5 Ways to Affordably Enjoy the Charleston Food and Wine Festival

It’s just about that time of year again! The Charleston Food and Wine Festival begins THIS WEDNESDAY (March 6)! The tents are currently being set up in Marion Square in preparation for the many fabulous events being held there, including the Opening Night celebration, as well as the Culinary Village. There are numerous events being held throughout the week, as well as into the weekend, but many of these events tend to be quite high in price. Through some thorough investigating, we found that there are ways to enjoy this festival without breaking your budget.

 

1. VOLUNTEER

One of the best ways we have found to enjoy the Food and Wine festival affordably is by going to the events for FREE by signing up to volunteer! In past years, we have volunteered for the festival and have been able to spend gorgeous weekend afternoons at the Culinary Village in Marion Square. It’s a great way to get an inside look at everything that goes into the production of the events, as well as having the satisfaction of helping the event run smoothly. Oh, and don’t worry..there’s a good chance you’ll get to have a little fun yourself.

2. ATTEND THE CHEAPEST EVENTS

When looking through the list of events, you will find that there are a select number of events that are under $100. Since most events are $150+, finding an event that is less than $100 is actually a real bargain. This year, we will be attending an event called “Burned”, which only costs $65 and includes food and drinks. What a steal.

3. ENTER GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

If you keep a good eye out, you’ll find that there are many ways to score FREE tickets to the festival. Good places to look are websites of local magazines, local news sources, the Charleston Food and Wine Festival website, as well as food blogger social media accounts. In fact, Charleston Magazine is currently hosting a contest, in which all you have to do is sign up for their “On the Town” newsletter to be entered to win TWO tickets to the already sold out Opening Night party! You can click here to sign up for the newsletter (ends Monday!).

4. ATTEND THE CULINARY VILLAGE ON SUNDAY (Locals Day!)

We feel that the best way to get a full-scale Food and Wine Festival experience is by attending the culinary village. It’s one of the longest running events in terms of the length of time it is held. It starts at 12pm and lasts until 5pm and goes on for THREE days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). You really get the best bang for you buck at this event because you get a full afternoon of unlimited beer, wine, cocktails, and plentiful food samples. This year, it is being held March 8, 9, and 10. We recommend buying your Culinary Village ticket for Sunday because it is Locals Day, which means locals can get a ticket for just $95, as opposed to the normal price of $135!

5. ATTEND EVENTS THAT INCLUDE BOTH FOOD AND WINE

Although we would suggest shooting for events that cost less than $100, there are a few events that are just slightly over $100, but include a full-scale meal as well as wine, beer, or cocktail pairings. If you’re feeling hungry, this is certainly another great way to get your money’s worth.

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Enjoying the Culinary Village at the 2017 Charleston Food and Wine Festival

 

*You can find a full list of all Charleston Food and Wine Festival events here. Please note that many of the events are now sold out (still tickets left for many events less than $100!), but the festival is offering an opportunity for you to obtain sold out tickets through an exchange service called Lyte. Just click on the event you want to go to, even if it’s sold out. You will find another link to click on where you can request a ticket. If an exchange opportunity arises, you will automatically be charged for the listed price of the event.

 

 

Coorg Indian Cafe: A Trip to India Minus the Airplane

I love good, ethnic and authentic food and lately I’ve felt that the culinary scene in Charleston has been lacking in ethnic restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good southern meal, but I also love trying new and different things. I was quite pleased when Coorg opened up in Mt. Pleasant. Coorg is is an authentic Indian restaurant known for their coffee that literally is sent straight to the restaurant from the coffee bean farms in the Indian district of Coorg. The restaurant also serves fresh homemade curries and desserts made from recipes that have been passed down from multiple generations of the people who work there. Everything they serve is true to the Coorg culture and traditions. Ashley and I couldn’t wait to get a true taste of India without having to even step foot on an airplane.

