Friday, March 28, 2008

Charleston Chew

You want to hear something shocking? I don't mean, like, "ooh, that's shocking", I mean like, "WHAT?!?!" sort of shocking... I had, get ready, an almost perfect vacation. Seriously.
Take a minute to absorb.
Here's the deal - Got up early last Saturday, drove down traffic-free 95 to get to a waiting shuttle at the parking lot. Walked in (keep in mind, on a spring-break Saturday morning) to an almost empty airport, checked in at the counter with a real live person and was through security all within 10 minutes. Boarded first, rolled into Charleston 75 minutes later, and was in an upgraded rental SUV and driving to our hotel with all of our luggage 20 minutes later... with a free 'no need to refill it' tank of gas, I might add.... and on and on, it just didn't stop the whole week. We even rolled out of Charleston after lunch on Thursday and were eating dinner at home that night. Crazy. The only hiccup in the whole week wasn't even that bad... When we got back to the car, the battery had gone dead for some reason or another, but as soon as I called the parking lot guy from my cell, he rolled out and gave us a jump while the kids were watching a movie in the back seat. I don't even think they noticed... I don't even know what to say... kids did a great job on the trip, we saw some cool stuff... I'm at a loss...
Ok, I'll focus. For one, Charleston is a city like any other, there are good and bad parts. We stayed in the historic district though, so it was pretty upscale... and the good parts of Charleston were amazing. Every place we've gone has beautiful parts that stick in my head - like the olive groves in Umbria, the cobblestone side streets of Dijon at night, caves in New Mexico, the water in Costa Rica, the comforting plumes of smoke and cardboard ash that billow out of the drums lining the streets of the Italian Market, etc., etc. - but the grounds of the Magnolia Plantation were unparalleled. We spent almost three hours walking around the grounds and it felt like the blink of an eye, with every turn of the path bringing something that was literally breathtaking. Sweeping Magnolia trees draped with Spanish Moss were everywhere, and framed every picture we took... fantastic.
Blah, blah, blah, scenery was lovely, whatever. The food, ahh, the food. Let me just say, I had grits every single day we were there, and on some days, for more than one meal. Grits with hot sauce, grits with shrimp, grits with lobster broth and scallops, grits with tasso, grits and eggs, and my favorite, grits with extra grits. The grits were so good, I was ashamed that I ever made grits at home because they weren't nearly as... I dunno... gritty. On top of that - red velvet cupcakes and pecan pie, jambalaya, handmade walnut and spinach ravioli, honest to god fried chicken and collard greens - it was heaven.

It was the kind of vacation that made me think at least a few times every day, "I should blog about this..." and now that I'm home, there's just too much to write about, so you'll just have to imagine from my picture-rich post.
oh god I almost forgot... the icing on the cake of this perfect week... I got so much done while we were away. Sent our tax stuff out to the accountant before we left, sent the amp plate from my subwoofer off to Polk to be fixed, and dropped my beloved espresso machine off at the shop to have a few things done. Now that I'm home, everything is shiny and new again, and after installing a new water filter and letting the boiler warm up for a few hours I had a perfect shot to end a perfect week.... heavenly...


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Squishy said...

Sounds like an excellent holiday Joe. The photos are awesome. I made chili powder with those dried chilis you sent. Wow, now do they pack a punch. I have to tell you though our favourite thing in the box were those Chipoltle Peppers in Adobo sauce. I made hickory smoked BBQ sauce with them and I used them in a cream sauce for pasta. Excellent. A friend of mine is organising a leg of goat for me so I can use the Jerk seasoning. I will keep you updated. Hope to hear from you soon.


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