For Kevin’s birthday this year, we went to Charleston with our special friends Ann & Jerry Klein and Nicole & Les Echols. The plan was to go on a culinary tour of Charleston, have dinner at O-Ku, and brunch Sunday morning at the Hominy Grill to meet some more friends, Amy & Clay Lundy. Surprisingly, everything planned went off without a single glitch!
Arriving just in time for the Culinary Tours of Charleston tour to start, we were greeted by our tour guide Fran, a native Charlestonian. Leaving the Rainbow Market, our first stop was Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe. Here, we were given a sweet potato cornbread muffin and a sampling of grits, which needed no butter or salt. Our daughter enjoyed the grits so much that Kevin had to purchase more for her. The recipe for their delicious grits was included in our swag bag from the tour company. Fran provided us with a lot of history about Charleston, which led to Charleston’s culinary history. She also told us that Guy Fieri of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives had filmed a segment for the show back in February of this year and. that it had recently aired. Before we left for our next stop, Kevin placed our Pee Dee Foodie business card on the map, where a bunch of others had been pinned.
Our second stop was Charleston Cooks!, a Maverick kitchen store, with lots of wondrous kitchen tools, cookbooks, sauces and spices indigenous to the Lowcountry, and a cooking classroom. As Fran wanted us to stick together, our own tours of the store were placed on hold temporarily. Ann and I agreed that we wanted to return here on Sunday. After hearing Fran talk about the cookbook Charleston Receipts by the Junior League of Charleston, naturally, I had to purchase a copy. I had been warned that anything I purchased I would have to carry and, we were only on our second stop!
Next, on our culinary tour was The Spice & Tea Exchange. We were nearly overwhelmed with the scents of this specialty store; not for long though. On three of the four walls were a multitude of jars of large spices and teas. On one portion of a wall there were sections dedicated to peppers and to salts. We were amazed that it is encouraged for everyone to open any jars and sniff the spice, spice blends and teas. We all enjoyed this exercise. Again, we were reminded by Fran that we should stay together. A couple of us did our own thing. I won’t mention who. Yet, again, Ann and I readily agreed that we needed to return here as well.
Our fourth stop was the Market Street Sweets on Market Street. This confectionery is also known as River Street Sweets in Georgia. If the savory scents of our previous stop weren’t tantalizing enough, the sweet sugary smells knocked our socks off. Those of us wearing socks any way. Fran was handed a tray of samples of four distinct delectable delights, caramel bear claws, chocolate fudge, peanut brittle, and sugar & spice pecans. My personal favorite was the caramel bear claw, caramel atop pecan chunks. Our daughter’s favorite was the chocolate fudge. I have to admit that the chocolate fudge just melted in my mouth. As we were slowly exiting the shoppe, Fran handed each of us a small handled bag with a wrapped praline in each. Those would have to wait until another day.
Our fifth and, unbeknownst to us, last stop was Nick’s Bar-B-Q on King Street. We had passed the King Street location of Market Street Sweets along our way. As we had eaten in here back in December 2010, Kevin and I had noticed that the sign only said Nick’s Bar-B-Q. I’d asked Fran what had happened to “Jim.” She assured me that the restaurant was still Jim-n-Nick’s. Here we sampled barbecue pork, collard greens, and a small cornbread muffin. Not big fans of collards, Kevin and I passed ours down to our friend Jerry.
Feeling only slightly disappointed that tour ended on King Street and not back towards the Rainbow Market, we six adults considered what our next move would be. Our hotel accommodations were in North Charleston and, we had dinner reservations at O-Ku for 7:00 p.m. So, checking in wasn’t an option. Jerry and Ann wanted to go to Rainbow Row to photograph the area. Williams-Sonoma was across King from where we were sitting. We agreed to continue our own “culinary tour of Charleston” by entering Williams-Sonoma. Our daughter wasn’t exactly thrilled with going into another kitchen store. Her frown was turned upside-down when she picked up an R2-D2 spatula. And, yes, it has a new home in our kitchen. I managed to purchase a lovely linen table runner with 4 matching napkins.
We exited Williams-Sonoma and headed down King to the bus stop by The Gap. To our delight, CARTA DASH Trolleys no longer charge a fare. We rode, passing Rainbow Row in the process, and, we departed the trolley on Market Street and walked toward the Rainbow Market. Along the way, we stopped in the Moon Pie General Store. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in here. After sampling sweets, barbecue, muffins and grits, I thought it best not to indulge in a Moon Pie and an RC Cola. Kevin wanted a couple of pictures taken of him with a Moon Pie and an RC Cola at the soda counter. Shortly thereafter, he and our daughter went walking around the store. A few minutes later our daughter came to get me off my perch at the counter. To the right of the soda counter in the back of the store is a space to take posed photos with a dark blue background, glittery stars hanging from the ceiling, and the smiling crescent moon. First, just Kevin, then our daughter and me posed. We wives coaxed our hubbies to pose together. Jerry really got into the spirit of moment. And, finally, we four gals got up there. Our daughter had to stand and, in order to pose, she followed the shape of the moon.
We left the store, walked back to our vans, and all piled into one for a quick trip to Rainbow Row. Ann and Jerry happily jumped out to shoot photos while the rest of us sat in the air-conditioned van. Nicole regaled us with stories of her Jamaican mom and her Barbadian dad. She and Les told us how her dad built a large two-story home in Barbados and, when the family gets together, they all stay downstairs. Kevin and I jokingly asked when were they going back down so, that we could go too. Nicole readily said that we would be welcome. Can you imagine only paying for airfare, meals, and souvenirs in Barbados? On that note, I will end this post about Charleston.
Oh, there’s more. You will have to wait for part two in which you will learn about the delicacies we savored in O-Ku, our dessert stop in Kaminsky’s, our atypical lodging for the night, and brunch at Hominy Grill. By the way, Kevin had tweeted to Alton Brown about where we should dine in Charleston. Mr. Brown responded with a photo of a pink sticky note on his own computer screen noting Hominy Grill #awesome pudding.
… complete with teasers from Part Two. More photos to come!
About the AuthorWife, mother, homeschool teacher, aspiring photographer, and social media maven, Melissa is the co-founder of PeeDeeFoodie.com™. She is native of the Bayou State, and proudly claims her Cajun ancestry. She writes from a personal perspective and has a style all her own. Learn more about Mrs. Pee Dee Foodie through her Contributor page under the About tab.
Thanks for reading PeeDeeFoodie.com™
I have enjoyed your post, Food and accommodation are main requirement of traveling, without this everything seems to be bad, I also wanted the same to do, will do sometime.