Poogan’s Porch

A friend was in town visiting and had brought her dog along.  Naturally, I looked for a location we could hang out at with her furry friend.  Poogan’s Porch was the obvious choice since it is known for the pup that used to sit on the porch.  They were extremely friendly and set us up at a table on the back porch.  They brought out biscuits with honey butter prior to our food.  They were really good and homemade with a solid crust on the outside and warm and soft on the inside.  I order Pimento and Cheese Fritters and She Crab Soup as my entree.  The fritters were admittedly a little on the cool side, but still had a good flavor with the green tomato jelly they were served with.  The soup was my first taste of the type and it reminded me of clam chowder, which since they’re basically the same thing it made a lot of sense. So over all the atmosphere was great, the food was just okay.

 

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The Watch Rooftop Kitchen and Spirits

By far the prettiest view I have enjoyed in Charleston so far!  I counted ten, I repeat TEN steeples from my vantage point! A friend of mine recommended I try their fish tacos as my meal.  They were impressively good, none of the store-bought tortillas and stale, wilted cabbage that you get from your typical restaurant joint.  The tortillas were fresh, the fish was still warm and in big chunks.  The cabbage was crisp and tossed in a creamy dressing with some red bell peppers that gave it a sweet and spicy crunch.  I asked for sweet potato fries as my side.  They were great! Crunchy on the outside and smooth on the inside.  The fries had just enough salt that they paired well with the ketchup, creating a salty-sweet melody. I also had a drink that I can’t remember the name of gin, grapefruit, and lavender were in it and I promise it was good.IMG_8147

Five Loaves Cafe

Vegetable Benny, also known as my new favorite meal.  I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere of this small cafe and the way it is a little off the beaten path from the hustle of King Street.  My benny was a fresh english muffin, not toasted.  At first I was unsure what I thought about the soft english muffin because I was so used to having my eggs Benedict assembled on what could only be described as flour-made hockey pucks. There was a hearty smear of goat cheese that provided a good deal of flavor to the dish, topped with steamed spinach, a fairly raw, but small enough to be tender, mushroom cap, a perfectly poached egg, and delicious herby Hollandaise sauce.  The grits were not actually vegetarian, but thankfully neither am I.  They had a large amount of flavor from chicken broth.  I find it interesting that restaurants here do not use cream cheese in their grits.  That was extremely common in Mississippi restaurants to give the grits a good mouth-feel and a smooth texture.  The mimosas were what we call “Oxford style” in Mississippi.  They consisted of a bottle of champagne with just enough orange juice to make them orange.  The orange juice was fresh and had a good amount of pulp. IMG_8137

White Duck Taco Truck

Today I ventured to the infamous white duck taco truck, excited to see what imaginative tacos they were dreaming up in the bright blue building with a white duck painted on the side.  I was thrown off-balance when I saw that most of the tacos had a distinct not-mexican feel to them.  Most of the tacos seemed be Thai or Japanese.  Being all for trying new things, I ordered the Triple Salsa appetizer ($3.95) and the Bangkok Shrimp taco ($3.95).  I also got a margarita to drink because I  had been craving one for three days at this point.  The margarita was good, a little too sweet, but it satisfied my craving.  The salsa came out almost as soon as I took my seat.  Of the three salsas there was the traditional red, a creamy, and a salsa verde.  The red salsa was very fresh and just chunky enough to have a pleasing texture.  It had a bit of a sweet flavor to it that I eventually decided was smoked paprika.  The creamy salsa was my favorite by far!  I took the leftovers I had of it home with me for later.  Funnily enough, it reminded me of the creamy sauce that Taco Bell puts on their quesadillas.  The salsa verde was a new beast that I can’t say I’ve encountered before so I don’t think I could reliably say if it was good or bad.  I enjoyed it, but the salsa was extremely spicy.  A slightly fizzy, vinegar flavor could be felt on my tongue, almost like the sensation of pop-rocks, but spicy, not sweet.  The taco came out in a timely manner and was plated in an attractive way.  I could see the battered fried shrimp along the bottom, topped with a chili aioli and sesame glaze.  Marinated cucumbers provided a subtle crunch and a little greenery to the taco.  The flavor was extremely unusual to me.  Thai-cucumber-crunchy shrimp-corn tortillas was just not a combination I could get behind.  Granted, the quality and appearance of everything deserved five stars.  So, though I did not like the specific taco I got, I look forward to visiting again to try a new taco.  Towards the end of my meal, I positively wanted something sweet to send me off.  I got the Chocolate Pot de la Creme with Pistachio Crust and it was delicious!   The chocolate had the sweet spicy notes that come from traditional Mexican chocolate dishes.  Cinnamon, chili powder, and other spices combined to make a flavor I can best relate as Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.  It was topped with homemade whipped cream and the pistachio crust provided a crunch to the dish.

