Hot time, summer in the city, but we have a plan to get out of town. One of the best things about living here is the fact that there are multiple beaches to enjoy within driving distance of downtown. Sure, the islands’ houses are filled this time of year with plenty of tourists, but locals can be tourists, too. I know many tri-county residents who rent a beach house for the week for a “staycation,” inviting friends or family to join them. Then there is the “beach invite,” an invitation to join a s for a night or two, a tempting prospect for those of us who don’t wake up to the sound of the waves each day.
All that sun, surf, and swimming calls for some eating, and there is something so luxurious about wandering into a cool kitchen at all hours of the day for a bite after sea and sand. No set daytime meals, just make a plate if you’re hungry. And here’s what I hope is in your fridge when I accept that weekend invite.
Abundant Seafood, or Shem Creek shrimpers, or Crosby Seafood
Friends don’t let friends buy foreign seafood, especially where they’re catching it fresh daily. If you’re East of the Cooper, Shem Creek is the place to be, for fresh fish from Mark and Kerry Marhefka at Abundant Seafood, and shrimp from trawlers as they come into the creek. You can get whole, dressed, or filets in a variety of fish, and shrimp come in different sizes and heads on or off. If you are on the Folly side, Crosby’s Seafood carries a wide selection (depending on what time of day you visit), and they can give you tips on cooking too.
Rodney Scott BBQ
1011 King St.
You don’t even have to park the car, just roll down the window and roll through Rodney’s new drive-through to get some slow-smoked pulled pork ‘cue to go. Snag a smoked chicken, too, and don’t forget the BBQ spare ribs. A side of coleslaw will even things out if you need a perfect something to balance out all that smoke, and chances are, you’ll get a bbq breeze as a bonus through that open vehicle window while you’re waiting for your order.
Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit
476 ½ King St.
A baker’s dozen to go is a given for a beach breakfast that will have everyone lingering over coffee just to get another bite, but the hard part is going to be deciding on the variety. If I were you, I’d go with the classic buttermilk and then grab a container of spicy and regular pimento cheese. Yes, Callie’s Biscuits makes pimento cheese, and it is my favorite. It’s all cheese, no filler, and comes in a bigger container than other brands so I will actually feel like sharing.
Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts
481 King St.
If a sweet treat sounds like a good idea, then a short walk from Callie’s is Glazed, home of the seasonal doughnut. Glazed closes when they sell out, and depending on what local company is having a staff meeting that day, they can be gone before you get there. I love the Lemon Pistachio, the Maple Bacon, and the classic Chocolate with Sprinkles, but they serve 12 varieties a day, and those varieties vary, so you could see Irish Car Bomb (made with Bailey’s Irish Cream and a Guinness Stout glaze), Raspberry, or PB & Chocolate, depending on the baker’s whim.
Caviar & Bananas
51 George St.
Although C&B has locations in the City Market and the Charleston International Airport, the George Street location is the place to go for takeaway success. You can order online to pick up or just walk in, but either way, go gourmet without the grocery store fuss. The “Naked” Kale Salad with dried cranberries, blueberries and aged gouda is a solid side dish, but I’d suggest not stopping there. The Grilled Eggplant Stacks are delicious, the Falafel Salad is filling with grain and garbanzo, veggies and a lemon tahini, and all of the prepared food selections come in three sizes for convenience.
202 E. Ashley Ave., Folly Beach
The little beach store that could, Bert’s has rode the wave of success through the years by catering to its crowd, which means that you can sometimes find acoustic guitar strings a step or two away from gourmet mushroom varieties. The selection really varies here, so stop in with an open mind. There is a wide selection of beer and wine, desserts and gourmet snacks, and of course, Bagel Bites in the frozen section if you’re feeling so inclined.
Bonus: Publix Fried Chicken
My favorite thing about church potlucks from my childhood were the buckets of “storebought chicken.” Chances are, now that the Piggly Wiggly is closed, you’ll have to fight locals in line here who are waiting to pick up some freshly fried chicken for many a reason. It’s because this chicken is juicy inside, crispy outside, seasoned well throughout, and more convenient and better than most of us can make it. Cold from the fridge after a hot morning in the sun, it indeed can taste divine.