Last weekend, I took an impromptu girl’s trip to Charleston, South Carolina. I am always enchanted by this city each time I go. There is always something to do, and there is always something good to eat! I could go on and on about where to eat dinner, but when I was searching some travel blogs, very few wrote about breakfast. I know that some hotels include your breakfast, but c’mon! You’re on vacation. Treat yourself like royalty!
The two places I am suggesting are not in historic downtown (sorry), but they are right over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. They are very close to downtown, however! Interestingly, both of the places I love are in strip malls (looks are deceiving.) These joints have a blend of tourists and locals alike, and they clearly use the freshest, local ingredients. I go to both these places each time I go, and so should you!
Three Little Birds, 65 Windermere Blvd., Charleston, SC 29407
This place is where my friend Jen and I went first upon arriving to Charleston. Upon walking to this restaurant, you’ll see this unique ivy sprawled all around the front of the restaurant. The name, Three Little Birds, is likely an allusion to Bob Marley, and it has a very simple island vibe to it. This is the hipster/hippie’s paradise. They have mason jars (my weakness) and colorful coffee mugs with plates that are equally vibrant. Upon walking in, you’ll smell the freshly pressed juice (how rare is to find that these days?) and freshly ground coffee. Speaking of juice and coffee, please get both–the coffee is from a local vendor and is probably one of the least bitter coffees I have had (excessive cream and sugar not needed–it’s that good on its own), and the juice is refreshing and almost therapeutic.
Now let’s talk food! Last year, I had this “out of this world” Crab Cake Benedict; however, that was only a daily special for the time. I instead ordered the Sweet Potato Benedict which had Poached Eggs, Ham, and Hollandaise over Sweet Potato Biscuits with Cheese Grits. It only cost me $8.95, and boy did it satisfy. I will admit that I am partial to the special they had last year (that would be a 15/10), but as an aficionado of all foods with Hollandaise, I have to tip my hat off to Three Little birds again–it was spectacular. The eggs were perfectly poached and runny upon breaking their “love seal.” The ham was crisp but tender, and the homemade sweet potato biscuit was a great substitute for a tradition English muffin. The grits were good–the cheese were a bit thick of a shred for my taste, but once it melted in, it was great!
Rating 9 out of 10
This is Jen’s breakfast, and she was very satisfied. Because she comes from California, I know that Jen is a good judge of fresh food. Jen is very used to eating local everything. Featured here is a daily special; it was a Scrambled Egg Burrito with Potatoes and Peppers with Fresh Salsa, Sour Cream, and fruit (strawberries and orange slices).
She was impressed with the whole dish, but she was especially impressed with the pressed seal of the burrito and the salsa. Sometimes, when you order any burrito out, it falls apart because it’s overstuffed and/or not wrapped properly. There was just the right amount of filling, and it was clearly pressed (similar to a panini) for the crisp texture of the tortilla on the outside as well as for maintaining all ingredients inside. She said this salsa she had (a regular item they have–don’t worry) was the best she has had since she has moved to the Carolinas. You know what that means–it competes with California! 🙂
Rating 9 out of 10
**The next restaurant I am going to talk about I absolutely fell in love with last time; however, this time, there was definitely poor execution of our food (a few send backs on our behalf as well as others), but it does not mean I wouldn’t recommend this place. They had an off day, but once our food came back correctly, it was salvaged. Every place has its moments. I still recommend this place, but I am going to maintain integrity with my review. 🙂
Charleston’s Cafe, 1039 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
It sounds really tourist-y to go to a place in Charleston with a name like “Charleston’s Cafe.” It almost sounds like a trap, but I promise you, this place has impressed the locals as well. When we arrived here on our way out of Charleston, it was relatively early on a Sunday (around 9 am), and we had to wait about 25 minutes. You know a place is good when there’s a wait for breakfast. And you also know its good as the outside of this place is brandished with awards locally as well as reputable companies like TripAdvisor and Zagat.
Upon walking in, you’ll feel like you’re walking into a mom and pop’s place; it has a very inviting family feel to it. There are always specials on the white board that are intriguing, but I know when I come here just what I want—A DEEP FRIED CINNAMON ROLL. And it comes at a reasonable price to clog your arteries with delight; it’s only 5 bucks! I told Jen (as I was salivating) how much I was looking forward to eating this Cinnamon Roll. It was one of the best things, if not the best things I ever ate dessert wise.
Everyone loves a cinnamon roll; it can only get exponentially better by its preparation method and its icing. It is deep fried, which is dangerous, but makes it crispy on the outside but extra warm and gooey on the inside. The melted butter/cream cheese icing maintains that authentic nostalgic taste of a cinnamon roll and distributes decadence to each and every bite.
I probably gave it too much hype; I know it was all I could talk about for the 15-20 minutes we had to wait for our food, but it had been an entire year without this delectable dessert, and I was needing it. Yes. Need. And so, I ordered breakfast but wanted to order one to go (I considered buying two), and Jen ordered one to eat for breakfast, and one to go home. Yes, it is worth it.
But unfortunately, this time we both had to send back our rolls because they were overfried the first time. As you can see in the picture, it is slightly overcooked; it should be a golden brown not–“oh crap! I left it in the fryer too long” brown. It definitely was still good, but we needed to send it back because I have absurdly high expectations for it. Once we had the new rolls, we were much happier.
I do require (yes–REQUIRE) you to order this if you are in the Charleston area. It will change your life…and maybe your pant size too, but it’s worth it!
On that note, before I stop talking about this cinnamon roll that I could never get tired of discussing–the cinnamon roll actually tastes better if you let it sit. Seriously! If you order it and eat it about an hour or two later, you’ll hit the money spot. The butter and cream cheese melts into the cinnamon roll and makes it so moist and flavorful. So if you grab it, try to wait. If you can’t wait (which I totally understand), have a bite or two freshly fried and then force yourself to put it away. Slap yourself out of it.
Rating (ordinarily) 10 out of 10. (Our experience initially would give it a 7 out of 10)
So to try to balance out my palate, I ordered the Amber’s Choice Benedict: It had crab cakes, shrimp, kiebasa, and delicious Hollandaise. I think I was on a Benedict kick this weekend! Anyway, I have to say that this was excellent. My favorite part of this was the kielbasa; it was perfectly crispy and was a great substitute for Canadian bacon. The Hollandaise was smooth and not too lemony, and the shrimp had a butter poached taste. The crab cakes were delicious; however, they were slightly salty. I noticed if I put the Hollandaise on the crab cake bite it would cut the saltiness, but it still needed a little bit of a cut back. Unfortunately, when I went to break my poached eggs, they were clearly soft boiled and had no runny yolk. I sent back my eggs (as so did a woman next to me), but once they brought me new eggs, this dish was a home run. Again, this place had poor execution today, but the flavors and quality are still totally there.
Rating 8.5 out of 10
Go to Charleston today! And don’t be afraid of the strip malls; they have these great places that I am so glad that I found, and I am so glad I could share them with you!