Surprise! I’m hitting you with an extra post this week. It’s been so long since I’ve written a travel post that you probably have forgotten all about them – I almost did too. I’d consider this one a mini-foodie post paired with a little info about what’s going on in my life outside of my kitchen.
Okay… maybe a lot of info about my life. You may not care about a review of the past 8 months of my life and are just here for the food. It’s alright, usually that’s my case too. But if you care to find out where I am and why I’m here, I’m laying it all out. If you want to drool at fabulous brunch photos, scroll on down past my mini-memoir and revel in their beauty. Either way, I’m happy you’re here.
All within the past week I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving, baked 6 dozen cookies (and ate about 30 myself), brunch-hopped in Charleston and ate the best hotdog I’ve ever had, started a new job, and traveled 6 states south, settling into my new home in Florida.
Saturday morning I packed my life into my car and started on my new adventure. 19 hours and a night in Charleston later, my boyfriend and I made it. Living in Ohio, the most common question I heard was “Why Florida?” The answer in my head was always “Uh hello, this is Ohio. Why not Florida??” Honestly, some more polite version of that is what ended up coming out. Regardless of where I was coming from, my life was ready for a new adventure and my career was ready for some new challenges.
My two favorite phrases are “What’s meant to be will be” and “Things change and people leave, but life doesn’t stop for anybody”. Sometimes life gets a little murky and seems to let you fall behind. An almost unplanned move home from Pittsburgh in February kind of stuck me in this place. I was trying to figure out my new life in my old home and felt restricted. As much as I loved the freedom it gave me, I felt like I’d taken a huge step backward. But who has time to feel sorry for themselves? After a few weeks of having no clue what I was doing, I got myself together and started living my life. I took advantage of this time to relax and give myself a fresh start; soaking in all the family time and living rent free with my mom’s giant kitchen (hence the start of my blog).
Most importantly, I found the new me that had been lost along the way.
I’d been trying to move to Florida since January, but life happens to everyone and things change. After months of brainstorming and me being my usual indecisive self, my time finally came. I found an exciting job and have an awesome eating-everything-I-bake boyfriend to cheer me on along the way. Ready or not, it was time to grow up and tackle the move.
Way back in September I landed a future job as a pantry cook at a beach and golf club right on the water. (It’s probably a little too fancy for me if we’re being honest.) I thought I was a little crazy for accepting a position on the line instead of in pastry, but I knew I had to seize the opportunity and make the move. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone and getting my foot in the door was exactly what I needed, regardless of if it’s what I wanted or not.
After all that, here I am. Living life in Florida and trying not to sweat. Who can actually be unhappy when the beach is 10 minutes away?
But back to the important part: brunch! Lucky for me, I have a childhood friend who is living in Charleston – finishing up her culinary degree and working at a top-notch restaurant. As a perfect stopping point along the drive, we got to spend a night and morning exploring and eating our way through the city.
Enjoy the treats below and hopefully you’re inspired to seek out brunch in your own city.
This bar is seriously a game changer. You walk in the building being greeted by the “bouncer” who sets you up with your own personal QR code for the night. After a decently long elevator ride, you arrive on the rooftop. In front of you sits a wide array of glasses to choose from and a huge variety of drinks on tap behind you. Pour has not only beer and wine, but mixed cocktails and cider to choose from. That handy QR code? You scan it at each tap and fill up your glass to your liking.
This concept not only lowers the cost of the drinks and allows for a more relaxed atmosphere, it privileges you to try every single drink if you choose to do so. And by saying “every single drink” I mean all SEVENTY. What bar can you go to and say, “I’ll just take one sip of everything”? So cool.
The rooftop view is just as incredible as the bar itself. This stop set the bar pretty high for brunch the next day. Get it? Because it’s a rooftop bar. I’ve made it like 5 posts without a pun I just had to work that one in. (Please continue reading there are yummy treats ahead.)
Stopping here was a definite must. My local friend has worked here for about a year and everything I see coming out of this kitchen is drool-worthy. The entire ambience of the restaurant is amazing. Walking in through the string-lit outdoor patio, the interior matched the cuteness.
There’s nothing better than sitting at a restaurant and saying “order for us” and not being nervous about what you’ll get. You’ll probably be a bit skeptical when I tell you our brunch consisted of octopus and fried rice but oh my goodness was it delicious. The octopus is on their menu all day but we had absolutely no problem scarfing it down at 10 am. Drizzled with olive oil and served with a side of fresh sesame bread, this octopus was perfect for starting off our morning. If you’ve never eaten octopus before, it’s everything you love about fish without the extremely fishy taste.
Throw an egg on anything and its considered brunch. Yes, there sat an egg atop our dirty fried rice, but it was perfectly equal amounts of hearty and refreshing. Blackened tilapia, salami, and fresh lemon zest made this rice quite possibly the best I have ever eaten.
I guess you would technically call this dessert-brunch. We may have invented that course that morning but either way it should definitely be a thing. We hit up Butcher & Bee for some fresh pastries and they did not disappoint.
Apparently the locals in Charleston love brunch, so every restaurant attempts to out-do the other, resulting in phenomenal brunches everywhere. Living here would be an extremely dangerous decision for me. Not only was the menu spectacular, but the décor and architecture of the building made the experience that much more enjoyable.
We chowed down on Chocolate tahini babka, a butter pear Danish, and a butternut squash donut. I don’t think I could actually decide on a favorite. This restaurant also has a location in Nashville and I would highly suggest checking it out if you’re even in the area. It was a perfect end to our trip and put us in a sugar coma for the remainder of our 7 hour drive home (not our brightest decision).