Our next stop on the road trip was Charleston, South Carolina.
One of my coworkers gave us a perfect travel guidebook for us, RoadFood, which we’ve been consulting along the way on our travels. It highlights “best-known-for” restaurants that serve down-home or quintessential road trip food, like BBQ in the South, seafood, Cajun and creole in Louisiana, and burgers everywhere. We checked it out for Charleston recommendations, and stumbled across one of the places in the book: Jestine’s Kitchen, as we drove into town. We took that as a sign to check it out!
We loved it.
Our server Sarah was super sweet and chatted with us about all the new-to-us food, including fried okra. We decided it reminded us of seafood, scallops in particular, because of its texture, which was crispy on the outside and kinda chewy on the inside. We also tried fried green tomatoes, pickles and onions, homemade fried chicken, sweet tea, Coca-Cola cake, and coconut cream pie. The fried chicken portion was massive–like better-loosen-this-belt-right-now massive. The sweet tea was perfectly sweet, and the Coca-Cola cake was amazing.
We found out that Justine’s is also listed in the book, 1,001 Places to See Before You Die.
After our indulgent dinner, we walked down to the Charleston City Market, where they were setting up for a special night-market, with artists and vendors setting up their wares. We strolled through and got to try some boiled peanuts for the first time. So here’s the deal with boiled peanuts–they’re regular peanuts that are boiled and eaten as a day-to-day snack by everyone around the city. We had never heard of them but they were everywhere. Apparently, many people think you eat the shell (I wondered about that, too). How to eat: hold one shell (two peanuts inside) horizontally in front of you, open the outer shell, and flip both the peanuts into your mouth at the same time; one of the vendors in the market showed us how. they had the consistency of baked beans, and they had a meaty flavor. Not my favorite food, but I’m glad I tried it. LSmith loved them. You can pick some up in every gas station convenience store in the area.
The one bummer of this visit was getting a parking ticket; our first one ever! We parked at a meter and decided to chance it while we were at dinner. Sadly, our luck didn’t hold, and we returned to our car and a shiny new $14 ticket. This was one thing we didn’t allocate money for on this trip, but we’ve learned our lesson to always feed the meter more than we think should!