Mountaineers Pile Up Pepperoni Rolls for Annual Bake-Off

roll1It’s a 10-hour flight from Atlanta to Honolulu, so when Jeannie and Joe Scheirman packed for a Hawaiian vacation celebrating their 38th anniversary, the twice-over Charlestonians (they’re natives of Charleston, W.Va.) made room in their carry-ons for snacks.

“Pepperoni rolls sustained us,” Jeannie Scheirman says proudly.

The iconic pepperoni roll – a meat-filled yeasty bread developed nearly a century ago as a coal miners’ lunch – is still hard to find beyond West Virginia. In Charleston, the Pep Rolls food cart is working to remedy the local deficit, but the snack’s acolytes living beyond Appalachia are usually forced to mail-order or bake rolls when they want them. Last Saturday, West Virginia University’s Lowcountry alumni club staged its seventh annual contest to determine who bakes them best. Continue reading

Five Chefs to Cook Unpopular Fish

xurelos

xurelos

Back in August, sometime before the ink had dried on my business cards, I blogged about the surprisingly conservative nature of many South Carolina Aquarium Sustainable Seafood Dinner menus.

“While the upshot of (an) approachable menu is it gently reminds consumers of which favorites pass muster with sustainable seafood advocates, it fails to take into account the diversification that now represents the forefront of responsible eating,” I wrote about a dinner featuring mussels, shrimp and trout.

Fortunately for adventurous eaters and ocean advocates, there’s nothing gentle about the proposed menu for the first-ever Trash Fish Dinner, organized by Abundant Seafood’s Mark Marhefka and Fish chef Nico Romo. Although the fish line-up will be determined by what’s biting on June  5, a press release hints the roster could include overlooked “species such as amberjack and white grunt, little tunny, Spanish mackerel and jolthead porgy.” Continue reading

Seamus Mullen to Lead L’Atelier de Le Creuset Demo

Seamus Mullen, an award-winning New York City chef who changed his approach to cooking after receiving a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, is the next chef on L’Atelier de Le Creuset’s event schedule.

Mullen will conduct a cooking demo on May 28 at 6 p.m. The $50 registration fee includes a copy of his 2012 book, Hero Food: How Cooking With Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better.

To purchase tickets, visit eventbrite.com.

The Cocktail Club Welcomes Derby Gamblers

Hats are optional at The Cocktail Club‘s Kentucky Derby celebration this Saturday, at which one lucky gambler will receive a $200 bar tab.

The Upper King bar is opening at 3 p.m. to screen the horse race; drink specials will include mint juleps, of course.

Every guest who correctly predicts the winning horse will be rewarded with a free cocktail and entry into the bar tab drawing.

For more information, call 231-1568, or visit The Cocktail Club’s Facebook page.

Home Team BBQ Throws Crawfish Boil

Jeff Kovacs

Jeff Kovacs

Crawfish are scarce and costly this year, thanks an unusually cold winter, but the shortage hasn’t stopped Home Team BBQ’s West Ashley location from staging its fifth annual All-American Crawfish Boil.

The party is scheduled for May 3. From 12 noon-8 p.m., patrons can purchase a plate of crawfish for $10 (additional plates are prices at $5 apiece.) Beer specials, raffles and live music will complete the celebration.

Many New Orleans’ crawfish sellers deemed 2014 “the worst crawfish season in recent memory,” according to a recent story in the Times-Picayune. Continue reading

Maya Del Sol’s Moroccan Mondays

moroappsIt seemingly doesn’t take much to transform Maya Del Sol’s new dining room into a Moroccan restaurant: A few ornamental tagines; a soundtrack of Arab-Andalusian music; and mint green tea poured from a silver berrad appear do the trick.

But chef Younesse Alami — a Marriott catering sales manager who every other Monday takes over the Park Circle venue – doesn’t merely summon his homeland through material things. He returns to Morocco every December to press oil from his brother-in-law’s olives and buy raw spices.

“I know what I’m getting,” Alami says. “Like the ginger: You grind it, and it’s straight from there to the suitcase to the freezer.” 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

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

Lee Bros. and Duvall Events Take James Beard Dish for Test Ride

smallleesThe James Beard Foundation journalism awards ceremony, at which Matt and Ted Lee are serving as emcees and first-course cooks, is a private affair. But a local sneak peek of the brothers’ awards dinner dish is free and open to the public.

On  Apr. 29, the Lees and dish collaborator Matt Greene of Duvall Events will host a tasting demo at the catering company’s North Charleston headquarters. The event includes wine, with liquor drinks available for purchase.

Details of the dish have not yet been disclosed, but the Lees are apparently pumped. Continue reading

Slow Food Columbia Hosts Chefs’ Showcase This Weekend

1 Slow Food at Indie Grits by Jonathan Sharpe (800x533)

Jonathan Sharpe

How’s the eating in Columbia these days? An upcoming party hosted by the city’s Slow Food chapter could provide a chance to find out.

Slow Food Columbia’s fifth annual Sustainable Chefs’ Showcase and Potluck on Apr. 13 will feature more than a dozen chefs who’ve been tasked with preparing a dish showcasing a local ingredient. Restaurants represented include Terra, Baan Sawan Thai Bistro, Rosso Trattoria and Good Life Café, which publicist Tracie Broom describes as “a rad vegan place that finally opened on Main Street. Hello, nutmeat tacos.”

Tickets to the Showcase and Potluck at Indie Grits, 711 Whaley, are priced at $20. Broom warns the tickets typically sell out the day before the event. Slow Food USA members are eligible for a $5 discount. Continue reading