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Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Tell us about it

4 girls..4 days in Charleston

jl0328 Feb 10, 2013 07:29 AM

Looking forward to our first trip to Charleston, however having a hard time trying to figure out how to fit all the fantastic places into our itinerary. We'll arrive around lunch time on Saturday and fly out late Tuesday afternoon.

We're thinking about doing a byo sunset cruise one of the nights, so if there's a place with a great late night specials (after 8:30ish) - let me know!

On our list of restaurants:
McCrady's (worth the whole experience or just have some snacks and cocktails at the bar?)
The Ordinary (maybe just happy hour?)
The Hominy Grill (better for brunch or lunch?)
Rutledge Cab Co (any reviews on this place yet?)

And for cocktails (and poss food):
Macintosh (bacon happy hour - yes, please!! Stay for dinner?)
Grocery (dirty pickle martini) - worth staying for dinner? or brunch? Very excited to see they are counting down to soft shells.
Pearlz ($5 martini happy hour)
Closed for Business
Gin Joint
Bin 152

Is the coconut cake at the Peninsula Grill worth a taste? What else must we try while in Charleston?

Are there any good places to grab a drink and see live music?

  1. c
    cocobinga Apr 26, 2013 09:17 AM

    I was just doing some research for my own trip and couldn't find the details on The Ordinary's happy hour. Could someone fill me in, please?

    2 Replies
    1. re: cocobinga
      IOPfoodie Apr 26, 2013 09:29 AM

      I don't believe they have a happy hour special, but they do have a nice bar with a great wine list and cocktails. Food is excellent - if you don't stay for dinner, at least try an oyster slider while you are there!

      1. re: IOPfoodie
        Sue in Mt P Apr 26, 2013 10:42 AM

        I so agree! Last time I was there we had Capers Blades- so good.

        Happy hours specials are meant to bring in business. I don't think Chef Mike needs that kind of help.

    2. s
      six dower Feb 15, 2013 02:24 PM

      On our list of restaurants:
      McCrady's - snacks and cocktails at the bar
      Husk – yes for lunch or dinner, the bar is very cool
      FIG – a must for dinner
      The Ordinary (maybe just happy hour?) - Only happy hour, great atmosphere, very small bites
      The Hominy Grill (better for brunch or lunch?) - breakfast or brunch only
      Rutledge Cab Co (any reviews on this place yet?) - great for dinner, drinks, and atmosphere
      And for cocktails (and poss food):
      Macintosh (bacon happy hour - yes, please!! Stay for dinner?) Brunch is great or drinks and apps. Skip the dinner
      Grocery (dirty pickle martini) – No. Bad food, bad atmosphere
      Pearlz ($5 martini happy hour) – too many other options. Put this on your next trip list
      Closed for Business – next trip list
      Gin Joint – drinks only
      Bin 152 – great wine list, very laid back atmosphere – perhaps next trip?
      Is the coconut cake at the Peninsula Grill worth a taste? NO! I was very disappointed in the food and the cake. If you want sweets, check out Christophe Bakery or Glazed Donuts. The Carmel Cake at Halls is very good.
      What else must we try while in Charleston? – Caviar and Bananas for quick lunch, very good local items for purchase
      Halls ChopHouse – great atmosphere for girls. Sit in the bar area and have drinks and apps prior to dinner or go after dinner for drinks. Very fun. If you want steak, this is the place to go.
      Stars – Rooftop bar is great. Skip the Vendue Inn or Pavilion. Too many tourists. Drinks only.

      1. i
        IOPfoodie Feb 13, 2013 01:44 PM

        You've got a good list going already! Here are some thoughts on your list from a local Charleston gal:

        I would suggest Fig & Husk a must for the more expensive dinner spots. McCrady's is awesome, but I like the vibe better as a date spot vs. dinner with the gals.

        Cru is great for lunch as is Gaulart & Maliclet, which is one of my favorite spots in all of Charleston (also good for a cup of french press coffee & a croissant!)

        The Grocery is good, but I find the atmosphere a bit drab - better for brunch!

        Hominy is a must for brunch! As is Red Drum in Mount Pleasant, if want to venture over the bridge.

        Pearlz has a fun happy hour - good vibe, great martinis.

        Macintosh is a must for cocktails and/or dinner after your cruise. Their happy hour doesn't actually serve Bacon, which is a little misleading!

        Cocktail Club rooftop is a great spot for drinks if its nice out - great cocktail & wine list.

        Have fun!

        1. b
          BetsyinKY Feb 12, 2013 03:16 PM

          We spend close to two weeks in Charleston each year and love to eat. I think you've got great choices on your list. I would move Hominy Grill to lunch or brunch, because while I like their dinner, I love their brunch menu more.

          I am one of those who loves the coconut cake at the Peninsula Grill. We are something of coconut cake connoisseurs and think it is the best we've ever had. Of course, some people are coconut cake lovers and some don't care for it to begin with. If you don't already like coconut, it's probably not worth the price or the effort. I love it so much that if it weren't for the price, I would pay to have it shipped here for holidays...and tell people that I made it! :)

          7 Replies
          1. re: BetsyinKY
            danna Feb 13, 2013 06:04 AM

            As a "coconut cake connoisseur" would you agree with me that the cake at PG is very far from the traditional southern coconut cake? I'm not saying things have to be authentic to be good...but I do think this cake is a departure. I suppose I just can't get past buttercream frosting on coconut cake.

