Local Entrepreneur Introduces Mobile Dim Sum Concept

aramarktruckDim sum has been on a roll seemingly since the invention of the wheeled metal cart, but a Mt. Pleasant entrepreneur is taking the mobile concept a step further with a dim sum food truck.

Although Chad Moore hasn’t yet hit the road, he’s purchased an old Aramark truck and this week flew to Hong Kong for an intensive dumpling tutorial. The preliminary menu for Dim Sum Good Thoughts includes har gow (translucent shrimp dumplings); shumai (tightly-packed pork dumplings, although Moore’s plotting a vegetarian version) and fun guo (the typically thicker-skinned pork and shrimp dumplings), as well as a pair of barbecue buns. He’s also contemplating serving xiao long bao, the soup dumplings that are the subject of countless obsessions.

To fund the project, Moore’s posted a $15,000 ask on Kickstarter. Within a day of launching his campaign, he’d received $1125 from three backers. Continue reading

Cainhoy Cookin’ Depot Brings Southern Cooking to Wando

chxdonutWhen Nathaniel Chamblin was nine years old, his father opened The Icehouse Café, then a small bar in a suburb of Washington D.C. Within a few years, it was one of the city’s top restaurants, branching into California cuisine long before its competitors and pouring microbrews by 1987.

Chamblin is planning to get off to a similarly modest start with Cainhoy Cookin’ Depot, opening next month in Wando. And while he doesn’t have any immediate plans to overtake the city’s leading restaurants, he says, “I have mad respect for all of the talent we have in town. But I wouldn’t mind going toe-to-toe with some of these chefs in an Iron Chef format, and they know it.”

Now 43, Chamblin has been involved in restaurants since he was a boy. After his family in 1991 sold The Icehouse Café, he gravitated toward restaurant consulting, moving to Charleston in 1997. He helped open Bull & Finch and Zinc Bistro, but didn’t spend much time in the kitchen: Cainhoy Cookin’ Depot is Chamblin’s first full-time chef job in 20 years. Continue reading

MUSC Researchers Uncover New Seafood Concern

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A toxin found in seafood may pose an even more serious threat to human health than previously believed, according to new research from the Medical University of South Carolina.

The study published this month in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology demonstrated that domoic acid causes kidney damage in mice. While domoic acid has already been linked with brain damage – sea lions who feast on sardines and anchovies with high levels of domoic acid “go crazy and die,” MUSC associate professor Michael Janech is quoted as saying in a release announcing the study’s results – the researchers say the kidney is the more sensitive organ in this case: They documented kidney damage at concentrations 100 times lower than the level associated with brain damage.

Although the findings have not yet been extended to humans, the researchers are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to revisit its domoic acid standards, which are based on brain damage concerns. Continue reading

Kiawah Island Golf Resort Adds Monthly Beverage Dinners

Kiawah Island Golf Resort is now two events in to its year of monthly beverage dinners, which began at The Ocean Room in January and winds up at Jasmine Porch in December.

The new program showcases a multi-course paired dinner at a property restaurant on the third Thursday of each month. Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House is hosting the next event, a $65 bourbon supper featuring grilled salmon, pork tenderloin and pound cake. The Mar. 20 dinner starts at 6 p.m.

For reservations, call 266-4636.

Southern Beer, Made for Mealtime

fullsteam_SLW1Attendees at this past weekend’s Brewvival, widely considered one of the region’s top beer festivals, were granted sampling glasses at the event gates. Yet forks and knives might have been more suitable for some of the ales being poured: Brewing’s vanguard is especially interested in highly complex, multi-layered flavors right now.

Sean Wilson of Durham’s three-year old Fullsteam Brewery takes a different approach: “My personal comfort zone is how the right beer can enhance a meal, or how it can facilitate community and conversation. Outlandish beers tend to try to turn a beer into an experience — I know because we make a few of them.”

Wilson acknowledges nuance isn’t always the most direct path to recognition and customer acclaim. But he believes food-friendliness could become a defining attribute of Southern beer. Continue reading

Charleston Food Entrepreneurs on TODAY Today

burgerThe owners of Charleston Gourmet Burger Company are slated to appear on the TODAY show later this morning.

Chevalo and Monique Wilsondebriano – along with their signature marinade – will be featured in a segment called “Startup to Success.” It airs at 8 a.m.

After moving to Charleston in 2008, the Wilsondebrianos developed a marinade featuring a mix of Lowcountry spices. They sell the product at the Charleston and Mt. Pleasant farmers markets.

Holy City Hospitality Snubs OpenTable

Diners interested in checking out the pair of new restaurants from Holy City Hospitality won’t have any luck securing a reservation through OpenTable: Vincent Chicco’s and Michael’s on the Alley are among the first upscale restaurants on the peninsula to handle their table assignments exclusively through a Yelp subsidiary.

Yelp last summer announced the purchase of SeatMe, an iPad-based system launched in 2011. Unlike OpenTable, SeatMe charges a flat $99 monthly fee instead of $1-$2.50 per cover.

“OpenTable is very expensive, and there is a fee for each reservation made,” explains assistant general manager Whitney Standish, who’s an unqualified fan of the service. “SeatMe works just as well and is super easy to navigate.” Continue reading

Bollywood Cafe Folds Before its First Birthday

bolly2Sad news from Rivers Avenue: According to a tweet from @CharlestonFood, Bollywood Café has closed.

The Indian restaurant’s website is out of service, and its voice mailbox is full, suggesting the “for lease” sign in the window does signal the end of the breakaway buffet.

Owners of Bombay Restaurant last summer opened Bollywood in a former Wendy’s after a landlord dispute ended their tenure 400 feet up the street. Another operating group took over the Bombay name and venue. Continue reading

Crave to Take Over Space Vacated by Rosebank Farms Cafe

crave3Four months after reopening its location damaged by an electrical fire, Crave International Foods and Catering is on the cusp of opening a second Johns Island restaurant.

“We’re hoping to do it by May,” owner Michael Petrillo says, speaking from the former Rosebank Farms Café space he’s planning to renovate.

Rosebank Farms Café closed earlier this month. Although owner Julie Limehouse didn’t return messages, Sidi Limehouse speculated she was exhausted by more than two decades in the restaurant business.

“She was just tired,” he says. “She just wanted to do something else. You know, restaurants are a tough business. Business has fallen off; there’s a lot of competition here now.” Continue reading

What to Expect from Ristorante LIDI (With Pictures)

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All photos provided by King Street Marketing Group

Ristorante LIDI, a family-oriented Italian restaurant on Daniel Island, has scheduled its grand opening for Mar. 7.

The dinner menu runs long on Italian-American classics such as Caesar salad, grilled sausage, fried calamari, chicken parmesan, veal picatta, lasagna and linguine with clam sauce (LIDI stands for Little Italy, Daniel Island.) The standard menu is supplemented by a lengthy selection of salads, meat entrees and pastas plated family-style, including a $24 serving of cacio e pepe, which ardent fans of the dish might have trouble sharing.

Main dishes meant for a single eater are priced between $13 and $26. Continue reading