Mex 1 Coastal Cantina

A few weeks ago some friends and I headed to the new Mex 1 location on Sullivan’s Island to celebrate good news with margaritas!   This is their second location in Charleston (the other is in West Ashley), but this location is much more convenient for us 🙂  It’s located in the old Salt restaurant, or Station 22 building before that.

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We managed to go the first real night they were open after the soft opening, but you would have had no idea because service was on point.  It was busy, but not packed (which was great for us) and we only waited for a few minutes to get a table.  While we waited we all ordered margaritas: 2 Mex 1 margaritas and 1 skinny margarita.

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The margaritas were delicious – Brittney loved her skinny marg and the regular Mex 1 was good, but the pineapple habanero margarita I had next was even better, and not too hot!

We ordered some queso dip for a starter, and this was some of the better queso I’ve had.  It wasn’t too runny (I’m looking at you La Hacienda), there were jalapeños on top and the 3 of us scrapped the bowl clean.

On to the food, I went with the baja fish and grilled mahi tacos, while the others ordered a bangin’ shrimp torta, more tacos and a side of street corn.

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Verdict: Both of my tacos were great, and honestly kinda tasted the same, but hey, I love fish tacos!  The torta was good, but not amazing, and the bangin’ shrimp tacos were delicious.  I loved that the Mexican street corn was off the cob which made it easy to share.  I ordered Hunter a shrimp torta and street corn to go and he devoured it when I got home.

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You’ll definitely see me there again, maybe enjoying a margarita after the beach.  I bet they’ll do great on the island and am interested to see how Taco Mamacita does with this great option right down the street…

TLDR: Mex 1 on Sullivan’s Island is now open. Come for the tacos, queso and margaritas.  Hopefully get a seat on the porch to people watch!

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R Kitchen

Like I mentioned earlier, we went to R Kitchen for dinner the Friday night of Meg’s bachelorette weekend in Charleston.  The meal was so incredible that I felt like I needed to post about it, and one sentence in her weekend recap wouldn’t be sufficient.

First of all, you’d never guess that R Kitchen is this restaurant that is booked for dinner months in advance by the looks of it from the outside.  It looks like a plain ole Charleston house on Rutledge Ave, across from Fuel. Oh, looks can be deceiving…

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via Charleston Eater

Since it’s a small place, they only have 16 seats in the restaurant and will have 3 seatings for dinner each night. Yup, only 48 people eat there a night.  Katie made our reservation after we went there on the culinary tour, knowing Meg would love a new place, and we wanted to try their dinner.  Every night they serve a different 5 course menu and it’s influenced by the local ingredients they source from the area, and and diner allergies (*raises hand*).

Everyone meets on their back patio, then they take you to your table, making sure everyone is comfortable where they are.  We had the exact number to sit at their bar area, which has the perfect view of their kitchen, and we enjoyed talking to the chefs during the meal.

Okay, onto the food… Our first course was a black bean soup.  The beans had been simmering in some spices so it had more of a kick than I anticipated, but I cleaned my bowl.  A nice start to ease into the next 4 courses..

Course #2: Lentil salad with avocado and tomato.  I’m sure right now my mom is reading this thinking no way Kelley ate that and liked it.  Guys, I’m growing up — I eat lentils.  This was unlike any dish I’d had before, and I probably would have never ordered it off a menu, but I really liked it.  The perfect bite included the lentils, some avocado, and running that through the tomato sauce.  Clean plate #2.

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Course three was a basil pesto gnocchi with mussels.  The words pesto and mussels are red flags for my allergies, but they don’t use tree nuts in their pesto (yay!), and Lauren and I had some local veggies on top of our gnocchi instead of the mussels.  Food allergy win.

Does anyone not like gnocchi when it’s cooked perfectly? This dish was my favorite of the night.  You have the gnocchi, with a kinda creamy sauce, and veggies on top.. ahhh. Filling, but not heavy, which is good considering that we had 2 courses left.  Also, I heard the mussels were delicious too.

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Course #4: Stuffed chicken with mushrooms.  I believe there was some rice and maybe a vegetable in the stuffed part of the chicken?  Whatever it was was good!  The chicken skin was a little bit crispy, then you had the broth, stuffing and chicken with other textures and tastes.  Clean plate #4, sense a theme?

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The last course of the night was a lamb meatloaf, that I forgot to get a picture of.  Preface: I didn’t grow up on meatloaf, so it always kinda scares me for some reason.  The lamb meatloaf was really tasty and eased my meatloaf fears, but the sauce they had with it was too hot for me.  Water and more meatloaf sans sauce cleared the spice!

I’m almost nervous to write about this place and talk about how much we all enjoyed the meal because it’s already hard to get a reservation… but it really is worth making a reservation early.  I’ve already told Hunter I’m picking a random night and we’re doing date night there.

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Oh and the good news? They’re opening a spot in West Ashley, so there will be 2 spots to get your grub on at.  Cheers to another great local restaurant!

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Crave

It’s been 2 years since we closed on our house (craziness!!), and in those two years we have explored this part of Mount Pleasant a lot.  Seaside Farms is super close to us, and we eat at the different restaurants there a fair bit since they’re so convenient.

