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Guest Blogger: Dorothea Benton Frank

The Last Original WifeTold in the alternating voices of Les and Wes, The Last Original Wife is classic Dorothea Benton Frank: a tale of family, friendship, self-discovery, and love, that is as salty as a Lowcountry breeze and as invigorating as a dip in Carolina waters on a sizzling summer day. In this guest post, Dorothea Benton Frank talks about the setting for the novel, from a foodie's point of view:

Charleston is a food lover’s tiny paradise. Yes, people come to Charleston for historical and cultural experiences, but the excellent and abundant choices of dining experiences are often a surprise.  Not a week goes by that someone from some where tells me they’re going to Charleston and where should they dine? 

So, let’s start with breakfast.

The best meal to start the day is to be found at Page’s Okra Grill on Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant.  Definitely have a biscuit.  (go easy on the gravy – you’ll live longer.)  The grits are perfect, they cook eggs any way you want them and the French toast and pancakes are wonderful too. I’m a tea drinker but I always drink their coffee.  It’s that good.  If you’re downtown, try  Hominy Grill.  It’s absolutely awesome too.

Lunch?  Well, one day you have to eat seafood on Shem Creek, also in Mount Pleasant.  My personal favorites are the Shem Creek Bar and Grill and The Water’s Edge.  Both are great for families and offer outdoor eating experiences.  You can watch dolphins playing while the sea gulls swoop all around.  They both fry seafood and make crab cakes.  Or, drive out to Folly Beach and have your pick!  My favorite is Taco Boy for a casual meal.  But you might enjoy Folly Beach Crab House or Locklears Beach City Grill, which is right on the pier.

If you’re in downtown Charleston for lunch, you have to try Slightly North of Broad (SNOBS), Magnolia to devour the shrimp and grits, Rue de John, Virginia’s, Sermet’s Downtown and/or High Cotton.  Each one has a seasonal menu with specialties that highlight regional food.  If you’re in the mood for Thai food, which I always am, you could pay a visit to Basil’s on King Street. They are also open for dinner.

Don’t even think about leaving town without a cocktail at McCrady’s, or Husk where Sean Brock, a James Beard Award winning chef, holds court. Just park yourself at the bar and let them shake a little magic into your evening.

Out on Isle of Palms is The Long Island Café which is located in a shopping center near the connector bridge.  It doesn’t seem possible that such an unassuming little spot could be so delicious, but it is.  In fact, the light fare of super fresh seafood keeps us coming back all the time.

Is it cocktail time?  Sprint to Grill 225 in Charleston for a nitro-tini!  Don’t ask me what a nitro-tini is, just order one and take a picture of it!  Fabulous!  They also have a roof top bar when you can watch the sun set – you’re in The Land of Mango Sunsets, you know.  And Grill 225 makes some of the best steaks in the country, as does Halls Chophouse. 

If you want to visit my island favorites you have to try High Thyme on Sullivans Island and Salt at Station 22 where my old buddy Marshall Stith serves up seafood so fresh that a year from now you’ll find yourself filled with a longing for his She Crab soup or fresh flounder.  High Thyme’s menu is inventive and the food is very, very good – you’ll rub shoulders with lots of locals. Also on Sullivans Island is Dunleavy’s Pub.  I wish I had a nickel for every burger I’ve eaten there.  PS They have Harp Lager on tap.  Who could resist?

Off the beaten path?  For dinner only there’s Bowen’s Island Restaurant just five minutes from Folly Beach and The Wreck in Mount Pleasant.  Both are for the whole family.

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