Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Edmund’s Oast hosts next cocktail class focused on summer cocktails

Margarita mamacita

Posted by Teddi Aaron on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Be prepared at your next summer soiree or casual cookout with some cocktails that will knock the sandals right off your guests. Head bartender at Edmund’s Oast Jayce McConnell will be offering a special cocktail class at the restaurant on July 22 focusing on how to concoct refreshing beverages to cool off with during the summer.

McConnell will be demonstrating how to create a variety of cocktails such as Caipirinhas, pisco sours, margaritas, Agave del Sols, and Palomas, and will provide patrons with background information on the drinks so when you make them you’ll know exactly what you’re talking about. There aren’t too many people who know the history behind the margarita. For $45 per person, attendees will get to taste each cocktail, learn how to make them, and will also enjoy some light snacks.

To reserve a space for the class, visit

Jerusalem Market & Deli brings the flavors of Palestine to North Charleston

Having it Halal

Posted by Stratton Lawrence on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 9:16 AM

Falafel from Jerusalem Mart & Deli - JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek
  • Falafel from Jerusalem Mart & Deli
You may want to wait until the 29th for your first visit to Jerusalem Market & Deli, a Middle Eastern grocery and cafe that opened this April in an unassuming nook behind Sake House near the Tanger Outlets complex. Owner Abdul Abukhdair will still prepare his full menu of gyros and falafel during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan going on now, but he admits it’s not easy to cook when he hasn’t had as much as a drop of water since sunrise, much less a bite to eat.

“The hardest part is the thirst,” he says, adding that he has refrained from eating and drinking during daylight hours for Ramadan since age seven, so he’s accustomed to the discomfort. “The restaurant definitely slows down, but it’s good for me. I don’t like to cook while I’m fasting,” he says.

But here my wife and I are, demanding that Abdul fire up the grill for us in my pursuit of a deadline. And we didn’t regret it, either. Jerusalem’s menu is simple and short, consisting of falafel, kofta (ground meatballs), slow roasted steak, lamb and chicken, hummus and kibby (deep-fried, football shaped pockets of beef, lamb and onion), all offered as sandwiches or platters served with tabbouleh (tabouli). Sandwiches range from $4.99 to $6.99, and platters are $8.99.

Gyros are packed with a generous helping of lamb. It’s still tender despite its having been stored in Tupperware since the vertical spit broiler next to the grill isn’t in demand during Ramadan. The real standout may be the house-made tehinah (tahini). The sesame seed paste is great on the falafel and hummus, putting store-bought options to shame with its rich creaminess and pop of paprika.

“You couldn’t buy hummus in stores when I moved here,” says Abukhdair of the now ubiquitous popularity of his specialty item. “You had to go to a Middle Eastern restaurant to find it.”

In 1980, (when Abukhdair first arrived in the U.S. to attend school in Baltimore, at age 20), Middle Eastern restaurants were few and far between in the Southeast. After living in Minneapolis, Orlando, and a few years in Morocco (where he met his wife), Abukhdair moved to Charleston in 2008 to open Ali Baba restaurant in Mount Pleasant, with his brother. They sold Ali Baba the following year and bought a Hess Express gas station on Dorchester Road.

Abdul Abukhdair prepares falafel. - JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek
  • Abdul Abukhdair prepares falafel.

Their dream, however, was to open a new restaurant and grocery store specializing in halal meats, pita bread, and Middle Eastern specialty items. After searching for a downtown location, they found an affordable lease at North Charleston retail hub and opened their doors in April.

The deals aren’t bad — a 10-pound bag of couscous runs $17, while apricots are $3.59/lb and dates are $4/lb. Hookahs and shisha tobacco fill the shelves behind the register, and a selection of halal meats — animals permissible by Islamic law and slaughtered by hand while invoking the name of Allah — line the coolers along the wall of the two-aisle shop. The best value at Jerusalem, however, may lie in conversation with Abukhdair across the bar overlooking the grill.

For Abukhdair, the recent unrest in Israel hits close to home. Abukhdair’s six children live in the U.S., but his mother and extended family remain in Jerusalem. Like many exiled Palestinians, his stories include the loss of family land and homes a half-century ago, but the conversation turns poignant when he brings up Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the 16-year-old Palestinian boy who was captured in early July by Israeli vigilantes and burned alive.

Although the translation from Arabic to English has resulted in different spellings, the murdered Palestinian boy and the Charleston shopkeeper share a surname. Abu Khdeir’s father is Abukhdair’s second cousin, and they grew up in the same village outside Jerusalem.

“If we so much as throw a stone at a soldier, we are terrorists,” Abukhdair decries. “They burned my cousin alive. What kind of humanity is that?”

Despite the difficulty of such atrocities hitting close to home, Abukhdair maintains a peaceful presence, believing that real change can only begin “in our hearts.”

Today, Abukhdair is an American citizen, and he visits Israel regularly, although those visits are limited to three months by the Israeli government. As a result, it’s difficult to care for his ailing mother.

Raising his family in Charleston, he’s determined to keep the traditions of his homeland alive. This month, his seven-year-old daughter participated in her first Ramadan fast. The family attends the Central Mosque on King Street, and his wife wears the hijab (head covering), a decision he doesn’t insist upon.

