For the Lethargic

What's better than exercising? That's easy: watching other people sweat and pant while sitting in a chair sipping on a Bloody Mary and scarfing down a Filet Benedict with a side of Crème Brûlée French Toast. This Saturday morning, Chef Fred Neuville will serve a brunch menu at Rue de Jean at 39 John St. beginning at 10 a.m. for spectators of the Cooper River Bridge Run. Call 722-8881 to reserve a table for during or after the race. The full menu can be found at www.39ruedejean.com. --Lindsay Sainlar

Good Pizza, Good Cause

Mellow Mushroom is willing to make a deal April 2-6. For every dollar a person spends on pizza, calzones, sandwiches, salads, or whatever at this King Street restaurant, they will donate 10 cents of it to the patron's charity of choice. If that person's organization garners over $500, Mellow Mushroom will up the proceeds to 15 percent. At the end of the week, the highest grossing organization will receive a bonus of $250. Just notify your server which charity or organization you'd like to send a monetary hug to, then let the intoxicating smell of pizza and that small-acts-of-kindness feeling take over as you enjoy those carbohydrates. --LS

Joe Gets Some Fresh Air

Just down the street from Rue, Joe Pasta has added five outdoor tables to their sidewalk space. In conjunction with the completion of the Upper King "Streetscape," the build-your-own-pasta joint on John Street hosted a wine and cheese reception last week to celebrate the rebirth of an area long plagued by construction signs and orange cones. Now you can sit outside and enjoy an affordable bowl of pasta and a nice glass of red wine without experiencing the noise and congestion caused by the renovations. --LS

Spread the Butter

Diana's Restaurant at 155 Meeting St. got new plates, nicer ceiling fans, changed its name, and revamped the old menu to feature Caribbean-inspired dishes alongside its recent New York Times-noted breakfast meals of champions. Tropical Toast, as it's now called, wants to "spread the butter" and bring a beachy feel to a downtown where millions come to vacation. Open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. or later, go check out the Jimmy Buffett kind of changes and ask the bartender for the Toast's signature Mop Water shooter. There's live music on Thursdays with the Howle brothers and start the week with $1 margarita Mondays. --LS

More Like RiverGods

They had a record number of people show up to watch them play ball last year, so the Charleston RiverDogs decided to give the community more of what they might want. This season, a DIY Dog World will be located behind first base, where fans can remove their new foam fingers and dress their hot dogs with over 20 toppings. If a normal-sized wiener isn't good enough, there's the foot-long hotdog known affectionately as the "homewrecker." It weighs one and a half pounds, and there's even a "homewrecker" hat available for purchase. Concession stands also house dairy-free elephant ears and rib-b-que sandwiches, along with Edy's and Mollicolz ice cream. The Ashley View Pub down the left field lane is finally done with construction, and the souvenir store also has a heat press that can personalize jerseys for fans. With all this, who needs baseball? --LS


The Anti-Snobbery Store

Ian Johnson and Stephen Bates believe there is truth in wine. They met last October, and in three months they put together a wine shop they named The Trusted Palate at 563 King St. Open for a few weeks now, the retail store (they hold a maximum of 400 bottles) has a heavy emphasis on quality-guaranteed wines. There's a bar serving unusual, hard-to-find wines by the glass (no bulk, branded, or private labels are sold here). Open 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Johnson wants curious winos and/or those who don't know the difference between Boone's Farm and Beringer Zin to have a seat at his bar. He knows a lot about wine, and he wants to expose his clientele to new ways of thinking. He's the only Master of Wine candidate in South Carolina, and Bates has a Wine and Spirit Education Trust Advanced Certificate. Sharing a space with Charleston Architectural Glass Studio, there's lots of mirrors to look at as you lounge on the leather couch perusing wine books. Visit www.thetrustedpalate.com to join the wine club. --LS


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