Among the things we tried at Coorg were the Curry Lentil, the Curry Chicken, a latte, and an iced coffee. All the curries are served with flavored rice, cucumber salad, and roti or naan bread (ours were served with roti). The authenticity of these dishes was quite evident. The curries were served in small bowls placed on a plate, which had small servings of cucumber salad and flavored rice carefully placed side by side. I’ve been to quite a few Indian restaurants, but I’ve never tasted curry quite as unique as this. It was a lot lighter in texture than most curries I’ve tried and had a distinct spicy flavor. The cucumber salad was cold and creamy and leveled out the heat of the curry. The roti was deliciously moist, had a slight sweet flavor and seemed to melt right in my mouth. I loved the slight spice and sweet flavor of the flavored rice. It offered a great complimentary flavor and texture to the curry. The coffee was much stronger in flavor than the coffee we are used to drinking, but I thoroughly enjoyed my latte. It was smooth and rich in flavor.  I definitely plan on going back for another.

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Coorg is opened for breakfast, in which they offer bagels and cream cheese, as well as croissants with sausage. Among other things they serve are desserts consisting of brownies, cakes, baklava, and other various pastries. They also serve a few different cocktails, spirits, beer, wine and mango Lassi’s.

We thoroughly enjoyed our experience at Coorg and can’t wait to pay them another visit and try more things off their menu. We hope that the opening of Coorg will open up more doors for more ethnic restaurants. As for affordability, we wouldn’t say its the cheapest restaurant around, but you definitely get a good bang for your buck. The curries range in price from $11-$14, but are all served with the roti/naan bread, cucumber salad, and flavored rice, and it ends up being more filling than you’d think! The coffee is about the average price of most coffee you’d pay for in Charleston. A drip coffee is $2 and a latte or iced coffee cost $4.  If you’re looking to spend a little less on your meal, we would suggest opting for one of their small plate options which range in price from $7-$8. Either way, you can expect to get a truly authentic meal that is sure to satisfy all your taste buds.

Local Goods Highlight: Lowcountry Street Grocery

We wanted to take some time to thank you all for your support over the past year and a half (coming up on two!). We have thoroughly enjoyed being able to show our followers ways to enjoy eating out in the lowcountry, without having to worry about blowing your budget. We have recently decided to spice up our blog a bit, and show our readers how to eat affordably, while also supporting the local economy. We absolutely love spending Saturday mornings at the farmers market in Marion Square, and I personally have made the shift to only buying my produce locally. I find that local produce tastes so much better than produce that has been shipped from miles away to grocery stores. It’s also important to support local farms and businesses because that’s how we keep these places in business and the local goods flowing. You’re also helping the environment at the same time, by buying goods that haven’t traveled on trucks all the way across the country.

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to interview Lindsey Barrow, the owner of a Charleston local goods mobile hot-spot: Lowcountry Street Grocery.

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What inspired you to start up Lowcountry Street Grocery?

A sincere need for fresh food access and food security. In our evolving food economy, we are finding the need to address that using more traditional business tools. We wanted to start something different, something that addresses the bigger picture. What we’re dealing with are systemic issues that require more than simple band-aid fixes. It’s harder to connect with change we need in local food and economy if you can’t build on it.

How long has Lowcountry Street Grocery been in business?

1.5 years, full time.

What is the mission of Lowcountry Street Grocery?

Our mission is really two-fold. We want to:

  • provide sustainable, equitable, and empowering food system solutions for our community with a particular focus on our neighbors in low-income, low-access pockets of town that lack healthy food access and food security.
  • Be an outlet for small local producers and bridge the food access gap through community business. It’s important for us to provide equitable access to healthy, quality foods, rather than get whatever we can into underserved areas.

Where does the Lowcountry Street Grocery travel to?

We travel all across the Charleston, North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Downtown, James Island, and West Ashley. With additional buses our footprint will expand.

What is a CSG(Community Supported Grocery)?

