Magnolia Restaurant – Charleston South Carolina
Following on from our trip to Washington we went to ‘visit awhile’ in South Carolina with our friends Tony and Betsy in Columbia, South Carolina. Betsy and I had such a great time together swapping recipes and cooking tips. I am fascinated by Southern Cooking and the ingredients and came back with a huge stash from the local Piggly Wiggly.
On a day trip to the beautiful Charleston, South Carolina we were directed to one restaurant above all others as an example of the best of Southern Dining. Magnolias. Before our reservation we went to a super cook shop across the street from the restaurant and I bought the recipe book of the restaurant called ‘Magnolias – Uptown, Down South.’ which later, the waiter happily got one of the cooks to sign. The restaurant is bright and open with large windows and clean lines. We were seated promptly and offered menus. I really wanted to try Fried Green Tomatoes which were huge and came breaded in cornmeal and lightly fried with a cream tomato sauce and salad. They were really delicious though this dish seemed rather substantial for a starter. Other starters around the table were plump and meaty scallops and the signature shrimp and grits.
I’m not sure about grits. I had them for breakfast that morning and even with loads of whipped butter found them to be bland and watery.
For main course I had the classic buttermilk fried chicken breast served with cracked pepper biscuits, mashed potatoes, collard greens, cream style corn, served with grilled roma tomatoes and sausage herb gravy. It was fabulous. Chicken was almost steamed within its crisp breaded coating and the mashed potatoes and collard greens completed the ultimate in comfort food. I wanted to curl up and have a nap halfway through and was surprised that I finished it but I just couldnt resist devouring it. Wonderful!
For pudding I had the Red Velvet cake which was a rich delicious gateau that was oddly dyed red with food colouring. Fine but not particularly exciting. Service was efficient though rather cold. Perhaps we worried if the English know how to tip in America.