The stars aligned this past weekend and Willy and I were able to escape to Charleston for a quick forty-eight hour getaway. Charleston is just a four hour drive from Asheville and is another sweet southern town that shares many of the same values of our own hometown. Similarities include: a movement to purchase goods from local artisans called Lowcountry Local First, active LGBTQ community support, an abundance of incredible local eateries, and tourists who flock in droves to the downtown area for shopping, sightseeing, and people watching.
The differences? About 10-15 degrees of humid August heat, and significantly more groups of five to twelve inebriated women sporting either similarly colored dresses or the same alcohol-related t-shirts, with one special lady wearing a veil, sash, or other indicator that she is indeed, the bachelorette being celebrated. Also, there are significantly more chain retail stores in downtown Charleston which Asheville, to our credit, and for the most part, have managed to keep downtown unchained.
We got to do some of our favorite things during this trip: we shopped, we toured, we swam, we napped, we drank, and we ate very, very well. Here’s more on that:
Upon our arrival, we returned to HoM, a restaurant we’d sampled four years ago during a food tour. At the time, we’d sampled something Willy has been eager to taste again for quite awhile. Unfortunately, when we ordered what we thought was the same thing, the dish no longer offered the bliss it once had. Regardless, the fries and tots were delish, and the BLT Bloody Mary provided the perfect ‘welcome.’
That night, we took a chance and wandered into The Ordinary. It was a restaurant I’d read up on after doing some research on one of my favorite Bravo-reality shows, which takes place in Charleston: Southern Charm. We’d heard that it’d be unlikely to get a table without a reservation, but, without having anything to lose, we gave it a shot. We got lucky and got a table outside in a sweet alleyway-turned-courtyard patio decorated with large plants and loads of, you guessed it: southern charm.
The oysters and cocktails were refreshing and flavorful, and the main meals were insane. I had the Crispy Hog Snapper (pictured left) and hubs had the Cornmeal Crusted Triggerfish (pictured right). By far, the best dining experience of the weekend. Five stars. All. The. Way.
Later that night, we checked out Prohibition. Curious to peek at the bourbon selection, Willy was not disappointed when he saw the fifteen or so available options, so we ponied up to the outside patio bar for a few before heading back to the hotel for the evening.
We again lucked out on Saturday night when we landed a last minute reservation at SNOB. I had done some online detective work and was pleasantly surprised to find that they had a **gluten-free menu** (cue the celebratory music). We were seated at a great banquette table that provided a sweet perch to observe the dining room, the kitchen, and the upscale atmosphere. The Spicy Watermelon Margarita and Tuscan red wine were a lovely introduction to our dining experience, however, we were both slightly disappointed with our entrees. I’d ordered the BBQ Tuna, but when my plate arrived with only a small tuna steak and a few shrimp alongside about a quarter of a diced tomato, I was bummed. Veggies? A starch of any kind? Nada. Willy ordered the Shrimp and Grits but felt his was much more of a soupy gumbo than a traditional meal.
SNOB redeemed itself with its Pot De Creme. Sprinkled with chunks of sea salt atop a hardened layer dark chocolate, and consisting of a creamy chocolate mousse in the center, we devoured our shared pot with a quickness.
After dinner, we took our first bicycle-led carriage ride across town to The Republic, and then to The Macintosh. I enjoyed another spicy margarita there, the SS Pepper, and this version was one of the best I’ve ever had. Jalapeno bitters and blanco tequilla were topped with a foamy, salty layer and lime zest, which offered a complex and unique sipping experience.
Lastly, but definitely not leastly, we hit Poogan’s Porch for Sunday brunch on our way out of town. We sat upstairs, outside on The Porch, where the warm temperature and humidity were pushing the limits of our comfort, but once the food arrived, we couldn’t have cared less. I got the Lowcountry Omelette, which featured ham and peppers and instantly turned my into a pimento cheese fan (I had only tried it a few times before, but never *got it* until now). The home fries were seasoned to perfection and topped off a perfect southern breakfast.
All in all, it was another great Charleston trip for us, and we’ll definitely be back for more.
Happy New Year, folks! And adios to you, 2017!
On this New Year’s Eve, I am pleased to share that we have just purchased the 2018 AIR Passport! For those of you who are not familiar with it, AIR stands for Asheville Independent Restaurants, and it is an organization consisting of some of our most creative residents here in Asheville: our local restauranteurs. They host the annual Taste of Asheville and have the beloved Passport, which is a coupon book that offers a one time buy-one-get-one-free dinner at many of our local eateries – we are talking over forty restaurants!
We plan to get the most bang for our buck on our date nights in 2018 and using the AIR Passport is going to help us both support local and save money – both are things we love.
Get yours today!
Do you have an AIR Passport? What local treasure has it led you to??
Looking for a good reason to go out and have a beer? Well, then, you’re in luck! This Thursday, the good people at Hi-Wire Brewing have agreed to donate 15% of their sales to the JCC’s capital campaign! Whatever Hi-Wire donates will be matched dollar for dollar by the capital campaign’s generous matching challenge grant. For those who don’t know: our local Asheville JCC is in the process of expanding and improving the Shalom Learning Center where they serve some of our youngest and cutest locals.
If you can make it, you can drop our name: Date Night Appetite and win an awesome prize! ***by awesome prize, we mean… the awesome prize of having a great conversation starter and the tremendous appreciation of yours truly for spreading the word about our hip new website. TIA!
Here’s the details:
It’s *this* Thursday – November 16th from 4pm-11pm
197 Hilliard Avenue – South Slope Location
Our vision for Date Night Appetite was born out of a mutual love of food, drink, Asheville, and one another. Clearly, a recipe for success, amirite?? As a wife and mother in Asheville, I often come across postings on social media sites (I’m looking at you Asheville Mamas Facebook page), repeatedly posing the question ‘where can my honey and I go for a tasty date night meal…?!’ Stressed and pressed for time Mamas are hoping that someone can provide the right recommendation for their few hours’ respite from the household routine and kiddos. I’m here to say ‘we got y’all.’
In the coming months, my husband and I aim to visit many of these suggested spots to give them our full attention and provide you with in-depth reviews on what’s good and potentially not so good about spending your precious date night hours at these fine establishments. We’ll provide imagery for all of you visual learners so that you, too, can get a sense of what you might find on your table should you choose to make a reservation of your own.
Hubs and I already know and love many of our romantic local restaurants. A few favorites are The Admiral, Smoky Park Supper Club, Limones, Zambra, and Curate. While we haven’t officially reviewed all of these just yet, stay tuned. The critiques will be coming soon. In the coming months, we also plan to check out the following eateries that we’re excited to try: Nightbell, Bull & Beggar and The Anchor. If you have a suggestion for a great date night spot, drop us a line!