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Short Virginia to Florida and back through Charleston SC blog


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On 7/6/2022 at 12:06 AM, Smithy said:

 I'm with you and the others that the fried calamari sounds wrong. I wonder whether they intended it to provide crunch / texture contrast, but it didn't come out right?

I think you're right.  Some kind of crouton/fried noodle/nut/seed would have been better, I think.  

 

6/13/2022 Day 4 Jacksonville to Charleston SC

 

We left our friends’ house early that morning.  I stupidly forgot that Whataburger serves breakfast and we ended up at Wendy’s.  No pictures and actually not bad at all.  I had the bacon, egg, and Swiss croissant and the potatoes.  The sandwich was fine, but those potatoes are fantastic.  They need to offer them as an option all the time. 

 

Our first stop in Charleston (even before our hotel) was Rodney Scott’s – another legendary BBQ pit and one that Mr. Kim has been dreaming of since hearing about it a few years ago:

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Pork and slaw with some fried skins on top:

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Hush puppies and ribs:

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The perfect rib bite:

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We also bought a bag of fried pork skin:

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This place did not disappoint at ALL.  Mr. Kim said he didn’t know if this BBQ made him want to quit work and make BBQ every day to try to get this good or give up BBQ altogether because he’ll never be this good.  I told him to shut up and pass the ribs😄!  His Yelp review:

I eat BBQ as a hobby.  I judge BBQ competitions, I cook BBQ for my family and friends and local church groups, BBQ is my first choice for a meal when traveling.  Rodney Scott's taught me something -- it taught me that I know NOTHING about good BBQ.  It's like Mr. Scott tasted my best cooking-for-company backyard effort, looked me in the eye, and said "hold my beer."  

After eating in maybe a hundred BBQ restaurants, dives, joints, and cinder block shacks, I have found the best damned Q I have ever put in my mouth at Rodney Scott's.  The ribs were that perfect perfect perfect balance of smoke and meat and seasoning, pulled off the heat at exactly the right moment to preserve the integrity of the meat and deliver an irresistible bark.  The pork was just this amazing and honest presentation of pork flavor that was enhanced by the treatment in the pit.  I am certain there was mopping and/or injection involved in the process, but neither masked the taste of the pork itself.  Both meats presented what barbecue should be -- slow cooked meat that accepts the seasoning and the fire and the wood smoke without being dominated by it.  

As with all good BBQ, no sauce is necessary, although there were several on the table.

Thank you to the owner and staff for a truly wonderful food memory.  I wish you were closer than 425 miles away.

Attention YELP management -- how do I give this place 10 stars?

 

It was an incredibly hot couple of days, so our plans to stroll around turned into driving around.  But we saw lots of lovely architecture and did walk around White Point Garden (in the Battery neighborhood) in the evening when it got cooler:

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I searched out this great little neighborhood place for dinner that night:

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The menu:

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My plate:

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Smothered pork chop, white rice, candied yams, and cornbread.

 

Mr. Kim’s:

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 Collards, fried chicken, and lima beans.  Every bite was excellent.  My favorite kind of food served by a charming young man (who, it turned out, was from Richmond originally) in a comfortable, family friendly setting.  I wish we could have come twice during our visit.  There were multiple things I’d like to have tried, but we were too full!

 

 

 

 

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Thank you so much for sharing your visit to Rodney Strong's! It sounds fabulous...and Mr. Kim's review is delightful!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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  • Oh the Q and the pig skin!  Rodney Scott is def one of a kind. If you can catch any online interviews with him - do -6When he talks about being "born to be a pitmaster" it is literal.  As a kid chopping the wood to make the coal etc. 
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32 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

If you meant the first picture in the latest post, it's Mr. Kim standing in front of Rodney Scott's BBQ restaurant.  

 

Sorry, I mean the one before the sailboat.  It looks like the facade of a building.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, ElsieD said:

 

Sorry, I mean the one before the sailboat.  It looks like the facade of a building.