CSG is a convenient way to shop the bus without shopping the bus. It’s a way for us to package and deliver our offerings to your doorstep (or pick up at Munkle Brewing Co). What started out as a contingency plan for bus breakdowns quickly became an additional innovative revenue stream that’s required of social enterprises like us that don’t receive donations or other means of financial assistance. This allows our followers to inherently support our mission simply by signing up for bundle of the best local foods around. This is where our “Robin Hood Economy” comes in. We simply meet demand for local, healthy and delicious goods so that we can turn around and address the need for affordable healthy food – our mission delivery. CSG is great for busy folks, as we provide a list each week of what is in the bundles and who produced it. Then we bring it to your home. It’s true community business. We hustle for the farmers, hustle for the community, so that we can effectively bridge the gaps and connect everyone. It’s a win-win-win.

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Who do you get your produce/other local goods from?

We have over 80 vendors and small farms, through which we get our produce and other local goods from. We are trying to develop logistics for vendors and want to have a home base to rely on. We throw support to small guys that can’t afford to take their crops to groceries. Our vendors and farms include:

  • Fireant Farms
  • Rooting Down Farms
  • Spade and Clover Gardens
  • Lowland Farms
  • Middleton Place Organic
  • Wappetaw Farms
  • Fili- West Farms
  • Wishbone Heritage
  • Green Grocer
  • Freeman Farms
  • Ambrose Farms
  • Joe Fields Farm
  • Tiller Baking Co
  • Counter Cheese Caves
  • Milta Tortilleria
  • Growfood Carolina
  • Limehouse Produce
  • Many, many more

Do you operate year-round?

Yes, though we are currently taking a break to do some repairs on the bus and retool for a big 2019.

What can people expect to see when the bus re-opens in February?

The bus will be updated and we will slowly be expanding everything we do. There is storefront potential, which would serve as our homebase. We’re also working hard on semi-permanent markets for neighborhoods that need more consistency. We are hoping to continue growing and expanding in the next couple of years.

Are there ways to get involved with Lowcountry Street Grocery?

Yes! We are always looking for community liaisons! A community liaison is someone who would help get the word out about us, usher in our mobile market, and help us connect to communities that need our services the most.

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Make sure you are following Lowcountry Street Grocery on Instagram and have liked their page on Facebook to stay up to date on when the bus will be re-opening, as well as find info about their weekly CSG’s! 

Sushi Ninja at Oak Barrel Tavern

The search for the best sushi in Charleston is still a work in progress, but we have recently discovered a close contender. We paid a visit to Oak Barrel Tavern in West Ashley. Oak Barrel Tavern is a small bar that is known for their large selection of local draft beers. They also have a small sushi bar called Sushi Ninja inside the tavern, which is open from 6-10pm, Tuesday-Friday.

We got to the bar around 5pm and started off with some local beers. Revelry is my favorite brewery in Charleston, so of course I opted for the Poke the Bear beer. Even better, it only cost me $5! They didn’t have it on tap, but nonetheless it was still delicious. Ashley ordered a brown ale from Frothy Beard Brewery, which was on tap. She enjoyed it, but ultimately opted for a glass of red wine instead.

Once the clock hit 6, the sushi was rolling. We ordered the Veggie roll, the Surf and Turf roll, and the Big Al roll. The Veggie roll ($7) was made with asparagus, avocado, cucumber, carrot, and red pepper, and was topped with sesame seeds and scallions. The Surf and Turf roll ($10) was made with poached shrimp, asparagus and avocado, and was topped with beef tataki, wasabi aioli, sesame seeds and scallions. The Big Al roll ($11) was made with spicy tuna, kani salad, avocado, and cream cheese, and was served with a spicy aioli. The Surf and Turf and the Big Al rolls were on the list of specialty rolls and the Veggie roll was a regular roll.

We were very impressed with the presentation of these rolls, considering the small area behind the bar where they were rolling the sushi. The rolls were beautifully garnished and each plate had flowers carefully placed around the sushi. The sushi not only was visually appealing, but also was quite appealing to our palates. We were both in agreement that this sushi was the best we had had to date. The rolls had the perfect fusion of spicy, tangy, and sweet flavors and the beef tataki on the Surf and Turf roll was tender and juicy.

