Chasing Down Calabash’s Correct Definition


Seafood Hut, Calabash, N.C.

I first encountered calabash in western North Carolina. I worked part-time in politics, and so split my time between Calabash houses and barbecue joints. The prevalence of deviled crabs in the mountains is astounding.

But Calabash’s dominion apparently reaches much further west than south. When I mentioned to a friend here that I’d probably manage a Calabash supper on a Myrtle Beach outing, she didn’t have a clue what I meant (Hold your outrage: She’s only lived here a few years, and the southernmost Calabash restaurant I can find in South Carolina is in Surfside Beach.)

As I tried to explain it to her, I realized I wasn’t entirely sure either. Is the Calabash style characterized by its seasoning? The makeup of its breading? Or the oil in which it’s fried? I figured if I couldn’t win every miniature golf game in Myrtle, I could at least use the trip to quell my Calabash curiosity. Continue reading

Butcher & Bee Named to List of Best Sandwich Shops

bbintThe author of a new Thrillist round-up of the nation’s 21 best sandwich shops has very definite opinions on which sandwiches to order: the muffaletta at Cochon in New Orleans; the Caribbean Roast at Paseo in Seattle and the Parmageddon at Cleveland’s Melt Bar and Grilled. But when it comes to Butcher & Bee, he suggests getting “whatever’s available.”

“Their menu, scrawled on a chalkboard, is constantly changing depending on the region’s local offerings, but always features innovative creations such as the General Tso’s-chicken sandwich,” Adam Lapetina writes.

Although Lapetina doesn’t outline his sandwich criteria, his list introduction alludes to freshly-baked bread and sauces good enough to drink.

Butcher & Bee’s menu today lists roast beef, grilled cheese and beef tongue. The shop at 654 King St. is open until 3 p.m.

Fish Opens Early for Runners (And Their Cheering Fans)

racedayAccording to nutritionists, the best foods to eat after a strenuous workout include quinoa salad; scrambled eggs and whole-wheat toast with avocado. But if your tastes run more toward lobster croque monsieur, Fish has got you covered on Cooper River Bridge Run Day.

In honor of the race, which annually draws upward of 40,000 competitors, the upper King restaurant is opening at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Apr. 5. The restaurant is limiting its morning service to small and medium plates, with mimosas and bloody Marys priced at two bucks with the purchase of a dish. Continue reading

Mixing Up the Menu at Basico

basicoThere are more than two dozen items on Basico’s menu, but it was the listed dish components which beckoned to the eaters at my table.  Cotija pimento cheese sounded too imaginative to be confined to a burger: Might we try it on a griddled corn tortilla? And how about this side of spicy turnip greens? Wouldn’t that make a better vegetarian taco base than braised beans?

But our mixing and matching reached its apex when the elements reached the table: My hands-down favorite Basico dish is a spicy greens-and-pimento cheese taco. You won’t find it on the menu.

Since chefs invest serious time and thought in constructing dishes, I wondered whether the folks who had a say in assembling Basico’s menu would bless our tinkering – or chalk it up as thoughtless, ungracious meddling. Continue reading

Sushi Dogs, Frog Legs and Sangria on RiverDogs’ Menu This Season

carrotdogThe Charleston RiverDogs are taking charge of their barbecue offerings this year, installing a mobile smoker and grill near the entrance to Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. Brisket, tri tip and frog legs will now supplement the park’s pulled pork, which will continue to be provided by Sticky Fingers.

“We prefer to concentrate on the less traditional items,” says John Schumacher, “food guru” for the team’s ownership group.

In addition to the beef and frog extremities, the smoker station will serve a daily special, and local chefs will occasionally be invited to man the pit. Continue reading

Husk’s Fried Chicken Featured on The Chew

friedchickenWhen it first debuted, Husk’s fried chicken was sold only by reservation. Then it was made available to a few lucky eaters who were first to follow social media clues to the restaurant’s bar. Now a nation of eaters is going to get a crack at the celebrated dish – or at least a good view of it.

Chef Sean Brock is preparing the fried chicken on today’s episode of The Chew. The segment was shot at Husk.

Back when it was fried in fried in butter, chicken fat, bacon fat and country ham fat, the chicken was named one of the best fried chickens in the U.S. by Food & Wine. The recipe has since evolved; Brock describes the current version as a mix of  styles including “gas station, honky tonk, Colonel Sanders, Husk five fat, hot chicken, and buffalo wings.”

The Chew airs on ABC at 1 p.m. After its initial broadcast, it will be archived here for online viewing.

Amelia Claire’s Selling Tea Sugars

teasugarWhen Amy Bearden came across molded sugar cubes from Japan in a mail-order catalog, she immediately thought, “I don’t know why I can’t do them myself.”

Bearden, the owner of Amelia Claire’s bakery in West Ashley, is now selling the “tea sugars” for $5 a dozen. Although she’s keeping a stock of sugar cubes in her shop, Bearden is also willing to customize the cubes’ shapes and shades for special occasions.

“They’re really pretty,” says Bearden, who’s thus far sculpted the cubes into flowers and leaves. Continue reading

BLU Introduces Weekend Brunches

benedictBLU is the latest Charleston area restaurant to add Saturday brunch to its schedule.

The brunch menu – available on both Saturday and Sunday mornings from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. – includes pastrami and hash; blueberry and mascarpone French toast; lump crab benedict and smoked salmon salad. Prices range from $8-$14 for entrees. Drink wise, there are mimosa specials and a bloody Mary bar.

For more information, call 588-6658. BLU is located at 1 Center Street in Folly Beach.

North Columbia Festival Salutes Cornbread

steveajohnsonThe North Columbia Business Association settled on throwing a festival before it figured out just what it wanted to celebrate.

“The area we’re in, the 29302, is going through some changes, and we wanted to invite people back to see what’s going on,” the association’s executive director, Sabrina Odom, explains. “We came up with cornbread because our state vegetable is collard greens. And a collard greens festival already exists.”

The second annual South Carolina Cornbread Festival is scheduled for Mar. 29; in addition to live music and mascots, the 10 a.m.-8 p.m. event at the corner of Main and Newman streets includes a cornbread cook-off; cornbread toss; cornbread eating contest (a speed trial featuring four cornbread muffins) and a “cornbread lane,” along which cornbread will be sold for a buck a slice. Continue reading

Bollywood Wasn’t Closed, After All

bolly2Bollywood is back.

Although the popular Rivers Avenue restaurant last month gave every sign of having reached its final frame – its website was deactivated; its voicemail system was inoperable and a “for lease” sign appeared in the window – owner Naman Bhatt says, “we’re back on track.”

One of the restaurant’s founding partners left the business, necessitating a company reorganization and a weeks-long closure, Bhatt explains. Continue reading