Angel Oak Defenders Plan Potluck Under Ancient Tree

The Lowcountry Open Land Trust this Sunday afternoon is celebrating the Angel Oak with a free fellowship dinner.

Admission to the 1 p.m.-5 p.m. event is free, but attendees are asked to bring a sweet or savory dish to share. According to a release, “the intention is to honor the tree’s legacy as a place of spiritual power, cultural history and unity.”

To reach far-off supporters of the trust’s campaign to purchase 17 acres of rural land surrounding the ancient live oak tree, organizers are encouraging attendees to post pictures of the potluck on Instagram. For more information, visit the trust’s website.

Kitchen Store Hosts Knife-Sharpening Fundraiser for Thanksgiving Charity

knifesharpWhat’s harder than preparing Thanksgiving dinner for a dozen guests? Preparing Thanksgiving dinner with a dull-edged knife.

Fortunately for home cooks who want to effortlessly chop cranberries, dice potatoes and slice onions, The Coastal Cupboard this weekend is hosting its annual $1 knife sharpening fundraiser. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Charleston Basket Brigade, which supplies holiday meal ingredients to local families in need. The organization this year is striving to feed 20,000 people, a $100,000 effort.

The event runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 12-4 p.m. on Sunday. The store is located at 644-J Long Point Road.

Piggly Wiggly Shoppers Seek New Source of Seasonal Green Peanuts

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Since writing last week about the food and drink items that shoppers are likely to miss buying at the Piggly Wiggly, a number of readers have gotten in touch to add favorites to the list.

“Where are we going to buy real grits?,” moaned an anonymous e-mailer. “Instant is nasty and that’s what the ‘others’ sell. No regular grits for $1.99/bag. The ‘others’ have it in the souvenir section for anywhere from $5-$10 for a small bag.”

Another faithful fan of the grocery chain left a voicemail message saying he’s bracing to miss the store’s cottage cheese: “Nobody could touch The Pig’s brand of cottage cheese,” said a man who identified himself only as ‘Bill.’ Continue reading

Shoney’s Observes Veterans Day With Free Burger Offer

shoneysVeterans and active-duty service members are eligible for a free burger at Shoney’s on Veterans Day.

The chain restaurant – locally located at 1307 N. Main St. in Summerville and 1177 Sniders Hwy. in Walterboro – on Nov. 11 is offering an “All-American burger” to vets and military members who can provide proof of service. The burger was the centerpiece of a 2009 weekday “burger bundle” promotion, presumably designed to lure fast-food customers into the sit-down restaurants: During the campaign, Shoney’s sold the burger, fries and a drink for $4.99.

This time around, the fries, drink, tax and gratuity aren’t included. The fine print also stipulates that the free burger offer can’t be combined with any other coupons, and claimants are entitled to just one burger apiece. But a few rules probably won’t scare off eaters with military backgrounds.

“On their national day of celebration and honor, Shoney’s looks forward to welcoming our veterans and troops with a free burger,” CEO David Davoudpour is quoted as saying in a release. “We salute you.”

Circa 1886′s Marc Collins Throws His Knife in the Ring

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Is it mere coincidence that Collins’ official head shot looks eerily similar to the Chopped logo?

Among the local chefs hoping to score a competitor’s spot on Chopped is Circa 1886’s Marc Collins, who’s definitely not in it for the money.

“Funny thing is, I had no idea the winner received ten grand,” says Collins, who was contacted by the Food Network show’s casting team. Chopped is now soliciting applications from professional and amateur Charleston chefs, and plans to conduct in-town interviews next month. “It just seemed like a good way to have fun and get some media attention for the restaurant at the same time.”

Collins responded to the recruitment e-mail with a message saying he’d submitted an application two years ago, but never heard back. Continue reading

Final Reflections on Cook It Raw

photo (65)The last of the Cook It Raw chefs are now flying home, marking the end of one of the more ambitious culinary events to choose Charleston as its venue. Having spent the week embedded in the program, this is probably the proper time (to use an adjective favored by the many UK-based participants) to assess the week’s success.

