We have once again returned from a trip to Dewees Island, South Carolina, where we indulge in sunshine, ocean breezes and the chance to eat local seafood. This year we shifted houses, as much on the promise of a well-equipped gourmet kitchen as the immediate beach access. We took advantage of both as much as we could, and produced some new dishes as well as more great memories.
The house was beautiful and wonderfully close to the beach, but did have several idiosyncrasies. Some light switches worked, then didn’t, while others never appeared to do anything. An outdoor awning couldn’t be extended; wired-in speakers led to no audio input. And instead of opening into the downstairs laundry, a third-floor chute turned out to lead nowhere, something Michelle discovered after dropping one of her favorite tops into it. (Steve managed to fish it out with a coat hanger on some kite string.) But really, we have very little to complain about. We love Dewees—the shorebirds, the soothing ocean sounds, the opportunities to crab and wander the beach virtually alone, scaring up the occasional starfish or sea turtle.
And we had many wonderful meals in Charleston, including the discovery of a new restaurant, Butcher & Bee. We enjoyed it so much we made a stop at the Nashville outpost on the way back to Kentucky.
Steve’s efforts at crabbing were enjoyable but not very successful, so Michelle bought some pre-picked meat at a Charleston fishmonger to make this Cynthia Nims-inspired savory crab Dutch baby.
Another dinner that made us very happy was something Charleston food truck chef Shuai Wang calls a Chinese take on shrimp and grits.
Gourmandistan (OK, Steve, who is very good at naming) has a better moniker: Carolina Congee. Made with Carolina Gold rice, chili oil, black vinegar and sweet local jumbo shrimp, it’s spicy, savory, sweet and stickily delicious, and Gourmandistan thinks it’s way more interesting than shrimp and grits.
We hope to return to Dewees again, perhaps to find what all the mystery switches do (and maybe fish some more old laundry out of that chute). Once on the coast, we’ll also be free to explore new things to do with seafood—but these two dishes may definitely make a return appearance.