Saturday, March 19, 2011

Just a bit of Southern Comfort

Well everyone, I'm back.  Unfortunately I have been buried under long to do lists and studying for several weeks that has kept me away from the blogging world.  Fortunately, when I thought I could handle it no more, Spring Break came.  Thank goodness.

Spring Break is coming to a close and I'm just now breathing my sigh of relief.  The first half consisted of a 2,500 mile trip down the east coast hitting practically all states between Massachusetts and South Carolina.  I'll expand on this trip and the food of course in a moment.  The middle portion of SB was devoted to Kaston's 21st birthday and St. Patty's day.  Talk about timing.  And the last half involved being buried under piles of homework from my wonderful professors.  Who are these people?  Their definition of break is obviously very different than mine.  Oh well.

Now for the most important part: food and traveling.  As soon as my class ended at 12:45 on Thursday afternoon, I ran home to pack the car and get as far away from school as possible.  Kaston and I hit the road with Charleston, South Carolina as our destination and a plan to drive as far as possible Thursday evening.  After leaving Massachusetts, we hit Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and finally landed in Virginia around 1 a.m.  Pretty successful evening of driving if you ask me.  It was horribly rainy all day, so by the time we stopped at a rest stop in Virginia to sleep we had no idea what kind of view we would be waking up to the next morning.  And what a pleasant surprise it was.  We woke up with the sun the next morning (when you're sleeping in the back of a car there isn't much protection from the blinding light) to see that we were perched up in the mountains with a beautiful view of the Appalachians.  From there we headed to Monticello, the famous home of Thomas Jefferson.  I could talk about this place forever and all the interesting things we saw there, but this is supposed to be a food blog right?  I'll move on, the food is coming I promise.  After Monticello we made a mad dash for South Carolina, so that we could meet our friend Joseph for dinner.  We made it through Virginia, North Carolina, and then finally into the great state of South Carolina.
Such beautiful graveyards.
Oh, the cobblestone streets.
Charleston was everything I was hoping for and so much more.  The cobblestone streets were lined with palm trees, the buildings and graveyards were beautifully old, spanish moss hanging everywhere, the smell of the ocean, basically the definition of Southern Charm wrapped up into one little city.  As soon as we arrived, we met Joe, and headed off for dinner.  He had been there for a week and being the foodie that he is, he had already picked out all of the hot spots.  He took us to a place called Jestine's.  Comfort food at it's finest.  We sat down, they brought out sweet tea, water, cornbread, butter, and maple syrup.  I like this place already.  I must say, southern cornbread beats New England cornbread every single time.  It's not too sweet, it's warm, filled with corn, it can't get better than that.  After the cornbread was downed, I ordered crab cakes with a side of okra gumbo, and mashed potatoes with gravy.

The okra gumbo: to die for.  I love okra and I've eaten a lot of it, but I have never had okra like this.  Perfectly soft, stewed with tomatoes, and a little bit of salt.  The mashed potatoes: Creamy, yummy, wonderful.  You can't really mess up mashed potatoes, but those southern folks really know how to set the bar.  The crab cake: I hate to say this.  Oh I really do.  But the crab cake was disappointing.  This was possibly my fault.  I was at a restaurant that specialized in southern comfort food and I ordered crab cakes, which New England can easily claim as having the best.  So, I'm not purely blaming Jestine's for this fault because everything else was out of this world good.  It would be like going to the best pizza place in the world and ordering a burger, of course it's not going to be that great.  Overall I was impressed with my first meal in Charleston and was excited to have more.

Just when you thought this blog was going to be never ending, I'm going to abruptly stop and leave you hanging.  Meaning that you will have to keep a look out for the next blog.  This was only the first of our food adventures down the coast, so I promise you there are many more yummy treats to come.
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