After my first day at work here in Charleston, (12 hour day) I came back to my hotel and plopped on the bed and stared at the ceiling. I considered just laying there on the bed and not getting up for anything save the 5am wake up call, but my belly was grumbly and my credit card was screaming at me from the other room. So I got on the internets (if you get that one you watch too much Jon Stewart) and searched for a suitable place to dine for the evening. I found an article by some food writer for some paper here in Charleston. He said that many people ask him his favorite restaurant in town. He chose his top three and holding the numero uno punto was Fig, which stands for Food is Good. Say no more, I Google it and head out.
I must say that eating alone is always an embarrassing adventure, I am not really a fan of it. Everyone is looking at you, giving you the, “hey that loser can’t get a date”, look. Of course to make matters worse the cute little receptionist senses my discomfort and places me squarely in the center of the room. Cute young girls derive much pleasure from embarrassing old men, of that I am sure.
My waitress Emily was very nice and asked me about wine, of course I want wine and ordered an Elderton “Tantalus”, Shiraz/Cab/Malbec, South Australia 2004. I am the Will Rogers of Malbec. I have never met one I didn’t like and this was no different even if it was a blend. The menu was small but everything looked amazing. I told Emily to chose for me, one appetizer, one entree and one desert and pair the wines I am drinking to match, (she suggested the Tantalus). She loved that idea and chose for me for a starter, the Lamb Carpaccio. Thin shaved raw lamb over an African spice of which the name escapes me, slightly spicy and exotic. With a little salad of mint and frisee drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Eating it was like eating the flesh of baby sheep, OH WAIT I WAS! Oh man baby sheep are SO delicious! It was amazing and because it was wafer thin, it didn’t cause me to, well, you know, you’ve seen the movie.
My entree was the pan seared flounder which had a buttery sauce of little neck clams and artichoke hearts and was on a bed of smooth mashed potatoes. Another hit out of the park. When my entree came I switched to a Kooyong “Massale” Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula 2004 which went with the fish well despite its color clash. I don’t get the whole white wine with fish thing anyway. I think red goes with anything. Anyway back to the fish, I really am torn by calling this food, food. Its really art. I should have brought my camera, but I have screwed up twice now and haven’t brought it. I promise it will not happen again.
For desert Emily suggested the Pear Crisp with Maple Nut ice cream. I doubt I need to say anything about this. Its crisp! What more needs to be said. Legally anything named crisp MUST be good or they can’t call it crisp. The crisp was washed down with fantastic coffee.
Before leaving I told Emily that I was on a quest for the best cuisine Charleston had to offer and asked her to write down her favorite restaurants. She gave me a list of about 5 or 6. At her recommendation I think I will try La Fourchette next. Asking wait staff at great eateries seems to be a good way to find your next great spot. Food people tend to know where food people should eat.
As I got up to walk out I noticed everyone lean over to their dinner partner and mumble, there goes the loser with no dinner date. True, but I have a belly full of baby sheep.