“That is between her and God,” he explains, taking the same attitude to the Muslim-born clientele who patronize his store but don’t observe Ramadan fasting. Those customers include not only Palestinians, but Indians, Pakistanis, Malaysians, Arabs, and Afghans. U.S. soldiers looking for items they enjoyed while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan also frequent the deli.

“We’re not only a Muslim store,” says Abukhdair. Still, come July 29, he’ll see a boom in business, once lunch comes back into fashion for Charleston’s observant Muslims. In the meantime, he welcomes non-Muslim clientele to enjoy a taste of his homeland. Although he’s thirsty and perhaps uncomfortable, you won’t hear him complain when you bite into a perfectly prepared lamb gyro and break into an anything-but-famished smile.

Jerusalem Mart & Deli is stocked with hard to find Middle Eastern pantry goods. - JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek
  • Jerusalem Mart & Deli is stocked with hard to find Middle Eastern pantry goods.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

167 Raw serves up plenty of seafood, but more importantly hearty lobstah rolls

First Bite

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 4:15 PM

The last time I ate a lobster roll it was at a seaside shack a few miles outside of Mystic, Conn., lobster roll sacred ground, as it were. So I was curious of the offerings at the new 167 Raw (289 East Bay St.), a to-go seafood deli and cafe. But owners Jesse Sandole and Kyle Norton know what they’re doing. They’ve paired their insider seafood sourcing (Sandole’s dad has been in the fish biz on Nantucket Island for 30 years, so he has connections) with an eager young chef, Sean Rieflin, a three-year Macintosh veteran, and the result is wicked good.

167 Raw’s rolls clock in at $18 with a side of chips and feature large chunks of fresh meat tossed in a light aioli topped with chives on a lightly toasted Butcher & Bee bun. (For comparison, The Ordinary’s lobster roll was priced at $23 before becoming a Tuesday-only special paired with salad and dessert for $35.) In addition, the marble four-seat counter offers made-to-order fish ($6), fried oyster ($6), shrimp tacos ($6), pescadero carnitas ($5), and veggie tacos ($4). But perhaps the tastiest surprise was what Sandole and Norton are calling an ahi poke salsa ($10) featuring small cubes of tuna chopped up and seasoned with cilantro. It’s particularly delicious when eaten with a side of their crispy pita chips.

We didn’t snap up any deli items this time, but fresh live lobsters were in stock, in addition to Little Neck clams, yellowfin tuna, flounder, sea scallops, and more.

Yes, the store is super small, and seating at the open kitchen counter is snug, but Sandole, Norton, and Rieflin are friendly conversationalists. With a hearty roll in hand and a Mexican Coke to wash it down, it’s easy to overlook the cozy confines. 167 Raw is open Mon.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Fri.- Sun. 10 a.m.-’til.  
167 Raw's lobstah roll with a Mexican Coke
  • 167 Raw's lobstah roll with a Mexican Coke
Yellowfin tuna taco
  • Yellowfin tuna taco
One of two seafood coolers at 167 Raw.
  • One of two seafood coolers at 167 Raw.
Daily offerings
  • Daily offerings

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

FINALLY, Holy City Brewing gets an eBaum’sWorld cameo

Watch a guy pour a can of Chucktown Follicle Brown using his forehead for some reason

Posted by Paul Bowers on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 3:23 PM

UPDATE: Apparently eBaum's World is back to its old ways of stealing content from YouTube, stamping the eBW label on it, and trying to pass it off as its own. JT Stellmach from Holy City Brewing e-mailed us and politely asked that we link to the brewery's YouTube video instead. "We originally posted the video and are working out a way for views to donate money to a local charity," he said.


Good ol' eBaum's World, the venerable humor portal that popularized such mindless classics as Peanut Butter Jelly Time and GellieMan's "Aicha" music video, is currently featuring the inside of Holy City Brewing's tasting room on its homepage.

In the video, a guest at Holy City's bar announces, "I love this city," and then pulls off an impressive party trick: He somehow sticks an open can of Chucktown Follicle Brown to his forehead and then pours it into a glass. We don't know how he did it. We're just glad to see Follicle Brown getting some good press after all the hullaballoo over its mustachioed mascot.

By the way, in case you didn't see the follow-up, the Charleston Southern University professor who got canned for appearing on the label is now working for the College of Charleston. So, all around, things are looking up. Great job, internet, and hats off to Holy City.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New King St. restaurant Union Provisions opens tonight at 5 p.m.

Blessed union of bowls

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 7:45 AM

Union Provisions, a new King Street quartermaster depot for Northern Civil War soldiers opens toni — What's that? Union Provisions is not an outfitter for time-traveling Billy Yanks? I'm so sorry, let me just check my notes ... um

Union Provisions, a new King Street defense post for workers' rights opens tonigh — What?! Oh. Union Provisions is not a pro-labor emporium offering supplies for all your picketing and striking needs? Of course, right to work state. Dammit interns! Who mixed up my notes? Where was I? 

Union Provisions (513 King St.), a new King Street gastropub restaurant, opens tonight at 5 p.m. And we've got the menu.

In the meantime, we'll keep you posted on any new places to buy hardtack and Woody Guthrie albums.

Union Provisions Menu by Kinsey

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