It’s safe to say that this sushi is definitely a crowd pleaser, though not the cheapest option for sushi in Charleston. That being said, if you’ve just finished reading this and are now dying to go check out Sushi Ninja but don’t want to spend over $10 on a sushi roll, we would suggest opting for a regular roll instead of a specialty roll. The majority of the regular rolls are $8 or less, and you still get a decent sized portion. They also have other food options that are reasonably priced, such as Nigiri ($5), Maki ($5), Sashimi ($6.5), and salads that are between $5 and $7.

 

Mt. Pleasant Healthy Hot Spot: Kid Cashew

Last week, Ashley and I ventured over to Mt. Pleasant to check out a recently opened vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurant called Kid Cashew. Kid cashew is located on Ben Sawyer Blvd and is also the former home of Triangle Char and Bar. This restaurant has a location in Charlotte as well. We had heard great things about this unique restaurant and knew we had to check it out.

The menu consists of shared plates, homemade spreads, salads, burgers, a selection of sides and plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. We decided the best way to get a good sampling of the menu was to order a few of the small plates and share them. We ordered the Quinoa Stuffed Avocado, the Cast Iron Mac and 5 Cheeses, and the Brussels Sprouts. The Quinoa Stuffed Avocado is complete with a bowl of a couple whole avocados, topped with tri-colored quinoa, cucumber salsa, and shredded lettuce with chipotle sauce. The Cast Iron Mac and 5 Cheeses consists of a homemade mornay sauce, creamy leeks, shallots, 5 different cheeses, and gratin. The Brussels Sprouts are caramelized with a lemon vinaigrette and toasted almonds.

The Mac and 5 Cheeses was baked to perfection and despite the fact that it was made with 5 different cheeses, it didn’t seem to be too heavy of a dish. We loved the fusion of flavors we got from all of the different types of cheese in the dish. There was a bit of tang, a bit of sharpness, and a bit of sweet. Oh, and there was still enough cheese in this dish for an epic cheese pull.

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As for the Brussels Sprouts, we didn’t want to stop eating them! The caramelization of the Brussels made them extra crunchy and gave them a light sweet flavor. The lemon vinaigrette provided a slight citrus flavor that complimented the sweetness from the caramelization quite well. The toasted almonds were a great finishing touch to this dish, as we love toasted almonds mixed in with any vegetable. They provide a good nutty flavor and additional crunchy texture.

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The quinoa stuffed avocado was definitely the standout dish of our meal. Avocado is one of my favorite things, so I couldn’t wait to try this out. I will say, when I thought of quinoa stuffed avocado, I thought of an avocado with its innards scooped out and quinoa taking the place of the innards. This dish took me by surprise, as you could choose between a half or whole avocado (we chose whole), which was placed at the bottom of a bowl without the skin, and as mentioned above, was topped with tri-colored quinoa, cucumber salsa, shredded lettuce and was topped with the most delicious chipotle sauce. We felt that the chipotle sauce really took this dish to the next level. It provided a perfect spicy, but not too spicy flavor. It was essentially a super healthy taco salad, and we savored every bite of it.

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We also sampled their signature cocktail, called the “Big Fig Newton”, which consists of larceny bourbon, figs, and rosemary that is charred with a torch at your table! We thought the cocktail was good, but was lacking a bit in unique flavor, as it was reminiscent of bourbon and ginger ale mixed together. That being said, we loved the presentation of this cocktail.

Not only was our food delicious, but the prices were fantastic as well. The quinoa stuffed avocado was a very hearty dish, despite being on the shared plate menu, and cost $7.75 for a whole avocado. It’s only $3.95 for a half! The Mac and 5 Cheeses cost $6.95 and the Brussels Sprouts cost $7.95 as well. After splitting our bill in half, we both spent just a little over $10, and we left with full bellies. Can you say AWESOME deal?!? After glancing over the rest of the menu we realized that there was not one item listed that cost over $14, and that includes all the meat dishes! If you go for lunch, they have a selection of items that only cost $9.95 for two of them!

If you haven’t checked out Kid Cashew yet, you need to get on it. This restaurant is delicious and affordable all at the same time, and is sure to please vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike. We are already looking forward to our next visit.

