I love to travel and I love to eat! I especially enjoy trying new foods and checking out local faves and specialty dishes. Sometimes, I go for the popular spots, but the best experiences are usually when I’m able to find a hidden gem favored by locals. This space is my place to share my dining highs and lows, on the road. Feel free to share your experiences and recommend your favorite food adventures. While, I am not quite as fearless as Andrew Zimmerman of Bizarre Foods, I’m always game for a new flavor sensation….as long as it doesn’t bite back!
Swig & Swine – Charleston, SC
When I travel, I turn to Yelp and locals to find tasty eats. A couple of weeks ago, I was in South Carolina and had some time to kill before my flight. Swig and Swine, opened in 2013, had pretty good overall reviews and wasn’t terribly far from the airport. I was on the prowl for pork. The piggy themed restaurant is inviting and casual with just the about the right amount of fun touristy souvenirs for sale, barbecued meats and southern sides.
The pork rind appetizer above is served with a HUGE scoop of pimento cheese was so so so good. The fresh fried pork rinds arrived at my table on a silver tray still popping and sizzling. The crispy seasoned rinds, a little on the salty side served as perfect scoops for the zesty creamy cheese. I’ve never been overly fond of pimento cheese, however the combo of the hot cracklings and the shredded cheddar and spiked with diced pimento rocked my world. As you can see the portion is very generous. I love leftovers! The pimento cheese was yum-mo-so in my Sunday scrambled eggs.
I had the three meat plate with smoked chicken, ribs and pulled pork with collard greens and baked beans The meat is served sauce-less. Customers may choose from four BBQ sauces: a white mayo-based sauce, mustard sauce, vinegar sauce, and tomato-based sauce. Originally being from Kansas City, MO – NOT KS – home of the 2015 World Series Champion Royals, I prefer my Que saucy and vinegar-less. The meat was pretty tender, but I missed the KC smokiness I grew up smelling at the best BBQ joints in the home of some pretty amazing jazz & Que. The sides were average.The collards, cooked and served whole, were a little messy to eat and heavy on the vinegar. South Carolina does like some vinegar. The super sweet under-cooked beans, contained a fair amount of chopped brisket, but missed the mark with their light crunch.
The staff and the atmosphere were top-notch. Would I go again, not so much for the BBQ, but <em>OH YEAH </em>for those crunchy puffy pork rinds and pimento cheese!
167 Raw – Charleston, SC
I love seafood and make it mandatory to try at least one seafood restaurant when I’m in a city which borders a large body of water where fresh is featured. This day in June, I selected 167 Raw because of the great Yelp reviews. I wasn’t disappointed. The menu is small, but the food is fresh. The menu selections change daily, sometimes even hourly if an item runs out. I started with the Jonah crab claws $3.00 each and a cup of shrimp gazpacho. The claws were sweet and fresh. The gazpacho, with zucchini, cool and refreshing on a 90+ degree day in Charleston. Perfect with a squeeze of lime.
Next, I tried a $5.00 fish taco. The fish of the day was halibut when I arrived, but the ran out, while was finishing my cup of gazpacho. The halibut was replaced with monk fish, which is meaty, lobster-like and makes me smile.
Can you tell I was hungry? It was a tough deciding among the menu “Favorites.” I chose the fried oyster basket. The oysters were crispy and piping hot and served with a sweet hot honey sriracha glaze over a little salad of baby greens. Would I return to 167 Raw? Definitely. I’ve got to try the lobster roll, which gets rave reviews. It’s small and very busy, but very worth it. They also have outside seating. If you’re in Charleston, I recommend giving this seafood joint a try.