A typical sign you've arrived in the American south is the vegetation: Spanish moss hanging from grand, expansive trees; miles of murky marshland in the distance; rows of corn or cotton fields lining the highways.
It's also pretty obvious when you see more civilians wearing camouflage than not.
But today I knew I was driving through the low country of South Carolina when this spectacle came into view:
Yes, it is almost 2011 and these folks are still referencing the south's secession- gotta love their pride.
To rewind, my trek to Charleston started yesterday with a quick run by Starbucks for breakfast.
Thank God for perfect oatmeal.
I made it even more perfect by adding a heaping spoonful of flax meal, Sun Warrior protein and stevia to the mix.
Mm mm good... and holds you over waaay more adequately than a pastry.
After paying a quick visit to an old friend, it was time to meet up with my best friend, Angie!!
First stop was lunch... Of course.
Not so fast peeps- this isn't your average greasy spoon diner!
Every dish is made in house from scratch (including the ice cream) and there's local art covering the walls.
Per Anj's recommendation, I opted for the roasted green tomato and pesto melt + homemade macaroni and cheese.
Ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby!
I ate one half of the sammy and most of the mac n' cheese, then saved the rest for later in order to get
Genuine homemade peach ice cream and buttermilk pie.
After our late lunch, we went back to Angie's apartment/art studio to catch up, check out her latest work and open a bottle of wine
before we were due to check out her boyfriend Paul's band at (where else?) a restaurant.
This time sushi was on the menu.
While we waited for our rolls to arrive, Angie made a grocery list of breakfast items needed for the next morning.
(Is it just me, or is this trip starting to sound like a total gorgefest?! Hey, that's what life's all about- good friends, good food, good times)
Check out my free napkin art!
Finally our rolls arrived.
The best (and prettiest)?
A Pink Lady... fresh tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, tabiko wrapped in pink soy bean paper.
'Twas absolutely scrumptious- especially with the sriracha mixed into the decorative dipping sauce. Yeah spice!
After dinner, we headed back to Paul's place to have too much a little wine and terrific conversation- it was an evening for the books, y'all :)
The morning was happily hangover free and pancake-filled.
First, Angie prepared a divine amuse-bouche of her own creation:
fancy crackers- the technical term- with goat cheese and local raspberry jalapeno jam
Um, hel-lo! That got me right out of bed and into the kitchen for
whole wheat pancakes with flax seed, successfully transported amazingness in a jar, pecans and honey.
Not my best plating presentation, but served as perfect fuel for a day full of exploring downtown Charleston and the surrounding areas.
You'd be hard pressed to find a more picturesque place than Charleston, South Carolina...
And trust me, there'd be far more photographs to show if I hadn't been freezing my ____ off!
After we'd had quite enough of the weather, we ducked into a Charleston classic for lunch.
For nearly 27 years, Gaulart and Maliclet Cafe (aka Fast and French) has been serving up fresh authentic French cuisine- baguette and jams, homemade dessert and mustards- to the Charleston masses. I was happy to find them extremely vegetarian and vegan friendly (something that's not too common 'round these parts).
Since I was so close to frost bite (at a chilly 42 degrees), I chose the daily special:
A three bean stew atop basmati rice with baguette + some sort of to die for French cheese (bad blogger for not asking what kind it was)
And a side salad (gah- I was craving some greenery!)
This, my friends, is the reason I don't see myself ever applying strict veganism to my routine:
What's a life void of aged artisan cheese?
And for all you people out there that can't tolerate gluten, please shield your eyes for this next pic...
Ah, the floury crust of a fresh baguette... the stuff dreams are made of :)
After our glorious lunch, we braved some more cold rain and made our way to Angie's house for my departure back to Columbia.
After a couple hours drive in the rain, I'm now back in the safety of my childhood home....
About to head out for dinner at the Mediterranean Tea Room (wow, I'm really getting around- first Cuba, then Japan and France, now this)
But I ain't complainin' none.
You better believe the accent's comin' back ;)
Tomorrow's all Christmas decorating, all the time. (plus a trip to the grocery store, because it's about time)
Have a great night!