Monday, October 24, 2016

Chefs Dan Barber and Jeremiah Langhorne headed to Charleston next month

Better than a lunch and learn

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 2:34 PM

If you're interested in listening to some of the leading minds in food while trying their dishes, November has a two big names coming to town. 

On Fri. Nov. 4 Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns joins Chef Sean Brock for a dinner benefitting the James Beard Foundation at the Cedar Room. Tickets are $300 and may be purchased here

Dabney owners Alex Zink and Jeremiah Langhorne - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Dabney owners Alex Zink and Jeremiah Langhorne
Later in the month, on Nov. 17, Chef Jeremiah Langhorne — the former McCrady's chef de cuisine and now the chef of D.C.'s The Dabney — returns to the Holy City for a cooking demonstration at Le Creuset L'Atelier. Since leaving the city and opening The Dabney, Langhorne has been showered with praise, most recently accepting a star from the Michelin Guide.

Tickets for Langhorne's demonstration are $40 and may be purchased here.

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I spent a stupid amount of money on Le Farfalle's white truffles so you don't have to

(But maybe you should)

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 12:16 PM

Prepare to be the center of attention when you order the Tuscan white truffles - KINSEY GIDICK
  • Kinsey Gidick
  • Prepare to be the center of attention when you order the Tuscan white truffles
Some people skydive to get a cheap thrill, others ride motorcycles. I dine beyond my means. I know, nothing says living on the edge like paying $150 for what amounts to two amuse-bouches. But what can I say? We don't pick our vices, they pick us. 

Such was the case last night when I dropped $50 on Le Farfalle's Tuscan white truffle shavings, a new seasonal accompaniment Chef Michael Toscano literally rolled out (the truffles arrive on a special bar cart he calls Eleanor) last week.  
Now first, let me attempt to rationalize this ridiculous purchase:

I was at a party with friends I never get to see.
We were celebrating an upcoming wedding.
The weather was below 70 degrees.
Uh ... I really wanted to eat a Tuscan white truffle ....

Surely that warranted the splurge? (Checks bank account: No, in fact, it does not.)

But pushing aside my account balance like a Trump supporter dismisses facts, I carried on, and placed my order for duck confit agnolotti ($20) with shaved Tuscan white truffles ($50) with my most Gaga of poker faces. (Click here a quick primer on why white truffles cost so much.)

The dish was presented with the typical delivery of any high end restaurant, that is until Eleanor the truffle wagon pulled up. The waiter pulled out a scale, placed it next to my bowl of agnolotti and then, like a geology experiment, revealed what looked like a rare geod — the almighty truffle. He weighed it, shaved off a handful of pieces, returned the 'shroom to the drug scale, weighed it again, and then, pleased with his findings, returned it to the cart. If you don't like unnecessary attention, perhaps this isn't the dish for you because for the amount of pomp and circumstance afforded the truffle service, both of us, fungus and myself, should have been wearing crowns.

I eagerly took a first bite. The rich sauce, a light brown gravy, served as a baby pool for the tiny pillows of duck confit-stuffed-pasta to float in. Each agnolotto was just al dente enough to absorb some of the sauce while maintaining a necessary chew that revealed the duck within, and it was exceptional. But as I labored to not hoover the plate into my mouth, I questioned weather the truffle could improve upon something so good. Then I got a funghi-topped bite and behold, an angel of the Lord came down to me and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded my mouth and I was sore afraid. 

Translation: That shit was bananas. 

The funky, musky flavor of the truffle doubled down on the rich agnolotti. The murky, earthiness made what had once been mere pasta into something more prehistoric, a taste that only occurs in the deepest depths of nature. 

Or at least that's what I told myself as I handed the waiter by Mastercard. Yes, the bill will haunt my dreams, but not as much as that freaking terrific plate of pasta. I know it would have tasted just as good without the truffle, but those shavings added a certain je ne sais quoi and for my money, I'd do the truffle shuffle again.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Is Chef Emily Hahn going to be Top Chef: Charleston's crazy contestant?


Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 2:03 PM

You know how reality TV is, each show has to have a villain and a hero, a hottie and a certifiable crazy. Based on the latest clip released from Bravo's Top Chef: Charleston, our own Chef Emily Hahn of Warehouse may have been pegged as the latter.

In the latest clip, released on People magazine's website, right at the get-go Hahn comes out saying "I'm not a rookie chef. I'm ready to prove that I'm fucking good at it." 

From there we see the contestants fly through Whole Foods, race up the Confederate Museum steps, get greeted by Darius Rucker and Mike Lata, stand on a shrimp boat, then the camera cuts to Hahn sobbing, "You fucking insensitive people!"

In addition to Hahn stealing the sizzle reel, we've learned who the eight veteran contestants are, according to People:

Sam Talbot (Season 2: Los Angeles — who I interviewed for CP way back when), Casey Thompson (Season 3: Miami & Season 8: All-Stars), Amanda Baumgarten (Season 7: Washington, D.C.), Brooke Williamson (Season 10: Seattle), Sheldon Simeon (Season 10: Seattle), John Tesar (Season 10: Seattle), Shirley Chung (Season 11: New Orleans), and Katsuji Tanabe (Season 12: Boston).

So is Hahn going to be this season's lunatic? Stay tuned for Top Chef: Charleston's premiere at 10 pm E.T. on Thurs., Dec. 1.

