Wando Shrimp Co.Just back from a three and a half day Southern Foodways Alliance trip to Charleston, SC to experience lowcountry cooking at its best. Lots of good food, including delicious riffs on southern favorites such as she crab soup, shrimp and grits and lots more. Fabulous food at Slightly North of Broad, aka SNOB, McCrady’s, along with a breakfast “Big Nasty” from Hominy Grill, and a fun dinner on-site at the Old City Jail with food from Magnolia’s, SNOB and Louis’s Charleston Restaurant. A gorgeous stroll, lunch and history talk at Middleton Place plantation with the oldest landscaped garden in the US, and lots of Charleston’s muggy, hot weather.

Imagine a Hurricane Hugo wrecked ship named Richard & Charlene that came loose from the dock during the fierce hurricane. The wreck sat impaled on the bare pilings for nine months until salvagers removed the remains. The Wreck of the Richard & Charlene is the funky restaurant that sits at the wreck’s site on Shem Creek as a reminder of Hugo’s destruction. Immediately next door, at the end of the road is Wando Shrimp Co. where workers sort just caught shrimp. The restaurant serves greaseless shell-on fried shrimp, so tasty you can eat the shell and this brunch was a perfect ending to the trip.

San Diego could take a page from the food and service that marks many of Charleston’s restaurants. Chef-owned venues serve fresh local ingredients in dishes that keep southern traditions, yet push taste and presentation to more modern creations. Southern hospitality can’t be beat in this wonderful city founded in 1680 that oozes history everywhere you turn.

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