This spring break, my lovely girlfriend, Jilli, and I took a trip down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Certainly, we visited the beach, played golf, went boating, and visited many tourist destinations, but one of our main activities was eating.
Friday 2/28: Chinatown Express – Washington DC
Our first stop was in Washington DC. We drove just over ten hours to our hotel in Arlington, Virginia and immediately took the opportunity to stretch our legs on a ten-minute walk to the nearest Metro station. After strolling down to the Lincoln Memorial, we had worked up quite the appetite. I knew of a restaurant in Chinatown that would definitely hit the spot, I just couldn’t remember the name of it. But I knew how to get there. That noodle soup was forever ingrained in my memory. Enter the arches of Chinatown, take the first right, and look for the people cooking in the window. It was everything I remembered. We started off with steamed pork buns and egg rolls before ordering our noodle soup. Mine had beef and Jilli’s had pork. Every last bite was delicious, but next time I’ll be getting the pork, it was better and I was jealous. The only downside was my chopstick debacle: While trying to pretend I knew how to use chopsticks, I dropped my pork bun into a plate of soy sauce and it splattered all over me. Fortunately, breaking out a Tide stick saved my beloved t-shirt.
Saturday 2/29: Chipotle – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
After another day of driving, we weren’t looking for a fancy dinner on our first night in South Carolina. At Chipotle, we certainly knew that would not be the case. Jilli got a barbacoa bowl and I got a carnitas burrito, which were both complimented by our order of chips and guac. To jazz things up, we made a big move and ordered their all-new Queso Blanco. Though I am not the biggest fan of queso to begin with, this ended up being more of a letdown than I thought possible. The taste wasn’t awful, but it was served very cold, which was extremely off-putting.
Sunday 3/1: Moe’s Original BBQ – Pawleys Island, South Carolina
A disappointing dinner at Chipotle left us looking for something we could count on. Moe’s Original BBQ is one of the most reliable places I know. Pulled pork, chicken wings, collard greens, mac and cheese, and cornbread from Moe’s has never let me down. This trip was no exception. Jilli went with pulled pork as well, plus collard greens and a Mississippi mud pie. It was here that she first discovered her love for collards, which is something she looks forward to every year. We both left full, happy, and grabbed some to-go cups of Alabama white sauce to begin a stockpile at the condo.
Monday 3/2: Uncle Dick and Aunt Kaye’s – Pawleys Island, South Carolina
After a terrific day of boating on the Waccamaw River with my Uncle Dick and Aunt Kaye, we returned to their house for dinner. We were greeted by a great host, their dog Lady Blue. For an appetizer, we had chips and dip on their screened-in porch. The atmosphere was the best we experienced all week and they made a killer batch of Cincinnati-style chili. Afterward, we had some of Aunt Kaye’s delicious blueberry cobbler, which was a perfect way to cap off the night.
Tuesday 3/3: Poogan’s Porch – Charleston, SC
Last year, we experienced all that Magnolias had to offer. This year on our excursion to Charleston, we set our sights on another well-known Charleston establishment: Poogan’s Porch. From the moment we walked up the front steps and onto the porch, the southern charm was apparent. Poogan’s Porch was originally built as a family home in 1891. Entering the restaurant made it feel like you were about to eat in someone’s dining room as opposed to a traditional restaurant. Our waitress was a great host and added to the feeling of being home. We started off with warm biscuits and fried green tomatoes, which were topped with goat cheese and paired with a seasonal chutney and spiced pecans. Jilli ended up going with the country fried chicken. It came with mashed potatoes, collard greens, and hot honey. I decided on BBQ Mahi Mahi, which came with local greens and a pimento cheese grit cake topped with pulled pork. Though my fish was a bit on the salty side, it was still delicious and we both loved our meals. We both felt that Poogan’s Porch was a nice restaurant with a warm, welcoming atmosphere. We will return.
