Dickensian Punch Debuts at Edmund’s Oast This Weekend

ingratiating_manAfter I raved about Edmund’s Oast, Eater Charleston smirked that I was “perhaps the only restaurant reviewer to ever use the word ‘Dickensian’ in a food evaluation.”

Perhaps. But I’m not even the only one in town to use the word in a culinary context. Edmund’s Oast (who else?) is scheduled to put a cocktail called “Dickensian Punch” on tap today.

While I wish I could take credit for inspiring the drink, the nomenclature has nothing to do with me: According to beverage manager Cameron Read, the name was chosen long before my review was published. And the original recipe is older still: “(It) was actually written down by Charles Dickens and sent to a friend of his in a letter,” Read writes.

Dickens’ recipe — reprinted in David Wondrich’s authoritative Punch: the Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl, which describes the British author as a “dedicated punch-maker” — calls for lemons, rum, sugar, brandy and fire. Edmund’s Oast plans to prepare the punch in a similar fashion, making it genuinely Dickensian. Sounds like the perfect thing to quaff while reading The Pickwick Papers.

Southern Season Uncorks Thursday Wine Tastings

southernseasonA Thursday night wine program launched earlier this month by Southern Season got off to a fairly standard start: Last week’s $15 tasting covered Portuguese wines, while tonight’s session is devoted to what to drink with “a casual Easter brunch or an elegant Easter dinner.”

But in a month or so, Summer Thursday Uncorked will take a more interesting turn, with a line-up that’s refreshingly offbeat. In June, the program will tackle wines from films; wines from Germany (other than Riesling) and wines from the former Communist nations of Central and eastern Europe.

For the complete schedule, visit southernseason.com. Tastings begin at 5 p.m.

Five Loaves Cafe Plans to Open Summerville Location This Fall

logoAnother Charleston restaurant is opening a Summerville location, with Five Loaves Café today announcing plans to take over the former Farringdon Bistropub.

The news comes just days before Toast of Summerville, a spin-off of the popular peninsular breakfast spot, is scheduled to open on Trolley Road.

Five Loaves owner Casey Glowacki is projecting an October opening for his restaurant, which will offer the same menu as the downtown and Mt. Pleasant locations. Like the Mt. Pleasant location, the Summerville location will feature a full bar and Sunday brunch. Continue reading

Ancestral Peanut Debuts at Old Village Post House Dinner

crab When guests reached the second course of the Carolina Rice Kitchen Dinner — presented last night by the Old Village Post House – table conversations veered sharply to the first softshell crabs of the season, superbly flash-fried by chef Forrest Parker’s team. The supporting Sea Island Guinea flint grits from sponsor Anson Mills barely merited a mention.

The grits’ fade-out was a kind of triumph for Anson Mills’ Glenn Roberts and University of South Carolina professor David Shields, who have jointly spearheaded the effort to resurrect Carolina gold rice and the crops which completed the agricultural system surrounding it. The results of their work, including Chinquapin chestnuts, benne seeds and James Island peas, formed the core of the Rice Kitchen Dinner menu.

But the revivalists’ overarching goal is for the nearly-forgotten grains to attain standard ingredient status. Roberts and Shields have no interest in making the plants cultivated generations ago by Lowcountry growers into untouchable relics; using heirloom grits in service of another regional delicacy is very much in line with their strategy. Continue reading

More Chillie Bear Memories

chillieMy recent story about Chillie Bears, Charleston’s classic frozen summertime treat, prompted readers of The Post and Courier to reminisce about buying (and selling) the icy cups. Since there’s not much in the way of a written record when it comes to Chillie Bears, their memories significantly enhance what’s known about the early history of the snack – including its demographic and geographic reach:

Growing up on Rutledge Avenue in the 1940s, we bought Chilly Bears, two for a nickel, at the Coastal Ice Cream Parlor on Rutledge near Spring Street. The small cup was decorated with polar bears and we warmed it between our hands, flipped it, and enjoyed. –  Sandra Lee Kahn Rosenblum Continue reading

Luckhaus & Brubaker Unveils 50-Pound Easter Bunny

luckrabbitRobyn Luckhaus’ Easter tradition doesn’t involve spiral hams or fancy hats: The James Island chocolatier annually creates a giant themed holiday display.

This year’s vignette, now set up at Luckhaus’ shop, features a 50-pund chocolate rabbit; 10-pound chocolate chicks and flowers made from meringue and sugar cookies.

“The display is made out of homemade modeling chocolate, which is basically a Tootsie Roll,” Luckhaus explains. “We take Belgian chocolate and combine it with glucose and water until it becomes like a working clay. We use cocoa butter to color, and then let our imaginations go to work.” Continue reading

Home Team BBQ Debuts Handheld Gamechanger From King of Pops

popgamechangerPresumably nobody ever wished the Gamechanger, Home Team BBQ’s signature iced cocktail, was stronger. But for drinkers who’ve fantasized about a stiffer version of the Painkiller riff, the local chain’s introducing a fully-frozen Gamechanger-on-a-stick.

Starting this weekend, Home Team’s Sullivan’s Island location will be serving up Gamechanger Pops, created by King of Pops. The West Ashley location will start selling the $6 treats in early May.

“The pops came about when Home Team catering director Hope Cleveland ran into (King of Pops owner) Andy (McCarthy) and they joked about the idea,” Home Team publicist Angel Postell says. “The idea is now a reality and it is pretty exciting.” Continue reading

Cocktail Class at Edmund’s Oast

If a houseguest asks for a brown liquor cocktail, odds are he or she will be satisfied with a whiskey sour, Manhattan or Old Fashioned – assuming it’s well-made.

For hosts and hostesses looking to brush up on their mixing skills, Edmund’s Oast next week is offering a “Cocktail Tasting and Educational Class,” at which participants will learn how to make the three classic whiskey drinks.

The Apr. 22 class costs $35, and starts at 6 p.m. Reservations are available through Edmund’s Oast’s website.

Touring The Dinnerware Museum

lunchsetWhat’s most striking about the luncheon sets in Margaret Carney’s vast collection is their size: The compartmentalized serving trays, designed so women could effortlessly snack and smoke while playing bridge (or some other game judged suitable for early twentieth-century ladies), have room for what modern appetites would classify as a mere smidgen of food.

When Carney, director of The Dinnerware Museum and longtime ceramics professor, asked her students to create contemporary luncheon sets, “they were all larger.” The story of portion sizes and American eating habits is apparently bound up in its dishes, one of the many types of culinary materials that compose the roving museum.

“We don’t just collect grandma’s dishes, although we do collect grandma’s dishes,” Carney clarifies. “There’s no limit to what we collect: All it has to do is reference dining.” Continue reading

Dining With Friends Seeks Party Hosts

Dining Out for Life – scheduled to unfold locally on Apr. 24 – annually raises $3 million for HIV/AIDS service organizations. But Charleston has a decades-old tradition of also fundraising through dinners in private homes.

Dining With Friends, which has grown from a small garden party into a massive benefit for Lowcountry AIDS Services, is scheduled for May 3. Party hosts are asked to provide dinner for their guests: The non-profit organization supplies invitations, donation envelopes and posters. To register as a host, visit dwfchs.org.

An afterparty is planned for No. 5 Faber. Tickets to the event, which runs from 9 p.m.- 12 midnight, are $20. For more information, call 747-2273.