The scoop on the big box store moving into iconic Morris Sokol may still be a mystery, but I got to see it's new chain neighbor this week: West Elm. The store behind the catalog that your mom gets had it's grand opening and they did it big — with a DJ, an open wine and beer bar and catering by FIG. I asked my own mother, who obviously receives the catalog, if she had ever heard of a furniture store opening in such a manner and the question might as well have been rhetorical.
In the old Mescon's spot, the furniture shop opened in a welcome to the neighborhood kind of way. I was told that the spot is smaller than most West Elm's, but by downtown standards, the place is quite large. In addition to their national line, they feature local wares from designers and artists from around the Charleston area. Apparently this is a trademark of West Elm, as all stores do this in some way. I thought I was going to a party of meets, greets, and eats, but I was quite shocked that the staff was seriously open for business. I saw a design consult, some pillow shams purchased, and only heard around three things break. I decided to wine it, but cupped my glass with two hands like a toddler with a sippy from sheer fear of spilling it on a sofa I was not prepared to buy. At times, the caterers were harder to nail down than a FIG reservation, but the quality was top-notch as always. I think I ate at least a dozen caviar deviled eggs. I saw some familiar faces, and those familiar faces saw me, so we then decided to kind of play an impromptu game of The Price is Right where I asked our group what they thought the price of a gold-colored armadillo figurine was. I was way off. Todd St. Onge (owner of TEC) was spot on — $39.99. It was a fantastic welcome to the block party and we even made the DJ run a little long.
Thursday we headed up to Mixson for their Summer Cookout Series. This was unlike your average cookout. This backyard party featured four of the city's best chefs. Basico's Bryan Cates played host to Jacques Larson of Obstinate Daughter who made some awesome pork and peach kabobs; Graham Dailey of Peninsula Grill who cooked up some lobster and shrimp rolls; and Russ Moore of SNOB who had the crowd favorite with the bison sliders. A rather large wreckfish was also served in a wooden roasting box and was devoured quite quickly Moving from the fish, I noticed Sarah Adams of Bad Bitch fame, throwing a few dozen peach and pork kabobs on the "cowboy cauldron" — basically a swinging cauldron that one guest remarked reminded them of the wrecking ball Miley Cyrus is naked atop in her music video. I would happen to agree, though the thought of it burns.
On Saturday I ventured out to West Ashley for Chucktown Social's inaugural flip cup championship. The venue was Mueller's Pub, which is somewhere I had never heard of nor been, though I quickly realized its charm. The staff was awesome and accommodated dozens of people flip-cupping in beer-soaked team T-shirts. One contestant threw all caution to the wind while chugging her beer ration and mistakenly let her phone topple from the table to the ground. I picked it up and handed it back to her, though she didn't even bother to thank me. Perhaps it was all the adrenaline. Winners received massive red solo cups and bragging rights. Though no one could really lose as the suds were certainly flowing.