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.

Chefs New to the W+F Festival

segalEven if you’ve attended the Charleston Wine + Food Festival every year since the event’s creation, there are still plenty of chances this time around to taste food unlike anything you’ve sampled before. Here is a list of the guest chefs making their festival debut (and if you’re wondering how to buddy up to them successfully, check out Mike Lata’s tips for meeting chefs, printed in today’s print section):

Andy Ricker, Pok Pok, New York City and Portland

Brett Cooper, Outerlands, San Francisco

Chris Shepherd, Underbelly, Houston

Chris Hall, Local Three, Atlanta

Chris Lusk, Restaurant Revolution, New Orleans

Colby Garrelts, Bluestem Restaurant, Kansas City

David Santos, Louro, New York City

Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon,  Portland, Ore. Continue reading

Southern Living Names Basico as One of The South’s Best New Bars

AR-130909748.jpg&q=80&MaxW=750&MaxH=350Basico’s updated country club vibe earned the Park Circle taqueria a spot on Southern Living’s list of The South’s Best New Bars, featured in this month’s issue of the magazine.

According to an editor’s note, the 20 chosen bars are “a throwback to a time when whiskey and Champagne were sipped by elegant folks in sleek social rooms,” minus the pretension. Basico at Mixson Bath & Racquet Club won praise for its summery, un-stuffy ambiance and spicy grapefruit margarita.

Basico was grouped with Nashville’s ultra-trendy Pinewood Social, the carnivalesque eating-and-drinking warehouse from The Catbird Seat team, in the “social club” category. Continue reading

High Wire and Edmund’s Oast on Imbibe’s Annual “Best Of” List

JF14_Cover310x400Charlestonians should have an easy time keeping an eye on at least two of the entities named to Imbibe Magazine’s second annual list of people, places and flavors to watch in 2014: The owners of High Wire Distilling Co. and Edmund’s Oast are among the 75 selections.

The beverage magazine this month released its best-of round-up, showcasing “who looks to have an interesting vision moving into the year ahead.” Beyond Charleston, Imbibe singled out Portland’s Mark Hellweg in the coffee category; Greg Engert of Washington D.C. in the beer division and Houston’s Alba Huerta and Bobby Huegel for their bartending prowess. Continue reading

Tasting Table Publishes Charleston City Guide

By Tasting Table’s estimation, Charleston is one of the nation’s 10 most interesting eating cities – or at least it’s one of the first 10 U.S. cities to score its own Tasting Table city guide.

The daily e-mail publication, which emphasizes epicurean recommendations, this week released its round-up of local culinary must-dos (Full disclosure: I helped compile it, a process which included multiple camera-toting visits to Dave’s Carry-Out. I’m not complaining.) While you’re unlikely to find any surprises on the greatest hits list, it’s a handy link to share with visiting friends. If I do say so myself.

Zero George Cooking Class Wins Recognition From Food & Wine

cook3“I’m starving,” a student in Zero George’s weekly Saturday morning cooking class exclaimed as she reluctantly handed off a cauliflower floret for the next student to examine.

Executive chef Randy Williams’ two-hour instructional sessions, which this month were honored by Food & Wine as one of the nation’s top three new cooking courses, are far from frivolous eating-and-drinking affairs: He doesn’t uncork a bottle of wine until the second hour starts. Instead, as I observed when I swung by this weekend, the classes are designed to emphasize contemporary techniques and encourage students to think like chefs.

On Saturday, Williams – wearing a chef’s jacket and cowboy boots – demonstrated how to prepare a butternut squash puree, roasted pork loin and olive oil cake. The cake recipe he distributed was written out in metric measurements, because “that’s how more people like to do it now.” He also stressed asymmetrical plating and advised that “people are getting away from blanching vegetables ahead of time.” Continue reading

Halls Chophouse Rates Highly With OpenTable Users

OpenTable diners this year elected four steakhouses to its “Top 100 Best Restaurants in America,” but Atlanta’s Bone’s and Charleston’s Halls Chophouse are the only independently-owned red meat temples on the list.

Halls Chophouse finished fourth in the annual survey, which tabulates reviews submitted by five million users of the online reservation service. Although OpenTable doesn’t reveal exact rankings beyond the top 10, Peninsula Grill was also a Diners’ Choice winner.

FIG and Tristan — which were among the site’s top 100 restaurants specializing in U.S. cuisine, according to a list released last month – didn’t make the final cut. Continue reading

Travel & Leisure Selects Barsa as One of Nation’s Top Tapas Bars

barsapaellaBarsa’s local-sourced paella, which the upper King Street tapas bar earlier this week showed off at Abundant Seafood’s CFA  stand, has earned the restaurant a spot on Travel & Leisure’s list of “Best Tapas Restaurants in the U.S.

The magazine selected 20 tapas bars across the country for the honor. The Southeast had a strong showing: In addition to Barsa, the list cites Durham’s Mateo Tapas; Asheville’s Curate and Atlanta’s The Iberian Pig.

“Barsa, which bills itself as a Spanish-influenced restaurant with a southern drawl, has been a local favorite on trendy Upper King Street for years,” says the blurb accompanying Barsa’s entry. “Chalk it up to the paella with ingredients sourced from local farms and the convivial atmosphere.”

Travel & Leisure specifically praised Barsa’s “Basque-inspired plates of octopus with smoked paprika, roasted chicken and kale croquettes, and Manchego-stuffed dates.”

Now featuring a slightly reformatted menu, Barsa is open every day at 630 King St.

Food Network Magazine Endorses Olde Colony Benne Wafers

If you’re looking to buy an edible South Carolina gift this Christmas, Food Network Magazine recommends benne wafers from Olde Colony Bakery.

The magazine selected one suggested gift from each state for its holiday issue, on newsstands tomorrow. In addition to benne wafers, the list includes cantaloupe jam from Nevada; a cannoli kit from Massachusetts and pecan pie from Texas.

Olde Colony Bakery, which traces its history to the 1940s, this year moved its baking operations to a larger facility in Mt. Pleasant. The bakery sells its 5-ounce bags of benne wafers for $3.99 apiece.

Halls Chophouse Wins TripAdvisor Fine Dining Award

hallschopThere are only five restaurants nationwide which provide a better fine dining experience than Halls Chophouse, according to TripAdvisor reviewers.

The downtown steakhouse today was listed sixth on the crowd-sourced website’s list of domestic “Travelers Choice” winners, sandwiched between Dallas’ The French Room and Virginia’s Inn at Little Washington. The top slot went to New York City’s Colicchio and Sons Main Dining Room, the only U.S. restaurant to also appear on the international winners list.

To qualify for the competition, restaurants must serve dinner and have a check average of at least $50 per guest. Continue reading