This week has more than proven that winter has definitely arrived in Grand Rapids! We can’t think of a better time than now to get away from the snowy mess for a quick weekend trip. Sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it?
If you’ve ever considered traveling to Charleston, SC, this just may be the perfect time! Grove Head Chef, Chef Bob Waterbury, and his wife Shana traveled to Charleston early last spring for the city’s out-of-this-world cuisine and history. We sat down with them to hear all about their experience in Charleston’s rich culture and incredible food scene.
We decided on Charleston mostly for the food scene, but the history of the city itself and all of its buildings, gardens and parks are also too charming to pass up. We absolutely loved the Confederate Ivy, aka Confederate Jasmine. It's everywhere, and it's not only beautiful, but also intoxicatingly fragrant. We loved the Magnolia trees, as well.
Where did you eat? What were your favorite dishes?
Our favorite restaurant was 492, which opened early Spring 2015. Even though we visited just about a month after they opened, both the food and service were totally on point. Our server Cameron was well-seasoned with the menu on all fronts, which made the decision process much easier.
The food menu is set up in four categories: Fields & Greens, Pasta & Grains, From the Sea, and From the Land. All the dishes are small plates priced at $16 or less. The idea is to pick an item from each category and share. Our favorites were the Burnt Rye Tonnarelli (egg yolk, Holy Smoke olive oil, breadcrumbs), Broccoli Salad (golden raisins, sesame, Vietnamese vinaigrette), and Sweet and Sourdough Sweetbreads, which was breaded sourdough tossed in sweet and sour sauce.
We had another great service experience at McCrady's. Our server Will was very knowledgeable and personable, and the food was delicious, as well. We opted to share 5-6 dishes and dessert rather than ordering from the tasting menu, which was still a good amount of food and a great value. We started with cocktails, sipped on some wine midway, and enjoyed Madeira with dessert. My favorite dish was the Salad of Blue Crab made of cucumber, celery, almond, coriander, and vadouvan.
It was never an easy decision to choose a wine with dinner. At McCrady’s, we tried two very contrasting Madeiras with dessert; a dry Charleston Sercial, and a medium-dry Savannah Verdelho. The Sercial had balanced acidity, whereas the Verdelho was a bit sweeter with more chocolate notes.
We ordered the fried catfish tacos at Minero, which were to die for! The benne seed salsa was awesome, as well. More paste-like in texture than a typical salsa, it had great flavor and heat, and was perfect for dipping with their house-made chips!
Let's talk liquids. Any favorite Charleston beers?
We had a few favorite local beers we highly recommend...
- Frothy Beard Brewery Andale Jalapeno Cilantro Ale (North Charleston, SC)
- Westbrook Brewing Co. White Thai Witbier (Mt. Pleasant, SC)
- Westbrook Brewing Co. Gose (pictured below)
- Fullsteam Brewery Cack-A-Lacky Ginger Pale Ale (Durham, NC)