Sunday, March 14, 2010

An Extended Weekend of Drinking and Eating: North and South of the Mason Dixon

This weekend Chris and I headed down to Charleston, South Carolina for the Charleston Brewvival. We had from 4pm Thurs night, until midnight Sunday to get there and back, and of course we had to fit as much in (our bellies) as possibly.

Thursday night we left in a hurry and got hungry just in time to stop at our favorite place off 95 in Richmond, VA,  Buzz and Ned's BBQ. Delicious food, but every time I eat there, the Bobby Flay Throwdown paraphernalia makes me feel like a tourist.

We got to SC late and I have been craving Seabiscuit Cafe's Ham Biscuits, but we were all too tired to get out of bed, so Monday morning began around 1pm with a light burger and a Duvel beer outside at Poe's Tavern, on Sullivan's Island. Poes has got to serve up one of the best burgers ever invented. Because of a law that they have in SC, in order to serve meat rare or medium rare, you must grind it in house. I am sure the restaurants are a bit frustrated by this, but it makes my tummy happy. The burgers are deliciously juicy, the buns a fresh and chewy and the mayonnaise is good too. I must also mention that their fries and fish tacos are incredible. My mouth is watering furiously just dreaming of it. Yummmmmm.

We headed into town after lunch to spend more money on beer at the Charleston Beer Exchange. They actually hosted the event we were in town for, the first annual Charleston Brewvival. Our friends who joined us for the weekend popped off to grab a hard coffee drink at East Bay Meeting House on the reccomendation of the guys at CBX. On our way to meet them we noticed Tavern a liquor store on the corener of Exchange and East Bay. Apparently it's been a Tavern since the 1700's and is one of the oldest buildings in Charleston. The guy in there was a trip, and pointed us in the direction of a unique present for Chris' dad, a bottle of Rum from Haiti, that arrived just prior to the quakes. I must say the day went particularly well excluding the East Bay Meeting House. We popped in looking for a caffeine boost and a minute to relax and didn't really get it. I'm not knocking the drinks but the decor is a bit stuffy and the music was too much, not very relaxing, then again, it wasnt really my style.

Le Creuset has a store in SC and I have been on the lookout for pate terrine since I took a Charcuterie class at L'Academie with Bonnie Moore. So we hopped over to King Street, grabbed a few things and headed off to the island in time for our reservations at Red Drum. The name is fun, the food is delicious, and my favorite part of it is that the dessert is just as delicious as the meal. I can't say enough good things about how nice it is to have a meal and have dessert be just as strong as the appetizers. The cheese tray had a great combo of Dante with truffle oil, and I got the donuts which were a bit hard, but delicious! The meal was awesome as usual. I've had 3 Berkshire pork chops in the last two weeks and theirs was the juciest. Our Rockfish ceviche was also really nice, the sweet fish complimented the dressing well. The other cool thing I got was the Charleston Port Sercial Special Reserve Madeira. Go to Red Drum, its delicious.

Finally after months of cravings we made it to breakfast at Sea Biscuit Cafe, and by made it I mean, I went and picked it up. We picked up a bunch of tasty biscuits with egg and extra ham (which by the way wasnt necessary because the regular was very generous). The biscuits are really best if someone else picks them up and brings them to you as you lay on the beach, but they are incredible if you have to work for them too.

Saturday around 1pm we made it to the Brewvival. Us ladies were way more sober than the dudes and we were very proud.  They had over 70 beers, and 27 Brewery, plus one importer. Sadly we missed the Bells, which I wanted to try, but we had so many incredible beers, I was a happy camper. My favorite was probably the Avery Meph Addict, a delicious, strong dark beer. If you want more details check out the Beer. Simple. post.

Dinner Saturday night was at Fish. Ben was still drunk so I don't know how much he enjoyed it. I can sum it all up and just tell you we had a duck course. The meal was awesome but the best part was that our waitress was great. Thanks, Amanda.

Next morning, Poe's begged us back. I just loooooove those juicy burgers.

We were too early to try another BBQ joint, or fried chicken in NC, I was searching for ever and decided on Parkers, but we just weren't hungry. Back in Richmond, late on a Sunday night, my phone found us another Poes, Poes II (actually called Poe's Pub). The bartender was a nice guy, very welcoming, seemed like he could pour a good drink. Chris got a surprisingly good ruben, decent fries (but not Poes I) and I got some not great chicken tenders, but the ruben made up for it.

Monday, after we came home I had sushi to calm my stomach, it was unhappy from overfilling it.

I had a dinner meeting at Cinghiale in Baltimore Monday night at 9pm. I knew I would be trying lots of wines, so I wanted to eat ahead of time and I was invited to have supper with Noah and Gabe.  I brought them some Red Square Tasmanian Cheese and Great Hill Blue to start off the evening. They were both super tasty. The blue was nice because it had strong flavors of lactose and was really creamy. The three of us made some super tasty pizzas. Gabe had made the dough earlier in the day. We made a potato rosemary and ham pizza with this amazing ham leg Noah cured himself. It was super sweet and still juicy. I am trying to convince him to make another one and let me photograph the process. We also made an eggplant, feta, pine nut pizza, and a veggie pizza and I cant remember the last kind but it was all soooo delicious.

At Cinghiale we had an appetizer course with lots of sliced cured meat, and some lentil salad. A warm appetizer course with fried cauliflower with an olive mayonnaise, and a wild mushroom bruschetta (these were my faves). Then came a course of three amazing pastas. I personally loved the Rabbit Agnolotti. The fish course was Grilled Black Bass with braised endive and lemon vinaigrette, which was basically a buerre blanc italian style. This was incredible. The berkshire pork shoulder seemed dry to me but that was my only true complaint. We finished the meal with some desserts, but like I said, no desserts beat Red Drum so I only took a few bites.

At the end of it all, I could barely walk.  Can I complain?