Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hominy Grill and Caviar & Bananas

Our second day in Charleston we visited the tea plantation which I already shared with you in my last post.  It was a very interesting food adventure in itself but we also had a couple other very cool food adventures that day.  Hominy Grill for breakfast and Caviar & Bananas for lunch.

Hominy Grill was at the top of my must-have restaurant list for Charleston. And there was really only one thing on their menu I wanted to try.  The Charleston Big Nasty Biscuit.

The iconic building mural

cute cafe feel

loved the old-fashioned mason jars with fresh yellow daisies on every table

The Big Nasty Biscuit is probably their most famous offering. Many celebrities have come and gone in this place wanting to tackle this feast.  A soft, warm buttermilk biscuit (like they can only make them in the South) topped with classic fried chicken (crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside), melted cheddar cheese on top of that, and all of it swimming in sausage gravy (one of my favorite breakfast foods, which needs nothing else but a spoon). It was everything I dreamed it would be.

Needless to say, because of its richness and knowing we would be running around in the heat at the tea plantation, we opted to split this. A good call! Plus splitting it gave us the option to try their cheddar grits as well. The cheddar was mildly sharp and added to the creaminess of the perfectly cooked grits. A perfect Southern breakfast to start the day off right!

Their sweet country charm made the whole place feel like we were in someone's home, not just another gimmicky restaurant.  Beautiful hard wood floors, some of the original windows, old-fashioned tiles in the foyer and bathrooms.  Very charming character!

After the tea plantation we needed a light lunch.  We knew we'd have a heavy dinner at Magnolia's later (which I will share in my next post) and we wanted to be extra hungry when that time came. I had heard about Caviar & Bananas and it was recommended to us by someone who used to live here so we figured it must be worth a try.

They have two locations in Charleston: one at the main market and one closer to our hotel on George St.  We took a hot & steamy walk all the way to the market only to realize, that location was very small and cramped and didn't really have any seating.  So we took another hot & steamy walk back towards our hotel and realized we had already passed by the other location and could've saved ourselves a little extra sweating. (Who's idea was it to go to Charleston in August??)

Anyway, once we finally arrived, we were definitely ready to eat and cool off!! Caviar & Bananas is, well, just like their tote bag says, a gourmet market and cafe.  It reminded me of a smaller and more accessible Dean & Deluca's.  If you've ever been to a Dean & Deluca's, it very cool but can be very expensive, not somewhere you'd be able to shop every day.  Caviar & Bananas, while still very much gourmet, it also offers a lot more every day fare for the average shopper looking for something a little special and unique.

Aside from the small gourmet grocery area, it also has several counters to order food and drinks from for breakfast or lunch.  There was a sandwich counter, a sushi bar, a prepared foods bar, and a beverage bar. We went straight to the sandwiches and decided to split a Duck Confit Panini.

Best. Sandwich. Ever.

The duck confit panini has duck confit (obviously), black pepper mayo, pickled onions, aged gouda cheese, and fig preserves all pressed onto sourdough bread and panini grilled to perfection!  The fig preserves sounds a little weird at first but it works. It works really well.  The duck is kind of fatty, the gouda is salty, the pickled onions are a little tart, so the fig preserves bring a touch a sweetness to balance all the flavors in perfect harmony to make the most awesome sandwich!

Did I mention this sandwich was really tasty?? If you like duck, this is a must-have on your next trip to Charleston. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

And of course we had to pick up some gourmet sweet treat. We opted for butter toffee pecans. Sweet and crunchy deliciousness! They are very sweet so only 2 or 3 at a time is good!

Pablo gave Hominy Grill 4 ants and Caviar & Bananas 5 ants!! Both Pablo approved!!

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