Overall, I think the program was successful, although perhaps not in the ways I initially imagined. Because the young organization is still wrestling with identity issues, it hasn’t yet hammered out a concise explanation of its purpose: Its representatives have a knack for using words like “collective” and “curation,” which don’t always resonate in the goal-oriented U.S. What I took from the very little information I was provided prior to the event was that Cook It Raw aimed to sequester an enormously talented group of chefs for a week of creative kitchen mayhem.

The chefs did spend the week together at Middleton Place, but nothing occurred which I’d classify as crazy. I’ve been approached by countless locals asking about the event’s backstory, and I assume they’re terribly disappointed when I tell them the chefs spent their off-hours drafting ingredient lists and getting to bed early. The world’s top chefs earn their status partly through consummate professionalism, and their approach to this trip was no exception. Covering Cook It Raw wasn’t too different from covering finals week at any respectable college. Continue reading

First Reflections on Cook It Raw

cirCook It Raw is now just past its midpoint, with its participating crew of 25 chefs from around the world having gathered the necessary ingredients for a 17-course dinner tonight at McCrady’s. They’re now at the restaurant, cooking and — quite possibly — fretting: The chefs are spread across two kitchens and a makeshift workspace, doing their best to flush genius from wild herbs they’ve never before encountered and collaborations with colleagues they’ve only just met.

Tonight’s meal is supposed to reflect what the visiting chefs have learned about the lowcountry, and food historian David Shields will be on hand to assess how well they’ve understood their subject. Since it’s a day devoted to taking stock, this morning seemed like an opportune time to share a few initial observations about the event, with which I’ve been embedded since Monday:

1. Great chefs aren’t necessarily snobs.

Folks who don’t eat for a living always expect me to scorn everyday food, which is hardly the case. Yet I made the same mistake by assuming participating chefs would be finicky about what they were fed. Impressively, they haven’t fussed about hotel-made fried chicken biscuits or Wild Olive ravioli, neither of which was garnished with foie gras. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that many of the humbler-seeming dishes have been exceptional, including Butcher & Bee’s sesame peanut butter and Hominy Grill’s pies. Continue reading

Today’s Menu of Activities for Food Day

Wondering how to mark Food Day today? Two schools have scheduled events in conjunction with the annual celebration of healthy, affordable food, which now unfolds in cities nationwide:

At the MUSC Urban Farm, which last year hosted one of 3200 Food Day events across the U.S, the 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. party’s all about the sweet potato. In addition to self-guided tours of the farm at the corner of Bee and President streets, the agenda includes a 11:30 a.m. talk on a new sweet potato breed; a 12 noon cooking demo and a 12:40 p.m. sweet potato head contest starring local celebrities, including the Post & Courier‘s own David Quick. All events are free.

And at the College of Charleston, students, faculty and staff members are invited to the campus’ Liberty Fresh Food Company for an all-local lunch; the menu includes zucchini sliders and turnip chips.

Summerville’s Mellow Mushroom Opening Next Week

mellow3Michael Shemtov, owner of Butcher & Bee and the downtown and Avondale Mellow Mushrooms, recently sent over the above picture of the newest addition to his local pizza empire.

Although Shemtov didn’t provide a caption to accompany the photo of the Summervile Mellow Mushroom, it appears to have been shot during a staff training session. That makes sense, since the restaurant at 1306 N. Main St. is scheduled to open sometime next week.

According to Shemtov, the new restaurant seats 150 people, and features a “big patio”, 24 beers on taps and murals by local artist Douglas Panzone. For opening updates, visit the restaurant’s Facebook page.

More Oyster Roasts Ahead: The Latest, Greatest Local Calendar

The oyster roasts just keep on coming! Up next:

(Roasts are all-you-can-eat and don’t include drinks, unless otherwise noted.)

WHAT: 5th Annual Shucking for Seniors

WHERE: Bowens Island Restaurant, Bowens Island

WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 27, 2 p.m.-5 p.m.

WHY: To support the Independent Transportation Network’s Charleston Trident service, offering door-to-door rides to seniors and visually-impaired adults.

WORTH KNOWING: In addition to oysters, the spread features oysters and chili. The afternoon’s activities also include a silent auction and live country-western music.

COST: $25 in advance; $30 at the door

MORE INFO: 225-2715 Continue reading