Writer Daniel Browne isn’t necessarily a food writer, but the topic pops up frequently in his work (his latest story, in Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, is now available as a free download). I’d tell you why, but I’d spoil the story. Let’s let him explain how he ate so damn well on his latest trip to Charleston, South Carolina.
When your wife is a seasoned food professional (or rather a seasoned professional in the food world, not a professional who deals only with seasoned food—although, I’m sure all the food Lisa writes about for work is well-seasoned)…Let’s start again.
When your wife is a food writer and editor, you tend to eat well on vacation. As usual, Lisa had planned the itinerary for our long weekend in Charleston to a T: a few reservations at respected restaurants, a few lunch options, plenty of opportunity to play it by ear. So I was fully expecting to eat well.
What I wasn’t expecting was a food town to rival Portland, Oregon, my favorite eating destination in the country. Not only was every single meal in Charleston remarkable, just about every server we encountered was warm, knowledgeable, and serious about their food. Charleston doesn’t seem to have the same reputation in the gastrosphere as Portland, but that may have more to do with a lack of hipster signifiers than a lack of worthy eats. Here are a few of the highlights:
Hope and Union
For years, my favorite coffee spot has been the lobby of the Ace Hotel in Portland (last Portland reference, I promise!), but Hope and Union (199 Saint Philip Street) gives it a run for its money. As at the Ace, the coffee is Stumptown and the drinks are made with care by friendly, good-looking youths (or as a New Yorker visiting the South is obligated to say, “yoots”). The difference is that Hope and Union, like so many things of interest in Charleston, is located in an old house on a quiet side street—a house with a wraparound porch. Sitting on that porch, nursing a latte while regulars drift in from the beach…it’s the kind of experience that gets you thinking seriously about relocating. [UPDATE: , restaurants, south carolina, the grocery