I’m definitely a creature of habit, with all the potential for an addictive personality – energy that thankfully (usually) gets focused around food and fitness. This past week was exactly that, all set in the ever-loving and beautiful city of Charleston. From beginning to end the trip was an exploration, and a somehow stressful break from the normal routine (such is opening a new business), but the food scene and amazing weather made it worth it. Here’s a quick glimpse into the food tour that became my life, and the sweet local spots we experienced.
Salads and wraps — with all the fillings — either tossed or chopped. This concept is so simple, clean, and done exactly right with quick and convenient and the ‘create your own’ combination(s) had every option i could have wanted. And if you live in Charleston (or vacation there), it’s all within your reach because they have two spots: mount pleasant and charleston.
I think I ate there 5 times in a week (not kidding) and never repeated the same combination. This summer combination blended their mixed greens with kale as the base, and then added cucumbers strawberries, almonds, grapes, hard boiled egg, and avocado.
I always got the salads chopped, and then played between their chipotle lime vinaigrette and just balsamic and olive oil. On Wednesday as I was heading out of town I stopped for my last and final visit (for the week) and switched things up with a wrap: base of arugula, with added cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, hard boiled egg. Cilantro lime vinaigrette, chopped, and wrapped — it was AMAZING.
Between my trips to Verde, and our time at MAD with the trainers, I also squeezed in some amazing meals out in Charelston:
SALT at Station 22:
This spot on Sullvan’s Island is awesome – the perfect higher end and foodie friendly beach restaurant with a great seafood selection, and an incredibly diverse (and delicious) menu — because it actually changes daily.
The first night we went there for our MAD management dinner (yes, first night, because I had to go back) I had an awesome arugula salad with beets, goat cheese, and homemade croutons. For dinner I had their tenderloin special with a pretty awesome sweet potato mash.
The second stop at SALT was actually on the last night and I had the absolute best roasted half chicken of my life — the Roasted Tanglewood Chicken. The chicken itself was unbelievable, and it sitting atop of a mix of crispy sautéd onion and vegetable and jus. It was unbelievable. This will, without question, be a favorite for me every time I’m here.
This spot is so close to our space in Mt. Pleasant (in the Whole Foods shopping center right by Pure Barre and Charleston Power Yoga) but to be honest, probably wouldn’t have been on my radar if it hadn’t popped up on Open Table. As I say that, I want to immediately (and vehemently) say that I will absolutely go back – this place is awesome.
This tenderloin entree was honestly one of my favorite meals from recent memory and the roasted cauliflower puree it was sitting on is something that I’m going to have to try and recreate, but I’m certain I will not fully be able to match.
Low Country Bistro:
Another favorite spot in downtown [Charleston], and the perfect Sunday night dinner.
Dinner was with two of our coaches from MAD, and in addition to the great food and great company, we had GREAT wine – and lets be honest, that’s really all I’m looking for on a Sunday night.
From what I’m told, the Chicken & Waffles are exceptional – it’s a sweet potato bacon corn bread waffle people – and there ain’t nothing wrong with that….except that it’s not something that would register on my clean eating plan. For that reason I didn’t even give it the courtesy of a menu skim when we were there but if you’re wondering how I’m feeling about it now — the answer is: slightly regretful.
Crave Kitchen & Cocktails:
Our second to last night in Chuck Town ended at Crave in the Shoppes at Seaside Farms for dinner, and I got the slight indulgence I had been waiting for. Chicken Marsala over an amazing risotto, with broccoli and sautéd spinach on the side. I actually took most of this back to the hotel with me and never managed to finish it, but what I did have was awesome.
This place was a really unexpected treat, and from what we learned, the chef, Landen, happens to have an affinity for paleo-esque clean eating, so they’re definitely on our short list to cater the Grand Opening Party for MAD (save the date: July 19th).
All in all, from a food standpoint, this trip was an absolute success. From a getting the doors open standpoint — well that hasn’t exactly happened on an even remotely reasonable timeline, so I’m just going to focus on the food — the delicious and saliva inspiring food. Our last team trip in February was full of equally as impressive spots that I definitely want to go back to (Stars and The Grocery, for instance), so Charleston is quickly climbing the ranks as one of my favorite restaurant cities of all time — and I’m okay with that.
I’ve been back in Charlotte for a few days now and head back down to Charleston this Wednesday to hopefully get the doors open at MAD with our team there, and then will finally make my way back to Charlottesville.
Now, for the most important part of this post — any suggestions for awesome places to eat in Charleston? I’m assembling my to-do list for the next year, and that food tour is definitely on on it.