down south

Charleston, South Carolina

This unassuming little city down south  is actually a foodie haven. I didn’t realise this until my taxi driver informed me so I didn’t do nearly enough research before visiting.

Breakfast at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits. All the biscuits comes in pairs so the only way to try more than one is to go for the biscuit trio which allows you to choose any three biscuits. Biscuits are not to be confused with cookies, they’re more like scones. Usually I’m not a fan because they’re so dry, but these were actually quite moist. Is this a good enough reason to use the word moist?

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It was only 9 on a Saturday but the line for Glazed was long. A line which I joined. And boy was it worth it. The dough was that pillowy softness that I look for in doughnut. The raspberry icing was tart rather than overly sweet and the goat cheese was interesting. Lavender really does taste like soap, it reminds me of the time I convinced a colleague to eat the lavender macaron.

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On the plantation tour the guide mentioned that Jestine’s had been recently visited by Rachael Ray recently and she had given it a favourable review. As I was walking towards the spot I had picked for dinner I found it so I changed my plans. If the food wasn’t so good I might be insulted by the fact that the waiter also felt that since I was sitting alone I might want the newspaper as well. I prefer dark meat in chicken because there is less chance it gets overcooked because dry chicken is so difficult to eat especially when it’s fried and there is no sauce to lubricate the chewing process. I was pleasantly surprised that the chicken was cooked perfectly and the okra was beautiful. However when I was at the plantation I read that okra was used to induce abortions.

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It may have seemed like I spent the entire day eating but I did a lot of walking to make up for it. The historic architecture has been beautifully preserved with not a skyscraper in sight. The Charleston Single Home plan has a street facing door which does not lead into the house but onto a private piazza; in the middle of the piazza is the actual front door. The houses are painted in different colour combinations, with iron gates or brickwalls covered in ivy. The old oak trees that line the street just add to the atmosphere.

Other than walking downtown I also paid a visit to one of Charleston’s many antebellum plantations. Boone Hall was used in the filming of the series North and South and the movie The Notebook. The road of oaks that lead up to the gate of the house were planted in 1743. Since that time the plantation has grown pine, indigo plants, cotton, rice, pecans and made bricks.

Swing low, sweet chariot
Comin’ for to carry me home

A song that was often sung in the fields as a message to the slaves that the underground railroad was in town and here was a chance to escape. Slavery is one of the low points of human nature. And visiting the plantation reminds me of that. The fact that slaves were often divided up in wills and marriages among slaves were not considered legal. On site is a storyteller who talks about the Gullah culture – language, religion, lifestyle. That was the best of the guided talks which I would highly recommend.

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