Grind and Squeeze Pouring in I’On

coffee

Grind and Squeeze

A model-stylist sister team is behind the newest addition to I’On Square, a beverage bar emphasizing “quality-conscious fare.”

According to a press release, Grind and Squeeze was inspired by the “relaxed lifestyle” that Heston Stutz and Harley Stutz-Hall led in Australia, Asia and Europe. The release grudgingly allows that the café will have “free Wi-Fi for those who must be in contact with the outside world.” But the sisters would obviously much prefer that guests lose themselves in the menu of cold-press juices; vegetable smoothies; wine and craft beer.

The drinks are supplemented by cheese, charcuterie and WildFlour pastries.

Grind and Squeeze, 357 1A N. Shelmore Blvd., is open every day. For hours and more information, call 606-2857 or visit the cafe’s Facebook page.

Southern Season Uncorks Thursday Wine Tastings

southernseasonA Thursday night Southern Season wine program which was recently the subject of a renewed promotional push 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.

Why FIG’s Nomination is a Boon For Local Chefs

FIG-interiorFor the second year in a row, Charleston doesn’t have a shot at claiming the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Southeast award (the last local nominee was Cypress’ Craig Deihl, who competed for the honor in 2012.) But as FIG’s beverage director David McCarus points out, his restaurant’s nomination in the Outstanding Wine Program category is a testament to the city’s thriving kitchen culture.

“This is awesome for Charleston,” McCarus says. “The possibility for Charleston to be seen as an entire entity, that’s awesome.”

Although the Beard nomination process isn’t an exact science, McCarus suspects judges were swayed by the service at FIG. “The wine list is like step A,” he says, comparing an impressive list in a poorly-staffed dining room to a gorgeous plate of food sloshed on its way to the table by an inept server. Continue reading

No Charleston Chefs Nominated for JBF Best Chef Southeast

brockSean Brock is the lone Charleston chef up for James Beard Foundation honors this year.

Brock was nominated this morning for the organization’s prestigious Outstanding Chef award, along with Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony, Lucque’s Suzanne Goin; Manresa’s David Kinch and Mozza’s Nancy Silverton and Vetri’s Marc Vetri. Brock , the executive chef of McCrady’s, Husk Charleston and Husk Nashville, was nominated for the same prize in 2012; he won the Best Chef Southeast category in 2010.

Local semi-finalists Jeremiah Bacon of Oak Steakhouse and The Macintosh; Josh Keeler of Two Boroughs Larder and Kevin Johnson of The Grocery didn’t make the short list, which was announced in a lengthy ceremony live-streamed from Chicago. Continue reading

Wine Strolls Return to Middleton Place

SONY DSCMiddleton Place is again closing out the first half of its Wine Stroll season with a rum salute.

On June 25, the plantation will serve samples of light, dark and spiced rums, in addition to rum punches and Caribbean snacks. Middleton Place has not yet announced the price of the rum event – a press release warns it “may be individually priced” – but standard Wine Strolls through the gardens cost $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Middleton Place Plantation members receive a $5 discount.

The Wednesday night series begins on Mar. 12, and resumes on Sept. 3 after its heat-related hiatus. The program runs from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. For more information, call 556-6020, or visit middletonplace.org.

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

New Mt. Pleasant Store Supplies Home Beer and Wine Makers

zolakoma

zolakoma

Many of the yeasts, hops and malts that Peter Kinslow sells at Yeast: Everything Homebrew are also offered by online retailers. But Kinslow says that kind of availability doesn’t much matter when a kitchen project goes awry on a weekend afternoon.

“The big thing for homebrewers is the whoops on a Saturday, when yeast doesn’t get going the way it should,” says Kinslow, who this week opened his Mt. Pleasant store. “Even Monday, if something horrible went wrong, it’s ‘I’ve got to get over to the shop today.’”

Kinslow is keeping hours suited for serving hobbyists, staying open on Sundays and closing on Wednesdays.

Although Kinslow took up homebrewing years ago in Denver, he’s never before run a supply store: He came up with the idea after being laid off from his job. “I thought it was time I did something for myself,” says Kinslow, who spent 27 years in the IT industry. Continue reading

Wine Awesomeness Opening Shop on Spring Street

Wine Awesomeness, the millennial-focused wine subscription club which opened its first small office above The Gin Joint, is bringing its online retail concept to a Spring Street storefront.

For the past two years, the outfit has sold its curated monthly wine packages – which arrive complete with tasting notes, recipes and suggestions for music pairings – via its website. The program has acquired subscribers in 40 states. (The Wine Awesomeness team has also stayed busy throwing parties and hawking a rose developed in partnership with Naomi Watts’ brother, Ben Watts. But that’s another story.)

“Now we’re going to start playing around with bricks-and-mortar,” says Logan Lee, Wine Awesomeness’ CEO. “Our vision is the real world experience of what the website is like.” Continue reading

Tristan Hosts Blind Tasting Dinner

Wine dinner announcements typically tout the wines scheduled for pouring, but for its “Smack Down” supper next Tuesday, Tristan is keeping the featured wines a secret.

Guests at the $95 dinner will blind taste two wines with each of the five courses, then vote on which wine they prefer. The menu includes charred spot prawns; veal breast lasagna and five-spice cannoli.

Representatives from Constellation Brands and RNDC will select the wines.

For reservations, call 534-2155.