The Girl’s Eat Chucktown

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May 16, 2011 by paiday

Can there be too much of a good thing? That was the question in mind for the upcoming festivities to the much heralded Duckworth wedding two weekends ago.

The ladies took Charleston by storm while the guys headed south to Savannah. While the gentlemen were plying themselves with heaping platters of fried, seafood, the ladies took a more cultivated route.

Watch out Charleston. It's Marianne's last night!

The weekend started with a late lunch at the relatively new hotspot, Banana’s and Caviar. This euro-inspired, gourmet grocery/ bakery/ coffee-shop/ deli/ sushi bar offers a selection of alluring items for a diverse palate. The grocery boasts a selection of fine French and Italian goods, a bottle of Olivier’s white truffle and scallion dipping oil came home with me. They sell wine by the bottle in the small grocery for about the same price as any other grocery and provide glasses at the coffee counter sans a corkage fee. A deli clerk mans the meat counter and slices meats fresh for any number of the sandwiches and paninis offered. A sushi chef rolls behind another counter and French and Italian flared goods, such as lasagna, gratined potatoes, and sautéed chicken breasts, sit behind the glass in the largest expanse of counter.  At first, Bananas and Caviar presents an overwhelming array of options, but there is something alluring about the discovery of each little corner of this store.

Gruet and sushi kick off the festivities.

We settled on a bottle of Gruet, a slice of vegetarian lasagna, and a couple of sushi rolls. We decided upon a samurai roll, a bumble bee roll, and 1/2 of a southern roll. The samurai consisted of shrimp spicy tuna, avocado, tempura flake, and sweet soy. The sweet soy also presented itself in the bumble bee roll along with tempura lobster, spicy tuna, spicy cream cheese, chives, and black rice wrapped in a soy bean wrapper. The southern roll sounded the oddest of all with shrimp, spiced pecans, pimento cheese, and white rice wrapped in seaweed, but this roll had us kicking ourselves that we did not order a full order. The spiced pecans mingled with the sharp, cheddar pimento cheese for a sushi roll unlike any other. I have never been a fan of cream cheese in my sushi, but pimento cheese converted me to the creamy addition in sushi.

A southern roll with pimento cheese.

After a break to walk around King Street and try on some Diane von Furstenberg’s that cannot begin to orbit within my price range, the mothers in the group stumbled across The Robot Candy Company. With Easter only days away, this brightly colored shop boasted so much more than chocolate bunnies. There were cap guns, inflatable T-rexs, Pop Rocks, huge lollipops, and anything else that a psychedelic Easter bunny from 1970 might need. With my one chore down, it was time to party. With a quick spruce-up in the hotel, we were off to FIG. For those of you who follow the blog, I won’t bore you with the details of another dinner at this, must-stop, yet must-have reservations destination, but I must mention the coddled egg once again. It sounds so unappetizing to be so transcendent. Just imagine she-crab meets a poached egg, topped with a little fairy dust, otherwise known as shitake mushrooms. From FIG we moved to Social, which boasts an impressive cellar and delicious wood-fire pizzas, not to mention an interesting, eclectic, and luxe crowd. Although some of the crowd headed in for the night after Social, I couldn’t call it a night before dropping in on the newest addition to Charleston’s martini lounges, the appropriately named Squeeze. This upscale bar is less than 12 feet wide so getting to know your neighbor is a must.

Coddled Egg Bliss.

Artisanal cheeses with a vidalia onion spread at FIG.

The following morning, some of the ladies were in need of their own fried seafood platter, so our last stop of the girl’s vacation was at Hyman’s. Fried shrimp po-boys topped with Cajun mayo made for a tasty recovery. Cajun mayonnaise is served in squeeze bottles on each table and I have decided to forgo tartar sauce from here on out. So, as far as I’m concerned there is never too much of a good thing. Especially when it comes to eating out in Charleston.

Fried shrimp po-boy ready for sharing.

Cajun Mayo Recipe

1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

1 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

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