Have you ever been to a place for a brief period of time and felt, almost instinctively, that you could totally live there? I can’t say that I’ve had that feeling about many cities, but it has happened on four occasions that I can recall.
I first got that feeling about NYC. I was lucky enough to spend a summer volunteering in the city in college and since then, I’ve dreamed of moving there. When we flew up for Restaurant Week last summer, that same old feeling of belonging returned. From day #1, I knew NYC could be my city…
Then there was Paris. I first visited Paris as a sophomore in high school. I distinctively remember sitting in the bus, riding through the streets of the City of Lights, and thinking I could totally live here. Turns out, I was right! I ended up studying abroad there as a sophomore in college and moving back right after graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill.
This past winter we spent one day in Munich, Germany and – much to my surprise – I felt totally at home there, too. My husband and I even discussed the fact that we could totally see ourselves living there. Never in a million years would I have expected to feel that way in Germany! After all, gastronomy is of utmost importance in my eyes and schnitzel and bratwursts just aren’t my thing. Nonetheless, I definitely felt like I could live in Munich so, who knows… Maybe one day!
Most recently, that I could totally live here feeling returned when I visited my sister in Charleston. Charleston has been hyped up by just about every blogger out there, but somehow I’d never been despite the fact that I grew up 6 short hours from the city. After spending just 2 days in Charleston, I knew that I could totally live there! A killer food scene, a walkable city center, and the beach… I mean, what more could a girl ask for?!
Here’s a really quick look at our weekend in Charleston:
We drove from Hilton Head Island to Charleston on Friday evening and went straight to meet my sister and her fiancé for dinner at Page’s Okra Grill.
My sister and mother had raved about this unassuming little restaurant, so I was excited to try it. While we were waiting for our table, we ordered drinks from the bar. I opted for the sangria which, much to my surprise, was made with a rose wine rather than a red wine. My mom was disappointed not to have a typical red sangria, but personally I liked how light the rose version was. My dad order a Bloody Mary and, as you can see, this place doesn’t skimp in the garnish department! I’d heard great things about their Bloody Mary’s and I have to admit that I snuck a sip (or three) of my dad’s drink and found it to be excellent.
I won’t take the time to give you a full run down of what we ate, but I do think the Redneck Rolls that we ordered as an appetizer are worth mentioning. My mom and sister had both told me that these spring rolls (which come stuffed with house-smoked pork BBQ and Page’s famous Pimiento Cheese) were out of sight! It sounded like an interesting combination, so I figured I’d see what all the hype was about.
So, you know how it goes when you build something up in your mind to the point that it can’t possibly live up to what you imagined? Well, I’m sad to say that’s how I felt about the Redneck Rolls. While they were good, that just didn’t live up to the crazy expectations I had for them.
I’m not sure why, but for some reason I expected the pimento cheese to be cold and the spring rolls to be baked. And yes, retrospectively I realize that it’s pretty hard to keep the pimento cheese cold and actually cook the spring rolls…
Somehow in my mind, I overlooked that little detail. Oops.
With all that said, while I wasn’t a huge fan of the Redneck Rolls, I didn’t hate them either. To be honest, between the melted pimento cheese and the whole deep fried thing, they were just too greasy for me.
I definitely give Page’s Okra Grill an A+ for creativity though, not only for the atypical combination of pulled pork and pimento cheese, but also for the okra relish that they served with the Redneck Rolls. So, if you happen to find yourself at Page’s Okra Grill, I’d say go ahead and give these rolls a try if you don’t mind a little grease and a lot of melted cheese. They’re definitely something you won’t find on a menu elsewhere!
On Saturday, we went to brunch at Another Broken Egg Café. We had reservations, but our table wasn’t ready when we arrived so we decided to browse through the Charleston City Market while we waited. There were lots of cute vendors there and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area.
Again, my mom and sister had gone on and on about this place, so I was thrilled to try it out.
Before we arrived, I had all intentions of indulging in some of the Bananas Foster Pancakes my mom had raved about, but when I saw the menu I changed my mind. Instead, I opted for the homemade honey roasted granola, blueberry quinoa, strawberries, blueberries, toasted coconut & crushed bananas served with coconut milk & a vanilla yogurt drizzle.
