I’ve never been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras before, but from what I hear, its quite the experience and I definitely plan to check it out one day. In the meantime, I’ll be here stuffing my face with all the king cake in Charleston. Here are just a few of my favorite spots offering up great deals for Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras food and drink this week. Hope you find the baby in your cake!2/25 THE PALACE HOTEL: From 4-7 enjoy live music by Illa Illa, hurricanes, beads, and the chance to win a $50 gift card if you find the baby in your king cake!https://www.instagram.com/p/B89q7PvB8Kp/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link2/25 COSMIC BOWLING AT THE ALLEY: From 4pm-1am, enjoy $2 glow bowling, as well as specials including frozen hurricanes, gumbo, and their $2 Tuesday Specials, which include $2 classic cans and $2 hot dogs.2/25 MARDI GRAS PARTY AT COQUIN: Enjoy $10 Crawdad Creole, 1/2 off all wine and champagne, $6 king cake, as well as select tapas priced at $7 or less. If you find the baby in your king cake, you’ll win a FREE magnum bottle of wine!https://www.instagram.com/p/B8_-o_DB8qJ/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link2/26: MARDI GRAS RUN WITH CHARLESTON BEER WORKS: Run a few miles with a group from Charleston Beer Works and then return back for $4 local drafts all night and $3 sliders!https://www.instagram.com/p/B8y85yoh-w8/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Valentine’s Day is almost here and I’ve got the perfect list of ways to get your lovin’ on without having to worry about breaking the bank. From Valentine’s Day restaurant deals, to Galentine’s Day deals, to fun Valentine’s Day events, this is the list you’ve been waiting for. Keep reading to get in on all the great deals.
On Valentine’s Day, you can get any winter menu item BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE! Wow, with the high prices of smoothies and juices at this healthy cafe, this is certainly a deal not to be missed. If you want some hints as to what the Winter Menu includes, think kale salad bowls, acai bowls, and a red velvet latte!
Valentine’s Day could not be a better day to get your wine and cheese consuming on. I can’t think of a better place to enjoy these things than at a self-serve wine bar! Uncork will be offering 20% off sparkling wines and champagne. If you purchase a bottle, you will receive FREE chocolate covered strawberries, as well! If you go during happy hour between 6 and 7pm, you can also enjoy $7 select small plates, including meatballs in a house marinara sauce, a cheese pita pizza served with pepperchini, and marinated Greek olives and pickles.
View this post on Instagram
❤️ Celebrate Valentine’s Day with us! Receive 20% off all sparkling wines and champagne. Plus free chocolate 🍫 🍓covered strawberries with the purchase of every bottle. Enjoy a romantic and fun evening with wine, food, craft cocktails, tapas, small plates, desserts and live 🎶 music featuring @mattmackelcan. RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED. #uncorkchs
TOAST – WEST ASHLEY
Toast is offering up a 3 course dinner menu for just $24.95/person. You can indulge in this 3 course dinner any time from now until February 15. Menu items include things such as fried green tomatoes, honey-bourbon chicken breast (my personal fav), and red velvet cake. There are locations downtown, in West Ashley, as well as Mt. Pleasant.
IN THE KITCHEN WITH ANNE
Join Mercantile and Mash’s pastry chef, Anne White for the ultimate cookie decorating masterclass! You will learn advanced techniques, including how to make royal icing and will also be greeted with a glass of sparkling rose. Your ticket includes your bubbles, step-by-step instruction, as well as a dozen cookies to decorate and take home. Tickets are just $35 and you can snag them here.
Don’t have a special someone to love on for Valentine’s Day, but have lots of special gal pals? Be sure to head to either Parcel 32 or Sol Southwest Kitchen on February 13 for great Galentine’s Day specials.
- Parcel 32: from 5-10pm, you can enjoy $5 skinny cocktails, half-priced select bottles of wine and champagne, $10 local cheese plates, happy hour specials from 5-7, as well as live music.
