Monday, November 17, 2014

The Obstinate Daughter on Sullivans Island near CHS

File under Greatest Days Ever:

My dear friend Theresa, my housemate at Wesleyan and in the early San Francisco days, and I hadn't really spent quality time together in literally 15 years. She flew down from Brooklyn recently to rectify the situation, so we met up in Charleston for a bro getaway.


First order of business, after coffee and a Sea Biscuit Cafe biscuit on the beach at Isle of Palms, was to hit the new Sullivan's Island restaurant, The Obstinate Daughter. I'd heard about it from the smart humans at The Local Palate magazine and was dying to go.

With reason. This "Natural Blonde" Bloody Mary tasted just like a fresh, yellow heirloom tomato. Light and lovely and amazing. Mix made by one of their bros. So good.


We loved the shrimp roll (a take on the New England lobster roll), and dare I say it: I kinda liked it better than the lobster roll at The Ordinary, Mike Lata's King Street CHS hall of glorious seafood. Heresy! But maybe true!

Then the housemade ricotta gnocchi with short rib ragu and pine nut gremolata hit the table, and it was game over. I would be happy to eat this once a week until I die of heart failure.


Only logical next step was a stroll around Fort Moultrie.


I love South Carolina, y'all. Even better when enjoying it with a friend from afar.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Ginger Wine Ninjas Pinot Noir from Columbia SC

Columbia, SC has a new wine label, produced by 3 red-haired wine brains who know their stuff: Ginger Wine Ninjas' 2012 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir!


Recently killed a bottle by the fire with a dear friend, and let me just say, it goes right nice with some fancy cheese and conversation. Lean, structured, and serious, it's great wine made by great people.

They worked with a custom crush facility in Oregon to produce the wine.

With the limited wine knowledge I carry around in my brain's back files, I see it loosening up nicely over the next year, so it'd be a good one for buying a few bottles for now, and a few for cracking open when sweater weather hits next year. Right?

Congrats to the gingers: Kaitlin Ohlinger, recently of Cellar on Greene and now in Oregon proper; James Alford of Morganelli's, and Bryan Della Volpe of Gourmet Shop. The wine is available in all 3 places.

Now that Kaitlin is posted up in Oregon, it will be exciting to see what grapes/juice these guys get their hands on to make future wines.  Here's to hillside fruit and smart peeps making rad things happen right here in Soda City.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bovinoche Whole Roasted Animal Fest in Columbia Was Rad

Tom Hall did it again.

Tom Hall in his most natural environment

The co-founder of Columbia Mardi Gras, Plowboys bandleader and avant garde Southern filmmaker -- with lawyer-ish tendencies -- brought together a killer team on Oct. 18, 2014 to execute a Midlands iteration of Jeff Bannister's Bovinoche, the legendary whole animal roast that garnered national attention (read: front page of the Wall Street Journal) when it launched in the upstate in Simpsonville.

The Midlands event was held at Hall's beautiful, historic new Magnolia Farm Lodge cultural retreat center in Ridgeway, SC (about a half hour from Columbia, SC). It's an old plantation that Hall and his family and friends have revved up into a bed and breakfast meets year-round summer camp for adults who love art, cooking, hunting, and sipping bourbon around the fire.

At Bovinoche, a big, lovely crowd feasted on pulled pork of all sorts, including a pig cooked in la caja china; roasted whole lambs; a gigantic roasted whole cow; a litany of quail, unbearably good sausages and more. Here's one great photo of the roasting carnage by Bannister. More great pics here including the giant cow, compiled by David McGowan Hicks.


There was good beer and great decor.


Live music and great friends.


Angry bakers and GREAT T-shirts.


Groovy old outdoor stoves.


And to wrap up the evening, fireside picking and grinning til the wee hours. 


One can only hope that Hall and Bannister bring it back to the Soda City area. We love our niche market food festivals, y'all.

So what's your favorite roasted beast?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Quick dinner.

An easy, fancy-feeling thing is this:



  1. Roast a bunch of chopped kale in a little bit of high-temp oil at 400 degrees til it's crispy. Use some fancy salt and fresh ground pepper. Fresh ground coriander doesn't hurt.
  2. Heat up a bag of Trader Joe's butternut squash risotto. #cheating
  3. Chop up some of that fresh basil you've been miraculously keeping alive in your laundry room/sunroom. #redemption
  4. Put on top of each other, sprinkle with pecorino romano or parmesan. Or both! 
FEEL #FANCYNOTFANCY

The end.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stiegl Radler, Folly Beach, and the last blast of summer in your fall

Certain things happen when fall rolls around. In South Carolina, we experience a simultaneous "second spring" with tons of flowers blooming and balmy weather.

In early September, we also get to enjoy an extended summer, with temps in the 90s.

