charleston : a {full} weekend

This past weekend, E and I opted for a long girls weekend to see our beloved friend, LC. We drove up to explore the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina. I looked to one of my favorite blog resources, designsponge for some travel advice and it proved right (we even stumbled upon some of the same shops unintentionally). Between LC’s knowledge of the city, running into people in the gelato shop, and help from this travel guide, I’ve created an adapted guide to having a full weekend of eating, drinking, site seeing, and shopping in Charleston. Food seems to steal the spotlight in the South, if that’s not apparent…hopefully more sites on our next visit! Links to places of sites and food below :)

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Food

Five Loaves Cafe: A well priced lunch shop on Cannon Street; everything on the menu looked so good it took a while (& a mimosa) to make decisions. We enjoyed the chicken salad on croissant, sweet potato goat cheese soup, chef special fried green tomato sandwich, and delicious sweet basil & honey dressing on spinach salad the most–gathered that you can’t go wrong here.

Minero: This new Mexican eatery is run by award winning chef Sean Brock. While the wait was long (do not recommend going with a large group), the margaritas, dips, and intriguing tacos made it worthwhile. You might even get so lucky to have a secret admirer send napkin notes… And it’s due to open at Ponce City Market soon! Get ready Atlanta.

Triangle Char & Bar: Charlestonians love brunch–with three locations in the city this place provided a fun brunching atmosphere with open air seating and a fun wait staff (that I’m pretty sure knew the rest of our gang as regulars).

Belgian Gelato: The 10 degree temperature increase (and all of the walking) put gelato on the brain. Our eyes were a little big for our already full stomachs, but when in Rome–get the whipped cream AND chocolate sauce ;)

Sites

King Street: A beautiful mix of stores in pretty historic buildings along a pedestrian friendly street.

Calhoun Mansion: Seeing how current residents use these famous spaces is always interesting. This particular mansion housed antiques on every surface adding up to a billion dollars of collectibles. I think I could do without the elephant hooves in the men’s parlor, seeing the interior of the house was quite an experience. Across the street is home to the largest porches in the city, swoon.

Rainbow Row: An adorable waterfront strip of the city with pastel painted houses lined up for wanderers to admire.

Shops

Charleston City Market: A partially covered galley of local vendors selling everything from sweetgrass baskets to local seasoning mixes. The history behind the original building use is incredible as well.

Mac & Murphy: While you’re on Cannon, stroll on over to this quaint card shop with Charleston influenced paper displays and unique household items. Seen first on the designsponge blog, second in person <3

Final Cut: Not technically in Charleston, but a good halfway point between Atlanta for final cut items from the URBN brands. Needless to say, we wound up squeezing an arm chair into a little Civic for the remainder of the drive home.

Charleston, we had some fun! But, I still think we should have won the guac off–rematch next trip.

dine & dish : sun in my belly

It’s Wednesday night baby and I’m alive! Now that GIRLS is back on, it’s hard to stop the references from coming <3

After long and eventful work days, Dane and I decided to go in with Scoutmob for a nice dinner out. We’ve dined at Sun In My Belly during breakfast and brunch, so our first dinner here was a treat. Nestling the streets of Kirkwood, the hanging lights twinkle against the charming decor allowing the darkness of the evening to elevate the restaurant for its day to night transformation. Our server, Ryan was more than helpful, funny, and put up with hysterical laughter throughout the meal (even after my giggle blew out our candle).

interior     menu

D and I reviewed the menu and took to wine pairing suggestions and Ryan’s recs to place our orders. With water in mason jars and wine in hand, we settled upon the Wedge and Geisha Salad to start the meal. Following the salad, meat and potatoes were brought to the table, two ways. D attempted to sell me on the short rib (only so he could share) but alas we stuck to our instincts and he enjoyed his very own plate of the Cocoa + Espresso Braised Beef Short Rib…with brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes, yum! I ordered the Sweet Tea Brined Grilled Pork Chop–my heart was set on southern meat with sweet potatoes and citrus spinach to complement the Argentinian red wine. We practice “get em and split em” most of the time at meals out, but this meal was on a “bite for bite” basis ;) Sun in my Belly pleasantly surprised with the generous sized portions–not someplace where you have to order one of every course to fill yourself–but, you can…

salads     entrees

pie & a latte     interior

After a few non-full moments, a oatmeal creme pie and a post dinner latte graced our table. (I was leaning towards the fudge mason jar trifle, but with a strong Ryan recommendation and encouragement from D we went with the pie) SO glad we got it. The sticky meringue, topped with shredded nuts and crisp crust paired perfectly with the gooey filling. D couldn’t help but love the MadMen reference during dessert: “let’s have another cup of coffee, let’s have another piece of pie.” Needless to say, this was a homerun. With just a few bites of the entrees left untouched, we head home with full bellies and happy hearts. Sun is in our belly–too cheesy? Just cheesy enough? Oh well, it’s late.

weekends at belly’s

bellys interior

Belly General Store has quickly become one of my favorite weekend breakfast spots. With a charming feel to the interior and a come before we’re out of ’em attitude, this stop is always a hit (except the weekend we arrived post-bike Atlanta crowd…bikers need their bagels, lesson learned). After a few variations on ordering, the asiago bagel with vegetable cream schmear is my go-to. A few things to remember: the hours are early so breakfast & brunch time only, celebrity sightings are known to occur (Bradford, we’re hoping to see to again soon), they prefer the use of fans to modern day A/C & heat so be prepared to be warmed up by the ovens upon entry. Check it out and find your bagel delight. If you catch it in the next week or so, you can even snag a nice outdoor seat: bagel, coffee, people watching and sunshine. Belly’s bliss:)

bagels w friends       bagel outside

dine & dish : paolo’s gelato italiano

Ice cream has always been one of my favorite indulgences–until a few summers ago when I discovered GELATO. The summer I spent abroad consisted of at least one gelato a day. I did partake in two-a-days…those days I was in a cold and creamy heaven. Paolo’s Gelato Italiano has been a Virginia Highlands staple for years, but I only recently began to feed my previous gelato addiction. Let’s just say the words “I should start a gelato budget” were uttered last night. It’s getting serious.

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{straticella w/ E and nutella w/ D }

{E & D w/ their cones respectively}

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Lucky for me, D doesn’t need too much gelato persuasion. With the Atlanta temperatures, a brisk walk to the gelateria is enough to work up some hunger for a sweet treat. I’ve been able to lead E away from the fro-yo across the street and into the neon lights, TRL sounds, and outdoor seating Italian abode.

With an indistinct John Mayer song playing as we entered followed by Avril Lavigne’s Sk8er Boi donning the ice cream environment, we ordered samples and our cones with a calm and nostalgic piece of mind. So far, my favorites have been pistachio (not pictured, I apologize I’ll snag another one next time around) and the straticella–vanilla cream with hard pieces of fudgy candy. If you’re craving an evening stroll and a cool dessert, check it out!

Note: I promise my gelato visits were about a week apart. My nail polish color is a slight giveaway that I can’t get enough of this place. Essie’s peach daiquiri became an instant summer color for me and I can’t go too long without it coating my nail beds. Also, this place is so authentic that it is CASH ONLY. There’s a Wells Fargo close by, but bring cash so you can enjoy. Hope to see you soon at Paolo’s :)