~Laura

Sushi at Miyabi Japanese Steakhouse

One of my Wednesday rituals is reading the food section of the Post and Courier and reading all about Hanna Raskin’s take on the newest or lesser known Charleston restaurants. This past summer, Hanna wrote an article about her search for good sushi in Charleston, which she felt the city seemed to be lacking in. She visited Miyabi Japanese Steakhouse in West Ashley, which not only features hibachi, but also sushi! Much to her surprise, this sushi proved to be quite delicious and she named it the best sushi in Charleston.

As much as I trust Hanna’s reviews, I was a bit skeptical about her review of this restaurant. I’ve been to quite a few Japanese steakhouses and all of them seem to not have much variation in flavor. I was not convinced that the sushi at this restaurant could possibly be much better than their hibachi. In the end, I was very much proved wrong.

In her review, Hanna describes the sushi rice as having a “sticky-but-separate” texture, which couldn’t be a more accurate description. Sometimes sushi can be a bit too mushy or the rice will seem overcooked, but this sushi held its form and the rice had the perfect sticky consistency, that gave a clear separation from the flavors and textures of the fillings.

You’re probably wondering now what kinds of sushi I ordered. Well here they are…

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I ordered the Spider Roll and a Vegetable Roll (got to get my veggies in somehow). The Spider Roll was made with deep-fried soft shell crab, cucumber, and was topped with eel sauce. This roll was delicious. Ever since I had my first soft shell crab a couple months ago at the former Pancito and Lefty, there’s been no turning back. I knew I needed to get this roll and try their take on this southern delicacy. The crab was perfectly fried and full of rich flavor. The shells of the crab were placed on top of the sushi, creating the perfect crunch when I bit into it.

The Vegetable Roll was filled with asparagus, tomato, cucumber, and spinach. Yes, this roll was probably the least exciting thing I could have ordered but it was still quite delicious. The vegetables tasted very fresh and provided a nice crunchy texture, and the sticky rice on the outside provided a perfect contrast in the texture of the roll.

As for affordability, the sushi here is pretty decently priced. Yes you could probably get a better deal at a place like Local’s during happy hour, but for well-made sushi, you’re getting a pretty good bang for your buck. Both of my sushi rolls were around $8-$10 each, so my whole bill was still less than $20.

I definitely plan on making a trip back to Miyabi to try more of their sushi. They have a two-sided sushi menu, full of many different options. You are bound to find something that will satisfy your sushi cravings, and are also bound to thoroughly enjoy it.

~Laura

 

Link to Hanna Raskin’s article about Miyabi:

https://www.postandcourier.com/blog/raskin_around/don-t-give-up-on-sushi-in-charleston-before-visiting/article_40137368-7b07-11e8-9540-8b3dfdda664d.html

 

Matzo Y Masa Pop-Up at One Broad

Last week we attended a pop-up event at One Broad Street (restaurant and location name are the same!). The pop-up was hosted by Matzo Y Masa. Matzo Y Masa has hosted pop-up events at a couple different locations around Charleston, and has been well received. They typically serve up a Mexican-Israeli fusion cuisine.

Upon our discovery of Matzo Y Masa, we noticed that the prices on their menus were quite affordable, so when we heard they’d be popping up at One Broad, we knew we needed to go check it out. There were five different things to choose from on the menu. It was hard not to order all of them, but we opted for just three of the five. We ordered the Pici, the Charred Cauliflower Tostadas, and the Ceviche Tacos.

The Pici consisted of handmade noodles, topped with chorizo and marinara sauce. We absolutely LOVED this dish! The noodles were thick and had the perfect dense texture that handmade noodles should have. The chorizo and marinara sauce were the perfect toppings for this dish. The chorizo had just the right amount of spice and the sauce had just a hint of sweetness.

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The Charred Cauliflower Tostadas were pretty amazing as well. These tostadas were slathered with coriander creme and were topped with pickled carrot and shallot. The coriander creme provided a unique, flavorful twist to these tostadas and the cauliflower was perfectly crisp and crunchy.

