Charleston, South Carolina may be best known for the palmetto tree, Rainbow Row, or the Battery. However, over the past decade the city has become famous among food lovers for its variety of unique eats. If you’re in town for a few days you may want to try out some of the reservation only restaurants that line the streets. But don’t fret, just one day in the city is just enough time to taste the modern southern fare the city has become famous for.
A few of my girls and I challenged ourselves to seven hours in this wonderful city. I personally have been to the city many times in the past, and have grown to love the hot cobble stone streets shaded by the palms. Both of my girlfriends had never been to the Charleston, but wanted to see and taste the best of it in our short time.
We began by parking at the College of Charleston which will cost you around ten dollars for an 7 hour stroll of the city. We hit the streets and started the day by walking around the campus, which sits within the city shops and office buildings. After forcing my guest to fast in preparation for our city sight seeing, I figured it would be best to start with a brunch on-the-go spot after our campus walk. This landed us at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit.
A small restaurant with enough room for a few bar stools and a line that often exceeds out the front door, the biscuit shop offers big flavors and hand held snacks to walk the city with. The menu consists of their usual biscuit flavors ranging from cheese chive to cinnamon, as well as compound butters and jam fillings to add on. They also have a daily sandwich creation that normally consists of an egg and cheese biscuit topped with local South Carolina bacon or ham. The biscuits are fairly small, usually providing about two to three bites. I chose the box of three biscuits (buttermilk, cheese chive, blackberry filled) and a side of savory thyme whipped butter. My gals both went with the daily item, that day it was a cheddar, egg, and ham on a buttermilk biscuit. Salty and crispy on the outside and warm and buttery on the inside, they were the best biscuits I’ve ever eaten. The thyme butter complimented the buttermilk nicely, and the local fresh blackberry filling made the sweet cinnamon biscuit a perfect bite.
We took our biscuits and began our walk down historic King Street. The beautiful day allowed us to stroll the streets checking out local shops. We made our way to the public market which is nicely air conditioned and houses several local artists and clothing stands, as well as refreshments. After picking up some items at the market we walked past the famous Rainbow Row and down to the Battery. The walk along the water in the Battery was
the perfect way to see the city and water while making room for our final food destination. We took an alternate route back to our last stop in order to see more of the city and stop in some art galleries.
Our final stop, Persimmon Cafe, sat on the corner of Smith and Calhoun Street adjacent to the College of Charleston, and a favorite of the college crowd. The cafe offers more than just lunch and custard; it also holds a laundromat in the back of the store. The food ranges from fresh almond quinoa to lump crab sandwiches. Besides the fresh food amongst the washing machines, they are best known for their homemade custard. My choice was, of course, the Nutella custard (because you can never have too much Nutella). This isn’t your average Nutella swirled into custard. No. This is Nutella loaded custard with flaming marshmallows atop it. Now, I am not generally one to eat marshmallows, but I took a risk and hoped that 1) the combo would taste delicious and 2) the torch wouldn’t catch my cup of custard on fire. It was better than good, it was one of the best desserts I have ever had. For $4.75 the cup of Nutella custard comes out filled to the top and more than you could ever eat (but don’t worry you will manage to eat every bit of it) topped with marshmallows. But wait, there’s more. With custard in one hand and blow torch in the other, a cafe server brings the custard to you. Then, in front of your very own eyes the marshmallows are torched until on fire, leaving delicious campfire inspired Nutella custard for you to devour.
If you only have a few hours in Charleston, grab some bites to-go and walk the city. Small cafe finds will give you a perfect taste of the culinary treasures Charleston has to offer.