pedicabs and damn good grits: three days in charleston.

The first time I met Taylor, daughter #1 of my parents’ oldest and dearest friends, I told my mom that I felt like I’d known her forever.  She went home and said the same to hers. We felt like we were fraternal twins, separated at birth.  Fast forward some 13 years later, and it still rings true:  I am lucky to call this sensational person my sister-from-another-mister and one of the closest relationships I’ve ever had.

The voice behind ginger+salt, Taylor is a talented writer with an impressively refined gastronomical palate.  When I get that little ping! in my inbox, indicating that she’s posted another eating experience on her fantastic blog, I drop whatever I’m doing so I can vicariously devour every bite through her words.  Since she started documenting her love for all things culinary nearly two years ago, I’ve been dying to join her in the flesh for one of her targeted outings. Needless to say, when the opportunity to spend some gluttonous time with her in Charleston, South Carolina arose, my normal routine kicked in: I dropped everything and booked a flight.  I’m so glad I did.

I was struck by sensory overload, in the very best way, upon arriving in The Holy City. Everything is vibrant and bright, from the colors of the buildings, to the friendly faces of strangers, to the flavors of the local fare. And it was hot, temperatures averaging 90 degrees each day. But if the heat wasn’t slowing down the locals, we were determined not to let it get the best of us, either. When in Rome…

My lens was immediately drawn to its usual, favorite subject: the architecture. Since moving to the East Coast, I’ve fallen head over heels for the ways these historic cities use color, repetition, detailed molding, and symmetry in their neighborhoods. Charleston felt like a city constantly dressed up for Easter Sunday in its delicate, pastel best. Each individual street seemed to have its own personality, and a strong one at that. When I someday return to my beloved Seattle, I think it will be the thing I miss most.

As expected, Taylor led the charge when it came to planning our meals, and the rest of the itinerary built itself around that (as it should). I learn so much about the food I’m eating from her – there’s rarely a word on the menu or a flavor on the tongue that she can’t explain – and it makes me pay much more attention. Dining with her requires heavy use of all five of the senses. What a dream.

We say that someday, we’ll make our livings by eating our way around the world — she’ll write the reviews; I’ll take the pictures.  Talk about something to look forward to!

Highlights of the trip: welcome lunch at Hominy Grill (don’t miss Taylor’s post here; the first of many future collaborations!). Strolls on Rainbow Row.  Beef tartare at McGrady’s.  A quality FaceTime chat with beloved daughter #2, Taylor’s sister Holland (belly laughs abounded).  A lengthy tour of Boone Hall Plantation.  Bucatini at Two Boroughs Larder.  A sunny afternoon on the porch of Palmer Home Bed & Breakfast. Three-tiered seafood feasts at The Ordinary.  And many a sweaty pedicab ride!

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One of the best meals of my life.

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Boiled peanuts, hey-o!

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Did you know buttermilk pie is a thing?  It is, and it is magic.

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Amen.

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The window planters, clearly a source of pride for those that have them, charmed the heck out of me.

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Rainbow Row: this photographer’s dream.

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Waterfront Park provided a wonderfully shady respite from the sweltering heat.

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Boone Hall Plantation: Hello, dream house.

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The mesmerizing oak lined avenue.

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(Yes, this is Allie’s summer home in “The Notebook”).

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The most delicious South Carolina-made ginger ale.

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Tay, taking it all in.

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The Cotton Dock.

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Lunch, day two:  Two Boroughs Larder.

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Taylor and Vanessa, pre-chow down.

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All about the details.

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#eastcoastrows, Charleston-style.

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Our charming sister hotel, the Palmer Home Bed & Breakfast.

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Don’t mind if I do.

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The sweet spot.

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I’m such a sucker for colorful architecture.

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‘Til next time, Tay Tay!

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springtime (lately).

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cleveland park.

in the shadow of the national cathedral lies cleveland park, a sweet little neighborhood with some of the most beautiful houses in the district.  a few saturdays ago, i grabbed my camera and wandered around, day-dreaming that one day one might be mine.

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the big city.

One of the biggest perks of living in D.C. is my proximity to New York City.  I’ve always loved it there, despite the way it continues to intimidate me to no end.  A bigger perk?  The myriad of dear friends living there upon whose couches I can crash.

This weekend, I was lucky enough to have some serious QT with my best friend of 15-going-on-16 years, Sydney.  She packed up and left Seattle upon graduating from college and is currently killing it in the publishing world.  She is absolutely brilliant, and within minutes of returning to her presence, I feel like I’m home.  I can always count on her for real talk, bottomless support, and good wine.  Knowing she would be only a (sweaty) 5-hour bus ride away is one of the reasons I knew I could make my move out east in the first place.

Katie is my best friend from college, and another New Yorker, this one dominating the fashion world.  She is honest and vivacious, and one of those people who sincerely lives in the moment. I never laugh more than when we are together.  Never.  We’ve been separated since graduation but we never miss a step once reunited.  Our relationship is a precious one to me.

Kate is my favorite cousin from Connecticut, now living in the Big Apple after college in California.  Though we’ve never lived in the same city, our families made sure to foster sibling-esque relationships amongst all of us as kids, so the distance never mattered.  I was a fairly despotic older cousin when we were little squirts, but she took it in stride and our relationship has grown into one of my most treasured, especially over the last year.  I love her so much and I’m incredibly grateful to call her family.

All three of these truly fantastic women are the sisters I never had and somehow, the stars aligned to get them all together at brunch on Saturday, and for a post-Bloody Mary photo shoot in the Bowery. How gorgeous are these three?

The rest of my Big City weekend is a hazy dream, filled with Taxi TV, fire escapes, $1 slices, and skyline views from the Brooklyn Bridge. Pepper in a few more classic New York minutes, and I had myself a wonderful three days.

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