Ah!  That was so cool.  It was a façade of what had been an really old building.  It was sitting in what looked like a construction/storage yard right behind a grocery store.  It is shored up with scaffolding and looks like they've saved it to use on some new construction planned there.  Which we were very happy to see.

Edited by Kim Shook (log)
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6/14/2022 Day 5 Charleston SC

 

We started our only full day in Charleston at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits in the City Market.  I had gotten biscuits there when I was there with my family for my dad’s and uncle’s 80th birthday in 2019, but Mr. Kim hadn’t been with us and had only had the frozen ones that I bought at a store in Richmond.  Everything we had was really, really good, but there was a mix up with our order.  I don’t know if the guy taking the orders was new or if the problem was my mask.  We ordered one large biscuit and 3 little ones.  We paid for 2 large ones and the little ones weren’t correct.  But they were good.  The little ones are cheese & chive, buttermilk, and country ham. The cheese & chive was supposed to have country ham on it, the buttermilk was supposed to have strawberry fig and the country ham was supposed to have butter.  All three only had butter.  The large one is Mr. Kim’s Cheddar and jalapeno biscuit with bacon, cheese, and egg.

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Mr. Kim’s Yelp review:

"The Callie's location in the city market is busy and obviously successful.  This was a "destination breakfast" for us, and we were delighted to find the wait not overly long.  

The menu board takes some deciphering, which led to confusion between my wife and the man taking orders.  Once this was straightened out we awaited our biscuits in a tight corner out of the walkway.  Our order was incorrect -- one $5 biscuit missing completely, two of three mini biscuits constructed incorrectly (correct on the receipt but fillings/spreads not correct or missing completely.)  We did not go back through the line and try to straighten it out, so no real points off, just a word of caution here for the next diner to check your order.

What we ate was delicious.  I recommend the jalapeno biscuit, in my case with bacon, egg, and cheese.  Flaky biscuit, generous fillings.  The buttermilk biscuit (missing items) was nonetheless delish as well.  Coffee was moderately strong and tasty -- just what I needed.  So, while half of the order was not what we intended to order / paid for, everything we got was delicious.  Hard to complain too much about that.

Will gladly stop back by, but it will not be destination dining next time."

 

We wandered around the market for a while, but even though it is covered it was still miserably hot.  We later heard that there was a heat advisory both this day and the day before that we didn’t hear about until we were gone.  We spent most of the day in the car, driving around and looking at architecture:

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We decided to get out of town and try to find a beach we could possibly sit near and have lunch or at least a cocktail.  We ended up following our noses to Isle of Palms SC – only about 20 miles away, but literally at the end of a road on the Atlantic ocean.    Even with the ocean breeze, it was just too hot to be outside, so we got lunch.  The first two places were closed/crowded and we basically threw up our hands and picked this place because they could seat us:

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It was right on the beach and playing Buffet, so we figured typical tourist joint, but there was AC and cold drinks and maybe decent steamed shrimp.  We started like any good tourist would:

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Mine (on the left 😁) was a Parrot Colada – a Pina colada with Don Q Rum, strawberry syrup, and whipped cream.  It was creamy and ice-cold and delicious.  Mr. Kim sucked down that icy Bud in about 45 seconds.  I think he got brain freeze!

 

When we looked around at the tables near us and saw what was coming by with the servers, we decided to take a chance and order something besides basic steamed shrimp.  We were very pleasantly surprised.  I got a delicious grouper sandwich and Mr. Kim got mahi-mahi:

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The fish on both was excellent and the “side salad” on mine was huge and really fresh.  The slaw reminded us of our England trip as it was totally gloppy and gooey, so that was nice 😄.  I had never heard of grouper until my parents moved to Florida in the late 1990s and we visited them.  I fell in love with it and it has become one of my very favorite fishes. 

 

We went back to the hotel:

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…which was 1960s fabulous!  The emergency exit on the room door cracked me up:

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We intended to take a swim to cool off, but the freshly made bed and chilly room seduced us into afternoon naps. 

