We spent last weekend in Charleston, South Carolina, which is a very, very, very good place to eat. I had shrimp for six out of seven meals, with four of those including straight-up shrimp and grits. Of course, there was also pimento cheese. And blue crab. And peach cobbler and black pepper biscuits and benne seed rolls and bacon jam and buttermilk dressing and corn pudding and coconut cake and... well, it's a good thing we did a whole lot of walking, I have to say.
And as part of the weekend, I did something I'd never done before on vacation: I went to a cooking class.
They happened to be having a Lowcountry Cooking Class while I was in town, and while I'm much more interested in hands-on classes than demo classes here at home, I figured a demo class would be just fine for vacation. So I paid my $25 and pulled up a chair and watched a nice young lady make Lady Baltimore cupcakes with seven-minute frosting, and what else? Shrimp and grits.
And at the end we each got our own bowlful.
Deeeeelicious. I learned about the definition of the lowcountry, the five cuisines that contributed to its development, tricks for making stock and browning bacon, something called "Willie's Hog Dust", and countless other little tidbits. An hour and a half well-spent, to be sure.
And how were the shrimp and grits?
Really excellent. Actually, let's rank all the Charleston shrimp dishes I consumed:
- Hominy Grill shrimp and grits
- Husk cold poached shrimp with buttermilk dressing
- grilled shrimp with peach butter at Peninsula Grill
- cooking class shrimp and grits
- Husk shrimp and grits (too rich, really, but everything else I ate there was amaaaazing)
- Slightly North of Broad (SNOB) shrimp and grits (nothing to write home about)
Five out of six I'd eat again. Mmmmm, shrimp. And it probably won't surprise you at all to know that one of the purchases I toted home from Charleston was a 2-pound bag of grits. Lowcountry dinner party, here I come!