Lessons #76-78: Lessons from Charleston Part I

by Rachel on May 17, 2011

Oh, the things we learn when we are traveling! About ourselves, about our companions, about our destination, about why packing light is a good idea…the list goes on.

I learned a lot of lessons during my vacation with Eric to Charleston and Savannah last week, lessons I feel compelled to share with you all over the next few days! Here are my lessons from our first evening in Charleston…

Lesson #76: Delicious lowcountry cuisine + a good ghost story = the perfect Southern dining experience.

Wednesday night, Eric and I got to our hotel around 6:00 and decided to pretty much head right out for dinner. As I changed into my new blue dress, I read through all the comments on my blog, pulled up some menus, and decided on Poogan’s Porch, both because the first thing I saw on the website was buttermilk fried chicken, and the next thing I saw was “third most haunted place in America.”

That did it! We were there.

While we didn’t have any ghost sightings, the entire experience was still pretty great. I ordered the buttermilk fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy and spinach. Eric has this rule that we can’t both order the same thing when we go out to dinner…which is really annoying and sort of a pain when you’re dining somewhere that has something you both need to order, like buttermilk fried chicken. He got a pork dish that came with pulled BBQ pork and pork belly, gouda mac and cheese, and collard greens.

The fried chicken was one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted, and that gravy? Oh my goodness! It was one of those times when I’m eating food so good, I think, “Oh…so this is what this food is actually supposed to taste like.” When it happens (rarely!) I feel like I’m in The Giver, being given the sensation of that food for the first time.

Eric’s pork was delicious too, especially the BBQ pork, but it just was no where near as good as that chicken.

For dessert, Eric ordered the bread pudding and I went with the strawberry cobbler. Did you know strawberry cobbler is a thing? I didn’t. But it is. A really, really good thing. The sweet warm strawberries were topped with crumbles and powdered sugar and vanilla ice cream. It kinda set my world on fire.

As we dug into our desserts, I looked deep into Eric’s eyes and told him that he needed to pace himself with the dessert. I stroked his hand lovingly across the table.

“You need to make sure you don’t want to pass out as soon as we get back to the hotel tonight,” I said evenly. “Because we’re on vacation and…I WON’T take no for an answer.”

It’s hard to catch Eric off guard, but that did it. He cracked up and then I turned really red, as I often do when I’ve said something out loud that sounded really different in my head. But I recovered and we both laughed for like five minutes.

The original plan for after dinner had been to go to Rooftop Bar at Vendue Inn but we honestly couldn’t eat or drink another bite, so we just ended up walking around the King Street area for about an hour, just taking it all in. Charleston is totally romantic…well, let me rephrase that.

Lesson #77: If you visit Charleston when you’re single, you’ll undoubtedly think it’s super romantic and feel sad that you’re single. But if you actually visit with a guy, you’ll realize that no amount of palmetto trees or great lighting or cobblestones are going to get him to get all misty-eyed over you unless that’s the sort of thing he does everywhere.

As we were walking around King Street, we passed a Smart Car with a custom black-and-white paint job. As we approached it, two guys were passing it at the same time, but walking toward us. After we passed each other, Eric started chuckling.

“I can’t believe that guy just called you a zebra,” he said.

“Um…did you not see the zebra print paint job on the car we just walked by?” I said. He turned around and just then saw the car.

“And…why are you laughing at the thought of someone calling me a zebra?” I went on. “How is that funny?”

“I just thought it was very…audacious,” he said. “I mean…I thought they just didn’t take too kindly to your type down here.”

Lesson learned, right?

Lesson #78: When you find yourself in Charleston eating the best fried chicken of your life, seriously, pace yourself. And then walk in off with a post-dinner stroll around town. Not only will you thank yourself when you’re shedding your new dress later in the evening, but the leftovers you bring home will make for the best bangover breakfast ever when eaten in conjunction with a waffle from the hotel breakfast spread.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 melissa (fitnessnyc) May 17, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I’ve only been to charleston with my parents, probably not a good judge of its romantic qualities. Now I really want to go back, so charming.

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2 Dori May 17, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Perfect. So, so perfect. I love what you said to Eric over dessert. Sounds like something I’d say.

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3 Mel May 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm

LOL @ Eric’s “romantic” side.

I had a similar dine -> walk -> hotel bone -> leftovers experience the other day. With the largest chocolate souffle cake. That was free. O face!

Can’t wait to hear more!

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4 Lauren at Keep It Sweet May 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm

SUCH good advice! lol biggest downside to a huge amazing dinner is going home too full to do anything but pass out.

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5 [SMASH] at Sweat. Style. Swoon. May 17, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Yum. I read this at exactly the right time, as I’m about to leave work for lunch. Incredibly hungry now. Eating on vacation is probably like the best thing ever.

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6 Jane May 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I just stumbled across your blog and it’s super cute! I love Charleston, it’s such a beautiful city. I totally agree, Poogan’s Porch is AMAZING! Their food is so so good…actually that restaurant Husk that is right next door is pretty great as well, not as “Southern” but still delicious :)

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7 Parita @ myinnershakti May 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Those desserts sound amazing and gouda mac n’ cheese…sign me up! And Charleston was the first place my bf and I went on our own after dating – I can relate to SO much of this!

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8 Sonia May 17, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Rachel,
This was laugh out loud funny until I read, “I can’t believe that guy just called you a zebra,” he said.
“And…why are you laughing at the thought of someone calling me a zebra?” I went on. “How is that funny?” “I just thought it was very…audacious,” he said. “I mean…I thought they just didn’t take too kindly to your type down here.”

Am I the only one this made uncomfortable? You dropped this bomb on me then nothing. Why? Did I miss something? Am I reading into something here?

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9 Rachel May 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm

“You dropped this bomb on me and then nothing.”

Hmmm…I’m not sure what else you needed from me here! But I will try to clarify…most of the time when I talk about things that happen to me that involve people’s reactions to my confusing racial background, the response is that sort of “I can’t believe someone would actually say that…it’s so clearly ignorant that it’s almost funny” laugh. And that’s pretty much what Eric’s reaction was, but I initially took it more as him just actually thinking it was funny. In reality, he was doing the “I’m laughing because I couldn’t believe that people actually are really that racist in the South.”

Does that make more sense?

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10 Hannah May 17, 2011 at 5:37 pm

All of that sounds soooooo good. I love bbq pork, but that chicken? Sounds completely mouthwatering. Can’t wait to read more lessons!

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11 Michelle... May 17, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I’m so jealous you got to eat at Poogan’s Porch! We found out the hard way when I was there in March that reservations are de rigeur on the weekend in Charleston…ALL the good restaurants were completely booked! And they don’t save seats for walk-ins!

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12 Rachel May 18, 2011 at 9:54 am

I think March might be more of tourist season! But we called most places for dinner reservations like an hour before and had no problems getting tables!

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13 Sable May 18, 2011 at 8:30 am

hahahahah I am cracking up about the zebra thing. lol!!

I hhhhhate when a big dinner ruins what could be a big night.

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