So much to eat, so little time..

With Charleston Restaurant Week and Second Sunday on King St. taking place this weekend, rest assured that there will be plenty to do.

As I wrote in January when Restaurant Week occurred, the event is an excellent chance to enjoy the cuisine of the Lowcountry at affordable prices. You can choose from various participating restaurants and menus that feature three courses for either $20, $30, or $40. The majority of restaurants downtown are included, along with others in Mt. Pleasant, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, West Ashley, John’s Island, Folly Beach, and Kiawah. The event started on the 4th and goes through 9/15.

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Downtown Charleston‘s restaurant scene is thriving with an abundance of new places, along with many more to come in the next couple of months. Rutledge Cab Co. opened on the edge of Wagener Terrace/North Central. This has turned out to be an excellent location that is now known for their breakfast menu that is served all day long, along with some other unique burgers and appetizers. You can check them during restaurant week with three courses for $30.

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On King St. the new Republic Garden and Lounge is offering three for $30. The Republic replaced another cocktail bar and restaurant, Chai’s, and has been a hit since it opened last Spring. The Charleston City Paper seemed impressed with this included in their review:

Republic Reign has taken careful steps to create an upscale lounge environment with a strong cocktail program and respectable menu. The lounge opened in March under the watchful eye of Evan Powell, previously of Market Pavilion and Fish, with a menu created by executive chef Benjamin Harris, formerly of Poogan’s Porch.

With so many new places to try, it’s hard to imagine that there is more coming. There are 8 additional highly anticipated openings around town over the next couple of months. One of them, Sweet Radish Bakeshop, is Charleston’s first and only gluten-free bakery that is opening later this month. This unique new addition to the Charleston culinary scene in the Cannonborough-Elliotborough neighborhood is extremely exciting for those of us with celiac disease, and will also be a nice treat for everyone to enjoy.

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The owners of Bin 152, a fabulous wine and cheese bar in the King St. Historic District are opening a restaurant called Chez Nous in November in an entirely different location, not far from Sweet Radish in Elliotborough. It will be in a very cozy historic house built in the mid-1800’s that they are renovating. According to Eater Charleston,

The menu will consist of two appetizers, two entrees and two desserts and will remain the same through lunch and dinner. They want the place to feel like you’re sitting down to eat in a friend’s home. Co-owner Fanny’s family grew up in South West France, and she wants to showcase the simple food of that region. The smallest restaurant in Charleston with only 30 seats is set to make a big impact.

As if this isn’t enough to digest (no pun intended), or enough to plan for the next 10 days of dining, Second Sunday on King St. and First Friday on Broad St. are also taking place. Second Sunday on King has really expanded. Along with tons of great places to eat (some restaurants are even doing restaurant week lunch deals) there will be live musicians up and down the street, vendors, food trucks, and art. You can also pop into our lovely dunes properties office at 214 King St. and see the new art and then head next door for lunch at the new restaurant, Kitchen 208, for a bite!

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Another new perk is that free parking vouchers can be downloaded through the event website here. And don’t forget that tonight you can stroll down Broad St. and East Bay St. and wander in and out of the art galleries while enjoying snacks and wine for First Friday on Broad St.

 

 

“If it’s “In,” it’s In Charleston”

Charleston has been breaking all kinds of ground with its new restaurants, hotels, apartments, and other developments that are in the works. King St. has so many new restaurants that have just opened/will be opening that I can hardly keep up. The Ordinary was a very exciting opening that has received rave reviews. In fact, Conde Nast (who named Charleston as the #1 City in the World last year), just placed The Ordinary in their top 8 Best New Restaurants of 2013 of the American South list. Here’s their description of the bank-turned-seafood restaurant.

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“The scene: Upper King—the stretch of King Street just north of the well-touristed city center—continues to surprise locals and visitors alike with its proliferation of gems such as this grand two-level, 90-seat seafood restaurant set in a 1927 Bank of America building. A celebration of coastal Carolina mollusks and fish, it arrived in a wash of good will: James Beard Award–winning chef/owner Mike Lata runs city favorite FIG.

The food: The raw bar, in front of the bank’s vault door, churns out slender Caper’s Blades oysters on the half shell, banded rudderfish tartare, and triple shellfish towers that would impress a robber baron. The kitchen on the other side of the vault door prepares grouper-cheek sandwiches with chowchow tartar sauce, and barbecued white shrimp with charred bread to sop up the buttery, spicy sauce.

