If you have never been to Charleston, SC – definitely add it to your bucket list. It’s one of my favorite American cities and is one of the those places I love to visit over and over again – the beautiful streets, southern hospitality, sea breeze, and the FOOD!
Earlier this Summer, I took a fun trip down to this charming town that is infamous for it’s good ole’ heart clogging cuisine and rather unhealthy cooking methods. I tried my best to stay on good Food Babe behavior despite that I was attending a bachelorette party where all hell could break loose! Here’s how I managed to keep it all together…
Charleston Place Hotel is the place to stay if you want the best location in town that is right in the middle of everything and walking distance to all the hot spots. The rooms are gorgeous with incredibly comfortable beds, especially if you get upgraded to the club level. Our room had an awesome station for coffee and tea making and a fridge to keep things cold. I brought down a few parfait porridges in a cooler that I stored in the fridge for breakfast. The hot water kettle was of course used for my daily habit of hot water with lemon and cayenne first thing in the morning. It’s something I do even if I am on vacation and make a point to stick to.
Being on the club level meant that we had access to complimentary food and drinks all day long. They serve breakfast, an afternoon tea and happy hour appetizers. This was hard to resist – especially when the champagne was flowing. Luckily at breakfast, they had a wide variety of fruit that I definitely indulged in daily.
The hotel has a fully equipped gym, pool and spa. I used the gym one day to do a quick 3 mile run (it was way too hot outside!) and then the other day I checked out Blue Turtle Yoga and Charleston Ride Spinning – both are within steps of the hotel, making staying active incredibly convenient. Working out on vacation keeps me sane when I am eating more than I normally eat. The girls on the trip didn’t join me but they appreciated my dedication.
Charleston Place goes out of their way to make you feel exactly at home – even if you want a Hari Shake or a fresh green juice that isn’t available on the menu. The Thoroughbred Club on the first floor of the hotel is the place to be. One of the things I’ve learned from traveling is that you just have to ask and you really can get whatever your heart desires. I love hotels that have juicers – every one should! I seriously can’t wait to stay at the Charleston Place again to take advantage of all the healthy perks this hotel has to offer…I absolutely loved having my juice and smoothie recipes made to order for me everyday.
One night we dined at Alluette’s Holistic Soul Cafe. This place is definitely off the beaten path and no one I knew had ever gone here before, but the reviews were just fabulous. I had never heard of “holistic soul” food before in my life and was so curious to experience it. Alluette’s takes southern favorites and makes them “holistic” and more healthful by carefully choosing all organic and natural ingredients. I got the “fried” shrimp – (that wasn’t really fried), french fries (that were actually baked), homemade ketchup (no high fructose corn syrup tomato heinz here), and cole slaw (made with vinegar, not mayo). I ate every single thing on my plate and it was divine. Fresh baked vegan cookies were served for dessert before a long night of dancing out on the town. I was very impressed with this place…It feels good eating at a restaurant that takes such pride in their ingredients.
Over Saturday morning, I visited the Charleston Farmers Market twice. Once after working out to get a quick carrot ginger juice from the Juice Joint and then again for lunch with the girls after some serious pampering at the spa. This is one of the best farmers markets in America. Any place where you can get fresh juice, roti with fresh organic local curried vegetables, gazpacho, organic kimchi and hot fresh beignets – is SPECIAL. I will be planning all of my future trips to Charleston around visiting this market. I could have stayed there for hours, basking in the sun and looking at all the gourmet foods and buying fresh farm fruits and vegetables. All the girls agreed – our best meal the whole weekend was here at the market.
Dinner at Husk was a must for our last night. This is a place we’d all heard about and were beyond excited to try especially for it’s commitment to local cuisine. When you walk in there is a giant chalkboard full of local farms and establishments Husk uses to source their ingredients. It is rumored that the chef doesn’t even use olive oil, because he can’t find a local source. The quality of ingredients was immediately noticed. My favorite dishes were the South Carolina melons tossed with a honey black pepper vinaigrette and the heirloom pole beans with shaved onions and lemon. The girls dined on pig ear lettuce wraps – that I couldn’t bear to try. However, I appreciated the fact they use the whole animal when developing the menu. Dessert was AMAZING – a rich chocolate espresso cake served in a mason jar with layers of icing.
Blackbean Co was our last stop before going home. This cafe serves mostly organic cuisine and 80% of their produce comes from a local south carolina farm. The salad I ordered was the perfect nourishment for the 3.5 hour ride home – made with organic tofu, blackbeans, roasted tomatoes, mango salsa, and mixed greens. I don’t eat tofu often, but I’m glad I got it this time because it was very flavorful and marinated just right. I made sure to ask if it was organic too, this is super important because you don’t want to be eating genetically modified tofu.
In the future – I’ll be more inclined to visit Charleston without worrying too much about where I am going to eat and what I’m going to do to stay fit…I can see many repeats of this exact itinerary in the future and I just can’t wait!
Thanks for coming along on the ride….Do you have any favorite healthy spots in Charleston you’d like share? I’d love to know!