Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hominy Thrill

It is the perfect morning for a walk in Charleston today: the sun is bright, the air is crisp, and those horrible winds have finally calmed from this past week. With a rumbling tummy, I took advantage of the beautiful day and headed out in the direction of Hominy Grill for their weekend brunch.
Hominy Grill is a neighborhood gem located on the corner of Rutledge Avenue and Cannon Street. It is known best for its southern comfort foods: The Big Nasty Biscuit with Fried Chicken, Shrimp and Cheese Grits, and their specialty dessert: Chocolate Pudding. I wanted something a little on the lighter side, so I ordered from their side menu:
Housemade Banana Bread and Double Cut Bacon

Matt enjoyed the Cinnamon French Toast with Apple Maple Syrup and Pecan Butter

Though there was a small chill in the air, we decided to dine outside to enjoy the beautiful morning (and so that we wouldn't have to wait for a table).

If you decide to partake in Hominy's delicious brunch, make sure you get there early or come late: you will notice the crowds of people gathering between 9:30 and 11.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

$5 burgers

Though Five Guys Burgers is probably your best bang-for-your-buck (and uber delicious) burger, every now and then you have to treat yourself to a step up from the red and white checkered walls and baskets of peanuts. The perfect treat: 39 Rue de Jean's $5 burger Sundays. The French brasserie located on John Street offers this deal exclusively in January (sometimes they extend it to Superbowl Sunday), and is a deal not worth passing up. My roommate, Devan, and I had the pleasure of enjoying these hefty burgers last Sunday, and I'm pretty sure we're going to indulge again this coming Sunday. 39 Rue de Jean, familiarly known as just Rue de Jean, is famous for its braised rabbit, Coq Au Vin and its extensive sushi/sashimi menu. When January rolls around though, forget their classics: take a bite out of their most incredible, juicy, cheesy and yummy burgers.

Hello/Charleston Restaurant Week

Hello, readers.

I am new to blogging so please bear with me as I get started. Any suggestions on how to improve this for your reading pleasure are welcomed, as well as any suggestions on what to cover around Charleston.

The purpose of this blog is to share my outings in Charleston (however few and far between they may be), and to share with the world what fun and interesting activities can be experienced in our beautiful, historic city. Whether you are a tourist or a local looking to be a tourist in your home town, I hope that you might learn something new about our fair city from this blog.

Let's begin, then, shall we? Last weekend my boyfriend and I were lucky enough to enjoy the benefits of being a local during the down-time of tourist season; that's right, it was Charleston Restaurant Week last week. During the "off seasons" in Charleston, the delectable (and often pricier) restaurants are kind enough to offer special menus to the locals to draw in more crowds when the tourists are not around to fill the seats. This is offered twice a year; two weeks in January, and two weeks in September. Many restaurants offer a menu of "Choose 3 for $20", or you can opt for the usually higher-end restaurants with their "Choose 3 for $30" menus.

My boyfriend and I opted for the "3 for $30" menu at 82 Queen. This quaint (yet deceivingly large) restaurant is known for their southern fare, most notably, their shrimp and grits. While this was offered as a choice on the menu, I opted for the grilled bistro filet in a cabernet demi glaze with whipped potatoes and asparagus (Matt - said boyfriend - enjoyed the same entree). The filet was cooked just to how I wanted it (medium) and the potatoes had just a hint of garlic - delicious in flavor, and smooth on the tongue.

To start, I had the fried green tomatoes on a bed of grits. The grits had the most wonderful vanilla flavor which I have never experienced in my days of tasting grits across the south (well, just Atlanta and Charleston). Matt had the crab cake to start, though it was quite smaller than expected. We ended up sharing the fried green tomatoes.

Finally, to top the meal off we each enjoyed our own Chocolate Ganache Cake. I had about two bites of mine before I had to put my fork down; it was probably the most decadent piece of food I have ever put in my mouth, but I was about to burst with fullness so I had to stop. Matt kept his eye on the prize and finished it off, saying it was the most unbelievable experience he's ever had with dessert - and he doesn't even like sweets!

All in all, it was an enjoyable evening and a restaurant I would recommend to anybody visiting Charleston. The room was energetic with excited people, groups of friends and tables of two, and the service was impeccable: our waiter was attentive (but not needy) and seemed to have a real knowledge of the food and how everything was prepared. The only downfall I would say was the room in which we dined; we sat in the Ashley Room, which is upstairs and to the right. It is small and does not have as much ambience that the restaurant has to offer, so if you have the option I would definitely ask to not be seated in this room. I recommend the courtyard (if it is warm) or the downstairs dining rooms.

Following our meal we were still feeling giddy from the wine at the restaurant and rounded the corner to Bin 152 on King Street. Bin 152 is a wine and cheese bar, art gallery and antique shop all in one. At night you can find this charming candle-lit bar to be filled with wine lovers seated at the wooden tables and chairs, sipping from their extensive wine list and enjoying charcuterie and cheese. (Don't worry, if you are not a fan of wine they do offer a limited beer menu.) The bar is the perfect spot for a night cap after a date or for a relaxing evening among friends. If you are looking for something a little less pricey though, I would venture somewhere else. But for special occasions or a romantic and intimate evening, I highly recommend it.