Wednesday 3/4: King Kong Sushi – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
We returned from Charleston on Wednesday afternoon and spent the rest of the day in Pawleys Island before heading back to the condo. Once we got back, we started looking for places to have dinner. Jilli was in the mood for sushi and she found that King Kong Sushi had good reviews. From the outside, it looked like a bit of dive, but we were pleasantly surprised when we got inside. There were over 100 different types of sushi. We chose four of them to split: Spicy salmon, spicy tuna, vegetarian, and a bulgogi roll. All of them were tasty, although the spice was inconsistent in the salmon rolls. One piece would have no spice at all, while the next one may leave your mouth feeling like it was on fire.
Thursday 3/5: Dead Dog Saloon – Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
At Dead Dog Saloon, the most appealing aspect is its location right on the marsh walk in Murrells Inlet. The hushpuppies with honey butter and strawberry daiquiris are a close second. These did not disappoint, as usual, but our meals this time around were not up to their usual standard. For an appetizer, we ordered fried green tomatoes. The tomatoes themselves weren’t bad, but they came with a sweet chili sauce that did not pair well. Jilli got a steak salad, which had potential but ended up leaving a lot to be desired. The only positive was that it had a delicious house-made dressing that came with it. I got a cajun shrimp alfredo. The shrimp itself was both cooked and seasoned exceptionally, but a lackluster alfredo sauce dominated the dish.
Friday 3/6: Gios Italian Kitchen – Pawleys Island, South Carolina
On Friday night, we took Uncle Dick and Aunt Kaye’s suggestion from Monday and went to Gios Italian Kitchen for the evening. It exceeded even the highest of expectations. The part that really struck me was the value we got for the price we paid. Many of the entrees were priced in the mid-20s to low-30s, but came with the choice of either soup du jour or a house salad. Plus, there was warm bread with olive oil and balsamic to dip it in. After starting off with a flavorful bruschetta, we both chose the soup du jour: Cream of broccolini. It was topped off with croutons and bleu cheese crumbles, which added both depths of flavor and texture. For our entrees, Jilli chose the chicken marsala and I decided on Pesca del Mar, which had fresh scallops, lobster meat, and mussels. All of this was served with a white sauce over linguini. Every single bite was delicious and the drinks were great too. We didn’t talk much during this meal. We agreed that this was because the food was so terrific and we didn’t want to take a break from eating. It was the single best meal we had on vacation.
Saturday 3/7: The Condo – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Our last night before leaving South Carolina called for cleaning, packing, and something simple for dinner. That meant frozen tortellini and a bunch of leftovers from the condo. From breakfasts earlier in the week, we had onions and tomatoes. We sauteed these and put them together with the tortellini. For a protein, I ate Jilli’s leftovers (as I often do), which consisted of pulled pork and chicken wings. I also used some of that stockpile of Alabama white sauce I mentioned earlier. It definitely wasn’t the fanciest meal of our lives, but it was fun to make together and made it so that we didn’t have to throw away any of the food we bought.
Sunday 3/8: Popeyes – Somewhere off the Jersey Turnpike
Driving all day put us in the mood for some cheap, easy comfort food. The easy part did not end up coming into play. After the heartbreaking discovery that the Popeyes at a Delaware rest stop had closed for the night just minutes before we arrived, we continued our way down the road in search of those fried tenders. Once we took the exit off the Jersey turnpike to get to the next Popeyes, we found ourselves much further off the exit than intended. We finally arrived just before they closed, which we could tell by the chicken and fries that seemed like they had been sitting for a while. They gave us less sauce than we asked for as well, but at least the biscuits were good and we weren’t hungry anymore. It definitely wasn’t worth all the hype, but it got the job done.
Market Street Sweets – Charleston, South Carolina
The best pralines I’ve ever eaten. They were freshly made and still warm.
Krispy Kreme Donuts – Anywhere we could find one
Whenever we saw the red sign light up that meant their glazed donuts were hot and ready, we couldn’t help ourselves.
Sweet Ice Rolled Ice Cream & Bubble Tea – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Jilli introduced me to rolled ice cream for the first time. It was fun to watch it being made and it was delicious.
The Cambria Hotel’s Bar – Charleston, South Carolina
The BEST margarita I’ve had in my life.