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Published: December 2nd 2019
Sunday in Charleston, since most sites are closed or have shortened hours today, it was a good opportunity to sleep in and have a relaxing day. We slept in until about 9, Tarragon wanted to be fed at his normal time 6:30, but he just had to wait. He just laid next to me so he could be the center of attention until I decided to get up.
We had very little planed today, Brunch, a museum and a bit of shopping for the refrigerator magnet and a tea towel for Christina (this is our tradition we ever either of us go on a trip).
We took our time getting ready and tip the housekeeper, Caroline. She had the next two days off and we wanted to make sure she was tipped directly because she did such a good job of servicing the room without stressing Tarragon out to much. She also gave us extra regular coffee every day.
The weather had taken a turn for the worse. A gray sky overhead and the humidity up to 87%, with a temperature of 68, it was very muggy. It was pretty winding and you could tell a storm was
approaching. The rain managed to hold off, until we were walking back to the hotel after Brunch. The High Cotton
We were looking forward to a nice Jazz Brunch. This was the last of the Three Hall family restaurants that we would be eating at on the trip. There was a nice Jazz trio in the bar, but that didn’t really start until just about 20 minutes before we left. Instead we the piped in music was everything from Queen to jazz standards.
The menu looked very good and very southern. I almost had the chicken and waffles, but the sriracha honey glaze turned me away from that. They also had shrimp and grits, but need a break from that dish. Instead went with the lobster and bacon omelet with chives, tarragon and a mornay sauce. Jerry choose the crab cake eggs benedict with a creole hollandaise, they both came with chees grits. We also had a side order of biscuits.
Now, all of that sounds great, but the kitchen must have been having a bad day, or had not yet recovered from Thanksgiving, because almost everything (except the biscuits) was either not cooked property, luke-warm,
or just plain wrong. That is really all I am going to say, it should have been great, but it was less than mediocre. Even the coffee was weak. We weren’t going to say anything, or send anything back, because we just weren’t in the mood for the drama. When the server came to see if we wanted anything else, she specifically asked me if I enjoyed the lobster omelet. Putting a positive spin, I said, “well, you certainly didn’t skimp on the lobster”, which was true, that was the one good thing there was lots of lobster, not warm, but lots of it.
She was not buying my story, my face gave me away, because she said “your face was telling me that you weren’t really in to the omelet.” Then we went through what was wrong, the worst was that the eggs on the benedict were way over cooked, more like soft boiled, not poached.
Thinking that would be the end of it, I gave her the credit card and off she went. The manager appeared at our table next, and said he was comping our meal, because it did not meat our standards or his.
So, they at least made it right. I am not saying this is a bad place, I just think they are probably a hit and miss type of establishment. We were not the only table that had difficulties.
The rain had started as we walked back to the hotel, and half way there I realized I had forgotten to tip her. We went back and I corrected that situation. On the way back to the hotel we walked through the central market, this is where we found the tea towel for Christina.
After correcting my tipping faux pas, we were off to the next site, just a few blocks from the High Cotton. Powder Magazine
This is the oldest public building in South Carolina and one of the few that remains from the time of the Lord Proprietors. History aside:
The Lord Proprietors, are those British Lords, or other nobles that were given the rights to profit off the newly formed Carolina colony. While many others came and worked the land and colonized the area, the Lord Proprietor is the one that all rights to the profits made from the crops cultivated in the colony.
The original use of the building was likely for the offices of a clerk for the area judge, but during the Revolutionary War its sole purpose was to store the gunpowder for the rebel cause. It is a museum, but it is one room and everything you need to see is really on the outside. We opted not to spend the $6 per person to see the inside. Gibbs Museum of Art
Our last stop was the art museum. This is the perfect size, 90 minutes and your done. It is only two floors of exhibits. The museum I located on Meeting street, just off Cumberland. It is housed in a Beaux-Arts building. The collection is primarily American artists, focusing on local artists in special exhibits. There were three installations that stood out to me. The first was a large permanent piece, done on sight. It was made out of natural materials and a representation of the many church steeples in Charleston. The second, was a collection called “Lover’s Eyes” I don’t recall the artists, name, but it is in a picture included in this blog (I am not looking at the pictures when I type so that
Van Gough's Eye
Tabitha Vevers, Part of "Lover's Eyes"
is why I don’t remember now) The interesting thing about this series, is that it is a painting of only the eye, and each eye is taken from a painting by another artist, such as Frida Kahlo, Picasso, etc. My favorite was the eye taken from one of Vincent Van Gough’s self-portraits. The third piece I was impressed by was the exhibit dedicated to the civil rights struggle in the South, especially the series of the Freedom Riders.