- Sol Southwest Kitchen: Enjoy a 2 course dinner for just $13!
THE BRICK – Big Game Oyster Roast and Game Watching Party
From 4-10pm, you can enjoy $12 buckets of oysters, $12 Yuengling pitchers, a $20 bucket and pitcher combo, and $3 Yuengling pints.
REPUBLIC GARDEN AND LOUNGE
Enjoy watching the game on a 110 inch viewing screen, while noshing on 50 cent wings, 3 sliders and fries for $12, $5 wells, half off all bottles of wine, and half off VIP table service.
INK N IVY
Enjoy $5 burgers!
VICTOR SOCIAL CLUB
Enjoy happy hour all night long! This includes $7 specialty cocktails, glasses of $5 prosecco, red and white wine, a $6 seasonal draft selection, $1.50 oysters, and a $7 cheese plate.
LOCALS WEST ASHLEY
Enjoy $1.50 Yuengling and 20% off all pub food and sushi, starting at 6pm.
RIVERTOWNE PUBLIC HOUSE
Take a trip down 17 in Mt. Pleasant to Rivertowne Public House for half-priced wings and pizza and drink specials all night.
This week I had the opportunity to attend a live podcast recording in the test kitchen of Charleston Food and Wine, and found it to be such a thrilling experience, that I had to share it with all my readers! There is a special podcast series called “Tasting Notes” that the festival hosts each month, featuring influential people in the food industry, not just in Charleston, but around the country. The podcast recordings are open for viewing by the public and are 100% FREE! This past week, I attended the recording of Radio Cherry Bombe, which is a podcast that features women around the country that have an influence in the food industry. Kerry Diamond, the podcast’s host interviewed Gillian Zettler and Karalee Fallert. Gillian is the executive director of the Charleston Food and Wine Festival and Karalee is the co-founder of the Green Heart Project and the co-owner of Taco Boy, The Royal American, The Park Cafe, and the Wiki Wiki Sandbar(wow!).
Upon walking into the Test Kitchen, I was welcomed with a complimentary glass of the most delicious white wine, as well as small bites being offered by the Park Cafe. There were small tarts that were filled with ricotta cheese and topped with beets, as well as mini avocado toasts and toasts with cheese, tomato and balsamic. These small bites quickly reminded me of how much I love brunching at the Park Cafe and that I need to get back there stat!
After some nibbling I sat down for the start of the show. Kerry asked many great questions and I felt very intrigued by all that these two amazing women had to say. As someone who works in the food industry, I felt very inspired by Karalee. Karalee started out as as server, and soon realized her passion for Charleston’s food industry and using local ingredients, which eventually led to her big leadership roles. Gillian is one of the people who has the hefty task of making sure the Charleston Food and Wine Festival runs smoothly and is in charge of getting all the little details in order.
If you want to get in on a FREE live podcast viewing like this one, the next one will be held on February 12 from 4pm-5:15pm and will be featuring a local foodie podcast, Effin B Radio. The special guest that will be interviewed is Corrie Wang, who is the co-owner of newly opened restaurant, Jackrabbit Filly. You can score your free tickets here.
Speaking of foodie podcasts, here is a list of my go-to podcasts for all the best intel into Charleston’s food and beverage industry. You can find them all in the podcast app on your phone!
- The Winnow: The Winnow is a local podcast that is hosted by The Post and Courier’s food editor, Hanna Raskin and food reporter, Dave Infante. The podcast is all about the inside scoop in the Southern food world and one that I personally find incredibly fascinating. It is released every Wednesday, coinciding with the food section release in the local newspaper.
- The Southern Fork: This podcast is hosted by local Charleston editor and writer, Stephanie Burt. The podcast offers some of the most fascinating culinary stories, featuring people with major influence in the F&B world, not just in Charleston, but all over the south. New episodes are released every Sunday.