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Holy City Brewing and COAST say 'no more dogs'


Posted by City Paper Staff on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 11:32 AM

You used to be able to bring your dogs into COAST to catch a concert. As of yesterday, you no longer can. - MARY SCOTT HARDAWAY
  • Mary Scott Hardaway
  • You used to be able to bring your dogs into COAST to catch a concert. As of yesterday, you no longer can.
Last month Holy City Brewing announced that they would no longer allow dogs onsite. In a Facebook post head brewer Chris Brown said "We love dogs. Most of us have dogs. I have three myself, but over the past six months we have had employees bit five different times by dogs visiting the brewery. The latest incident, which occurred last week, consisted of a guest's dog biting one of our bartenders in the face. I have to look out for my staff."

In an email Brown clarified the no-dogs rule, saying, "When everyone is packed in, dogs get nervous or anxious." Just yesterday COAST Brewing Co. joined HCB in its no more dogs rule, with an Instagram post that reads, "Due to an incident, we unfortunately cannot allow dogs at the brewery anymore. Yes, it stinks, but that's life. Thanks for your support." 

While your four-legged friends are no longer allowed at COAST and Holy City, you can still take them to most area breweries. Here's that list:

Cooper River Brewing Co.
Dog-friendly with outdoor seating.

Frothy Beard Brewing
Dog-friendly, with a small grass field in the back.

Ghost Monkey Brewery
Dog-friendly as long as the dog is on a leash (which is the case for all breweries unless otherwise noted). They have dog treats and water bowls.

Low Tide Brewing
Dog-friendly with outdoor seating.

Palmetto Brewing Co.
Dog-friendly on deck.

Revelry Brewing Co.
Dogs allowed on outside patio.

Tradesman Brewing Co.
Dogs are welcome on the patio.

Freehouse Brewery
Dogs allowed.

Westbrook Brewing
Pets (except service animals) must stay on the patio.

Two Blokes Brewing
Dogs are welcome on a leash.

Snafu Brewing Company
They don't have a tasting room on the premises yet, but when they do it will be open to dogs.

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Steve Palmer and Mickey Bakst start F&B support group for drug and alcohol addiction

Sober Support

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 9:46 AM

Steve Palmer wants to help others struggling from addiction to get help - JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek
  • Steve Palmer wants to help others struggling from addiction to get help
At the height of his addiction, Charleston Grill General Manager Mickey Bakst would wake up, pour a tumbler of Stoli Vodka, top it with grapefruit juice, and do a five-inch line of cocaine. "Then I'd go to work," he says. That was 34 years go. When his heart had to be resuscitated after a binge, it seemed like he might clean up his act, but Bakst fell even further. "I woke up in a straightjacket in an insane institution in Detroit," he recalls. It was after that, that Bakst finally sought help.

"AA saved my life," he says.

Steve Palmer, Indigo Road restaurants' managing partner, echoes Bakst's sentiments. "It definitely saved my life too," he says.

For Palmer, life in F&B in Charleston in the early '90s was a never ending party. "Bars stayed open until 6 a.m. and I was there until 6 a.m. — drinking, doing a lot of ecstasy and cocaine," Palmer recalls. A sommelier for Peninsula Grill at the time, Palmer's playboy lifestyle eventually caught up with him.

"Hank Holliday sat me down one day and said, ‘You can either go to rehab or you can clean out your stuff and leave,'" says Palmer. "Everything in me wanted to say ‘Screw you' and go get loaded, but for some reason I agreed to rehab." Holliday loaned him $30,000 and five weeks later Palmer was clean. But it wasn't an easy transition from user to sober.

  • Katie Gandy
  • Bakst
"I remember the day after I got out, I was on a boat with my buddy and he was trying to convince me that I wasn't an alcoholic," remembers Palmer. The friend then took Palmer to a restaurant opening. "We walked in and it was like a record had scratched and everyone stopped and looked at me." Palmer says at first he felt like a pariah, but eventually he navigated his way, finding a balance between staying sober and working in an industry surrounded by alcohol.

That's the choice Bakst and Palmer want to share with the Charleston F&B community and to show them that you can can overcome addiction and continue to work in the restaurant industry. They know because they're living proof. Palmer has been sober 15 years and Bakst has been sober 34. That's why they've started Ben's Friends, a Sunday support group designed to encourage people in F&B struggling with addiction to seek help.

"We're not here to point the finger at people," says Bakst. "We're just here to be a place to go to provide greater awareness and acceptance of sobriety."

The impetus for the group came after Palmer's long-time friend and chef Ben Murray, who struggled with alcoholism, shot himself in August. "He was working with five other sober people and he didn't talk to us," Palmer says. He doesn't want to see the same thing happen to others.

According to 2015 data by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, individuals working in the food and beverage industry have the highest rates of illicit drug use by industry and a 12 percent higher rate of heavy alcohol use.
Bakst and Palmer say they see it every day.

"Last Friday I had to fire three employees for coming to work drunk," says Palmer. But neither Bakst nor Palmer are ones to preach. They say they can both identify an addict, but until an individual recognizes they have a problem, there's little anyone else can do. However, when an addict is ready to reach for help, Bakst and Palmer want Ben's Friends to be a safe place to go.

The support group is designed similarly to AA, but not affiliated with the organization. "It will be completely anonymous," says Bakst. And there's no pressure to stand up and talk. Rather the group will simply be a space to meet others who are working on or have overcome their addiction.

"We can connect people to therapists and recovery programs," says Bakst. "We want to show people that you can still work in this industry sober."

Ben's Friends will meet every Sunday beginning Oct. 30 in the Cedar Room at 11 a.m. For more information, reach out to Mickey Bakst at or Steve Palmer at

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