Friday, August 26, 2011

Charleston Chew

I had a great time last week down in Charleston with my little brother Harry.  I went down south with him to help him move in ahead of his senior year at College of Charleston.  First off, College of Charleston has a gorgeous campus, full of hanging Spanish moss, old timey lampposts and antebellum charm.
Tuesday we spent wandering around campus.  Harry works as a campus tour guide, so he gave me quite a comprehensive tour.  As we popped into different buildings, I was also impressed by his rapport with his professors.  The plus of attending a small school in full force.  Harry is also superinvolved in campus life, serving as president of the Jewish Student Union as well as the aforementioned campus tour biz.  After touring campus and Harry getting a chance to stop in on various places, we made our way to Folly Beach just a lil outside Charleston.  Harry marveled that just a week prior he had been on the Pacific down in Peru.  We went grocery shopping at the Piggly Wiggly (luv it, feel like I am driving Ms. Daisy), and made shakshouka for dinner.  After dinner, we went to a hipster bar called the Tattooed Moose.  We drank PBR cans and pitched pennies in a fun game called Sapo as a good band rocked out with some good ol gritty rock.

Wednesday we went back-to-school shopping and had a housewarming potluck at Harry's casa.  We later won a trivia night at a bar/restaurant called the Kickin' Chicken.  After buckets of PBRs (yes, being back in collegelandia, I drank a lot of PBR), Harry and I climbed up to the roof of a building on campus and enjoyed the night sky.

Thursday I got the pub crawl tour of Charleston.  Harry took me out to walk around every nook and cranny he had discovered in the regal city.  He took me down back alleys and past palatial old southern homes in the crown jewel of the south.  As the rains came in, we wandered through the Battery.  We ducked into a bar called the Blind Tiger where Harry had a gift certificate that my sis and I bought for him for his 21st.  We killed that over $2.50 Newcastles and made our way on.  We continued our crawl at the Kicken Chicken for a shot of rumpleminz courtesy of our trivia.

We made our way back to Harry's place and on for some fancy Southern cuisine at Hominy Grill.  I had a Fried Green Tomato ALT (avocado substituted for the B) with ancho chile lime mayo; Harry had the southern fried chicken; we split the deep fried cheese grits, which were immaculate.  Think crust fried outside with cheesy soft grits under the surface.  We washed dinner down with a drink that combined cheerwine (southern cherry coke), gin and vermouth.  For dessert, we split a piece of rich buttermilk pie (kinda like a pumpkin pie with vanillay-custardy taste rather than pumpkin) with homemade whip cream on top.

We continued on to a bar called Closed for Business, where we drank espresso stouts until the evening browned out.

Friday reminded me that I am not in college anymore.

I was supposed to fly out friday night, but storms in Baltimore had my flight delayed 3 hours and Southwest offered to switch free of charge so I bagged the flight and decided to head out on Saturday.  Harry swung back to the airport and grabbed me.  We headed back and grabbed some gullah food (you can check the links about gullah communities and their food, it is quite fascinating, basically an African-American community that preserved distinct West African cultures and traditions).  The food was best described as similar to soul food.  I had some stewed okra, red rice and yams; Harry had a succulent fried pork chop.  I started pondering the notions of promoting soul food as American gastrodiplomacy, I will hit on that later.

With our extra day, Saturday morning Harry and I walked up to the beautiful cantilevered Ravenell Bridge

I made it out later that evening back to DC.  It was a great week that let me see my brother in his element.  It was a lot of fun to see him running around in his own world, and I got a brief peak into it.  He had visited me at Brandeis, in Houston, in Argentina, and in LA, so he had seen my world many times; this was the first time I got to see his world.  It was a great bit of brother bonding.  Too bad I will have to don my blue coat and face off against that grey.

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