Charleston has grown into one of the best gastronomic destinations on the east coast. I know there are doubters, but I’m used to it. Hey, I’m married!
People from Baltimore will bring up blue crabs. New Yorkers will scream….New Yorkers seem to favor screaming…Hey, buddy, we got every-ting heah. Miami citizens like to tell the world about Cuban cuisine.
Yes, I’m going to tell you a great place to eat, but first there’s a necessary digression. You need to know the city you’re dealing with. Otherwise you’re just going to crawl away imagining four walls with food on the table. See part of the master plan is to erase ignorance and I’m starting with you!
Gotta admit, there are some lackings in Charleston choices. Mexican comes to mind. But, what Charleston does offer that’s so much more attractive than a sandy day at the beach, is sumptuous atmosphere to go along with the freshest of seafood. Stroll around this stately old town for a bit and you’ll get in the spirit. See the craggy, gray bearded oaks, huge black cannon and grand, stately homes along The Battery.
|Confederate Rodman Cannon|
Rainbow Row of Porgy and Bess fame is nearby. Look out across the rippling confluence of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, that come together to form the Atlantic Ocean. Yep, that’s Fort Sumter in the distance, awash in the ocean tides and tide of history.
You catching the drift? When you eat in Charleston you’re flooded by atmosphere you’ll find nowhere else. The salt air. The cobblestone streets. The horse drawn carriages. The old vegetable market and the ladies weaving sweetgrass baskets.
|These cobblestones date from the days of sailing ships and were used for ballast|
So when my close friend said we would meet with some of his rowdy companions for lunch at Blossom, my mouth watered. Blossom is a fairly new establishment near the marketplace. In Charleston, new means the Civil War (War of Northern Aggression), or the Revolutionary War do not need to be mentioned as you ease from the heat into air conditioned comfort.
Bright. Sunny as outside, but cooler. The whitewashed, exposed beam interior gives you a sense of having lunch in an elegant flower garden. Ditto the white cloth napkins, sparkling silverware and glistening white china. Yes, I am a secret snob. Some would say not so secret. Maybe it’s more accurate to say I find solace in colors and design and attention to detail.
“Ok!” you impatient bastards are screaming, “What about the flapping food?”
The flapping food is extraordinarily delicious, with a wonderful presentation and service that makes lunch a celebration of hunger! Seafood is the main attraction and the freshness is mouthwatering. Yes, for non-seafooder swine there are other choices. Just want to sip wine and nosh a salad? You’ve come to the right place. The Riesling St Urbans-hof, direct from the Mosel River was fruitily fantastic. Of course, both my faithful readers already know I favor Mosel wines for breakfast, lunch, dinner, as well as for brushing my teeth.
I ordered some fried clams and calamari, just to warm up my taste buds and followed that with a cup of creamy She Crab Soup. Polished those off just as my Crab Louie Salad arrived. A companion went with Caeser Salad and blacked chicken, while another one fussed over a juicy cheeseburger and the fourth got a wedge of fresh lettuce with a creamy dressing. But see, these folks live here and need a break from indescribably luscious seafood once in awhile. I do not need that break. I eschew that break. I SAY….no I don’t say that. I’m too polite.
|She Crab Soup, a Charleston Speciality|
|Crab Louie Salad|
|Blackened Chicken Breast on Caesar Salad|
|A wedge of iceburg|
As our waiter brought the platters, conversation stopped. Yes, I wanted another glass of wine and I got it. No need to wander through descriptions of every bite. The dishes were….Just check out the photos! Thousands of mouthwatering words written all over them!
Conversation? Didn’t start up again until our very efficient waiter removed the plates and brought the bills.
Will I go back to Blossom? Stupid question. Make that INSANE question. I will go back and I will bring along my ravenous appetite. Companions are optional. More Riesling is not.