Pour Taproom

I could not emphasize enough how I came across this place completely by accident.  I was in search of a vaguely public, but not gross, restroom, and was considering venturing into a Hyatt on King Street.  As I walked up a waiter from pour approached me and suggested I visit the rooftop bar.  The “highest rooftop bar in all of Charleston” he boasted.  So, of course, I responded “Do they have a restroom?” and stepped in the elevator.  After I exited the elevator and made the manic dash to the restroom, I was witness to one of the coolest taproom layouts I had ever experienced.  Spouts lined the wall offering everything from red wine, to cocktails, to beer, all available to be poured by oneself.  I obviously looked overwhelmed and a friendly bartender approached me to explain the process.  Imagine a gas station, but for drinks.  The system at the time was not completely up and functioning, they had only been open two days, but she gave me a tutorial using her employee wristband.  Eventually a band will be issued to everyone upon entry, it will have your own personal code, you walk to the drink you want, touch the screen, show you wrist, choose a size, and pour yourself a drink.  I went for the beers.  They keep about 50 on draft with IPAs, Belgian, Light, and Sour.  The bartender let me sample her favorites from each category and I settled for a sour beer, Monks Cafe, by the brewery of the same name.  The beer had the perfect acidic balance without being overwhelming.  After pouring my beer, I went out to see the rooftop area, did my usual game of counting steeples (I could see six from this vantage point), and took some time to enjoy the city from a bird’s eye view.

R Kitchen

This experience was a hidden gem that I am still surprised I discovered so quickly during my time in Charleston.  I was riding in an Uber, and as usual I was chatting the drivers ear off about food.  He mentioned R Kitchen and how it can be completely booked up for months. So, I, of course, immediately began looking into how the restaurant worked. So the low down is it is a kitchen, not a restaurant. It is a 16 top facility indoors with another larger outdoor area in the back.  The kitchen has a number of chefs, which I understood are on some type of rotation, and occasional guest chefs. The chef designs a five course meal, which can be altered to fit certain dietary needs, such as vegetarianism, but essentially everyone who comes sits to the same meal.  An overhead price is determined, my meal was $30, and the chef cooks the meal in front of you.  I found this experience to be extremely unique, the closeness in which you see the chef working allows for banter and conversation to develop among you, the chef, and the others in attendance.  Our chefs, whose names I do not remember, were easily the most accoladed individuals I have ever had cook for me.  The head chef was trained in sushi preparation and placed second on an episode of Chopped.  Her assistant chef was a corporate chef prior to working at R kitchen.  The meal I ate consisted of a Taco Taco, Gordita, Ahi Tuna Lettuce Wrap, Summerjack, and a Flourless Chocolate Tart over Strawberry Whipped Cream with Bacon Gelato.  Taco Taco was a play on words of sorts that I did not completely understand.  I believe “taco” or “tako” might be a name for octopus in regards to sushi.  Either way it was an octopus taco on a homemade corn tortilla with an angel hair slaw, and a traditional Spanish tomato-olive sauce.  The Gordita was a thicker corn tortilla, somewhat like an english muffin, that was stuffed with pulled pork, Mexican style not barbecue style, and a red cabbage slaw.  Ahi Tuna has to be one of my favorite fish.  This was an exceptional dish.  The lettuce wrap served as the base and held the rice, persimmon, green apple, brie mixture that set the fruity light flavor for the rest of the dish.  The ahi tuna wash placed atop the rice and garnished with a sweet onion reduction.  Summerjack was a new fish for me to experience, and it was superb.  it was served on a corn, black bean, avocado, and salsa mixture.  The dessert was perfect.  It was fudgy and sweet, but not sugary.  The gelato was creamy and the bacon fit in surprisingly well.  At the end we had what the chefs called a “Manchego Moment” and we sat around relishing a bite of the quality cheese that was used to garnish some of the dishes.

 

Want to visit? Here’s the link- http://www.rutledgekitchen.com

Palmetto Cafe

Being born and raised in the Deep South, it is a rare occasion when I walk into a restaurant and immediately know it caters to the bourgeois and not I.  As I walked into Palmetto Cafe in my simple sundress and Jack Rodgers sandals, I saw those in their Sunday best sitting to cups of French pressed coffee.  Lesson learned. I was kindly escorted to my table near the patio window by my hostess.  I was again astounded by the design of another Charleston restaurant.  The glass roof had wooden shutters to allow light in but prevent the room from overheating, it also made the restaurant seem larger.  The patio area was full of flowers and greenery, perfect for an outdoor brunch.  I ordered dark-roasted coffee which was brought out in a French press.  The coffee blend was thick and chocolatey.  I ordered the Exotic Fruit with Vanilla Bean Yogurt for my meal.   Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, kiwi, watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew were all plated to perfection.  The yogurt was perfectly tart and had pieces of vanilla bean visible in such a way that it was obvious the yogurt had been mixed by a chef.  All the fruit was ripe, but not overripe, and paired well with each other.fullsizeoutput_7e6

