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. 

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. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Tacolicious in the Missionlicious

I had heard the tell on this place. New in the Mission in SF; tasty Mexican freshitude.

"Tacolicious. You can't get a table unless you go at 4pm!"

Well, homies, here is what you do!

You go hang out with your friend Christy and her son Ezra, put on the rain slickers, and casually puddle jump over on a weekday at like 11:30am.

You're not trying to "get a table" -- you're just taking a kid out for some food.

Except the food is incredible, casual, and tasty. And then the kid gets ice cream at the end! And then Mommy and her friend get to go shoe shopping. 


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Salad gems in the shadow of the Twitter

I wanted to eat at Daniel Patterson's restaurant, ALTA CA.

His other restaurants Coi (remember Frisson?) and other awesome places tipped me off that this place would be lovely. And it's in the shadow of the new Twitter building on Market Street.

That's something to see, no?

For me, I was pleased to have a really fabulous, healthy, flavorlicious salad while scoping out one of the cornerstones of my company's client services business.

Dear Twitter,

Thank you, Twitter, for making a tool that brands can use to become friends with other brands.

In Columbia, SC, it is working brilliantly.

You'd be proud.



Monday, May 5, 2014

Capitol Restaurant reborn: as an actually really great restaurant.

Bourbon on Main Street in downtown Columbia, SC, a partnership between Chef Kristian Niemi (Rosso) and a team that includes tech wizard Eric Duncan and design mage Nick Wilson of The Half and Half, is already killing it.

And the paper isn't even down off of the windows. Just walk in. 

It's dark, grown up and welcoming. The newfangled, comfortable Creole/Cajun food is great and will tweak upward as Fat Hen's Gordon Langston settles in. Good mid-sized salads with real vegetables. The drinks are real drinks. I foresee Josh from Motor and Andy from Terra and all their mates ending up there for post-shift drinks and tasties.

Especially since Kristian says the kitchen plans to be open til midnight on weeknights, and 1am on weekends.

I'm going to miss the fingers in my water from Paul the waiter back at the old Capital Restaurant. Kindof.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Meet the new chef at Motor Supply!

Meet the new chef at Motor Supply in Columbia, SC: Wesley Fulmer.

Wes' CV includes kitchen gigs at Beard Award-winning restos Susanna Foo in Philadelphia and John Besh's Restaurant August in New Orleans. Exciting times at Motor!

Image: Forrest Clonts Studio

Chef Fulmer has most recently been Executive Sous Chef down at the Atlantic Room at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, which might sound kindof unexciting if you have never eaten there. Resort food? Who cares? Except the resort food, and the service, and everything at the Atlantic Room is top notch and -- when I visited, it turns out, during Fulmer's tenure there -- reminded me of the best California resort dining rooms: in touch with hipster food trends but reverent of the finest of the fine dining mores. 

So I was pretty excited when I learned that Motor's new chef was moving up here from that kitchen, as you can imagine.

Wes is a super awesome guy, and you should go say hi to him sometime soon!