Thursday, July 12, 2012

Married freaks and frikandellen.

Day Three was left open in the planning of this trip. No itinerary. Just the two of us, letting the city open to us and our itchy feet. This isn’t our normal modus operandi when we travel. I’m a planner, as you can see from my earlier entries. I like to schedule as much as I can and squeeze every last drop out of my time anywhere. But it had been so miserably hot, topping 90 every day we were there with high humidity, and I was so miserably sunburned that we took it easy. Besides that, it was our seventh wedding anniversary. Today was more about being together than about what we could squeeze in or what we could see.

We drove into the city and parked at the cheapest parking lot we could find. Dutchboy is still Dutch, after all. And our steps took us to the dog show that was happening in Francis Marion Park.
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We watched dogs prance in costume, attack dogs attack men in padded suits, agility dogs doing agile things and all this made me terribly lonesome for my own sweet Allie. Nothing cheers me up like a bakery! Being Charleston, you can turn around without bumping into a bakery, and we bumped into Whisk, where I ordered a chocolate roll and a cup of coffee.

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And soon, a little bird told me it was time to move on.

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The rest of the morning was spent soaking in the sites of the city and wandering in and out of art galleries and antique stores, dreaming of things I couldn’t afford and furnishing a house I will most likely never own. It was gloriously fun and unfettered, and filled with sunshine and the scent of confederate jasmine.

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Now most of you will know I’m not a deeply religious person. It’s not my nature. That said, I ADORE churches and cathedrals. There’s something about the stillness that moves me almost to tears. It’s not the presence of a higher power, or any belief. It’s the sanctuary. So when St. John’s arose before us, I had to go inside.

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They were setting up for a wedding, so we didn’t linger too long. Besides that, our chocolate roll had long since vanished from our tummies and we were working up an appetite! Now, I said earlier there wasn’t an agenda for the day. That’s not exactly true. I had a lunch agenda and a dinner agenda. Dinner reservations had been made in advance. Anniversary, remember?? That meal was not being left to serendipity. Lunch was reserved in my mind for something special, too. You see there is a Dutch snack bar smack in the middle of downtown Charleston. Patat Spot—real BelgianDutch frites, falafel, oliebollen, and yes, even frikandellen. We had actually met the owner, Phillis, earlier in romp, on our way to Francis Marion Square, and had promised to return. She is of Dutch descent, her mother came from Bussum. What a wonderful place! Patat Spot, not Bussum. (Not that Bussum is bad, I guess.) And what a hard-working dedicated owner of a shop. She was everywhere, making sure everyone was happy and having fun. And she made sure we got our Dutch discount, too! Being Dutch, this made Ton EXTREMELY happy! Phillis came to our table and chatted for a long time about Holland, her family, the Jewish Holocaust (it was Remembrance Day in the Netherlands), and just about anything else you could imagine. Ton decided that he wanted an oliebollen, too, and sweet lady that she is, Phillis made us delicious Douwe Egberts coffee, and gave it to us for free. Gotta love Dutch hospitality!

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(You can read a great review with better pictures that I took playing with our fry cone, at Elssipkes fotografie

So much fun! Sadly, we left our new Dutch friend behind. But the afternoon was young and we had to digest all those fries, so we headed out to Sullivan’s Island. We walked over the wetlands on the boardwalk to the harbor there, spending a lot of time watching the crabs dig in the mud.

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Don’t tell me that we didn’t have anything exciting to do!!! ANYWAY. The sun was hot, the day was moving on and drove on to the Sullivan Lighthouse. And….didn’t get out of the car. We were tired. We were lazy. We drove around, looked at houses and went to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I didn’t want y’all to think that all we do is walk and do healthy things all the time. Sometimes, we do in fact give way to our inner slobs and take the easy way out. Plus, I was saving my energy for dinner. You see, I get so excited at the thought of an upcoming meal, that I bubble. I get almost…perky. I’m not perky by nature, until you promise me an exciting meal. Then watch me go Katie Couric on you. It’s positively disgusting.

Not that I plan to change it one little bit.

For our anniversary dinner, I had wanted something special. Something quaint but well-reviewed. I wanted Husk. But the two or three week wait to get a reservation stymied me. (Keep in mind, I booked our restaurants a week before the trip.) Instead, I got my second choice, Husk’s next-door-neighbor, Poogan’s Porch. I am so glad that I did!!!! Set in an old Charleston House, it’s a quaint old glory, each room a dining room or bar. It’s got an eclectic mix of furniture. It had character. And it had amazingly fantastic food. If Husk is any better than that, kill me now. I don’t think I could have survived it. Poogan's would be my happy first choice in the future!

Starting off with my cocktail for the evening, Sparkling Blueberry Lemonade. Van Gogh Acai Blueberry Vodka, Lemonade, with a splash of bubbly. Very nice. And very refreshing! (And very, very, very loaded with vodka, but I digress.)
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For an appetizer, I went with a Southern staple with twist: fried pimento cheese fritters! IMG_4036
Delicious creamy pimento cheese, deep-fried and served with a slightly spicy, fruity sauce. Lovely!

For the main course, I stayed with the seafood theme that had dominated my trip. Pan Seared Jumbo Scallops with smoked bacon and white cheddar grit cake, citrus scented spinach, crawfish buerre blanc. Yes, it tasted just as amazing as it sounds! I paired it with a lovely Sauvignon Blanc.
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Dutchboy, still being “healthy” opted again for two appetizers instead of a main course. Not that Fried Ravioli filled with pulled pork & goat cheese ravioli over collards, with a BBQ beurre blanc sauce is healthy.
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But I imagine the Carrot and Ginger soup with Herb Reduction was healthy enough.
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Both were tasty enough to please Dutchboy and keep him quiet for a few, all to brief, moments! After seven years, a girl takes her moments of silent pleasure where she can.

This time, I DID remember to take a picture of dessert. Both before and after. And here, for the record, is our anniversary dinner dessert: Chocolate-stuffed Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce!
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So divinely decadent, we did everything but lick the bowl. Even the lens cap got in on the action.
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It was a sweet, sweet ending to a day of togetherness, to seven years of past happiness, and a lifetime ahead of traveling together.

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