasant where we were staying happened to be right across the street from a fun Southwestern Grill. When we arrived earlier that evening to the hotel there were cars parked on all the medians so we made note to stop before we hit the bed. Their list of cocktails were really all we waned since this was the end of a long night of hanging out in Downtown Charleston, and easy to just walk back across the street after.
Charles Pinckney Historic Site
Walking around was our goal for Saturday. Not too far from our hotel was the Charles Pinckney Historical Site. We strolled the grounds of the old rice patties and through the wooded trail around the plantation making our way back to the house. Stopping during a busy trip to appreciate our history and the value behind our ancestors is always important to keep perspective on your life and future goals.
My favorite part of trips to Charleston is visiting Sullivan's Island. I simply cannot go through a trip without it, even if it is to just walk on the beach for ten minutes. Eating at Poe's Tavern is usually part of my wish list too when I'm on the island. Their burgers are so unique that I have a hard time deciding which new one to try. The best I have eaten so far is a special with fried pickles on top and The Sleeper, which comes with garlic bleu cheese and buffalo fried shrimp. The one here is Black Cat, also a really good choice with chili and pimento cheese.
For someone like me who is a big fan of IPA's, you must stop by the Charlestowne Fermentory. Every beer on their menu was right up my alley and I would have been fine to hang out here all night in their space. We had other stops to make, like the new Edmund's Oast Brewery location, which was very big and welcoming. Sitting at the bar gave you a full view of the restaurant space and bar taps. Got some growlers to go too!
I have always liked gin, usually mixed in a cocktail. My love for drinking gin neat was introduced to me by way of Jasper's Gin, from Charleston Distilling. This trip I decided to make a bold move and go for the Jasper's Bourbon Barrel Gin.
We met one of the distillers the night before sitting at the bar in Edmund's Oast Brewery. He recommended we check out the special release of their Bourbon Whiskey. It was not a hard sell to Eric so once we arrived to make our purchases there was no thought involved, it was a done deal. Not pictured however, is the Bourbon Maple Syrup I simply just had to have. Per the label it is to be used in cocktails or on chicken & waffles, yes to both!
A Night Out
When in Charleston, have pizza. That's a saying right? No, but the pizza at Craftsmen Kitchen was really delicious. Sitting outdoors though with space heaters and string lighting surrounded by high exposed brick walls I sort of felt like I was in New York.
Stopping by what seemed like a secret society hangout known as House of Brews was the last on the agenda for the evening. There is no sign and it is a place like Isla de Muerta in Pirates of the Caribbean "It can only be found by those who already know where it is." type feel to it. House of Brews is literally someones home converted into a small bar, bottle shop and hang out. The back patio is something I will look forward to in the warmer months, it is huge!
The Last Day
During the last few minutes of our walk after dinner downtown we stopped in Market Street Sweets to get gifts for our family and made another quick stop into Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts for my sugar fix. Such unique flavors of donuts and I was more than happy to buy a box full of them. My only regret is that I did not buy more!
Breakfast out is always something I enjoy on vacation. Being at the beach also means that I should eat seafood any chance I can. Ordering the Shrimp & Gravy was a new option for me, and it turned out to be delicious and hearty. That biscuit though :D Oh, and it is cash only so if you plan to visit, be prepared!
On the way home we wanted to make just one more food stop before heading to the house, back to reality of work and responsibilities. Frequenting The Craft Stand in Lancaster, SC is not something out of the ordinary for us so it made sense to stop in and say Hi, plus it was lunchtime and what better way to welcome ourselves back than with bbq. Order it across the street and bring it over to pair with a cold glass of craft beer.
We never sell ourselves short do we? Ok, so we attended one last event before finally closing out the weekend. Cheers Charlotte, radio podcast for all things beer, home-brewing, and good food, aired their 200th episode at Heist Brewery with an awesome bottle share party.
If you have never been to a bottle share, like me, there are a few tips I have for your first time. Bring, at least, two bottles of rare(ish) beers to share, a tasting glass, a water bottle for rinsing the glass, snacks and a fully charged battery for photos of course. You will without a doubt forget all of the beers you tasted and if you want to remember anything, take a quick photo of the label because you will have a lot of favorites by the end. Our last meal of the day was a huge slice of pizza from Benny's next door. Bottle shares typically happen mid-afternoon and you will feel spent come 7pm and in definite need of food, so have a food plan before you leave the party.
I hope you enjoyed my story of our weekend trip. They are rare occasions and always packed full of adventure. We are back to our normal daily routine and looking forward to the next trip already.
Cheers Y'all <3