- Hidden F&B: This podcast features top notch foodies who are involved in Charleston’s food and bev scene, but haven’t quite made their mark. I find this podcast fascinating and important because since the food and bev scene in Charleston is so huge, there are many influential people that can be easily missed. New episodes for this podcast are released once a month, usually towards the end of the month.
- Effin B Radio: As mentioned above, this is a local Charleston podcast and is hosted and was created by Lindsay Collins. It’s a foodie podcast with a little comedy mixed in with it. They discuss the less important food related news with a playful and humorous demeanor. It’s a great thing to listen to on a drive home from work! Episodes are typically released two times a month.
Restaurant week is said to be a great way to try out all the great foods Charleston has to offer at an affordable price, but many menu offerings are priced at $40 or more for a 3 course meal for one person. Lets be honest, most people don’t go out on a typical weeknight and spend more than $40 on a multi-course meal for just themselves. Fortunately, there are quite a few restaurants that offer just 2 course meals (some are 3 course), but only cost about $20 per person or less, which is probably more of an average price you’d pay on a typical weeknight out.
Below I have listed what I have deemed the restaurant week menus that offer the best bang for your buck. I admittedly have not tried many of the things on these menus, but part of the reason for that is because many restaurants tend to offer more of a “tasting menu” so many of the offerings are things not typically offered on their everyday menus. Therefore my suggestions of what to order are mainly based on what will give you the most food for the price you’re paying (though they will most likely be delicious as well!).
Cantina 76 is known for its Mexican-inspired cuisine and hand-crafted margaritas. There are 2 locations in Charleston. One is in Mt. Pleasant and the other is in Freshfields Village on Kiawah Island. Cantina 76 is offering quite an amazing deal for Restaurant Week. They are offering a 3 course menu for just $15. You can choose a starter, an entree, and a dessert. The starter is chips with either guacamole, queso or salsa, the entree options consist of a BBQ chicken quesadilla, a salad, or your choice of 2 tacos and a side. For dessert you can choose a margarita or their chimi cheesesticks. I highly recommend opting for the queso, any of the taco offerings, the veggie refried beans, jalapeno coleslaw, and a classic margarita.
Bistro Toulouse is located in Mt. Pleasant and offers classic french cuisine, as well as fine wines and cocktails. They are offering a 3 course meal for $20 during lunch. I would suggest opting for the soup of the day, a crepe or the Onion Soup Gratinee (pictured below), and the brulee for dessert. This meal is sure to give you the ultimate feeling of being out to lunch at a French cafe in Paris!
Looking to get a little fancy in your restaurant week dining adventures without spending your entire paycheck? Head to 82 Queen for lunch, where you can indulge in their 2 course menu for just $15. You can choose a starter and a main dish. Known for their traditional southern cuisine, my recommendation would be to opt for the BBQ Shrimp and Grits as a starter and the Lowcountry Gumbo for your main.
CO is located on King Street in downtown Charleston and is a hot spot among CofC students and locals alike. With delicious Asian cuisine and great prices, its a place not to be missed. CO is offering a 3 course dinner menu for just $20 or a 4 course dinner menu for just $5 more. For your first course, I would opt for the Edamame Gyoza, the Green Papaya Salad for your second course (you can choose your choice of meat), Pad Thai for your third course (you can choose tofu or chicken), and the Strawberry Spring Rolls for dessert.
MS. ROSES FINE FOOD AND COCKTAILS
Ms. Roses, located in West Ashley is known for their sustainable seafood dishes and southern cuisine. They are offering a 3 course dinner menu for just $25. You can opt for a starter, a main dish and a dessert. I would suggest opting for the Mussels Rockefeller for a starter, the smoked chicken breast for a main, and the warm cookie flight for dessert. I’ve been to Ms. Roses quite a few times and have not had a bad meal yet! The casual atmosphere combined with delicious food is the perfect combination.
