Return to Charleston
Check out some of the surprises I found on my last visit.
The Pride docks at the Aquarium Wharf at 360 Concord Street. Tours during the day cost $27 per person, with sunset ones priced at $34. Reservations are highly recommended. Visit www.schoonerpride.com , or call 1-800-344-4483 or (843) 722-1112.
The store offers its demonstration-style Taste of the Lowcountry classes several afternoons a week at 2 p.m. Though the menu changes daily, you’ll sample such dishes as blackened pork tenderloin, gumbo, lemon-broccoli pirlau, and bourbon pecan pie. The $25 admission fee includes a three-course tasting, so eat sparingly before you go.
Be sure to save time for some shopping at Charleston Cooks! too. Participants get a same-day 10% discount on merchandise or future classes. For a complete schedule of cooking classes and special events, visit www.mavericksouthernkitchens.com, or call (843) 722-1212. In addition to several ongoing educational series, special appearances by top chefs such as cookbook author James Peterson, Italy’s Giuliano Hazan, and TV host Marvin Woods are scheduled throughout the year.
The number of galleries continues to grow, with many of the finest located on Broad Street and in the historic French Quarter. If you’re lucky enough to be in town the first weekend of the month, plan to attend a First Friday Art Walk. From 5 to 8 p.m., many gallery owners serve food and wine, making art a party. More galleries participate in peak months--March-June, October, and December. Pick up a brochure at a participating gallery, or visit www.charlestongalleryrow.com and www.frenchquarterarts.com for more information.
All that’s changing, thanks in large part to Mike Lata of FIG (Food Is Good) Restaurant. Virtually no one was using local growers when he arrived here in 1998. “It took awhile for some of the chefs to get onboard,” he admits. “Now I see it as part of the fabric of our cuisine here in Charleston. My peers inspire me daily with how they are buying locally and cooking locally.”
Word of mouth is still the best way to find restaurants that feature a fresh, seasonal approach. Peruse online menus, Mike says, or ask your concierge. Then feel free to quiz your server about where your fish was caught or where your greens were grown. You’ll satisfy your hunger to support the local economy and get a great meal too.
A NOTE TO OUR READERS:
"Return to Charleston" is from the September 2008 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.