Monday, September 19, 2011

The SCs in SC: The grand finale

After our sailing adventure, we finally reached our last day of the honeymoon.  Determined to make the most of it, we hit the beach early, getting what will likely be our last taste of the Atlantic Ocean until next summer.

We laid in the sun most of the day, reading through our respective beach books.  His:
Image via Amazon

Image via Amazon

After getting our last hours of sun, we cleaned up and headed into Charleston for our final dinner.  We had a really hard time picking a restaurant for our last hurrah - we wanted it to be undeniably good (which, at that point in the trip, every meal had been), but no menus were jumping out at us.  Finally, after evaluating our options, we went with our guts and made reservations at Magnolias.  Before setting foot in Magnolias, though, we popped into its sister restaurant, Blossom for some pre-dinner cocktails - white sangria for Mr. Snow Cone and a glass of Cava for me.  

Once we downed our drinks, we entered Magnolias, hoping it would live up to all of the hype we'd been hearing for the past few days, weeks, and months.  I'm not even going to beat around the bush - this restaurant completely blew us away.  Both Mr. Snow Cone and I agreed that our meals at Magnolias were the best-tasting dishes we've ever eaten.  Everything was perfectly balanced, flavorful, rich, and delicious.  Our service was outstanding and the meal was expertly paced.  I'm not even kidding you when I say that I get a little pit of bittersweet nostalgia in my stomach every time I think of that meal.  It was so perfect, and it's a bummer to think that it will likely be quite a while until we get the pleasure of dining there again.  

Anyhow, onto the food!  We were greeted with celebratory champagne and strawberries, which started the meal off on a fantastic note.  For appetizers, Mr. Snow Cone had their blue crab bisque,
Image via RoadFood

while I opted for their signature plate of a "Down South Egg Roll," which actually graces the cover of the restaurant's cookbook:

The really impressive part of the meal came during the entrees.  Over the course of the trip, I had developed an affinity for the local standard of shrimp and grits, to the point where I'd ordered it three times in less than a week.  Before going to Magnolias, I promised myself and Mr. Snow Cone that I would not order shrimp and grits a fourth time, since that would be beyond excessive.  That vow flew right out the window when I read the description of Magnolias' take on the classic dish, which expanded on my beloved shrimp and grits by adding scallops and lobster.  How could I not?!  

Image via Grits and More
 It was divine.  Rich, melt-in-your-mouth, best-thing-you-ever-ate divine.  I also paired it with a side of macaroni and cheese because I was unwilling to leave the South without some classic m&c.  The shellfish and grits made the macaroni and cheese look like simple child's play in the food world, and that's quite the statement from a macaroni lover like myself!

Mr. Snow Cone ordered one of the restaurant's signature entrees, Parmesan-crusted flounder.

He had pretty much an identical reaction to mine.  After all of the delicious and outstanding meals we'd enjoyed over the week, he was still unfaltering in giving his meal at Magnolias the top honor.  Practically a month later, we still ooh and aah over our dishes!

Finally, as if we hadn't consumed enough calories over the first two courses, we of course decided to get dessert.  Mr. Snow Cone kept it relatively light with some strawberry ice cream, while I kept it more than relatively heavy with a cream cheese pecan brownie.  Probably not a better way to wrap up your honeymoon than eating thousands upon thousands of calories, right? 

 Before saying a difficult good-bye to our beloved Magnolias

The next morning we woke up and began to prepare for our trek to the airport.  As one last special treat, we booked a couple's massage at Wild Dunes's spa, Sand & Sea Salon.  Neither of us had ever gotten a massage before this, so I think we were both a little eager to see how it would all go.  At first it was a little uncomfortable, since you don't normally frequent rooms with very dim lighting and quiet, soothing music.  Once we got situated on our massage beds, though, the relaxation took over.  We were both like jelly when we left, undoubtedly satisfied with our inaugural massages.  With the beach, the food, and massages still on our mind, we headed to the airport, and before we knew it, we were back in Pittsburgh, marveling at the unbelievable honeymoon we just had the luxury of enjoying.  I have no doubt that we'll be back to Charleston in the near future.

I think my long-winded love for Magnolias speaks for itself.  For the married folk, what was the highlight of your honeymoon?  For the engaged audience, what are you most looking forward to on your upcoming getaway?

(all photos personal unless otherwise noted)