To find a full listing of all restaurant week menus, click here:
New Years in Charleston can be quite pricey, with most events costing at least $150 or more. This is why you have me to provide you with some great ideas on how you can ring in 2020 without having to spend an obscene amount of money. Keep reading to find out my go-to ways to have a budget-friendly New Years celebration.
1. Have a progressive New Years party with your neighbors.
My neighborhood did this when I was a kid and I still reminisce about how fun it was to this day. Coordinate with your neighbors who will host the appetizer part, the main course part, and the dessert part. Coordinate with your neighbors who aren’t hosting what food item they will contribute to the party. If you have multiple neighbors who want to host, you could even make it into a 5 course dinner! When the clock hits midnight, march around the neighborhood banging pots and pans. The best thing about this is it’s totally FREE and everyone is contributing in some way.
2. New Years Eve at Prohibition
This event only costs $40 and includes a DJ, party favors, a midnight champagne toast, and passed hors d’ouerves from 10:30-11:30pm.
3. New Years Eve Flip Flop Drop and Fireworks
Head to Folly Beach and hang out at the dive bars where you’re sure to snag some cheap brews, all while listening to live music and watching the flip flops drop and the fireworks burst at midnight. The event is FREE, all you have to do is pay for the drinks!
4. New Years at Revelry
Looking to watch NYE fireworks from a rooftop, but don’t want to spend $10 on a fancy cocktail? Head on over to the rooftop at Revelry Brewery. Entry is FREE and can specials will be offered. DJ Sparkbox will be playing from 4-7pm.
5. Walk the Red Carpet at Ink N Ivy
For just $35, you can enjoy multiple food stations, a champagne toast at midnight, party favors, ice luges, a photo booth, a balloon drop and a DJ.
I hope this list helps calm your nerves about the cost of your New Years fun this year and that you truly get the chance to live it up, let go of 2019, and bring in all the good vibes for 2020. If all else fails, you can sit on your couch, watch the ball drop and enjoy some champagne to yourself…but lets hope it doesn’t come down to that. 😉 Happy New Year to all!
Workshop has been around for a couple years now, but only recently has this fancy “exploratory food court” stepped up their game with a wide variety of very authentic ethnic food options. The food court has been criticized in the past for having stalls that are good, but leave shortly after they open and also for being a bit TOO fancy and being expensive for a food court-style business. I ventured over to Workshop recently to try out some of the newest stalls, and found myself to be quite impressed with not only the food but the entire layout of the whole place.
Over the course of the past year or two, Workshop has become less of just a food court and more of a family-friendly hang-out spot. You not only have the option to sit inside, but there is also plenty of seating in the huge lawn outside. Workshop now offers live music on the lawn a couple times a week and inside the food court during the cold winter months. Another more recent development is that Workshop now serves fun craft cocktails on the lawn, which makes it easy to grab a beverage if you’re just hanging out on the lawn with your kids or friends.
In my recent visits to Workshop, I sampled a few of Workshop’s offerings. My first stop was to Mansueta’s, which is offering up authentic Filipino cusine. Here I tried the Pancit ($13), the Lumpia ($8), Squash Salad ($11) and Champorado ($8). The Pancit consisted of stir-fried noodles, crab-fat ginger sauce, cabbage and egg. The Lumpia was pork spring rolls, and the Champorado was a thick chocolate rice pudding. Everything at Mansueta’s was delicious and full of rich flavors. The best part was that none of these dishes cost more than $13 and they definitely weren’t skimpy on portion sizes!
My next stop was to Julius’ Deli, where I tried the Whipped Feta ($6) and the Pierogi’s ($8). This stall is a Jewish deli, so many of their dishes are staples of traditional Jewish cuisine, such as the potato Pierogi’s I had. Both of the dishes were super flavorful and I especially loved the sweet and savory flavors of the feta dish, which also had chunks of salty beets on the side. The portions weren’t light and the meal only cost me about $15. Definitely a good bang for your buck!