 

We had planned to go to Hyman’s seafood that night for dinner.  I was craving a classic seafood house fried “Captain’s Platter”.  Unfortunately, Hyman’s doesn’t take reservations (😠) and the wait was going to be about 90 minutes.  I have distinct opinions of incredibly popular restaurants that refuse to take reservations.  I believe that it indicates a lack of caring about their clients.  They don’t care that you have to wait that long in the heat or cold because they know people will.  I tend not to go to restaurants like that.  So, we left and really took a chance.  We Googled “seafood in Charleston” and picked a place that was out in the burbs.  I was seriously pouting about not getting to go to the place I’d planned on, so this place was starting out at a disadvantage.  It was called “The Crab Shack” and looked like a Joe’s Crab Shack.  We were NOT hopeful, but it was late and we were tired and hungry.  Mr. Kim got steamed shrimp (not pictured) which were huge and perfectly steamed and very, very good.  I got the fried seafood platter I had been craving and was prepared to NOT be impressed:

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And it was EXACTLY what I’d been craving.  Shrimp, scallops, flounder, and oysters.  Everything was perfectly prepared (NOTHING was overcooked), the breading was crisp and not to thick and the seafood was sweet and tender and GOOD! 

 

Back to the historic district for some frozen custard and an evening walk:

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Two unplanned and coin-toss restaurants today and both turned out so well.  Such good luck!

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We've been to Charleston several times but not in the last five years.  My wife loves the ghost tours at night and the carriage rides. I love just strolling the neighborhoods.  We took the kids out to Ft Sumpter. It was about a billion degrees every time were there so we've always skipped the Yorktown, but I'd love to see it. 

 

Never attempted Hyman's but had some really great meals. Husk was really good. There was a converted church on Market St that we really liked. We've wandered in off of the street to several and have always had good luck. I wish I could remember the names of two of the places that really stood out. One that we had lunch at upstairs in a beautiful dining room in the tree tops. Another really good breakfast. We went to Grill 223, which was in a hotel we stayed at. It was our first night in Charleston and I had my heart set on seafood. The server said all of our steaks are 45 day dry aged prime and I ordered the ribeye. Best steak I've ever had. They did have a lump crab cocktail that was really good.  My wife will not eat seafood (and a LOT of other good stuff) of any kind so it can be hard to pick a restaurant. The only bad meal we ever had was barbecue on E Bay St. 

 

The last time we were there was with our two daughters, 20 and 13 at the time.  I would sneak out of the hotel while they were getting ready for bed for some late night carousing. Oldest daughter just wasn't quite old enough to tag along. I usually hit up Pearlz for some oysters and then Blind Tiger for love music and drinks. 

 

Thanks for your report. I miss Charleston and would love to get back there. 

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That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

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@chileheadmike - looking at those restaurants makes me want to go back NOW.  Pearlz sounds especially good.  

 

6/15/2022 Day 6 Last Day of our trip

 

I had found a place that I thought looked great for breakfast or “brunch” (time-wise, not style-wise), called Marie's Diner.  Very similar to Hannibal’s from day 4.  But it just didn’t fit in with the schedule for the day.  We had to check out of the hotel and pack the car and we didn’t want to leave town too terribly late.  It would have required a lot of back and forth and I wasn’t willing to miss the plans I had for lunch.  So we ended up at the rooftop restaurant at the hotel.  It was your basic mid-range hotel buffet.  Not great, but not terrible.  Just ordinary.  Mr. Kim’s plate:

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I just had a giant plate of bacon and rye toast 😁

 

We took a long, wandering last ride around Charleston.  What a lovely city!  I will never come back again in hot weather, but we’re hoping to meet our Florida friends here for a long weekend next February or March.  Mr. Kim would love to see Ft. Sumter and I’ve got a list of restaurants that I want to get to!  We stopped for lunch on our way out of town.  I belong to a British ex-pat FB group (even though I’m neither) and this place was recommended:

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I couldn’t resist.  It is in an interesting part of town.  Not at ALL a trendy area – mostly warehouses and construction yards.  We seemed to be the only tourists in the place.  It looked like mostly working people on their lunch hours.  The menu:

