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weekend in charleston

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Charleston Life: Best Coffee Shops

Abby Murphy Photography 

Abby Murphy Photography 

This summer my intern McKay and I made the rounds of some killer coffee shops, both old and new.  When it comes to an ideal hang out or work spot, it’s not just about the espresso.  I love finding a place that also offers great ambiance/decor, and these 4 spots check off all my musts.  Read on to see what McKay has to say about each place (you know those 20-somethings are super in-the-know about what's awesome), as well as each of our picks.

guest post by McKay Norton

-Bad Wolf Coffee-

Bad Wolf Coffee offers all of your favorite classic coffee and espresso drinks. With high top seating and floor-to-ceiling windows, Bad Wolf is the perfect open space to come meet a friend for morning coffee or get some work done. Open til 9pm, Bad Wolf also sells beer, wine, and cocktails that customers can enjoy inside or out in the adjacent courtyard.

Our picks: Liz and I both LOVED the Cold Brew, but their latte art is for sure on point as well.


-Mixson Market-

If you haven’t ventured to North Charleston lately, you definitely need to make a stop at Mixson Market. Besides offering great coffee drinks, Mixson sells breakfast and lunch, a variety of gourmet grocery items, and adorable little gifts. With a cozy neighborhood vibe, Mixson is definitely a hip hidden gem.

Our picks: Liz always orders an iced americano with a scoop of chai powder and the breakfast tacos, and my favorite is definitely the iced latte.


-Collective Coffee-

Any trip into Collective Coffee will give you a quick glance at the hustle and bustle of Charleston. Always packed with customers, Collective has become a local favorite because of their amazing coffee and espresso, but also their great breakfast and lunch offerings. The rustic, homey decor of CC makes it a great place to grab a bite to eat or catch up on some work.

Our picks: Liz and I are both big fans of their Dirty Chai Latte, and I live for their avocado toast.


-The Harbinger Cafe and Bakery-

As soon as you walk into the Harbinger, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped right into a French cafe. With a charming aesthetic, the Harbinger offers a cute and inviting space to enjoy all of their foods and beverages. I was amazed by all of their pastries, especially the variety of cookies on display; they sell nine different flavors at all times.

all images of the Harbinger are by  Abby Murphy Photo

all images of the Harbinger are by Abby Murphy Photo

Our picks: I loved the Best Friend (their classic chocolate chip cookie) and Liz recommends the chia pudding with a honey almond milk latte.


Happy coffee drinking, folks!  Check out more fun Charleston ideas in my Charleston Guide and on my Instagram

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Charleston Wine + Food Festival Recap

Gail Simmons alert! photo c/o  Abby Murphy Photography

Gail Simmons alert! photo c/o Abby Murphy Photography

The 2017 CHSWFF was a whirlwind of good times & culinary delights.  Every single event offered food, drinks, AND entertainment.  There were also plenty of culinary celebrities around every corner.  Words definitely can't express what a treat it was to get to be part of the media coverage for this event.  Thank you to Charleston Wine + Food for having me along as part of the #CHSWFFstreetteam! Here are some of the highlights from this year, and what I will definitely catch next time!

-My CHSWFF Faves-

1. The PUNS!

If you thought this was a stuffy festival for the culinary elite, you were wrong.  Just take a look at the event names, and you will understand that this festival doesn't take itself too seriously.  With event titles like "Slice slice baby", "Pinot NV", & "The Big Lebrewski", I just can't wait to see what they come up with next year!

2. Namaste Bubbly

Yoga + Veuve Cliquot + a great dj + a free yoga mat = my ideal Charleston event.  I love how there were plenty of GF/DF food options from Huriyali & Verde, and of course Veuve is always a treat.  We got fizz-ical, y'all! 

3. Hooked on Bowens 

What is better than a bunch of great seafood dishes? Seafood + tequila!  Don Julio was at this event with their adorable blue truck, and I was loving all of the octopus dishes.  We got to meet the super cute Bowen's Island owners, the Barbers; they have quite a story and one of the best views around!  I'll definitely be back soon for a bucket of oysters and a Charleston sunset.

Above images c/o Abby Murphy Photography

Above images c/o Abby Murphy Photography

-CHSWFF Goals-

1. Nassau Street Sideshow 

It's like a circus erupted in Charleston at Lewis BBQ- think people on stilts & even some fire. I have no idea what the food situation was at this event, but I don't think I want to miss this spectacle next year!

2. Pinot NV!

Anytime I get a chance to go to the William Aiken house for an event I have a good night.  Drinking my favorite red wine at a pretty Charleston venue? Yes please!

Image by Stacy Howell c/o Charleston Wine + Food

Image by Stacy Howell c/o Charleston Wine + Food

3. Anything with Oak Trees

It sounds like there were some great events off the peninsula, some even offering super cool transportation via vintage bus.  Next year I will be sure to catch something under the oaks or by the water, like Iron & Oak.

photo by Stacy Howell c/o Charleston Wine + Food

photo by Stacy Howell c/o Charleston Wine + Food


The talented Abby Murphy came with me to photograph a lot of the CHSWFF festival, and we can't wait for you to see our Fashion Week collaboration! Follow us on Instagram to see what we are up to at the tents ( @charlestonweekender & @abbymurphyphoto), and check out my Charleston Guide to stay in the know about upcoming local events.