My next stop was to Rebel Taqueria, which serves up authentic Mexican cuisine. Here, I tried a dish off their appetizer menu. I sampled their Yoda Balls, which only cost me $5. I was given a basket of what I suppose you would call Mexican hush puppies. The balls were fried and were infused with salsa verde and a corn filling. They were topped with cotija cheese, giving them the perfect tangy finishing flavor. I loved the sweet and spicy flavor combo of this dish I’d probably say these are going to quickly become my new favorite hush puppies in town!
I paired this delicious food with a warm bourbon-spiked apple cider from the cocktail cart on the lawn (though inside this time due to rain). It cost me $8, which is a bit more on the pricey side, but it was delicious and definitely not skimpy on the bourbon! They are also currently selling mulled wine for about the same price, as well as local beers and wine. You can also venture over to Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co, which has plenty of freshly brewed beer on tap and more delicious food options.
I still have a few more places at Workshop to check out, but in the meantime I will be here reminiscing about the amazing fusion of flavors of the food I had in my recent visits to Workshop. If you haven’t been yet, you’re really missing out on some high quality food at a very reasonable price. If you need a good post-work hangout spot, this is definitely the place to go!
New to the West Ashley food and bev scene is King Claw Juicy Seafood and Bar, known for its heaping bowls of seafood boils. This week I had the opportunity to attend the soft opening with some fellow bloggers. The restaurant surprised us with how bright, vibrant and big it was. We also liked how well they incorporated a seafood theme, with sailboats and boat ropes scattered around the restaurant and ceilings. With a full bar and plenty of large tables to sit at, we found this restaurant to be very accommodating, as well as inviting.
King Claw offers a wide variety of seafood boils by the 1/2 pound as well as fried seafood and various appetizers consisting of things like oysters and hush puppies. You can choose from 3 different seasonings when ordering your seafood boil (Cajun, garlic butter, lemon pepper, or the house special) and you can also choose how spicy you want it to be. I opted for a boil consisting of crab legs, crawfish, and shrimp (*this option was only available during their soft opening). I selected the cajun seasoning and a mild spice level. The boil was served in a large bowl, inside a plastic bag to contain what is expected to be a very messy meal. You are given plastic gloves and a bib to help with this as well! I don’t eat a lot of shellfish in general and had never even had a crawfish before, so this was a whole new experience for me..but I went with it! I pulled out my crab cracker and started cracking away. Much to my surprise, the meat inside the fish was incredibly flavorful and in fact, juicy (their restaurant title does not lie!).
I also tried a few of their appetizers, including the hush puppies, Cajun fries, sweet potato fries, fried shrimp, and Cajun edamame. The fried shrimp and Cajun edamame were my favorites. The fried shrimp was extra crispy, yet soft to the bite, and had a bit of a spice kick. The Cajun spices on the edamame provided the most unique flavor and I will probably be trying to find ways to recreate this app myself in the next few days.
Not only is the food unique and delicious at King Claw, but it is also pretty affordable. Most boils are in the $15-$25 price range and you are given A LOT of food. I could only eat about 1/4 of my bowl and I took the rest home, making the price a pretty good bang for my buck. If you are a fan of seafood boils, then I would highly suggest venturing out to this new West Ashley hot spot ASAP!
There’s truly nothing like celebrating the Holidays in Charleston. I’d almost compare it to Christmas in New York City, though that might be a bit of a stretch. Plus, there’s no snow in Charleston, but I am not complaining! Charleston is chock-full of festive events all throughout the month of December to get you in the full-on holiday spirit. The best part is that most of these events are FREE too attend and many feature FREE treats as well! Keep reading to find out what I’ve deemed the most festive and treat-filled events to get you in the ultimate holiday spirit. This list will be continuously updated, so keep checking back for more event info!
12/7: 20th Annual Holiday Market and Craft Show
From 11am-4pm, head over Moultrie Middle School for all your holiday shopping needs! Stock up on local produce, baked goods, hot food, and handcrafted gifts by local artisans. Live entertainment will be included as well, with a visit from Santa himself, face painting, balloon art and a craft area.