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The Ceviche Tacos definitely did not disappoint. It was obvious that the taco shell was hand-made in the way that it opened more widely, and you could clearly see everything that was inside the taco. The Ceviche Taco was made with pico de gallo, Tarvin Seafood Shrimp, and dehydrated lime. The taco was perfectly tangy and crunchy, with just a bit of spice.

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We capped off our delicious meal with dessert, consisting of a Spice Cake with Dulce de Leche and pie apples. The presentation of this dish was beautiful and it really did taste as good as it looked! The Dulce de Leche was drizzled on top of the cake (served warm) and the pie apples were slathered on top. It was the perfect fall dessert. The cake was moist and sweet, with a hint of spice, and the Dulce de Leche pretty much melted in my mouth. The pie apples provided a perfect apple pie/spice cake flavor fusion, which made this dish truly delectable and unique.

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One of the reasons we decided to check this pop-up event out was because we had checked out the menu before we went and noticed that the whole menu was quite affordable. Everything was $10 and under! The Charred Cauliflower Tostadas cost $8 for two of them (and they were decently sized!), the Pici cost $10 (pretty cheap for handcrafted pasta!), the Ceviche Taco cost $6, and the Spice Cake cost $6 as well (they were sweet and gave this to us free of charge). We split the bill, and both ended up paying less than $25 on a 3 course meal (not including the dessert). Can’t go wrong with a meal that delicious and cheap!

We will definitely be keeping our eyes peeled for the next Matzo Y Masa pop-up event, and will be sure to keep you all in the know as well! We hope that Matzo Y Masa will open doors for more unique flavor fusions, as well as ethnic food in the Charleston culinary scene. It could definitely use a little spicing up!

~Laura

Serving Up The Goods At Soul Food Sessions

In case you weren’t already aware, I have been working at Henrietta’s at the Dewberry Hotel for the past..well..almost 6 months. I wanted to get a first-hand experience working in Charleston’s food industry, and what could be better than at one of Charleston’s finest fine dining spots in the downtown area!

The Dewberry hosts LOTS of events throughout the year – anything ranging from networking events to weddings. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to serve food at an event called Soul Food Sessions. Soul Food Sessions is a traveling dinner series dedicated to advocating for equality in restaurant kitchens. Charleston was the last stop in the series.

In each city, the core Soul Food Sessions chefs are joined by guest chefs. The guest chefs of this dinner were BJ Dennis, Kevin Mitchell, and Jason Sherrill (chef at The Dewberry!). Together, they all worked very hard to create the most amazing seven- course meal.

The event started off with passed hors d’oevres, which was my favorite part of the evening. I loved having the opportunity to describe the food I was serving up to the guests, while also having the chance to interact with them. The hors d’oevres that were served were:

  • Mushroom Duxelles with marinated pulled chicken on a toasted crostini with orange coulis – made by Chef Collier of Soul Food Sessions
  • Blue Corn Cake and Green Tomato Marinade with Okra and Tasso Ham Struesel -made by Chef James Barnes of Soul Food Sessions
  • Blue Crab-Stuffed Carolina Shrimp with spicy tomato jam, collard greens and pickled vegetables – made by Chef Jason Sherrill from The Dewberry.

I sampled some of these as well (yes, of course there were extras!). They were all delicious but I think my favorite of these was the Blue Crab-Stuffed Carolina Shrimp. I mean really, have you ever heard of such a thing?? Just knowing that Chef Sherrill actually stuffed this shrimp with crab is pretty mind-blowing. The shrimp was perfectly fried and crispy and the crab inside gave the shrimp a more soft texture. This being paired with the spicy tomato jam, collard greens, and pickled vegetables created the most delectable medley of flavors.

Next it was time for course 1. This was a cold appetizer made by Soul Food Sessions chef, Elaina Ruth. It was Smoked Trout Pontchartrain and Crab Salad with pickled mushrooms, black pepper tulle and Creole hollandaise. I did not get the opportunity to try this, but I will say that it had the most beautiful presentation, and I watched people devour it in probably under 7 minutes.

