We had a wonderful time in Charleston (Mt Pleasant mostly) this past weekend even though it rained the ENTIRE time we were there. I love spending time in the Charleston area and hands down think it’s the greatest thing about the whole state of South Carolina.
We tend to always stay in the Courtyard Marriott in Mt Pleasant when we visit Charleston. Charleston is just an easy drive over the bridge and we get to enjoy all that Mt Pleasant has to offer too. Plus it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than staying in Charleston.
We started the day with lunch at Jack’s Cosmic Dogs. This funky hot dog joint is located on Hwy 17 in Mt Plesant about 3 miles north of the Isle of Palms Connector in a cider block building with dismantled missles outside. Jack’s Cosmic Dogs has been immortalized by the Food Network- Alton Brown declared their sweet potato mustard “The best thing I ever ate.” (It really is.)
The interior is decked out in a funky galactic decor and drenched in bright colors. There’s a little bit of a retro vibe with a display of long neck soda bottles. When you walk in, there will no doubt be a line of people waiting to place an order with a lady standing in front of the counter. Go ahead and grab a table if there is one open. Alternately, there are tables outside in front and along the side.
There’s an amazing amount of variety on the menu for a place that basically sticks to hot dogs, fries, and soft-serve ice cream. You can get your hot dog old-school style or go for one of the more inventive dogs. Hot dogs are a little on the small side, but that just gives you license to order to different ones. A few people complain that the buns are a little large in proportion to the dogs, but I’ll take my carbs where I can get them.
I had the Cosmic Dog which comes topped with Jack’s Original Blue Cheese Slaw and famous sweet potato mustard. The combination of cool and tangy blue cheese slaw with the sweet and spicy mustard was phenomenal. A match made in heaven.
My son had the Cosmic Dog and the Galactic Dog with homemade chili, cheddar cheese, creamy coleslaw, and spicy mustard. He lamented that he ate the Galactic Dog first because, “that was the best hot dog I ever ate and the Cosmic Dog paled in comparison.”
The Planet Dog is another popular choice, decked out with Jamaican relish (red peppers, watermelon, and onions) and yellow mustard. There are also multiple options for vegetarians. And the fresh-cut fries, fried in peanut oil and lightly salted, are some of the best fries I’ve had. Unfortunately I did not order my own and had to deal with a nasty “why didn’t you get your own” look from Chase every time I tried to sneak one from him.
Next time you’re visiting the Charleston area during the dog days of summer, stop By Jack’s and beat the heat with a cosmic dog. They are open 7 days a week from 10:30-8pm. Unfortunately no alcohol served. They also have a James Island location (1531 Folly Rd) and a West Ashley location (817 St Andrews Blvd).
We spent the afternoon driving around in the rain looking at neighborhoods. I won’t bore you with the details except to say that it’s my dream to buy a condo in Mt Pleasant in the next few years. Fingers crossed.
We had dinner at Page’s Okra Grill-Local Food for Local Folks, a family-owned and operated restaurant serving up southern foods. I was wishing it was sunny and warm so that we could eat outside. Inside there is a large dining room which almost has the feel of a nice diner. We got seated in a back room. Do you think maybe they knew we weren’t locals?
We got there right when they opened and boy did the restaurant ever fill up fast. Service was even faster, almost too fast. I think I blinked and our food was in front of us. We started off with a very good IPA (even though it was in a can) from Westbrook Brewing Co which is local to Mt Pleasant. They didn’t have anything on tap which is a big negative for me.
We loved the Redneck Rolls as an appetizer. They consist of pulled pork and pimiento cheese served springroll style with BBQ dip and pickled okra salsa. The shrimp and grits were also very good. I would have liked a bit more sausage, but the shrimp were plentiful and fresh and the sautéed grit cakes were a nice change.
Chase enjoyed his crab cake plate and side of fried okra, but the sweet potato fries were the one miss of the evening. I don’t know how they messed that one up. I’ve never had sweet potato fries that I didn’t like before.
Overall, our meal was very enjoyable and reasonably priced and service was spot on. Definitely want to try their breakfast which gets rave reviews.
Next we headed to the Charleston Performing Arts Center to see Les Mis, something I’ve been looking forward to for months.And it did not disappoint. I’ve been a complete Les Mis fanatic for about 20 years. In college, I spent a semester in London and went to see it literally every other week. (They have great prices for student theater tickets in London. Only catch is they have to be purchased the day of the performance.) The last time I saw Les Mis was almost 7 years ago when we went to London for our 10th anniversary.
I was a little disappointed in the movie, although I thought Anne Hathaway and the guy who played Marius were the best I’ve ever seen in those roles. But then Russell Crowe would try to sing.
I am happy to say that the Les Mis 25th Anniversary Tour is phenomenal. Better than the last time I saw it in London. They’ve made a few changes to the production. The turn table is gone and I really did miss it. They’ve somehow cut 15 minutes from the production as well. The music tempo is just a little faster. It only bothered me during “I Dreamed a Dream” which sounded way to rushed. And I will say that I didn’t cry as much as usual and I think the faster pace probably had something to do with that.
The actors who played the Thenardiers were possibly the highlight of the show. And Peter Lockyer was awesome as Jean Valjean and I’m really picky about my Jean Valjeans, feeling that Colm Wilkinson is the only true Jean Valjean. Lockyer’s vocals and acting were spot on. I only which that his physical build was a little larger and more burly. But he can’t help that. That was what worked so well with Colm Wilkinson as JVJ. He has such a large physical presence and he can really evoke the strength of JVJ, but at the same time he has that gentleness in his voice. Makes me melt.
Les Mis will be in Columbia in March. If you’re going to see it, you’re in for a treat!