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Charleston trip report

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Boston hound here reporting on a lovely chow visit last weekend. Many thanks to the posters on this board but need to single out Sue in Mt P for constantly valuable contributions. Four restaurants and all were excellent. I wish Boston had that kind of batting average. First meal was dinner at Hominy Grill: Shrimp and Grits, Tomato Pudding and a couple of pieces of fried chicken dark. Everything was very good but the tomato pudding was a revelation, sweet with intense tomato flavor. Shrimp and grits had perfectly cooked shrimp and fancy grits with bacon and mushrooms. Fried chicken good but not the best i had (see later). FIG was all everyone claims on this board. Local food cooked with flair and excellence. The gnocchi with bolognese made with local lamb may be the lightest and largest gnocchi I've ever had. Size wasn't a virtue but the cloud-like texture certainly was exquisite. Sauce was mopped up with local bread (Normandy bakery) with an excellent crust and great butter from a local farm. I was very impressed that my waitress (Andrea) knew all sourcing details. Service was charming, unpretentious and informed. My entree was roasted tilefish fillet with Romesco sauce and another winner. Portions are ample without being obesity inducing. Next day, a late lunch at Jestines featured an excellent fried chicken basket with fried okra, cole slaw and lovely housemade pickles. Second best fried chicken ever (Strouds in KC can never be beat). Dinner at 5 Loaves Bakery was a nice crab and arugula spaghetti with a nice light crab infused broth. Great value at $13. I ordered a coconut cake to snarf on the plane with a leftover piece of cold fried chicken from Jestines. Charleston strikes me as a great and growing chow town with lots of excellence in the mid-price range. You could teach us a thing or too on this point. By the way, I passed two interesting places on Spring at Rutledge that were closed on a Sunday morning: D&D Soul Food and Xiao Bao Biscuit (in a partially refurbished gas station). Any chow buzz on either of these?

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  1. Aw, thanks. You are a sweety pie.

    If/when you come back, do check out the Ordinary.

    I love Romanesco sauce and you just don't see it much, except of course at FIG.

    Jestine's doesn't get much love on here but I always liked it. The chicken is great, the whiting is special and those pickles!

    I can't help you with the last two, but I bet somebody can. If you want a real soul food experience go to Martha Lou's. But not on Sunday!

    1. Ooohhh that tomato pudding...I love it so

      1. yes. the tomato pudding knocked it out of the park. Is there a recipe for that anywhere or is it just SC tomatoes that make the difference. Where is Mary Lou's? I attach a few drawings for Hominy Grill, FIG and Xiao Bao Biscuit (slightly fancied up) to entice responses.

        6 Replies
        1. re: gourmaniac

          yes. the tomato pudding knocked it out of the park. Is there a recipe for that anywhere or is it just SC tomatoes that make the difference. Where is Mary Lou's? I attach a few drawings for Hominy Grill, FIG and Xiao Bao Biscuit (slightly fancied up) to entice responses.

          sorry drawing were misoriented. here they are replaced.

           
           
           
          1. re: gourmaniac

            Nice drawings, wow!

            If you email me (on my profile) I'll send you the recipe for my grandmother Blanche Pickens' tomato pudding. It's very much like the one at Hominy.

            1. re: gourmaniac

              Ooohhh do you have more? These are awesome!

              1. re: LaLa

                There are several other drawings from the trip but only only one is food related, Jestine's which i haven't scanned. Here are a couple of street scenes.

                 
                 
                1. re: gourmaniac

                  You are very talented!!! Thanks for sharing!

            2. re: gourmaniac

              Mary Lou's is on Morrison Drive, which is basically what East Bay turns into as you leave the downtown area. It's only about 10 minutes away. I've never eaten there, but driven by it.