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We had pie, a sausage roll, and fish & chips:

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Everything was very, very good.  The pie was beef and potato and luckily it was good and saucy so that we didn’t have to resort to what was obviously just a cup of plain, gelatinous Bisto (I love Bisto, but not by itself – I use it to thicken and flavor a gravy I’ve already started).  And to be persnickety, I found the chips slightly over-cooked.  Mr. Kim disagreed.  But those two things are being extremely picky.  This was a delicious meal and if we lived here, I’d be a regular. 

 

We said “goodbye” and “see you again” to Charleston and hit the road.  We stopped at the completely insane Buc-ee's on the way home.  For those not “in the know” it is a gigantic gas station/convenience store.  Think 7-11 products the size of the biggest grocery store in town.  It’s the kind of place you stop at because everyone says you should and after you do you know you’ll never stop again.  Honestly, South of the Border is a LOT more fun!  Thanks for coming along.  It was so wonderful to get out of the house and to be away from responsibilities and work! 

 

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@Kim Shook 

 

what a Trip to share !

 

many thanks 

 

looking forward to your Feb-March rip 

 

and , thank you for sharing that

 

Fish&Chips place last .

 

a favorite of mine !

 

Ill be thinking about it all night long .

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There is a brand new Buc-ees in Richmond, KY. About a 45 minute drive from us. I'm tempted to just make the trip to see what it's all about.
 
Seems they have a giant variety of beef jerky, barbecue and a lot of other food choices. Probably not great bbq, I am from KC, but curiosity may get the best of me. 
 
 
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That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

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47 minutes ago, chileheadmike said:
There is a brand new Buc-ees in Richmond, KY. About a 45 minute drive from us. I'm tempted to just make the trip to see what it's all about.
 
Seems they have a giant variety of beef jerky, barbecue and a lot of other food choices. Probably not great bbq, I am from KC, but curiosity may get the best of me. 
 
 

The jerky assortment is pretty varied.  As are the gummy and dried fruit and snack and nut assortments.  They have whole walls of each thing.  Lots of the same items packed side by side, though.  

 

A friend of Mr. Kim's (a fellow competition BBQ judge) sampled the BBQ at a Buc-ee's.  If you'd like to see a video about it you can find it here at about 5:47.  There's a lot of "not bad" and "ok".  😄

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What a fun trip - thanks for taking us along!  I’ve enjoyed checking out all the restaurant menus and your excellent choices. 
I’d especially like to visit Charleston again. We stopped a few times on family trips to Florida. Back then, a dinner out had to start with a good martini for my dad and he was not thrilled with their requirement (dropped in 2006) to use airline mini bottles for cocktails and even less thrilled when he couldn’t get one at all on Sunday!

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1 hour ago, blue_dolphin said:

What a fun trip - thanks for taking us along!  I’ve enjoyed checking out all the restaurant menus and your excellent choices. 
I’d especially like to visit Charleston again. We stopped a few times on family trips to Florida. Back then, a dinner out had to start with a good martini for my dad and he was not thrilled with their requirement (dropped in 2006) to use airline mini bottles for cocktails and even less thrilled when he couldn’t get one at all on Sunday!

LOL!  Imagine my British dad's disgruntlement on discovering while going out to dinner while visiting my grandparents in NC that he had to BRING HIS OWN BOTTLE!  

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1 hour ago, blue_dolphin said:

I’d especially like to visit Charleston again.

 

Me, too! I combined visits to Charleston, Hilton Head and Savannah in one visit and had a great time. I had to go to Toronto for some work training and Air Canada had a terrific Web special for flights to Charleston. I was due some time off and booked a flight on a whim. My husband couldn't join me - at that time it seemed our schedules didn't work together - so I went on my own. Rented a car in Charleston and stayed a few days there, then a couple of days at Hilton Head and a few days in Savannah before flying home. I don't remember the time of year, but the weather was almost perfect. Spent a lot of time walking around both cities and enjoyed the beach at Hilton Head. I don't remember where I ate, but it was almost all really lovely. And I met some very sweet folk. 

