April 6, 2011

Strolling Around Charleston, South Carolina {Naptime on the Road}

Baked Scone

A Chocolate Orange Scone from Baked in Charleston

Every spring I spend about a week in Charleston, South Carolina with my parent’s. I love visiting this gorgeous city and I think my daughter loves it even more. Not only are the rules generally relaxed when we travel, but being here with her grandparents means she is spoiled for at least a week straight. Unfortunately, our visit this year was marked by a full week of bad weather. When our plane touched down the temperature promptly dropped to a very un-springlike 50 degrees and the rain clouds rolled in. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. We made the most of our rain-free moments, strolling around the city and enjoying the beautiful sites. Here is what we liked most:

Previous Charleston Travel Series: 2009 Charleston Travel, 2010 Charleston Travel

Charleston Cooks! A Maverick Kitchen Store: This snappy store was so much fun to browse. I loved the great selection of lowcountry cuisine and southern cookbooks. I even managed to find the elusive balloon whisk I’ve been looking for for over a year!

baked Baked in Charleston: This popular Brooklyn-based bakery opened a southern outpost last year.  We just died for the Dark Chocolate & Orange Scones while my daughter indulged in an impressive Chocolate Cloud Cookie.

Hanks Hank’s Seafood: Full disclosure, my parent’s ate here before I arrived and couldn’t stop talking about it for my entire visit. I trust their opinions and will confidently recommend it to all of you. It sounds amazing!

Peninsula Grill Peninsula Grill: This is the one meal in Charleston that continues to elude me. I can’t wait to finally eat here someday when my husband is able to take the trip down with us. Want to try Peninsula Grill even if you never intend to visit Charleston? Their famous Peninsula Grill Coconut Cakes can be ordered and shipped nationwide. My mother-in-law has one shipped up to Martha’s Vineyard every summer and I can attest it is the BEST coconut cake I’ve ever eaten.

Five Loaves Five Loaves Cafe: This cute little cafe out in Mount Pleasant (a suburb of Charleston) is easily the most underrated restaurant in the city. The menu is always interesting and the staff is lovely. It even is a great place for children!

side street The Battery Walk: I couldn’t get enough of walking around the Battery. Just check out these gorgeous homes…

side street

and side streets…

Wisteria

and wisteria that are so beautiful your heart literally swells at the sight of them…

Goat I also saw this store window, Goat Sheep Cow, and am wondering when it will open, it doesn’t look quite finished inside yet…

macaroon boutique Macaroon Boutique: I was excited to try this pretty little shop with a macaroon tree in the window. The macaroons are only offered in large bags so we bought three – one in each flavor offered – and skipped the football-sized croissants. Unfortunately, our experience was a little marred by the woman behind the counter who scolded my daughter for touching her finger to the glass when she pointed to the pistachio macaroon she wanted to try. Why display cookies in glass cases and expect them to be kept handprint free if you want customers with children to patronize your shop? The coconut macaroons were delicious but take note it is not the most child-friendly environment.

Paolos Paolo’s Gelato: I wrote about this indulgent gelateria a few years ago and here I am talking about it again. If you want true, authentic Italian gelato this is the place to be.

Basil Basil: Around the corner from Paolo’s is the Thai restaurant Basil. I wrote about how much I loved it few years ago when I went for dinner. This year I went for lunch after our trip to the Charleston Symphony Designer Showcase and loved it just as much. We ordered several dishes to split amongst ourselves and not a single drop of food was left. The Chef’s consistency in showcasing perfectly authentic Thai food for over three years and counting is testimony to how terrific this place really is. (Note: I did not take my daughter with me for lunch, it is not an ideal atmosphere for children.)

Cupcake Cupcake: I simply couldn’t leave out my favorite cupcake shop. I write about this place every year because it always deserves a shout out. Every time I go in the flavors that are offered are inventive and exciting. It is especially urgent that you stop by Cupcake if you are traveling through the area with kids. They will LOVE it!

Village Bakery Village Bakery in Old Village Mount Pleasant: This adorable bakery/cafe is one of my favorite new spots in Charleston. Just over the bridge from Charleston proper, Old Village Mount Pleasant is a cozy small-town featuring classic colonial architecture and tons of young parents pushing baby joggers. If I had to live in Charleston this is where I would chose to raise a family. The bakery/cafe is a cozy, quaint affair with a small glass case (handprints welcome) featuring classic baked desserts like magic bars, pecan pie, and iced sugar cookies in the front of the shop. The cafe menu of soups, salads, sandwiches and dinner casseroles is written on the blackboard walls around the room and could make even the fullest person hungry. After rereading the menu twice I am pretty sure I could eat every meal there for days, starting with breakfast, and never have the same thing twice. Their french toast offerings alone were so mouthwatering I tried to order them for lunch (no go – they don’t serve breakfast at 2pm). I also noted the beautiful restaurant called the Old Village Post House located down the street from Village Bakery, I am writing it down to try on our trip next year!

