Dish Dining Guide - Winter 2014
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Welcome to a new installment of Dish. In most issues we often focus on trends, perfectly executed plates, new cocktails, or the performances of first rate chefs. This time, of course, is no different. But there’s another element of our F&B industry we decided to illuminate this time around, especially in light of the late-night debate — the everyday people keeping Charleston’s restaurants afloat. No, not the star chefs you’ve read about time and again. We’re talking about the workaday individuals, prepping, cleaning, greeting, and serving; the unsung heroes of the Holy City’s food scene. And finally, there’s an essay from our own under-appreciated scribe, Robert F. Moss. In this issue Moss bids his years of reviewing adieu. But don’t worry, we’re gonna guilt him into contributing for years to come (whether he likes or not). Enjoy. ­­— Kinsey Gidick

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Finding the heat around town can be a challenge
Finding the heat around town can be a challenge Blistering Bites

At the Dog and Duck Pub in Mt. Pleasant (1117 Park West Blvd., 843-881-3056), manager Justin Carter comes out of the kitchen wearing a gas mask and gloves and carrying a platter with a dozen wings on it. They are covered in a thick red sauce that unleashes waves of gaseous heat that you can smell from across the room. — Eric Doksa


Flames build behind an age-old way of cooking
Flames build behind an age-old way of cooking Feast of Fire

Progress does not always connote forward motion. When man discovered how to create fire, civilization (and cuisine) immediately took a giant leap ahead. That was progress. — Stratton Lawrence


Mixing up smoky, spicy cocktails
Mixing up smoky, spicy cocktails Fire in the Highball Glass

Once upon a time, the notion of fire and cocktails was relegated to the novelty of Flaming Dr. Pepper shots and jiggers of blazing Sambuca — the kind of drinks that, with one misstep, might require a visit from the fire department or a trip to the emergency room. — Robert F. Moss


From cubes to spheres, ice can make all the difference to a cocktail
From cubes to spheres, ice can make all the difference to a cocktail The Ice Is Right

Joe Raya, the co-owner and chief bartender at the Gin Joint, has stocked his establishment with a full-on arsenal of serious ice-making gear. There's the Japanese aluminum-alloy ice sphere mold, and the persnickety Kold-Draft machine that makes perfectly square 1½ inch cubes and crushes them to smithereens with the flip of a switch. But the Clinebell CB300x2 takes it to an entirely different plane. — Robert F. Moss


Forging the Grates of Hell at Stars
Forging the Grates of Hell at Stars Iron Man

The latest buzz among those in the culinary know is about cooking over live fire. Of course, this isn't a new phenomenon — several sources cite that fire was first used as a cooking medium over 1 million years ago. — Nathan Thurston


For wood-fired pizza devotees, there's no other way to make a pie
For wood-fired pizza devotees, there's no other way to make a pie Oven Magic

Arguing the virtues of a great pizza is futile — deep-dish vs. thin crust, marinara vs. white, Chicago vs. New York. There is no right answer because when done correctly, they're all wonderful. Pizza is a common denominator in American society. Only its ingredients and preparation style are divisive. — Stratton Lawrence


Save the best for last with these dramatic desserts
Save the best for last with these dramatic desserts Playing with Fire

Dessert has earned a reputation for being the cute kid in class. Sweet and unassuming, it's a simple and satisfying way to wrap up even the most dramatic meal. Yet a growing number of pastry chefs are no longer willing to accept this innocent stereotype. They're tapping into dessert's dark side by digging up smoky and icy-hot flavors often reserved for the main course, creating memorable dishes that more than compete with the rest of the meal. — Erica Jackson Curran


The Post-Husk Era
The Post-Husk Era Where do we go from here?

A lot has happened in the Charleston dining world since last summer. Of course, one could make that statement every year. Old restaurants close their doors and new ventures take their places. One chef gets tossed out of a noted kitchen, and another is lured away from a rival to fill the vacancy. This time around, though, it's more than just the usual turnover in an ever-changing industry. Something fundamental has shifted in local dining, and we've entered a new phase of our city's modern culinary history. — Robert F. Moss


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