Arrrr. Shiver Me Pinchers

My beach fantasy:

 I am strolling along a quaint beach town with my flip flops in hand and my gauzy dress billowing out behind me in the breeze. I hear only the sounds of the seagulls and the gentle crashing of the waves. It’s a quaint southern town where the locals smile and haul in the daily catch as I watch, knowing that is the fish I will have for dinner that evening at the diner where they welcome me as if I was one of them.

My beach reality:

My husband loves Myrtle Beach. I think it’s the familiarity of the place that he likes. He knows he is going to enjoy himself when he goes there, he knows exactly what he will get. It’s sort of like going to McDonald’s when you’re in a strange place because you know what the food will taste like (even if it’s not that amazing). I’m not much of a fan of Myrtle Beach, or McDonald’s for that matter, but he averages about one trip a year with me so if Myrtle Beach is what it takes to make him happy then off we go!

I really don’t mind all that much because I know that when we’re together we can make anything fun. I know, insert cheesy awwww here, but it’s the truth. So we spent four days in the bustling beach city and of course had a blast. We did compromise a bit by eating at local off the beaten path restaurants.

We were the only customers at Mrs. Fish. I will admit the place made me a bit nervous, but the grilled Grouper was really delicious as was the Flounder. Service was good and so were the prices.

My search for delicious Maryland style crab in the south has come to an end. Here was my little slice of heaven right in the middle of the Grand Strand. The food was fabulous!

Jon was only slightly appalled at the sight before him. Ok, he thought it was pretty gross. He actually quoted Leviticus at me and then called my delicious crabs an abomination. I just dipped my abomination in butter and made sure to give him an extra loud slurping noise with my next bite. 

If loving a crustacean now and then is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

On the way back from my crab feast I came to a realization- it is possible that I could someday afford my dream beach home.

I mean, who says it has to be a magnificent stilted structure overlooking the ocean? As long as I’m close to the crabs.

 

Sake Saturday and Other Thoughts of Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina is one of those places where you can literally feel the history in the air. The tree lined streets beg to be explored. Every corner holds another story. The smell of salt and low country cooking takes me back to a time when men were heroic and history was still being written. The city is beautiful down to the smallest detail.

From gas lanterns to iron gates, the city itself puffs up its feathers for visitors from around the world.

An opportunity for beauty is never missed, even in the most mundane places.

But what I think makes the city so magical is its proximity to water. Maybe it’s because I’m a Pisces (if you buy into that mumbo-jumbo), but there’s something about the ocean that calls to me. It makes me feel small and powerful at the same time.  Standing on the water’s edge, I feel a hush come over me.

This trip to Charleston held special meaning for me though. This trip was all about the Cooper River Bridge Run. My friends and worked towards the goal of getting over this monster for months and we couldn’t have asked for a better day to do it. If you’re a runner, I highly suggest you put this race on your calendar! If you do, be sure to check out Tips for Running the Cooper River Bridge Run. This is a race that requires a little bit of planning.

 No trip to Charleston (or blog for that matter) would be complete without mentioning what I ate and drank while I was there. We’re talking amazing. AMAZING! The first stop on Friday night was my absolute favorite place in the world. 

Located on the northern end of King Street, it’s easy to walk to and you will need to walk after eating one of these babies. There are different flavors available each day, so you have to go back more than once while you’re there. Luckily, my favorite flavor was waiting for me when I arrived.

Chocolate Tuxedo- chocolate with white chocolate chips, cream cheese icing, and ganache. Seriously.

After the race on Saturday it was impossible to get into any restaurant in Charleston. The place was full of 40,000 sweaty, starving runners and their families so we decided it would be best to get out of town. We headed out to my other favorite place in the world, Folly Beach, and hit up Taco Boy.  This was the perfect post-race relaxation spot. As you can tell by this picture….

The mint that lined the patio smelled so fresh. It really was a gorgeous day. This place has the perfect outdoor seating. Here’s a pic of a few of my favorite people- the best race day buddies ever!

Taco Boy is one of the most popular places on Folly Beach. Here’s why: I love this.

Here’s a philosophy I try to live by- buy local and put as little junk in your body as possible. Taco Boy seems to share my thinking on this. You can taste the difference in their food. This is no Taco Bell.

I had the Baja Fish Taco, but don’t let the pic fool you. I did some serious eating that day. I followed this delicious munchie up with Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas and the largest assortment of salsa, queso, and guacamole you have ever seen. 

A stroll down Center Street led us to a brew pub that is definitely worth a mention. The Folly Beach Brewing Co. takes the phrase “hole in the wall” to a new level. It is literally a small room with a concrete floor and a bar. However, most of the patrons enjoy sitting out on the sidewalk and watching traffic roll by. We took a spot at the bar and became fast friends with the bar dog. You have to love a bar that has a dog. I believe her name was Mookie. Isn’t she adorable? 

Hanging with the locals here made me want to shed my life as mainland school teacher and live the island life. I was so jealous of the bartender with her cute dog and island home.  Wonder if I could talk the husband into making a move? Nope. While I couldn’t be a local, we were treated as such when they shared their tradition of Sake Saturday with us. The locals in the bar started yelling SAKE as loud as they could and we were quickly informed that when this happens everyone in the bar must take a shot of Sake. Um, not so delicious, but why not?

Warning: Sake may make you consume large amounts of ice cream and walk into traffic.  Maybe.

Before leaving on Sunday we had to hit my favorite breakfast spot, Hominy Grill.  This is an absolute “must visit” spot if you are planning a trip to Charleston. Since it’s such a hot spot there is a bit of a wait and parking is a problem, but it is so worth the hassle. We arrived ten minutes before opening to find a line down the street waiting to get in. 

I stepped out of my comfort zone of Shrimp and Grits or Huevos Rancheros and tried the French Toast with Apple Maple Syrup and Pecan Butter.   Out. Of. This. World.

The drive home was a sad one because I don’t have any immediate plans to return to South Carolina. But somehow I get the feeling I’ll find a reason to make a trip. The girls have already been discussing a half marathon in the fall. Savannah, maybe? 

Here’s to good food, great friends, big adventures, and reaching your goals. Isn’t that what life is really about?