In Time for Cyber Monday, King Bean Roasters Puts Its Joe Online


Leigh Webber Photography

A 20-year old coffee company with Seattle roots sounds like just the kind of company which would have jumped online back when most computer users had AOL e-mail addresses.  But King Bean Coffee Roasters, which supplies coffee to many of Charleston’s top restaurants, didn’t offer online ordering until today.

“When talking recently with a prominent West Coast roaster, she couldn’t believe that we had never before sold our coffee online,” says Katie Weinberger, whose husband, Kurt, founded the company after finishing up a Navy stint in the Pacific Northwest. “We joked that we built our business backwards by today’s standards.”

King Bean three years ago launched a limited local retail line, available in Whole Foods’ South Carolina stores and smaller gourmet shops. The company recently acquired a Petroncini roaster which Weinberger says provides the flexibility and consistency needed for increased production. Continue reading

Thanksgiving 1954: Saltines and Navy Blended Coffee Aboard the USS Yorktown

Ever in the holiday spirit, Patriots Point, which sent us a USS Yorktown cookie recipe for Veterans Day, shared the below menu from the aircraft carrier’s 1954 Thanksgiving dinner.


The menu is stamped with a few oldfangled touches, such as the hot mincemeat pie and after-dinner cigars. But it’s also testament to how little the standard holiday menu has changed in more than half a century: Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, two kinds of potatoes, pumpkin pie and Parker House rolls are immediately recognizable as a Thanksgiving meal. Continue reading

Puree Cafe to Close This Weekend

photo (66)Puree Cafe, the Mt. Pleasant vegetarian restaurant which last month launched a last-ditch effort to attract more customers, is closing on Saturday.

“Puree will be closing indefinitely at the end of this month,” owner Jenan McClain wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “We are in talks with multiple angel investors and we’re hoping to continue or re-open. We started on one family’s budget, which has proven to not be enough.”

Although Puree was popular with diners who appreciated McClain’s commitment to using only organic ingredients, many customers couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t serve Coke.

“A lot of people in the South don’t even know what a GMO is, so it’s been a real educational process,” she said last month. Explaining her decision to enhance dinner service with a dedicated menu and organic cocktails, she added, “We’re not in danger of going out of business, but it’s got to get profitable at some point.”

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South Carolinians Try To Avoid Burning Down Their Homes This Thanksgiving



No matter what you decide to serve for the holidays this year, make sure you prepare it very, very carefully: According to State Farm data, South Carolina from 2005-2012 had a greater incidence of Thanksgiving Day cooking mishaps than any other state in the continental U.S.

Although five states produced more cooking-related claims than South Carolina, those numbers can be attributed to much larger populations. In New York, for example, over the seven years covered by the survey, one out of every 889,545 residents reported an injury or fire caused by cooking. By contrast, one out of every 295,250 South Carolinians had a bad run-in with a turkey fryer or kitchen grease.

Only Alaskans were more likely to have their holiday end with an insurance claim: With five claims filed over the survey’s span, one out of every 146,289 Alaskans saw a holiday meal go dangerously awry. Continue reading

Home Cooks Worried About Supply of Collards in Post-Pig Era


Tim Stackton

Nostalgia peaks at holiday time, so it’s little wonder the season’s provoked a new round of Piggly Wiggly sentimentality.

Where are cooks going to go to buy fresh collard greens, especially for Thanksgiving???,” a reader writes. “The Pig always had a large supply of large bunches, and even more at Thanksgiving & Christmas…The other stores just do not understand the local diet and customs.”

Thanksgiving shoppers who didn’t buy their collards at this past Saturday’s Charleston Farmers Market may have a tougher time finding locally-grown greens. But a Harris Teeter spokeswoman says the grocery chain will adjust its orders in response to customer demand. Continue reading

Krewe of Charleston Announces Gumbo Cookoff

There are nearly half a dozen significant holidays between now and Mardi Gras, but the Krewe of Charleston is encouraging home cooks to start planning their gumbos.

