Culinary Tour of Charleston
I've never been big on organized tours, but I have been gratefully surprised in the past and of course was hoping that would be the case this time around, but I didn't set my expectations too high. The tour took about 2 1/2 hours. I learned a couple of things about Low Country and Gullah cuisine, and sampled some things I might not have but truth be told, 20 minutes on the internet and a 30 minute walk could have yielded the same results. The tour guide while very nice and authoritative on the history of Charleston, wasn't a cook or even much of a foodie. I don't regret doing the tour but couldn't recommend it and will probably do a bit more research in the future.
Whatever might have been lacking in the tour we more than made up for with our self-guided tour adventure of Charleston's many restaurants. They were all delicious, with menus that were similar yet different enough to make each dining experience unique.
"Blossom places local flavors at the forefront of its menu and aims to acquire a majority of its ingredients from area fisherman and local produce farmers. The result is American fare with a focus on simple preparations of the Lowcountry's abundant, fresh-off-the-boat seafood."
You can pretty much substitute the names of the other restaurants we made it to and you'd be on mark.
We could have continued eating our way through Charleston but decided to head out towards the beach for something a little different. A friend of ours described a place he saw on the Food Network that served oysters by the snow shovel and had holes in the table to dispose of the shells. Oysters by the shovel full, I'm in.
Except for when they're out of season, like when we went.
We ordered a couple of platters of fried seafood, atop of plates of french fries. There was nothing spectacular about any of it; the fish, oysters, shrimp. But the place itself had so much character and sat above the estuary which made for a wonderful experience and sunset. We saw sailboats that looked like they were gliding over the grasses and then several dolphins made their way up the river. Steamed oysters and beer would have been perfect. Oh well maybe when they're in season. I'm glad we went. It certainly was a side of Charleston we hadn't experienced until then.
But not before picking up Charleston Benne Wafers, the "Sweet Chip of the South", some Pralines from River Street Sweets and then pulling over at the Boone Hall plantation's Market Cafe where we picked up some Muscadine grapes (native to the southeast). Then we headed up towards Hemingway, South Carolina to Scott's BBQ. But that's another story.