Good Ol’ South
|June 6, 2011||Posted by Ashley Marie under Food, Places to Eat, Travel|
The good thing about living near a body of water is, well, living near a body of water. Charlotte, North Carolina is about 2 1/2 hours from the closest beach, but that driving time is minimal when it comes to taking a day trip on the weekend. Seafood, warm weather and a little thing known as my “Ritz-Carlton discount” and my mother and I were sold.
Destination: Charleston, South Carolina
Reason: Mom’s –th birthday
With beautiful bottles of Jayson Pahlmeyer and Veuve Cliquot and my oversized beach hat and 50s reminiscent bathing suit, we happily drove down to the beach for the weekend.
Our dinner stop was Hyman’s Seafood, one of the most well-know seafood joints in town recommended to me by both locals and Charlotteans alike.
From Samuel L. Jackson, to Martha Stewart, to Michael Phelps and Sarah Jessica Parker, this place is well traveled. The restaurant stays so packed on a regular basis that young girls in brightly colored Hyman’s t-shirts walk up and down the block with baskets of warm hushpuppies (their specialty) to alleviate their customer’s impatience (an ingenious tactic).
The hour wait that I was forewarned about I was prepared for. The colossal shrimp po’ boy and deep-fried lobster tail that ensued, not so much.
Never had a po’boy before. Don’t have room for one ever again.
My huge fried shrimp sandwich was prototypical but well put together. Crispy Cajun crustaceans smothered with sauteed onions and melted cheddar topped with lettuce and tomato on a soft hoagie roll. It was a bit less chichi than I’m used to, appreciatively, and I adored it.
My mother ordered the fried lobster tail, which I coerced her in to so that I could eat vicariously through her. Ironically, I ended up literally stomaching a majority of her meal along with mine.
The tail was battered, dipped in hot, delicious saturated fat, and brought out for me (I mean her) to pull out the fleshy meat and again, dip in hot saturated fat at the table.
Second best lobster tail ever (see Restaurant Review: Yamashiro, Hollywood, C.A. for the first).
Brunch the next morning was at Magnolia’s, another well-spoken of, quaint little hidden gem. The mimosas were $7, which has to be the most competitive price in the Carolinas. We split the Marscapone stuffed French toast with blackberry compote and smoked bacon (no competition to my Marscapone and lemon curd stuffed version). Yessir, that was our appetizer.
I went out on a limb, ordering the seafood & grits, despite my apprehensive acceptance of the southern staple. Ahh, what a pleasant limb that was. Not only did my breakfast have jumbo, mouthwatering shrimp atop, but I had one mammoth of a perfectly cooked scallop and a thick lobster claw blanketed with a velvety, buttery lobster sauce that consisted of I-don’t-know-what but tasted like heaven. The grits were creamy. The garnish of fried spinach was randomly accurate and beautiful. And soon, I will replicate this, in a blog, with a recipe, for you to drool over like you are now. You’re welcome.
Mama bear had parmesan encrusted flounder over jasmine rice with sweet corn, tomato and asparagus salad, lump crab and lemon beurre blanc. Warning: What you see is just a picture. Please don’t lick the screen.
And for dessert, because there’s always room for dessert, was some kind of bread pudding with some random white chocolate ice cream that I barely remember because I blacked out into a food coma sometime between when it arrived and when I was carried by my mother back to the car.
Charleston, it was a pleasure.