Thursday, May 22, 2014

2014 Charleston Trip – Towne Center & Okra Grill Again

While not everyone grew up in a small town, like I did, nearly everyone has been through one.  Back in the 50’s, Fairmont WV was a bustling small city of 30,000 and the downtown streets were nearly always crowded with shoppers and business people.  Both sides of the two four-block-long main streets and cross streets were lined with thriving businesses most of which were local, but also contained a G.C. Murphy and F.W. Woolworth.

This was all before shopping centers, then malls, then Walmart that drove the final nail in the coffin of most towns like ours, however, Mt. Pleasant, SC has created a new one.  Rather than a mall or shopping center, their Towne Center looks like an updated version of a 50’s small city downtown area but has the stores typically found in malls and outlet centers.  Bev wanted to stop at a store she had seen so the pups and I drove around and snapped a few shots.







Prior to this stop, we ate breakfast on the patio at our favorite area restaurant (so far) – Pages Okra Grill.  



We began with a Bloody Mary ($5.99) and an appetizer of Pimento Cheese (it’s very popular in this area), served with a salsa and what looked to be homemade crackers. $4.99.


Bev ordered the Southern Fried Chicken & Eggs which contained two boneless breasts that were pressure fried, topped with white pepper gravy and served with two eggs, potatoes, and a biscuit. $8.99


I had Ashleigh’s (Executive Chef and co-owner) Shrimp & Grits which contained pan-seared shrimp, over lightly fried cheese grit cakes and topped with andouille sausage cream sauce. $9.99.


As you can see, both meals were huge, especially Bev’s, and we each ate about half of ours and a third of the pimento cheese – we'll have traveling food for the trip home.  What you can’t see is how good the food was and, surprisingly, it comes completely seasoned – no salt required.  By pressure frying, Bev’s chicken was crispy on the outside but moist and tender on the inside and I liked the crunch that came with the grit cakes vs. just a bowl of grits. 

I don’t much like eating out at home due to traveling distance and the likelihood of spending my money for mediocre food, but if I lived in the Charleston area, I think I would have to re-evaluate my position.  We’ve had a couple of so-so meals, but have also found places serving up food we really enjoyed.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

Larry

5/19/14 event date

15 comments:

  1. Mt. Pleasant looks like a very nice place and I really like the feel of their shopping center. Be still my heart, you had to me THE most southern of southern food - pimento cheese and upscale pimento cheese at that. I must try and re-create the pimento cheese plate at home. Bev's chicken looks fantastic and so does your shrimp and grits. I've never seen fried grit cakes so puffy and big. Fantastic meal all around!
    Sam

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    1. I meant to also add that the attractive shopping centers remind me of Florida - laid back yet upscale. There's no need for inside malls when the weather outside is so pleasant. Looks like a great place to visit.
      Sam

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  2. the food looks awesome! That bloody mary! WOW!

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  3. I grew up in a small town... I miss it sometimes.

    Love both of your meals. They look drool worthy.

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  4. They built a "mall" that looks like Town Centre hereabouts. It's not as good as a regular mall when it's cold outside, IMHO, but it is prettier.

    Sounds like you have had a wonderful trip!

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  5. Love your header photo and viewing all your food photos I worked up an appetite.

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  6. Your photos are great and show what a nice town Mt. Pleasant is. I can see why Page's Okra Grill would be a favorite of yours…all your food looks delicious.

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  7. I enjoy these kind of shopping areas -Jacksonville and Central Florida (Viera) are the ones that come to mind.

    Velva

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  8. I love how you open up this blog post with that first sentence. Good writing that draws you into the story. How did you like the salsa over the pimento cheese? And that chicken meal that Bev got .... OMG! It all looks good.

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  9. The food looks really good!

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  10. I am absolutely drooling. Love the pimento cheese and cracker appetizer - what a great idea. I always forget about pimento cheese and my mom made it homemade. Lovely little town square :) Looks like a fun day.

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  11. I think I would of asked for a side of a bucket of gravy to go with the chicken. That looks like my kind of food.Good stuff.

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  12. Wow, the food looks fantastic. I live in a small town that hasn't yet been taken over by any trendy stores and we don't even have a decent restaurant. Our downtown area struggles to survive and many shops come and go. A big Super Walmart is just about to open several miles away and I'm afraid what it will do to our shops that manage to make it year after year. I'm sure it won't be good.

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  13. The shrimp & grits are calling this Yankee! Mmm!!!

    I love small towns, I live in one full-time and our weekend home in Maine is a small town too! Have a great weekend!

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  14. I've been to Mt. Pleasant several times, and think it is a neat little city. I haven't been to this particular restaurant, but the food sure looks good.

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