The group is staging a Gumbo Cookoff on Feb. 9, in conjunction with its Grand Finale event at the Charleston Area Convention Center. “The rules are simple,” Krewe captain Donnie Bulliard writes. “Gotta be from scratch and made with fresh ingredients.”

Prizes will be awarded for the Best Chicken and Sausage Gumbo; Best Seafood Gumbo; Best Presentation; People’s Choice and Best in Show. To register, e-mail or call 408-5261.

Frank Lee’s Band of Tamed Male Chefs Gathers for Tribute Dinner

FrankLeeTickets are still available to the Charleston Wine + Food Festival’s dinner honoring Frank Lee, the chef who sits atop Charleston food tree.

The festival on Dec. 9 is assembling 11 chefs (six from Charleston; five from out-of-town) to pay tribute to Lee with a five-course dinner at The Grocery. The chefs will be joined by two “culinary experts,” longtime Columbia chef Malcolm Hudson – who festival events director Randi Weinstein credits with converting Lee from “vegetarian to a meat-loving fool” – and Justin Hammerstrom, a former sous chef and mixed martial arts fighter who now serves as corporate trainer for a kickboxing franchise.

Although Hammerstrom last cooked professionally in a high school cafeteria, his participation in the program is fitting, since the featured chefs say they’re indebted to Lee for much more than kitchen know-how. Continue reading

Food Network Magazine Endorses Olde Colony Benne Wafers

If you’re looking to buy an edible South Carolina gift this Christmas, Food Network Magazine recommends benne wafers from Olde Colony Bakery.

The magazine selected one suggested gift from each state for its holiday issue, on newsstands tomorrow. In addition to benne wafers, the list includes cantaloupe jam from Nevada; a cannoli kit from Massachusetts and pecan pie from Texas.

Olde Colony Bakery, which traces its history to the 1940s, this year moved its baking operations to a larger facility in Mt. Pleasant. The bakery sells its 5-ounce bags of benne wafers for $3.99 apiece.

Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen Imports Chinese Restaurant Cooks From Seattle


Gorman E. / Yelp

If construction stays on course, Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen could be open by Christmas, one of the biggest days on any Chinese restaurant’s calendar.

Owner Karalee Nielsen Fallert, formerly of Revolutionary Eating Ventures, is aiming to open the 1700 square-foot restaurant at 218 President Street between Dec. 19 and Dec. 31. She says many of her current customers are anxious to try Lee Lee’s sweet-and-sour pork, Mongolian beef and salt-and-pepper shrimp.

“They’re coming from places where there are multi-ethnic cuisines,” Fallert says. “And that’s an area where we still lack, big time. From the time I came to Charleston 13 years ago, I realized we didn’t have great Chinese food here.”

Fallert’s now trying to rectify the situation by importing the kitchen crew from a recently-closed Chinese restaurant on the outskirts of Seattle. The restaurant belonged to Lily Lai, an ethnically Taiwanese chef; Fallert worked under Lai in Salt Lake City, and has always wanted to partner with her on a project. Continue reading

Cooking Channel Looks to Improve Food at Local Dive Bars

“Belly Up,” a new Cooking Channel show devoted to elevating the food menus of dive bars, is now scouring Charleston for makeover subjects. Presumably, Big John’s Tavern isn’t planning to apply.

Big John’s owner Ryan Condon last month tossed out tenant Cory Burke of Roti Rolls, in part because the inventive chef’s Ethiopian-influenced cooking was too far removed from the pickled eggs and coldcut sandwiches he associated with the Big John’s of his youth. But “Belly Up”’s casting director Danya Berman believes “new, innovative, enticing bar foods that won’t break the budget” can help save struggling dive bars.

I’m super excited about the possibility of a South Carolina episode — Charleston seems to be a foodie town,” Berman writes. “Hopefully there is a dive bar that wants to remain a dive joint, but with a really delicious bar menu.” Continue reading