Friday, June 11, 2010

A Week Off The Wagon in South Carolina!

And it was worth every minute! I don't know where to start except to tell you that I came back from an AMAZING relaxing, wonderful week at the beach to a dreary June gloom that has been oh so un-motivating to eat right and get outside...but I'm trying.  But first- the trip! And the FOOD....
Here's where it all started, Hominy Grill in Charleston.  After a red eye flight arriving in the beautiful Southern city at 8am... drinks were definitely in order! Check out the Bloody Mary complete with Pickled Okra. At this breakfast we sampled my first of many fried items of the week- Fried Green Tomatoes! First, let me start by saying, I don't like tomatoes.  At all. In salads, on sandwiches, no thanks.  But once you fry it up and serve it with ranch= Chel's new favorite food.
I loved how Southern and cute this place was, with the chalkboard menu, outdoor eating with picnic style table and checkered tablecloths.  A great first Charleston meal! From there- we moved on and actually took a historical carriage tour of the city, which was fun.  Compared to California the South has such a rich history (when they say a house was built in the 80's they sure aren't talking about 1980) 
After our educational and delicious morning in Charleston we headed out to the Isle of Palm, a resort community Island about 30 minutes off the coast where Chris's family had a beach house for the week.
Meeting us at the house were Chris's parents as well as his sister, her husband and their two adorable girls Molly & Ellie.  This was our second annual trip and in order to be prepared Chris's mom Deb organized a meal schedule where each couple was responsible for cooking dinner one night. OBVIOUSLY Chris and I put a lot of thought into what our meal would be. We went with a Farm Fresh Tri Tip Roast that we flew across the country in a cooler. Not kidding here- it was Chris's carry on luggage.  We found a great local butcher at a farmers market a few weeks ago, so we brought it specially for our meal. That is what true foodies do, right? :) I made a non-modified mac and cheese (it was vacation...) and a great corn and green salads as sides. I will share the recipe for the corn salad next week- it was healthy, delicious and perfect for a summer BBQ.
Next up for dinner was Chris's sister Beth & her husband John who is Italian.  He made the most delicious red sauce and meatballs I have every had in my entire life. The sauce literally cooked all day. They served it over pasta & cheese ravioli. No exaggeration- I may have had thirds that night!

Chris's parents did a traditional Southern Shrimp Boil, which is something I was introduced to last year and quickly found its way to my heart.... Basically it's a seasoned boil with potatoes, fresh shrimp, kielbasa polish sausage & corn on the cob. Then you drain it and serve each separately. Another near comatose food night, I could have used a wheelchair to get me to bed!
The entire week was filled with nothing but fun, sun, reading, playing with the girls, relaxing, game playing and good company.  It was a much needed break and I enjoyed every minute of it! (even charade night was fun- usually my worst nightmare)
On our final day in town, Chris and I along with his parents enjoyed our final Southern meal- and we did it right! We headed to Jestines's a place we had tried the previous year after seeing it on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.  Again- Jestine did not disappoint.  Continuing with my love affair of Fried Green Tomatoes- I had a BLFGT sandwich. I'll let you figure that out, or you can just drool over the picture...
The four of us shared three desserts - a Coca Cola Cake which Jestine's is famous for, a coconut cream pie and a lemon custard deliciousness. As you can see by the plates at the end and the smiles on the faces... we obviously hated them :)
I am pretty sure that my undying devotion to all things fried, BBQ and Coca Cola cake are strong signs that I should have been born a Southerner. That and my weakness for hoop skirts and large brim hats...  Luckily for my waist size, I was not. I returned sadly to the tofu eating, organic grown state of my birth, California.  Till next year South Carolina!

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