Ever since becoming a Yankee turned Southerner, it seems that each new person I encounter has a recommendation for what city I need to visit. But there is one city in particular that has come up time and time again. That city is Charleston, South Carolina.
As a graduate student, I don’t get much time off to explore. However, as the spring semester drew to a close, I found myself with a few free days open for adventuring. On a whim, my fiancé and I booked a quaint Airbnb in Charleston, South Carolina (April is a great time to find a cheap Airbnb, before the height of summer) and began packing. Early the next morning we threw our bags into the trunk of my 2004 Subaru Forester and we were off!
Upon arriving in Charleston, our stomachs were empty and our bodies were full of excitement for what was in store (i.e. food, food and food). I had conducted research prior to our departure regarding what the locals consider “go-to” breakfast spots. A few clicks into my search, I stumbled upon a place called the Early Bird Diner. Much to my delight, this diner was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, my favorite show! WE HAD TO GO!
We were certainly not disappointed. In fact, we were the complete opposite! The service was amazing, the atmosphere was eclectic, and the food was drool-worthy. I highly recommend the chicken and waffles. The waffles are homemade cinnamon waffles, paired with pecan crusted fried chicken, drizzled in maple syrup. However, the star of the show is the honey mustard topping! It ties the whole plate together and leaves you wanting more! It was like “I want to lick the dish” good.
Once we ate our weight in soul food, we were ready to fit in some cardio. Our walking tour of Charleston began at Battery Park, a beautiful waterfront park. As you walk along its path, you will find yourself with both a view of the ocean as well as old southern mansions, full of color and southern charm. As you keep walking, you will eventually find yourself at the famous pineapple fountain in Waterfront Park. You may even get lucky enough to wave goodbye as a cruise ship departs from the harbor. And even though there was so much activity within the park, beautiful tree-lined paths offer shaded benches where you can sit back, relax and people watch.
If I could offer any advice, I would highly recommend a walking tour (or carriage if this is a romantic getaway), as there is so much history and beauty to be seen.
After A LOT of walking, we had worked up an appetite. We stopped at Basil, a Thai restaurant dishing out fresh cuisine to businessmen and travelers alike. The food was energizing and provided us the fuel we needed to make our way over to Kaminsky’s bakery. This is a bakery a good friend of mine highly recommended, specifically their cakes, and I am never one to turn down cake.
As we peered into the glass dessert display, my eyes grew wide and saliva pooled in my mouth. A slice of cake was easily the size of a human face! But hey, I certainly was not complaining. We decided to order a slice of their carrot cake. OH MY GOODNESS. The moment I put the first bite in my mouth I knew I was in love. The cream cheese icing was like none I had ever tasted. It was the perfect mix of tangy, creamy and sweet. That icing paired with the spices of the moist cake, were enough to send my taste buds skyrocketing to another planet. As I sit here writing this, all I can think about is whether or not it would be crazy to drive 4 hours for another slice.
Around 4pm we decided to make our way back to the Airbnb to rest and prepare ourselves for the nice dinner we had planned for the evening. Once we were rested and smelled better, we put Tavern and Table’s address into the GPS and were off to feed the beasts (i.e., our stomachs).
Tavern and Table was another restaurant suggested by a good friend of mine. A suggestion I am so glad we decided to act upon. The restaurant sits on the bay and offers seating on a waterfront deck. I propose you go at sunset in order to get a beautiful purple/red backdrop to accompany your dinner.
After being seated on the deck, we diligently studied our menus. After a few minutes, we concurred that it was only fitting to order the Shrimp and Grits. I must say, the unique blend of spices, the perfectly cooked shrimp, and the melt-in-your mouth grits were like a choir performing in perfect harmony. I wanted to grab the waitress and order a second plate! Luckily I was able to exercise some self-restraint. And upon the completion of our meal, we were content and pleased with the success of our spontaneous trip to Charleston.