Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A serious slice of cool

I might have to move down here to Charleston. Maybe over dinner tonight (with drinks a-flowin'), I'll try to talk my sister into letting me stay in her condo while I look for a job and my own place. In return, I'll do useful older brother stuff like put together bookshelves and desks for her. (Or I could just pay rent.)

I'm loving the radio stations here. I can't remember the last time I listened to the radio and enjoyed what I was hearing. But there's an "adult alternative" station (just typing that makes me feel old) here that reminds me of the old 93.1 ("The River") in Detroit (actually broadcasting out of Windsor). Basically, "adult alternative" means all the non-grunge music I enjoyed in the 90's. (Buffalo Tom, Counting Crows, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Morphine, etc.)

Something that's really refreshing about Charleston is how many local businesses exist along the main corridor on King St. There aren't too many large chains or franchises. For instance, when I wanted to find a music store, my choices weren't Sam Goody or f.y.e. Instead, there's 52.5 Records (which is mentioned on the back page of the latest Rolling Stone).

Check that place out. Rob and Barry from High Fidelity would be proud to work in a store like that. You ain't stoppin' in there to find "I Just Called to Say 'I Love You.'" I just wish I'd had more money to spend in there.

I couldn't resist spending a little cash at my next stop, however. Next time I visit Charleston, I might spend an entire week at Atomic Comics.

It's not Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man as soon as you walk in. That stuff's there, of course, but it's mixed in along a wall of other lesser known comics and graphic novels. The store also has a bunch of toys and novelties (such as the brothers of Devil Duck, who's always causing trouble at Raging Red's blog), and a collection of hilariously quirky cards. And their independent comics section shames virtually every other shop I've been to. I managed to stick to my budget, however, and only picked up copies of Tom Beland's "True Story, Swear to God," Peter Bagge's latest effort, "Apocalypse Nerd," and a birthday card which should make my dad scratch his head for days.

Atomic Comics is also perfectly located between a hair salon and clothing boutique, so if a girlfriend, wife, or sister isn't cool enough to appreciate such a store, they don't have to stand in a corner with foot tapping and arms folded, waiting for you to get your geek on.

Of course, there was eating yesterday. Sis and I hit the Southend Brewery & Smokehouse. She got a bacon-and-chicken brick oven-baked pizza, the leftovers of which I'm currently trying to resist. I'm a sucker for thin crust pizzas baked to a crisp, man. And portabella mushrooms and ricotta cheese... mmm. I ordered a BBQ beef brisket sandwich, which was really tender and had just enough smokey flavor. That meat melted in my mouth so fast, I could've eaten two of those sandwiches. But I filled up on beer instead.

I was typically indecisive about which beer to order, so I opted for the sampler tray. The stout was rich, smooth, and nutty, with a head I probably could've rested a hamburger on, and I wish I could take a case of it back with me for the colder temperatures of Michigan and Iowa. The Southend Blonde (several of which I was also checking out as they walked by the window - HA!) had a really nice hop finish too. (Do I almost sound like I know what I'm talking about?) And I loved the Southend Wheat, but I bet I'd enjoy it even more during one of those torturously humid Charleston summers.

(I have no future as a food critic, do I... ?)