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I love Food. Cooking it. Eating it. Experiencing it. As a result, that's what this blog has evolved into: A journal of my gastronomical journeys abroad, as well as my culinary creativity at home. I hope you enjoy what I have to say, and I'd love to hear your comments... Cheers!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Double Dose of Charleston Charm

Let me start by saying, unequivocally, I had one of the best meals of all time on my recent trip to Charleston, SC. I will reveal that experience and location following this initial introduction to Charleston cuisine. The two establishments at which I ate provide a fascinating yin and yang to the current Charleston dining scene, and literally next door to each other on Queen Street!
First, there is the classic: Poogan's Porch, which has been serving up top quality Southern fare since 1976. In a house built in 1888. Voted one of the most haunted restaurants in America. Named after a scruffy neighborhood dog, who wandered the porches of the antebellum houses on the block. Vintage Charleston.

Went there on a Wednesday night, and the place was hoppin'. Tons of character inside these walls. Lots of celebs who've visited and left behind their pictures and autographs, along with words of effusive love for the food. And for good reason.

I started with the She-Crab Soup, which was good, not great. It left me wanting something... more. Next up: Fried Alligator, with Honey Jalapeno sauce on the side. The 'Gator was perfectly crispy outside, tender inside. The sauce was outta this world! I coulda dunked my own finger in the sauce and it woulda tasted great.

The true indication of why Poogan's is so special, though, and such a worthy representative of classic Southern dining came in the form of my entree: Plantation Fried Chicken. I opted for this version because it included melted Fontina cheese and country ham stuffed inside the breast -- a Southern riff on Cordon Bleu. The chicken was perfectly put together, and soooo crispy on the outside (the key component to successful fried chicken, right?). Major kudos to Executive chef Daniel Doyle and Chef de Cuisine Matthew Lewis for my initiation to Southern comfort, food style...

It also needs to be noted that I had a terrific beer with my meal, one that was new to me: Rogue's Dead Guy Ale. It's a Portland, Oregon brand that I've come to learn has garnered much love and accolades from the beer community. Highly recommend it, and can't wait to get back home and seek it out. Add it to my list of craft faves: Abita, and Magic Hat...

Next up: the meal that ranks up there as one of the absolute finest I've enjoyed in recent memory...

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