Another Best of Charleston has come and gone, but we're not ready to leave it behind. Before we jump into the new year, take a weekend to reflect and enjoy the best that Charleston has to offer in regards to local eats.
Chocolatier Johnny Battles' Sweeteeth Chocolate bars were a shoo-in for Best Artisanal Food Product of the year. The rest of the region is catching on too — these yummy chocolates have been featured in Southern Living and Garden & Gun. The handcrafted bars are packed with flavor, fresh ingredients, and delicious fillings. Our pick is the dark chocolate and sea salt bar, with a rich caramel filling. For five dollars each, your sugar tooth and your wallet will thank you. They're available in Charleston at Ted's Butcherblock, Caviar & Bananas, and Sugar Bake Shop.
And while you're at Ted's picking up your chocolate, go ahead and grab a sandwich. They won this year for Best Gourmet Sandwich, and their signature items are made to order with local ingredients and freshly baked bread. Their most popular, and our favorite, is the house-roasted Wagyu beef panini, served with sautéed mushrooms, and blue cheese garlic aoli ($9).
Verde is the best locally owned spot in Charleston to find a salad served in fast food time, with way-better-than-fast-food ingredients. Try the Mesa Verde, their Mexican salad ($8.95) with roasted chicken, avocado, cilantro, and tortilla strips. It's chock full of Southwestern flavor. "We came up with the lime vinaigrette dressing and went from there. It works just as well in a tortilla, as well," says owner Sam Ferrebee.
We weren't the only ones giving Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ some love this year. They recently won "Most life-changing ribs in America" from Esquire magazine. We couldn't agree more. The Best Ribs in Charleston are slow-cooked ribs with the perfect combination of caramelized sugar and smoky flavor. "We nurture the ribs from the minute they go in. Every rack is thawed, rubbed, and cooked the same way every time," says chef Madison Ruckel. Take advantage of some great deals while you're there, like a rack and a domestic pitcher for $19, and a rack plus two sides for $23.
Tattooed Moose takes the french fry to the next level, and they have to be tasted to be believed. The Best French Fries in town are thin-cut to order by fry cook Rex, and fried in duck and beef fat, giving them an overdose of flavor. The fries are good enough by themselves for $4 a basket, but if you fork over the $8.50 for the specialty fries, you won't be disappointed. Their duck gravy is delicious, and their roasted garlic and blue cheese fries are even better.
If you need to find Roti Rolls, just look for the long line of salivating food truck fanatics. With their second consecutive win for Best Food Truck, Roti Rolls is building a dynasty that now includes their East Bay Street restaurant The Green Door. We love the Thurman Murman, a grilled flatbread with spicy creole mac and cheese, local braised pork, and kimchi. Some extra creole mac and cheese will go great as a side. This weekend, grab a Thurman on Saturday when Roti Rolls visits Mixson Market in Park Circle, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Green Door's Sunday Brunch.