Charleston, South Carolina-raised T+L contributing editors Matt and Ted Lee can argue for Hawaii's status as a Southern state: "Not only can you find boiled peanuts there, but we ate a pork lau lau that was as juicy and spicy-sweet as a down-home wet roast." With The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook (W. W. Norton, $35), Matt and Ted have created the definitive guide to Southern grub, including their own luau-style pork shoulder.
Contributing editors Matt Lee and Ted Lee know down-home cooking better than most. Luckily for us, they've also compiled a list of the ultimate hometown eats for those who would rather hit the highway than be stuck in the kitchen. In the wake of their new Southern cookbook, the brothers share with us their five favorite Charleston stops.
Collard Greens: At the haute hotel restaurant Charleston Grill (224 King St.; 843/577-4522; dinner for two $100), in the lobby of the Charleston Place Hotel, chef Bob Waggoner prepares the most luxurious greens we know, braising fresh collards in a locally brewed pale ale with Cabernet-glazed pigs' feet.
Fried Fish with Grits: Martha Lou Gadsden prepares this lowcountry-style breakfast of championsthe chicken delectably crispy, the grits perfectly creamyat her tiny soul-food spot Martha Lou's Kitchen (1068 Morrison Dr.; 843/577-9583; breakfast for two $17), just a short-drive from the downtown historic district.
Liver Pudding: The low country's house pâté is a rare indulgence and worth the 25-minute drive south of town to Marvin's Meats (5314 Hwy. 162, Hollywood; 843/889-2225; lunch for two from $3.50/lb.), where Frank Marvin fires up a classic recipe with plenty of fine red-pepper.
Jerusalem Artichoke Relish Dogs: The condiments Southerners dress hot dogs with have their own regional flavor. Across the river from Charleston, at the lunch counter of the Pitt Street Pharmacy (111 Pitt St., Mt. Pleasant; 843/884-4051; lunch for two $6.50), the star topping is crunchy, zingy Jerusalem-artichoke relish.
Pimento Cheese Sandwiches: A cold bottle of Cheerwine soda and a sandwich of a kaiser roll spread with the creamy, tangy mélange of cheddar cheese, peppery pimientos, and mayo is lunchtime heaven. Burbage's Self Service Grocery (157 Broad St.; 843/723-4054; lunch for two $8) offers the gold standard.
Pitt Street Pharmacy
Martha Lou's Kitchen
Three generations of the Gadsden family cook at this tiny soul-food cookshop.