Sunday, August 21, 2011

Foodie Bike Tour

Yesterday my friend Brinkley had organized a Foodie Bike Tour. There are many specialty food and gourmet shops that have been popping up all over downtown Charleston, and what better way to check them all out than a bike ride on a beautiful Saturday with some great girls.

We all met at the Farmer's Market to begin the tour. With the Charleston summer heat already beating down on us, we cooled off with the Charleston Farmer's Market famously delicious fresh squeezed lemonade.

Devan enjoying her lemonade.

Jacqui and Brinkley sippin on some lemony goodness.

Next stop: Caviar and Bananas on George Street. If you've ever been to New York and stepped foot inside Dean and Delucas, Caviar and Bananas would be right up your alley. This gourmet market and cafe offers delicious and decadent pre-made food displayed in inviting cases, while also offering a small assortment of gourmet groceries for you to make at home.

Meatloaf cupcakes with whipped potato icing

Devan and I split a small key lime tart packed with flavor.

Taking the back streets to avoid King Street traffic, we headed down George and took a left on St. Phillip Street, then continued on to take a left on Fulton Street, connecting us to a less crowded King Street. On our right past Queen we found Heirloom Book Company, a neat little find of a bookstore devoted specifically to cookbooks. We browsed the selection (a variety of world cuisine cookbooks and offerings from famous chefs such as Ina Garten, Giada de Laurentis, and Julia Child) and Allie ended up purchasing the Bible for the Kitchen: The Joy of Cooking. 

Devan, Allie and Jacqui perusing the books at Heirloom Book Co.

One book that caught my eye:
Might have to go back in and get that one.

Next, we skipped across the street to the new Bull Street Gourmet. The original neighborhood corner store located on its namesake street has opened a second location in Charleston on King Street near Broad. The new shop is spacious, clean, and offers a menu of soups, salads, and yummy sandwiches. Their market is great, too, with a full wine selection beautifully lit in a corner of the shop.

The Bull Street Club on croissant. YUM.

After a quick respite at Bull Street Gourmet we hopped back on our bikes and took a left on Broad Street to head down to goat. sheep. cow. tucked away on Church Street. 

This fromagerie offers rare and artisanal cheeses and meats. We were offered a few samplings of cheese, and after trying the D'affinois (a soft, creamy, French cow cheese) I thought I had died and gone to heaven. 

Though the cheese expert was a bit snooty and a little condescending towards us, I purchased a chunk of cheese and will definitely return for more.

On our way to Bakehouse we made a detour to The Charleston Beer Exchange off of East Bay Street. Hidden behind the Old Exchange building, the Beer Exchange offers a wide variety of craft beers in a small quaint space.

We headed down Prioleau Street and parked our bikes at the port authority so that we could walk around East Bay. 

Wheelin' Devan.


We first stopped in Charleston Cooks!, a kitchen supply shop that also offers cooking classes throughout the week and weekends.

Brinkley donned a beret in spirit of the bike tour.

Next, we walked down to Bakehouse, formerly known as Baked, on East Bay. The bakery was the same, just a different name. Brinkley and I decided to split an Oreo Peanut Butter bar, which ended up being divided by the whole group; it was THAT GOOD.

Heaven on a plate.

We decided that we needed a drink to wash down all of the food we'd been tasting and headed over to Amen Street. We ordered some delicious cocktails, including a Bloody Mary for Devan, a Frozen Bellini for Allie, a Holy Basil for Brinkley and Jacqui, and a Raspberry Margarita for me.

Group shot of the fun foodies.

With a small buzz, we made our way down East Bay further and stopped in the Vegetable Bin. Located next to Harris Teeter, this farm-to-table shop offers fresh, organic vegetables at a fraction of the cost you'll find at chain groceries.

A hop, skip, and a jump later we arrived at our final stop: Ted's Butcherblock

The butcher shop and gourmet market offers high quality meats one would not normally find at their local grocery store, along with prepared foods and sandwiches for those who would like to relax in their dining area. Allie picked up some French bread and pimiento cheese, and we all dived in like vultures. I normally am not a huge fan of pimiento cheese, but MY GOD, this was the best I've ever eaten.

I love trying new things, especially when it is a break from the monotonous days at the beach weekend after weekend (I'm not complaining, to those of you who are probably thinking "Who complains about living at the beach?!") It's just nice to have something new to do, and I can't thank Brinkley enough for thinking of including me in this day of fun.