 

My husband and I did make it together to Savannah another trip but we had tickets to Augusta for the Masters and that's about all my husband could focus on. 

 

@Kim Shook, thanks to you and your husband so much for a lovely tale and lots of lovely food photos and descriptions. I am so hungry right now that I hardly know what to do with myself. 

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1 minute ago, FauxPas said:

 

Me, too! I combined visits to Charleston, Hilton Head and Savannah in one visit and had a great time. I had to go to Toronto for some work training and Air Canada had a terrific Web special for flights to Charleston. I was due some time off and booked a flight on a whim. My husband couldn't join me - at that time it seemed our schedules didn't work together - so I went on my own. Rented a car in Charleston and stayed a few days there, then a couple of days at Hilton Head and a few days in Savannah before flying home. I don't remember the time of year, but the weather was almost perfect. Spent a lot of time walking around both cities and enjoyed the beach at Hilton Head. I don't remember where I ate, but it was almost all really lovely. And I met some very sweet folk. 

 

My husband and I did make it together to Savannah another trip but we had tickets to Augusta for the Masters and that's about all my husband could focus on. 

 

@Kim Shook, thanks to you and your husband so much for a lovely tale and lots of lovely food photos and descriptions. I am so hungry right now that I hardly know what to do with myself. 

Savannah is on our wishlist!  We attended a family wedding there years ago and it was just long enough to make us yearn to go back and have a REAL visit!

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Just now, Kim Shook said:

Savannah is on our wishlist!  We attended a family wedding there years ago and it was just long enough to make us yearn to go back and have a REAL visit!

 

Oh, I loved it! And I must have been living under a rock or something because I knew nothing about Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil. Walked by a pick-up point for one of the book tours and was so entertained by the driver's patter that I jumped on her bus. She had a bit part in the movie, was enormously entertaining and I connected with some people who invited me to join them for dinner. I was fascinated with how Oglethorpe designed the city, makes so much sense to have those squares with public and private space so well intermingled. 

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I spent a birthday in Charleston a few years ago in a very cool historic VRBO— occasionally I check to see if it is up for sale because it is a perfect little pied e terre and is a great income property.
 We had a fantastic dinner at Halls and I got an antique ring at Crogan’s— they have fabulous estate jewelry. It was at times, uncomfortably humid in March at the time! 
 

  Savannah is on my list too!! 
 

 Thanks for sharing! 

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Great trip! I was in Charleston a bit more than 20 years ago for a weekend. We ate at a place called Slightly North Of Broad (note acronym), which was wonderful. Doubt it still exists.

 

ETA: It does, or at least it still has a website.

Edited by kayb (log)

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Vivian Howard has two restaurants in Charleston. A breakfast/lunch spot and a dinner joint. Handy and Hot menu

Biscuits and hand pies, etc. One hand pie is Rodney Scott's smoked pork and coleslaw.

SIL, MIL, nephew and his family relocated to Charleston from Clemson fall 2019. Looking forward to a visit.

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23 hours ago, kayb said:

Great trip! I was in Charleston a bit more than 20 years ago for a weekend. We ate at a place called Slightly North Of Broad (note acronym), which was wonderful. Doubt it still exists.

 

ETA: It does, or at least it still has a website.

Wow.  That looks amazing.  Even the cocktail menu looks incredible.  That would definitely go on my list next time.

 

19 hours ago, Annie_H said:

Vivian Howard has two restaurants in Charleston. A breakfast/lunch spot and a dinner joint. Handy and Hot menu

Biscuits and hand pies, etc. One hand pie is Rodney Scott's smoked pork and coleslaw.

SIL, MIL, nephew and his family relocated to Charleston from Clemson fall 2019. Looking forward to a visit.

Yes!!!  That's another "next time" place.  Had we had one additional morning, we would have gone there for breakfast.  The biscuits look amazing.  

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