12/7: North Charleston Christmas Festival and Parade
With FREE admission and FREE parking, this event is surely not to be missed! Enjoy visits with Santa, live musical entertainment, kids activities, a marshmallow roasting pit, hay rides, artist market, a petting zoo, a parade, and lots of festive food. Event is located at the Felix C Davis Community Center and begins at 4pm.
12/21: Christmas Warm-Up Block Party
Head over to Baker and Brewer downtown for a festive oyster roast, including whole hog BBQ from Swig and Swine’s pitmaster, Anthony DiBernardo, oysters from the Darling Oyster Bar, and brisket and sweet potato casserole from Lawrence BBQ (located in Raleigh, NC). Tickets are $30 and are all inclusive. Baker and Brewer will also have a special beer on tap made with graham crackers and chocolate. It is topped with roasted marshmallows. YUM! There will also be a variety of market vendors for any last minute gift purchases. Event is from 12-4pm.
12/22: Christmas in the Park
Head over to Hampton Park at 5pm for live music, live caroling, and a hot chocolate bar! Event is FREE!
One of the best ways to truly enjoy an affordable meal is by cooking in the comfort of your own home. With Thanksgiving just a day away, I thought I’d share some ideas and recipes that are not only my personal favorites, but also are easy to make and don’t require too many ingredients. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday full of good food and lots of laughs with family. Happy Thanksgiving!
CHARCUTERIE: My go-to Thanksgiving app is a good charcuterie board. As much as I strive to support local businesses, local cheese and meats tend to be more expensive. I’ve found that Trader Joe’s in Mt. Pleasant has a great selection of unique cheeses at affordable prices. They’ve also got some jams and mustard that make fantastic accompaniments. As for good meats, I would opt for sliced meats at the Whole Foods deli counter. Select your meats in 1/4 lb increments for the cheapest prices. You will also find that 1/4 lb ends up amounting to more meat than you’d think!
CRUDITES: I always like to prepare my stomach for a big Thanksgiving meal with a good amount of veggies and some hummus for dipping. Vegetable shopping is a great opportunity to support local farms. In fact, you can get some really great local produce at one of my personal favorite local grocery stores, Lowcountry Street Grocery. This fantastic traveling grocery store just partnered up with Meeting Street Eats, a food truck court in the old Bi-Lo parking lot on Meeting Street and will be parked at the food truck court weekly(Wednesday-Friday all day, as well as Saturday afternoons). LSG stives to provide easy access to affordable local produce to underserved communities.
Below are a few signature recipes that my family uses in our Thanksgiving meal each year. My favorite is the cranberry chutney. I love it because of its chunky texture from the celery and chopped apples. It’s got the perfect combination of tart and sweet flavors.
CORNBREAD-SAUSAGE STUFFING WITH APPLES:
PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE (recipe courtesy of Beth Boisi)
Beth has been cooking this cheesecake every year since 2011. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser!
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
30 ginger snap cookies
Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
One 15-ounce can pumpkin
5 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Cinnamon Whipped Cream, for serving, recipe follows
Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add the gingersnaps to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until crumbly. Transfer to a large bowl and add the melted butter. Stir until evenly mixed. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch sides. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely while preparing the filling.
- Put a teakettle filled with water on the stovetop, over medium heat, and bring to a boil.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and sugar and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin and beat until incorporated. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, then add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and vanilla, and beat until blended. Add the flour and beat until incorporated.
- Wrap the sides and bottom of the springform pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Pour the filling into the pan and put it in a small roasting pan. Pour the hot water from the teakettle into the roasting pan, filling halfway up the sides of the springform pan, about 1 1/2 inches. Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the water bath and let it cool on a wire rack.
- Once cooled, use a paring knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Chill the cheesecake for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve with Cinnamon Whipped Cream.
Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
- Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until thick and frothy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, and beat until medium peaks form.