Maybe the best meal I’ve ever had.

Maybe. It’s hard to say. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

Sunday night Katie and I went almost all the way back out to Kiawah Island to eat at an adorable out-of-the-way little French/Lowcountry place called the Fat Hen. I had moules frites with this ridiculous curry cream sauce, and Katie had grouper with, as our waiter put it, “revelatory butter beans.” They truly were  fantastic, I must say. What’s more important, though, was the salad I started with: roasted corn, tomato and BOILED PEANUTS over greens. Mom and Dad, are you listening? It was wonderful, and I ate ALL of the boiled peanuts.

For those of you who didn’t grow up riding around the Appalachian foothills with me and my family, there are all of these people who set up giant metal pots on the side of the road and boil peanuts all day long, selling them to passersby. Because they look slimy and gross, I had always refused to try them until one day my friend Jennifer’s father offered me one and I didn’t know how to politely refuse. (My Dad is a fan of the roasted, but never boiled, peanut, so I was spared until that moment.) Shockingly, I loved them. Well … sort of. I thought I loved them. The thing is, they’re VERY salty. You really only need a handful, and then the craving is quenched. But you can buy just handful of boiled peanuts. You can only get a big, sloppy wet paper bag of them.

So, after that fateful day with Jennifer’s family, I’d go on trips with my family, we’d pass those bubbly cauldrons, and I’d beg my parents to stop and buy me boiled peanuts. They would eventually acquiesce, and then I would only eat five of them. That’s it. Eventually no one would buy me boiled peanuts ever again, and I am still mocked to this very day. Which is why it’s very important to A., know that they are excellent in a salad and B., point out that I ate them ALL. So there. That was some tangent.

Anyway, the food was great, and here’s adorable Katie on the restaurant’s back porch.

Yesterday – Monday – we spent mostly in Christmas shopping mode:

At Bits of Lace, a lingerie store, I was both amused and annoyed by this sign.

Don't you wish you were getting this hat for Christmas?

In the middle of the shopping, there was that delightful Fast and French lunch:

Cheese, soup and champagne. Such a good way to spend the afternoon.

In the early evening, we made a random stop at a rooftop bar, where I drank the hot cider with rum (Katie had wine) and we watched two hours of Cash Cab with a barful of people. They were pretty obviously locals who gathered for this Cash Cab fix regularly, and as the evening became night, they ordered a bunch of pizzas and tried to feed us. They were lovely and – ladies, pay attention, mostly men  … cute ones too – so if you’re ever in Charleston and on East Bay, head over to the Rooftop Bar at the Vendue Inn.

We didn’t stay and eat with the cute Cash Cabbers, though, because Katie and I were headed to FIG – Food Is Good – where we had what was perhaps the best meal of all time. The photos are kind of meh thanks to the lighting, so bear with me.

Deliciously hot bread, fresh butter.

Wagyu beef tartare, which Katie was very happy not to share, but I tell you it was MARVELOUS. Forget the revelatory butter beans.

This is a very pitiful photo of Katie's suckling pig. I'm not so into the name of this dish - the visual is just too strong and unappealing - but the food itself was eyes-rolling-back-in-the-head good. And I can report this because I actually watched Katie's eyes roll back in her head.

BAKED SEA ISLAND FARM EGG. Seriously, perhaps the best thing I have ever tasted, including everything at the French Laundry. Made with celeriac cream, parmesan and truffled salmon roe. SO. Wonderful.

I didn’t take a photo of dessert, which was a sorghum cake, much like a sticky toffee pudding. It wasn’t a pretty dessert, which was fine because it was so tremendously delicious that … well, let’s just say its appearance was a very short-lived concern.

It’s so freezing here that we can only bear to gaze at our lovely beach, but that’s okay… Today we’re going to be eating lunch at a place called Jestine’s so that Marie Patty will be a happy girl, and then Beloved Katie is treating me, as a Christmas/first marathon gift, to an afternoon at the spa. I’ll be checking in …


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