We spent just under 2 hours before heading back to the hotel. The rain may have been gone, but the humidity was not. The streets were also starting to be blocked off for the annual holiday parade. Had to get off the streets before any vicious clowns showed up. We walked up and down Market street looking for our refrigerator magnet and then headed back to the hotel.
We watched a bit of the parade from our balcony, not very exciting, we did like the group of dachshunds. I am pretty sure they were exhausted by the end of the parade, with their tiny little legs. Jerry also took the obligatory picture of me on the balcony from the street.
+Sun + Light" - Charles Williams
We just got back from the social hour and now have a few hours before dinner at Hank’s a highly recommended seafood restaurant. We actually replaced Blossom with this restaurant based upon the recommendation from the hotel manager.
That pretty much sums up our Sunday until after dinner.
Before I describe our dinner, I need to say a few words about Southern Food in general, how do they not all die at 40 from a heart attack. The food is amazing, but between the level of salt, everything being fried and want isn’t fried is in some rich decadent sauce. When we get home, I am going on an oatmeal and broccoli cleanse. Hanks Seafood
The restaurant actually owns the hotel we are staying in and they are doing a major renovation on the complex. There will be 212 rooms when they are done.
We got off to a rocky start, the first table was right next to a shrieking baby, not good for the digestion or our piece of mind. We immediately requested to be reseated. Even the hostess comment, that she knew that was a bad idea the second we
were seated. Table two, a both, with tables that don’t move, very tight squeeze for me. Table three, a both with a movable table and much more comfortable and the server looked like Blake Lively.
There was a menu in the room, so we had a good idea what we wanted before we were even seated. There were a few clarification and allergy checks that needed to be made. As I write this, I am stuffed and falling asleep. There was absolutely nothing healthy about this meal. But it tasted good.
After the Russian Table Roulette, I needed a stiff drink so I had a Tanqueray 10 Martini, Jerry had a Provence Brut Rose Sparkling. After the drinks were ordered, Blake explained the specials, which sounded good, but a bit too much Southern Asian fusion for our taste.
We started with the crispy calamari and shrimp with a spicy tomato remoulade. The calamari and shrimp were fine, but the remoulade made the dish, the kick was there, but it didn’t really kick in until that third bite.
The second course for me was the Charleston She Crab Soup, this is on almost every menu in the
city, but tonight was the night I finally broke down and ordered it. It is very rich, lots of cream, a touch of sherry (it is also made the reverse more sherry than cream.) The base was a blue crab stock and there were pieces of shredded blue crab. It was very good and very rich. I should have stopped eating then. Jerry had the house salad, what can I say, it was a salad and a raw vegetable was much needed.
Jerry had Shrimp and grits with a side of fried okra and something called chow chow. Chow Chow is basically a cross between a Pico de Gallo and relish. It was ok, but nothing I would make a habit of eating. The fried okra was nicely done, the batter was almost a tempura. The shrimp and grits was probably the second best we have had so far, but no final decision on that has been made yet. The sauce was very tomato based and nice and spicy. They called it a tomato jus, but it was far more than that. In addition to the shrimp there was andouille sausage, and some Tasso ham.
What I ordered
was a heart attack in a bowl. Seafood a La Wando, I don’t know who the f*** Wando is, but dear god he or she or they are trying to kill us. It was composed of Shrimp (ok lets get real here when they say shrimp, they mean prawns) scallops, three types of fish, mushrooms sautéed in sherry, finished with scallions, crabmeat, tomato and a fried grit cate on top. If that wasn’t enough this was all served on top of a Shellfish Saffron Cream Sauce. Spain meet the South. It was incredible, clearly the dish of the day, but I could only eat half of it.
To cut through all of this richness and otherwise perfectly healthy meal we had a nice bottle of Adelsheim Pinot (Yes, they have a lot of Oregon Pinot here, and they all admit we make the best). I am sure that this cut through all of the artery clogging cream, butter, etc.
I was so stuff, but still couldn’t help myself, using some bread to sop up both my sauce and the sauce in Jerry’s dish.
I was not even thinking dessert, but then they said the magic word, Pecan
Pie, we have not had any since we been here. We ordered one slice, I had two bites, Jerry ate the rest. It was the best pecan pie I have ever had, not to sweet, not a lot of Karo Syrup, and the crust was light and flakey.
I am still stuffed 45 minutes after dinner, so stuffed, we are skipping the local breakfast hotspot tomorrow. We will be in a food coma for several hours I am sure.
That was the night, walked the few steps back to the hotel, put the fat pants on and started blogging.
Tomorrow is our last full day and we are ending with Fort Sumter and one last decadent southern meal.
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