Our office downtown on King St., The Real Estate Studio, is also thrilled for the new breakfast and lunch restaurant, Kitchen 208, that just opened up right next door.

And they aren’t the only ones getting noticed. Lately, Charleston’s Food Trucks have also been booming. There have been multiple Food Truck Rodeos, including one that brought hundreds to the Post and Courier parking lot at the beginning of the month with 15 trucks. Two of these trucks, Geechee Island and Roti Rolls (who appears every Saturday at the Charleston Farmer’s Market) were included in The Daily Meal’s top 101 Food Trucks of 2013.

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It’s not just Charleston’s food that makes the “best-of” lists. Charleston has been rated over the past few years for having one the best Farmer’s Markets, for being one of the best Shopping Cities in the country, was featured in Architectural Digest, on HGTV’s House Hunters (with one of our very own agents), andNBC’s “TODAY” was its most recent visitor. Most recently, Zero George, a boutique hotel that is the newest addition to Ansonborough, made Travel + Leisure’s “It List: The Best New Hotels 2013.” They were rated 8th out of 63 hotels in the country.. not bad. They also gave a lovely description of the hotel:

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In a city known for antebellum-style inns and antiques-filled bed-and-breakfasts, a local iconoclast is shaking things up. Owner Dean Andrews—who ran the venerable Charleston Place hotel for 16 years—has introduced this genteel town’s first truly contemporary retreat with Zero George, in the oak-lined Ansonborough district. The 18 guest rooms, scattered among five historic buildings (all circa 1805), have the signature pocket gardens, piazzas, and sprawling verandas you’d expect from hotels here, but Farrow & Ball paint colors and Kravet linens bring the look refreshingly up to date. Guests can take Lowcountry cooking classes in the former kitchen house or dine on southern-inspired tapas in a sunny courtyard flanked by azalea- and palmetto-lined gardens

NBC’s “TODAY” Filming in Charleston!

Hosts of the TODAY show, Kathie Lee and Hoda, filmed two episodes this morning on the College of Charleston’s campus at the Cistern. One was live that aired this morning, and the other was filmed for tomorrow’s show. During their stay they have pretty much covered all of the activities that anyone visiting the city must do. They also had some great how-to’s with window boxes and guest appearances from owners of local stores on King St. that discussed Charleston‘s southern attire.

The Cistern, where the filming took place, was crammed full of excited college students and locals. The Cistern is the focal point of the College of Charleston’s campus. Numerous events are held here, small and large, ranging from an Alumni event called A Charleston Affair to performances put on for students before finals to help them cool down. It consists of a large grassy oval adjacent to Randolph Hall and was constructed in 1857 to control flooding and provide water for fighting fires. Later, it was covered and planted with grass and is now part of the campus. Spring Commencement is held here, which I was lucky enough to be a part of and think is the most unique graduation around.

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Kathie Lee and Hoda were brought into The Cistern by a horse-drawn carriage through Porter’s Lodge, which is very rare. Porters Lodge was the home to the College’s porter, or custodian. On its George St. façade, it bears the Greek inscription for “Know Thyself.” Today, the structure houses several faculty offices.

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I thought that NBC filmed a great portrayal of Charleston. For the live show, the girls began by having some gentlemen from The Cocktail Club make them a Firefly Sweet Tea concoction, a vodka that was created in SC. Then, Graham Dailey, the chef at Peninsula Grill, brought out the restaurant’s famous coconut cake. This cake is raved about all over the country and is something that every visitor should try when they are here. The Battery and East Bay Street were featured while Kathie Lee and Hoda went on a carriage tour, where they asked the guide what Charleston is best known for, which she promptly told them was Hospitality. I can’t argue with that.

They also ventured outside of downtown and gave audiences a view of Drayton Hall, one of the plantation houses. The editor of Southern Living Magazine gave a great tutorial on window boxes. Many historic homes that are lucky enough to have a yard have limited space, so the window boxes are a colorful and easy way to have your own petite garden right in front of your home.

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The owner of Hampden Clothing on King St. was also featured and discussed all different types of common southern trends. In particular, very colorful Vineyard Vines bow ties, needlepoint belts, and jewelry from local store Copper Penny. She also mentioned a few popular local items such as Callie’s Biscuits and sweetgrass baskets as things you shouldn’t leave Charleston without.

It was fun seeing our beloved city and all of the amazing things it has to offer, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s episode will feature. Tune it at 10 AM Friday morning to see for yourself!