Restaurateurs Plan More Small Plates for Upper King

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Ben Russell-Schlesinger and Robert Young

The first-time restaurateurs behind the project at the corner of Morris and King yesterday revealed the concept they’ve thus far been reluctant to discuss.

“What we’re looking to do is take really great stuff and our chef’s reputation and serve it in a small-plates atmosphere,” Robert Young, a 32-year old former server (Charleston Grill, 39 Rue De Jean) said after receiving permission from his partner, Ben Russell-Schlesinger, to “let the cat out of the bag.”

“It’s shareable and social,” Young continued, adding he anticipates customers hopping from the restaurant (the name is still a secret) to other restaurants on Upper King. Continue reading

Twenty Six Divine Goes Over to the Dark Side For Dinner

darkside2Laser lights have long been paired with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, but “Money” is very rarely matched with sweet potato risotto and a glass of Pinot Noir.

Twenty Six Divine‘s Dark Side of the Moon dinner, featuring seven courses served as the album plays, is so unusual that Googling “Dark Side of the Moon dinner” pulls up just one reference to a similar event: Apparently the Portland branch of Marijuana Anonymous had the same idea.

“We just really like music and food a lot, so we thought it would be fun,” Jenn Parezo says. Continue reading

Paolo’s Introduces Customizable Cannoli

paoloIt sounds like something you’d encounter on a cruise ship, but Paolo Dalla Zorza of Paolo’s Gelato says the idea for his new cannoli service came to him while traveling home from Italy.

Now at Paolo’s, customers have their pick of cannoli shells, fillings and toppings, so they can construct a mini-shell stuffed with chocolate ricotta cream and dipped in candied fruit, or a chocolate-coated shell filled with ricotta and garnished with sprinkles. There are 72 possible different combinations.

“My customers are so international and well-traveled, so they appreciate this kind of an idea,” Zorza is quoted as saying in a release.

Paolo’s is located at 41 John St.

Keeler, Johnson and Bacon Named James Beard Semi-Finalists

Three Charleston chefs are in the running for finalist status in the Southeast division of the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef awards.

Josh Keeler of Two Boroughs Larder, Kevin Johnson of The Grocery and Jeremiah Bacon of The Macintosh are semi-finalists for the prestigious prize, which will be awarded this May in New York City. Bacon is a semi-finalist for the third year running; Keeler was also a semi-finalist last year.

Other local semi-finalists include McCrady’s for Best Service; Sean Brock for Outstanding Chef, a national award, and FIG for Best Wine Service. “Greatest honor to date,” FIG’s sommelier David McCarus tweeted. Continue reading

When in Darlington, Eat at Jewel’s

jewelplateOne of my best friends from high school married a man with land in Darlington, a backstory which made no difference to me until I learned I’d be in the area this week around lunchtime. Although they’ve landed back in our Michigan hometown, I frantically appealed to my friend and her husband for eating help.

“I guess there is a burger place called Joe’s something,” she texted back.

No offense to Joe’s, but I’ve since learned the correct answer to the inevitable “where should I eat in Darlington?” question is Jewel’s Deluxe, an upstanding meat-and-three on the town square. Continue reading

Farmers Market Accepting Vendor Applications for Upcoming Season

While the city warns that very few food artisans, growers and farmers will qualify for spots at the Charleston Farmers Market, it’s put out a call for vendor applications.

According to the official announcement, “While the Market is presently near capacity, and in fact faces additional space constraints arising from nearby construction, the Office of Cultural Affairs remains committed to ensuring the continuing success of this vital resource.”

In considering applications, the Market Advisory Committee gives highest priority to farmers who sell products grown and harvested in South Carolina, using environmentally responsible and sustainable techniques. For more on the committee’s priorities and expectations, check out the complete vendors’ manual here.

The application deadline is Feb. 24 at 4 p.m.

The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen Finalist For IACP Cookbook Prize

leebookThe International Association of Culinary Professionals this morning via Eater released its list of food writing award finalists, and — by virtue of alphabetization — Matt and Ted Lee lead the list.

The Lee Brothers were nominated in the Cookbook-American category for The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen. They’re up against Daniel Humm and Will Guidara’s I Love New York: Ingredients and Recipes and Lucinda Scala Quinn’s Mad Hungry Cravings.

Although the Lee Brothers are the only Charlestonians among the nominees, finalists Anne Quatrano and Andy Ricker are headed here for the Wine + Food Festival.

IACP’s awards ceremony is scheduled for Mar. 15 in Chicago.

Following the Chicken Feet Story Further

chxfeetMy blog post about chicken feet, which last Wednesday migrated to print, gave a number of readers occasion to reflect on the Gullah-Geechee tradition of enjoying the same portion of the bird.

The trick to eating feet, according to a Gullah-speaking caller who left a message on Life Editor Teresa Taylor’s voicemail, is avoiding the toenails.

Maverick Southern Kitchens chef Frank Lee concurred in an e-mail, describing the local dish as tender-cooked chicken feet surrounded by potatoes. “Just chew ‘em up and spit out the toenails,” he writes (he also sent along this photo of stock-making at SNOB.) Continue reading

Fruitmania Gardening School This Weekend

Perhaps to keep Fruitmania from getting too wild, the Lowcountry Fruit Growers Society has invited a man named Malcolm Manners to serve as the all-day growing school’s keynote speaker.

Manners, a horticultural science professor at Florida Southern College, will be joined at the Feb. 22 event by a master gardener; a cold hardy citrus specialist and a bee keeper, among other speakers. Vendors selling fruit trees and berry plants are also on the guest list.

Fruitmania will be held at Cypress Gardens, 3030 Cypress Gardens Rd, Moncks Corner. Tickets are $25 until Thursday, when the price goes up to $30 per person. To purchase, call 553-0515 or point your browser here.