Charleston's been feeling like the inside of an oven lately, leaving us looking for lighter fare and a way to keep cool. Here are a few flavorful picks to help you avoid heatstroke in the summer heat. Talk about two birds and one stone.
Matt Paul, executive chef at Lowcountry Bistro, is offering an apple mint roasted bacon-wrapped scallop appetizer ($12). Three jumbo sea scallops are seared, wrapped in bacon, and finished in the oven and glazed with a mixture made from tart Granny Smith apples. The scallop dish comes with a light salad of local arugula, cornbread croutons, Cajun-roasted pecans, and goat cheese tossed in a vibrant strawberry champagne vinaigrette.
If you want to try keeping cool by eating the spiciest food you can stand, head over to Xiao Bao Biscuit for some Ambrose Farms shishito peppers, which are seared, served whole, and topped with a bonito furikake, a traditional Japanese rice seasoning made of dried seaweed, salt, sugar, and red shiso herb. It comes with some sweet soy and a Japanese mayonnaise that's slightly sweeter than its U.S. counterpart. Spice your evening up for $4 and be ready to wipe the sweat off your brow. If that's not enough, you can always dig into a bowl of fiery mapo dofou, which features chili oil and broad bean broth with chunks of cool tofu ($12). It's probably the hottest dish in Charleston, no fooling.
Up in Park Circle, there's a brand-new coffee shop called The Orange Spot, and they've got a cool taste of Thailand with a glass of Cha Yen for $3. This iced tea is a sweet black tea steeped with different spices, and topped off with cream. Owners Laura Cannon and Julie Simuang serve it with a choice of half and half, soy, or almond milk.
And if a salad's what you want, Verde now has two locations to serve you, they just opened a second spot in Mt. Pleasant. Their featured salad of the month is the Summer Caprese ($7.95) with a variety of local tomatoes, baby mozzarella, and fresh basil served on baby spinach and finished with basil vinaigrette and a balsamic glaze. Remember, keep it fresh. Keep it light. There's a bathing suit to squeeze into this weekend.