Course 2 consisted of a Rabbit Rillete Cake with potato and golden beet pave, crispy greens and smoked rabbit jus, which was made by Chef Michael Bowling from Soul Food Sessions. I did not try the Rabbit Rillete Cake, but I did try the potato and golden beet pave, cripsy greens, and rabbit jus. I absolutely LOVED this dish. The potato and golden beet pave pretty much melted in my mouth and the crispy greens were cooked to a crispy perfection, and had a very wide range of unique flavors. The rabbit jus was both sweet and tangy, complementing the dish quite well.

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Course 3 consisted of a vegetable course, made by Soul Food Sessions chef Mike Sheats. It was a Tuskegee Soup with crab, sweet potato, scarlet queen turnip and benne seeds. The sweet and tangy flavors of this soup, paired with the soft crab and crunchy benne seeds created the most delicious southern-style vegetable dish.

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Course 4 consisted of a seafood course made by local chef BJ Dennis. This was Creek Fish with a Shrimp Purloo croquette and she-crab gravy. This was another dish I did not get to try, but it also had a very beautiful presentation and was well received by everyone at the event.

Course 5 consisted of the Fowl Course, made by local chef Kevin Mitchell. It was pan-seared Duck and Sweet Potato Confit with bourbon-braised dinosaur kale and sorghum reduction. Of this dish, I tried the bourbon-braised dinosaur kale which was probably up there with some of the best-tasting kale I’ve ever had. It was not only braised with bourbon(yum!!), but was also mixed with sauteed onions and bacon! The sorghum reduction provided a colorful, rich, sweet and tangy flavor, which paired quite well with the kale.

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Course 6 consisted of the featured dish, made by chef Greg Collier of Soul Food Sessions, which was grillades over a cornmeal waffle with green strawberry relish and smoked peanut dried okra crumble. This dish was definitely my favorite of all the dishes I tried. I was super into the green strawberry relish and the smoked peanut dried okra crumble. The relish was sweet and tangy and the peanut okra crumble provided the perfect nutty crunch to the dish. Oh, and what could be better than all this on top of a cornmeal waffle?? I sure can’t think of anything.

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Course 7 was of course, dessert! This course was made by Soul Food Sessions Chef Jamie Turner. It was Poached Pear Napolean and Goat Cheese Chiboust with cashew crumble and red wine gastrique. I thoroughly enjoyed this dessert as it was savory, nutty and sweet all at the same time. The cashew crumble was reminiscent of a peanut brittle and the Goat Cheese Chiboust was basically really good goat cheese made into ice cream, and you really can’t go wrong with that. I probably could’ve just eaten a whole tub of it after consuming this dessert!

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This event cost a total of $90 to attend. In terms of affordability, that is a bit of a hefty price. However, for a very decadent seven course meal, this is actually a pretty good deal. If you were to dine out in a fine dining restaurant and have a seven course meal, you’d probably end up spending your entire last paycheck (or more)! Next time Soul Food Sessions hits up Charleston, I would definitely suggest getting a ticket if you didn’t get to experience it this time. It’s worth it!

This was a fantastic event, that I was very happy to be a part of. I love any event that supports chefs, equality and the restaurant industry. If you haven’t heard of Soul Food Sessions, you should definitely check them out. I can’t wait until the next time the Soul Food Sessions chefs bring their amazing culinary talent to Charleston! I’ll be actually sitting down and enjoying every bite.

~Laura

$3 Taco Tuesday at Semilla

It’s safe to say that we are big Taco Tuesday fans and when we found out that one of our favorite food trucks, Semilla had opened up a restaurant, we knew we needed to get ourselves over there ASAP. Semilla started out as a food truck, which you may have seen at the farmers market downtown on Saturday mornings, or at various events around Charleston. Just a few months ago they opened up a small restaurant, which is located on the northern end of the peninsula on President Street, in the former location of Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen.