Crave Kitchen & Cocktails is one of these restaurants that I’ve eaten at more for just about any type of meal: brunch, lunch, girls night, date night, happy hour, etc.  They also have a food truck that comes to SPARC a bunch.  This is all building you up to understand how excited I was when Taylor asked if I wanted to go with him to their media dinner the other night.

We started the dinner at a big table on their patio, which was great because the weather had been beautiful that day.  After a bit of a late start, the group had drinks, got a tour of their food truck and were anxiously awaiting the first course: mac n’ cheese.

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Crave is known for their mac n’ cheese — it’s actually the winningest mac in America!  So the mac comes out, with three big plates of short rib, pulled pork and shrimp to put on top.  Short rib with the mac was easily my favorite combo.  I also ate wayyyyy too much considering it was only the first course.

Next up: brie bites.  These were basically huge fried brie balls with apple chips and a grape / pepper marmalade.  I split a plate with Connelly and we both went back for another half.

One thing to note is that with each course, we were receiving cocktails that paired well with them.  I started with some wine (#malbecmonday), then we received a habanero mojito with the mac, and prosecco drink with the brie.  It was gonna be one of those Mondays…
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For entree time, we moved inside.  They brought out 2 entrees: hanger steak and sea scallops. I can’t eat the scallops, but they looked and smelled good. That hanger steak though…. Okay, so there was hanger steak, sauteed spinach, bing cherries, and brie (and walnuts for those non-food allergy kids).  Getting a bite with all of that was awesome — so many textures!  This was my favorite course of the night, hands down.

The two cocktails for these courses were a tequila sangria, and rifle range rye.  The latter was surprisingly light and refreshing, which was kinda needed at this point in the night.  Also tequila in a sangria seems like a great idea, and was executed really well.

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As if we weren’t full already, there was one course left: dessert.  Dessert consisted of seared pears, walnuts (or not), bing cherries, cranberries, caramel and humboldt fog goat cheese.  Somehow they managed to put cheese in every dish, but the goat cheese totally tied the dessert all together.

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Crave even sent us some with some leftovers, and more mac!  Hunter was pumped about that… If you haven’t been to Crave, you definitely need to check it out.  And if you have, come with me to eat more mac, the hanger steak, and pears!  And their brunch..

Special thanks to Peter, Chef Landen, Anthony & Damon for a great start to my week!  I had to end with a pic of all the drinks i had by the time I left.  Despite my best efforts, I tried all the cocktails, but couldn’t finish all of them..

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5 Church

A few Saturdays ago, a few of us girls got together to celebrate Katie’s birthday and try a new restaurant – the perfect combination.  5 Church is a new restaurant that opened on the corner of Market and East Bay streets in downtown Charleston.  If you went to Cofc, or visited, you might remember it as the space where Mad River was.  Yup, that place has been transformed into a classy restaurant. Weird.

I had heard good things about the menu from other friends beforehand, so I was pretty pumped to have dinner there.  Susie made sure we had our own space, so we were set up off the main dining space, in the smaller one on the left.  I feel like the waiter was in for a handful with the 12 of us..

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Since we were the first ones there, we checked out the drink menu and talked to the waiter.  I ordered a malbec, and Michelle went with the Viper, a fancy cucumber water with tequila, which became the favorite of the night.

Once everyone got there and we had all decided on something to eat, we ordered.  Brittney and I split the tuna tartare (sans nuts) for an appetizer, and it was delicious.  One of the sauces on the outside that you scoopped the tuna through had quite a kick, so I only had a little of that.

Since I may have had a snack before dinner, I ordered a mixed cheese & charcuterie board for my main course.  The chef asked which meats and cheeses I wanted, so I got a wide variety.  I made an assortment of little sandwiches with all of the toppings, and there was so much food that I was the last to finish my plate!

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The other plates looked just as delicious as mine.  I think I’ll get the lamb burger next time I’m back 🙂5 church_01
After 5 Church, we headed to The Spectator‘s bar try out another new spot in the area.  The seating areas were so sophisticated — lots of velvets, gold accents, and big leather chairs.  It was a great place to relax with a drink, especially if I was a guest.  I will definitely be back to both places soon..

Indaco Brunch

The first time I went to Indaco was almost 2 years ago, and sadly I had never gone back, although I loved my meal.  I’ll blame this on the influx of new restaurants, and also my habit of sticking with the familiar when I can’t decide…

Anyways, Lauren set up a brunch there last Sunday and I was excited to go back for a different meal.  They set up the 5 of us at one of the hightop tables toward the back, near the kitchen and immediately offered drinks.  Why yes I’ll have the bottomless mimosas on this about-to-be-rainy Sunday.

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The brunch menu had an assortment of dishes, and we ended up getting a variety.  Catherine and Jim each got different breakfast pizzas, Lauren got some sort of dish with potatoes as the base, and I forgot what TJ had (oops).

I ended up with the breakfast sandwich, because I love breakfast sandwiches.  This was like a bigger, fancier version of what I make at home and had arugula, 2 eggs, pork belly, some aioli and a cheese I can’t pronounce.  I was pretty happy about the two eggs since I had 2 runny yolks to dip my bites in, and that pork belly…. yum.

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We all cleaned our plates, then just enjoyed the company (and our mimosas) before finally leaving and checking out the new West Elm down the street.  Now that Indaco is at the top of my mind, I’ll be back again soon, for brunch or dinner!