Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Everything I Ate On Our Charleston Road Trip

I love food! I’m sure I’m not alone in that, but when I travel I have to be careful that the whole trip doesn’t become about eating all the things. On my latest trip, I traveled with a friend to Charleston, South Carolina and definitely had some mind-blowing dishes and drinks.

We started out early Saturday morning and while I planned on stopping for McD’s or Starbucks on our road trip, we had a bit of a detour because I was so excited that I missed our first turn. Doh!

After that fiasco it was such smooth sailing that we both commented on it as we arrived at almost exactly the time I estimated AND we stopped in Pooler, GA at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen to enjoy a sit down lunch. Their Buffalo chicken sandwich with baked potato side sounded good and not too heavy.

Buffalo wrap with baked potato at Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen

It’s definitely something I would order again, but their menu was expansive so I’m sure I’ll head to our local Cheddar’s to try something out sometime. I was driving, so I didn’t try a drink which will happen a few more times on the trip, but I also got to a point where I’d had plenty of alcohol, plus it can get expensive if you indulge at every meal. Am I right?!

Since we arrived in the late afternoon on Saturday and had a carriage ride scheduled I had penciled in a cheap sandwich spot I had found but we ended up trying something with a little more night life and it was a great choice. While we have Ale House in St Pete and I’ve been to the one in Orlando, Carolina Ale House had quite a selection of local fare, food and drink offerings. It’s also close to being a rooftop dining spot and we were seated just inside from the patio so we had some pretty great views. I always like to see what restaurants have for special drinks and dishes and as soon as I saw that the Nacho Burger included chips and salsa I was sold!

Carolina Ale House shot of building outside

I also tried some sort of South Carolina Sangria that I don’t know the name of and now I’m kicking myself because their mixed drinks aren’t listed online. It was a typical sangria so it doesn’t really matter, but I know I thought the name was cute! Also, I only managed to get a picture of the drink and not the burger. To be fair, when they brought out my dish it had fries instead of the chips and salsa so I was a bit flustered waiting on my coveted chips and salsa!!

Carolina Ale House Red Sangria

Sunday morning is all about the brunch and even though our hotel had complimentary breakfast I wanted to try out a breakfast place while we were there so we hit up Kitchen 208. I loved that we didn’t need a reservation and even when we walked past this restaurant a couple times throughout the weekend there was always a table so they have plenty of seating despite their good reviews. I had the Charleston breakfast platter, and a strawberry mimosa. One of the reasons I decided to go with this restaurant is their mimosas were so affordable. I’ve been places where they were charging $9 for a mimosa which to me is just highway robbery, but I’ll happily buy one or two $4 glasses anytime.

Bacon, eggs, biscuit and mimosa at Kitchen 208 in Charleston

Kitchen 208 outside building shot

One of the places that was recommended on several blogs and also by a coworker was Magnolia’s. Now, the dinner prices were not what I was looking to pay so I scheduled us to eat there for Sunday lunch/brunch and it worked out perfectly. Even though we ate only a few hours earlier, after we did the Sunday morning market downtown we hopped over to Magnolia’s on the way to our next stop and were able to get a table right away. Brunch here was the perfect way to try one of the best places we ate in Charleston while keeping to my budget. We shared the Down South Egg Rolls which were one of the highlights of my foodie weekend, so good!

Southern Egg roll at Magnolia's

I went with a cup of the blue crab bisque and finished off my meal with a cranberry and pear turnover from their specials menu. I loved that while it was dessert to me, it wasn’t technically on the dessert menu, lol. For my drink, I tried their white sangria and it was on par with most sangrias, but nothing compared to the food. My friend Jessica on the other hand tried more of a specialty drink and she loved it.

Cranberry apple turnover at Magnolia's

Sunday night, we tried a restaurant that we stumbled upon very close to our hotel and the visitor center, SOL Southwest Kitchen. I’m always up for Mexican food and Jessica knows this about me so after we confirmed that their reviews were at least four stars we added it to the list. It did not disappoint! In fact, my favorite drink of the trip was here. I’m a margarita drinker and love when they have specialty margaritas, especially Holiday themed. After getting a glimpse of the picture worthy margarita, I had my first sip and my taste buds had a joyful celebration. I immediately snapped a picture of the ingredients because I was going to need to recreate this with my bartender sister again before the Holiday season was over.

chips and salsa with holiday themed cranberry spiced margarita from SOL Southwest Kitchen

tacos, rice and beans from SOL Southwest kitchen

While I enjoyed the salsa, and my tacos were great the star of Sunday dinner was definitely the Cranberry Spiced Margarita. If you’re in the Charleston area this Holiday season make sure to stop in for this drink ASAP!

