I'm a Damn Yankee, born and bred, and worse than that, a Californian. I make no apologies for these things; the Left Coast is my home and it probably always will be. Even so, I will take any excuse I can get to head to the South and see how gentile folk live. It is always a chance to see new places, meet great people, and eat amazing food.
So when Mrs. Rosewater and I were invited to take part in my bff's college graduation festivities in Charleston, South Carolina, we didn't waste much time booking our flights and reserving our room at Chez Gump. I'd never been to Charleston, and knew very little about the actual city. Turns out we were about to be impressed. Before we ever got on a plane, we were promised a Lowcountry Boil after the graduation ceremony, so I knew it was going to be a good weekend. But first I had to figure out what a Lowcountry Boil was.
Charleston is an amazing city with a story that dates back to before the beginning of our nation. It is quite simply history we do not have out here on the Pacific. It is where the Civil War began, where early refugees escaping religious persecution sought sanctuary, and owns it's own very unique culinary history. One of the many regional delights to come out of the hundreds of years of South Carolina history is the Lowcountry Boil. A tradition started as a way to feed a large group of people quickly and easily, the boil is quite literally a huge pot of sausage, vegetables, potatoes, and seafood (usually shrimp) seasoned, boiled, and dumped onto a long table covered in newspaper.
The word you are looking for is "yummy". Once the boil was dumped out onto the table, we piled our plates high and tucked in. This is real finger food.
Our gracious hosts treated us to this fantastic meal, coupled with some beer from America's oldest brewery and some grilled linguica to snack on as the party wore into the wee hours.
The boil was a great introduction to South Carolinan cuisine, and a perfect way to celebrate a great friend's special day. (That and the beer. We may have put away a couple of pints of that as well.) The day after the party, it was time to do some sightseeing, at least as much as we could pack into one day. We drove out to Sullivan's Island, a touristy beach community and home to Fort Moultrie, notable mainly because it is where Edgar Allan Poe was once stationed during his stint in the military. (Notable for that reason to me. Probably notable to others for various reasons, some of which may include the Civil War.)
Nearby, some enterprising restraunteur is cashing in on the name of Fort Moultrie's famous literary resident at Poe's Tavern. Situated in a converted beach house, the casual restaurant is a big draw for tourists during the summer. They serve a pretty simple menu, burgers and sandwiches and the like, but with some tasty little twists that make it much better than your average burger joint. We had a great lunch out on the covered wood porch before heading back into downtown Charleston for a walking tour of the city.
One last thing we discovered while in Charleston: Our friends introduced us to Firefly, a locally made firewater (vodka) infused with the flavor of sweet tea. If you are looking for something new and fun to serve at your next party, this should be it.
This trip was a blast, thanks to some of the best friends anyone could ask for. So to Eric, Amy, and Bryson, thanks for everything. We can't wait to come back.