My "sensitive vine" from Jenks Farmer, in bloom, again

My Flock and Rally business partner and I like to do our annual summer company retreat on Folly Beach, near Charleston, SC once the summer crowds have left.



This leaves plenty of room for us at the bar at our favorite outdoor, mega-casual, one-block-off-the-beach bar, Chico Feo. It's right across 2nd from Bert's Red & White market. Owner Hank makes a mean hand-made taco and there is always someone interesting to chat with at the bar.

My Morocco-living friends Mary and Pascal at Chico Feo on a recent visit

Here's our leisure science system for this annual trip:
  1. Rent a house w/good wi-fi, many blocks off of the beach at Folly in the foresty part, but 1-2 blocks from the restaurants and cafes on Center Street. 
  2. Go for an 8-10 day rental so you can enjoy 2 full weekends. (I know, extravagant, but the prices are so much lower after Labor Day, that it works!)
  3. Make sure your house is on the East side of Center Street, so you can hit the beach between the pier and East 4th, and thus be able to rent your canvas + wood beach chairs and umbrellas daily from our dear friend Mike at Sunshine Rentals. Tweet at him at @1UmbrellaSt.
  4. Rent bike from Matty at Cool Breeze for the week, $45. His # is 843-406-5721. Renting from him is a whole Folly experience.
  5. Get work done on the porch in the morning over coffee.
  6. Bike ride for exercise to the lighthouse at the east end or the park at the west end of the island.
  7. Hit the beach at 2nd block East, set up shop at your beach chair/umbrella empire (pre-set via phone), and swim it off. Chillax. Talk major business concepts like a boss.
  8. Putter over to Chico Feo for a shark taco or goat curry and a beer, or bike over to Lost Dog Cafe for a Thai peanut shrimp wrap or blackened salmon BLT wrap to go. Or order up a Hanoi Hoagie (Vietnamese sandwich) from the Wich Doctor. Or get a peanut butter, banana and nutella crepe from Tokyo Crepes and a fancy juice from Juice Joint (owned by Sunshine Rentals Mike's wife Wendy, who's a badass roller derby girl too!)
  9. Beach it some more. Make some work phone calls and catch up on emails from your beach chair, because you can. Run into your rad massage therapist friend Sam York and hear the latest from the Charleston weirdo scene.
  10. Wrap your day by walking 1 block back to Chico Feo. Many nights, live local musicians (or traveling musicians from Asheville, etc.) start around 6:30pm and the Feo becomes not only chill but also fun.
  11. Enjoy the most refreshing beverage known to man, the radler. Grapefruit soda and good beer. Not rocket science, but brilliant. Stiegl Radler is what they serve at the Feo.
  12. Eat there or go find dinner. Bowen's Island Restaurant is always a tasty excursion for some good fried shrimps, or boiled shrimps, or whatever.
  13. Rinse, repeat. 
Yummy.

In a pinch, you can make your own radler. This one is Simply Grapefruit juice, a little grapefruit LaCroix soda, and a good wheat beer. Half beer, half other stuff. Add orange slice for fun. Drink it.



This is a nice way to relive the last blast of summer as fall weather takes over. What's your late summer fix?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Namu Gaji makes my face feel happy.

Some dear ladyfriends took me to Namu Gaji in the Mission in San Francisco on a recent visit. It's the new-ish hipster Korean spot, across from Dolores Park, and it's got a lively, partyish vibe and big communal table that for some reason takes me back to the days when we'd do big friend dinners at Suppenkuche.

Lurved the green garlic panna cotta at Namu Gaji.


And the Okonomiyaki simmering as it arrived, with that deloooosh bibimbab type situation in the background. And fabu local beer in -- I know it's a cliche -- mason jars. I am trying to be all down on mason jars because they are so over, but I still like them.


Made me happy that we have a great Okonomiyaki spot not too far away, at Xiao Bao Biscuit in Charleston. South Carolina keeps getting awesomer.



Monday, May 12, 2014

Tosca anew

Ever had a cancelled flight go badly? How about a cancelled flight that went super delightfully?

I was in San Francisco for a short time. The new Tosca, an April Bloomfield/Ken Friedman project, was open. A flattering photo of longtime owner Jeanette Etheredge graced the website.

I remember when Etheredge would drop wisdom on me when I was a server at Enrico's, R.I.P., and I was pretty much dying to check it out.

But it wasn't in the cards.

Until my flight home got cancelled.

Hopped in my borrowed car (thank you, Kate!) and hit the hills for North Beach. 

Snagged the one remaining spot at the bar. The same old awesome bar.


Made some friends and had a nice chit chat. Then the pasta came. 

O, Lumaconi with salty meats and light creams and lemony crumbs, how I love thee.


This is one I will think of fondly. Kudos to Exec Chef Josh Evens for a light hand and a formidable result.