As I mentioned in my previous blog post, although I already departed Charleston a few days ago on the 13th, there are still a handful of photos left that I wanted to share from my experience in the city.
First up, of course, are some food photos. When my co-worker flew in from Los Angeles to Charleston on the day of the pre-party of the wedding we were going to attend, I picked him up from the airport and we went close to downtown Charleston to get some brunch. He picked Florence’s Lowcountry Kitchen, and I think this was one of my first experiences with truly Southern food. He got shrimp and grits, while I had the quiche of the day with a side of potatoes.
I took a bite of his shrimp and grits and I thought it was actually pretty good—it wasn’t excessively flavored, and the texture was very interesting and satisfying. My quiche wasn’t really what I was expecting (though I also didn’t really know what I was expecting to begin with); it wasn’t anything particularly special, but it was surprisingly filling. Afterwards, we went to the South Carolina Aquarium, which I already shared in my blog previously.
The day after this was the day of the actual wedding. We went a bit early because we wanted to explore downtown Charleston a bit. The wedding took place on Market Street, so while they were setting up, we crossed the street and walked down the Historic Charleston City Market.
Afterwards, we continued southeast to the Waterfront Park Pier.
I usually don’t post photos of personal or private things, but I felt like I had to make an exception for this. At the wedding, the couple’s Bichon Frise Mochi was the maid of honor, and she was an active part of the wedding, walking around and interacting with guests. However, social interaction can get tiring, so Mochi decided that she needed a place to rest. After searching far and wide, she found a soft surface—the bride’s wedding dress—to use as her bed.
The day after the wedding, we went to Husk Restaurant on Queen Street. I think this was the point in time that I started concluding that Southern food might not be my favorite type of food. The wedding had a lot of Southern-style food, some of which was good, and some of which was questionably sour and salty. After eating a three-course meal at Husk with proudly Southern ingredients and having a similar experience as the wedding, I realized that my taste buds might be a little bit too sensitive to properly appreciate Southern food.
The starter was Heritage pork lettuce wraps with marinated cucumber and red onion, glazed with Kentuckyaki and topped with Togarashi. It had an extremely strong and piercing flavor such that I could barely tell that it was wrapped in lettuce, and even the pork taste was difficult to pick up.
For my main course, I asked the waiter what he recommended as one of the most iconic dishes of the restaurant, and he recommended cornmeal-fried catfish. It came with summer squash, fennel, and green tomato, sitting inside some Louisiana hot sauce.
Long story short, everything tasted like it was pickled to the extreme, and the vegetables were so salty and sour that the only way I was able to tell them apart was because they were different shapes and colors—otherwise, everything just tasted the same. By the end of the dish, it almost felt like I had just pickled the inside of my mouth, and I’m not sure if I was just imagining it, but I’m pretty sure the texture of my mouth had changed to what happens when you soak your fingertips in water for too long.
For dessert, I got peanut butter pie layered with dark chocolate ganache, topped with peanut brittle, and with a side of buttermilk ice cream. The pie was great and ended up being my favorite dish of my meal, but for some reason, even the ice cream was a little bit sour. I haven’t really ever heard of sourness being a Southern characteristic, so I’m not sure why over half the things I put in my mouth in Charleston were unbearably sour, but it was definitely not what I was expecting or hoping for.
The day before my drive out of Charleston, I decided to go on a hike, as I hadn’t really had a chance to exercise much due to all the festivities. I picked the Wannamaker North Trail, which seemed to be one of the only moderate-difficulty trails I could find in the Charleston area without having to drive too far out.
It was a terrible, terrible mistake.
I got spoiled hiking in mountainous areas in other parts of the country, so I forgot how different walking a trail through a forest would be. Namely, beside the heavy layer of humidity that felt like it was constantly pushing down on me, there were an insane amount of bugs. I got over 10 mosquito bites before I realized that we had reached disaster levels and tried to figure out a way to get out of the forest as soon as possible.
Luckily, this forest wasn’t very dense, so I was able to cut through some sections and make my way back onto a path straight back to the entrance. If you look at my GPS tracker, you’ll see that I completely skipped the entire eastern side of the trail after having gone through the west side.
And with that, here is an updated look at my United States travel map. (Keep in mind that this is my historical map; these are not limited only to the places I’ve visited during my road trip this year.)
My plan now is to fly over to the West again for a week to take care of some errands and visit our company headquarters to get some in-person work done. Afterwards, I’ll fly back and continue my journey through the remaining cluster of four states in the southeast that I have yet to visit.