Thursday, November 16, 2017

Get a taste of cheese ice when Tu restaurant opens next Fri. Nov. 24

Mark your calendars

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 10:09 AM

Corn - fried creamed corn, bitter greens + country ham, crab sauce. - TU INSTAGRAM
  • Tu Instagram
  • Corn - fried creamed corn, bitter greens + country ham, crab sauce.
Tu restaurant, the second project from Xia Bao Biscuit partners Joey Ryan, Josh Walker, and Duolan Li, will open on Fri. Nov. 24.

If the reputation of XBB isn't enough to get diners in Tu's door, perhaps the new restaurant's curious menu will. The website touts ingredients like cheese ice, dynamite sauce, and hari krishna, not to be confused with the Hare Krishna mantra ... or is it?

Who doesn't want to find out what that's all about?

According to a press release, those unique (and possibly next-level) ingredients are "influenced by a number of different cultures and traditions." Everything will be available a la carte with the menu is divided into "Raw, uncooked foods; Vegetable-focused dishes; and protein-focused Meats."

Partner and Beverage Director Ryan will be pouring Old World terroir wines in addition to classic cocktails and lighter drinks like the Slow Gold, a Cachaça based cocktail with guava liqueur and lime. 

All this will be served up in a single house at 430 Meeting St. Walker and Li designed the 80-seat interior themselves which has two dining rooms for private parties and reservations while a new addition serves as the main dining room, bar, and covered patio.

For reservations, visit Resy.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Les Dames d'Escoffier Charleston's inaugural culinary academy was a decadent afternoon

Less flourish, more food

Posted by Mary Scott Hardaway on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 2:10 PM

Michelle Weaver's trout and cornmeal blinis - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Michelle Weaver's trout and cornmeal blinis
This past Saturday's inaugural Les Dames d'Escoffier International Charleston chapter culinary academy was a well-attended, expertly coordinated event. For a full day of instruction from area industry pros, plus breakfast and lunch, hors d'oeuvres whipped up by top chefs, and full glasses of stellar wine, the $175 ticket (mostly) made sense. Plus, there were the gift baskets filled with Le Creuset, King Bean coffee, Geechie Boy Grits, gift cards — the Charleston jack pot.

I would divide the day (the academy ran from 8:30 a.m. to around 4 p.m.) into two parts: flourish and food. I think most of the audience was grateful (based on their questions and note taking) to have the first half of the day focused on flourish, i.e.; how to pull off a holiday dinner without stress, how to create affordable hostess gifts, and how to create beautiful "tablescapes."

As someone who never has and never will own heirloom silver, though, these sessions felt too Betty Draper and not enough Peggy Olson. When an audience member was told that paper napkins can never be used in place of linen napkins when entertaining, I think my eyes may have gotten stuck in the back of my head. Alas, maybe I'm just never going to be the hostess with the mostess.  
Holiday gift demo - SUSAN SLACK
  • Susan Slack
  • Holiday gift demo
But the food and wine instruction, held in the latter half of the day, was worth the price of admission. I was held rapt — Michelle Weaver explaining how to make the perfect little fluffy cornmeal blinis? I could listen to that all day.

Weaver was joined by Butcher & Bee's Chelsey Conrad and Magnolia's Kelly Franz for a short but sweet session focused on three hors d'oeuvres recipes — mushroom meatballs, smoked trout blinis, and pickled deviled eggs (we got to taste all of this fare, of course, and it was nothing short of divine). I felt like an honorary fly on the wall at the coolest dinner party ever, witnessing the three top of their game chefs casually interacting, asking questions, and cracking jokes.  
Mushroom meatball, smoked trout, and deviled egg - SUSAN SLACK
  • Susan Slack
  • Mushroom meatball, smoked trout, and deviled egg
After the food demos, Edmund's Oast wine director and Edmund's Oast Exchange general manager Sarah O'Kelley talked the audience through three different wines (all under $30) that would work perfectly for a holiday meal, all available at the Exchange.

She also offered a helpful tip sheet, "The Fun Guide to Holiday Wines." O'Kelley's five tricks are: bubbles solve all problems; acid cuts richness so choose some dry riesling, chenin blanc, champagne, or rose; food and family friendly reds are a necessity so look for moderate alcohol (Pinot Noir), silky tannins (Cru Beaujolais), and medium body (Grenache); look for wines from off the beaten path like Southern Italy, Portugal, and Southwest France; and ask wine shops for wines that use sustainable farming, family producers, and small production.

