Lest the following sound petulant, I want to emphasize at the outset how much I enjoy responding to reader requests for restaurant recommendations. As my grandmother might say, I don’t eat eight burgers a week for my health. The fun of exploring the local food scene is sharing what I find: I love trading tips with residents and helping visitors plot their Charleston dining adventures.
But it’s astounding how many e-mails don’t provide any details about what the writer’s seeking. “You probably get questions like this a lot, but it looks like there are many great restaurants in Charleston,” a correspondent wrote this morning. “Can you recommend any that would be within walking distance of the Embassy Suites near Marion Square?”
According to a downtown Charleston restaurant map I picked up at Tales of the Cocktail this summer, that narrows the choices down to about 107 eating places. I consider many of them pretty great, but I have no idea whether the writer and I have the same definition of greatness. He sounded like an awfully nice guy, so I’d hate to steer him wrong.
By contrast, another future visitor last week sent me his tentative dining agenda, along with the following guidelines for additional ideas: Continue reading “Unsolicited Advice for Seeking Local Restaurant Advice” »
Around Charleston, it’s easier to find persimmons on a tree than on a cocktail menu, but ICEBOX’s Boris Van Dyck recently came up with a drink which he believes could boost the fruit’s popularity with bartenders.
After receiving 300 pounds of overripe persimmons from GrowFood Carolina, Van Dyck cooked the fruit with sugar and spices; the strained syrup became the base of a drinking vinegar which he mixed with Striped Pig vodka for a Tuesday night meeting of the Charleston Bridal Association.
Event planner Mitchell Crosby described the drink as “epic.”
“I think I’m the only person who ever served them persimmons,” says Van Dyck, who’s planning to put the drink on draft for a GrowFood Carolina event tonight. Continue reading “If Life Gives You Persimmons, Make Persimmon Cocktails” »
Carolina Gold Rice Foundation
For a late-summer month or so, Bradford watermelons were showing up seemingly everywhere in Charleston. And now the heirloom melon has shown up in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste catalog, a global list of “delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction.”
“The Bradford watermelon is a plant with a beautiful flavor and a beautiful history, and I am thrilled to see it included on the Ark of Taste,” says Megan Larmer, manager of biodiversity programs for Slow Food USA. “Foods like this watermelon are at risk of disappearing because they don’t fit into the factory farming system.”
More than 200 U.S. foods have been added to the Ark, including Ossabaw Island hogs, Carolina Gold rice; American chestnuts and traditional cane syrup. Anyone can nominate an item to the Ark, but only foods deemed endangered, good, clean and fair (meaning it’s not a trademarked or commercial product) are allowed aboard. Continue reading “Bradford Watermelon Joins Slow Food Ark of Taste” »
Like the headline says, Shoney’s is serving up free hot fudge cake this Friday. One dessert per patron, no purchase necessary and you can’t get your cake to go.
The nearest Shoney’s is located at 1307 North Main St. in Summerville.
According to my story about the Southeast’s brewing sake scene, which ran in today’s print edition, rice spirits never made much of a splash in the lowcountry. That’s technically true, but food historian and sake connoisseur David Shields points out that rice beer had a very big year in 1893.
As Shields explains, three years before Ben Tillman told voters he’d skewer President Grover Cleveland in the rump with a pitchfork, he persuaded Prohibitionists to support legislation making South Carolina a control state. But the governor’s bill defined alcoholic beverages as drinks with an alcohol content of at least 2.5 percent, which meant the state couldn’t stop the private sale of near-beer.
“The Palmetto Brewing Company of Charleston, a self styled ‘soft drink’ company that had begun manufacturing a rice brew acceptable in prohibitionist southern locales in 1888, began manufacturing oceans of “Rice Beer”—a light beer with an alcohol content under the legal ceiling,” Shields writes. Continue reading “South Carolina’s Year of Rice Beer” »
Details about food and drink at this weekend’s Garden & Gun Jubilee have been scarce, but The Glass Onion has released the menu for its pop-up lunch counter.
Soups, salads and sandwiches dominate the menu, which will be available during Made in the South marketplace hours. Attendees have their pick of chicken and sausage gumbo; pork cheek chili and a garden salad, each priced at $8. Shrimp remoulade, chicken salad and beef tongue will be served in salad ($7) and po-boy ($9) form. Other listed savories include duck liver mousse, pimento cheese, collards, red rice and deviled eggs. Continue reading “What’s For Lunch at Jubilee” »
In honor of the season, chef Benjamin “BJ” Dennis is staging a holiday version of his popular Gullah-Geechee pop-up dinner, capped off with a baked pumpkin souffle.
The Dec. 13 supper at the Tomato Shed Cafe on Johns Island will also include smoked turkey wings, braised greens, red rice, roasted vegetables and lettuce with buttermilk dressing. A $30 ticket includes tea, but beer and wine will be available for purchase. The event is free for children under 10.
Doors open at 7 p.m., and dinner’s served at 7:30 p.m. For reservations, call Stono Market at 559-9999.
If the design firm charged with “refreshing” Magnolias is successful, patrons won’t be taken aback by any of the changes they notice when the restaurant reopens in February after a monthlong renovation hiatus – unless they use the bathroom.
“The restrooms are going to be completely changed,” promises Bill Johnson, the Charleston native who heads up The Johnson Studio. “The restrooms were very, very plain.”
Beyond the restrooms, the tweaks will be less dramatic. The dining room will gain “softer seating to make it more comfortable,” and its acoustics will be upgraded to reflect contemporary technology. An antique mirrored wall with sconces and a banquette will be set against the back wall. Still, Johnson predicts guests will be struck mostly by the “crisp and clean” look of the spruced-up space. Continue reading “Magnolias Plans Monthlong Closure for Renovations” »
The mercury supposed to soar into the 70s this weekend, which should help create a warm welcome for The Music Farm’s new gelato program.
Starting this week, the live music venue is serving three flavors of Paolo’s gelato for $3 a scoop. Although the menu will change every few weeks, the varieties currently on offer are riso, mocha and limoncello.
The Music Farm is also now serving espresso, priced at $2 for a single shot; $3 for a double shot and $4 for an affogato, or Italian ice cream float. Continue reading “The Music Farm’s Bar Now Serving Non-Alcoholic Gelato and Coffee” »
Although students in Sheri Castle’s holiday hors d’oeuvres class at Southern Season this weekend will learn how to assemble a range of impressive items, not every dish on the demonstration menu is highly elaborate: The first appetizer on the syllabus is a roast beef, asparagus and Boursin wrap.
Castle, a cookbook author and cooking instructor from Chapel Hill, N.C., is a proponent of keeping kitchen projects manageable during the holidays – especially when expecting lots of hungry guests.
“Don’t tackle more than you and your schedule can handle,” Castle advises. “Make sure your menu includes plenty of make-ahead and low-maintenance items; It’s fine to fill in with a few thoughtfully purchased items.” Continue reading “Author Sheri Castle Helps Prepare Party Hosts For the Holidays” »