The Charleston restaurant scene is in the midst of a renaissance
The Charleston restaurant scene is in the midst of a renaissance The Art of Eating Well

For some, Charleston is a place stuck in a certain time. These people live in a "golden haze of memory," which so often obscures the dark realities of the area's aristocratic past. They demand that the architecture remain loyal to a small slice of history preserved by the poverty of Reconstruction. They want to eat food that represents that vision, and they want to hawk it to others who visit. And in the last century, those tendencies made Charleston's dining scene somewhat boring. — Jeff Allen


Seeking out the best of Kentucky behind the Holy City's bars
Seeking out the best of Kentucky behind the Holy City's bars The Bourbon Trail

Polishing off a handle of Rebel Yell over a weekend may mean you're an accomplished bourbon drinker, but it doesn't mean you know a thing about bourbon. Although "bourbon and ginger" is perhaps the most frequently ordered cocktail in Charleston, the corn-syruped, low-grade house concoction has blinded many to the not-so-subtle variances that make a fine, handcrafted bourbon truly memorable. — Stratton Lawrence


Pushing beyond the basic pan-seared duck breast to find poultry nirvana
Pushing beyond the basic pan-seared duck breast to find poultry nirvana Just Ducky

For well over a century, Charleston restaurants have been famous for their duck. In 1912, A New Guide to Modern Charleston raved about the mallard duck served at the Palace Café on Market Street, and the author boldly declared, "It is well known that South Carolina duck, particularly of the Georgetown brand, being fed rice, are the most delicious in the world, especially when prepared a lá South Carolina." — Robert F. Moss


These days, chefs can get you to eat your veggies ... and like them too
These days, chefs can get you to eat your veggies ... and like them too Vegetable Medley

Growing up in the South, vegetables weren't seen as necessarily something to be enjoyed but rather a tonic for both your medical and your spiritual health. "Eat your veggies" was a constant refrain heard by a generation of children who would do just about anything to avoid green leafy things. But who can blame them, faced as they were with platefuls of vegetables with every last bit of texture and flavor boiled out? Restaurants haven't helped things any with the way they tend to treat vegetables. "Veg" has long been the unpleasant but necessary afterthought to an entrée, apparently chosen primarily for color and the ability to hold up well for hours on a steam table. — Robert F. Moss


Sweet and savory pies deliver down-home comfort
Sweet and savory pies deliver down-home comfort Any Way It's Sliced

Whoever came up with the phrase "as American as apple pie" obviously didn't do their research. The baking of pie — sweet or savory fillings in a shell made of flour, fat, and water — is an ancient skill. Some historians trace variations of the basic recipe back to the Egyptians, but it really took off during medieval times, when the economical nature of the dish boosted its popularity. The Oxford Companion to Food suggests the word "pie" was derived from magpie — a bird known for collecting lots of things. The versatile nature of this dish means you can put just about anything in a crust, and it'll taste good. — Erica Jackson


The nasty bits are good eatin' in every cuisine around the globe
The nasty bits are good eatin' in every cuisine around the globe Just Offal

Pork belly is delicious. It's certainly God's gift to the poor, the epitome of "low meat." But the mysterious world of offal, the nasty bits left over after an animal is butchered, holds many joys: crunchy fried pigs ears, grilled lamb kidneys, rich veal sweetbreads. For the squeamish, it's a matter of being adventurous, of exploring the foods of other cultures. If only they knew what was really in that kielbasa sausage steaming in their Frogmore Stew. Most cities in America offer a smorgasbord of offal, if you know where to look, and Charleston is no exception. — Jeff Allen


After 33 years, Robert Dickson hangs up his toque
After 33 years, Robert Dickson hangs up his toque Curtain Call

One can hardly call themselves a Charlestonian without celebrating a birthday or anniversary at Robert's of Charleston. Some people have celebrated every special occasion there for the past 33 years. It has that sort of appeal. Over the years, the little dining room with the best show in town has put on the ritz for thousands of diners, but at the close of this year's Spoleto season, that run will come to an end. — Jeff Allen


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