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Charleston: So fresh your mouth won’t know what hit it

on August 27, 2012

This weekend I took Courtney to my favorite city in South Carolina, Charleston. I was blown away by the local food movement in Charleston and wanted to share my experiences. Courtney and I were in Charleston to visit Cameron, a sous chef at Oak Steakhouse. As soon as we arrived to the charming city, Cameron took us to dinner at the Macintosh off King Street, the Oak’s “sister” restaurant. Chef Jeremiah Bacon was destined to be a chef. Everything is better with bacon, right? He is doing some amazing things at the Macintosh and strives to incorporate local ingredients into his unique Southern dishes. We ordered multiple appetizers and one of my favorites was the pork ravioli with South Carolina creamed corn puree, charred corn, onion and basil. I was ecstatic to meet Chef Jeremiah Bacon, who is a genuine person dedicated to providing fresh, homegrown food to his customers.

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On Saturday morning we strolled through the Charleston Farmers Market in Marion Square. The produce was abundant at the market and I enjoyed walking around talking to the farmers. Not only does the Charleston Farmers Market offer fresh local foods, they also support local businesses. You can purchase anything at the market from South Carolina themed coasters to goat cheese!

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While at the market, I finally got my Roti Rolls fix! Cameron has been raving about Roti Rolls for weeks, a food truck dedicated to the “farm to table” movement. Roti Rolls is Charleston’s first “farm to truck” and offers a local, fresh, and seasonal menu. Imagine wrapping Asian, Indian, Caribbean, Latin and Southern cuisine in roti bread. We tried multiple Roti Rolls and I was impressed with the creative food. My roti roll had some unique toppings like homemade pimento cheese and curried potatoes. Southern met Indian in my roti roll, something I didn’t think could happen in such a delicious manner! I also enjoyed the side of fresh watermelon, which I’m sure Corey and the Roti Rolls gang purchased from the farmer’s booth right next door.

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After spending the morning at the Charleston Farmers Market, Courtney and I hit the beach at Sullivan’s Island. The weather was gorgeous and after getting sunburned we definitely needed a beer. Poe’s Tavern conveniently had two open seats at the bar. We posted up and ordered a local Mt. Pleasant brew, the White Thai from Westbrook Brewery. The White Thai is the perfect summer beer and was brewed just a few miles from where we were sitting. How refreshing and local!

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We made our way to Bowen’s Island Seafood for dinner. I had the frogmore stew, a traditional Charleston dish. I already know what you’re thinking…no, the dish doesn’t include frog parts! Frogmore stew is a dish made with sausage, shrimp, potatoes and corn. The shrimp is caught a few miles from Bowen’s Island Seafood and tastes extremely fresh. For 13 bucks, I had enough food to feed a small army. I recommend eating at Bowen’s Island Seafood if you want delicious food and a great view of a famous Charleston sunset over the water.

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For Sunday brunch we paid a visit to one of Charleston’s most popular restaurants, Husk. Husk’s menu changes daily and the local meats, produce and products are listed on a large chalkboard next to the hostess stand. Husk purchases local foods from farmers in South Carolina and also offers other products from North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia when needed. One of my favorite appetizers was the grilled crostinis with pimento cheese and bacon jam. Not only is the food local, the plateware is too!

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It’s easy to support the local food economy and you can see this in full circle in Charleston. Farmers, restaurants and businesses are working together to provide people with fresh, local products. Take a stroll through the Charleston Farmers Market and I guarantee you’ll witness what I’m talking about. I enjoyed my trip to the beautiful city of Charleston. I promise you can’t keep me away for too long!

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