Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Getting My Bearings and Revisiting the Swamp Fox

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church on King Street (taken on my morning walk, as the sun is rising)
Yesterday, was a bit of a difficult day.  The training was great - long, but great, but more than that, I was feeling the effects of a sleepless night and terribly missing Brad and Maya.  After my training, I got back to the hotel and decided to go out and get some fresh air.  Located on King Street, the Francis Marion Hotel is right next to Charleston College; it is a great, safe spot surrounded by churches, student housing, great restaurants, the Francis Marion Park, and great little shops.  The city of Charleston is decorated for Christmas with poinsettas in every shop, twinkling lights and tinsel, and the mood is further set by the sound of Christmas music floating through the night air.

The lobby at the Francis Marion Hotel

I walked a few blocks to the nearby CVS and stocked up on my girlie supplies (face masks, special shampoo, and of course, a cheap bottle of Arbor Mist).  On my travels, I stumbled upon Caviar and Bananas, a great little gourmet store.  Besides having a great menu with organic gourmet fare, and a great selection of wine, they also have every foodies dream of bottled marinades, spices, sauces, and recipe books.  Along King Street, I also came upon another gem called Handmade.  From the outside, it looked like a very high end jewelry store, but when I stepped inside, the welcoming southern tone of the shop assistant and the price tags brought me to realize that I had found a little bit of shopping heaven.  Hammered gold, sterling silver, turquoise, and beaded jewelry grace the shelves, were calling out my name and tempting me to buy, and buy lots.

Saw this guy on my walk last night...couldn't resist.

Whether or not I did remains to be told... The fresh air did me good, but I was still exhausted.  Dinner was on my agenda, but traveling alone keeps me from wanting to sit in a restaurant, especially, when I all I want to do is curl up in my freshly turned down king sized bed.  I have promised to live on local fare while I am here and that usually means seafood.  The Swamp Fox was my restaurant of choice.  Quiet, in the Francis Marion's Lobby, and with a good track record on its seafood, I decided on a quiet corner  ordered the dinner special - a pecan crusted catfish with two sides, collared greens and southern-cooked vegetables.  Dinner was absolutely delicious - the fish was soft, flaky and fully marinated and the crust was crispy.

I am now, officially, addicted to collared greens, especially the ones from the Swamp Fox that are cooked with bacon.  The chef was true to his word - he promised me comfort food and he delivered.  Suffice to say, I had a restful nigt.

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