Our trip to Charleston last week was a family vacation with my parents, brother (who currently lives in Florida), and little sister. The week was spent on Isle of Palms, where we did all the great casual vacation stuff – morning walks, bike rides, long beach days, and grill out dinners.
Kenny and I are pretty big fans of Charleston. We spent our first anniversary there, as well as championed for it to be the spot of his family vacation last year (which it was). We love it because we know there is so much to do, and we’re the type that really like to do. So on a night where my family just wanted to lay low and chill out (and didn’t care if Harry was around), Kenny and I got to treat ourselves to the treats that make Charleston a favorite.
While The Rooftop at Vendue Inn is one of my favorites, we opted to start our evening at Pavilion Bar, a place we were introduced to on our last visit. It is definitely a nicer, swankier rooftop, that boasts a better view and more accommodating layout. While Vendue Inn will always be a sweet spot for me, Pavilion Bar will stand as the can’t-not-do on future trips.
As far as dining goes, Kenny and I made plans to have a mini progressive dinner. We wanted to pack in a few different spots on our one night out, and while the plan was nobel, it was bigger than our bellies. But we did try.
I was pretty desperate for oysters, or something of the like, and while I really wanted 167 Raw (and actually regret not insisting upon it), we opted for a raw bar appetizer at Amen Street. We grabbed two seats next to the oyster case and ordered the Amen Sampler (six peel & eat shrimp, six mussels with candied garlic vinaigrette, three oysters, and three clams), plus three more meaty oysters. I loved every single last bite. Without a doubt, this would be my death row last meal.
We then moved on to dinner at Magnolia’s. Magnolia’s is a Charleston pillar. It is easily one of the most famous and well-known spots on Easy Bay, as well as all of Charleston, and I almost didn’t want to go because it felt “touristy”. But we read over the menu, realized it looked amazing, and I brought my food snob nose down. So glad I checked myself.
Now remember the goal was a progressive dinner – appetizers one place, a dish or two here and there to split and try. I guess we blacked out and thought we had to start from scratch, so at Magnolia’s, after Amen Street, we ordered two appetizers and two entrees. I thought I was going to explode by the end of the evening.
But whatever, we started again with some pimento cheese and fried green tomatoes. The cheese was fine and great of course, but it didn’t hold a candle to the tomatoes. Our server recommended them highly, and he was totally and completely right. They were pretty unreal (and unfortunately not documented).
For an entree, Kenny ordered the Sweet Chili-rubbed Ahi Tuna, which was served with habanero hummus and pepper jack spring rolls, roasted mango salsa and créole remoulade. He’ll be the first to admit that while the spring rolls were “weird” (his word), the tuna was excellent. I had a bite and can completely agree. The tuna was served filet-style, and the mango salsa was the perfect sweet and tart bite. It definitely had a fresh and Asian flare to it, and ate pretty lightly. Great call on his part.
I had my options narrowed down to four, but then ultimately took a hard left and went with the Red Snapper special at the last minute, and it was another so glad I did realization. It was DELICIOUS. It was lightly creamy, with crispy brussels, spinach, and nubby fingerling potatoes. While I had to take more than half of it home, I gobbled it up the next day for lunch and it was just as tasty as I remembered. Great call on my part.
So while we were out to tear it up, we ultimately called it a night after being stuffed to the brim. But what a yummy stuffed night to have. Charleston is pretty dreamy, and since we’re always there on an enjoyable and easy vacation, it’s hard not to fall in love with the place time and time again.