A LA CARTE 

Sociale Settings

West Ashley now has its very own "make & take gourmet," Sociale (not to be confused with the Social going into the old Charleston Chops on East Bay Street). Located in the West Ashley Shoppes near World Market on Orleans Road, Sociale is poised to capitalize on the busy soccer families of West Ashley, much like The Original Take and Bake and Dream Dinners do in Mt. Pleasant. With a variety of family-style menu options and customizable portions that include entrées, sides, and desserts, Sociale provides all the ingredients and resources needed to prepare a wholesome, homestyle meal in only an hour, while they take care of all the prep and clean-up work. For those who don't have time to take part in the whole cooking process and just want to take the credit, Sociale also offers an Express Freezer where you can pick up pre-made meals for little additional cost or have full meals delivered to your door for $10 more. Prices vary depending on the number of servings and method of pick-up. And for those of you who don't even want to leave your seat, let alone enter a kitchen, you can book your cooking sessions or place orders online at www.socialegourmet.com or by calling 763-3012. –Matthew Gannon

WINE DINNER Of THE YEAR

If you're feeling the spirit of the giving season and want to practice charity multitasking on Fri., Jan. 19, attend the annual vintner's dinner and auction to benefit Trident Technical College Foundation, the Hospitality and Culinary Student Association, and the Patrick E. Ringwald Memorial Culinary Garden at Trident Technical College. The event will feature an elegant four-course dinner prepared and served by Culinary Institute of Charleston students as well as a sampling of fine wines from around the world. The auction will feature fine art, jewelry, vacation packages, rare and allocated wines, and meals by local celebrity chefs. The event will be held in the College Center on TTC's Main Campus in North Charleston. The black-tie gala will kick off at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by dinner and a live auction at 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $200 per person or $1,600 for a table of eight. For more information or to reserve tickets call 574-6208 or go online to www.tridenttech.edu/wine.htm. –MG

From Port to Metto

Not long after its changeover from Port City Java to The Charlestowne Cafe, the Mt. Pleasant coffee shop is no more, but another one promises to fill the void. Metto Coffee & Tea will take over 354 W. Coleman Boulevard next week, upholding the tradition of the location, which has housed a coffee joint of some sort for the last 12 years. Metto will specialize in Seattle artisan-roasted coffee from small batch roasters (like microbreweries, but for coffee) as well a wide selection of looseleaf fine teas and locally made pastries. The coffee and teas will also be served in ceramic cups and saucers, not grande paper cups with cardboard sleeves. In addition to fine coffee, Metto will also feature trained baristas specializing in latte art and specialty drinks to satisfy java freaks who desire more than just a cup of joe, as well as free WiFi for those who want to stick around and bum some free internet. Metto Coffee & Tea is owned by Sarah and Paxton Parrish, who moved to Charleston six months ago from Seattle, where the couple developed their coffee expertise. Metto is scheduled to open this week, permits permitting. For more information or details, call 408-6039. –MG

In-a-Giada-Da-vida

Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis, the gorgeous star of Everyday Italian, has been spotted around town at McCrady's and Bull Street Gourmet, and Jeff Allen (our own Food Network star!) reports that she is definitely working on a segment in Charleston for her new show Giada's Weekend Getaways, which premieres Fri. Jan. 12 at 9 p.m. Die-hard fans (or stalkers) can check out the CP blog for photos of the sightings or more info on the Food Network's activities in the Lowcountry. Look forward to sitting in front of the television and drooling over De Laurentiis in a familiar setting in the future. –MG

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