Monthly Archives: January 2012

Charleston, SC

I’ve been back from Charleston since Monday and I’m still thinking about this strawberry layer cake from Five Loaves.  What the owners call a gourmet eatery, this small restaurant has a focus on sandwiches and creative daily soups.

Pictured is the chicken breast sandwich with basil pesto, raspberry vinegar marinated tomatoes, and multigrain bread. Their soups ranged from a tomato, feta cheese, and rosemary blend to a Mexican tortilla soup.  I ordered the tomato soup with crab.

For dinner, we headed to Slightly North of Broad.  It’s an upscale restaurant with white table cloths and dark wood decorating the dining room. They have an open kitchen with a dining bar facing the chefs. Above, the caramelized pear salad with pistachios, blue cheese, dried cranberries, and a light white vinaigrette. The pear’s crispy and sweet coating paired well with the sharp blue cheese.

It wouldn’t be a trip to the South without an order of shrimp and grits. Creamy yellow grits were under sliced spicy sausage, strips of hams and onion, and Cajun spices.

My meal, the grilled hanger steak with broccoli, portobello mushrooms, and a caramelized onion cream sauce. While the meat was cooked perfectly at medium rare, my only complaint was that the food could have been much warmer.

For dessert, I cleansed my palate (ate more sugar) with a sour cherry sorbet.

Finish your night off in Charleston at The Gin Joint.  If you’re lucky enough to get a seat, take time to sort through the 11+ pages of drinks. Inspired bu prohibition-style drinks, the owners are graduates of the Culinary Institute of America. If you’re looking for more than drinks, they also have a small assortment of upscale appetizers.

For anyone who is interested in expanding their wine and spirits knowledge, owner Joseph Raya offers wine and spirits classes. I ordered a raspberry fizz with blackberries, Goslings Dark (no, not Ryan), lemon, Demerara, and sparkling wine.

The following night, we dined at what Bon Appetit crowned The Best New Restaurant in America. Husk  is home to James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock.

Set inside an historic house, beautiful and simple decorations line the warmly painted walls.

There is a quote that Brock applies to his restaurant: “If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door.” According to the website, he has even stricken olive oil from the kitchen.

Local farms are promoted in the front hallway, showing diners just where their food is coming from.

While there, it was restaurant week and therefore made the menu limited.

Imagine my relief when fried chicken skins was still an appetizer. Paired with a hot sauce and served on a cutting board, Husk is not shy with portions.

For my main course, I went with pork so tender I could cut it with my fork, farro, fire-roasted sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts, and a bourbon jus.

I finished the delicious dinner off with an oatmeal pie with a cookie crust, a brown sugar custard, fudge sauce, and salted caramel ice cream. As I scooped up my last bite, it’s not hard to see why Husk earned its 2011 best new restaurant award.

Charleston never disappoints when it comes to the culinary scene. Til next time.

Looking for more places in Charleston?

Hominy Grill

Glazed Doughnuts — Closed Mondays

Cupcake

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Dots Back Inn

I’ll preface this post by saying Guy Fieri has been here and we have a bit of a past. While Fieri’s descriptions of food are lacking, his unhealthy breakfast spots are not. Seriously,  his food descriptions are lacking — watch the video below about Dots’ black bean corn cakes.

I am a lover of unhealthy food, especially at breakfast. When I saw Dots Back Inn on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, I knew a trip to Richmond would be in the works. Even better that my trip to Richmond came on the first day of 2012.

Located in somewhat of a suburban looking area, Dots serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch in their small restaurant. Along with a basic diner interior, there comes a typical diner menu. I’m not complaining.

Eggs any style, stuffed French toast, corned beef hash, and chunky monkey pancakes all grace the the brunch menu. One the first day of 2012 my eye went directly to the huevos rancheros.  Perhaps it was The Little Grill in Harrisonburg, Va that got me hooked to Mexican dishes for breakfast, but once I saw the rancheros I immediately ordered. Smothered in what looked to be homemade salsa, there were fried eggs (cooked perfectly) on top of chili, cheese, sour cream, and taco shells. I added black beans to the mix, too.

The consistency of the chili mixed with the sour cream and egg yolk paired quite nicely with the crispy flour tortilla shell. Every bite had a crunch as well as a bit of spiciness. In the words of Guy Fieri, it was “really good.”

So obviously my New Year’s resolution had nothing to do with losing weight or eating healthier. A favorite to many of the locals, Richmond’s Dots Back Inn brings heavy, but delicious meals, with amazing service to Virginia’s capital.

Watch the 5-minute clip about Dots on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives:

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