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Semilla offers up a FABULOUS deal on Tuesdays, consisting of $3 tacos all day long. They also have happy hour deals from 4-6 Monday through Friday. Semilla serves up a contemporary Mexican menu with a selection of tacos, rice bowls, and a few other surprises. The taco selection consists of carnitas, pollo (chicken), barbacoa, fish, and  brussels sprouts. We sampled the chicken taco, the carnitas taco, the fish taco, and the brussels sprouts taco.

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The pollo taco had a filling of chicken, chipotle-tomatillo salsa, lettuce, queso fresco, and cilantro. The fish taco had a filling of tempura-fried fish, cabbage slaw, white sauce, cucumber, and cilantro. The brussels sprouts taco had a filling consisting of salsa macha, apple and cilantro. We enjoyed the pollo taco, though we felt that the chipotle-tomatillo salsa was a bit too overpowering with spicy flavor. I think if it had a little less salsa on it, we would have tasted more flavor from the chicken and queso. The fish taco was delectable. It was perfectly fried, the fish was tender and juicy, and there was a hint of sweet flavor. We loved the addition of the cucumber, cabbage and cilantro, which all provided the perfect fresh, crunchy texture. The carnitas taco was delicious as well. The meat was tender, had a slight sweet flavor, and the salsa verde was both spicy and tangy at the same time, but wasn’t too overpowering. Of all the tacos we tried, the brussels sprouts taco took the cake. The brussels sprouts were perfectly crunchy and the salsa macha sauce on top was unbelievably delicious. It had a taste reminiscent of peanuts, and that being mixed with the sweetness of the apple slice placed on top of the taco and the crunchiness of the brussels sprouts created the most unique and delicious flavor! We will definitely be coming back for more!

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We hope you get the chance to check out Semilla’s newest hot spot downtown, because its definitely something worth experiencing. The restaurant itself is adorable, has great lighting and beautifully colored walls, and even a bar where you can sit and order some delicious wine and cocktails. Their taco tuesday is a great deal and what makes it better than most tacos tuesday deals is that it is offered all day long! We would also suggest going for happy hour because their happy hour menu is always changing, and there are great food options on this menu as well.

 

A Trip to Paris at Saveurs du Monde Cafe

This summer, I had the most fortunate opportunity to travel to a couple different places in Europe – one of those places being Paris, France. Of all the places in Europe I visited, some of the best food I had was in Paris. From the coffee and pastries to the cheese, wine, and crepes, I was in absolute heaven! I decided I needed to go on a search for a close comparison in Charleston.

My search ended up being quite successful. I discovered an adorable, quaint french cafe in Mt. Pleasant called Saveurs du Monde Cafe. This cafe serves authentic french pastries, crepes, galletes, baguettes, and sandwiches, which was everything I was got to indulge in while I was in Paris. I was lucky enough to be able to attend an event at this cafe, during which I had the opportunity to sample some mini quiches, crepes, and small puff pastry sandwiches.

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The mini quiches were delectable and full of flavor. I couldn’t stop eating them! I sampled their La Californienne quiche and their L’ Acropolis quiche. The La Californienne quiche is baked with spinach and goat cheese. The L’ Acropolis quiche is baked with fresh tomato, basil, and feta cheese. All their quiches are served with a mixed green salad or fresh fruit. The tomato, basil, and feta quiche was my favorite. It was perfectly soft, warm, and the tomato and basil in the quiche tasted very fresh. Unfortunately, of all the things I got to try, the quiches were the only things they serve on their everyday menu. However, I definitely plan to go back to sample some other things on their menu, and I can pretty much guarantee that whatever you get at this adorable french cafe, you won’t be disappointed.

Saveurs du Monde does not offer a happy hour menu, but their prices are quite reasonable. You can get a quintessential Parisian breakfast, consisting of a baguette piece with butter, jam, a croissant, orange juice and coffee for just $9.90. You can also get crepes, baguette sandwiches and quiches for less than $10. Paying a visit to this cafe is a great way to experience some delicious, authentic Parisian cuisine, without even having to leave Charleston – and all at a very affordable price!