me posing with my festive cranberry margarita

I think we finally tried the cupcake shop around the corner from our hotel on Sunday night. We ate such great food that we weren't ever walking around hungry, so on our way back to the hotel we stopped and picked out a cupcake to try from Cupcakes Down South. Of course, I had the mint chocolate and while it was delicious, it was so sweet and I couldn't finish it. The girls that run this shop were so nice, and if you're looking for a cupcake place downtown Charleston, definitely check out Cupcakes Down South.

mint chocolate cupcake

Monday and Tuesday morning we enjoyed the complimentary breakfast at The Hampton Inn we stayed at. They had a wide variety of food and while it wasn’t anything to rave about it was free. Their coffee on the other hand was definitely something to mention. I didn’t feel a need to stop at Starbucks once on this trip and I’d say that’s quite a feat.

continental breakfast including oatmeal, bagel with cream cheese, sausage and orange juice.

Monday lunch was probably the most disappointing of our trip. Since I was trying not to be too much of a time organizer, we changed up some things and ended up in Mount Pleasant for lunch on our way to Boone Plantation. We quickly used the good ol’ internet search for “Mount Pleasant restaurants” and there were multiple 4+ star restaurants so we chose the first one, Graze. It reminded me of a place I would go to at lunch with coworkers or my dad that catered to multiple generations of clientele. Our service was almost non-existent and neither of us finished our food. I tried the Citrus Chili Short Rib tacos and while there was a lot of meat on the tacos, the crema and mango relish which highlighted this dish for me were minimal and drowned out by the barbecue flavor of the meat.

brazed tacos with fries

Since we live near beach vacation spots I knew I wanted to check out what Charleston had to offer. While it was much smaller than Clearwater or St. Pete beach, I loved how quaint Folly Beach was. Our final food stop in Charleston was recommended on several blogs, including Biana at B Loved Boston and that was Taco Boy. Since they had a Folly beach location that was our destination and the hype was well deserved. I loved their ambiance, the salsa trio gave us several options to taste and of course their ala carte taco selection was on par. I tried the Taco Americano which is a more traditional ground beef taco and the Sautéed Shrimp since we were at the beach, hello seafood! They were both delicious!

tacos, chips and salsa trio at Taco Boy Folly beach loaction

I couldn't talk about food and not mention the dessert and hot cocoa we had at the one Christmas thing we went to, Holiday Festival of Lights. After you drive through dozens of light displays at a local county park you can stop in and do a number of things including visiting their snack shop where I tried a delicious peanut butter chocolate cake and of course we got some hot cocoa to warm us up!

chocolate peanut butter cake and hot cocoa with cookies

While we could have stayed and hung out in Charleston for one last morning we decided to hit the road and meet up with a friend of mine for lunch in Jacksonville on our way back. While I was researching Charleston restaurant suggestions, I came across a Charleston blogger that mentioned a Mexican restaurant on her last road trip. I was disappointed to find out it wasn’t in Charleston, but I immediately penciled it in as somewhere we could stop on our road trip since it was in Jacksonville aka on the way. Cantina Louie is definitely a place I’ll be going again when I’m in Jacksonville. I had the Chimi Chimi Bang Bang taco, delicious and tried their Taco Tijuana with Chorizo which was amazing!

shrimp taco and ground beef traditional taco with chips and salsa

All in all, our food adventures in Charleston and during our road trip were some of the best food I’ve had on vacation. When people have asked me how the trip was, I mention the regular touristy things like rainbow row but I also make sure to tell them about Magnolia’s, and the amazing drink at SOL Southwest Kitchen. Thanks for being scrumptious Charleston!

Do you like to try a lot of local cuisine when you travel?


  1. Oh my goodness all of this food looks so good!!! My stomach just audibly growled! Good thing it is close to lunch time so I can eat soon! One of my absolute favorite things to do when traveling is try all new to me places! Everything you had looks so delicious and I will definitely have to save this to look back on if I travel to Charleston. I know from picture that it is a beautiful town!

  2. Buffalo chicken wraps are one of my favorite things-- that one looks so good! I remember walking by Kitchen 208 a bunch of times the last time I was in Charleston, but we never made it to eat there. We did have dinner at Magnolias and had one of the best appetizers ever! I would love to go for brunch one day if we ever visit again.

  3. I'm all about all of those desserts. YUMMMMMM

  4. Everything looks delicious and this post just made me so incredibly hungry ha!

  5. One of my favorite things about travel is the food.

  6. I'm officially drooling! Taco boy was one of our favorites! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston


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