Want to visit?  Here’s the link- https://www.belmond.com/charleston-place/charleston_restaurants

Cannon Green ~ Taco Tuesday

When I was searching for Happy Hours to visit in Charleston, I discovered it was Taco Tuesday at Cannon Green.  I had already had a remarkable experience with their brunch, so I decided to try the restaurant again.  Upon arriving, I discovered the type of taco available varies from week to week.  Both a meat and a vegetarian option are always available.  This week the meat was roasted chicken with radishes and lime on a homemade corn tortilla and the vegetarian option had the same toppings but used lima beans and field peas instead of chicken.  I chose to order the vegetarian option.  I expected the taco to be good, but I did not expect it to be as good as it was!  The beans and peas were not the typical mushy foods I associated with Sunday dinner at my grandparents.  They were firm, well-flavored, and offered good textural difference compared to the radishes and the tortilla.  I ordered guacamole to complete my meal.  It came out served in the cutest terra cotta pot with a little bag of chips.  The chips were warm, and dare I say the guacamole was comparable to any I have ever ordered in a Mexican restaurant.  It had a lovely citrus kick and the cilantro added to the flavor, it did not take over the dish.  Additionally, I ordered their cocktail The Tickler, which was absolutely delicious! Not too sweet, not too sour, and a little salty!  The bartender gave me a Plinko token as I was leaving which I “played” at the hostess counter and won a $4 beer and a shot for my next visit!

 

Want to visit?  Here’s the link- http://cannongreencharleston.com

Hyman’s Seafood Co.

On my very first night in Charleston, SC, I ate at Hyman’s Seafood Co. which is a huge restaurant when you consider it’s prime placement on Meeting Street!  The restaurant consisted of at least four large rooms on the second floor and the family owns two additional stores taking residence on the first floor. The waiter brought out hushpuppies for the table to share and we ordered their well-known appetizer the Carolina Delight. The hushpuppies were good, completely different than what I am used to because they used sweet cornbread to make them.  The Carolina Delight was very creamy and rich.  It consisted of grits cakes topped with shrimp and a cream sauce.  I ordered from the “pick two” option and got their Shrimp’n’Grits and a Broiled Flounder Filet with a side of Steamed Broccoli.  The Shrimp’n’Grits were filling and had a unique cream sauce, the same sauce as what was used on the Carolina Delight.  I am personally more of a fan of the spicy, red sauces that I’ve typically seen, but it was still really good!  The fish was broiled fish and the broccoli was broiled broccoli, nothing interesting to report.

 

Want to visit?  Here’s the link- http://hymanseafood.com

Cannon Green

I immediately fell in love with this trendy restaurant the moment I saw its photos online.  I’m a crazy plant lady and apparently these people are as well! The restaurant screams sophistication, the furniture is perfectly coordinated with the space, the vaulted ceilings and large windows give it size and depth.  I truly appreciated how all the tables were far enough apart that I didn’t feel like I was invading my neighbors space.  The waiter brought out their cheddar biscuits, possibly scones, and some orange infused butter, the two paired very well and I was impressed with the creativity.  I ordered a carafe of Grapefruit Mimosas and a cup of coffee.  The mimosas were fantastic, not too sweet, but not too sour and perfectly bubbly.  The coffee was thick and rich, almost savory, so, I asked the waiter where they purchased and he told me Black Tap Coffee, Heavyweight blend.  I promptly bought some upon leaving the restaurant.  I ordered their Tuna Poke, again searching for a bowl to rival what I bought at Union Market in D.C. and again I was disappointed.  Not that it was bad, it was absolutely delicious but it just did not compare.  This bowl consisted of an avocado whip on the bottom that had remarkably good flavor, sometimes the good, bland flavor of plain avocado if over-appreciated.  I am glad the chef spiced it up.  The tuna was fresh, and I don’t think it had been marinated.  Cubed cucumbers and (possibly/probably) jicama were tossed with the tuna to provide a crisp texture.  Though I am not completely sure if jicama was the mystery crunchy cube, assuming it was jicama then its a twist on poke that has not made it completely from Hawaii to the mainland yet.  Though from some research I do see that Polynesians brought jicama to Hawaii, so it is not unfathomable to believe that it is a common addition to traditional poke. Finally we ordered their Matcha Gelato, which is seasonal.  It reminded me of when Anne Hathaway takes a giant bite of the frozen ice cream on the Princess Diaries. It was delightfully fresh and the flavor was mild, but lets be honest I was expecting it to look and taste like Bluebell.

 

Want to visit?  Here’s the link- http://cannongreencharleston.com