Enjoy a Seattle Dog With Your Super Bowl This Sunday

jseattle

jseattle

When Teddy Roosevelt spearheaded a set of football reforms, essentially saving the game for America, it’s a safe bet he wasn’t thinking about all the culinary fantasias the sport might inspire. “I believe in rough games and in rough, manly sports,” he announced. Not dainty pastrami finger sandwiches, trimmed to look like footballs with white cheese laces.

Yet Super Bowl Sunday has somehow emerged as one of the nation’s major cooking holidays. Cyberspace is crammed with recipes which reference the grand tradition of tailgating (the New York Times a decade ago ran Robert Stehling’s take on chicken bog); recipes which aspire to improve upon chicken wings and recipes honoring the two competing teams.

This year, the AFC and NFC champions hail from states that legalized it, so marijuana snacks are getting plenty of press. But if you’d rather keep your kitchen adventures within the law, the suggested dishes are apparently Denver omelets and salmon pancetta kabobs. Continue reading

Tristan Hosts Blind Tasting Dinner

Wine dinner announcements typically tout the wines scheduled for pouring, but for its “Smack Down” supper next Tuesday, Tristan is keeping the featured wines a secret.

Guests at the $95 dinner will blind taste two wines with each of the five courses, then vote on which wine they prefer. The menu includes charred spot prawns; veal breast lasagna and five-spice cannoli.

Representatives from Constellation Brands and RNDC will select the wines.

For reservations, call 534-2155.

Southern Living Names Basico as One of The South’s Best New Bars

AR-130909748.jpg&q=80&MaxW=750&MaxH=350Basico’s updated country club vibe earned the Park Circle taqueria a spot on Southern Living’s list of The South’s Best New Bars, featured in this month’s issue of the magazine.

According to an editor’s note, the 20 chosen bars are “a throwback to a time when whiskey and Champagne were sipped by elegant folks in sleek social rooms,” minus the pretension. Basico at Mixson Bath & Racquet Club won praise for its summery, un-stuffy ambiance and spicy grapefruit margarita.

Basico was grouped with Nashville’s ultra-trendy Pinewood Social, the carnivalesque eating-and-drinking warehouse from The Catbird Seat team, in the “social club” category. Continue reading

Local Restaurants Playing Documentaries on Their TVs

sunriseTime was, the only things a drinker could hope to learn while perched on a barstool were the details of a fellow patron’s latest heartbreak and the bartender’s preferred method of mixing martinis. But educational opportunities have lately picked up at a handful of Charleston establishments where the TVs are tuned to documentaries.

At Kanpai, chef Sean Park likes to play Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the acclaimed film about an exacting 85-year old sushi master. But other venues are using their Netflix accounts – which save them the trouble of purchasing cable or satellite service — to stray further from their menu themes. Continue reading

Warming Up With Riso’s “Authentic Chinese Menu” Noodle Soup

soupMoving from Seattle to Charleston last year meant trading chicken feet for shrimp heads, an exchange which was easier to swallow before the onset of genuinely cold weather made every day feel like an excellent day for dim sum.

If you’re not already enamored of chicken feet, there’s nothing I can say to sway you: Gelatinous skin and chewy tendons don’t come across as selling points, I know. And chicken feet’s resemblance to human hands probably doesn’t help. But chicken feet, one of the great intersections of Chinese and Jewish cuisines, have a deep-set braised flavor that’s ideal fodder for extending gnawing sessions. Chicken feet, rice noodles and turnip cakes are my idea of a perfect dim sum meal.

So I was thrilled when an online amble led me to a Yelp review citing the chicken feet at Riso Noodle House in West Ashley. “For those wanting more authentic flavors, they give you a second menu full of more unusual flavors such as chicken feet,” Brandon H., a curry fan, reported back in July. Continue reading

Lee Brothers Schedule Another Round of Cookbook Boot Camps

Today’s print food section features a story about contemporary cookbook publishing, and Matt and Ted Lee’s efforts to make the process more intelligible to prospective authors. Although the final Charleston 2014 session of the Boot Camp is already booked, the brothers this week announced a pair of new workshops in New York City.

The session on June 16-17 is targeted toward working chefs; representatives of other professions are welcome at the June 19-20 sessions. For more information, visit thefoodlife.com.

And, speaking of the print food section, we’re debuting a passel of new columns today. Don’t miss it.

Euro Foods Has Medal-Worthy Selection of Russian Foods

eurofood1The Tsarist way to usher in next week’s Olympic Games would require a magnum of Champagne and jars of caviar. But for local viewers planning a more authentically Russian celebration, Euro Foods sells most of the needed staples.

Sadly, owner Sasha Pavlichenko didn’t have the pickled herring I wanted to make shuba (sometimes called herring under a fur coat) for my Opening Ceremonies party. But had I been willing to undertake the pickling process myself, he had plenty of fresh herring in the cooler. And he sold me the tinned sardines I needed for sardine butter.

The sardine butter is destined for my attempt at zakuska, a pre-meal snack spread that’s possibly an offshoot of the traditional Scandinavian smorgasbord.  While zakuska didn’t become popular until the 18th century, Russian food writers now hold up the practice as emblematic of Russian hospitality, the rules of which dictate you should never ask a guest whether he’d like something to eat – because of course he wants something to eat. Continue reading

Jestine’s Kitchen Celebrates 18 Years in the Restaurant Biz

jestdoorJestine’s Kitchen is celebrating 18 years in business next Thursday.

There aren’t any events scheduled in conjunction with the Feb. 6 milestone, but owner Dana Berlin Strange says the occasion won’t go unremarked. “Our customers will bring us presents,” Strange writes in an e-mail announcing the anniversary. “They always do.”

The restaurant is located at 251 Meeting St.

Neighborhood Dining Group Opens Private Event Space

When the Fatback Collective announced the Rodney in Exile tour finale, it listed the Charleston dinner site as No. 5 Faber – but declined to reveal what diners might find at 5 Faber Street.

Word comes today that Neighborhood Dining Group, operator of restaurants including McCrady’s and Husk, is opening a private event facility in the renovated downtown warehouse. According to the press release, the venue—which features a commercial kitchen, bar and piano — can accommodate up to 225 people.

No. 5 Faber is purely a space, meaning renters have to secure their own catering and other services. The website is thus far just a logo, but more information is available via phone (805-6499) and e-mail (events@no5faber.com).

Vote For Charleston as Best Everything in Food & Wine Poll

Can Charleston claim the nation’s most vibrant ethnic food; most pompous foodies; best food trucks; best sushi; healthiest eaters and most adventurous diners? Probably not, but Food & Wine is leaving it up to the public to decide, so cast your online vote now.

Forty cities made the cut for the magazine’s Favorite Food Cities survey, the results of which will be published in the September 2014 issue.

If you opt to take the poll, leave yourself a few minutes: There are 25 different categories, many of which are better suited to Charleston than the categories cited above. Voters are asked to select cities boasting the best-dressed diners; best-looking chefs; best-looking bartenders and most romantic restaurants.

The survey closes on Apr. 30. Get started here.