There is supposed to be another culinary academy slated for the spring. If "entertaining" is part of your everyday vocab, and you love tips and tricks for what kind of bites and bubbles to serve at your next party, buy a ticket as soon as they're available. If your interests are more foodie-oriented, or wine tastings are your zenith, maybe sit out the first half of the day, or bring a buddy who loves infusing oils and vinegars with random herbs. She'll have a blast. 

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Lidl grocery store to open in Goose Creek Thurs. Nov. 30

Like Aldi, but with a Heidi Klum line

Posted by Mary Scott Hardaway on Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 1:34 PM

  • Provided
International grocery chain Lidl (rhymes with 'needle') claims that they are "expert product curators," which could mean ... absolutely anything. But they've been around since 1973, and boast 10,000 stores in 27 countries, so we'll bite.

This will be the first Charleston area Lidl store, and the tenth South Carolina location. Thurs. Nov. 30, the new Goose Creek store will open at 8 a.m., immediately following a ribbon cutting at 7:40 a.m. The grand opening will feature games, activities, prizes, special deals and giveaways, and the first 100 customers will receive a wooden coin for a chance to win up to $100 in Lidl gift cards.

The mission of the chain is to offer a "simple and efficient" approach to grocery shopping. In Lidl, shoppers will find: easy to shop layouts (20,000 square feet with only six aisles), award winning wines, fresh baked goods, healthy and sustainable choices, organic and gluten-free options, exclusive Lidl brand products, Lidl "surprises," and prime time store hours (8 a.m.-9 p.m. daily).

Lidl only came to the U.S. this past summer, and is comparable in scheme to the other affordable German grocery chain, Aldi. According to USA Today, Lidl says its shoppers can expect to save as much as 50 percent less than conventional supermarket.

And Lidl doesn't only sell groceries — they also sell outdoor furniture, exercise gear, and, most importantly, they'll soon offer Heidi Klum's women's clothing and accessories line. Let's see Aldi top that.

  • Provided
Lidl interior - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Lidl interior

Location Details Lidl
435 St. James Ave.
Goose Creek, SC

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Charleston Grill's California wine country wildfire fundraiser goes national

Glass act

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 1:26 PM

Let's Raise The Glass is a partnership between OpenTable and chefs around the country - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Let's Raise The Glass is a partnership between OpenTable and chefs around the country
Charleston Grill Sommelier Rick Rubel's idea was simple: to donate a portion of the proceeds from every glass or bottle of California wine sold to help California wine makers affected by recent wildfires.

Now, thanks to help from the Grill's GM Mickey Bakst, that idea has gone national with OpenTable launching a U.S. campaign supported by chefs including Vivian Howard, Daniel Boulud, Michelle Weaver, Sean Brock, Suzanne Goin, and Danny Meyer. The effort is being called Let's Raise The Glass and as Business Insider reported on Mon. Nov. 13, all funds raised will go to Sonoma Resilience Fund and Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund.

"I can sum it up really simple," says Bakst. "There is not a charity event that people go to that wasn’t poured wine,  that the wine industry didn’t donate and help make that event sell. No other industry, in our minds, does more for charities in this county. They never say no. They’re there for every cause and it just seems to me that it’s our obligation to keep doing this."

Restaurants and diners can learn more about the effort at

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James Island's White Duck Taco Shop has closed

Duck, duck, vamoose

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 12:39 PM

James Island's White Duck Taco Shop has closed. A reader passed on the information after trying to grab a taco this afternoon and finding a locked door and the sign, "White Duck is now closed for business! Thank you for your support."

The restaurant, which is part of the founder Ben Mixson's White Duck franchise, opened in May 2014 with plenty of anticipation from White Duck fans of the franchise's Asheville location. However, its spot on James Island, hidden behind Baguette Magic, immediately caused concern for the new business and its resulting review by then-CP restaurant critic Eric Doksa didn't help either.
This sign is currently in the window of White Duck Taco Shop - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • This sign is currently in the window of White Duck Taco Shop
"There's too much going on. The masa-based tortillas serve as a battleground for competing flavors and there's always a clear-cut victor," Doksa wrote. "In some cases, the flavors don't even get into the ring. The beef bulgogi taco suffered from a soggy and flavorless kimchi that lost one too many matches."

Mixson has not yet returned a call for comment. 

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