Asheville, Charleston comments
Spent a couple of days in Asheville where I had opportunity to eat at Salsa's and the Mountain Smokehouse. Unlike most Asheville posters, I was not in love with Salsa's. Too many un-harmonious cross-cultural battles going on in my mouth. Also tried the special bottled hot sauce (available for purchase), which was incendiary but also smoky in a bad way; couldn't wait to get back to the room and brush my teeth and get the taste out of my mouth. However, I did cozy to the hippieshgratefuldeadphish ambience and clientele save for the couple of babies running aroud in sagging, full,cloth diapers. Kinda grossed me out while eating.
Mountain Smokehouse, looking much like the Pizzeria Uno it once was, was delish. I addition to the regular menu, a buffet was offered for 15.95 per person. Since I knew I couldn't manage a slab of ribs alone and love the sides so I went for the buffet. Salads included potato, macaroni, coleslaw, marinated tomatoes, green salad, marinated cukes. Hot sides were hoppin' John, hush puppies, macaroni and cheese, greens, deep fried pickles, sweet potatoes, au gratin potatoes and I'm sure there are others that aren't coming to mind.THEN a lovely man was chopping off hunks of smoke bbq'd pork shoulder to order for sandwiches. Onto smoked prime rib, succulent ribs and bbq'd chicken. All of the meats were prepared with a dry rub and a piquant vinegary tomato sauce was available on the side. I sampled a few hunks of the smoky pork and a couple of the ribs in addition to many sides. The pork was wonderful and the ribs had enough tooth to them so they weren't just falling off the bone. I like them that way. Sublimely flavored and succulent. A dessert table was also offered with bread pudding, cakes,sweet potato pie, banana pie and more. A live band was performing which gratefully kept my young daughter entertained.
Then to Seabrook Island, which is near Charleston. Thanks to the poster who recommended the Rosebank Farms Farmer's market. After picking up basics at the Piggly Wiggly, my friend and I ate almost daily from the fresh offerings at the market. I haven't tasted corn that crisp and sweet in a long time. Their small fish market provided us with just-netted shrimp and terrific chowder tasting mostly of cream and clams. Also a huge array of fresh flowers and bouquets.
My friend had lunch at Magnolia's before my arrival and she wasn't impressed. Our one meal at a restaurant was at SNOB's,(apparently same ownership), and it wasn't any great shakes. Our food was mediocre at best. The jumbo lump crab (an $extra), in my gazpacho app was overpowered by the assertive soup and unfortunatly became nothing but costly texture. I had deliciously creamy grits topped with spicy tasso ham, sausage and extremely overcooked tough shrimp and scallops.My friend barely touched her pork entree, and we decided to pass on dessert based upon our meal history.
Glad you enjoyed Rosebank Farms!! I live on Johns Island (you went through it to get to Seabrook) and freqent the market, as well as the RoseBank Cafe at the Bohicket Marina. I also am sorry about your experiences in Downtown Charleston, but I could have warned you. They are mostly tourist driven and mediocre as you said. There are a few gems but you gotta know where to go. The wife and I avoid downtown like the plague during tourist season. (which gets longer every year!!) There are GREAT restaurants "Around" Charleston again you gotta talk to the locals! (That's me ---so email or post next time you want to head to Charleston!)