Our last stop before departing the States for Europe was Atlanta to see my brother Brian and his wife Meg, my aunt Sue and a gaggle of friends…sadly, not everyone we would have liked to see, but we caught quite a few folks. About halfway through, Brian and Meg took Toni and me to Charleston, SC for a Low Country food education and some sight seeing in one of their favorite southern cities. I say we did some sight seeing, but really the important sights we pushed to see were the insides of some iconic restaurants. That dictated the ancillary sight seeing time we had, so we missed out on things like Fort Sumter and The Citadel, but there will be time enough for that another time. After all, the real culture of a place is in it’s food, right? I tried (and mainly failed) to document my food choices, so I ended up with more shots from wandering the beautiful streets and the antebellum structures.

We started our culinary journey at Hominy Grill, about 5 minutes by taxi from our B&B, for dinner the night we rolled into town. It has apparently grown in the last few years from the small house where it started into adjacent structures. The feeling is awesome with low light (bad for photos) and homey dining rooms. The food was awesome. My shrimp and grits were fantastic and while I sadly can’t remember what everyone else had, I remember that it was all just fantastic! Toni and I were hurting pretty good from jet lag and our systems were still pretty messed up from flying from Japan to DC to Denver to Austin and finally to Atlanta before driving to Charleston. All in a month and a little. Also we were living the whole time out of suitcases which isn’t ideal. So we made the decision to turn in early that night and head out a little late in the morning. The breakfast was really nice with cream cheese in the eggs and fantastic coffee, so we were well prepared for the day to come!

Into the old part of town we went! We wandered down by the old market which has been somewhat renovated and is still in operation, saw rainbow row (unfortunately it was backlit, so no worthy photos), had a wonderful lunch at Magnolia and finally got ready for dinner at McCrady’s. Now that was a place that I wish had photo-friendly lighting. The cuisine was mind blowing and each course came with it’s own wine pairing that was absolutely perfect. We raved to our waiter (a true professional) about the food and our appreciation of the molecular gastronomy that Executive Chef Sean Brock employed. The unintended, but very appreciated, outcome was an offer for a tour of the restaurant and a peek into the kitchen. Oh, and signed menus to boot! Awesome people in the kitchen, Sean took time out of his work to chat with us for a second and give us a personal ‘tour’ of what he is about. Fantastic! Definitely the highlight of the trip. Which isn’t to say that everything else didn’t hold up to the best food we’ve eaten…the whole trip was a crazy culinary adventure!

So enough of the food! The city itself is very picturesque and I had a great time picking out bits of architecture and stained stucco to make some pretty nice images. Here are some looks at Charleston from the eyes of a travel weary but very well fed voyager! (All of these images were made on my iPhone 4s and edited there as well. I have some more to add from my 5D and from Toni’s s90 eventually as well!)