When finals were over, I could not have been more excited to go home for the summer. I was ready to head back and get some rest from the chaos. Now that I am well rested, I have been thinking about how much I miss the food in my favorite city. My town has its share of local treasures, but nothing beats the southern flavors in Charleston.
1. Cupcakes from Cupcake Down South
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a cupcake fiend, and nothing seems to measure up to Cupcake Down South. Wherever I go, I try to be optimistic that somewhere will have a similar cupcake, but nothing matches up. Not only did Cupcake Down South just introduce some new booze-infused flavors, they know how to honor the classics.
My personal favorite cupcake is a good ol’ Black and White. It may seem boring, but Cupcake Down South’s moist chocolate cake is nothing to be overlooked. Their chocolate cake isn’t too sweet, which is the perfect compliment to their vanilla buttercream. Cupcake, keep doing what you do. I miss you and I’ll see you the day I get back in August.
2. Gnocchi Verde from Muse
When the gnocchi arrived at my table for the first time, I thought I was going to be disappointed because it was a very small portion and I am not about that life. After I bit into the first gnocchi, the first word that came out of my mouth was “pillows.” Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for this incredibly accurate description because that was the description on the menu.
These gnocchi were so rich, but delicate at the same time and I just could not stop myself from going back for more. It appeared to be a small portion, but the dish was so rich that I ended up being perfectly satisfied at the end. If you want to know how to make your own gnocchi, check out this article.
#SpoonTip: Add the butter poached lobster to the gnocchi if you are feeling fancy.
3. Sandwiches from Caviar and Bananas
Caviar has always been my go-to for most food items because I lived next door, which was lucky for me, but not for my wallet. I have tried most of what Caviar has to offer and what they do best is make unique and tasty sandwiches. I started out just creating my own sandwiches, not knowing the genius behind the sandwiches that were on the menu.
By far the best sandwich I had from Caviar was a steak sandwich that happened to be the sandwich of the day. I was hesitant because it had blue cheese, but I put my trust into the sandwich makers. I am glad I did because it is one of the best sandwiches I have ever had. In summary, put down that salad and go to the sandwich station, you know you want to.
4. Breakfast from Jack’s Cafe
Nothing cures a hangover quite like Jack’s. It’s no coincidence that they have an item on the menu specifically called the “Hangover Cure.” There is nothing like classic diner food to start your morning off right. Jack’s sticks to tradition and they have nothing to hide because you get to watch them cook the food.
For a foodie like myself, watching the cook make the food on the griddle was mesmerizing. You don’t have to sit at your table, wondering when your food is going to come because you can see them cooking it right in front of your eyes. Even though watching them cook can be awesome, it can also be bad because it makes you want everything on the menu.
#SpoonTip: Get the home fries, they are life changing.
5. Ice cream from Jeni’s
There is a good reason why there is a huge line outside of Jeni’s on any given summer night. I might be bias, but I think that Jeni’s has the best ice cream I have ever tasted. Jeni’s may be a chain, but it has a local identity in Charleston. They incorporate southern flavors like bourbon salted pecan and Savannah buttermint.
The best part about Jeni’s is that you get to combine multiple flavors in one visit. They allow you to get 2, 3, or 4 flavors in one cup/cone. My personal favorite combo is Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet with Sweet Cream. It is like the best whipped cream you’ve ever had in ice cream form combined with the best pear you’ve ever had. You are welcome.
6. Sushi from Tasty Thai
That picture though… Need I say more? Tasty Thai is the perfect place to go when you are wandering around King Street and need some sushi. They have a huge menu, so no need to settle for a California Roll (not hating, they are delicious too).
7. Bacon Wrapped Scallops from Coast
Coast is my go-to place when I am craving seafood. I am glad that Coast is tucked away behind Rue de Jean because I want all of the Bacon Wrapped Scallops for myself. It may sound simple, but Coast switches up the typical Bacon Wrapped Scallop by coating it in a sweet pomegranate barbecue sauce and serving it over a light salad.
Coast has so many delicious items on the menu that every time I go, I cannot choose just one. Instead of getting one big meal, I prefer having two different appetizers for around the same price. Aside from the scallops, I recommend trying one of their ceviches to really get your seafood fix.
8. Fried Shrimp Platter from Dave’s Carry-Out
If you live up in the Morris/Cannon/Spring Street area, you have probably walked by Dave’s multiple times and not noticed it. Dave’s may look like a hole-in-the-wall from the outside, but Dave is cooking up some delicious fried seafood on the inside.
Everything is fried to order and he does not skimp on the portion. For $8, you get a ton of fried shrimp and a heaping pile of fries. It is the perfect meal to recover from a long day of day drinking.
9. Chicken and Waffles from Kickin’ Chicken
There are plenty of places to get chicken and waffles in Charleston, but I like that Kickin’ Chicken keeps it simple and affordable. Kickin’ Chicken may be known for its amazing drunchies, but don’t count out the chicken and waffles. The chicken nuggets are easier to handle than a big ol’ piece of fried chicken, so you can get it down the hatch faster.
It comes with syrup, as it should. I have been to places that cover their chicken and waffles in gravy and that was appalling to me. Chicken and waffles are a match made in heaven because they can both be doused in syrup and taste amazing.
#SpoonTip: Order a side of hot sauce as well for a slice of sweet and spicy heaven.
10. Sweet Corn Bisque from Fuel
On a college budget, usually I do not spring for appetizers unless my parents are in town. I am so glad that my dad decided to order this soup when he came to town. This soup is everything you want: creamy, sweet, salty, and spicy. I know people usually share appetizers, but definitely keep this one all for yourself.
If my favorite soup is not convincing you enough, consult Guy Fieri about what you should get at Fuel. That’s right, Fuel is so delicious that it was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
11. Hot dogs from Parlor Deluxe
There is nothing more comforting than a good hot dog. Parlor Deluxe steps up the hot dog game by adding some crazy toppings. Pictured below are the “Royale with Cheese” and the “Tropic Hunger.” The Royale with Cheese is a messy, but delicious experience. It is topped with spray cheese, chili, mustard, and chopped onions. If you are watching your calories, it is probably not the best option.
To complement your hot dog, make sure to order some delicious tots. Pictured above are the sour cream and onion tots, which delivered on the flavor. If you are still not satisfied after the hefty hot dogs and tots, try some of their desserts. They offer classic milkshakes and waffles. It is the place to go to indulge some of your guilty pleasures.