Post House

 

 

 

 

  • LA

    How could you forget Hyman’s ! Their seafood is LEGENDARY. Best in Charleston.

    • Anonymous

      Hi! I have never heard of it. Will keep a note of this for next time!

  • Jane Freedman

    Kelsey I love Charleston and all the wonderful restaurants and old houses. I waxed nostalgic when I read your post. We have been to Kiawah a bunch and always make a trek for the day into the city. Love it!! Glad you had fun.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Jane! It is a fun city. I have never been to Kiawah – I’ll have to go out there sometime!

  • http://www.leigh-onedayatatime.blogspot.com Leigh

    I just got super super super excited! I LOVE your blog and I went to school in Charleston, my parents have a place at IOP and my brother is a cadet at the Citadel. Charleston is basically the love of my life so I was PUMPED when I saw the title of this post! Then to see Hanks and Peninsula mentioned, yeah I freaked! My dad owns a construction company and built both of those restaurants. I can promise you that both are fantastic! And that coconut cake *swoon* seriously it is Ah-Mazing! And one more thing to add, I went to culinary school in Charleston and one of my chefs worked at Baked, I don’t know if she is still there but she was by far my favorite!

    And please NEVER go to Hyman’s. It’s the most overpriced, long waits, horrible seafood in the city. No one that lives there would ever go there. Their seafood is anything but local. I know some people think it’s great but you can find much much much better! (and just because people say it’s local doesn’t mean it is, thank you culinary ethics lectures for that lesson learned)

  • http://www.leigh-onedayatatime.blogspot.com Leigh

    I just got super super super excited! I LOVE your blog and I went to school in Charleston, my parents have a place at IOP and my brother is a cadet at the Citadel. Charleston is basically the love of my life so I was PUMPED when I saw the title of this post! Then to see Hanks and Peninsula mentioned, yeah I freaked! My dad owns a construction company and built both of those restaurants. I can promise you that both are fantastic! And that coconut cake *swoon* seriously it is Ah-Mazing! And one more thing to add, I went to culinary school in Charleston and one of my chefs worked at Baked, I don’t know if she is still there but she was by far my favorite!

    And please NEVER go to Hyman’s. It’s the most overpriced, long waits, horrible seafood in the city. No one that lives there would ever go there. Their seafood is anything but local. I know some people think it’s great but you can find much much much better! (and just because people say it’s local doesn’t mean it is, thank you culinary ethics lectures for that lesson learned)

    • Anonymous

      Hi Leigh, thanks for your nice note! I love Charleston, such a nice people. I am dying to go to Peninsula and it is really cool to hear that your Dad built both of those noteworthy restaurants. It must have been fun to go to culinary school in Charleston – such inspiration! Ps- I don’t know if you friend is still at Baked, but it was really high quality, I definitely recommend it. :)

  • Annadierksheide

    Hi,

    I am actually designing a website for Goat.Sheep.Cow. should be opened in the next week or so! Stop by on your next trip!

    • Anonymous

      That is SO cool Anna – what is it going to be exactly? A restaurant? Butcher?

  • Jill (formerly of Charleston)

    Don’t bother with Hymans – it is indeed a huge tourist trap and better seafood can be found elsewhere. Among the best is the Wreck of the Richard and Charlene in Mt. Pleasant. A real dive but the best and freshest seafood anywhere in town. Also, next trip don’t miss La Fourchette (upper King – fabulous French bistro) and Il Cortile del Re (lower King in the antique district – romantic setting, delicious Italian food). Skip SNOB, Magnolia’s and the like as all are really tourist traps albeit with really good food. Anson’s (near Hanks) is another all around good place to eat. And, don’t miss the mussels at 39 Rue de Jean. Sorry about the snobby lady at the macaroon store but people like that (read – non-child friendly) are everywhere.

    • Anonymous

      thanks so much Jill, I am definitely writing all of these down for next year!!

  • http://profiles.google.com/nab41965 Nancy B

    I live 30 minutes from downtown Charleston, next time you are coming down email me and I can give you a heads up on any new places to try!
    nab41965@gmail.com
    http://livinlifeinthelowcountry.blogspot.com

  • http://www.cupcakeproject.com/ Stef

    I’m headed to Charleston in June and will definitely refer back to this post before I go.

  • louis

    Goat.Sheep.Cow. opened yesterday – April 22 – and it’s an awesome cheese shop. (It also has a few other products, like meats, but I’m a veggie so didn’t pay the meat case much heed.) The shop is beautiful, the owners helpful and friendly. And the cheeses that I tried and bought were wonderful. It’s a great addition to the city.

    • Anonymous

      That is great to know Louis, thanks! I always love great cheese so I’ll be sure to stop by next time I am there.

  • Pingback: Citrus Cornmeal Cake with Lavender Glaze. | The Naptime Chef

  • Pingback: A Week of Book Parties & Fun in Charleston, SC | The Naptime Chef

  • Pingback: A Simple Asparagus Cheese Tart for Easter | The Naptime Chef