Last weekend I was finally able to go on a Charleston Culinary Tour, and now I totally get what all the fuss is about. I went on the Upper King Culinary Tour and we visited HōM, Prohibition, Union Provisions, and then Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams for dessert. I knew the food was going to be delicious but oh my goodness, y’all – these were some of the best meals I’ve ever had. Read on to learn my favorite dishes of the day, an unexpected favorite part, and how to make the most of your culinary tour.
Known for their southern cookin’ and complete with ping pong tables in the back (including a paddle behind the bar signed by Bill Murray), HōM aims to feel like just that to customers – home! I have been known to frequent this restaurant solely for their BLT Bloody Mary – yes that means bacon inside your drink – and the occasional (often) mac & cheese burger.
Despite showing up a few minutes late (classic), w and I arrived just in time for the most mouthwatering calamari I’ve ever had. Calamari is usually not my first choice when picking appetizers, but HōM’s version had me eating both my words and all the calamari in sight. It was tossed with a sundried tomato and goat cheese sauce that I wanted to fill up a pool with and dive into. You guys know how passionate I am about goat cheese.
The second dish at HōM was their ‘Dixie Flatbread’ (pictured above). It was topped with pimento cheese (basically a food group in the south), pork confit, caramelized onions, and maple bacon greens. I pretended to be polite and ate the first half with a fork and knife, then got lost under its spell and stuffed the rest of it in my mouth. I probably could have eaten a dozen of these – definitely my favorite at HōM.
Our third dish was a sample of their ‘Green Gobble’n’ sandwich – turkey, melted leeks & spiniach, brie, green goddess aioli, and green apple. Need I say more?
Out of all the restaurants on the tour, Prohibition is definitely the one that I go to the most. I’m a big fan of their brunch, outside patio, and weekend DJ who plays 90s jams (read: NSYNC upon request) like it’s his job. Which I guess it, like, kind of is.
The first dish at Prohibition was like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. The talented chef whipped up a *non-menu* rabbit paella with local rabbit, chorizo, Spanish rice, bell peppers, onions, and a sriracha hollandaise (swoon). As y’all know I’m an avid animal lover and kind of like animals more than I like humans, so getting past the rabbit thing was difficult, but once that first bite passed by lips it was all over. Easily my favorite dish at Prohibition, maybe even the whole day/week/month.
I don’t know how anything could ever rival that paella, but the second dish came close. It was a duck hash with duck confit over hand-cut crispy bell pepper hash, topped with local fried duck eggs and that sexy sriracha hollandaise again, then finished with shaved duck yolk. (Say duck again.) It was also a HUGE portion (pictured above), so everyone got more than enough.
Our last dish at Prohibition was their ‘Blueberry Basket’ – crispy crème brûlée french toast (OKAY) stuffed with homemade blueberry ice cream, then drizzled with maple syrup. Dead.
This place is fairly new to Upper King and I had been dying to try it. Not only did I hear the food was incredible, but the building and the space are stunning. High ceilings, tons of windows, natural light pouring in from King Street… I couldn’t get enough, and was snapping pics like I was at a Justin Timberlake concert.
At Union Provisions, they brought out mussels with baguettes (pictured above) and a pork steamed bun with spicy mustard. Although I’m a huge fan of mussels, that pork bun spoke to my soul. It was served in a bamboo steamer basket and when they opened it, tendrils of steam escaped theatrically. It was awesome.
The drink menu was also pretty dope, although not included, and featured cocktails and spirits that were just asking to be Instagrammed (see above). I will definitely be going back here to explore more of their menu!
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
You win, Charleston Culinary Tour, you win. Ending the tour with a scoop of Jeni’s was an overachiever move if I’ve ever seen one. Although it was not my first rodeo at this sweet shop, I pretended that I didn’t know what ice cream was and proceeded to try every flavor on the menu. Hey, it’s encouraged!
Since there weren’t necessarily “dishes” here – if there were, I could have eaten a twelve course meal – I will do you the favor of telling you my favorite Jeni’s flavors:
- Salty Caramel – First things first, THIS. I could live off this stuff. If you could order popcorn tubs of this, I’d do it. They caramelize sugar by hand, then blend with sea salt and grass-grazed milk. K.
- Coffee with Cream and Sugar – Why can’t all coffee taste like coffee ice cream? Specifically, this coffee ice cream. It’s made with freshly roasted beans, ground and steeped in grass-grazed milk, and tastes like heaven.
- Goat Cheese with Red Cherries – Don’t even try to say this sounds gross. I’ve told you how I feel about goat cheese. If you know me at all, you have probably heard me say “goat cheese is my religion” and it is. This flavor kind of tastes like cheesecake but so, so much better.
- Wildberry Lavender – I’m usually not a huge lavender fan outside of soaps and potpourri, but this is an exception. A big one. My scooper at Jeni’s once described it as gourmet Froot Loops, and I totally feel her on that.
- Brambleberry Crisp – In their words, “buttery, oven-toasted oat streusel and a striking, sweet-tart ‘brambleberry’ jam of blackberries and black currants layered throughout vanilla ice cream.” You had me at buttery, babe.
BRB, going to Jeni’s.
So what did I wear for this walking tour in the middle of winter, you might ask? Just my new powder pink coat that I spent months searching for, only to finally discover in the clutches of Forever 21 – with whom I share an endless love-hate relationship. The online reviews (gotta stalk those pretty hard at F21) were VERY mixed but I bit the bullet, took a risk, and it worked out.
ANYWAY, I paired my pretty pink coat with a chambray shirt (duh), black skinnies, black booties, and a black envelope clutch – another annoyingly incredible find from F21. I just love the color combo of pale pink and black – although it has to be only a whisper of blush to avoid an 80s vibe. To top off the look, I went with cat-eye sunnies, a sparkly statement necklace, my standard gold jewelry, and a lavender mani that matched my 18th sample spoon of Wildberry Lavender, as my (male) Jeni’s scooper so observantly pointed out.
Chambray Shirt: J. Crew | Black Skinnies: J. Brand | Pink Coat: Forever 21 | Ankle Booties: H&M (similar) | Sunnies: Forever 21 (similar kinda not really but I like them) | Envelope Clutch: Forever 21 | Necklace: J. Crew Factory (similar) | Ring c/o Lilli & Tori | Other Rings: H&M | Nails: Essie (Lilacism)
There you have it – my first Charleston Culinary Tour, but definitely not my last. If y’all need a good gift idea for your Valentine, look no further. The amount of food you get is SO worth it, the dishes are exquisite, and best of all, it’s a present for you too.
Sold yet? Pick up your tickets to a culinary tour here! And to make the most out of your tour, follow these tips:
- Don’t wear your skinnygirl jeans. This should be obvious, but unfortunately it wasn’t for me. #rookiemistake
- Eat slowly – savor each bite; acknowledge every flavor; chew before swallowing…that means you, w.
- Get to know the other people on the tour! This is shocking advice coming from me, the outgoing introvert who would rather eat on the floor alone at brunch than set foot near the community table, but this was kind of my favorite part. Despite the age range being all across the board, the group of maybe fifteen of us got along like we had known each other for years. Everyone was just great and I wish I could be BFF with all of them. The best thing is I’m not even the only one who thought this – everyone loved everyone! It was really cool. Sometimes humans and their ability to connect with each other really amazes me and gives me hope for the world. I’ll stop before I get weird and talk about other things that amaze me, like outer space, life under the sea, or bridges (don’t even get me started on bridges). Tour friends, I gave you my blog card so ball’s in your court – keep in touch!