If I had to dream up the perfect breakfast, this would be it! I can’t wait to make it back to Another Broken Egg so that I can order this again. Oh, and when I do go back, I’ll also be getting an order of biscuit beignets for the table, too. They were the best beignets I’ve ever eaten!
PS- For the record, I swiped a bite of my mom’s pancakes and they were out of sight! If you go to Another Broken Egg and opt for the healthier quinoa and granola dish, you should probably make sure someone at your table orders those so you can steal a
bite of an entire pancake…
After our copious breakfast, I vetoed my sister’s proposal to have a beach day, saying that I wanted to walk around and see Charleston. I couldn’t understand why she seemed totally against the idea until about 10 minutes into our walk towards the water front…
I kid you not when I say that it was 105 degrees outside with like 90% humidity and no breeze whatsoever. In other words, ladies and gentlemen, it was hellish….
Well that is, of course, if you ignore the plethora of cute pastel bicycles, adorable boutiques, and trendy coffee shops!
No sooner had we made it to the waterfront and snapped this picture did I raise my white flag and declare defeat. My daughter was almost in tears because of the heat and, truth be known, the rest of us weren’t handling it much better!
From the waterfront, we had a thirty minute walk back to my sisters place and the kids were just d-o-n-e. When Aston started begging to be carried, my sweet dad hoisted him up onto his back and carried him, despite the insane heat!
Yes, that is sweat on his shirt. I kid you not when I say it was sweltering. I, too, was soaked from head to toe by the time we arrived at my sister’s place!
We eventually conned Alley and Tony into playing the horses for a while…
While the rest of us were drowning in sweat and feeling like we were going to have a heat stroke, Aston seemed to enjoy getting royal treatment…
When we finally made it home, the kids took a quick nap and then we all got ready for dinner. My sister snapped this adorable picture of her golden doodle, Oliver, greeting Leilani when she first woke up:
That evening we went to dinner at Charleston Crab House on James Island. For dinner, I sported a utility style Ralph Lauren Polo jumper that I picked up at the Polo Outlet at Tanger (similar here and here). I paired it with some super comfy Franco Sarto heeled sandals that I picked up about a month ago at TJ Maxx (similar here and here).
Alley wore an adorable BB Dakota dress that I’m secretly hoping to sneak back to France with me!
We ended up getting seating on the terrace of the restaurant, but before we could even order a storm rolled in out of nowhere. We had to seek shelter and wait 25 minutes for the storm to pass before we could be reseated. It was less than ideal and the kids were starving, but we ended up getting treated to a gorgeous sunset so it was definitely worth the wait!
When we finally got to eat, we started with hush puppies (served with cinnamon butter), stuffed mushrooms, and bacon-wrapped shrimp for appetizers. They were all divine! I ordered the crab cakes as my main course and they were also delicious, as were the collard greens.
On Sunday, I gave up on my initial plans of touring Charleston on foot and we took off to Folly Beach for some R&R.
The kids played in the sand and hunted for sharks teeth with my future brother-in-law who has an uncanny ability to spot even the tiniest shark tooth hiding in the sand. I think he found like 5 shark teeth within an hours’ time! I didn’t know whether to be impressed or petrified… (see our recent shark story here)
On Monday morning we woke up and started getting ready for the drive home. After we’d loaded the car, I ran across the street and picked up some ricotta toast from Caviar and Bananas for breakfast. Think homemade ricotta, rosemary-apricot marmalade, and pistachios on toasted multigrain bread! So delicious. I swear I want to eat everything on their menu!
While we were busy packing and loading the car, Leilani and Aston spent the morning playing with and cuddling Oliver. My kids literally chased him around the apartment nonstop for the entire weekend, to the point that I really thought the poor pup was go into cardiac arrest!
Right as we were about to leave, I found Leilani and Oliver relaxing – calmly – on the couch together so I had to snap a picture. I guess all of the excitement finally wore them both out…
So that’s all for my recap of our quick trip to Charleston. I am dying to go back and spend some kid-free time there so I can really take advantage of all the city has to offer, to eat in all the fabulous restaurants, to visit all of the awesome sites, and to check out all of the fun beaches and beach towns surrounding the city!
I loved the feel of Charleston and am so jealous that my little sis now calls it home. Maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough to live there, but in the mean time I guess I’ll just keep living vicariously through her…
Have you ever been to Charleston, South Carolina?
If so, leave me any recommendations (restaurants, boutiques, must-see places, etc) in the comments below!