Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous Roadfooders from the swift completion of their self-appointed rounds!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
That about sums up our previous 24 hours...but Saturday dawned sunny and clear. The streets and sidewalks were clear by 4:00am (melting) and dry by 7:00am. By noon, you wouldn't even know we had any snow at all.
We convened the Saturday activities at the Charleston Cafe at 8:00am sharp. As yesterday was clearly a dieting day, today we need to crank it up a notch! Five of us enjoyed the following...and sharing was allowed! there was chicken and waffles with a delightful strawberry butter, Amber's Choice which included crab cakes topped with eggs, shrimp, andouille sausage and hollandaise with grits, Low Country Shrimp & grits which consisted of a spicy, tomato cream sauce with peppers, onions, bacon, cheddar and green onions accompanying the eggs and grits, a Goat Island Potato Casserole which had spinach, swill and bacon over scramble eggs, topped with hollandaise and served over larger size potato chips called chippers. There was a more, traditional breakfast served with ham as well as various sides with the fruit bowl and house made corned beef hash being real standouts!
Next up was the Rising High Cafe, in downtown Charleston proper. Billed as having an opening time of 8:00am, we arrived at 9:30am only to find breakfast #2 canceled for lack of interest on the restaurant's part! There were clear door signs with Saturday hours posted, but no bread was a rising and no body was in around. We were Travelin Manned with the man himself...WOW! Historical.
We made the 5 minute drive to Snack stop #1...Cupcake. While scheduled for a 10:00am opening, they were jumping at 9:45am and had 7 employees manning the counter, oven and pastry bags. We ordered, split, posed and tried 10 different cupcakes. i really enjoyed the Almond, others picked the many other flavors from Black & White to Red Velvet to Cookies & Cream to Black Bottom to, you get the picture. All freshly baked minutes earlier, they were literally being frosted as we arrived. Ummmm, good!
With a big lunch on the horizon, the group split up with wanderingjew and I opting for an early lunch just north of Charleston and Mt. Pleasant in Awendaw. Here we found the SeeWee Restaurant, one of my have to visit spots. I love old, converted general stores and this one had all the old feel and character. Many of the shelves are still stocked and of particular note was the buffet table playing host to 10 cake platters with domes! each housed another home-made flavor of cake! We started with a complimentary basket of hush puppies...smaller in size at quarter size, but hot, crisp and good. our waiter was kind enough to allow me a soup portion of the Okra Soup over Rice with Ham Special so I could try that and my dining companion had the She-Crab soup, a local favorite. Both were excellent. I loved crumbling the hush puppies into the soup...delicious! I choose fried shrimp and scallops served with mac & 7 cheese and fried green tomatoes. Wanderingjew had the fried eggplant which was soft, greaseless and very flavorful. I loved my 4 item plate and couldn't help but mix 'n match different bites creating different flavors. as our big lunch was only 30 minutes away, we declined both the cake counter and the pie counter...separate but equal!
The 20 minute drive to Lunch #2 passed quickly by thanks in part to the music of the King - Elvis! We pulled into Mullah Cuisine in Mt. pleasant to find the staff readying for a charity function that night featuring an Elvis impersonator...or could it be? Here, 11 of us tried both the menu and buffet. I opted for fried catfish fillets (2), fried shrimp, collard greens, ac & cheese and a cup of black bean soup that never materialized. There were many variations of ordering and buffet yielding She-Crab Soup, Mullah Rice, Fried Shrimp, etc. Of the 22 stops made over the weekend, I felt this was the weakest stop. Newly remodeled and partially still in progress, there was no ambiance or warmth to this restaurant. The collard greens were so bitter as to be not edible and the catfish, such a strong fish smell, I declined all but a few small tastes. Others, raved about their selections, so it may have been my personnel choices. After a few pictures with Elvis, we headed out for the short 3 minute ride to Snack Stop #2.
Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream & Sandwich Cafe in Mt. Pleasant provided a great break spot during our busy day. While just about any sandwich is available including the day's special - Pimento Cheese, it was the ice cream we had come for. My choice, Amaretto Cherry with Hot Fudge. Between the five of us, there were plethora of flavors sampled!
Time to venture back downtown to Snack Stop #3...Sugar Bakeshop. tucked in an old residential neighborhood, this converted home bakes cookies, cupcakes and other specialty goods. The oatmeal raisin cookies and almond cupcakes were particularly noteworthy. We even relaxed and snacked al fresco on the outdoor patio! Only experienced snow country residents would dare this move!
Continued on 02-28-10...
Time for dinner and up first for Dinner stop #1 was Ernie's, a soulfood restaurant just a few short blocks away from the Sugar Bakeshop. A few of the boys were hanging outside, and with signage being a little obscure, they were quick to point us to the door. entering, we found we were the only ones there...but it was 4pm'ish on a Saturday evening. The super friendly counter girl was smiling ear to ear in part because she had at least 6 vases of roses for the next day's Valentine's Day. I had a delicious Whiting Fish, lightly breaded and so soft, geaseless and flavorful along with rice, cornbread, and my new addiction - lima beans. Buffetbuster jumped right in with a half chicken, greens, rice and cornbread. This was a small, family operated, neighborhood place. Everyone coming in greeted us as if we were regulars...and the food would have made us so if we had been local residents. It was fresh, warm, flavorful and really satisfying.
It was break time and we headed back to our hotel for a 90 minute break and a chance to formally dress for dinner. I choice my favorite Hawaiian shirt for the evenings festivities!
Dinner was at Bowen's Island, a remote, pier outpost located down a forlorn road of mud, sand, shells and potholes. It was a major accomplishment to just navigate the parking lot or mud hole and get to the gang plank without a fall. The restaurant is located on Bowen's Island, about 15 minutes east of downtown Charlestown. As you enter the "area", you pass by a gentlemen steaming oysters in two big vats. As one is finished, its contents are dumped into a large shovel, another sack is tossed into the vat, and the shovel is poured onto an expectant and waiting table. As soon as he returns to the vats, the enxt one is ready and the process is duplicated...all night long!
Passing the oysterman, you proceed down the pier a short distance and join a line waiting to get into the bait shop. The line snakes around a little and the forms a loop inside. As you get in the door, menus are passed around. You're expected to be ready to order as you make it to the head of the line. Here we meet the captain, who gets a first name and assigns a three digit code to the name...as in Steve 213. Our party orders food and drinks from the Captain and he enters things into a computer under 213. Need to change an order, get a follow-up beverage later, just go on up and add to 213's account. No other employees in sight!
The main dining room - a wooden, uninsulated building at the end of the pier was loaded, so we were shown another building back a few paces and up a half fliight of stairs right near the oysterman. Ah...close to the food...could they have known! Another employee was scrambling to fire up a couple of propane heaters as the temp was around 32 and we were on the water. The room heated up a little...after about an hour.
When the food hit the table, we had a mighty fine spread. Tons of Fried Shrimp, Boiled Shrimp, Frogmore Stew (shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes boiled together), Combo Platers which added crab cakes and fried fish and the best hush puppies of the trip. The shrimp were the best of the trip, just as the aforementioned hush puppies. In typical Radfood fashion, there was plenty of sharing, lots of oohs and aahs and a fun gift exchange. This is both a unigue and fun spot to visit.
We finshed the night with a quick dinner #3 stop at Hyman's Seafood....since 1890! Here we had a light snack of a fried grit cake topped with scallops done in a creamy galric alfredo sauce topped with bacon, cheese and cajun seasonings. Delicious! A few beers ended a great day of Roadfood and friends.
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