There are definitely pros and cons to being the spouse of a bridesmaid. The cons include things like she has a fixed schedule of things, but you have nothing to do, but you are subject to her schedule anyway. Or, you end up spending most of the wedding playing errand boy. But the pros definitely outweigh the con. For one, you get to say that you are going home with a bridesmaid (ok not as cool when you are 30, but still…). And, you get to go to the rehearsal dinner. Double bonus when it is the rehearsal dinner of someone that really appreciates good food. Triple bonus when that place is a gem of Southern and soul cuisine (not to mention a Top 5 in Charleston) restaurant like Magnolia’s.
After the rehearsal (which happened to be at an old colonial mansion turned hotel) we made our way through the streets of Charleston to Magnolia’s. The neighborhood where it was at definitely seemed to be full of energy and charm and a place where, if I ever make it back to Charleston, I wouldn’t mind spending a little bit of time. Walking in, we were greeted by a hostess who led us through a busy bar to the back stairs that led to the private dining area. The area was definitely warm and inviting, craftsman touches all around. The tables were covered in white tablecloths, the servers in vests and ties carrying silver trays full of hors d’oeuvres. It was simple, but with the right amount of elegance.
Once we found our table, we made our way to the drink line to start with a nice glass of wine. Then I started eyeballing the trays of hors d’oeuvres. There was quite a variety to choose from, but for me, my favorite was the tenderloin on a crostini with a bit of creme fraiche and a chive. It was simple, but the flavors were spot on and the texture was perfect with the crisp of the crostini and the tenderness of the perfectly cooked filet. For the Dining Diva, her favorite was the cheese! But not just any cheese; a nice housemade Southern pimento cheese. There was a little brininess from the pimentos and a nice smooth, creamy cheese. It was probably my second favorite.
We continued to enjoy hors d’oeuvres and small talk for about a half hour before we were seated for dinner. At our seats was a simple menu. Our appetizer and salad were selected for us, but we were provided some different options for our entree and dessert. As I was looking through the menu, everything looked delicious, though I started to regret eating so many of the hors d’oeuvres (only a little bit though). I couldn’t wait to dive into dinner!
Pan Seared Crab Cake
To call this a crab cake is almost unfair. There was so little filler that it basically fell apart as soon as my fork hit it. The crab was wonderfully sweet and perfectly cooked. The spinach provided a nice little bitterness to the dish to help cut through everything, and the tomato butter added that little bit of acidity that made this just wonderful.
Arugula, Pear & Blue Cheese Salad
Just a nice simple salad, very similar to the one that I make at home. You really can’t go wrong with fruit, blue cheese, candied nuts, and a sweet vinaigrette.
Double Thick Pork Chop
The pork chop was nice and thick, and the accompaniments were excellent; especially the whiskey buttered applesauce. It had a nice sweetness that balanced the pork nicely. Add in the mashed potatoes and the collards, and it was a very nice comforting meal. The only negative was that the pork chop was a little overcooked and a touch dry which was surprising given how thick the pork chop was. Not that it stopped me from finishing every last bite though.
Magnolias Sweet Biscuit
As great as the dinner was, the dessert was a little big of a downer. The strawberries and whipped cream were great, but the biscuit was really dry, and not very sweet. And the orange custard anglaise was almost non-existent. If there was more, it could have save everything, but I was a little disappointed.
At the end of the night, we were full and happy. All of the savory dishes were wonderful; nice and homey, but with a Southern spin. It was really what I was hoping to find while in the South, and I definitely appreciated that Tamara and Adam picked that place for their rehearsal dinner. It was a wonderful time, and set the tone for a wonderful weekend.