            1. re: danna
              BetsyinKY Feb 18, 2013 04:06 PM

              Danna, I agree it is different than "traditional" coconut cake, but maybe that's why I like it so much. Around here, everybody's mama can make a good coconut cake. My mother-in-law makes a fantastic one, in fact. However, the one at PG is much more moist than many that I've had. Personally, I love the coconut anglaise between the layers. To me, it's traditional coconut cake that's been taken to the city. But, really, isn't that what a quite a few of of the menus in Charleston feature? It seems like authentic/traditional recipes that have been given a modern twist or touch appear on more than a few of the menus in the city and I don't have a problem with that.

              1. re: BetsyinKY
                danna Feb 19, 2013 09:48 AM

                You certainly are a good writer, Betsy. You almost had me convinced to give that cake another try. Almost. ;-)


              2. re: danna
                JayL Feb 19, 2013 10:41 AM

                There aren't that many "authentic" or "traditional" menu items at the downtown Charleston restaurants so I'm not sure that it's a huge deal the cake at PG is traditional or not. The menu at PG isn't authentically southern either.

                1. re: JayL
                  danna Feb 20, 2013 07:00 AM

                  seriously, Jay...you are arguing against a point I wasn't making. As I said above, things don't have to be authentic to be good. I don't LIKE the cake. I think it's unneccesarrily heavy and little to do with cake, just a preponderence of thick frosting. To each their own. i was merely curious about Betsy's thoughts on the subject of traditional coconut cake.

                  1. re: JayL
                    Sue in Mt P Feb 20, 2013 05:42 PM

                    So please detail where a visitor can get traditional or authentic menu items in the Historic District.

                2. re: BetsyinKY
                  Expat1234 Feb 18, 2013 07:38 PM

                  Having had PG Coconut Cake, my favorite is the traditional coconut cake at Hominy Grill.

                3. danna Feb 11, 2013 05:20 AM

                  That's a great list...having to trim it down is a good problem to have! FIG should be your first reservation. For my other 2 dinners, I would do Macintosh and one of the Sean Brock places. (actually *I* would do the Ordinary 'cause I'm dying to try it, but you should do FIG if you haven't been.

                  The only thing I see missing from your list is Cru. When I go to Charleston w/ my girlfriends, we always sit on the porch at lunch, eat the shrimp BLTs, and share a 1/2 bottle of Gruet for $20. It would be a perfect bit of festivity for 4 people, but not actually cause tipsiness which can be a BAD idea when you're about to go shopping on King street. (it wasn't on the menu last time I was there but they still had some)

                  I don't much care for the coconut cake, but it's a pretty bar and if you go, just order 1 for the 4 of you.

                  1. k
                    kdlalib Feb 10, 2013 06:25 PM

                    My parents live in Charleston, and I go almost every year. I haven't been to all the restaurants on your list because I tend to stick with the same places. FIG is AMAZING. Best meal I've ever had in Charleston. That would be #1 on my list. Definitely make reservations though because they book up fast.

                    I go to Hominy Grill almost every trip. They have the best shrimp n' grits. I've never been to their brunch. I would either do brunch or lunch and save FIG and/or Husk for dinner.

                    A recommendation: if you want just a good ole fashioned seafood joint, try The Wreck in Mt Pleasant (about 10 min outside of downtown Charleston). It does traditional fried/broiled seafood and it's super good.Unfortunately they don't take reservations and are always packed from Thurs--Sun. However, while you wait you can sit outside which faces the water, and have a drink. I've seen dolphins several times. It's gorgeous. Giada DeLaurentis recommended The Wreck on one of her shows.

                    1. e
                      Enfielder Feb 10, 2013 06:13 PM

                      I'd suggest staying for a meal at the Grocery - I think their food's great. I'm not so impressed by the coconut cake at the Peninsula Grill. You may want to take a look at the Five Loaves cafe for a light lunch one day.

                      1. Sue in Mt P Feb 10, 2013 08:47 AM

                        OK I'll start at the top.

                        McCrady's: I think it's worth the whole experience. I'd actually do the bar at Husk and supper at McCrady's but that's because I just like it better.

                        FIG is a must, as is the Ordinary. If you want to just do one or the other, given your time constraints, look at the menus to see what suits you.

                        Hominy is great for breakfast or lunch. Get the Sundrop cocktail.

                        Holly Herrick (google her) likes the Cab Co. I haven't been.

                        If there are softshells at the Grocery get them. I went twice last year - yum.

                        Closed for Business has an excellent beer selection and ok food. Gin Joint is fun, Bin 152 is busy later in the evening.

                        Some say the cocnut cake is worth it, some don't. I like it fine, but prefer the Coca Cola cake at jestine''s.

                        I don't know how you can fit all that in, but if you have a gap look at Tristan or Anson.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Sue in Mt P
                          lynnlato Feb 15, 2013 05:45 AM

                          Sue always has great advice and the OP has done her homework so whatever she decides sounds like she and the girls will have a great time.

                          I love the bar at Husk too. Get some well-crafted cocktails and a plate of sliced cured country ham and relax. I also like Bin 152. They do a great job of pairing wines w/ charcuterie and cheeses.

                          I'd also suggest if the weather is nice that you might head up to The Rooftop Bar at The Vendue Inn. Just go up for a drink and then maybe head over to Pearlz for your martinis and some oysters.

                          Oh, and if you are just out and about and want to check out the greatest cheese shop ever, head on over to Goat.Sheep.Cow and sample some cheeses and cured meats and they may even have a wine tasting going on. 106 Church St. http://www.goatsheepcow.com/

                          Enjoy y'all!

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