Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day Drinking

Spring is coming quickly to Charleston...and I'm taking full advantage of it. It's not everyday that you see temperatures reach 75 degrees on a Saturday in February, so roommate and boyfriend and I hit the streets of Charleston in search for an outdoor venue to relax and partake in some day-drinking.

First stop: Molly Darcy's Irish Pub and Restaurant on East Bay. Molly Darcy's took over Meritage's old location and has built an authentic, Irish pub with an outdoor patio that beckons you in the front. We chose Molly Darcy's because it was a bit off the beaten path, and on such a beautiful day at noon we knew we'd have to wait at other locales.

Matt was feeling the Irish groove and ordered a Smithwicks, while I enjoyed a Stella Artois. Devan ordered her favorite: a Bloody Mary. 

Next stop: Amen Street Fish and Rawbar. Matt was in the mood for some seafood, so Devan and I tagged along to nibble on some sides as we sipped on some more libations. Amen Street is located on the corner of East Bay and and Cumberland Streets, and is so named for the nickname given to the area in the late 1700s and early 1800s for all of the "amens" that were heard emanating from St. Phillip's Church and Methodist Meeting House. 

The interior of Amen Street is lined with beautiful hard wood floors and elaborate, unique chandeliers made of oysters hanging from above. 

Ornate chandeliers made of oyster shells hang from the ceiling above.

 Another Bloody Mary for Devan. She remarked that this is the best Bloody Mary in all of Charleston. What makes it reign supreme? "The drink is topped off with okra, jalapenos, lime, lemon and olives; a full and hearty top. The mix is fresher than other Bloody Mary mixes, and the vodka is blended in perfectly."

 As we waited for Matt's oysters to arrive, we munched on the best calamari I've ever tasted. Unlike other seafood or Italian restaurants, this calamari is free of stringy tentacles and is not chewy; it is thick, juicy and drizzled in an amazing lemon aioli sauce with bits of corn, tomato, bacon and green onion (a much tastier alternative to marinara sauce).

Matt's gulf oysters arrived in half shells on a bed of ice, accompanied by three dipping sauces: mignonette, horseradish, and cocktail. These slippery suckers slide down the throat with ease and make the perfect accompaniment to a rich beer.

Third and final stop: Yo Burrito on Wentworth Street. What I love about Yo Burrito is their patio out front that offers views of passersby and shade from the sun when you are experiencing one of those Charleston heat waves. Luckily it was just the right temperature so we did not have to escape the heat, but enjoyed the outside nonetheless. Yo Burrito is famous for their Tex-Mex menu, and possibly more famously, for their margaritas in mason jars. There's something about mason jars that has such a comforting effect, whether they are full of pennies, cookie mix, or tequila and lime:

I love days like these.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jim 'n' Nicks

I used to frequent Jim 'n' Nicks when I had that undeniable craving and desire for some tender, finger-lickin' good bar-b-q in a comforting, southern atmosphere. When the Jim 'n' Nicks location on King Street closed unexpectedly for some renovations, my roommate, Devan, and I vowed that we would return when their doors reopened. We became giddy when we learned that the menu prices had changed (for the better) and anxiously awaited the day that we would be able to feast on their famous cheddar cheese biscuits.

That day came today. As we strolled down King Street during their Second Sundays on King (a day when motorists are banned from the road and pedestrians are free to walk about outside the usually crowded, tourist-filled sidewalks), our faces lit up as we came closer to the familiar pig hanging outside the restaurant. Our grins slowly fell from our faces as we entered and were greeted by a counter, not a hostess, and a line to place our order. Where was the comforting atmosphere? Where were the servers in blue-and-white pin-striped aprons? And for the love of God, WHERE WERE THE BASKETS OF CHEDDAR CHEESE BISCUITS???

Apparently, in order to "bring food faster and more efficiently to the diners", the management of the restaurant had decided to change the whole way they serve their customers (much to the chagrin of the servers as well, who, according to the word on the street, were not pleased with this change-up either - no advance notice, and no tips!) The hostess and friendly servers in blue-and-white pin-striped aprons have been replaced by a walk-up counter and Jim 'n' Nicks t-shirts and jeans. I understand that Jim 'n' Nicks is a chain, I just wish it hadn't sold out.

A line of customers waiting to place their order.

While the atmosphere has changed, the food has not. It is still finger-lickin' good, the fries are seasoned perfectly, and their choices of barbecue sauce are great. For lunch, I chose my favorite:

Riblets and Fries (with a side of Cheddar Cheese Biscuits)

while Devan enjoyed a BBQ Brisket Sandwich, complete with fries and Cole Slaw:

The food was still delicious, the atmosphere - disappointing. We give it one thumb up and one thumb down.