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Sunday, November 30, 2008

POOGAN'S PORCH--GREAT FOOD & GHOSTS!

Poogan's Porch
72 Queen Street
Charleston, SC 29401

Charleston, South Carolina's Poogan’s Porch is a restaurant Rob and I wanted to visit during our last Charleston stay, but time did not permit. You'll find Poogan's Porch listed in many of the Charleston guidebooks, but we are lured here for more than its gustatory reputation. We'd taken a Charleston Ghost tour, and Poogan’s is one of the unearthly stops.

Poogan was the dog that lived in this home, now a restaurant. Poogan is buried in the front yard of the restaurant. There's a small monument there in his memory. It is reported that many patrons who dine on the porch feel soft nudging at their feet, but when they bend down to peek beneath the draping table linen, there is nothing there to disturb them. Hmmmmmmmm

We went for lunch following our Gullah Tour of Charleston. Wendy Fitzgerald, Rob, and I were anxious to see if we could coax up another ghost who lives in the building. This is the ghost of the old spinster woman, Zoe Armand, who once lived in this house with her sister Elizabeth. Guests at the Miller House hotel across the street have reported seeing a woman dressed in black standing at the windows on the upper floors long after the restaurant is closed.
Zoe was a real witch in life, very nasty, and in death she periodically torments patrons who venture to the second floor ladies' room. When a diner walks down the long, narrow hallway toward the end of the house and locks the door of the single ladies' room, SOMETIMES there is a dreadful loud banging on the door. But when the frightened woman in the lavatory drums up the courage to open the door, she is greeted by a still and empty hallway. I asked our Ghost Tour guide if anything bad ever happened to the patrons, and he assuredly said no one had ever been harmed.

At lunch we three sat calmly in the lovely dining room downstairs waiting for our lunch. Wendy decided to use the ladies' room--the second floor room--and she departed. Rob, her diabolical brother, quickly urged me to go up and start banging wildly on the door. Being the mature individual I am, I practically tripped over myself hustling up the stairs. I must have banged pretty hard because a man emerged from his nearby office, and seeing it was only another woman, quickly retreated. Meanwhile Wendy emerged from the room, eyes tearing with laughter. She had already decided to do the same thing to me! Humph! We both had a good chuckle, but unfortunately neither of us met any ghost. Too bad. And now to lunch.

Poogan's Porch is lovely. Each room is beautifully appointed, and the menu varied and interesting. Of course we asked our waitress to recommend Southern specialties--things we cannot order back home. And she did. Lunch was absolutely delicious!

We began with a shared order of fried green tomatoes--thank you Fannie Flagg for making fried green tomatoes high on northerners' "gotta try" list. They were delicious. Rob tried the gumbo which Wendy and I also tasted. Wow!

Our entrees were wonderful. The waitress convinced Rob to try the Shrimp and Grits. He'd received the same recommendation before but yielded to other yearnings. This time he listened, and he was thrilled with the tri-colored peppers, sweet onions, tasso ham and blue crab gravy.

Wendy ordered the Southern Po Boy with Cajun remoulade and catfish. Nothing was left on her plate either.

I ordered the Jambalaya, a mouthwatering combination of a spicy tomato creole sauce, sausage, chicken, and rice. Super! Experimenting with regional foods is exciting and fun.

This was a great lunch as well as a fun time hunting up ghosts. Too bad we were only successful with 50% of the afternoon’s potential.

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