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A weekend in Charleston: The Progressive Dinner

 

Here to help me share one of MY favorite ways to eat in Charleston is one of my Charleston-loving friends, Annie Harris. She's a wonderful lady I met in college, and also a fabulous mom, librarian, baker & foodie!  Check out her tips on how to execute the perfect progressive dinner, with some specific spots to try if you want to maximize your Charleston dining experience.  One of the featured spots I'm most excited about is the newly renovated Restoration Hotel (pictured above).  They are celebrating their grand opening tonight, and will surely be your new favorite rooftop spot in town.

So, you are planning a weekend away… If you are anything like me, the first thing to plan is the food: Friday night dinner; Saturday breakfast, lunch and dinner; Sunday brunch… but that’s only five meals! How do you fit in all the dining recommendations you’ve been given by friends, the restaurants you saw on your favorite foodie show (Top Chef fans, I’m looking at you), and all the spots that you spent hours ogling on Eater before your trip? Never fear foodies, I have a solution for you: it’s the progressive dinner (and it is my jam)!  In a traditional progressive dinner, a group of people go from one person’s house to the next eating a different course at each home. I have modified the basic concept, and instead of visiting the homes of friends, I move from restaurant to restaurant eating a different course at each establishment. This method is great for maximizing a weekend (or, in my case, a rare night with a babysitter) because you don’t have to pick just one place, one type of food, or even one menu item. You really CAN have it all my friends!

 

Here are five tips to make the most of a progressive dinner:

1.      When I plan a progressive dinner for myself, I usually plan on about four different restaurants. I try to go to one place for an appetizer, one for soup or salad, one for an entrée, and one for dessert. You can also do an appetizer crawl getting small plates at each place. Then, throw in a bar at the end for a nice after dinner cocktail.

2.      Plan a route as well as the meal. Think strategically about where you are starting and ending. If you’re going to be drinking, think about driving to the first couple of places, leaving your car in a safe place, and being able to walk to the final few destinations.

3.      If you’re going out with a group, you probably want to cap the amount of people to four or five. It gets hard to coordinate too many people when going to multiple destinations, so being able to fit all in one vehicle (and at one table) is ideal.

4.      At nicer restaurants, think about sitting at the bar or in the bar area. Since you aren’t ordering a whole meal, it’s friendlier to the wait staff not to take up a whole table. You’ll get in and out more quickly if you don’t have to wait on a table, and there is no need to worry about reservations (or the lack thereof).

5.      Share food at each stop and order small portions when the option is available. You’re going to potentially eat four courses, so come hungry friends.

 

For all of the Charleston Weekenders out there, here is my recommendation for a fabulous progressive dinner evening in the Holy City:

1.      Leon’s - 698 King St, Charleston, SC 29403 - http://leonsoystershop.com/

Start out with some raw oysters or peel and eat shrimp at Leon’s on Upper King. It’s really casual and fun with indoor and outdoor spaces. Plus, they have a great drink menu including my favorite thing, champagne! It’s a fun way to get the evening started. They have parking, so it is easy to drive there. After Leon’s, I would drive to a parking deck on Hassell St. and park your car while you walk between the next few places. Once you park your car, here is a walking map for the last four destinations.

 

2.      Cru Cafe - 18 Pinckney St, Charleston, SC 29401 - http://www.crucafe.com 

Cru Cafe is a bit off of the beaten path in an adorable historic Charleston row house. The food is really fresh, local, and inventive. It is great for a starter course because they have quite a few salads that they will serve in appetizer or entree sized portions. Their small plates are also tasty.  I’ve had their Mesclun Fried Goat Cheese salad and highly recommend it.

 

3.      Hanks – 10 Hayne Street Charleston, SC 29401 - http://www.hanksseafoodrestaurant.com

This is my all-time favorite restaurant in Charleston. It has been around for ages and does everything right. There is a great family style table here that is perfect for your quick stop during a progressive dinner. I say go ahead and get one of the southern fried seafood platters or the classic shrimp and grits. You will not be disappointed. Share it though! One is definitely enough.

 

4.      Peninsula Grill - 112 N Market St, Charleston, SC 29401 -https://www.peninsulagrill.com/

Peninsula Grill is famous for their coconut cake, so this is where you need to go for dessert. If (like my poor misinformed husband) you don’t like coconut, don’t worry because everything here is divine. They also have a champagne bar (be still my heart), so you can get some bubbly to celebrate a wonderful evening!

 

5.      The Watch Rooftop Kitchen and Spirits - 75 Wentworth St, Charleston, SC 29401 - http://www.therestorationhotel.com/public-space

There are lots of great places to go for cocktails in Charleston. I chose the Watch, which is on the roof of the Restoration Hotel, because from Peninsula Grill, it’s a nice walk through the Belmond Charleston Place Hotel and then just two blocks up King Street. You can window shop and walk off some of the food you just ate!  Before you take the elevator up to the 7th floor of The Restoration, be sure to check out the Port Mercantile, the precious gift shop that sells everything from beer to beard grooming products.  At The Watch, you'll want to take a window seat for a stunning view of the Ravenel Bridge.  The “Old Exchange,” their take on an Old Fashioned, makes a tasty nightcap. Plus, I just love a rooftop view to end an evening.

If you can’t make it to Charleston to enjoy this progressive dinner, plan your own at home! Have fun!

XO, Annie

 

*Be sure to stop by The Port Mercantile (pictured above)  on your way up to The Watch.


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